Day At The Track

Dover Downs 46th season highlights

01:52 PM 30 Oct 2015 NZDT
Comment (...) Tweet Share Email Print
Corey Callahan
Corey Callahan last season finished with the Leading Driver title winning 284 races

DOVER, Del---- With Dover Downs' 47th harness racing meet set to go on Monday, Nov. 2, a review of the 2014-2015 season remembers: Unlike the recent seasons which offered much good weather from start to finish, last season was one of chilly and cold weather particularly starting Jan. 1, 2015 when many of the top horses and horsemen again campaigned at Dover Downs.

-------------------------------------------------

For the sixth straight meet, Corey Callahan finished with the Leading Driver title winning 284 races. As last meet, Dylan Davis was Leading Trainer coming from behind to beat Doug Lewis and Wayne Givens for first place, haltering 64 winners. The Horse of the Meet balloting by Delaware Valley chapter U.S. Harness Writers Association went to the fast Bandolito who edged trotter Tough Mac and pacer Jebswesternshark.

------------------------------------------------

Callahan's meet-leading win total 284 was followed by Allan Davis, second, with 143. Vic Kirby moved into third-place with 138 winners. Tony Morgan was fourth with 116 wins. Ross Wolfenden, fifth, with105 winners. Defending champion Dylan Davis' late-meet surge in training wins took the title for the second-straight meet, with 64 wins. Doug Lewis was second with 60 winners. Jim King with 57 victories finished third place. Wayne Givens completes the top 5 with 54 wins.

------------------------------------------------

Tony Morgan became the third North American driver and fourth in the world to reach 15,000 wins with a victory on the opening card at Harrah's Philadelphia in Chester, Pa. Morgan was a longtime driving champion in Illinois prior to coming to Dover Downs where he made an immediate impact winning a track one-meet record of 447 in 2005-06 and more than 1-thousand wins in one season. Morgan won his 11,000th and later his 13,000th wins at the track. He also has been a standout at Harrington Raceway as well. Only all-time leader, Dave Palone, nearing 17-thousand wins, German driver Heinz Wevering and Herve Filion, both with more than 15-thousand wins, lead Morgan.

-------------------------------------------

Bandolito and Jebswesternshark became the first sub-150 pacers of the meet on the March 26 card. Bandolito, who equaled the track record of 1:48 in 2014, first set by Heston Blue Chip in 2012, came within one-fifth of a second duplicating the feat. One race later, Jebswesternshark, who started the meet as a $15,000 Claimer, before ascending to top class pacers, scored wire-to-wire, in 1:49.1. The 10-year-old won two $26,000 Delaware Specials after three consecutive wins in the claiming ranks.

-----------------------------------------

A 2014 Matron Stakes resume: heavy rain just before the first raced forced a half-hour delay, but it did not deter a giant night of racing when all eight Matron Stakes were featured on the Nov. 6 card. Yannick Gingras won three Matrons for two-year-old trotters and pacers. Gingras won both ends of the daily double piloting world champion Wild Honey, 1-9, to win the $203,800 frosh filly trot and then Habitat, now 7 for 11, from off the pace, to win the $237,500 Two-Year-Old Colt Trot. In The Arsenal fired early for Brian Sears and never looked back to notch the $193,200 Matron two-year-old male pacer by 1-1/4 lengths in 1:51 and Sassa Hanover led a sweep of the top three spots for trainer Ron Burke in the $199,600 Matron Stakes for two-year-old female pacers. Starting from post 8, Sassa Hanover and driver Gingras rushed to the front in :26.2 and then cruised to a ninth victory in 11 starts. Weeper flew to the front in 25.4 and then closed from fourth with Ron Pierce driving for a 1:50 victory in the three-year-old filly pace. In the glamor trots, Nuncio, who won the freshman Matron a year before, pulled a mild surprise in the big trot, leaving from post 8 and waltzing to an easy victory when stablemate $2.2-million winner Father Patrick broke stride after the start. The sensations Shake It Cerry was an easy winner of her 14th in 16 starts in the $179,200 filly trot. And, in the $186,550 three-year-old colt pace, Big Boy Dreams made a three-wide move around the final turn on the way to a 24-1 upset victory for Pierce.

------------------------------------------------------

Breeders Crown winner McWicked, swept the 2014 Progress Pace, winning his $35,000 Prevue and the $300,000 Final with similar 1:48.4 victories, two of the fastest clockings at the track. To race in the Progress Pace, McWicked had to be supplemented with a paid fee of $25,000. It was worth it, winning the $301,560 Progress Pace Final.

-----------------------------------------------

The Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund (DSBF) three-year-old stakes dominated meet-closing week festivities. The top eight point-getters after two preliminaries legs in each of the four divisions qualified for $100,000 finals. Callmema (Call-Me- Miz- A) won the $100,000 filly trot after favorite I Love Punk broke stride before the start. Political Foe breezed through the $100,000 male trot. DSBF preliminary two $20,000 legs winners were I Got Spunk, Dancing Shirley and Penny Paratrooper and Callmemza, in a dead-heat, in filly trots. Political Foe and Go Byem were male trot winners. The filly pace winners were Rusty's For Real and Purrfect Bags while Smoking Joey and Sonofa Sizzle won the two colt and gelding paces.

