Dover Downs and Yonkers offer solid Thursday cards

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Ted Black

March 9th, 2018

While many harness racing enthusiasts are accustomed to seeing history achieved on the weekends, standardbred fans of all ages were hoping to see a hint of it unfold on Thursday evening at Yonkers not long after a solid Dover Downs program concluded.

Just past the midway point of the Thursday card at Yonkers, Foiled Again (Yannick Gingras) was seeking to add another milestone in his Hall of Fame career when the 14-year-old Dragon Again gelding made his fifth attempt at reaching the 100-victory milestone as the even-money favorite from the rail in a non-winners of $20,000 last five starts class for older pacers. Only Badix Hanover (Jason Bartlett), the 6-5 second choice from post six, got much support among his foes.

Just before the gate folded in that event, Foiled Again went into a mild gallop but overcame the break to get back on stride and race fourth through the opening quarter as Badix Hanover got there first in 27.2 and then got a breather by the half in 57 flat as Foiled Again launched his first over bid at that point. Badix Hanover raced unpressed down the backside and by three-quarters in 1:25.1 and held safe Soho Lennon N late, but Foiled Again offered little in the back half and faded to fifth.

Dover's Thursday cards typically feature their top pacers of all age and are generally both contentious and formful. Such was the case for the majority of Thursday's program, but at least one genuine shocker capped the evening.

In Thursday's finale at Dover, Ponderingjacksfame (Ross Wolfenden) continued his winning ways when the four-year-old Ponder gelding rallied third over and widest of all late to forge a 30-1 shocker in 1:51.3. Trained by Les Givens for owner-breeders Jim Magno and Joe Fonte, Ponderingjacksfame picked up live cover past the half, rallied boldly down the backside and through the far turn and prevailed late for a length score for his second straight tally.

One race earlier on the card, Missile J (Tim Tetrick) tuned up for the pending George Morton Levy Series at Yonkers when he rallied second over as the 3-2 favorite to capture the $30,000 Preferred in 1:50. A five-year-old American Ideal gelding trained by Scott DiDomenico, Missile J has always displayed a wicked late kick and he won four legs of the Levy series last spring before settling for third as the favorite in the final. His victory on Thursday at Dover suggests he will be ready to make his presence known in the Levy again beginning on Saturday, March 17.

Two races earlier on the card, Sweet Rock (Victor Kirby) posted a mild 5-1 upset when he brushed to command before the half in 54.4 and held sway late to score by nearly a length in 1:50.4 in a winners over condition. A seven-year-old Rocknroll Heaven gelding trained by Wayne Givens, Sweet Rock perhaps earned a trip to the Open ranks next week. Another Givens trainee, Sicily, finished a sharp second to Missile J on Thursday in the Preferred.

Then one race earlier in another winners over class, Never Say Never N (Corey Callahan) overcame a first over bid to forge a 13-1 upset. A five-year-old Bettor's Delight stallion trained by Dylan Davis of Mel Mara fame, Never Say Never N rallied first over past the half and three-quarters and surged home late for a neck victory in 1:51 as an overlooked outsider.

Then two races earlier on the card, Wichita Lineman (Allan Davis) benefited from a two-hole trip and got up late to post a 12-1 upset in 1:52.1. A five-year-old Bettor's Delight gelding trained by Gary Simpson, Wichita Lineman displayed early speed and some late grit to prevail in the non-winners of eight races lifetime class.

Two races earlier in a non-winners of $10,001 last six starts class for older pacers, Blazing Bobby Sox (Art Stafford, Jr.) overcame a brief, first over bid with a serious backside brush to score by five lengths in 1:50. The six-year gelded son of The Panderosa trained and driven by Stafford equaled the fastest mile of the card and likely earned a promotion to either the Open or Preferred next week.

One race earlier Somebeach Baron (Tetrick) lived up to his role as the 4-5 favorite in a non-winners of three races lifetime class for younger pacers when he scored in 1:53.2 for trainer Josh Green and two races earlier i was Ideal Son (Callahan) who forged a 5-1 upset in another non-winners of eight races class when he benefited from a two-hole trip behind American Sportsman and overhauled that one late for a two-length score in 1:53.1.