DOVER, Del.--- Always At My Place made his first visit toa winning one having just enough to nip Cajon Lightning by a short nose in the $30,000 Preferred Handicap in 1:51.1 while Sweet Rock came-on to catch Emeritus Maximus in the final strides to win the $27,500 Delaware Special on a harness racing windy and chilly Thursday, Feb. 16.
Yannick Gingras drove Always At My Place in his first start of the year for owners, trainer Ron Burke, Weaver Bruscemi, Karr and Cullar. Cajon Lightning took the lead early and led until the final strides finishing second for the fourth consecutive start. Veteran $1.5-million winner Dancin Yankee and Ross Wolfenden picked up the third place check. Always At My Place is an Always A Virgin-Best Place gelding who chalked up his 28th lifetime success lifting his career earnings to $589,122.
In the $27,500 Delaware Special Handicap. Sweet Rock and driver Allan Davis, were all out to pass veteran Emeritus Maximus (Gingras), a winner of two straight after being claimed for $15,000 last month. Emeritus Maximus took the early lead and finished a strong second in the 1:51.4 mile. Sweet Rock, a Rocknroll Hanover-Penny For Nickel gelding, scored his first win of the year for trainer Wayne Givens and Rag Hazzard, G.P. Calloway and Legacy Racing. It was his 17th career trip to the winner's circle good for $466,377 in purses. Blazing Bobby Sox, a winner of his last two in this class, closed boldly to just miss while taking show money.
On the hard-hitting undercard, Star Messenger, a horse claimed by trainer Gary Ewing in December, won for the third time with Tony Morgan at the controls notching a 1:50.2 victory, the fastest on the program, in a 1:50.2 decision winning a $15,500 Male pace.
in a $15,000 4&5-Year-Old Male pace, Gingras also drove Bad Gamer, a Badlands Hanover-Kattimon four-year-old he owns with trainer Ed Gannon Jr., Frank Canzone and BobSatini in a 1:51.4 performance.
Art Stafford Jr.'s first win came guiding Ben Stafford and Bill Dagget's Cloud Speed to a last-to-first 1:53 score in a $15,000 male pace for young horses.
Allan Davis, Yannick Gingras led all drivers with three wins apiece, Art Stafford Jr. had a double; trainer Ron Burke and owners Weaver Bruscemi along with trainer Wayne Givens and owners Reg Hazzard and Legacy Racing with two wins each.
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