Bravo For Primo Uomo

Primo Uomo winning at Saratoga Raceway
Published: February 14, 2024 02:30 pm EST

After getting time to grow into his role, Primo Uomo is hitting all the right notes.

Raced just twice at age two, Primo Uomo returned last season to win 16 times — the third-best total among all three-year-old pacers in North America — and bank $114,867 for owners Dale Lawton and Chris Lawton. His earnings ranked second to only Grand Circuit stakes winner Racine Bell, who makes her 2024 debut on Friday at The Meadowlands, in the Lawtons’ stable.

Primo Uomo made 19 of his 33 starts last year at Saratoga, where he won 12 races and hit the board in an additional three. He was named the Three-Year-Old Pacer of the Year by the Saratoga Harness Horseperson’s Association.

“He’s a nice horse,” Dale Lawton said about the David Dewhurst-trained gelding. “You can always count on him. If he has a bad race, it’s because he’s sick. He’s very dependable. You just can’t get enough of those kinds of horses.”

The Lawtons purchased Primo Uomo as a yearling in June 2021. The son of Heston Blue Chip-Primadonna qualified twice for Dale Lawton in the summer of 2022 before being turned out in July. He returned to action in late fall with Dewhurst and made two starts in November, posting a win and a second.

“We knew he was a nice horse when we started out,” said Lawton. “He had a lot of ability and a great attitude; he wanted to go forward. He didn’t really like to take a backseat.

“His stakes were over before he was ready, so we turned him out in mid-July. Then we gave him to Dave to bring him back and see what he thought of him. Dave said he was a nice colt. From there he went. He didn’t really get started until October. We just raced him a little bit and kind of waited on the three-year-old year.

“You’ve got to give them a little time to grow. He grew a lot just in the couple of months he was turned out. He needed time just to mature. It worked out.”

Last year, Primo Uomo opened his campaign with five consecutive wins in conditioned races at Saratoga. He later captured the Dr. Richard Frank Memorial Pacing Series at the track, then began taking on older rivals in the Opens at Vernon Downs and Saratoga.

“Every time we thought that was all he had, Dave told us, no, he’s got a lot more,” said Lawton. “And he did. Dave has done a real good job for us.”

So far this season, Primo Uomo has a win in three starts in the Open at Batavia Downs. He returns to that level Thursday, starting from post seven with Brett Beckwith in the sulky. He is 6-1 on the morning line in a field of eight going for a purse of $15,000. (Free past performances available by clicking here.)

“He’s kind of a half-mile specialist,” Lawton said about Primo Uomo, who has won 18 of 38 career races and earned $131,616. “He can go on a big track, but he can get around a half. That’s basically where we race most of the time in New York. We’ll see what happens with him as the year unfolds.”

As for Racine Bell, the seven-year-old millionaire will make her seasonal debut in Friday’s $37,162 featured pace for fillies and mares at The Meadowlands as she prepares for next month’s start of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series at MGM Yonkers Raceway.

The Lawtons considered retiring and breeding Racine Bell but changed their minds after she finished 2023 with four wins in her final five starts.

For her career, the daughter of So Surreal-Tys Artist has won 37 of 95 races, hit the board another 39 times and earned $1.16 million. Her top victory came in the 2022 Perfect Sting at the Big M, where she defeated Test Of Faith, and she missed by just a nose in the Matchmaker final that same year.

Last season, she hit the board in 19 of 25 starts, winning nine. She earned $211,353 and has never banked less than $140,000 in her five years of competing.

“She had a good year,” said Lawton. “She kind of slacked off in the middle of it and we were thinking that she might be done, but then she turned it around. She just hates to lose. She finished the year good and strong, so we’re going to give her another year and see what happens.”


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