It’s November Madness for Rick Dutrow, Jr. And there are still a few more weeks left in the month.
The longtime trainer, six months after his 10-year suspension ended (10 years!), had a week to remember: victory in the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) with White Abarrio on Nov. 4; and victory in the $300,000 Red Smith (G3) with Master Piece on Saturday (Nov. 11) at his home base, Aqueduct Race Track.
“Unbelievable stuff,’’ Dutrow told drf.com.
Yes, it is.
He sent out more than 7,200 starters and won more than 1,800 races before his suspension in 2013 by the New York Racing and Wagering Board – now the NY State Gaming Commission – for a string of suspensions and rules violations. At the time, regulators called Dutrow’s conduct “obnoxious” and “unbecoming.”
The brash Dutrow somehow dealt with the harsh penalty and is back in a huge way. He may not have the same number of horses he used to, but he’s winning and that can’t hurt in building back a bigger stable.
In the week Nov. 4-11, Dutrow sent out nine different horses. The results? Three wins, two seconds, two thirds. His other win came with Where’s Chris in the Nashua Stakes at Aqueduct on Nov. 5. Total purse earnings for the week — $3,414,320! That’s $3,120,000 for the Classic win and $294,320 for the eight others he sent out.
For a guy out of the loop for so long, that’s not too shabby. In 2023, his first starter was Prince of Pharaohs, who won an allowance race at Belmont on May 6.
Through Saturday (Nov. 11) Dutrow has sent out 90 starters in 2023 with 16 wins, 14 seconds, and 16 thirds for purse earnings of $4,807,909, much of it coming in the past seven days.
In the 1 3/8-mile Red Smith on the turf, Master Piece ($23.60 for a $2 win bet) held off a late rally from Soldier Rising and won by a neck for a group of owners that includes Michael Iavarone, who was among the owners of Big Brown.
The 7-year-old gray ridgling (almost white, like White Abarrio) came into Dutrow’s care just after his suspension ended. He finished second in his first start for Dutrow (an allowance optional claimer at Belmont on July 4) and 10th in his second (the Arlington Million at Colonial Downs on Aug. 12) before his win in the Red Smith.
Dutrow is the fourth trainer for Master Piece since the Chile-bred arrived in the U.S. three years ago.
“I thought when the overnight came out, I didn’t know how we’d possibly be able to run our race with that post (10 of 11), but a couple of scratches helped,” Dutrow said. “He got an excellent trip (from jockey Jose Lezcano), an excellent break, and an excellent ride. He was just ready for them today, he’s a nice horse. He ran big.”
Main Event, Red Run, Classic Catch, Shawdyshawdyshawdy, and main-track-only entrant Costa Terra were scratched.
Master Piece started his current campaign under Saffie Joseph, Jr., who also trained White Abarrio. Joseph was suspended for a short time leading up to the Kentucky Derby after a few of his horses died of undetermined causes during training at Churchill Downs.
Master Piece earned $165,000 in victory while improving his record to 26-7-4-3 and a total bankroll of $713,412.
Dutrow has already mapped out an ambitious 2024 plan for White Abarrio – the $20 million Saudi Cup (G1), the $12 million Dubai World Cup (G1), the Whitney (G1), and a return to the Classic, at Del Mar next year.
Next up for Master Piece? Dutrow is considering the $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1) on Jan. 27 at Gulfstream Park. The horse ran seventh in last year’s Pegasus Turf.
The writing team at US Racing is comprised of both full-time and part-time contributors with expertise in various aspects of the Sport of Kings.