Dover Card offers some fast miles

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Ted Black

March 8th, 2016

While Yonkers Raceway might offer the best overnight cards of the weekend on Saturday nights, the best program to kick off the work week begins each Monday evening at Dover Downs where pacers of all ages have the chance to display their ability for lucrative purses over the Delaware five-eighths mile oval.

In fact, Monday's feature at Dover was the $36,000 Open/Preferred Handicap for the best older pacers on the circuit and elsewhere. Monday's centerpiece was a blend of three local trainees, Adventure Bound, Sweet Rock and Mustang Art and a trio of talented invaders, Atta Boy Dan, Phil Your Boots and Doctor Butch. The latter trio has competed in Open events at Yonkers and The Meadowlands in recent years.

When the gate folded in that event, Mustang Art (Sean Bier) left very alertly as he typically does and gained command before reaching the opener in a wicked 26 seconds flat, with local longshot Sweet Rock gladly accepting the pocket just in front of Adventure Bound. Favored Atta Boy Dan got away fourth, followed by Phil Your Boots and Doctor Butch.

Mustang Art continued to show the way through the clubhouse turn and past the half in 55 flat after a modest, second quarter breather, but Atta Boy Dan launched a first over bid and brought Phil Your Boots and Doctor Butch into contention with him. Atta Boy Dan surged to a short lead down the backside and by three-quarters in 1:22.3, but Phil Your Boots followed his every move and then Doctor Butch ducked toward the inside.

At the top of the lane, Atta Boy Dan owned a short lead, but Phil Your Boots continued to wear that one down and Doctor Butch looked to make it a three-way thriller after angling to the passing lane. Atta Boy Dan and Phil Your Boots battled to the wire where the favorite just lasted for a nose victory in 1:50.1. Doctor Butch gained the show spot, beaten about a length in a good effort.

Atta Boy Dan, a seven-year-old Western Terror gelding trained by Ron Burke, notched his second win in six starts this year and pushed his seasonal earnings to nearly $50,000. Phil Your Boots, runner-up in the tough Open Handicap at Yonkers in his previous start for trainer Casie Coleman, finished second in a very good effort, while Doctor Butch, the lone millionaire in the field, has now finished second four times and third twice in eight winless starts to begin the campaign for trainer Linda Toscano.

One race earlier on the card, onlookers were treated to a stellar performance from a pair of rising stars, one equine and one human when Lews Maverick (Montrell Teague) rallied form last early and fourth over to swoop the field to capture a non-winners of five races or $25,000 lifetime class in 1:52.4. A four-year-old Western Maverick gelding trained by Kevin Switzer, Lews Maverick rbeounded from an early miscue in his previous start to notch his fourth win in five outings this winter.

Several races earlier it was another pacer with the same connections who scored in sharp fashion. Through The Fence (Teague) remained perfect in his young career when he brushed to command before reaching the half in 57.1 then held safe the late bid of Looms The Danger to prevail by two lengths in 1:55. A three-year-old Funny Bones gelding trained by Switzer, Through The Fence has won all three of his lifetime starts for the same connections as Lews Maverick.

Two races earlier on the card, Voltaire (Tony Morgan) lived up to his role in an earlier non-winners of three races or $17,500 lifetime split when he brushed to command before the half in 55.1 and then drew clear in the lane to score by three lengths in 1:53.1. A sophomore son of Western Terror trained by Brian Malone, Voltaire has won both of his local outings and now sports three wins in eight career tries and his rapid clocking suggests that he can succeed at the next level.

Then one race earlier in the tough "Winners Over" class for pacers just below the Open ranks, Soto (Ross Wolfenden) benefited from a pocket trip behind 3-5 favorite Just A Jolt (Tim Tetrick) throughout, slipped through along the passing lane and just got up to score by a neck in 1:51. Trained by Eric Ell for owners Kenny Wood, Bill Dittmar and Steve Iaquinta - the famed JL Cruze gang - Soto notched his second straight tally and his fifth win in eight starts this year.

Just A Jolt, the former dominant pacer in the Delaware Special for trainer Jim King, Jr., raced well in defeat. One start after ending a seven-race skid by besting non-winners foes, Just A Jolt gained command soon after the start and cut out honest fractions, but was overhauled late by a sharp horse who got a pocket trip behind him. Just A Jolt looks like he should be formidable at this level through the last six weeks of the Dover meet and into the Harrington Raceway spring meet.