Dover Downs offers lucrative Thursday card; field set for Sunday program at Rosecroft

Profile Picture: Ted Black

Ted Black

November 30th, 2018

Thursday evening Dover Downs offered a lucrative card that featured the last major open stakes race of the schedule for three-year-old colt pacers in addition to four finals for Delaware-bred two-year-olds of both gaits and genders. That afternoon the post positions were also drawn for the $100,000 Potomac Pace final at Rosecroft on Sunday as well as an older invitational featuring Foiled Again.

In one of the latter races on the Dover Downs card on Thursday, This Is The Plan (Tim Tetrick) benefited from a pocket journey behind favored Jimmy Freight (Scott Zeron) through honest fractions of 26 flat, 55 flat and 1:22.3 then rallied along the passing lane for a mild 8-5 upset in 1:50.2. This Ron Burke trainee may not be in contention for divisional honors, but he ended his sophomore campaign on a winning note.

Jimmy Freight has made numerous appearances in lucrative stakes this season and finished a game second in defeat on Thursday while carving out the fractions. Dorsoduro Hanover (Matt Kakaley), the other Burke trainee in the field, raced first over during the back half after starting from post eight and gave way late while lasting the third, a neck better than Thinkbig Dreambig (Yannick Gingras), who rallied widest of all to finish fourth for trainer Jimmy Takter.

Two races earlier on the card, Chillaxin Away (Tetrick) gained command in a 27 flat opener, forced Dashiki (Montrell Teague) to take a seat early then got a breather to the half in 57.2 and by three-quarters in 1:26.3 and held safe the pocket horse in the lane to score in 1:54.2 in the $100,000 Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund final for two-year-old colt pacers. The Jim King, Jr. trainee won both six-figure finals and could join Slick Tony as one of the few pacers to sweep all four events next spring and summer.

Two races earlier on the card, Roddy's At It Again (Art Stafford, Jr.) overcame a long, first over journey to overhaul favored Vistamista (Victor Kirby) and the pocket-sitting The Lady Sheriff to capture the $100,000 DSBF final for two-year-old filly pacers in 1:56. Roddy's At It Again forged the 6-1 upset, while The Lady Sheriff and Vistamista settled for minor spoils at short prices on Thursday.

One race earlier in the $25,000 Open Handicap for older pacers, Soto (Kakaley) overcame a first over bid down the backside and through the far turn and wore down Sicily (Kirby) at the head of the lane and then outkicked the pocket-sitting Daiymir (Teague) in the final 100 yards to score by a neck in 1:51. Trained by Eric Ell for owners Kenny Wood, Steve Iaquinta and William Dittmar of JL Cruze fame, Soto delivered one of the best performances of the night and perhaps signified a pending readiness to tackle the George Morton Levy Memorial series again next spring.

Post positions were drawn for Sunday's third renewal of the $100,000 Potomac Pace at Rosecroft Raceway and despite the absence of McWicked, the unequivocal division champion, pacer of the year and early front-runner for harness racing's horse of the year, the Potomac came up solid.

Filibuster Hanover, no stranger to major stakes and tangling with McWicked, drew post four and was promptly installed as the 5-2 morning line favorite following a third-place effort in last Saturday's $350,000 TVG Open final at the Meadowlands. Dealt A Winner, the runner-up in that event, drew the rail and was made the 3-1 second choice for trainer Mark Silva in what will be his third attempt to capture the Potomac.

Other serious contenders for the Potomac include Western Fame, a recent acquisition by trainer Rene Allard, Midwest invader Endeavor (Trace Tetrick) who boasts 14 wins already this year for trainer Jeff Cullipher, Rockin Ron (Gingras) and local kingpin Rock N Roll Jet, who has won four straight Open I Handicaps over the oval for trainer William "Buddy" Bright and drew post five while being tabbed as the longest shot in the group at 15-1.

Early on the card, Foiled Again (Gingras) will continue his farewell tour when he tangles with eight other older pacers - the nine horses average 12 years of age - in the third race on the program. The sport's richest horse of all-time with over $7.6 million banked courtesy of 106 wins thus far, drew post nine in the field of that size but is expected to go postward as the even-money choice. Real Flight, Arts Blaze and Laurent Hanover loom the only serious threats to the grand old man of harness racing and drew ideal spots.

Then just before the Potomac Pace is a $25,000 Maryland Invitational for Maryland-owned pacers of all ages and the veritable "Free State Free-For-All" drew a solid group that includes sophomore Slick Tony (Teague), Sam's Triple Crown (John Wagner), Hickory Aloha, All The Cookies, Rocktavius, Kiss A Dragon and JW Renegade. Slick Tony looms the favorite for owner-breeder-trainer George "Ronnie" Leager having been second to Duplicated N last out at Dover, while Sam's Triple Crown will be well-backed after finishing second to Rock N Roll Jet last Sunday in the Open I here.

Sunday's first race is scheduled for 4:40, with Foiled Again set to compete at 5:20 and the Potomac likely to go at 7:40. Showers could linger early, but temperatures are expected to be in the mid-60's for the card, so look for the Potomac to go in 1:48.1 - the stakes and track record is 1:47.3 - and the Maryland Invitational to go in 1:51 and ageless Foiled Again should prevail in 1:53 despite his unlucky nine post draw.