Thursday Harness Preview for 3/27/2014
by Ted Black
Perhaps with spring finally to take hold in the Mid-Atlantic region, things will warm up on several levels as Dover Downs and Yonkers host competitive standardbred cards on Thursday evening.
Dover Downs typically reserves its best cards for Thursday and this week is no exception. In addition to the dozen contentious overnight races on the program, the track also offers a trio of Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund events for three-year-old colt pacers seeking to earn a berth in the $100,000 DSBF final here next month.
Leading off a handful of solid plays this evening is Electrify, who should finally garner his first win of the season in the third race, a non-winners of four races lifetime event. Electrify set most of the early fractions before settling for third as the 8-5 favorite in this class last week, but he should be able to make amends this week and prevail for the first time in nine tries on the campaign.
Several races later in the ninth, a non-winners of $12,000 last six class for older pacers, look for Its That Time to rebound from a narrow defeat in his most recent try. Last week he set the early fractions before being overhauled late by the gritty Fancyfreeshark and Its That Time settled for a dead-heat for second with the classy Poker Hat. But look for Its That Time to emerge victorious in this class tonight.
One race later in the featured $30,000 Open/Preferred Handicap, look for Nova Artist to rebound from a good, second-place effort in the Delaware Special last week. Emeritus Maximus, who won the 5-under Open twice before sitting out last week, steps up to the unlimited Open this week and will be the favorite. But Nova Artist should have the edge in fitness on that one this week and he will likely be a higher price as well.
Three races later in the 13th, stick around to watch Fire In The Belly seek his sixth straight victory to start the season. The Jim King, Jr. trainee has won all five of his starts this year and displayed plenty of grit last week while outlasting Ideal American - who made a late break - for the narrow score. Three starts back Fire In The Belly uncorked a stellar 1:50.3 victory and could be headed for the Open before the meet ends next month.
Then in the finale look for McMurray Hanover to finally attain his first win of the campaign in this non-winners of $9001 last six conditioned affair. With three second- and four third-place finishes to his credit from eight starts this year, McMurray Hanover has been a model of consistency despite his bridesmaid status thus far in 2014 and this evening he could finally find the winner's circle at 8-1 or better.
Over at Yonkers Raceway in New York, a pair of pacers on the latter half of the card look poised to find the winner's circle and both should be at least 4-1 this evening.
In the eighth, a non-winners of $8000 last six starts class for filly-mare pacers, give Ailibi Hanover a chance to prevail while starting from post five. Last week she raced second over and three-wide down the backside and through the far turn and finished a game second, beaten just a neck. Tonight she should be on the move earlier and then able to overhaul her rivals in the lane.
One race later in the ninth, a $25,000 claiming affair, look for Talktomecourage N to regain his winning ways after a very good effort last week. Already boasting three wins and two runner-up efforts from seven starts this year, Talktomecourage N was beaten just a neck after a game, first over try at this level last week. He will start from post five this week, but should be able to pick up live cover after an early tuck.