Cards at Dover Downs and Rosecroft

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Ted Black

March 7th, 2016

Warmer temperatures are expected to meet horses, drivers and fans on Monday and Tuesday as Dover Downs again offers another solid, lucrative Monday card and Rosecroft Raceway kicks off its 2016 winter-spring meet on Tuesday.

A compact field of six older pacers will go postward in the $17,000 Winners Over class in the second race at Dover on Monday and the group includes a handful of serious pacers. Soto (Ross Wolfenden) won last out, three of his last four and four of seven this year for trainer Eric Ell and owners Kenny Wood, William Dittmar and Steve Iaquinta - all of JL Cruze fame - and draws he rail against Speed Again (Andrew McCarthy), Captive Audience (Jonathan Roberts), Sicily (Allan Davis), Contraband Hanover (Jim Morand) and Just A Jolt (Tim Tetrick) who ended a seven-race skid with a sharp 1:50.3 score against conditioned foes last week.

Several races later on the card, railbound Through The Fence (Montrell Teague) will look to continue the perfect start to his career in a non-winners of three races lifetime class for younger pacers. The sophomore son of Funny Bones trained by Kevin Switzer has won his first two starts in 1:57 and then 1:54.1, respectively, and gets the nod over Proud Blue Hay (Tetrick) in this spot.

Then just past the midway point of the card, another solid group of older pacers will contest the $36,000 Open/Preferred Handicap where local trainees Adventure Bound (Art Stafford, Jr.), Sweet Rock (Allan Davis) and Mustang Art (Sean Bier) will seek to topple prominent invaders Atta Boy Dan (Andrew McCarthy), Phil Your Boots (Tetrick) and Doctor Butch (Tony Morgan). Adventure Bound, Sweet Rock and Mustang Art seek their first win in this class, while Atta Boy Dan, Phil Your Boots and Doctor Butch have been prominent in Open races at numerous venues during their careers.

Then in the penultimate race on the card, Options Are Adream (George Dennis) will look to maintain the perfect start to his career when he leaves from post six in a non-winners of four races or $17,500 lifetime class for younger pacers. A three-year-old If I Can Dream gelding trained by Richard Lewis for former trainer-driver David Banks of Rookery fame, Options Are Adream has won the first three starts of his career over the strip while lowering his mark each time to the current 1:52.4 that he posted on February 28.

One night later, Rosecroft Raceway will kick off its 2016 winter-spring meet that runs through June 11 by offering a 12-race card, filled primarily with trotters and pacers that have been idle since the 2015 season ended on Dec. 19.

Tuesday's feature is the $12,000 Open 2 Handicap for older pacers that includes a solid group comprised of Caviart Tyler (Frank Milby), Vapour N (Pat Berry), Battleshoe Tom (Jared Moyer), Concert Artist (Chris Offutt), Dinner At The Met (Jonathan Roberts), Hot Art (Jason Thompson), Varsity Hanover (Donald Dancer) and Hi Sir (Russell Foster).

Hi Sir was the 2015 fall meet champion selection by the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association and starts alongside Varsity Hanover, the track's selection as the 2015 fall meet champ. They became well-acquainted in this event last fall, with Hi Sir winning it three times and finishing second to Varsity Hanover in their Nov. 24 encounter. Hot Art won the last edition of the Open on Dec. 15 and also notched two earlier scores in the top class.

Both Battleshoe Tom and Dinner At The Met stayed busy over the break. Dinner At The Met won twice against $20,000 claimers at The Meadowlands and was the beaten favorite at that price at Dover last month. Battleshoe Tom finished second twice against $15,000 claimers at Dover for trainer Ron Dixon, Jr. of Matter Of Opinion fame. Vapour arrives from "down under" and rallied to capture a local qualifier in 1:55.3 on the same morning that Hi Sir scored in 1:57.

Two races later in a non-winners of $6000 last five starts conditioned event for pacers, Rock On Precious (Foster), Acardi (Berry), Cabbie's Delight and Simon's Artist (Roberts) all return from Dover, while Rockin Glory (Milby) and Action Brad (Moyer) head into their seasonal debuts off qualifiers. Rockin Glory was second to Vapour N, while Action Brad scored in 1:58. Thiswayorthehighway (Dancer) makes his local debut after winning three of eight starts at Monticello Raceway in New York. Pop Pop Joe (Ken Weckstein) returns to a level where he won twice last fall before finding the Open 2 company too tough.

Rosecroft will offer live racing on Tuesday evenings beginning at 6:40 and Sunday afternoons starting at 4:40 this week. In previous years the track had raced on Tuesday and Saturday nights. Rosecroft will swap Sundays for Saturdays on three dates corresponding with the Triple Crown races this spring - May 5 [Kentucky Derby Day], May 19 [Preakness Day] and June 11 [Belmont Day].