Thursday, January 01, 2009


For the past four winters, trainer Karl Grusmark has been making his mark at Laurel Race Course in Maryland. But for 2009, the 65-year-old New Englander will be calling New York his home, aiming his 15-horse stable at Aqueduct’s inner track meet.

He will be firing one shot in Sunday’s 32nd running of the $65,000-added Ruthless Stakes for three-year-old fillies when he saddles Robyn Kalaidjiam’s Indian Rush in the six-furlong sprint.

He is hoping to make it count.

“We’re stabled over at Belmont, and she has been training terrifically,” Grusmark said. “I’m just hoping that she can transfer that training to over here at Aqueduct. That sure would be a nice way to start the new year.”

According to Grusmark, the Ruthless will be Indian Rush’s last race until spring.

‘We’ve decided that after this race, we would send her to Bittersweet Acres in Citra (Florida),” Grusmark said. “We’ll turn her out and then they’ll get her legged up down there for the races in the spring and summer.”

Grusmark believes that Kentucky-bred Indian Rush will prove to be a most useful filly later in the year, but would like her to head south with a victory. A daughter of Indian Charlie, she broke her maiden at Suffolk Down last July and eventually followed her trainer to Finger Lakes, where she ran a pair of seconds, including the Finger Lakes Juvenile Filly back in November.

“She’s put in some nice races and turned in that filly stake at Finger Lakes with a nice second,” Grusmark said. “She is a very well-bred filly and I really like how she’s been training.”

Grusmark, who first began training in the 1960s as an assistant for Arkansas-based trainer Art Yokum, was stabled at Aqueduct in the 1970s. He felt this was an ideal time to again try New York.

“New England racing, unfortunately, used to race all year long,” he said. “Now, they run about 100 days a year. I bought a place near Finger Lakes and race there during the summer. This year, I had owners that are involved with the New York-bred program and I felt I had horses that could compete at Aqueduct.”

Supplemented to the Ruthless is Dennis Johnson’s Gnome’s Delight, a Harlem’s Holiday filly who has won two of three starts for trainer Scott Lake.

And Lake accepts the blame for her fourth-place finish in the Blue Hen Stakes at Delaware Park on October 18.

“That was my mistake,” Lake said. “She had just broken her maiden, and I decided to run her longer (mile and a sixteenth). She is a real nice filly and I put pressure on myself to run her back in that race. I don’t doubt that she can handle the distance, but she just wasn’t mentally ready for that race.”

Lake learned his lesson, and cut Gnome’s Delight back to six furlongs for her next start at Laurel on November 13. Despite a sloppy racetrack, she turned in a professional effort for a two-length victory in 1:11 4/5.

“She’s a nice filly,” Lake said. “She’s definitely not one-dimensional and there’s a lot to look forward to.”

Carrying top weight of 122 pounds here is West Point Thoroughbreds’ Justwhistledixie. Trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, the Dixie Union filly is on a two-race winning streak. In her last start, she won November’s seven-furlong Love Affair Stakes here by better than three lengths in 1:23.12.

The field for Sunday’s 32nd running of the Ruthless:

1. Indian Rush Karl Grusmark Winston Thompson 116
2. Could Be Us Guadalupe Preciado Eddie Castro 118
3. Justwhistledixie Kiaran McLaughlin Rajiv Maragh 122
4. Unveil the Mask Richard Violette Jr. Richard Migliore 116
5. J.J. Cuvee Seth Benzel Ramon Dominguez 116
6. Gnome’s Delight Scott Lake Jose Arce 118
7. Ocarson Robert Reid Jr. Frankie Pennington 116

Gnome’s Delight was supplemented to this race.

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