The harness racing season without a Winter came to a close on April 12 after122 days of racing when the curtain rang down on Dover Downs' 43rd season.
The 2011-2012 meet closed with the fourth of four $100,000 Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund (DSBF) Three-Year-Old finals dominated by driver Ross Wolfenden and Les Givens’ Nanticoke Racing winning three of the four finals, Wolfenden also shared as an owner in two of the finals.
Nova Artist, a 19-time starter in either the Preferred or Delaware Special paces, was voted as the DelVal chapter U.S. Harness Writers Association’s Horse of the Meet. Corey Callahan sewed up his third straight Leading Driver award while for the eighth time in the 21st century and seven-in-a-row, Josh Green was Leading Trainer.
The Dover Downs portion of Delaware-Sired DSBF three-year-old stakes was a driver Ross Wolfenden and owner Nanticoke Racing show. Wolfenden drove three winners, including two he shared in ownership.
Nanticoke Racing shared in ownership in three of the winners and Les Givens trained two winners of the $100-thousand finals, colt pacer Flight Instructor and colt trotter Windshield were owned by Nanticoke Racing and Wolfenden. Nanticoke Racing and Givens also shared ownership of Alleigh Girl, the Filly champion.
Previous winners during two-weeks of DSBF preliminaries were colt pacers- Fight Instructor (2), Bail Money. Pop A Top Pop and Its Outta Here; Filly pacers –Mac’s Journey (2), Powerful Honey, Joyanna, Two Cam and Heres My Ticket, who eventually won the filly final; trotting colts –Windshield and I’m So Striking swept each of two prelims and filly trotter, Alleigh Girl who won both her prelim divisions while Cruisin Susan and Da Boss Lady won one leg each.
Coming into 2012, USTA statistics through 2011 reveal that Dover Downs has had more all-time 1:55 miles that any other five-eighths mile track with 10,465. In 2011, the track had 1,032 mile better than 1:55.
The number of 2012 season champions over a five-eighths mile track, continued to grow at Dover Downs. At season’s end. among two-year-old pacers, Flight Instructor is fastest colt, 1:52.4; filly, Heres My Ticket won in 1:52.3.
In the four-year-old pacing ranks, stallion, Samardar (1:50.4) and mare, Mach Lady (1:51.2) are leaders while Higher And Higher (1:49.1) is fastest older mare, Fancyfreeshark (1:49.2), older stallion, and Broadies Song (1:50) older gelding. Older trotter Tagyoureit Hanover, a 1:53 winner, is fastest gelding.
Leading candidates for Claimer of the Meet include pacers Poker Shark, Marced Card and Hancock. Claimed early in the meet by Bobby Glassmeyer, the six-year-old won twice for a $7,500 tag, for $10,000, $15,000 and then for $20,000 before finishing second losing by a neck. Poker Shark then returned to the winner’s circle on March 26 for his sixth win in seven races in 2012. The winner of the award will be announced at the end of the year, DSOA Awards Dinner, to be held early next January.
Corey Callahan made it three-straight Leading Driver titles with the outcome appearing early in the meet. Callahan, won six races on one card twice and finished the 122-race meet with 270 wins. Ross Wolfenden, who had six wins on closing day, was second with 184 winners. Brad Hanners and Matt Kakaley finished in a tie for third place with 106 each.
Tony Morgan completes the top five with 97 wins. Tim Tetrick, 87, Ron Pierce, 83, Allan Davis, 76, Jon Roberts, 72 and Daryl Bier, 70 were sixth thru 10th in the standings.
Tim Tetrick has the highest UDRS average, .370, similar to a baseball “batting average’. Next come Bret Brittingham (.369), Ron Pierce (.364), third, Corey Callahan is fourth (.335) and Ross Wolfenden, fifth, with a .284 average.
Josh Green has wrapped up his eighth overall and seventh straight Leading Trainer championship haltering 98 winners. Dylan Davis is runner-up with 79. Joe Hundertpfund is in third place with 60 wins. Wayne Givens with 59 wins is fourth.
Nick Callahan completes the top five with 42 winners. Les Givens with 42 wins leads the next five, with Mike Hall, George Teague and Amanda Payson tied with 36 each. Crissy Bier, 32, and Bobby Glassmeyer, 30 were next.
Daryl Bier tops all trainers with a .461 “batting average.” Josh Green is second with a .434 percentage. Jason Skinner has moved into third place (.425), Eric Ell hold fourth place (.407) and Dylan Davis was fifth (.376).
