Trombetta Covers Tracks With Success
BALTIMORE, April 28 — Like a miniature version of Todd Pletcher, the leading trainer in the country, Laurel Park-based Michael Trombetta has begun to deploy his horses at tracks all over the country, happily taking money out of the hands of local horsemen.
One week after his barn star, Sweetnorthernsaint, finished second in a $250,000 stakes race at Hawthorne Race Course in Stickney, Ill., Trombetta had powerful runners at four different tracks on Saturday. His fleet 3-year-old filly Your Flame in Me blasted three other overmatched runners to take the $80,000 Xtra Heat Stakes by nine lengths at Pimlico; his swift 4year-old colt Fleet Valid put away a good group of allowance runners about an hour later at Delaware Park; and his Florida-based 6-yearold Weigelia inched closer to the $1 million earnings mark by winning the $100,000 Ponche Handicap at Calder Race Course in Miami.
The only place Trombetta didn’t win Saturday was at Aqueduct in New York, where he chose to spend the afternoon saddling his promising 3-year-old Street Magician in the 128th running of the Grade III $150,000 Withers, the same race Bernardini used last year as a prep before winning the Preakness Stakes.
Battling for the lead between horses through swift fractional times, Street Magician tired turning for home as undefeated Divine Park, trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, pulled away to win the mile race in a sharp 1 minute 34.65 sec- onds.
“The only one I didn’t hit the board at,” said Trombetta, reached in New York. “It goes to show what we know. Aqueduct seemed to be a bit speed biased on the inside today, and it was difficult to pass, and my horse got a bit tired. I’m going to have to take a good hard look at him.”
In hindsight, Trombetta wished he had been at Pimlico, where the undefeated Your Flame in Me quite likely set herself up for a run in the Grade III $125,000 Ms. Preakness Stakes on May 18 with an effortless victory in the Xtra Heat.
With jockey Jose Caraballo repeatedly looking around for competition, Your Flame in Me remained undefeated in three starts, running the 51⁄ 2- furlong race in 1:04.75 as the heavy favorite.
In the winner’s circle after the race, the great sprint filly Xtra Heat’s owner Ken Taylor reunited with former rider Rick Wilson, who suffered a career-ending injury in a gate accident May 8, 2004.
One race later, the first foal of Xtra Heat, a 3-year-old chestnut gelding named Southwestern Heat, won her second race in a row, taking a five-furlong turf sprint.
“It’s a shame I wasn’t there,” Trombetta said.
In the second stakes race on the Pimlico card, substitute jockey Oliver Castillo guided Florida shipper Stay Close to a 11⁄ 2- length victory in the $95,000 Henry Clark Stakes.
Stay Close, trained by Michael Zweisler, won the one-mile turf face in 1:37.36.
Racing Notes: Trainer Wayne Lukas’s Flying First Class went right to the front and never stopped to win the $100,000 Derby Trial on opening day at Churchill Downs. Ridden by Larry Melancon, Flying First Class ran the 71⁄ 2- furlong race in 1:29.98.
Kentucky Derby contenders Bwana Bull and Teuflesberg scratched from the race.