Sam DePinto does not know what will happen this season with his stable, but he believes the potential exists for another big year.
Last season, DePinto's stable won a career-high $1.58 million thanks in large part to the success enjoyed by pacers We Will See and I Fought Dalaw. Both horses will be back again this year and DePinto also is training down a group of 2-year-old pacers he thinks is talented.
DePinto ranked 45th in earnings among all trainers in North America last year, reaching that level with only 89 starts. Among the top 50 trainers in the standings, he was the only one with fewer than 155 starts and he joined Carl Jamieson as the only trainers with less than 247. Jamieson's stable earned $2.34 million.
Leading the way in 2011 was We Will See, who finished second to Foiled Again in the voting for last season's best older male pacer. We Will See, who was a 4-year-old last season, won 11 of 23 races and earned $1.24 million for owners Shannon DePinto, Earl Smith and Jerry Silva. His biggest victories came in the $848,640 Canadian Pacing Derby, $500,000 Ben Franklin Pace and $183,000 Allerage Pace.
From June 5 to Oct. 1, a span of 14 races, We Will See and driver Ron Pierce won nine times and finished second on three occasions.
We Will See ended the campaign by finishing third in the Breeders Crown, where he was one length behind Bettor Sweet and Foiled Again. For his career, We Will See has won 19 of 49 races and earned $2.11 million.
"I expect a lot from him,” DePinto said. "I think he should be better than he was last year, to be honest with you. He'll be qualifying around the first week of May, end of April. Depending on how he does, I'm probably going to give him two qualifiers and then try to find him an overnight.
"If he's tight enough, he'll go into the Molson Pace (eliminations May 18). If not, I'll aim him for the Bettor's Delight (June 10). One of those will be his first stake; I'm not sure yet which one.”
DePinto trained We Will See in extremely windy conditions Monday morning and was happy with the horse's effort.
"Today was the first time I put him to the bike and went a good mile with him,” DePinto said. "He was just unbelievable. He just wanted racetrack. He was awesome.
"If he stays sound, I should do very well with him.”
I Fought Dalaw, owned by Shannon DePinto, Michael Parisi, Jerry Silva and Theresa Silva, won four of 10 races and earned $211,741 last season as a 2 year old. He was victorious in his first four starts before being slowed by a virus. He returned to form in time for the Breeders Crown in late October, but was unable to overcome drawing the outside post, No. 10, for the final.
"He had a good winter,” DePinto said. "He put on some weight and filled out. He looks nice and he's feeling good. He's training back great and I'm really happy with him.”
I Fought Dalaw was predicted to be the 11th fastest 3-year-old pacer of 2012 when the inaugural Hoof Beats/TrackMaster Predictive Rankings were released in February.
DePinto expects to send I Fought Dalaw to the New Jersey Sire Stakes series, which begins May 19 at the Meadowlands Racetrack. I Fought Dalaw was the NJSS 2-year-old champion.
"I expect good things from him,” DePinto said. "Is he going to be the No. 1 colt? I doubt it. But I think he's going to be knocking on everybody's door; he's going to show up every week and he's going to do his job.
"It's hard to say right now what is going to happen because we've got to go out there and do it. Once you start racing, you'll see how these 3-year-olds are all doing when they come back. You don't really know until they hit the track. Once they hit the track, then it separates the boys from the men. But he'll be a top colt without a doubt.”
DePinto also is high on his group of 10 two year olds. Among them is Double The Dragon, a $60,000 yearling purchase that is a son of Dragon Again and Town Pro Miss. His second dam, Town Pro, was a divisional champ at ages two and three and is the mother of another divisional honoree, Darlin's Delight.
"I like him the best out of everybody,” DePinto said. "I have two Dragon Agains, a Rocknroll Hanover and a Western Ideal filly that are my top 2 year olds right now. But I could be wrong; they can fool you. We'll see. I'll keep my fingers crossed. You need a lot of luck.” (HRC)