03/22/2017 12:20PM

Juggling two jobs works well for Dilodovico

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Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club
Laki, greatly improved since he was gelded, won the Not For Love Stakes last weekend for trainer Damon Dilodovico.

Few people have as unusual a workday as Damon Dilodovico. As he has done for years, Dilodovico trains a 20-horse stable at Laurel Park in the morning. In the afternoon, he changes hats and works for International Sound, a video production company that handles the Maryland tracks.

On Barbara Fritchie Stakes Day at Laurel last month, Dilodovico was manning the video camera in the winner’s circle during post-stakes interviews. Last Saturday, Dilodovico was on the other side of the lens after sending out Laki to win the $75,000 Not For Love Stakes.

The Dilodovico stable is a family affair. His wife, Christine, “oversees things and is in charge of the staff,” Dilodovico said. He and sons Nicholas and Damon Jr. do a bit of everything around the barn.

Dilodovico’s split schedule has worked out well. Since he began training in 1990, Dilodovico has won 636 races and has an 18 percent win average.

“I’ve worked for International Sound 17 years,” Dilodovico said. “We were a little stable and needed funds. We had two kids and needed insurance.”

Dilodovico said he is not an optimist. “I can always find more reasons why I won’t win a race than reasons I will,” he said. Laki, though, has been a pleasant surprise while winning four straight since finishing 10th in his career debut in November.

Laki is owned by Buck Kalinowski, who operates Hillside Equestrian Meadows, a riding academy in Connecticut. According to Dilodovico, Kalinowski had three clients who wanted to get into racing, so he bought Laki, a Maryland-bred son of Cuba, who stands for $1,500. After he bought Laki, the prospective owners changed their minds, so Kalinowski kept the horse himself.

Kalinowski sent Laki to Dilodovico as a 3-year-old in early 2016. He worked him 17 times before he ever ran him.

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“Buck is super patient,” Dilodovico said. “I got the horse in early February, and he didn’t run until November. He’s a June foal, and the first thing Buck told me was to take my time, that this was going to be my next big winner.”

Dilodovico said Laki turned a corner over the summer after being gelded.

“This horse was kind of lost, but when we castrated him, he changed pretty quick,” Dilodovico said. “Usually, when you castrate them, it takes a little time before they start to show you what you want. He started training forwardly pretty fast.”

Since being beaten on turf for a $25,000 claiming tag in his debut, Laki has won four dirt races – a $25,000 maiden claimer, a $25,000 starter race, a first-level allowance, and the Not For Love, a six-furlong sprint for Maryland-bred or Maryland-sired runners.

Laki was timed in 1:09.56 last Saturday and earned a 92 Beyer Speed Figure.

“I was nervous because I had been kind of passive in his training after the allowance,” Dilodovico said. “I nominated him, but I really wasn’t training him for it. He came out of the allowance win just the way he went into it, so we decided to run.”

Dilodovico said Laki came out of the race “excellent.” Though he hasn’t made any next-race plans, even Dilodovico would have to say that this glass is half-full rather than half-empty.