It was only fitting that Primo Uomo wrapped up his breakout year with his first career Open Pace victory on Saturday night at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The Dave Dewhurst trainee enjoyed a monster season in which he won the Dr. Richard Frank Memorial Pacing Series at the Spa this spring and continued to improve with every passing month.
The three year old joined the Open last month and finished second in his debut against the track’s top pacers. Following a third-place finish last week, Primo Uomo (Heston Blue Chip) started from post three for his try in Saturday’s final Open Pace of the 2023 campaign. Chris Long picked up the catch-drive behind the sophomore who showed speed to wind up in the pocket in the $15,000 feature.
The favored Willie Go West N (Brett Beckwith) set fast fractions of 27.1 and 56.4 on the front-end while Primo Uomo waited in the wings. Longshot East End (Billy Dobson), who debuted in the Open with a third place finish last week, came from well off the pace on Saturday and came motoring home before losing a photo with eventual winner Primo Uomo who stopped the timer in 1:54.2. Willie Go West N, the 2-5 public choice in the wagering, had to settle for the show spot. Primo Uomo’s win was his sixteenth of the year to put him among the top winning horses in North America.
Earnings from the Saturday score moved the Dewhurst trainee to a seasonal bankroll of just shy of $115,000. Primo Uomo paid $9.20 to win in the final Open Pace in ’23 and led an exacta and triple that returned $61.50 and $182, respectively. The super sophomore is owned by Chris and Dale Lawton of NY.
Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon with a matinee that serves as the final card for the 2023 season before racing resumes in early February. First post time Sunday is set for noon.
Jessica Hallett photo