Good Horses on Display Morning Through Night

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Ted Black

February 17th, 2017

Beginning with the morning card - at least on the East Coast - at Meydan in Dubai to the evening program at Dover Downs in Delaware, onlookers were treated to a bevy of top performances from thoroughbred runners on the turf to pacers on the stonedust.

With the $10 million Dubai World Cup and subsequent lucrative undercard just around the corner on March 25, Meydan has already begun unveiling its high class horses seeking to impact the big night. A trio of races on the Meydan lawn on Thursday might have given an early indication as to which horses will be major players on World Cup night.

In a five-furlong turf sprint, favored Ertijaal lived up to his role when he sped through the straightaway course and drew clear despite not being able to maintain a straight course in the final 100 yards. Ertijaal veered in sharply over the latter stage of the dash, but was well clear of his rivals. In two distance races that followed, Championship drew clear to win at one mile handily and later Zarak capped the card by taking a Grade II event at one-mile and a quarter. Keep all three horses in mind when playing the next round of preps on the Super Saturday card on March 4 and then three weeks later on the World Cup program.
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At Dover Downs on Thursday evening, serious harness racing fans were treated to a bevy of stellar performances from pacers young and old.

In two of the early races on the card, Cloud Speed (Art Stafford, Jr.) maintained his winning ways when he rallied from far back and third over to score by a nose in 1:53.1 in a non-winners of $100,001 lifetime class. Then two races later it was Dash Of Danger (Yannick Gingras) who brushed to command before the half and then held safe his foes in the lane to capture a non-winners of $60,001 lifetime condition for trainer Ron Burke in 1:53.1.

Just past the midway point of the card the older pacers were on display. Star Messenger romped home seven lengths clear in a non-winners of $16,001 last six starts class in 1:50.2 for owner-trainer Gary Ewing of Ge's Romanero fame and then Always At My Place (Gingras) impressed race goers by prevailing in first over fashion in 1:51.1 in his seasonal debut for Burke. Always At My Place could be among the heir apparent to Foiled Again in the Burke barn this year or next.

Then toward the end of the card the younger pacers were again back in the spotlight. Bad Gamer (Gingras) won the other half of the non-winners of $100,001 lifetime class in 1:51.4 for trainer Ed Gannon, Jr. of Looking Hanover fame then two races later Highalator (Victor Kirby) maintained his winning ways while taking a non-winners of four races or $17,501 lifetime class for trainer Jenny Bier in 1:53.1.