Delaware harness scene shift
While racing fans are still trying to collect their breath after watching American Pharoah decimate his rivals in the Grade I, $5 million Breeders Cup Classic on Saturday afternoon at Keeneland Race Course in Kentucky, harness racing fans throughout the Mid-Atlantic Region are eager for the start of the Dover Downs meet on Monday afternoon.
While many harness racing tracks usually offer their best cards on the weekends, Dover Downs typically sends its best pacers onto the track on Monday and does not offer live racing on Saturday or Sunday. The formula has actually worked well for the Delaware five-eighths mile oval since there is typically little competition for the signal on Monday nights and incoming simulcast figures have usually been strong.
On Monday's opening night card a trio of races on the back half of the card are worth the wait. In the eighth, the $14,000 3-4-5-Year-Old Open, Major Uptrend looms the favorite despite drawing post eight thanks to nine wins and earnings of $115,000 this year and a seasonal mark of 1:49.2 from 24 starts. But those looking to upend the choice will find three playable options toward the inside in Remember Me VK, Bad Boy Matt and Four Staces. Remember Me VK and Bad Boy Matt faced many of the best horses at Harrington at that meet.
Then one race later in the ninth, a non-winners of $12,001 last six starts class for older pacers, any number of horses could prevail in this wide open, contentious event. Bristol Bay looms the favorite from post seven, but the inside quartet of Rock n'Roll Jet, Don't Ya Know, Pierce and Summer Camp will make their presence known throughout the mile. Summer Camp once competed in the tough George Morton Levy Memorial Series at Yonkers Raceway and is capable of rejoining the local Open ranks.
Speaking of which, the $20,000 Open follows immediately as the tenth race on the card and features a pair of top-notch older pacers. Dancin Yankee owns a 4-6-2 slate and seasonal earnings of nearly $280,000 and a mark of 1:48.3 from just 22 starts this year for trainer Josh Green on what would be viewed as a successful campaign for many but somewhat disappointing for this talented pacer who earned nearly $600,000 a year ago. But Dancin Yankee should handle this group as the 6-5 choice, although the presence of Just A Jolt, another very talented local star who has banked $125,000 this year and successfully defending his title in the Governor's Cup could make things interesting in the lane.
This Thursday evening Dover Downs will host four Matron Stakes for two-year-olds, one each for both gaits and genders and then next Thursday, November 12 the track will present the Matron Stakes for three-year-olds on a stellar card that should include local pacing stars Wiggle It Jiggleit and Wakizashi Hanover and trotters Mission Brief, Pinkman and Wild Honey.