Day At The Track

Team Tritton makes American stakes debut

04:40 AM 29 Nov 2020 NZDT
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Lady Dela Renta A, harness racing
Lady Dela Renta A races against Champion mare Shartin N tonight
Stephanie Torres photo

YONKERS, N.Y. – Since arriving in the United States this March, the harness racing training duo of Lauren and Shane Tritton have quickly made a name for themselves in their new home. Their stable has swelled from the 12 horses the Trittons flew over from their native Australia as American owners have flocked to their barn. Since their pari-mutuel debut June 12, the Trittons have amassed 55 wins from 194 starts with another 52 seconds and thirds. 

Forty of those victories have come at Yonkers Raceway, placing the Trittons seventh in the trainer’s standings. Saturday night (Nov. 28) at the Hilltop, the Trittons will make their American stakes debut as they send out Lady Dela Renta in the $100,000 distaff invitational pace for Blue Chip Matchmaker Series eligibles and San Domino in the $125,000 invitational pace for Borgata Pacing Series eligibles.

“We’re excited that we’ve been able to get a couple horses in for our owners. We were hoping to be successful coming to America, but you just never know how it’s going to go,” Shane Tritton said. “We’re very relieved that things have worked out OK, we’ve made the right moves. Having these two horses in these races is a big culmination of these six months and hopefully they can do well. They’re both very tough races and we understand they are the best horses going around in this area right now. We hope that we can do well.”

Australia-bred Lady Dela Renta appeared to be an open-type pacer last fall when she captured a $42,000 filly and mare open handicap pace at Yonkers Oct. 4, 2019 in just her sixth Stateside start in the barn of Jose Godinez. However, she went winless in her first five races this spring at Yonkers and Scioto between March 6 and July 10. When racing resumed on the East Coast, owner Bukers Stable shipped Lady Dela Renta to the Trittons’ stable in Pine Bush, N.Y.

Since the move, Lady Dela Renta has been a standout in the pacing mare ranks at Yonkers. She qualified a winner in 1:52.2 with Lauren Tritton in the bike July 31. Lady Dela Renta won her pari-mutuel debut for the Trittons with Jordan Stratton driving by 3 3/4 lengths in a $15,500 overnight Aug. 13. Since then, Lady Dela Renta has won another five races from seven starts, including three at the preferred or open level.

“She was a horse that my wife actually chased after a little bit. The owners seemed interested in sending her to us and my wife definitely wanted her. She had faith that we could turn her around,” Tritton said. “We knew a little bit about her in Australia and she was a pretty high-class mare there. After she came to us, Lauren has done most of the work. She just really got along good with her. She’s certainly a mare we had a lot of respect for before we started training her and I think having that belief in them is enough to try to get them back the way they should be.”

Tritton counts Lady Dela Renta’s most recent victory in the $25,000 filly and mare preferred on Nov. 12 as her most impressive performance to date. After starting from the outside post in a field of five, Lady Dela Renta dropped back to race in fourth early as Snobbytown and Lispatty dueled for the lead through a :27.1 quarter over the sloppy going. Sensing the pace slowing, Jordan Stratton angled Lady Dela Renta to the outside first-over with five-eights of a mile to pace.

Lady Dela Renta pressured Snobbytown through a :57.2 half mile. Racing up the backstretch, Lady Dela Renta fought to put a neck in front of Snobbytown as the pace accelerated through three-quarters in 1:24.4. Lady Dela Renta held the lead over Snobbytown around the final turn. With Stratton motionless in the stretch, Lady Dela Renta extended the margin to 3/4 lengths to stop the clock in 1:53.3. The victory came two weeks after Lady Dela Renta made a break in stride as the 8-5 favorite and finished last Oct. 29.

“I think her last win was very good. She got muddled up in a wet track, she broke the start before and we were really just trying to screw her back down and make sure we had her right for this race,” Tritton said. “She was parked out virtually the whole race and you could see she had the race won from a long way out. It gave us a lot of faith that she can do a lot of work in her races and still be there at the end. We needed to get a good win on the board to make sure we were right for this race, so her last win was definitely the most satisfying.”

Lady Dela Renta drew post position eight and is 8-1 on the morning line with Jordan Stratton named to drive in the $100,000 distaff invitational, which will go as race six on Saturday night’s 10-race program. 

“We expect that she’s going to keep getting better. We’re still scratching the surface. I think next year, she’ll progress a bit more and we really couldn’t be disappointed in her,” Tritton said. “The only couple of times she’s been beaten, it hasn’t been her fault. We expect her to race really well. We’re obviously disappointed with the barrier draw, but someone has to come from there. That’s how the cookie crumbles and maybe next time in one of these big races we might get the luck, so you just have to take it as you get it.”

Lady Dela Renta’s rivals include Shartin, the $2.5 million earner who was voted 2019 Horse of the Year. Shartin is 8-for-11 at Yonkers Raceway and is a two-time Blue Chip Matchmaker Series Final winner, having taken the 2018 and 2019 editions. Saturday night will mark Shartin’s first start at Yonkers since the 7-year-old Jim King, Jr. trainee overcame post eight in a $33,000 filly and mare open handicap June 30. 

Shartin enters this distaff invitational on the longest winless streak of her career since she began racing in the U.S., having lost five straight races from Oct. 3 through Nov. 21, including four losses to Kissin In The Sand in the $175,000 Dayton Distaff Derby, the elimination and final of the Breeders Crown, and the $150,000 TVG Mares Final. 

Shartin drew post seven in the distaff invitational and is the 2-1 morning line favorite with co-owner Tim Tetrick set to drive.

