Precisionist goes back to work


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. -- After several hard and productive years on the track, Precisionist had earned his retirement, his right to frolic in the fields, to kick back, settle down and have his pick of the finest mares he could handle. If only he could have handled the mares.

A stud he was not. After Precisionist failed to impregnate 20 mares to which he was bred this spring, owner Fred Hooper realized that it was pointless for his horse to continue as a sire. At the age of 10, Precisionist is back at Saratoga, an old horse with the near-impossible assignment of having to compete in a young horse's game.

Precisionist, the 1985 sprint champion, has been turned over to trainer Carl Domino and is in a regular training regimen. He is expected to make his first start since December 1988 when he competes in September at Belmont Park. There are no age limitations for horses racing in New York.

Precisionist was one of the nation's top handicap stars in the mid-'80s, winning more than $3.4 million, earnings that included a victory in the 1985 Breeders' Cup Sprint at Aqueduct.

At age 10, he seems too old to make another comeback, but Hooper feels otherwise.

"This is what he wants to do," he said. "He loves the racetrack. We have a seven-furlong track on the farm and the training barn is about 600 feet from the track. He was always on edge to get over to the track."

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