Homeracing

Dover Downs offers solid Thursday card

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Ted Black

January 4th, 2019

With the opening round of the National Football League playoffs just around the corner, Dover Downs offered its first Thursday card of 2019 and several pacers delivered powerful performances.

In one of the early races on the card, Casino Bags Carlo (Tony Morgan) overcame an extended first over bid to capture a split, non-winners of $9,501 last six starts class for pacers in 1:52.4 as an overlooked 10-1 shot. An eight-year-old Roddys Bags Again gelding trained by Nick Surick - recently reinstated in New Jersey following a brief suspension - kicked off his current campaign in sharp fashion with his potential Hall of Fame driver in the bike.

Then one race later in a non-winners of six races lifetime class for pacers, Iminurblindspot (Mike Cole) forged a 14-1 upset when he brushed to command before three-quarters in 1:24.2 then just outlasted Southwind Moroccan (Allan Davis) to score by a head in 1:53.4. The five-year-old Bettor's Delight gelding trained by Gary Simpson for owner Eric Good opened his 2019 slate in gritty fashion.

Then in the other non-winners of $9,501 last six starts class for pacers, Emeritus Maximus (Russell Foster) lived up to his billing as the 4-5 favorite when he gained command past a 26.3 opener, rolled by the half in 55.3 and by three-quarters in 1:23.4 then held sway late to score in 1:52.1. The nine-year-old Rocknroll Hanover stallion trained by Kyle Moore has grown accustomed to facing tougher in his career and handled conditioned foes in a promising start to 2019.

One race later in the first Winners Over class for pacers, Sweet Beach (Tim Tetrick) lived up to his role as the 4-5 favorite when he overcame an extended first over bid to score by three lengths in 1:51.2. The eight-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding trained by Joe Hundertpfund, Jr. will be a factor in similar classes throughout the meet.

Then one race later in another Winners Over class for pacers, Never Say Never N (Corey Callahan) proved resilient as the 8-5 second choice when he brushed to command before the half in 54.3, maintained an honest tempo by three-quarters in 1:22.3, rebuffed a first over bid from tepid 8-5 choice Sprinter N (Tetrick) on the far turn and then held safe Tiger Thompson (Art Stafford, Jr.) to score by a length in 1:50.4. The six-year-old Bettor's Delight stallion looks poised to have an impact in the top class.

One race later in the third Winners Over split, Bags To Riches (Victor Kirby) lived up to his billing as the solid even-money favorite when he gained command in a 27.1 opener, got a breather by the half in 55.2, rolled by three-quarters in 1:23.3 then held safe his foes late to score in 1:51.1. The former Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund star trained by Wayne Givens kicked off his 2019 campaign with a solid tally.

Then one race later in the $25,000 Open, Highalator (Montrell Teague) just lived uop to his role as the 4-5 favorite when he gained command from Sicily (Kirby) in a 26.3 opener, carved out honest fractions of 55 flat and 1:22.3 through the next two calls then held safe the 11-1 pocket sitter to score by a neck in 1:50.1. The five-year-old Somebeachsomewhere stallion trained by Jenny Bier has tried considerably tougher at other venues and looms a serious threat in the top class as long as he's around.

One race later in a non-winners of nine races lifetime class for younger pacers, Bt's Breeze (Kirby) delivered a powerful performance as the 9-5 choice. Fourth through the early stages, Bt's Breeze brushed to command past the half and owned a clear lead by three-quarters and romped home five lengths clear in 1:52.3. The four-year-old Nuclear Breeze gelding was a Maryland Sire Stakes champion in 2018 for breeder-trainer Bryan Truitt of Speciality fame two decades earlier.
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