By KEN WEINGARTNER — After delivering the Pinske family its first Breeders Crown trophy, Amigo Volo will look to continue his stakes-winning ways in Thursday’s $181,600 Matron for 2-year-old male trotters at Dover Downs. Amigo Volo is the 2-5 morning-line favorite in a field of six
The race is one of four Matrons for 2-year-olds. Papi Rob Hanover is the 2-5 favorite in the $186,000 division for male pacers and Lyons Sentinel is the 6-5 choice in the $176,400 event for female pacers. The $147,600 Matron for female trotters attracted a four-horse field and will go as a non-betting race 15 minutes prior to the regular card beginning at 4:30 p.m. (EST).
Amigo Volo has won three of his past four races and five of 10 overall this season. He has earned $514,696 for owners Pinske Stables and Florida’s David J. Miller. The gelding is trained by Richard “Nifty” Norman and will have Dexter Dunn in the sulky Thursday.
Nearly two weeks ago, Amigo Volo captured the Breeders Crown by 4-1/4 lengths over Rome Pays Off in 1:54.3 at Woodbine Mohawk Park. It gave Pinske Stables (Marlys Pinske and her son Karl) and Miller their first victory in the series. The Pinskes had double-digit starters in Breeders Crown finals, and two second-place finishes, before breaking through.
The triumph was additionally sweet because Karl’s son Carter has worked this year for Norman’s stable and worked closely with Amigo Volo, even getting his first training win with the horse during the Grand Circuit meet at Lexington’s Red Mile.
“It’s pretty special,” Carter Pinske said. “We’ve been close, had a lot of great horses over the years and won other big races, but it’s nice to win this one at the end of the year.
“My dad and I have kind of changed with Nifty to go after the end-of-the-year money instead of racing so tough at the beginning of the year. After a few years of working toward that, it’s finally taking shape and working that way. That’s always the goal, to get to the Breeders Crown, and it’s special.”
The Crown triumph also came 15 months after the passing of owner/trainer Tim Pinske, Marlys’ husband.
“I’m thinking he had a little bit to do with it,” Carter said.
Amigo Volo, by Father Patrick out of Margarita Momma, was purchased for $42,000 at last year’s Lexington Selected Sale. He is a full brother to Reign Of Honor, who won last year’s Kindergarten Classic Series championship for Norman’s stable.
“He’s been an awesome horse to be around,” Pinske said about Amigo Volo, who had world-record performances on five-eighth and one-mile ovals this season. “Every day he trained, you’d either be really mad at him or really excited about him. But he would always make up for it with his personality. He’s got such a good personality. He’d let you know where he was all the time. He just likes being around people.
“As far as being ready, Nifty said he’s no different than he was in July,” Pinske added. “He’s jumping around in the paddock. He’s got a good attitude that way.”
Following the Matron, Amigo Volo is eligible to the Valley Victory Stakes at The Meadowlands. The connections will take a wait-and-see approach about that race.
“It’s been a long season, he’s been everywhere, and we want a 3-year-old too,” Pinske said. “We’ll see how he races and talk about it after.”
Ken Weingartner for USTA is an HRI contributor