Day At The Track

Davis playing Claim game well at TheBigM

07:00 PM 24 Feb 2019 NZDT
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Castle Flight, harness racing
Castle Flight unleashed a powerhouse performance
Lisa Photo

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - It looks like harness racing trainer Dylan Davis, a Dover Downs regular, is preparing to do some damage at the Meadowlands. In fact, he's already started doing just that.

Davis' Castle Flight, a $50,000 claim two weeks ago, was a determined winner Saturday night in the Meadowlands' weekly pacing feature, the $21,000 Preferred Handicap for pacers.

The 7-year-old gelded son of Panspacificflight-O Narutac Castle unleashed a powerhouse performance, cutting out fractions of :26.3, :55 and 1:22.1, before hitting the wire in 1:49.3 for driver Yannick Gingras. It was the first sub-1:50 mile this year at the Big M. New Talent was a half-length back in second with 2-1 public choice K Ryan Bluechip third.

"I think the horse was sharp before I got him," said Davis, "I raced against him at Hoosier Park so I know a lot about him. I'm very impressed with him."

When Castle Flight ($7.80 to win as the second choice) debuted in the Preferred ranks on Feb. 16, he finished a good second to K Ryan Bluechip. This time, there was no doubt who was best, as Castle Flight, who is owned by Michael Casalino Jr., won his 24th race in 133 career starts, good for a bankroll of $249,776.

Just one race before Castle Flight established his new lifetime best, Davis and his owners (Casalino and Tom Lazzaro) took another horse for $50,000, the red-hot Mindtrip, who won his third straight at the tough non-winners of $15,000 level for pacers, on the front end in a lifetime-best 1:50. Mitch Cushing drove the winner, who was trained by Patti Harmon.

"I was sitting with Mr. Casalino when Mindtrip won," said Davis, "And I told him, 'I think this one's better than Castle Flight', but then Castle Flight went out and won in 1:49(.3). I noticed on the condition sheets that the Meadowlands is writing higher-priced claimers. I see there's a $50-60,000 claimer coming. Hey, if I can make $10,000 in a week it's not the worst day if I lose him for $60,000, and if I don't, we'll just make as much money with him as we can. But, he could race in the preferred, so ultimately, what class he races in is the decision of my owners."

Davis and his owners are no doubt looking to the future and the $40,000 per-card purse increase that will come to the Meadowlands, effective Friday, March 1. They will start the era with a pair of aces in their barn.

A LITTLE MORE: Some good handicapping and some good luck led to a big payoff in the 50-Cent Pick-5. A total of $67,180 was bet on the wager that begins in Race 1, and when favorites failed to win even one leg, those who had winning tickets walked away with $14,703.30. ... The 50-Cent Pick-4 attracted total action of $105,936, and for those sharp enough to use a 21-1 shot and a 15-1 chance on their tickets cashed in for just under $4,500. ... All-source wagering on the 13-race card totaled $2,901,031. ... Racing resumes Friday at 7:15 p.m.

By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations


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