Day At The Track

20-1 Twilight Bonfire upsets Sunshine Beach

02:42 PM 25 Nov 2013 NZDT
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Twilight Bonfire beats Sunshine Beach in Progress Pace Preview

20-1 Twilight Bonfire and driver Tim Tetrick pulled off the upset of the day as they were able to collar the 1/9 favorite, Sunshine Beach, at the wire and post a neck victory in winning the $35,000 Progress Pace Preview at Dover Downs Sunday.

With Vegas Vacation an early scratch Sunday morning and now turned out for the year, all eight three-year-old pacers left in the Progress elimination still had to compete and the role of heavy favorite fell upon Sunshine Beach and driver John Campbell.

The 10th race feature started off with Ronny Bugatti and driver Jason Barlett shooting to the early lead from post two with Emeritus Maximus (Simon Allard) grabbing the two-hole spot. They raced that way to the opening quarter mile in :27.1 and then to the half mile marker in an easy :56.1. It was then that John Campbell started moving first-over with Sunshine Beach and Twilight Bonfire, who had to start in the second tier, found clearance to grab the second-over spot following Sunshine Beach.

They raced that way past the three-quarters in 1:24 as Campbell urged Sunshine Beach on and they took the lead away from a tired Ronny Bugatti on the final turn and the 1/9 favorite looked to be an easy winner coming down the stretch.

But no one told that to Twilight Bonfire as Tetrick urged his colt on and they caught Sunshine Beach and passed him by at the finish in 1:51.2. Dedi’s Dragon (Ron Pierce) was third. All eight starters will return next Sunday for the $300,000 Progress Final.

“I really like this little guy,” said Tim Tetrick. “He’s not the best but he is real handy and likes the work. When he trips out like this he can beat good horses and he proved that tonight. I drove him at Yonkers and he closed well again and finished third in the Messenger. Since I have been driving him I love the little guy. Paul (Reid) had done a good job with him. He’s great to drive with just two fingers. He loves coming off cover which he proved tonight. I was hoping to follow someone good, it does not only work that way but it did tonight.”

Sired by The Panderosa, it was the third win this season for Twilight Bonfire. He is trained by Paul Reid and is bred and owned by Robert Key of Leechburg, PA. For the season, Twilight Bonfire has earnings of $585,000. At odds of 20-1, Twilight Bonfire paid $43.20 to win.

By Steve Wolf for

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