ELMONT, N.Y. -- Court Vision failed to make a favorable first impression when the Grade 1 winner arrived in trainer Richard Dutrow Jr.'s barn in early July. Dutrow placed the horse in the stall directly across from his office, and the trainer would stare at him constantly, wondering what was wrong with him.
Apparently, there was something bothering the horse. One of his testicles had ascended into his abdominal area, according to Michael Iavarone, co-president of the IEAH Stables, which owns the majority of Court Vision. Following surgery to remove the testicle, Court Vision has perked up. Now, Dutrow seems genuinely excited to run Court Vision in Sunday's Grade 2, $250,000 Kelso Handicap at Belmont Park. The Kelso will be Court Vision's first start for Dutrow, who received the horse after Court Vision had won 5 of 17 starts and earned $1.1 million in Bill Mott's care. Court Vision has not won since taking the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby last Nov. 30.
"I'm very happy with where he is at the moment," Dutrow said. "He likes Belmont's turf course -- I'm very happy with things. I'm excited to watch him run. It's a good spot to get him started with us."
"We feel like we have a new horse," said Iavarone, who watched jockey Ramon Dominguez work Court Vision three furlongs in 36.54 seconds Friday at Aqueduct.
Dominguez will ride Court Vision, the 120-pound highweight, from post 2 on Sunday. Court Vision will be equipped with blinkers, equipment that he has not worn for his past three starts.
The Kelso drew only five horses and will go as the fourth race on a card that also includes the Pilgrim and Miss Grillo -- Grade 3 turf events worth $150,000 for 2-year-old males and females, respectively.
Though the one-mile distance, a potential soft turf course, and a 92-day layoff could conspire against Court Vision, the Kelso did not attract another stakes winner among the other four entrants.
An upset candidate could be Le Grand Cru, who, though winless in three turf starts, has run decently in his two grass races here. He finished third behind talented 3-year-olds Pinckney Hill and Get Stormy in an allowance race in May. Then, with blinkers added, he set the pace and ran gamely until midstretch before finishing fifth in a 1 1/16-mile race.