Nick Salenetri was disappointed when knee woes prevented Two Hip Dip from beginning his racing career last season. After giving the trotter plenty of time to recover, Salenetri is looking forward to seeing what the horse can do when he makes his delayed debut in Thursday’s opening round of the Super Bowl series at The Meadowlands.
“Hopefully he won’t embarrass me,” said Salenetri, who owns and trains Two Hip Dip. “I think he’s got some upside to him and I think we could have some fun with him.
“He’s really a pleasure to be around; he’s got a great personality. He’s very well mannered. I think that’s his biggest asset. He doesn’t want to make a break and I think he can race from either behind or on top. And with a trotter that wants to stay flat, you can always have a little fun.”
Salenetri bought Two Hip Dip for $16,000 at the 2012 Lexington Selected Sale. The horse is a son of stallion Glidemaster out of the mare Mayflower Volo and his family includes stakes-winners Missys Goalfire, Have You Ever, Lassies Goal and Lear Jetta.
Two Hip Dip was unraced as a two-year-old -- Salenetri says he never races his horses at two -- and was training well at three when a chip was discovered in one of his knees. After surgery, Salenetri decided to bring back the horse slowly.
“If he didn’t have the chip in his knee, we would have raced him at three,” Salenetri said. “(After his recovery) I figured we were so late in the season, I gave him as much time as he needed and took my time bringing him back.
“We’ll see what happens at four. I don’t have any great expectations, although it wouldn’t surprise me if he was a very, very nice horse. He shows me that he could be, but I’ll let him dictate what he wants to do. I’m not going to put him in a situation where he’s not going to be comfortable.”
Salenetri has a small stable of horses in central New Jersey, where his primary business is operating a nationwide trade show transportation company. He is probably best known for the stakes-winning trotter Nikki Cole Cole, who finished second to the great Moni Maker in the 2000 Nat Ray Invitational.
“The transportation company is a little more reliable than the horse industry, although I love the horse industry much more,” Salenetri said. “The horses are my passion. It’s enjoyable. It’s just a lot of fun being out there.”
Two Hip Dip was originally named Mustbe Volo, but renamed because of his resemblance to another of Salenetri’s horses, Our Little Dip, who was born with a dropped hip. The ‘Dip’ part of the name is a reference to the nickname of the Franklin & Marshall athletic teams -- Diplomats -- where the Salenetris’ daughter played soccer.
“My wife Patty said he looks just like Our Little Dip, so you have to name him Two Hip Dip because he has two hips,” Salenetri said.
Two Hip Dip enters the Super Bowl series off two qualifiers, winning the second in 1:59.1 with a :27.1 last quarter-mile. He competes in the fourth of four Super Bowl divisions Thursday and will start from post five with David Miller in the sulky. He is 12-1 on the morning line.
“I didn’t plan on racing him until probably February, but he showed he was OK in both the qualifiers,” Salenetri said. “I asked Dave what he thought and he said I should take a chance and put him in and see how he does. He’s done everything good at this point coming back.
“There are some very nice horses in (the Super Bowl series). We’ll try to teach him a little bit. Dave is superb at bringing around a young horse. He’s very conscientious. He knows exactly what he’s doing out there. I was very pleased when he was able to take him for me.”
This story courtesy of Harness Racing Communications, a division of the U.S. Trotting Association. For more information, visit www.ustrotting.com.