Homeracing

Harness Preview for 9/15/2014

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Ted Black

September 15th, 2014

While most tracks offer their best cards on the weekends, Harrington Raceway is making an exception to the normal proceedings when the Delaware half-mile oval presents the $220,000 Robert Quillen Memorial final for older free-for-all pacers on Monday evening as the centerpiece of a 13-race card.

Slated as the eighth race on the program, the Quillen Memorial includes many of the best aged pacers in training, with the exception of Sweet Lou, who was not nominated to the race and Dancin Yankee, who was used hard in his elim last week and failed to earn a berth in the lucrative final. Captaintreacherous, the two-time defending champion pacer of the year, was nominated to the race but opted to bypass last week's elims.

Among the eight finalists for the Quillen are five horses trained by Ron Burke, two others trained by Linda Toscano and another conditioned by Nick Surick. All of the horses will race uncoupled for wagering purposes, although one of the Burke trainees is assuredly going to be the post time favorite. Defending Quillen hero, Clear Vision (Brett Miller) and two-time Quillen champ, Foiled Again (Yannick Gingras), runner-up to his stablemate in last year's edition, will vie for the favorite's role on Monday.

Foiled Again, the sport's all-time winningest pacer with over $6.5 million banked on the strength of 81 wins and another 85 top three efforts in his stellar, 216-race career, will likely be the post time choice. Last week the durable, 10-year-old Dragon Again gelding led throughout to capture his Quillen elim by two lengths in 1:51.3 as the overwhelming 1-9 favorite. Monday evening he will leave from the coveted rail and will be in prime position throughout, especially since his stablemates will also be on the move early.

Although he will start from post five and does not possess the same early speed of his famed stablemate, Clear Vision is certainly going to be a factor late. The eight-year-old Western Hanover gelding rallied first over to capture last week's elim by two lengths in 1:49.3, but at some point this evening he will likely garner favorable cover. Clear Vision arrives as the defending Quillen champ and he also boasts career earnings of over $2 million thanks to a solid 28-33-23 slate from 157 lifetime outings. He also tends to thrive in the fall.

Two of the other three Burke trainees for the final, Easy Again (Ron Pierce) and Bettor's Edge (Matt Kakaley) have both speed and talent. Easy Again, who will leave from post two, finished second behind Foiled Again in their elim last week, ending a four-race win streak. Bettor's Edge, who will leave from post seven, has plenty of early speed to overcome the outside draw and will likely be firing off the gate when the wings fold. He was a good second to Clear Vision in their elim last week. Aracache Hanover (Ross Wolfenden) had the misfortune of drawing post eight for the final and could be the only Burke trainee to depart without a check.

Trainer Linda Toscano will send out a pair of talented pacers, Doctor Butck (Tony Morgan) and Heston Blue Chip (Tim Tetrick), both of which finished fourth in their respective elims last week and will start from posts three and four, respectively. Doctor Butch, a four-year-old Art Major stallion, had won his previous two outings against conditioned foes at Yonkers and has enough early speed to stay in contention. Heston Blue Chip, a five-year-old American Ideal stallion two years removed from being champion three-year-old colt pacer, has won 34 of 65 lifetime starts and sports a career bankroll in excess of $1.75 million.

Trainer Nick Surick will send out Tarpon Hanover (Marcus Miller), who was a solid third after a first over journey while chasing Foiled Again last week. Tarpon Hanover owns a solid 6-7-5 slate from 31 starts this year, but his most recent victory came against low-level conditioned foes at Tioga Downs. Compromising his chances is the simple fact that Tarpon Hanover will start from post six this evening and he lacks the gate speed to get involved in the early action and he will also be a victim of excess cover when the serious racing begins on the far turn.

But Surick could have a winner earlier on the card when Versado (Marcus Miller) leaves from the coveted rail in the $17,000 Open. Last week on the Quillen undercard, Versado, who was actually among the noms for the Quillen, overcame post six to lead throughout to capture the $13,000 Open II in 1:52.2 as the 3-10 choice for his 40th career score. He will likely not be the post time favorite this evening, but the seven-year-old Dragon Again gelding has plenty of early speed and back class as the lone millionaire in the group and he will be a factor throughout.

Burke trainee Bettor Than You (Gingras) will be the likely choice although he will start from post six. The four-year-old Bettor's Delight gelding posted a 17-1 upset in the winners over class at Harrah's Philadelphia last Sunday, touring the five-eighths mile oval in 1:50.2 for his fourth win in 21 starts this year.

But local fans will be rooting for a pair of hometown horses to topple the invaders. Just A Jolt (Victor Kirby) and Malak Uswaad N (Tetrick), the one-two finishers in the $40,000 Governor's Cup here on the lucrative July 24 Governor's Day card here, have both thrived over the local strip. Just A Jolt was easily the top pacer in the spring for trainer Jim King, Jr. while Malak Uswaad N raced bravely first over while settling for second in the Governor's Cup in his title defense for trainer Peter Tritton and merits plenty of respect in this spot.
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