Trom­betta Cov­ers Tracks With Suc­cess

The Washington Post Sunday - - Sports - By John Schein­man

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.

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