01/31/2013 11:48AM

Bergman: Holdingallthecards headlines strong Scott DiDomenico stable

Lisa Photo
Holdingallthecards was last Saturday's Clyde Hirt winner.

Last Saturday night trainer Scott DiDomenico was holding all the cards, literally. The soft-spoken conditioner sent out the $67,400 Clyde Hirt final winner Holdingallthecards at the Meadowlands. This Saturday, while Holdingallthecards takes a deserved week off following four consecutive wins at the Meadowlands, DiDomenico will send out three pacers with promising futures.

Fresh Dream, a recent purchase from the Tattersalls Winter Mixed Sale, will be making his second start for his new connections. The four-year-old was a distant fifth in his first go-round. “He hung in there well most of the way then got a little tired late,” said DiDomenico. “He’s eligible to the Exit 16W but he’s going to have to show me something first.”

Fresh Dream has post six in a $12,500 non-winners of three class. He was parked the entire mile in his debut for DiDomenico and raced against a much tougher group last week than he’ll face on Saturday night. If Fresh Dream doesn’t work out at this level there’s always the potential to race him in four-year-old $15,000-$20,000 claiming class, the trainer suggested.

Relentless G, a horse that was given to DiDomenico late last fall and blossomed nicely at Yonkers, makes his second start of the year but drew post nine in the ninth race, a B-2 event worth $12,000. “He qualified back well for me but was in a little tough in his first start back,” said DiDomenico. “He’s a really nice horse and I had him racing in that non-winners of eight class at Yonkers and when he won there (December 17) he moved out of that class. So I’m taking a shot with him on the big track to see how he’ll do.”

Relentless G sported seven victories as a four-year-old in 31 starts and earned $75,720 during that period.

Chicago Hanover is another horse that was plucked from the Tattersalls Winter Mixed auction and there’s a good reason to like the four-year-old by Dragon Again. Last year he showed talent racing in Ontario at Woodbine and Mohawk and earned a 1:50 2/5 mark north of the border.

“I’m not happy he drew the 10 hole in a 12 horse race,” DiDomenico said, but he expects the experience will serve him well as a prep for next week’s Exit 16W debut (February 9). Compounding the problems for Chicago Hanover will be the added distance of the tenth race. The Meadowlands, in its attempt to shake things up from the norm, have added a sixteenth to the race allowing horses a longer run into the first turn. DiDomenico, who trains a string of 50 horses at Gaitway Farms, wasn’t happy about the circumstances but is a team player. “If it helps the Meadowlands I’m on board,” DiDomenico said.

While his stablemates are in action Holdingallthecards takes a well-earned week off. The trainer spoke briefly about the four-year-old gelding. “Sometimes you have to remind him he’s in a race. Once you get him up on the bit he’s all business,” DiDomenico said.

The trainer has a solid stable of horse coming back this season. Topping that list is a pair of aged performers he’s quite high on. Handsoffmycookie, a brilliant two-year-old in 2011, wasn’t the same dominant force last year but still enjoyed a fine campaign. “She’s training back great. She’s full of herself passing other horses,” said DiDomenico. “We’re pointing her towards the Blue Chip Matchmaker at Yonkers. I’m not sure how she’ll do on the big track against the aged mares, but she’s great around the half-miler, especially Yonkers.”

Bettors Glass returns this year as a five-year-old after a breakout 2012, his first full season under DiDomenico. The horse had shown extreme speed as a juvenile for Linda Toscano and then didn’t pan out as a three-year-old winning but one race before being sold in August 2011. Last year he emerged with 11 wins and 6 seconds in 38 starts working his way up the class ladder and eventually taking a 1:48 4/5 mark at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs.

From his list of promising three-year-olds Handsoffmycupcake stands out as a potential world-class pacing filly. The Pennsylvania-bred daughter of Christian Cullen earned nearly $250,000 as a freshman, much of that following a dramatic victory in the $200,000 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship final. That 1:52 1/5 performance came at The Meadows in early September. For the record Handsoffmycookie and Handsoffmycupcake are not blood relatives.

The Meadowlands offers a 13-race program Saturday night featuring a guaranteed $75,000 Pick-4 Pool (races 7-10). First post is 7:15 p.m.

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