-------------------------------------------

The 2014 Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund (DSBF) two-year-old season was arguably one of the best in its history. With $20,000 preliminaries and $100,000 finals, competition was keen. A gelding, Remember Me VK, 1:51.4, and Totally Rusty, 1:52, turned in the fastest win times taking the male and female paces. Three geldings shared the former record of 1:52.4, Valerin K in 2004, Western Ace and Quick Trim in 2005. The former filly record was 1:53.4 set by Double Flip in 2006. Egosnattitude and Penny Paratrooper won the male and female trotting finals.

--------------------------------------------

In early, 2015, on a Monday-Thursday stretch, Corey Callahan won 24 races. The track's leading driver since the 2009-10 meet won seven races on Tuesday (2/17). Callahan followed with an eight-win night, one fewer than the track record of nine wins, (set Feb. 2,2011) by Tim Tetrick.

----------------------------------------------

Ross Wolfenden had a banner week in early December. Along with driving Penny Paratrooper to victory in the $100,000 DSBF frosh filly final, Wolfenden then became a member of the 6,000-win club on Dec.2, a three-win day.

-----------------------------------------------

Callahan reached a milestone (Jan. 6) recording his 4,000th career winning drive. The University of Kentucky graduate, became a driver at a rather older age, in his late-20s. Callahan comes from a dual harness family. Both his father's and mother's families have rich standardbred backgrounds. In 2013, Callahan represented the U.S.A. in the World Driver Tournament. During the 2014 North American campaign, he was a top 10 finisher in both wins and money won.

-----------------------------------------------

During 2014-2015, Callahan has the highest UDRS (equivalent to a batting average) at .412.Ron Pierce was second at .400. Tim Tetrick was third with a .350 rating, Vic Kirby, fourth, at .288 and Ross Wolfenden, fifth, .261.

--------------------------------------------------------

In trainer statistics, Amanda Payson has the highest 'batting average.' She has started 36 horses with 16 winners in 42 starts for a standout .508 percentage. Vic Kirby has haltered 19 wins from 73 starters, good for a .400 rating and third in the standings. Eric Ell is next with a .419 UTRS winning 34 races form 134 starts. Dylan Davis is the only other conditioned over .408. He won 64 races in 231 starts for a .404 percentage.

------------------------------------------

Two popular drivers, Ross Wolfenden and Tim Tetrick, were among the missing in late February. Wolfenden vacationed until mid -March with his family in New Zealand. Tetrick was also Down Under, competing in the World Driver Championship representing the U.S.A. against the best in Europe and Australasia in a week-long competition. There was a changing of the guard in March, Hall of Fame driver Ron Pierce was sidelined to undergo several laser surgeries on his neck and back. Meanwhile, popular driver Trace Tetrick, who spent most of the last two season racing at Dover Downs, returned to Indiana and Hoosier Park where he is leading driver.

-------------------------------------------

Dover Downs' horseman, Al "Rusty" Carter has raced horses in Delaware for more than a decade. Along with breeding and owning horses, plus coaching young boy and girl athletes in theWilmington, Del. area. Now driving racing cars has become another pastime. In recent years, Carter has competed in a number of popular automobile races and in January, his racing team won at Dayton and then finished a close fourth at Sebring in April . His Carter Racing Stable bred and owned Totally Rusty, the only foal of his stallion, Rusty's For Real, from Careter's mare, Rusty's Joy, scored an all-time fastest 1:52 clocking in the Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund (DSBF) program for two-year-olds. The former DSBF record was 1:53.4 set by Double Flip (Tony Morgan) in 2006. Totally Rusty came back in April to score a 1:52.3 over a 'sloppy' track, one fifth of a second off the track record for a DSBF sophomore filly pacer.

------------------------------

Ken Wood continued his humanitarian effort of bringing fresh water to Western Africa. Wood returned from his 35th, 36th and 37th trips to West Africa. The Dover Downs horseman digs wells by trade. Usually four times each year, Wood takes a three-weeks long, 20,000 mile round-trip digging wells for the needy in Ghana and 2,000 miles away, Tanzania. Digging wells in West Africa, has been Wood's on-going personal campaign to provide water first to Ghana, and now expanded to the nation of Tanzania. Wood's acclaimed, 'Wells for Ghana' drilling provides water to inhabitants who previously had to walk five miles to find water deemed unsafe for human conception. Over the years, Wood has built more than 1,400 wells in Ghana and around 300 new Tanzania wells. These wells built by Wood serve more than 2-million native Africans, who until now never have had fresh water. Woods' humanitarian undertaking is underwritten by purse monies won by horses Wood owns and races.

-------------------------------------------------------------

Heather Vitale was a 2014-season double winner at the U.S.Harness Writers Association's (USHWA) Dan Patch Awards-Dinner, in Orlando, Fla., Feb. 22, where the top honors are passed out to top horses and individuals. In the broadcasting category, Ms. Vitale's feature on top trainer Casey Coleman on CBS Sports Network and another, on harness racing in Ireland shown on WBOC-TV'sPost Time show, were winners.

-----------------------------------------------------

For four decades on Veteran's Day, Nov. 11, members of the Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH), led by 85-year-old former Dover Downs horseman, Moses Asia, and his fellow winners of the prestigious Purple Heart awarded for exceptional bravery in battle, presented an engraved blanket to race winner, Stirling Breeze, trained by Kerry King and driven by Jason Thompson. In 2014, MOPH members honored one of their own, the late Charles Williams, who served with 83rd Infantry division in the European Theater in World War II. He was twice wounded and awarded two Purple Hearts and Oak Leaf Cluster, the Bronze Star and V Devise and Combat Badge for his military service.

Marv Bachrad

Comment (...) Tweet Share Email Print

Read More News About...

Stallion Name

Next article: