Dickinson scratches Fleet Renee, `Valley'

Ailing Md. entries out of Distaff, Turf races

Breeders' Cup notebook

October 27, 2001|By Tom Keyser | Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF

ELMONT, N.Y. - One half of Maryland's contingent in the Breeders' Cup will remain on the sidelines today when the racing commences at Belmont Park.

Yesterday, Michael Dickinson, who trains at his Tapeta Farm in Cecil County, scratched both his entrants, the 3-year-old filly Fleet Renee in the Distaff and the 4-year-old colt Slew Valley in the Turf. Dickinson said Fleet Renee had muscle cramps, that Slew Valley had a cough and that both horses had a fever.

"It's a huge disappointment, especially with Fleet Renee," Dickinson said. "We were very hopeful. We thought we had a winning chance."

Numerous Times, a 4-year-old colt who was undefeated in six races at Woodbine, was also scratched from the Breeders' Cup.

Winging it with Galileo

Aidan O'Brien, the Irish trainer of Galileo, said he doesn't know how his standout 3-year-old will take to the dirt in the Classic. It will be the first race off turf for the heralded son of Sadler's Wells.

"Obviously, you're not sure until they run," O'Brien said. "He's a 3-year-old who's had a long season. We're just hoping he has a good run."

Tom Albertrani, assistant trainer for Godolphin Racing, says that he has his doubts that a son of Sadler's Wells, one of the world's top sires, will relish the change from turf to dirt.

"I've had Sadler's Wellses who didn't even like to work on the dirt," Albertrani said.

Flighty Tiznow

Jay Robbins, trainer of Tiznow, attempting to win back-to-back Classics, has been puzzled by the colt's erratic behavior during morning training.

Ever since returning from a career-threatening back injury this summer, Tiznow, reigning Horse of the Year, has stopped abruptly, refused to budge, wheeled in circles and ducked toward the rail.

Such behavior is often indicative of a physical problem or even a psychological one, the horse perhaps trying to say he doesn't want to train. Robbins, a thoughtful and meticulous trainer, says he has searched and searched but has found nothing amiss.

"He's maybe been taking advantage of us a little bit, like he's pushing our buttons," Robbins said. "He's a little older. Maybe he's figured out what he wants to do and when he wants to do it."

Kona Gold revved up

Kona Gold is poised to make his 22nd start, and, amazingly, four will have been in the Breeders' Cup Sprint. He finished third in 1998, second in 1999 and first in 2000. He has finished first or second in 19 of 21 races. The 7-year-old gelding has won 12 and earned $2 million.

His 67-year-old trainer, Bruce Headley, is also his exercise rider. This will be the first start in New York for trainer and horse.

"He loves New York," Headley said. "He's been squealing when I get up on him, squealing when I take him out of the barn, squealing when I start galloping him, and then after he's back in his stall he comes squealing to the door."

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