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Jan 13, 2012

THRU THE BINOCULARS

By: By JOHN PIESEN


REMEMBER THE NAME

The most intriguing 3-year-old prospect I've seen at Gulfstream Park this winter has been a colt named One Sock Down.

Owned by the same Fantasy Lane partnership that gave us Uptowncharleybrown, One Sock Down, by Dehere out of a Secretariat mare, was purchased for $97,000 last spring out of the 2-year-olds in training sale at Timonium.

Bob Hutt, the managing partner of Fantasy Lane, named the chestnut One Sock Down because, like Secretariat, he was born with three white stockings...and on the same three legs as Big Red.

More importantly, One Sock Down resembled his grandsire on the racetrack last summer at Monmouth Park as he dazzled the railbirds with a series of bullet works, including a :57 for five furlongs.

But Hutt and trainer Ed Colletti were intent on taking their time getting One Sock Down to the races, and finally entered him in a six-furlong maiden-special on Dec. 8 at Gulfstream.

Despite the presence of a 300K Pletcher firster named Ecabroni in the race, One Sock Down opened 1-9. After sitting second to Pletcher until the turn for home, One Sock Down exploded past him from the outside, and won by three in 1:10 2/5 under a hand ride by Paco Lopez.

After pulling up, Paco told Hutt: "Boss, this is the fastest horse I've ever sat on."

The speed mavens got the message and gave OSD big numbers, including a "four" from the Thorograph folks.

Does One Sock Down"s performance, and Paco's take make this colt a Derby winner? Of course not.

But Hutt has already turned down several seven-figure offers for One Sock Down.

If the colt wins his next start, likely the Holy Bull or Hutcheson at Gulfstream, the offers will go through the roof, and he'll find himself on most every one's Derby Top Ten list.

There are 90 partners in One Sock Down, most of them blue-collar guys and gals from central Jersey, and if he wins a stake in his next start, you can be sure that will be one crowded Gulf winner's circle.

The only sad note is that Alan Seewald, the primary trainer for Fantasy Lane for a quarter-century, succumbed to a heart attack in his sleep on April 12, 2010 at the much too young age at 62, and missed the chance of training the horse of a lifetime.

"Alan was my best friend," says Hutt, "...not a day goes by that I don't think of him."

On a happier note, in addition to One Sock Down, Hutt is sky-high on two other unraced Fantasy Lane runners -- Sweet Dixie Belle and Longwood Lane, both of whom will soon be debuting at Gulfstream.

"I'm hearing," says Hutt, "that Sweet Dixie Belle is as fast as One Sock Down."

In the meantime, don't feel sorry for the Toddster.

At last look, Pletcher has a bunch of 3-year-old goodies ready to rock and roll. The list includes Discreet Dancer, Algorithms, Ciao Bellas, and Dan and Sheila, not to mention Ecabroni.

Pletcher of course is a finalist, along with Bill Mott and Bob Baffert, for Eclipse trainer. Sorry Todd. Mott is my choice and the probable winner.

For the record, my other Eclipse choices are Hansen, My Miss Aurelia, Caleb's Posse, Royal Delta, Game on Dude, Sassy Image, Cape Blanco, Stacelita, Black Jack Blues, Team Valor, Brereton Jones, Ramon Dominguez, Ryan Curatolo...and Havre de Grace hands down for Horse of the Year.

The awards will be announced at the annual Eclipse dinner on Jan. 16 at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills. Bring your black tie.

Speaking of Dominguez, with rivals Castellano and Velazquez wintering in Florida, Ramon has the pick of the litter on a daily basis over the Aqueduct inner track.



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