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DiVito Represented In Derby and Old Hat Sunday
By Jack Will
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL - Trainer Jim DiVito has had a career year in 2011, winning 70 races from 284 starters for a 25 per cent win rate while racing in Chicago most of the year and at Gulfstream Park in the winter
The veteran horseman will have an opportunity to get the New Year off to a fast start on Sunday with a starter in both the $100,000 Gulfstream Park Derby and $100,000 Old Hat Stakes (G3), both race for 3-year-olds.
DiVito sends out Doubledown Stable’s Nachas and Joy to make his fourth career start in the Gulfstream Derby at 1 1/16 miles and Curtis Green’s homebred filly Bet to Win in the six-furlong Old Hat. Nachas and Joy is a son of Lion Heart that broke his maiden last out at Hawthorne by 2 ½ lengths on a ’sloppy’ track going 1 1/16 miles after runner-up efforts at Arlington Park and Hawthorne to begin his career.
Nachas and Joy’s rivals in the Gulfstream Park include Silver Menace, a Silver Wagon colt DiVito developed to win both of his career starts in Chicago, but recently sold privately to Reeves Thoroughbreds Racing and now in the care of trainer Kathy Ritvo, the connections of leading 2011 3-year-old Mucho Macho Man.
“I wish them the best, but I want to win it,” said DiVito Friday morning. “He (Nachas and Joy) has shown he handles the distance. I bought the filly (Bet to Win) privately as a yearling. We still have to find out about her race in the ($100,000) Pocahontas (Stakes),” referring to her 12th place finish in the Grade 2 one-mile test at Churchill Downs on Oct. 30 after dueling for the lead for a half-mile.
A daughter of Pulpit, Bet to Win won her first two starts by open margins -- her debut by nine lengths going six furlongs at Arlington Park in September and her second start by 5 ½ lengths going seven furlongs by at Keeneland two weeks before the Pocahontas, both races run on Polytrack synthetic surfaces.
“We still have to find out whether it was the dirt or the distance,” said DiVito of the Churchill race.”