Courtly Choice To The Quillen
Top older pacers will battle in the 13th annual $150,000 Bobby Quillen Memorial on Monday (Sept. 16) at Harrington Raceway, and Canadian Pacing Derby winner Courtly Choice will be among the entrants.
The race, carded as the eighth event on a 14-race program, is named in honour of long time Delaware legislator Bobby Quillen, who passed away in 2006. Quillen was a regular at the racetrack and a board member of Harrington Raceway.
The field is an accomplished bunch that includes Courtly Choice (7-1, James MacDonald). Owned by Hutt Racing Stable, Mac and Heim Stables, and Touchstone Farms, the four-year-old Art Major stallion is still revered for his impressive Little Brown Jug win and Meadowlands Pace wins as a sophomore and has elevated his game nicely as a four-year-old.
Joe P Racing and Oldford Racing’s None Bettor A (3-1, Jason Bartlett) has plenty of half-mile experience, and his $317,470 in seasonal earnings is second only to Courtly Choice in the field. He recently won the $100,000 Great Northeast Open Series final at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on Sept. 9.
Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi and J&T Silva’s Backstreet Shadow (6-1, Tim Tetrick) hails from the barn that has won the most Quillen finals: that of trainer Ron Burke. Burke has had unparalleled success in the track’s signature event, having won the Quillen on six previous occasions.
Last year’s Quillen runner up, Northfork Racing and Chuck Pompey’s Scott Rocks (12-1, Eric Goodell), is back as the elder statesman in the field at age nine, and is one of two million-dollar earners in the field.
Local standout Slick Tony (12-1, Russell Foster) is fresh off two straight wins over the track and has racked up 28 wins in 62 lifetime starts. The George Leager trainee is the only horse in the field who has a win over the track.
Completing the field are Laurie Poulin and Mike Deters’ Prairie Panther (6-1, Tyler Buter), Harold Bauder’s Sectionline Bigry (5-2, Tyler Smith), and Brittany Farms, Marvin Katz and American History Racing’s American History (9-2, Joe Bongiorno). The aforementioned American History has recently regained top form after a stellar sophomore season in which he banked $539,682 for trainer Tony Alagna. Sectionline Bigry may be dubbed the field’s “mystery horse.” The four-year-old Pet Rock gelding has been the scourge of Open level events in Ohio and won an Ohio Sires Stakes event in a lifetime best of 1:49.2, but is relatively untested versus Monday’s competition.
Racing fans will also have access to the richest Standardbred in harness racing history, Foiled Again, who will have a special “meet and greet” located in the parking lot west of the grandstand area at approximately 4:30 p.m. It is only fitting that the only three-time winner of the Quillen Memorial be present the night of the race.
Also on the wagering card will be three $20,000 first-leg divisions for two-year-old pacers of the Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund. Two divisions with 15 combined male pacers will be contested in the seventh and ninth races, while one five-horse filly division is on the card as the 13th, with one non-wagering event at 4:10 p.m. As is often the case with two-year-olds, the fields feature many first time starters, as only three horses have notched wins already in their career. Two Les Givens trainees, American Nitro (Victor Kirby) and Bag Of Jewels (Kirby), and the Virginia Louthan-trained Spin Sumthin (Foster) are the only freshmen with wins thus far among the lightly-raced group.
Post time is 4:30 p.m. Eastern.