10/20/2012 4:17PM

Belmont Park: Hessonite rewards Dominguez's confidence in Ticonderoga

Barbara D. Livingston
Hessonite and Ramon Dominguez pull away in the stretch of the Ticonderoga.

ELMONT, N.Y. - The seventh and final meeting in the year-long rivalry between Hessonite and Gitchee Goomie went the same way as the first.

Hessonite, under a supremely confident Ramon Dominguez, split horses in mid-stretch and drew clear to a 3 3/4-length victory in Saturday’s $175,000 Ticonderoga Stakes at Belmont Park. Shakeira outfinished Gitchee Goomie by a neck for second.

It was the second straight victory in the Ticonderoga for Hessonite, who beat Gitchee Goomie by 1 1/4 lengths in this race last year, the first time they met. Saturday’s win gave Hessonite a 4-3 advantage over Gitchee Goomie, who ran her final career race.

Hessonite, however, may return for her 5-year-old season, according to co-owner William Punk. Though Hessonite is catalogued in the Fasig-Tipton November sale, Punk said his co-owner Philip DiLeo is not eager to part with the daughter of Freud just yet.

“My partner doesn’t want to put her in the sale so it looks like we might not do that now,” Punk said afterward. “We’re not sure but we might not; may run her next year because we know she’s competitive in graded races.”

A graded stakes victory is thus far the only thing that has eluded Hessonite, a 4-year-old daughter of Freud who improved her record to 9 for 18. She was second to Gitchee Goomie in the Grade 3 Dr. James Penny Memorial at Parx in July and was a troubled fifth, beaten five lengths, in the Grade 1 Flower Bowl three weeks ago.

Hessonite did not have trouble Saturday as Dominguez, who had Hessnoite behind a wall of horses, found room in mid-stretch, pointed Hessonite toward it and the filly did the rest.

Hessonite covered the 1 1/16 miles over yielding turf in 1:47.46 and returned $2.70 as the 1-4 favorite.

“I can’t take any credit, I feel like anybody who’ll ride her they’d just get the same result just because she’s so push-button,” Dominguez said. ‘’She’s a dream horse to ride, you just put her where she wants to be and when there’s an opening you need to go for it, she goes right away.”

Donk said it may appear as though Dominguez had the mare in a little trouble, but he was never concerned.

“Honestly, it’s like driving a Mercedes when you’ve never been in one,” Donk said. “He just has a lot of confidence, he can move when he wants to move. I was comfortable that with that many horses [in front] it would probably separate and turning for home it does.”

If Hessonite does not go in the November sale, she could try for her first graded win in the Grade 3, $150,000 Long Island Handicap at Aqueduct on Nov. 10.

Meanwhile, Gitchee Goomie will retire with a record of 7-9-2 from 22 starts and career earnings of $680,520.

“She didn’t quite go out with a bang but she didn’t embarrass herself today,” trainer Rick Violette said. “We’ll call it a day; she’s done enough.”