Thursday Harness Preview for 2/6/2014

Molly Jo Rosen

February 6th, 2014

While weather conditions may not have been ideal for any type of racing in the Mid-Atlantic Region on Wednesday, the elements should not be an issue on Thursday when Dover Downs offers its best card of the week and Yonkers presents a 12-race program with sleeper possibilities.

In the weekly feature for older pacers at Dover, the $30,000 Open/Preferred Handicap which goes as the eighth race on the card, be willing to take a swing at Bigtown Hero. Although winless in each of his three starts at Dover since arriving from Rosecroft where he was among that track's best pacers and even upset Abelard Hanover (1:48) there one night, Bigtown Hero displayed a ton of late pace to finish fourth last week and could post a 25-1 shocker in tonight's feature.

Among his main rivals are defending champ, Dancin Yankee, a winner of all three of his starts this year in three different classes at Dover, Special Forces, a 1:49.3 winner the week before and Nova Artist, who sports a ton of current and back class for owner-trainer Eddie Davis. All three of those pacers will clearly take plenty of action, leaving Bigtown Hero as the likely longest price on the board.

Several races later on the card, take a shot on Just A Jolt, an unlucky third in his most recent outing. Last week in the same non-winners of five races lifetime group, Just A Jolt was well off the early tempo and rallied widest of all late to finish third. He should be able to work out a much better trip this evening.

Then in the very next race on the card, use both Chesapeake Bay and McMurray Hanover in this non-winners of $12,000 last six condition. Chesapeake Bay led throughout to capture a non-winners of $9001 last six class last week in determined fashion, while McMurray Hanover finished fourth while racing second over into a sharp back half in this same condition. He should also benefit from an honest tempo up front this evening.

Then in the finale, look for Hot Art to atone for a second-place finish as the 4-5 choice in this condition last week. Another pacer that was good at Rosecroft in the fall, Hot Art will start from post nine in the second tier this evening and would expect catch-driver Corey Callahan to use this one on a successful brush bid before the half and then ward off all challengers late.

Over at Yonkers Raceway, the best play of the evening occurs in the ninth. Last week Sir Lb's Z Tam (Pat Lachance) finished second as the favorite in this class in a race where he had little pace to chase. Expect his trainer-driver to be a little more aggressive with this one off the gate and that should enable Sir Lb's Z Tam to be in ideal striking position for the stretch drive over the New York half-mile oval.