Dover Downs presented its fans with a special Sunday program which showcased many of the sport’s brightest pacing and trotting stars in a trio of Matron Stakes finals and the final of the Progress Pace
Here’s a complete recap of those rich events:
$320,000 Progress Pace for three-year-old pacing colts and geldings
Rockin Image successfully wired up sophomore foes for the second week-in-a-row at Dover Downs, but this week’s payday was far greater than the money he earned in last week’s $35,000 Progress Pace elimination.
With Yannick Gingras behind the speedy Jimmy Takter-trained son of Rocknroll Hanover-Kikikatie, Rockin Image parked past the quarter pole in a :27-second clip before touching down on the lead and laying down middle splits of :55.2 and 1:22.1 en route to the 1:50.3 decision. A distant second was Delmarvalous (Brian Sears), with third prize going to Windfall Blue Chip (Montrell Teague).
The victory was sixth of the season for Rockin Image, who is owned by Susan Grange’s Lothlorien of Cheltenham, ON. The colt’s $160,000 payday helped his lifetime earnings soar to $874,016.
$237,213 Matron Stakes for three-year-old trotting colts and geldings
Wishing Stone, who was sent off as the 1-9 favourite, chased a hot pace before cruising home to a comfortable score for driver George Brennan and trainer Dewayne Minor.
The diminutive son of Conway Hall-Meadowbranch Magic sat fourth to the quarter pole while Break The Bank K (Brian Sears) ripped off an enormous opening quarter clocked in :26.1. Brennan sent Wishing Stone on the attack as the field passed in front of the grandstand, but it was still Break The Bank K in command of the tempo past the mid-way point in :54.3. Wishing Stone powered past his front-stepping foe in the backstretch, and was on the lead at the three-quarter pole in 1:24. A :29.2 final frame was more than enough for Wishing Stone to seal the deal over Hard Livin (Yannick Gingras), with Take My Picture (Andy Miller) rounding out the top three.
Cowboyland Aalborg of Highland Park, MI owns the colt, who improved his 2010 record to 6-3-2 in 15 starts with the win. The triumph bumped the youngster’s overall bankroll to $1,156,049.
$193,088 Matron Stakes for three-year-old trotting fillies
Costa Rica rallied into a slowing pace and picked up one of her richest victories of the season for the dynamic duo of driver Ron Pierce and trainer Jimmy Takter. Pierce mapped out a ground-saving trip for the daughter of Muscles Yankee-Examination, and once she found room she had no problem getting the job done.
Race favourite Behindclosedoors (Dave Palone) led the field through panels of :26.4 and :56.1 before coming under mild pressure from Action Broadway (Dave Miller). Behindclosedoors turned aside that challenge and rolled past the three-quarter pole in 1:24.4 before feeling top-of-the-stretch heat from a rallying Costa Rica. Pierce, who angled behind cover going into the final turn, fed his filly racetrack and she kicked home to win in going away fashion over Behindclosedoors in 1:55.1. Christiana Hanover (Riina Rekila) overcame traffic troubles to finish third.
Christina Takter of East Windsor, NJ shares ownership on the 16-time winner with John and Jim Fielding of Toronto, ON. The victory was the filly’s sixth of the season in 17 trips to the track, and the lion’s share of the purse bumped her overall bankroll to $1,404,244.
$186,850 Matron Stakes for three-year-old pacing fillies
Sand Windsor, who was sent off as the longest shot on the toteboard, erupted for a 44-1 shocker for the tandem of driver Brian Sears and trainer Tye Loy. The Real Desire-Time N Again miss came on late to secure the win while equaling the track record in the process.
Kates Joy (Ron Pierce) laid down a :26.1 quarter before pressed to the half in :54 by Northwest Hanover (Tim Tetrick). Ticket To Rock (Dave Miller) made a bold three-wide move in the backstretch and she had no problem sweeping to the lead, with Sand Windsor hot on her heels. Sears rallied his charge past Ticket To Rock in the closing strides en route to stopping the teletimer in 1:51. Ticket To Rock held on for the runner-up award, while Rock N Soul (Yannick Gingras), who was one half of the heavily-favoured Ron Burke-trained entry, finished third.
Bill Sanders of McDonald, TN owns the seven-time winner who now boasts a 5-2-2 record from 18 trips postward this season. Her bankroll soared to $266,607 with the win.