Dover Downs Offers Stellar Thursday Card

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Ted Black

November 10th, 2016

While the Breeders Crown finals last month at the Meadowlands likely settled many of the division titles and even harness racing horse of the year, there are still numerous lucrative events for three-year-olds of both gaits and genders that owners and trainers are seeking to attain and four of them will be contested Thursday evening at Dover Downs.

Thursday's Dover card begins with a pair of Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund finals for two-year-old colt pacers. Henry The Dragon (Montrell Teague), a juvenile son of Custard The Dragon trained by Clyde Francis for owner George Teague, Jr., has won all four of his starts and banked $80,000 and sports a stellar 1:52.1 mark and highlights the first elimination. James Isaac (Tony Morgan), a 1:53 winner for trainer Victor Keeler, II, will tackle Stay In Your Place (Teague) in the second elim.

Two races later on the card, Dover will offer the $150,000 Matron Stakes for three-year-old filly trotters, All The Time (Yannick Gingras) looms the solid favorite from post five against Caprice Hill (Brian Sears), who arrives with a 7-5-0 slate and $465,000 bankroll from 14 starts this year for trainer Tony Alagna. Flowers N Songs (Corey Callahan) owns the most wins (11) and biggest bankroll ($500,000) while making more starts (31) than any of her rivals in this spot.

Three races later on the card the three-year-old trotting colts will take center stage in their $180,000 Matron Stakes, which appears very wide open since division champ Marion Marauder, the Triple Crown hero, and Bar Hopping, the Maple Leaf and Breeders Crown champ, are not present. Dayson (Gingras) has won 11 of 18 starts and banked over $390,000 this year from 18 starts for trainer Ron Burke, while Double L Lindy (Ake Svandstedt), Lagerfeld (David Miller), Love Matters (Tim Tetrick) and Sutton (Andy Miller) all merit respect in this event.
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Then one race later in the $150,000 Matron Stakes for three-year-old filly pacers, Pure Country (Brett Miller) and L A Delight (John Campbell) will continue their extended rivalry, while local product Newborn Sassy (Tetrick) joins the mix. Pure Country owns a solid 9-4-3 slate and earnings of over $1 million this season for trainer Jimmy Takter and should be favored from post two, while L A Delight has won nine of 17 starts and banked over $650,000 this season for trainer Robert Mcintosh from post eight.

Then two races later in the $160,000 Matron Stakes for three-year-old colt pacers, Racing Hill (Brett Miller) will garner much of the attention for Alagna following his stellar score in the Breeders Crown final last month at the Meadowlands. Racing Hill owns a 7-5-2 slate and $1.6 million bankroll from just 15 starts, but he will likely concede the division title to Betting Line. But other serious contenders in the Matron include Check Six (Gingras), Boston Red Rocks (Tetrick), Manhattan Beach (Matt Kakaley), Western Fame (Mark Macdonald) and Lyons Snyder (David Miller) all loom serious threats.

Then on Monday evening at Dover Downs the older horses will take center stage in the $30,000 Open/Preferred Handicap when Mel Mara (Corey Callahan), Foiled Again (Gingras), Te Kawau N and Dancin Yankee (Tetrick) headline a solid field of eight. Mel Mara won two weeks ago here in 1:49.1 and owns a solid 7-4-5 slate and $235,000 bankroll, including a 1:47 victory over Always B Miki in an Open event at the Meadowlands.

Foiled Again, who sports a 5-4-3 slate and $120,000 bankroll from 24 starts at age 12, has enjoyed a Hall of Fame career what has seen him win 91 races and over $7.4 million from nearly 300 starts. Foiled Again and Mel Mara are also likely auditioning for the $100,000 Free State Free-For-All at Rosecroft Raceway on Tuesday, November 22, a race that lost some of its luster when Wiggle It Jiggleit was sidelined with a mild foot bruise. But the FFA is still expected to get Mel Mara, Mach It So, Shamballa, Bit Of A Legend N, Split The House, Keystone Velocity, Foiled Again - or another Burke trainee - and one other participant.