Day At The Track

Mel Mara, Christen Me N head Preferred

02:44 PM 07 Dec 2017 NZDT
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Soto, harness racing
A potent rival to the big guns is Soto, to be handled by Art Stafford Jr.
Foto Won Photo

DOVER, Del.--- Another Thursday and another banner harness racing program at Dover Downs headlined by A $30,000 Preferred and a $25,000 Open pace on a speedy card on Dec. 7.

All six starters in the $30,000 Preferred are used to racing in 1:50 or faster. Mel Mara, owned by Robert Cooper and J&T Silva stables with driver Corey Callahan, has a personal record of 1:47, Major Uptrend won in 1:49 this year at Dover Downs with Tony Morgan in the bike. Richard Pollucci's Christen Me N, a $2-million winner and former star New Zealand champion leaves from the outside with Ross Wolfenden.

Since arriving in the U.S, Christen Me N has three wins and a close-up second in his last four starts. Mel Mara, arguably one of the fastest horses in North America, is approaching the $1-million mark in career earnings. Major Uptrend has been a local favorite since entering the Tim Crissman Stable. He leaves from the rail after a1:49.2 near-wire-to-wire win last week.

Other potent rivals are Soto, handled by Art Stafford Jr., who races for Ken Wood, Bill Dittmar and Steve Iaquinta, is an ultra-consistent perfomer who shows in his seven recent races with three seconds and three thirds. Sweet Rock, piloted by Vic Kirby, has a win, two seconds and a third in his last four outings for Reg Hazzard , G.P.Calloway and Legacy Racing while Gus Dovi's Bettor Memories, with Russell Foster, has battled top class Pacers in Preffered and Open company.

The $25,000 Open Handicap is another strong affair. Last week's winner, Only Money Inc. and trainer Jason Skinner's Bags To Riches (Foster), the only three-year-old in the field won in 1:49.4. Sicily (Montrell Teague) finished second while Cajon Lightning (Stafford Jr.) only three-quarters of a length back after starting from outside post 8. JoAnn Looney King's Q's Cruise (Kirby) was fourth.

The rest of the field includes Mildred Ventriglio's Kid PK (Morgan), Arque Hanover (Callahan) owned by Tom Lazzaro, Abe Basen, and Robert Cooper Stables. With George &Tina Dennis Racing's Forty Five Red (Eddie Davis Jr.) assigned post 1.

There is also a talented supporting card on the 13-race program.

Dover Downs has added a 50-cent Pick 5 wager, starting with the 2nd race through the 6th. A late daily double is carded for the 12th and 13th races.

Dover Downs races four days a week, Monday through Thursday with post time at 4:30 p.m. Fine food is available while watching the races at the acclaimed Winner's Circle Restaurant Buffet. Call 302-674-4600 for reservations.

Simulcasting of harness and thoroughbred races each day from 12 Noon until 12 Midnight in the Race and Sports Book.

Marv Bachrad

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