Dianne and Julian Cotter’s Toby’s Corner, winner of the 2011 G1 Wood Memorial, heads the field for Saturday’s running of the $150,000 Don Le Vine Memorial Handicap at Parx Racing. Contested at seven furlongs on the main track, the Le Vine Memorial is the track’s top sprint race for older horses and is named in honor of long time steward, the late Don Le Vine.
Before a left hind injury sidelined Toby’s Corner, the now 4 year-old Bellamy Road colt was widely considered a major player for the 2011 Kentucky Derby. In the second start of his 3 year-old season, he won the Whirlaway at Aqueduct and followed that with a third place finish behind Stay Thirsty in the G3 Gotham, also at Aqueduct. A month later would come the signature win of his young career, an 8-1 upset over previously undefeated and the seemingly invincible Uncle Mo in the Wood Memorial. Felled by an injury in the left rear, the Wood would be his final start of 2011. Away for nearly 11 months, he returned this February in the G2 General George at Laurel going seven-eighths and ran third just a length behind winner Yawanna Twist. Since then he’s run third in the G2 New Orleans Handicap behind Nate’s Mineshaft and seventh in the G3 Pimlico Special. Jeremy Rose will ride for trainer Graham Motion.
Some of the best local sprinters are entered in the field of eight and are set to take on Toby’s Corner. The current track record holder at six furlongs, Mat Stables’ Royal Currier drew post seven for trainer Patricia Farro. The 4 year-old gelded son of Red Bullet loves the local track, winning 3 of his 4 starts here including a win in last year’s Gallant Bob Handicap where he set a track record covering three-quarters of a mile in 1:07.61. He opened his 4 year-old campaign with a just missed third in the $150K Sunshine Millions Sprint at Gulfstream. He’s won 2 of 4 starts since, including a win in the $85K Diablo Stakes at Belmont Park. No rider has yet been named.
Last year’s Le Vine winner, William Hartwell’s Golddigger’s Boy is back to defend. The 5 year-old son of Jump Start won 3 stakes here in 2011, the Lyman Handicap, the Docent Handicap and the Le Vine Memorial. After taking on graded company in the G1 Forego and the G2 Kelso, he was rested over the winter. His one win in his three starts this year came when Lucky Lewis was disqualified from a victory in the 2012 Lyman. Regular jockey Stewart Elliott will ride for Ramon Preciado.
Other contenders include Rod’s Five Star (Ed Lehman), Sloane Ranger (Marty Ciresa) and Ponzi Scheme (Juan Serey).