Randaroo feels right at home

Ex-Dutrow filly picks up where she left off in state by winning Safely Kept

Horse Racing

October 05, 2003|By Tom Keyser | Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF

After Randaroo won her third straight race for Maryland trainer Tony Dutrow, a wealthy Connecticut horse owner made Dutrow an offer he couldn't refuse.

Joseph Allen offered Dutrow $1 million for Randaroo, whom Dutrow bought two years earlier for $75,000. Dutrow made the deal, transferring ownership of the 3-year-old filly to Allen, who kept the filly with Dutrow - for five races, all defeats.

Finally, last month Allen sent Randaroo to trainer Kiaran McLaughlin in New York. Yesterday, in her first race for her new trainer, she returned to Maryland and captured the $150,000 Safely Kept Stakes at Pimlico Race Course.

"There's a great big part of me that's happy about that," Dutrow said after the Grade III stakes in which his entrant, Elegant Designer, finished sixth.

Dutrow expressed pride in the job he did with Randaroo. But still, he said, "Make no mistake, I got sacked."

Allen's relationship with McLaughlin goes back years to when McLaughlin worked as an assistant for D. Wayne Lukas. When McLaughlin opened a public stable in September, Allen sent him six horses, including Randaroo.

"She was definitely one of the best," said Neal McLaughlin, Kiaran's brother and assistant who accompanied Randaroo to Maryland. "Tony had done a very good job with the filly."

Riding Randaroo for the first time, New York jockey Herberto Castillo Jr. didn't know what to expect. Allen, who did not attend the race, had sent specific instructions: Let her settle behind a couple of horses and then let her loose toward the end.

Randaroo followed the script, breaking alertly, settling behind two horses and charging down the stretch to win by three quarters of a length. She completed the six furlongs in 1 minute, 10.54 seconds and paid $21.40 to win.

"When I called on her at the top of the lane, she gave me all she had," Castillo said. "She ran a great race."

This was Randaroo's second graded-stakes victory. As a 2-year-old for Dutrow, she won the Grade III Valley Stream Stakes last fall by 5 1/4 lengths. Her other victories for Dutrow were also runaways of 4 3/4 and 10 1/4 lengths.

During the five-race losing streak that followed, Randaroo finished second three times and, in two Grade I stakes at Belmont Park, finished fourth and fifth. Allen wanted her to run in the biggest races.

"That's why he bought her," Dutrow said. "He didn't want to run her in little stakes around here and Delaware."

The Safely Kept for 3-year-old fillies is a rare graded stakes in Maryland. The race was named after the outstanding sprinting filly bred by JoAnn and David Hayden, owners of Dark Hollow Farm in Upperco. They presented the trophy in the winner's circle.

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