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Bonus Trot winner Bluebird Jesse heads to Open

May 11, 2018
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Since arriving in the barn of Scott Di Domenico this year, Bluebird Jesse has surpassed expectations. The 4-year-old trotter won two of the three preliminary legs of the Yonkers Raceway/SOA of NY Bonus Trotting Series before capturing the $85,000 series final April 24. Last week, he made his first start in the local Open Trot, finishing third.
 
"He's exceeded what I thought he was going to be," Di Domenico said. "I can't say we expected this one to win the series final and show that he has a shot to be a very, very useful trotter at Yonkers. That says a lot about the horse."
 
Bluebird Jesse made his mark in Indiana as a 2- and 3-year old. He won six races at Hoosier for trainer Keith Roth, including a $75,000 Indiana Sire Stakes final. Bluebird Jesse's success in the Midwest put him on the radar of Indiana owners Brian Carsey and John McGill and New York partner Adam Friedland.
 
"They were talking about this horse for a long time even before they had him bought," Di Domenico explained. "You have to give them the credit. I wish I could say I found him, I bought him, but I didn't. They saw the horse in Indiana, he came up for sale, they were fortunate to get him."
 
After purchasing the son of Jailhouse Jesse last fall, the trio of owners placed him with trainer Walter Haynes for the winter. Di Domenico credits him for getting the horse ready.
 
"He got this horse rested up and trained back and when he came to me, he was ready to go do something," Di Domenico said. "He did a good job with the horse and when he got out here, he was ready to go."

Since arriving in his stable, Di Domenico has been impressed by how easy Bluebird Jesse is to train. Bluebird Jesse rarely does anything wrong in the mornings and jogs with two fingers. His best attribute is his handiness, his trainer says.

"He trots the turns well at Yonkers, he's pretty sure-footed and he's fast enough," he said. "The thing I like most about him is his handiness. You're able to leave with him off the gate, you're able to race him off the pace and it seems as though he's going to give you 100 percent effort every time no matter what you do with him. He's just a real likeable horse."

Bluebird Jesse showed his versatility in the Yonkers Raceway/SOA of NY Bonus Trotting Series. He secured a first-over win on a sloppy racetrack in leg one and rode a pocket trip to victory in leg three. In the series final, Bluebird Jesse used his inside advantage to drive to the lead in the first turn, avoiding trouble as rivals Tyson and Optimist Blue Chip made breaks to his outside. Although he was unchallenged on the lead through a :58.1 half-mile, Bluebird Jesse faced an early test as 1-9 favorite Seasoned Saint, undefeated in the series preliminaries, pulled the pocket with three furlongs to trot.

Racing around the final turn, Bluebird Jesse was confidently handled by George Brennan as Seasoned Saint drew within a neck of the lead under urging from Jim Marohn Jr. Brennan high-lined the trotter as Seasoned Saint drew on even terms with Bluebird Jesse at the sixteenth pole. Bluebird Jesse dug in, holding off the favorite to win in 1:54.4, the fastest trotting mile of the year at Yonkers.

"As good as the horse had been, I wasn't surprised," Di Domenico said. "He had the capabilities of trotting fast and he did it. He had a very good series. Throwing the second leg of that series out, he was gritty, he fought, he was first-over. He did a little bit of everything and every week he responded and every week he kept coming and showed that he was a very talented horse."

Saturday night, Bluebird Jesse will start from post six in the $44,000 Open Handicap Trot. In his second try at the open level, he will have Tim Tetrick in the sulky with morning line odds set at 7-1. Seasoned Saint will start to Bluebird Jesse's inside as the 5-2 favorite while In Secret is 5-1 from post seven in his return from the Cutler Memorial. Melady's Monet will start from the outside post at odds of 20-1. Gonna Fly, Uva Hanover, Buen Camino, and Mostinterestingman complete the lineup.

"I was concerned a little bit moving up to that level. It's definitely tougher, but I think his versatility, his handiness, and his will to race right now -- obviously he's not going to beat those horses every week, but I think when he's able to draw the inside and the tougher ones draw the outside, I think he'll be able to beat those horses," Di Domenico said. "His handiness is going to keep him in a lot of races and it's going to let him earn a pretty good living in that class.

"He's got the six. Tim is going to have to look over and see what the inside looks like and make the call at the gate," he continued. "The race is certainly a little tougher than it was last week. Those are open trotters at any track at any level. In a perfect world, I'd love to see him trotting home strong, I'd love to see him win." (SOANY)

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