The field also includes Caviart Ally, who drew the rail for Andy McCarthy and Brett Pelling and enters off a fourth-place finish in the TVG Mares Final at the Meadowlands Nov. 21. Caviart Ally is the 3-1 second choice on the morning line. Major Occasion also exits the TVG Mares Final, having finished sixth for trainer Nifty Norman. Major Occasion drew post four in the distaff invitational and is 4-1 on the morning line with Pat Lachance set to drive.

Local threats in this race include the Ron Burke-trained mare Snobbytown, who has finished first, second, or third in each of her last 10 starts, all of which came in either the local filly and mare open or preferred ranks. Snobbytown will start from post two with George Brennan in the sulky. The pair are 6-1 on the morning line. 

Robyn Camden, Imprincessgemma, and Seaswift Joy complete the lineup.

The Trittons will start San Domino in the $125,000 invitational pace two races after Lady Dela Renta. Another pacer bred in Australia, San Domino had been racing in the U.S. for Andrew Harris since August 2019, earning 9 wins and $179,067 from 29 starts, primarily in the open and conditioned ranks at East Coast tracks. However, owners Joe P Racing and Oldford Racing sent San Domino to the Trittons this fall, hoping to reach success at the stakes level.

“It’s funny, the owners approached us. They had a pretty good horse called None Bettor and San Domino is kind of like him. I probably had more respect for San Domino than None Bettor from what they had done in Australia,” Tritton said. “I thought San Domino was probably underachieving a little bit, so we concentrated on trying to get him back to the way we thought he should be.”

San Domino debuted for the Trittons in a $15,000 Yonkers overnight Oct. 2, scoring a wire-to-wire win by 2 1/2 lengths with Brent Holland in the bike. San Domino doubled up Oct. 10, taking a $17,500 overnight by 4 lengths in 1:51.2 with Jordan Stratton driving. San Domino then moved to the open ranks, finishing third behind Mac’s Jackpot and Ostro Hanover off a pocket trip Oct. 17 with Jason Bartlett in the sulky and second behind The Real One on Halloween with Austin Siegelman at the lines. 

In his latest start in the $25,000 pacing feature Nov. 7, Jordan Stratton sent the 7-year-old straight to the lead and never looked back, holding off Leonidas and Micky Gee by 3/4 lengths to score a blistering 1:50.3 win.

“San Domino has been stepping out of his stablemate’s shadow and showing what he can do, too. He’s probably gotten better with every run we’ve given him,” Tritton said. “We’re pretty excited with him. He’s a pretty tough horse, he’s always been a good horse in Australia. We just hope that the race can go his way. He can be a real tough bugger and I think he showed that in his last win. He’s had a good couple of weeks to get ready for this race. We think he’s as good as he can be.”

The Trittons elected not to race San Domino after his last start and instead trained him up to Saturday night’s invitational. San Domino and Lady Dela Renta shipped to Yonkers last Friday (Nov. 20) to go a training trip. With Shane Tritton driving San Domino and Stratton driving Lady Dela Renta, the pair trained in company in 1:53.1.

“We had the choice of running him back to back after that big win last time. Both of them went to Yonkers last Friday and ran a mile in 1:53.1. They’re both basically coming off a pretty good run last week even though they didn’t race,” Tritton said. “We’re confident that their fitness is where it needs to be. Obviously, these are tough races and they need to be 100 percent. We’re pretty confident that they are both there. It’s whether they can get the luck in the running.”

San Domino will start from post position four, the same post he left from in his recent down-the-road open win. He and Stratton are 5-2 on the morning line and could be poised to set the tempo again.

“I think San Domino showed last time that he likes to be on the front end, he likes to run a really hard race,” Tritton said. “If he can get on the front end and make every post a winner, I think that’s his best chance. I think his last mile showed that and I’m sure that will be the game plan. It’s a nice draw for him, we’re happy with it, and I’m sure Jordan is going out there with the idea that he has a good chance.”

Ron Burke will send out the race’s 2-1 morning line favorite in This Is The Plan, who’s three wins this year include the $140,000 Hoosier Park Pacing Derby Sept. 25. This Is The Plan also finished second in the $150,000 Allerage Open Pace at the Red Mile Oct. 11 and third in the $340,000 TVG FFA Pace last out Nov. 21. George Brennan will drive the 5-year-old gelding from post eight.

The field also includes Raukapuka Ruler, who enters off back-to-back wins in local overnights in 1:51.4 and 1:52.4 Nov. 14 and 21, respectively. The Pete Tritton-trained 7-year-old is 4-1 on the morning line with Tim Tetrick programmed to drive. 

Ostro Hanover won two local $17,500 overnights in his last four starts and most recently came from 12 3/4 lengths behind to finish third beaten 1 1/4 lengths in the $30,000 open pace Nov. 21. The Daniel Renaud trainee will employ the services of Tyler Buter and is 5-1 on the morning line after drawing the inside post.

Micky Gee ran up the score this summer at Yonkers, scoring five local wins in the conditioned and open ranks, most of which came with sweeping three- or four-wide moves in last-to-first style. However, the Lance Hudson trainee is winless in his last five starts dating to Oct. 17 and is 12-1 on the morning line with Jason Bartlett set to drive.

Bechers Brook, Mac’s Jackpot, and Tookadiveoffdipper complete the field.

If one or both of Lady Dela Renta and San Domino were to win their respective stakes races Saturday night?

“It would obviously be great,” Tritton answered. “We’ve had a lot of experience with these big races in Australia. We know that you can have big nights and you can have terrible nights. I’m sure there are seven other horses in these races that are thinking that they deserve to be there and have a chance of winning, too. We don’t get too disappointed if we don’t win. We just like to go in there and do our best and if we can show that we’re competitive at this level, I’m sure one of these races will go our way. Hopefully this weekend. If not, it will be next chance we get.

“We’re very humbled to be invited to these races. Hopefully we can put on a good show.”

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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