Day At The Track

Dina Bolt N returns to Yonkers

04:59 AM 15 Dec 2020 NZDT
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Dina Bolt, harness racing
Dina Bolt after winning at Albion Park

YONKERS, N.Y. – Delaware-based harness racing trainer Dylan Davis’ name doesn’t appear in the Yonkers program regularly. Out of Davis’ 542 starters to date in 2020, only 17 of them have come at the Hilltop. When faced with a long ship each way and stiff competition, Davis wants to ensure that when he does make the trek, he is coming to win.

“Personally, I love racing there, it’s just a matter of having the right class of horse,” Davis said. “It’s kind of hard for us to just take one horse all the way to Yonkers. If traffic is good, we can make it in four hours, but if we hit the George Washington Bridge at the wrong time, it can be a job. That’s why when I do come, I enter two, three, sometimes four at a time.”

On Monday (Dec. 14), Davis will send just one horse to Yonkers Raceway: Dina Bolt, a New Zealand-bred 4-year-old gelding who made his U.S. debut a winning one in a $14,000 overnight here Nov. 30.

Handled by Jordan Stratton, Dina Bolt raced in third under a strong hold in the first quarter as Scrappin Gold set the pace. Approaching the half, Stratton tugged on the right line and by the third turn, Dina Bolt ranged up to confront the leader. Scrappin Gold and Dina Bolt raced nose-to-nose up the backstretch and around the final turn.

As they straightened away, Stratton simply struck the wheel disc once and Dina Bolt’s response was instantaneous. Dina Bolt’s stride quickened, and he put up 2 1/4 lengths on the field. He stopped the timer in 1:53.3 with a :28.3 final quarter over the sloppy racetrack. As far as Davis was concerned, it was a textbook first start.

“Jordan did a great job with him. When I get them shipped over from Australia, I want them taken off the gate the first couple times just so they don’t get hot and they learn our style of racing,” Davis said. “Jordan did great, he sat him in until past the three-eighths and when he moved, it wasn’t like he brushed him or anything, he worked his way there. Jordan told me at the top of the stretch, he asked him to go and that was it.”

Bred by Feek, Candy, and Nolan, Dina Bolt is by Bettor’s Delight out of Pullover Brown, an Armbro Operative mare who won three Group 1 stakes and two Group 2 stakes and earned NZ$332,265 between 2002 and 2004. Pullover Brown’s progeny include Dina Bolt’s full sister, Dina Brown, who has placed in multiple Grouped stakes and earned NZ$102,877 to date.

Dina Bolt raced in the barn of top trainers Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen, finishing third on debut in the Group 2 Two-Year-Old Classic at Invercargill April 27, 2019. Dina Bolt’s next five starts included unplaced efforts in the Group 1 Two-Year-Old Emerald and the Group 1 Sire Stakes Final, both at the New Zealand Metropolitan Trotting Club. Dina Bolt scored his first win in an Auckland Trotting Club maiden Dec. 3, 2019 and doubled up in his next start there 11 days later.

After another overnight win Feb. 28, 2020 and two more unplaced stakes efforts in March, Dina Bolt shipped to Australia. He won three overnight races and placed in another three between Aug. 11 and Sept. 22 before Mike Casalino, Jr., who co-owns Dina Bolt with Davis, identified the prospect.

“My partner Mike Casalino, he does most of the searching for the Down Under horses,” Davis said. “I do look at their lines and their replays. Watching the replays, I know what I want to look for in a horse. I watched quite a few of his videos. He looked over there like a very handy horse.

“Something that sticks out in my memory, I watched three or four races of his and he was racing from the back or from the outer tier,” Davis recalled. “Then, all the sudden, he had an outside post and the driver sent him out of there and he crossed right over to the lead. I was like, ‘woah, I like that,’ a lot of versatility being able to do it both ways.”

Once Dina Bolt arrived in Delaware, Davis saw all the usual attributes of a Bettor’s Delight son.

“He’s awesome. He’s a lot of fun, he’s got a great personality, he plays. Even though he’s a foreign Bettor’s Delight, he acts a lot like one,” Davis said. “When he’s in the stall, he will jump around. He has a ball he plays with. When he’s out jogging, he’ll have his head down between his legs kind of cantering and jumping around. He’s just a really good-feeling horse. That’s what I like about him. He doesn’t seem to stress out about anything; he’s nice and relaxed all the time, just having a good time.”

Davis spent around six weeks getting Dina Bolt acclimated and training down. The first 10 days to two weeks, Dina Bolt spent in the field. Then once he began training, Davis kept him settled in the middle of the set. Similar tactics were employed in Dina Bolt’s qualifier at Harrah’s Philadelphia Nov. 24, when he raced along in fifth throughout before pacing home in :28.2 to finish third.

“Training down, I always train in groups. I’ll train anywhere from two at a time to six at a time. Something I’ve done with every New Zealand or Australian horse we’ve brought over here, when we train them in sets like that, they just sit in the middle. I never pull them and make them brush by anybody, I never put them on the lead,” Davis explained. “My main thing is I want them to sit in and he was perfect that way. We’ll even do it going fast; we’ll train miles in 1:58 and he’ll sit in behind somebody and never move. He’s been a real pleasure to get adjusted.”

Dina Bolt was on the also eligible list last Monday (Dec. 7), but got back in tonight (Dec. 14) and drew post six in a $16,000 overnight as he steps up from the non-winners of four to the non-winners of six condition. Jordan Stratton will drive again.

His rivals include Caliber, the 5-2 morning line favorite who enters off two straight wins for Williams Hernandez, including a 3/4-length wire-to-wire score here in 1:54.3 last out Dec. 7. The field also includes Mac’s Big Boy, Patriot Nation, Genius Man, Sports Obsession, Western Vacation, and So Many Roads.

“I’m not disappointed with the draw because I want him to race from the back again,” Davis said. “With the right trip and everything working out, I think he’ll be tough to beat again. I don’t know those horses like I know all the horses at Dover Downs, but with the way he raced the first time, they’re going to know he’s there.”

Yonkers Raceway features live harness racing Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights through Dec. 22. First post time is 7:12 p.m. For entries to the races, click here.

By Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY

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