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Dominus Wires Field in Dwyer

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 big things.”

 

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.

 

 

 

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