Harrington Raceway hosts Governor

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Ted Black

July 25th, 2017

While most thoroughbred and standardbred race tracks typically offer their best cards on the weekends, Harrington Raceway in Delaware will buck their trend twice this season and the first of those occasions will take place on Thursday when the track presents the lucrative Governor's Day card highlighting the best Delaware-owned and bred pacers and trotters in training.

In fact, Thursday's opening race is the $100,000 Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund final for three-year-old pacing fillies and it has been dubbed the Ben Stafford, Jr. Memorial in honor of the late trainer-driver who passed away earlier this year at the age of 43.

Trainer Jim King, Jr. will send out a trio of starters in the final, including likely post time choice Logan's Girl (Victor Kirby), along with Spanish Dream (Tim Tetrick) and Lillisbagsrpacked (Allan Davis). Logan's Girl won both of her DSBF elims as the odds-on choice in 1:54.4 and 1:55, respectively, while Spanish Dream won her second elim in 1:55.3 after finishing a nondescript sixth as the 3-5 choice in the first one.

Both Free Flight Fran (Ross Wolfenden) and Lunar Phase (Art Stafford, Jr.) loom serious upset prospects in this event. Free Flight Fran won her first DSBF elim in 1:54.3 for trainer Josh Green before being nailed in the second one by Spanish Dream. Lunar Phase, heroine of the first DSBF final for this group back in April at Dover Downs for her trainer-driver, finished second and third in her two elims then won a Maryland Standardbred Race Fund split at Ocean Downs in 1:55.1.

One race later the top Delaware-owned older pacers will clash in the $40,000 Governor's Cup and First State Delaware Jack Markell is expected to be on hand for the trophy presentation.Railbound Remember Me VK (Montrell Teague), Poisonous (Wolfenden) and Captive Audience (Corey Callahan) are expected to vie for favoritism in this event. Poisonous arrives off two sharp qualifiers for trainer Josh Green, while Captive Audience exits the Open Handicap at Ocean Downs his last two outings.

One race later in the $30,000 Legislator's Cup, the top Delaware-owned pacing mares will be on display in a competitive event in which the best mares drew outside. Hostess Lisa (Tony Morgan) will leave from post five three starts after winning the F-M Open Hcp here, Purrfect Bags (Kirby) will start from post six seeking to end a prolonged bridesmaid status with six second-place finishes in her last seven starts and Apple Bottom Jeans (Teague), a past DSBF final hero on the card, will leave from post seven following a good third-place effort against the F-M Open Hcp ranks at Yonkers Raceway in New York and looms the favorite despite the outside draw.

Then one race later in the $20,000 President's Cup for Delaware-owned older pacers, McKenry (Bret Brittingham) drew the rail and could be a solid candidate for two trophy presentations. The five-year-old McArdle gelding trained by Donald Brittingham drew the rail and could be an odds-on choice here to garner the ceremonial blanket and his connections will also depart with the trophy for being tabbed as the Rosecroft Raceway horse of the meet by members of the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the U.S. Harness Writers Association.

One race later in the $100,000 DSBF final for three-year-old filly trotters, named in honor of the late Jack Walls, the longtime track president at Harrington, Spoonful (Callahan) rates the favorite from post three for trainer Les Givens, having won four of eight starts this year, one of which as the choice in a DSBF elim. Luv Is Blind (Kirby) captured her second DSBF elim after finishing second in the opening leg and merits solid consideration from post five, while dual elim winner Political Energy (Russell Foster) will start from post six.

Then several races later in the $100,000 DSBF final for three-year-old colt trotters, named in honor of the late trainer-driver Hal Belote who died as the result of an accident at Harrington the previous decade, Master Clave (Wolfenden) looms the odds-on choice from post four having won five of six starts this year and 10 of 14 overall for owner-breeder Benjamin Brooks. Moonshine Lavec (Sean Bier), second in each of his two elims, will leave from post three while dual elim winner Master Kingpin (Stafford) drew the coveted rail for owner-trainer-breeder Thomas O. Lail.

Then two races later in the $100,000 DSBF final for three-year-old pacing colts, much of the attention will be focused on the sophomore pacers who drew middle posts and outward.

Henry The Dragon (Brittingham) arrives off two sharp qualifiying scores for owner-trainer George Teague, Jr. and gets post four here. Automatic Dragon (Kirby) won both of his elims for trainer Robert W. Clark and leaves from post five, while Daiymir (Teague), another dual winner for "Team Teague" drew post six and Bags To Riches (Tetrick), a 1:51.4 DSBF elim winner last month, got post seven. Ain't It Fun (Wolfenden) drew the rail for "Team Teague" while Hallie's Comet (Pat Lachance) got post two. James Isaac (Morgan) drew post three for King, while River's Crest (Stafford) arrives off two straight scores but garnered the dreaded eight hole.

In addition to those four $100,000 DSBF finals there are also four $20,000 DSBF consolations and several other overnight races on the card for Delaware-owned trotters and pacers, a 13-race card that gets underway at 7 p.m.