Dickinson set for training return

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Michael Dickinson, whose training feats include sending out the first five finishers in the Cheltenham Gold Cup and training Da Hoss to win two editions of the Breeders’ Cup Mile, is coming out of retirement to train again at his Tapeta Farm.

Dickinson made the formal announcement Monday night and said he’ll return in the fall “with between 20 and 30 horses.” He retired seven years ago to develop his Tapeta Footings synthetic racing surfaces company overseas.

Dickinson said the time away allowed him to look at different training methods and said he spend three years conducting trials on those methods to determine which worked, didn’t work and were most effective.

“We are not eliminating the many good methods used by trainers today, we are just adding a lot of new ideas,” Dickinson said. “It will be an aggregate of marginal gains. All these facilities at Tapeta Farm will give us a lot of levers to pull.”

Tapeta Farm features six turf tracks, which Dickinson said have been meticulousl maintained. Plenty of other changes are in store, with the addition of what Dickinson called “High Altitutde Stables, a Bio-Mechanical Analyzer, a broncho delivery sustem and much more.”

Born in Yorkshire, England and a champion amateur rider and professional jockey before embarking on a training career, Dickinson sent out the first five finishers in the 1983 Cheltenham Gold Cup. The five were Bregawn, Captain John, Wayward Five, Silver Buck and Ashley House.

He came to the U.S. in the late 1980s, set up shop first at Fair Hill and then at Tapeta Farm on the Chesapeake Bay in North East, Md. He and his wife, Joan Wakefield, added 50 acres to the farm and it now sits on 250 acres.

Dickinson trained from 1989 to 2007 in the U.S., winning 587 races from 2,538 starts and purses of $20,886,612. His best year by purses earned was 2001, when his stable earned $2,325,249 he Fleet Renee won the Grade 1 Ashland and Grade 1 Mother Goose. Other Grade 1 winners trained by Dickinson were Tapit, A Huevo and Cetewayo.

Da Hoss made him a household name here in the U.S., winning the Breeders’ Cup Mile over a strong international field in 1996 at Woodbine. He raced only once over the next two years and registered a dramatic victory in 1998 Breeders’ Cup Mile at Churchill Downs. Da Hoss won four other stakes during his career with Dickinson, including the 6-furlong Best Turn on the dirt at Aqueduct and the Grade 2 Del Mar Derby Invitational on the grass at Del Mar.

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