The sport’s winningest North American drivers when the meet ended were Tim Tetrick and Corey Callahan in a 182-win tie while in the North American money-winning trainer standings, Ron Burke, who has won the year-end title four straight years, is the far-away leader, but Josh Green is ranked fifth among 2012 trainers and Dylan Davis holds ninth place.
Two horses in the Daryl Bier Stable are among the top five money winners in the sport. Special T Rocks has won nearly $125,000 and Higher And Higher, $114,000.
Over the last 15 seasons, a number of world and track records over a five-eighths mile track have been set and re-set at the track. The latest is for a dead-heat for trotters, broken and tied on March 28 when Keystone Thomas and Sea Raven could not be separated by the photo finish camera in 1:55.2.
ier in the meet, Justherighttouch and Idol Kemp also arrived together in 1:55.2 which set the stage for sharing the record.
RACING HIGHLIGHTS DURING 2011-2012---During a Matron Stakes elimination, in November 2011, Check Me Out set a world record for a two-year-old filly trotter winning in 1:53.2.
The next week, Check Me Out broke stride after the start, rallied from two-dozen lengths back, to win the Matron Final in a brilliant performance. Trotter Big Rigs won the Matron Three-Year-Old Final in track record time of 1:52.4.
Higher And Higher set a 1:49.2 world record for a four-year-old mare pacer winning in November 2011. She then lowered the track record for a female pacer to 1:49.1 in late April.
Nova Artist and Fools Gold equaled the track record for a four-year-old pacing horse win 1:50.1 wins. Heston Blue Chip’s Matron 1:50.4- elimination win equaled track record for a two-year-old colt pacer.
In another track record, U-B equaled the 1:59 track record for a two-year-old gelding trotter.
Tony Morgan became only the fourth driver in harness racing history on Tuesday, Feb. 21 driving Timmylynn to victory in the 15th race. During the 2005-06 meet, Morgan set a Dover Downs meet record of 447 wins, and went on in 2006 to become the second driver to reach four digits in one-season wins.
(The following year, Tim Tetrick, a track regular, set the current record of 1,189 wins in one year. Only Herve Filion, Dave Palone and Cat Manzi have more career wins than Morgan.
In addition to Tony Morgan scoring his 14,000th win during the meet, two other Dover Downs drivers recorded milestones. John Wagner became the 80th driver in the sport to reach 5,000 wins and Matt Kakaley, 23, became the youngest driver in the sport to win 2,000 races.
The ‘old’ record was set in 2006 by Tim Tetrick, then 24. On Dec. 3, driver Jon Roberts reached a 2,000-win milestone. Mark Lancaster, who also races occasionally at the track, won his 3,000th career win at Freehold in March.
Monday, March 26 featured a Dover Downs rarity: five drivers accounted for 15 of 16 winning drivers (because of a dead-heat for win, in a 15-race program, Tim Tetrick had five winners, Ross Wolfenden, Corey Callahan, Ron Pierce, Allan Davis and Jim Morand, each won two. The only other win came when Toby Lynch drove 31-1 Sunshine Superman to victory.
Jan. 13, 2012 was Delaware’s biggest social night of the year, the Delaware Standardbred Owners Association (DSOA) annual awards-dinner. Emcee Heather Moffett presented the 2011 Horses of the meet at both Dover Downs and Harrington Raceway featuring Robert Faust’s videos of award-winning horses.
The recently renamed James Case Rising Star award went to youthful driver Montrell Teague. Three DSOA Scholarship winners and a James Case Scholarship were also awarded. A silent auction to benefit Horse Lovers United, Inc. an organization caring for horses no longer racing, was a success.
Dover Downs horseman Ken Wood continued his on-going personal crusade to provide water to West Africa nations Ghana and now also to Tanzania. Wood’s acclaimed humanitarian effort, ‘Wells For Ghana’ drilling provides water to needy inhabitants who previously had to walk five miles to find water, deemed unsafe. Wood usually goes for a three-week period.
The wells count rose to more than a thousand serving more than 2-million who until now never had fresh water.
During the 2011-2012 campaign, Dover Downs horsemen and fans have responded big time to several major fundraisers raised thousands of dollars to charity causes. In December 2011, the 2nd annual Horsemen’s Welfare Fund Christmas Drive was another outstanding success raising more than $11,600 for the needy in the Dover Capital School District, thanks to the efforts of trainer Janet Davis, her helpful assistants and those who contributed.
