Lightly raced Dominus seized an early lead and
turned back odds-on favorite Adios Charlie to earn his first graded stakes
victory on Saturday at Belmont Park in the Grade 2, $150,000 Dwyer.
Making his second start against winners, Dominus strolled through
fractions of 24.28, 47.86, and 1:11.76 while being tracked by Adios Charlie,
opened a three-length lead in the stretch, and was never seriously threatened as
the favorite made minimal headway in the final salvos, winning by 1 ¾ lengths.
Dominus, the 5-2 second choice in the field of six, returned $7.80 for
a $2 win wager and was clocked in 1:41.74 for 1 1/16 miles.
The easy lead came as a surprise to winning jockey Julien Leparoux.
“Looking on paper, it seemed like we were going to have some
speed in there,” said Leparoux. “I thought maybe we would sit
behind it, but they kind of left me alone the first part and he relaxed well
for me and finished up very nice. He’s a very nice horse.”
Steve Asmussen, who trains Dominus for Stonestreet Stables, George
Bolton, and Spendthrift Farm, hopes the 3-year-old will be a prominent player
in his division the second half of 2011.
“It was a very gratifying win for the whole team,” said
Asmussen, who won the Dwyer in 2009 with Stonestreet Stables color-bearer
Kensei, victorious in today’s Grade 3 Salvator Mile at Monmouth Park.
“[Dominus is] a special horse. Hopefully this is just a steppingstone to
Dominus, who is now under consideration for either the Grade 2 Jim
Dandy at Saratoga Race Course on July 30 or the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational at
Monmouth Park on July 31, ran his record to 2-2-0
from four starts. The $90,000 winner’s share of the Dwyer purse more than
doubled his earnings to $175,829.
Previously, Dominus had finished second on debut at Belmont in
September, broke his maiden by 5 ¼ lengths at Santa Anita in March, and was
second by a neck after leading in the stretch of the Grade 3 Derby Trial at
Churchill Downs on April 30. He was originally pointed toward a start in the
Grade 3 Matt Winn at Churchill on June 18 but was diverted to the Dwyer after
he missed training with a foot injury.
“He stepped up [today],” added Asmussen. “It was a
nice field, and he’ll ship from here to Saratoga the next day or two. Obviously, with
the 3-year-old races that are left, we think we are in good shape. It’s
an extremely wide-open year.”
Bred in Virginia
by the late Edward P. Evans, Dominus is a 3-year-old ridgling by Smart Strike.
Cool Blue Red Hot rallied for third, and he was followed home by Tech
Fall, Malibu Glow, and Harlan’s Hello.