Thursday Harness Preview for 3/20/2014
by Ted Black
Harness racing fans will gladly bid the winter a fond farewell as spring arrives and those who venture to Dover Downs on Thursday evening will benefit from the warmer temperatures and the contentious action of the 15-race card, literally from start to finish.
In the opening race on the program, the first leg of the Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund for three-year-old pacing colts, look for Elite Awards to begin the campaign in sharp fashion and expect Art Retreat to be in contention throughout. Elite Awards was unfortunate to miss the second round of DSBF finals last fall due to an illness, but he has been training smartly and tuned up with a sharp 1:54.3 qualifying score.
Then in the next race on the card, a non-winners of three event for pacers, look for Electricconnection to foil Spring Terror's bid for a perfect campaign while Lima Showoff, who has been second three times in four outings, could also garner an upset. Electricconnection has displayed plenty of ability in the early stages of his career and that should continue on Thursday.
The fourth race, a non-winners of $9001 last six starts condition for older pacers, a trio of horses have a legitimate chance at success. Charger and Cool have both been knocking on the door in middle conditions, and Wild Shot Hanover, who drew the eight hole, delivered a very sharp effort last week in a non-winners of $6001 last six class. Either of the three could prevail, but Cool looks poised to garner his first win of the season at a generous price.
In the eighth, the Open for five-year-old and under pacers, the remaining six horses will not regret the absence of Emeritus Maximus, who won the two previous editions of this event. Lindwood Player should be the primary beneficiary and Wahine will also be a major factor in this affair. Mr Dennis, who is winless on the season, could finally prevail at a nice price.
Then two races later in the featured, $27,500 Delaware Special, look for Artists Rally to emerge victorious in this deep affair. Last week's winner, Nova Artist, is going to be a major player despite his outside post draw and the classy Jeremy's Successor will be very formidable from the rail. But Artists Rally, who won this class three starts back, could regain his winning ways in this event at a good price.
Several races later in the 13th, look for a pacer of classy pacers to complete the exacta. Cams Art, a former hero of the Open and Delaware Special at this oval, has the rail while Poker Hat, who was once among the top overnight horses on the New York circuit, will leave from post four having found some youth in his aging legs. Cams Art is listed at 10-1 on the morning line, but he is worth using on top and underneath in the exactas.
Then in the finale, all eyes will certainly be on Fire In The Belly, who has won all four of his starts this year and boasts a seasonal mark of 1:50.4. Although he will start from post nine in the second tier, Fire In The Belly will likely be on the move well before the half and he should be able to dictate the tempo and maintain the perfect start to his campaign. His performance should be well worth the wait for those willing to stay for all 15 races on the card.