Strong support came from Dover Downs horsemen members of the Delaware Standardbred Owners Association (DSOA). The Holiday Season proceeds enabled 218 children (considered homeless) to enjoy gifts which included coats, new outfits, underwear, pajamas, socks and one or more toys to the youngsters for Christmas.
ier, the Fund donated $1,500 to the Delaware Food Bank through WDSD-FM’s Turkey Roundup program,
In March, more than $12,000 was raised for two causes. In one, the ”Polar Mare Plunge,” By jumping into a cold family pool, Heather Moffett and Susan Ehlers raised around $7,000 for horsemen Ken Wood’s Wells For Ghana project drilling water for Ghana and Tanzania.
Then on Sunday in late March, “Harness The Cure Day” a fund raiser for Cancer research led by horseman Bobby Kinsey, Sr., held at Dover Downs raised a reported $5,000.
Heather Moffett had two end-of-2011charity projects. Host of the popular Delaware harness racing weekly half-hour show “Post Time” TV show and co-host of ‘PA Harness Week’ in Eastern Pa., Mrs. Moffett raised money for two charities and at the same time began an effort to bring new fans to harness racing by asking people to join her on her “Facebook” account. Response to her effort achieved a donation of $200 for “Horse Lovers United,” a caring group led by Lorraine Truitt, which has been a standardbred retreat for horses unable to compete.
Another $400 went to Wells For Ghana, horseman Ken Wood’s humanitarian project. Wood’s generous sponsors were the Pa. Harness Horsemen’s Association, Hall of Fame driver Cat Manzi and wife, Ellen, and driver Aaron Merriman.
In Nov. 2011, Westwardho Hanover was twice supplemented for $25,000 fees each to the top three-year-old events of the meet. The three-year-old won the $330,000 Progress Pace in 1:49.3 and finished second in the $221,465 No Picnic and Flying Instructor won $100,000 Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund (DSBF) Two-Year-Old pacing titles while Windshield and Commitment To Win were the freshman trotting champions crowned the first weekend in December.
On Saturday, Commitment To Win pulled a surprise winning the filly trot final while No Picnic was the filly pace winner. Windshield won the Colt trot and Fling Instructor was a surprise winner of the pace final.
Matron won by Westwardho Hanover’s entrymate, Hugadragon, both from the Ron Burke Stable. The 2011 Matron championship winners:
2YO Colt Pace: Heston Blue Chip (Tim Tetrick) 1:50.4
2YO Filly Pace: Destiny’s Chance (David Miller) 1:53
2YO Colt Trot: Pekoe Fashion (Tim Tetrick) 1:56.1
2YO Filly Trot: Check Me Out (Tim Tetrick) 1:58
3YO Colt Pace: Hugadragon (Yannick Gingras) 1:50.3
3YO Filly Pace: Drop The Ball (Yannick Gingras) 1:51.2
3YO Colt Trot: Big Rigs (Dave Palone) 1:52.4
3YO Filly Trot: Crys Dream (Luc Ouellette) 1:54
On the first weekend in December 2011, a pair of upsetters won a $100,000 Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund (DSBF) Two-Year-Old final. Favorite Windshield and surprise winner Commitment To Win won freshman trotting titles.
No Picnic was the filly pace winner and Fling Instructor, an unexpected winner of the pace final.
Horse Lovers United, Inc. celebrates its 20th anniversary in Spring 2012. Lorraine Truitt, its president, has done a remarkable job rescuing equines of all breed since 1992. At one time there was a big demand for horses, but now, poor economics have brought little or no response.
Currently a dozen horses are being boarded at various locations with expenses around $2,000 a month. To support Horse Lovers United in their benevolent effort, reach Lorraine Truitt via e-mail at Boxwood3684@comcast.net
Pacer Doctor Rich and the Davis’ of Smyrna, Del. has a three generation legacy. Doctor Rich, now still campaigning at age 12, was broken to harness and raced his early career for veteran Eddie Davis, the all-time leading driver in Delaware and member of the Delaware Sports Hall of Fame. More recently, Eddie’s son Allan began driving Doctor Rich.
Now Eddie’s grandson, Allan’s teenage son, Tyler Davis. scored his first driving win in late December at Rosecroft Raceway. Three generations of the Davis family, all connected with pacer Doctor Rich, a horse bred and owned by long-time Davis-Philadelphia area patrons Allan Pullman and Barry Glickstein.