Saturday, July 14, 2007

Dominican's post-Derby career beginsBy MARCUS HERSH
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Pop quiz: Besides Curlin, who's the one horse to beat Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense this year?
Here's another one: Who will be the favorite in the Round Table Stakes on Saturday at Arlington?
Both questions have the same answer, and it is Dominican.
Dominican still hasn't shown he's among the best 3-year-olds of 2007 in dirt races, but that fact has no bearing on Dominican's presence in the Round Table, which is run at 1 1/8 miles on Polytrack, which Dominican loves.
Dominican is 3 for 3 on Polytrack, his victories having come in a Keeneland maiden race, the Rushaway Stakes at Turfway, and the big one, a narrow win over Street Sense in the Blue Grass Stakes last April at Keeneland. Dominican got some support in the Derby, but had a highly troubled trip, finishing 11th of 20.
Dominican "didn't come out of the [Derby] as well as I'd hoped," said trainer Darrin Miller, who sent the colt to a farm for a 30-day breather. "He spent some time in the oxygen chamber, got some R and R. The race was stressful on him, and he really needed the break. He looks fantastic now. He actually filled out more, and we're really happy with the way he came back. He's been forward ever since."
Dominican, who will ship from Kentucky on Thursday and be ridden by Rafael Bejarano, could have as few as five or six or as many as nine or 10 opponents in the $100,000 Round Table, depending on final decisions from trainers this week. Also considered probable starters are Mandurah, Pavarotti, Prom Shoes, Snowblind Friend, and Time Squared.
Miller is keeping post-Round Table plans open for Dominican at the moment. "Right now, there are a lot of options out there for him," he said. "We're sort of taking it a race at a time."
Miller also said that his other Kentucky Derby starter, fifth-place finisher Sedgefield, was ready to rejoin the stable, having recovered from surgery to remove a bone chip in his ankle.
"We'll gear him up and start looking for something maybe in September," said Miller.

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