02/27/2014 12:44PM

Meadowlands: DiDomenico excited about Handsoffmycookie

Mike Lizzi
Handsoffmycookie is preparing for the Blue Chip Matchmaker series at Yonkers Raceway.

Trainer Scott DiDomenico has been doing his part to put horses on the table at the Meadowlands on Saturday nights. The affable conditioner will send out three on Saturday at the East Rutherford mile oval and he’s excited to see what will happen with Wilcox, a four-year-old eligible to the Clyde Hirt series.

“We’ve made him eligible to a few late closers,” said DiDomenico. “He’s eligible to the Sagamore at Yonkers and the Hirt at the Meadowlands. We’re going to try to gauge his race here to see where best to put him.”

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Wilcox, purchased by owner Larry Fischer last July from the Tony Alagna stable, has taken some time in giving a return on his investment. The altered son of Somebeachsomewhere has finished on the board in five of six starts this year and impressed DiDomenico in his last two races over the Yonkers half-mile oval.

“You don’t see too many horses coming last quarters in 27 seconds at Yonkers,” DiDomenico said, referring to Wilcox’s last quarter in his February 18 start.

Wilcox drew post three in the Meadowlands’ fifth race, a $17,500 non-winners of four pari-mutuel races or $100,000 lifetime class.

“I think it’s a good class for him,” said DiDomenico. Wilcox has already earned $22,016 this year in just six starts and could be in for a big season.

Bettors Glass has been a solid upper class performer for DiDomenico, earning over $200,000 as a four and five-year-old under his stables colors. Yet the gelded son of Bettors Delight has some of his own quirks that don’t help him very much at the Meadowlands.

“I don’t know what it is but he’s never raced well at the Meadowlands and hasn’t raced that well at Yonkers either,” said DiDomenico about his entrant in the sixth race, a $16,000 B-1 event.

Indeed, most of Bettors Glass’ best efforts have come over the five-eighths mile tracks at Mohegan Sun at Pocono and Harrah’s Philadelphia. Pocono is scheduled to re-open in March and there’s a good chance Bettors Glass will find his way there.

While Bettors Glass has yet to win in four starts this year, he hasn’t been a total no-show. In his next to last start on February 8, Bettors Glass was hard-used on the lead and finished a solid second in a 1:49 4/5 mile won by Dial Or No Dial.

P H Powerplay will also be making his Meadowlands debut on Saturday after some races at Yonkers. “We’re going to try him on the big track,” DiDomenico said. “I think sometimes too many half-mile track starts in a row don’t work for some of these aged horses.”

P H Powerplay, claimed on January 20 out of the P. J. Fraley stable, hasn’t gotten a check in three starts thus far at the $30,000 claiming level at Yonkers. A change of scenery, especially to the big track, may be just what the doctor ordered for the career winner of nearly $300,000.

P H Powerplay was put in the C-1 class, the 12th race of the evening and will start from post nine.

The trainer is more than looking forward to the five-year-old return of his top class pacing mare Handsoffmycookie.

“She’s been training down great,” said DiDomenico. “We’re going to qualify her next week and point her towards the Blue Chip Matchmaker at Yonkers.”

While Handsoffmycookie was a spectacular two and three-year-old filly for DiDomenico, she took some bumps and bruises racing against older more seasoned mares last year.

“Racing against the Anndrovettes and Rocklamations early took its toll,” said DiDomenico. He hopes now with another year under her belt that she will blossom. Handsoffmycookie is a daughter of Art Major that has earned more than $1.2 million during her three-season career, with a majority of the earnings coming at two and three.

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What gives rise to the feeling that she’ll be better this year is perhaps the way she closed her four-year-old campaign, winning two of her last three races in Open company at Yonkers. Last year she captured a Blue Chip Matchmaker consolation as well as a leg of the series. Perhaps with maturity she’ll be a bigger factor in the series and its final in 2014.