08/23/2012 3:36PM

Mohawk: From the World Wide Web to the Metro


If you had asked Cosmo ‘Sam’ DePinto months ago if Smokealittlesmoke would contest a $40,000 Metro Pace elimination this Saturday at Mohawk… his answer would be simple.

“I’d start laughing,” he said. “I’d surely bet against it.”

Smokealittlesmoke has been a pleasant surprise according to the New Jersey-based conditioner.

Although the son of Yankee Cruiser-Catherine Renee has crafted a handsome 3-0-2 record from six starts this season and $92,626 in the bank, DePinto admits that his student hasn’t been atop of the list of his two-year-olds this past winter.

“He’s not very big, that’s for sure,” DePinto said while en route to Ontario and Rob Fellows’ farm in Rockwood in preparation for Saturday. “He was the type of horse that didn’t do anything outstanding, but didn’t do anything wrong. There’s nothing flashing about him. He’s just a pure racehorse and full of surprises.”

The bay didn’t sell at public auction this past fall, but DePinto’s partner, Michael Gallicchio, stumbled across the colt on the World Wide Web.

“Mike has owned racehorses before, but never a yearling, so this was something new for him,” DePinto said. “He came across this horse on the OnGait.com website after all the yearling sales were complete and asked me to take a look for him. Mike and I met a few times in the past, because he’s been good friends with my other partner Vince and Jill Cannella. We all ended up buying him together and the rest is history.

“I hear all kinds of stories about how people stumble across horses they end up buying and we have our own sort of story. It’s almost like it’s meant to be because so far, it’s been nothing but fun for us.”

While DePinto admits his student is on the ‘small’ side, he makes up for it in other ways.

“I never expected him to be this good, that’s no secret,” he said. “He’s a great gaited horse, but most importantly he wants to win every time he’s on the track. He gives me 100 per cent. He’ll never embarrass me with his performance.”

Blessed with terrific gate-speed, DePinto doesn’t feel that is Smokealittlesmoke’s best racing style.

“He’s better off a helmet in my opinion,” DePinto said. “Ronnie (driver Ron Pierce) has been putting him in the race and that’s fine, but he’s much better from off-the-pace. He’s been racing well in the PA Sire Stakes (Pennsylvania Sire Stakes), but he’ll have to step it up a notch this weekend.”

When Smokealittlesmoke begins from post six in the first of three Metro eliminations, DePinto hopes that his pupil continues to be “full of surprises” and advances to the $1 million final on Saturday, September 1.

Smokealittlesmoke’s stablemate, We Will See, is also making the voyage to Ontario to defend his Canadian Pacing Derby title for DePinto.

The son of Western Hanover-Aberdakara co-holds the Mohawk track record for aged horses with his sizzling 1:47.4 victory in last year’s edition.

“He has been off to a slower start than last year,” DePinto said. “It’s not entirely his fault. He loves to be first-up, but going that sort of trip to many times can take its toll on a horse.”

The 21-time winner has amassed a 2-4-1 record from 10 starts this season with $373,060 in earnings.

“He’s trained extremely well (Wednesday) morning before I put him on a truck to come to Canada,” he said. “We made a shoeing change and that really seemed to help him. He’ll be ready to go for Saturday.”

We Will See, who has lifetime earnings of $2,491,978, is owned by DePinto’s wife, Shannon, Earl Smith and J And T Silva Stables LLC.

The bay will begin from post seven for driver Ron Pierce in the single ‘Derby’ elimination.

The top eight finishers will advance as Foiled Again and Golden Receiver have received byes to the $787,000 final, set for Saturday, September 1.

Edited press release (WEG Communications)