Manalapan, NJ — The last time trainer Scott DiDomenico qualified 2-year-olds at Gaitway Farm, it seemed dark clouds followed him at every turn. Of the eight horses he sent into action that morning last June, one posted a win and only one other finished better than fifth.
“It was kind of a beatdown day,” DiDomeninco said.
On Monday, there were dark clouds — literally, this time — all around but DiDomenico had a sunny disposition after watching three of his seven 2-year-olds post victories and another finish second.
“It was a good day at the office,” DiDomenico said. “It’s been a little lean the last couple years qualifying here. To see these horses come through and go good is very fulfilling. It certainly wasn’t a Black Monday today; it was a good Monday.”
A misty rain fell throughout the morning, with the temperature at 65 degrees to start the card. The track was rated “good.”
DiDomenico’s winners were filly pacers Bolt Of Speed and So Rude as well as filly trotter Keystone Candace.
Bolt Of Speed, by Bolt The Duer out of Winbak Speedi, won in 1:56.3. She was purchased for $30,000 at the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale and is owned by Triple D Stables and JFE Enterprise. She was bred by Winbak Farm.
So Rude, by So Surreal out of I Am A Snob (a full sister to stakes winner Pedigree Snob) won in 1:58.2. She was purchased for $16,000 at the Goshen Yearling Sale and is owned by Triple D Stables and Michael Ferriero. She was bred by Steve Jones.
Keystone Candace, by Andover Hall out of Caitir, won in 2:00.2. She was purchased for $25,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale and is owned by Triple D Stables and R.B.H. Ventures. She was bred by the estate of George Hempt Trust.
“I was happy with everything,” DiDomenico said. “I thought Keystone Candace was probably the best of the three. She’s trained well all the way through and it’s nice to see a fulfilling effort the first time out. But I’m happy with all of them. They all were professional and did a good job. I can’t knock any of them.
“Even some of the ones that got beat were OK. I’m not a trainer that has to win qualifiers. I like to see them passing horses and going forward at the wire. Seeing them do that and seeing them win is special.”
Ron Burke led the way with five winning 2-year-olds while Julie Miller joined DiDomenico with three. Donna Marshall had one victory.
Burke won with filly trotter Sister Sledge in 2:01.2, colt trotter Patriarch Hanover in 2:00.1, colt pacer Stop Action in 1:58.4, filly pacer Dance Club in 1:57, and filly pacer Sweet Ace in 2:03.3. Sister Sledge, who won in 1:59.2 during last week’s Gaitway qualifiers, is by Father Patrick out of Behindclosedoors. She was purchased for $35,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale and is owned by Burke Racing, Jason Melillo, J&T Silva-Purnel & Libby, and Weaver Bruscemi. She was bred by Sergent Stables and Andray Farm.
Patriarch Hanover is by Father Patrick out of 2012 Hambletonian Oaks winner Personal Style. He was purchased for $22,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale and is owned by Burke Racing Stable, William Switala, James Martin, and Weaver Bruscemi. He was bred by Brittany Farms and Melvin Hartman.
Stop Action is by Somebeachsomewhere out of The Show Returns, a stakes-winning full sister to Dan Patch Award winner Put On A Show. He was purchased for $170,000 at the Lexington Selected Sale and is owned by Thomas Dillon and Scott Dillon. He was bred by Steve Stewart, Black Creek Farm, Michael Robinson, and South Mountain Stables.
Dance Club is by A Rocknroll Dance out of Liscaramore. She is owned by Burke Racing, Knox Services Inc., David Wills, and Weaver Bruscemi. She was bred by Wills and Douglas Brechler.
Miller’s wins came with colt pacer Bombshell Hanover in 1:55.3, colt trotter Big Oil in 1:58.2, and gelding pacer Western Vacation in 1:57.3.
Bombshell Hanover is by Somebeachsomewhere out of Blind Ambition and is a half-brother to stakes winners Big Top Hanover and Badiou Hanover. He was purchased for $60,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale and is owned by Pinkse Stables, Andy Miller Stable Inc., and Curly Tall Curly Small. He was bred by Hanover Shoe Farms.
Big Oil is by Father Patrick out of former Miller Stable star Cee Bee Yes. He is owned by breeders Jason Allen and Doug Allen as well as Ronald Allen.
Western Vacation is by Western Ideal out of Robin Cruiser. He is owned by breeder Pinske Stables.
Marshall’s victory came with filly trotter Miss McKee. The horse made a break last week but returned Monday following the removal of trotting hobbles and won in 1:57.4. Miss McKee is by Muscle Massive out of Dazzling Deb. She is owned by Marshall and William Duncan, who bred the filly with Glen Vetrano.