INGLEWOOD, Calif. -- Rail Trip, the leading older male in California in recent months and the runner-up in the Grade 1 Hollywood Gold Cup last Saturday, has been transferred from trainer Ron Ellis in California to Rick Dutrow in New York, owner Mace Siegel said on Tuesday.
Siegel said the decision was based on the desire to race Rail Trip on dirt surfaces in the buildup to the Breeders' Cup Classic at Churchill Downs in November. Rail Trip has raced exclusively on synthetic tracks in California in his 12 career starts.
"The plan was to run in the three races at Hollywood Park, win the Gold Cup, and go on to the Pacific Classic [at Del Mar]," Siegel said. "For whatever reason, that plan went awry, and the horse isn't talking.
"Now, with the goal of running in the Breeders' Cup Classic at Churchill Downs, I want to get him off the synthetic tracks and onto dirt. There has been no decision on how he will get there. That will be up to Rick, and I trust his judgment. He is part of the Siegel team, and this is a team move."
The transfer occurs just days after Rail Trip finished second as the 2-5 favorite in the Gold Cup, a race he won in 2009. A 5-year-old gelding, Rail Trip won the Grade 2 Mervyn LeRoy Handicap in May and the Grade 2 Californian Stakes in June in his first two starts this year. In the Gold Cup, he raced wide throughout, led briefly in the stretch and was beaten a half-length by Awesome Gem.
Dutrow was not available for comment.
Rail Trip has won eight races, including four stakes, and $1,067,790.
- additional reporting by Jay Hovdey