Although he wasn’t pleased when We Will See missed out on a 2011 Dan Patch Award, trainer Sam De Pinto is confident his world champion pacer is poised for a peak season in the free for all ranks.
The five-year-old by Western Hanover makes his 2012 debut in Saturday’s $50,000 invitational at the Meadowlands Racetrack. Hall of Famer Ron Pierce will drive him from post four.
We Will See blossomed as a top flight three-year-old in 2010, then unfurled a $1.2 million campaign in 2011. He won 11 of 23 starts, including the $500,000 Ben Franklin in 1:48.4, a $174,250 division of the US Pacing Championship in a world record of1:47.2, the $848,640 Canadian Pacing Derby in a Canadian record of 1:47.4, and the $183,000 Allerage Farm in 1:48.4. He also set a world record of 1:48 on a five-eighths mile track at Pocono Downs.
De Pinto felt his horse made a strong enough case for 2011 Older Pacer of the Year, but We Will See lost to Foiled Again in the balloting.
“I didn’t want to seem like a cry baby, but I was screaming on this end,” admitted De Pinto, 56, whose stable is based at Showplace Farms in Englishtown, NJ. “When We Will See won the big ones, he beat the best the ones out there. Ten of his eleven wins were in 1:49 or better and five of them were in 1:48. He tied two world records and broke a track record. What more can he do?
“The race that sticks out in my mind [last year] was the Open at Pocono Downs in 1:48,” recalled De Pinto. “I was just ecstatic when he won the Canadian Pacing Derby. I had always wanted to win that one.”
Originally a $30,000 Harrisburg yearling, We Will See is owned by De Pinto of Cream Ridge, NJ; E.J. Smith of Millstone, NJ; and Teresa and Jerry Silva of Long Beach, NY. He has 19 wins in 49 career starts and $2,115,354 on his card. De Pinto believes We Will See is on the verge of what could be his peak season.
“Under the right circumstances I think this horse can go in 1:46 and change,” projected De Pinto. “I’m hoping he can be a monster. Ron Pierce was really happy with the way he qualified. When I train him I see a difference in him from four to five. He’s bigger and stronger. I mean, the way he’s come back has been totally different, yet I still treat him the same way. You might not expect much more than he did last year, but I think he’s going to give me more.
“You’ll see Ronny drive him a little different this year,” he continued. “After the Breeders Crown, he asked me about coming first over with him, and I told him he loves to chase down horses that way.
“He was invited to the Dan Patch at Hoosier Park, but the Bettor’s Delight is six days later, so I may skip the Dan Patch because of the travel. Right now, I’m thinking one more start after Saturday, then on to Tioga Downs.
“This horse eventually deserves to go out there, breed and produce because he’s just a gorgeous animal,” he added. “I’d like to stand him in New Jersey. I was lucky to get this horse. I didn’t have him marked in my catalogue at Harrisburg. It was the right place at the right time. I just happened to walk by and I saw him.”
De Pinto also has high hopes for I Fought Dalaw, a three-year-old Western Ideal colt who makes his seasonal debut from post eight in a $17,500 division of the New Jersey Sires Stakes (race five) with Dave Miller in the sulky. De Pinto and the Silvas share ownership of I Fought Dalaw with Michael Parisi of Allentown, NJ.
As a freshman, I Fought Dalaw won the New Jersey Sires Stakes final at the Big M in 1:50.4, with a final quarter of :26.4. He won four of 10 starts and $211,741, and followed up his sires stakes championship with a 1:52 win in a $20,000 Arden Downs division at The Meadows. He also finished fourth in the $1 million Metro final in Canada.
“I thought he raced very well at The Meadows, but when he came home he wasn’t good after that,” said De Pinto. “He caught some kind of a virus. We had to shut him down for a while. He finished third to Sweet Lou in his Breeders Crown elimination, but Ronny (driver Ron Pierce) said he didn’t want to follow the horse on the lead, got a little anxious and parked out.”
De Pinto has I Fought Dalaw ready for the stakes trail. He will soon head to Mohawk Raceway with the North America Cup on his agenda. De Pinto was second in Canada’s richest race in 2010 with We Will See.
“I Fought Dalaw matured and filled out in the right ways,” noted De Pinto. “I also let his hopples out two inches since last year because his stride is definitely longer. I had an open bridle on him in his two qualifiers, yet I went back to the closed bridle and he trained really well. In the second qualifier, another horse made a bobble, it kind of spooked him and he went to the lead, but there are no issues controlling his speed. Again, he responds much better with the closed bridle.
“I think this is the kind of horse that can develop into a top older horse,” he continued. “That is the plan. I’d like to race him until he’s at least five years old.”
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