Toast Of New York on another US adventure
Toast Of New York is set to embark on another American adventure next month that could climax in another tilt at the Breeders’ Cup Classic, the race he came so close to landing at Santa Anita in 2014.
The seven-year-old has been gelded since his surprise return to training after a three-year absence which culminated in his January appearance in the Pegasus World Cup, where he finished a distant last behind Gun Runner.
His trainer, Jamie Osborne, had been considering Saratoga’s Grade 1 Whitney Stakes on August 4 for his stable star’s next run but will instead see if he can find a lower profile opportunity during the New York track’s meet, which runs from July 20 to September 3, as a starting point.
In a ten-race career, Toast Of New York has earned £1.9 million in prize-money thanks to victories in the 2014 UAE Derby and second places in the Pacific Classic at Del Mar and the Breeders’ Cup Classic, in which he was beaten a nose by Bayern.
After he suffered a tendon injury the following season, he spent a year at stud in Qatar until he was returned to training with Osborne by owners Al Shaqab Racing, with the injury having healed.
“Toast Of New York has been gelded, which was as much to do with difficulties with the US Department of Agriculture as he had been a stallion who had covered horses in the past which made it incredibly complicated to take him over for any length of time.
“He would either have needed to have covered some mares in America before waiting a month, or would require 24-hour security.
“We had 24-hour security in Florida but we were only there a week, but for this trip we’re trying to stay months rather than days so the cost would have been ridiculous.
“We had been considering gelding anyway and this was the tipping point.
“We hope we end up with a horse we can have some fun with campaigned at a decent level over the next few years with none of the commercial pressures associated with being a stallion.”
He continued: “The plan is to go to the States in August and, if all goes well, he’ll stay there through August, September and October and if our route is fruitful potentially be at Churchill Downs for the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
“It we have to lower our sights then we will, as there are more options out there. We could start him low key. He won’t be ready in time for the Whitney and I’d like to see if we can get a bit of progression by starting a bit lower.
“There will be conditions races he’ll be eligible for. It could be at Saratoga but he’ll be based east coast anyway.”
There had been high hopes Toast Of New York could threaten Gun Runner in the Pegasus at Gulfstream Park having returned from 1,130 days off the track to land a conditions race at Lingfield, but he was soon struggling and crossed the line 50 lengths behind the impressive winner.
Osborne reflected: “To coin a World Cup phrase, we were shooting from the halfway line really. Occasionally they go in, more often than not they don’t.
“It was a sporting attempt and at that time it seemed to fit into where we were going. I did slightly regret it a bit afterwards but it’s water under the bridge.
“He’s in a good place at the moment and ready to have a decent campaign. Sheikh Joaan and the Al Shaqab team have been fantastically supportive of my plans and like me are looking forward to this further adventure with him.”