Lucy’s Bob Boy snaps losing skid with impressive outing
CHARLES TOWN – Things just hadn’t been going well for Lucy’s Bob Boy.
The reigning West Virginia-bred Older Male Horse of the Year had lost his last three races by a combined 41 1/2 lengths.
Nagging hoof problems had forced his trainer, Sandra Dono, to keep the 5-year-old chestnut gelding in little more than light training while those losses mounted.
And come race time, jockey Arnaldo Bocachica just wasn’t feeling the same oomph underneath him when he was asking the best horse he’d ever ridden for another gear to close out his races.
What a difference a little rest and relaxation came make.
Almost two months after losing his third consecutive race June 5, Lucy’s Bob Boy returned to the track a winner Friday night with a dominating performance over a talented field of nine in a $30,000 open allowance at Charles Town.
He scored a 3 1/2-length victory over an accomplished group that included two-time West Virginia Horse of the Year Russell Road as well as multiple stakes winners Managed Account and In the Fairway. In all, the competitive field lining the starting gates for the seven-furlong contest had earned more than $4.3 million in combined career purses.
Lucy’s Bob Boy stopped the clock in 1 minute, 24.95 seconds for the 7/8 of a mile distance over a dirt track rated fast. As the 3-1 second betting choice, he returned $8.60 to win on a $2 wager.
“We waited until he was right this time,” Dono said. “We didn’t have any doubts in our minds this time. He was working good and everything.”
Lucy’s Bob Boy, a multiple stakes winner himself, opened his 2014 campaign with an 8 1/2-length victory in March in a state-bred allowance race. He had been away from the races since December, after Dono discovered an abscess on one of his hooves following a poor showing in a stakes race at Laurel Park in Maryland.
Prior to that, he had won eight of his past 10 contests dating back to late 2012, including four stakes races.
But following a strong showing to open his 5-year-old season in March, Lucy’s Bob Boy suffered three consecutive defeats, including finishing last by more than 30 lengths in April during the $1.5 million Grade 2 Charles Town Classic.
He rebounded to run better during his next two outings, but never finished better than fourth, beaten by 2 1/4 lengths.
“We couldn’t train him as hard, but now he’s a lot better,” Dono said. “We were just training him lightly for those other races. Actually, the Mountaineer race (in which he finished fourth beaten by nine lengths on May 11) wasn’t that bad. He came up with a good speed number. But I think the shipping bothered him.
“It’s just too far,” she continued. “It’s almost like running a race in the trailer.”
Dono said she gave Lucy’s Bob Boy three weeks off after another fourth-place finish in an allowance race on June 5 at Charles Town.
“We sent him out with a pony and let him play for a couple of weeks,” Dono said. “Then we just brought him back nice and easy. We worked him out a couple of times and then drilled him about two weeks ago.”
On July 18, Lucy’s Bob Boy worked four furlongs in 45.80 seconds, the fastest time of 22 horses working that day at that distance.
“He needs the break because he’s got that foot problem,” Dono said. “But we’ve almost got it all taken care of. Now he’s a lot better, so we can put him back into regular training.”
Dono said the ultimate goal for the year is for Lucy’s Bob Boy to win the $500,000 West Virginia Breeders’ Classic, a race he won as a 3-year-old in 2012. He finished a disappointing ninth last year, but again had issues with his hooves.
There were no such problems last week when Lucy’s Bob Boy and Bocachica hustled from the gate and led early, before taking back around the first turn and trailing pacesetter Warrioroftheroses and jockey Gerald Almodovar by two lengths entering the backstretch. Bocachica and Lucy’s Bob Boy sat unhurried in second place past the half-mile pole before regaining the lead around the far turn and widening their margin of victory down the stretch.
“He finished really good,” Bocachica said. “He was ready tonight. You could see it.
“In those races that he got beat, when I asked him he would give me a little bit,” Bocachica continued. “Right then I knew he wasn’t the same horse. But every time I win on him he gives me a different speed. He ran it easy today and he wasn’t 100 percent. When he’s 100 percent, he’s the best horse I ever ride. He can give me more.”
Managed Account and jockey J.D. Acosta closed from sixth early to get second by a head over 9-5 betting favorite Russell Road and rider Jose Montano.
In the Fairway and jockey Angel Cruz finished a nose back of Russell Road in fourth, and Warrioroftheroses held on another neck back in fifth. Escrow Kid, Allegheny Jack, Rummy’s Command and Smash and Grab completed the order of finish.
The victory improved Lucy’s Bob Boy’s record to 18 wins from 27 lifetime starts. The West Virginia-bred son of stallion Flatter has earned more than $685,000 for owner Michael Furr.
The local racing calendar is set to heat up in August.
The first of four stakes races this month at Charles Town – the $50,000 Robert G. Leavitt Memorial for 3-year-olds – is scheduled for Saturday and figures to see the return of undefeated Amherst Street, last year’s champion 2-year-old.
The $50,000 Sadie Hawkins for females 3 years and older will follow Aug. 16, while the $50,000 Frank Gall Memorial for all state-breds 3 years and older is slated for Aug. 23.
The $50,000 Sylvia Bishop Memorial for 3-year-old fillies is scheduled for Aug. 30. All four stakes races are scheduled for seven furlongs.
Dono said last week’s allowance race will serve as a prep race for Lucy’s Bob Boy, who is targeted to run next on Aug. 23 in the Frank Gall Memorial.
“We’re just headed to the Classic with him now,” she said. “Whatever stakes come up in the meantime, we’ll use them as a prep for the Classic.”