Stalking the leaders in fourth for jockey Rafael Bejarano into the stretch, Dominican finished fast to surge past Trust Your Luck, who had split horses to gain the advantage mid-stretch but was not match for the winner, who completed the 1 1/16-mile distance in a strong time of 1:43 2/5 on the all-weather track. Dominican earned his first stakes victory.
"At the three-eighths pole I thought we were in the perfect position, but we had to wait a little bit," Bejarano said. "He took off very nicely. He's a very good horse."
Dominican, slowed in making his 3-year-old debut by a several minor problems, according to trainer Darrin Miller, had a maiden win to show from five starts as a juvenile. The El Corredor gelding showed some ability, however, when third, 6 1/4 lengths behind the well-regarded Tiz Wonderful at odds of 30-1 in the Kentucky Jockey Club. He posted three strong works this month at Palm Meadows in preparation for Saturday's win.
"He had a lung issue with some other things, so we gelded him and saw improvement right away," Miller said of Dominican's absence. "I was very impressed with his tenacity and professionalism off the layoff. He did that really easy."
Bonnie and Tommy Hamilton's Silverton Hill LLC owns Dominican, who earned $62,000 for his second win in six starts. He has banked $131,259. Sent off as the second choice, Dominican paid $9.80, $5.40 and $3.60.
Barak Farm bred the chestnut, who is out of the Dixieland Band mare First Violin, in Kentucky. He was a $150,000 Ocala Breeders' Sale buy one year ago.
Meritocracy, the 2-1 favorite in the field of 10, gained an easy lead and set comfortable fractions of :23 4/5, :47 3/5 and 1:12 before fading to seventh.
Trust Your Luck, making his stakes debut for Helen Pitts, ran admirably at 11-1 odds to hold second after prompting the pace under Kent Desormeaux. Trust Your Luck returned $9.20 and $6 and completed a $119.60 exacta. He finished a half-length in front of Reata's Rocket, ridden by Rajiv Maragh, who also pressed the front-running Meritocracy before tiring late.
It was 2 1/2 lengths back to Skip Code, Passport, Eighteenthofmarch, Meritocracy, Head to Toe, Dubious Miss and Pink Viper. Poe Reef scratched.
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