Graded-stakes placed High Opinion fresh & ready for Plenty of Grace 

March 30, 2022

OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Woodford Racing and Team D’s High Opinion returned to work for trainer Tony Dutrow after a five-month freshening to prepare for a start in the $100,000 Plenty of Grace for older fillies and mares travelling one mile on the turf at Aqueduct Racetrack on April 16. 

A 5-year-old daughter of Lemon Drop Kid, High Opinion put together a productive 2021 campaign that saw her post a 4-for-5 in-the-money record and earn two graded stakes placings. She finished second in the Grade 2 Ballston Spa to Viadera by a nose and capped off her 4-year-old season with a second in the Grade 3 Noble Damsel at Belmont Park in October. 

The dark bay mare has posted a series of works over the training track at Belmont Park, most recently breezing a half-mile in 49.02 Saturday. 

“I bought her for $130,000 as a yearling at Keeneland and thought she was a $200,000 yearling,” said Dutrow “She’s doing great, and I hope to have her ready for the Plenty of Grace. She’s in the prime of her life and I believe we know exactly how to approach her 5-year-old year.” 

Dutrow also welcomed back stakes winner Miss Brazil to his barn this month. She returned to the work tab from an eight-month layoff after a fifth in the Grade 3 Victory Ride at Belmont in July. 

“She came back with an injury and no surgery was needed, so I just gave her plenty of time and sent her down to Niall Brennan in Florida and told him to take his time,” Dutrow said. “Her gallop was the most impressive of all my horses on Saturday.” 

A bay daughter of Palace Malice, Miss Brazil has won or been on-the-board in all but one of her seven starts, highlighted by a win in the Ruthless at Aqueduct last year and a second to Grade 1-winner Search Results in the Busher Invitational. She finished third in the Jersey Girl at Belmont and missed place honors by a head to eventual Grade 1 Test winner Bella Sofia. 

“She ran with the best of her generation. She finished second to Search Results and only got beat by a half-length. Rudy Rodriguez’s filly [Bella Sofia] would have to be considered one of the best in that crop,” said Dutrow. 

Dutrow said he is hopeful Miss Brazil will be ready for a return in the Grade 3, $150,000 Vagrancy Handicap on May 14 at Belmont. 

“She’s doing super. She’s mature now and I’m hoping all her little ‘this and that’s’ are behind her,” Dutrow said. “We’re looking forward to getting her out there in May.” 

Stakes-placed Price Talk has settled back into his work routine after a winter break in Florida. A son of Kitten’s Joy, Price Talk was a $50,000 claim for owner Timothy O’Toole out of a winning effort at Saratoga Race Course in August. 

The 5-year-old gelding went on to win first off-the-claim for his new connections, taking an open-company optional claimer at Belmont in September going nine furlongs. He stalked the pace and tired next time out in the 11-furlong Grade 2 Red Smith to close out his 4-year-old campaign. 

“We won a big shake for him at Saratoga, and he trained really good, and we were hopeful he’d win that race,” Dutrow said of his allowance win. “The 2X at Belmont is a tough race and they’re real horses in there. I tried stretching him out in the Red Smith and wanted to go into this year knowing how to handle him. He didn’t stretch out but going into this year he’s fresh and happy and doing super.” 

Dutrow has high hopes for unraced 3-year-old Smoke and Heat, a son of Street Boss out of the twice-winning Medaglia d’Oro mare Allegheny Angel, who also produced multiple graded stakes-placed filly Whoa Nellie. 

“Kelly Breen had him as a 2-year-old and I figured if Kelly liked him, I’d be interested,” Dutrow said. “He just keeps getting better and better. I don’t know what will happen, but in the mornings, he’s got plenty of talent. Everybody that’s been on him has been impressed with him. Sitting here and talking about him doesn’t make him run faster, but those are the facts. We plan on running him April 1 at six furlongs. He doesn’t want six furlongs, but I’m happy to get his career going.” 

A $65,000 purchase by Paul Braverman at the 2020 Keeneland September Sale, Smoke and Heat breezed a half-mile in 49.17 seconds Saturday. He is entered in Race 4 on Friday at the Big A. 

NYRA Press Office
Photo: High Opinion (center, green cap) squeezes between Tamahere (FR) on the outside and Shifty She on the rail to eventually place second by 1 1/2 lengths to Shifty She in the Noble Damsel at Belmont Park. (Chelsea Durand)

@Jonathanstettin Very well written article. The sport will be missed by many...The time is now

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