11/16/2014 4:57PM

The Lewis Dinner catches a break, cruises to victory in Key Cents


The Lewis Dinner and Regal Minister, juveniles sired by Posse and ridden by Manuel Franco, sped to the lead early and improved their position to sweep the inaugural editions of the Key Cents and Notebook, a pair of $100,000 stakes run Sunday at Aqueduct.

Presented with the lead when the 4-5 favorite My Super Nova stumbled at the start of the Key Cents, The Lewis Dinner, trained by Rudy Rodriguez, never was seriously challenged and drew off to win by nearly four lengths over Sandra, who chased in second throughout.

“I’m proud of my filly,” said Franco, who posted a three-bagger Saturday. “Rudy told me to send her out of the gate, and when I saw [My Super Nova] stumble out of the gate, I went.”

Sent off as the second choice in a field of six, The Lewis Dinner ($9.60) ran six furlong in 1:11.04.

“When the horse to beat doesn’t break, it’s always a good thing,” said Rodriguez, who later sent out Good Luck Gus to a disappointing fifth-place finish in the Notebook at odds on. “I told Manny to send and put her near the lead and see what happens from there. We weren’t going to let [My Super Nova] go anyway. It worked out good.”

Coming off a debut maiden win at odds of 22-1, Regal Minister surprised again in the Notebook and improved to 2 for 2 for trainer Mark Hennig, as several opponents toward the outside were involved in a chain-reaction bumping incident at the start.

As a result, Regal Minister ($18.40) was able to get clear through slow early fractions of 23.15 seconds and 47.64 and had plenty left in the tank to stay well clear of the longshot Breakin the Fever.

“He broke good and took the lead, and I just tried to keep him nice and easy,” said Franco. “When I asked him, he went. I tried to settle him a little bit because he’s strong when he takes the bit. He relaxed pretty good.”

Regal Minister’s final time of 1:12.27 was more than a full second slower than the filly division.

“He’s a neat kind of horse. He’s always trained well,” said Hennig, who indicated the colt will be pointed to the Great White Way division of the New York Stallion Series on Dec. 28. “He’s willing to go easy, but when a horse comes to him, he’s competitive. He’s not a flashy horse in the morning, but he’s well meant.”

Bullheaded Boy out-finished Clockwork for third.

Good Luck Gus never was close as the odds-on choice and checked in fifth in the eight-horse field.