03/23/2007 11:00PM

Dominican fires off long layoff


FLORENCE, Ky. - Dominican showed he was a classy 2-year-old by finishing third behind Tiz Wonderful and Any Given Saturday in last fall's Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill Downs.

Saturday in the $100,000 Rushaway Stakes on the Lane's End undercard at Turfway Park, Dominican showed he is just as good, if not better, as a 3-year-old. Facing a good group of second-tier stakes runners, he won with ease in his first start of the year, scoring by five lengths over longshot Trust Your Luck.

Confidently handled by Rafael Bejarano, Dominican ($9.80) looked poised for a top effort throughout. Settling in fifth early, he was always running comfortably, settling 2 1/2 lengths off early leader Meritocracy, who set fractions of 23.84 seconds, 47.78, and 1:12.20 .

On the second of two turns, Dominican began to inch up on the leaders under a hold for Bejarano, and once cut loose in the stretch, the race was quickly over. He surged past his opponents and drew off late, covering 1 1/16 miles over Turfway's Polytrack strip in 1:43.50.

Trust Your Luck ran well in defeat, finishing a half-length in front of third-place Reata's Rocket. Favored Meritocracy faded to seventh.

As well as Trust Your Luck performed, Dominican seemingly could have won by more than his five-length margin had he been asked for his best late.

"I was very impressed with his tenacity and professionalism off the layoff," said winning trainer Darrin Miller.

The Lane's End marked the first stakes win for Dominican, a 3-year-old gelded son of El Corredor. It was his second career victory, both of which have come over Polytrack surfaces.

The $62,000 winner's share of the purse boosted Dominican's earnings to $131,259 for owners Bonnie and Tommy Hamilton of Silverton Hill LLC.

Miller was noncommittal regarding Dominican's next start, but did mention the Lexington Stakes at Keeneland on April 21 as a race under consideration.

Bourbonette: Sealy Hill holds on

Sealy Hill made a sensational outside rush to take command leaving the far turn before holding off Panty Raid to win the $150,000 Bourbonette Breeders' Cup Stakes.

The margin of victory was a head, although trainer Mark Casse said immediately afterward that he could tell Sealy Hill "had lost interest" and "just started pulling herself up" after opening a sizable lead in midstretch.

"All I know is it was a huge race for her," said Casse.

Sealy Hill paid $9.60 as second choice in a field of 12 3-year-old fillies. She finished one mile in 1:37.51.

Panty Raid finished another 2 3/4 lengths before Aspiring, while Silverinyourpocket, the 9-5 favorite, was never a factor when fifth.

Sealy Hill, bred in Ontario by her owner, Eugene Melnyk, won for the third time in five career starts. She won twice last fall at Woodbine, including the Glorious Song Stakes, and had finished second to Autobahn Girl in a January allowance at Gulfstream Park in her seasonal debut.

The Bourbonette also was an excellent race by Panty Raid, considering the Todd Pletcher-trained filly broke through the starting gate before the start and the race was her first around two turns, and just the third of her career. The Bourbonette was delayed about eight minutes after both Acadia Breeze and Panty Raid broke through.

The victory was the fifth for Casse in the 26-year history of the Bourbonette, according to Casse and track officials, although statistics before 1988 are incomplete. He won last year with Top Notch Lady.

Hansel: Awesome Pro by a head

Julien Leparoux deftly guided Awesome Pro ($6.40) out of a raging duel at the quarter pole, then his mount angled to the outside and ran down three other horses to post a head victory in the $50,000 Hansel Stakes for 3-year-olds.

Awesome Pro, owned by Penelope and Frank St. Charles and trained by Eric Reed, finished six furlongs in 1:10.66. Mr. Goodkat finished second, a nose before the 2-1 favorite, Weather Warning.

* Mary Delaney led wire to wire to take the $50,000 Queen Stakes by 3o3/4 lengths over favored Hot Storm. New Dimension ran third.

Mary Delaney, a 4-year-old daughter of Hennessy trained by Eddie Kenneally and owned by Fergus Galvin, raced six furlongs in 1:09.28, paying $6.80.

- additional reportingby Marty McGee