Governor's Day on tap at Harrington on Thursday night

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Ted Black

July 27th, 2016

While many serious standardbred racing fans are already looking forward to this Saturday's Hambletonian Oaks eliminations for three-year-old filly trotters and the Reynolds Stakes for sophomore trotting colts featuring Hambletonian favorite Southwind Frank, harness racing fans will not want to miss out on Thursday's lucrative Governor's Day card at Harrington Raceway in Delaware.

Thursday evening amid the Delaware State Fair, Harrington Raceway will offer a quartet of $100,000 Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund finals for three-year-olds of both gaits and genders. All four feature a standout, but in three of those races even the best horse through the elims was unlucky in the post position draw and upsets could highlight the card.

In fact, Thursday's opening race is the $100,000 DSBF final for three-year-old filly pacers and on paper the sophomore event looks like a match race. But there is one upset possibility in the group.

Use Your Noodle (Jim Morand) benefited from the draw, getting post two for trainer Les Givens. She has won six of 11 starts and banked over $100,000 this year and sports a solid 9-8-2 slate and $160,000 lifetime bankroll. She won one DSBF elim in June and was second in the other and then won a Maryland Standardbred Race Fund event at Ocean Downs to remain in peak form.

Several spots to her outside if Apple Bottom Jeans (Montrell Teague) who will leave from post five for trainer Kevin Switzer. Apple Bottom Jeans split two decisions with Use Your Noodle in the DSBF elims and owns a solid 3-6-0 slate and $90,000 bankroll from 10 starts this year. She boasts eight wins and seven second-place efforts in 16 career outings and tuned up for this event by competing in a qualifier at Scarborough Downs.

One race later the older pacers will be on display in the $40,000 Governor's Cup and Governor Jack Markell is expected to be on hand for the presentation. Railbound Sports Bettor (Morand), Leyden (Ross Wolfenden), Sparky Mark (Corey Callahan) and Bandolito (Sean Bier) will vie for favoritism and the winner's share. Bandolito, who competed in the $200,000 Bobby Quillen Memorial over this oval last September, drew post eight but arrives off a sharp 1:49.2 score at Pocono Downs.

Then one race later in the third, the pacing mares will have their chance to shine in the Legislator's Cup. With all respects to all eight starters, the Legislator's Cup looks like a match race between Empress Deo (Morand) and Purrfect Bags (Victor Kirby). Both prepped for this event by finishing one-two in the F-M A Handicap at Ocean Downs where Empress Deo prevailed narowly in 1:51.4. Either one of them could prevail on Thursday evening.

Then two races later in the fifth, the $100,000 DSBF final for three-year-old filly trotters, Cicada's Song (Carlo Poliseno) looms as the solid favorite having won her last three outings over the oval and five of seven starts overall this year. But she was unlucky in the draw, getting the dreaded eight hole and will have her work cut out for her on Thursday.

Those looking to find a spoiler will have several solid options to her inside. Epic Smash (Pat Berry) will start from post three and brings a solid 3-3-2 slate from nine starts this year. Triple Bottom Line (Jeff Fout) tuned up with a win against MDRF company at Ocean Downs, while Jasmine K (Teague) won her last two at Scarborough but will have to overcome post seven.

Several races later in the ninth, the $100,000 DSBF final for three-year-old colt trotters, also dubbed the Hal Belote Memorial in honor of the late trainer-driver who died of injuries sustained in an accident at the Delaware half-mile oval, Chipoffthewall (Tony Morgan) will seek to stay flat and maintain his dominance over this group. He was the 1-9 favorite in both of his elims, winning one of them then rallying from far back after an early break to finish second in the other.

Those who might have any doubts about Chipoffthewall's ability to stay flat at a short price will have several solid options in here. Mondello (Art Stafford, Jr.) and Seafood Scrappy have both raced well in the DSBF elims over the oval and could both reward backers with generous, inflated payoffs if Chipoffthewall does an early dance leaving the gate.

Then in the 11th, the $100,000 DSBF final for three-year-old colt pacers, the post draw may play a major role in this result.

Next Success (Morand) was the best colt throughout the elims and also added a victory against MDRF company to his resume this summer, but he drew post eight for this event and will have plenty of work to do to get involved early and then stay around for the late stages.

John's Dream (Wolfenden) has raced well throughout the DSBF series at Harrington and also at Dover and will leave from post three for owner-trainer Chuck Perry, Jr., but he has been idle since winning his second DSBF elim on June 23. Both JW Renegade (John Mackinnon) and Power To Perform both raced well in the elims and loom a factor despite getting posts six and seven, respectively, here. JW Renegade ventured to Ocean Downs and won an overnight race from post eight.