Day At The Track

John De Long's confidence proves worthy

06:00 AM 25 Jul 2011 NZST
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Delco Willobee
Delco Willobee

Delco Willobee proved worthy of harness racing trainer-driver John De Long's confidence Sunday night at Running Aces, holding on by a head in front of a full field of open pacers in the weekly $9000 feature race.

The four-year-old altered son of Ft Apache Hanover, who De Long calls "one of the best horses I've ever driven," moved to the lead just past an opening quarter in :27.1 then cruised through middle panels of :56.1 and 1:24 before throwing a :28.3 final quarter to complete the victory in 1:52.3.

The clocking was two seconds off Delco Willobee’s finest winning effort at Balmoral Park, but did equal the Running Aces record for pacing geldings his age. De Long’s father Jesse of Clinton, Wisconsin, owns the triumphant pacer. At Last (Dean Magee) was second with Mark Anderson stablemate Thedeadliestcatch (Lemoyne Svendsen) finishing third.

The win was one of three for John De Long, who also scored with bottom claimer Amy Ellen for conditioner Dan Poprawski and the De Long Stable’s conditioned pacer Chickiechickiewawa.

Leading driver Dean Magee also notched a hat trick on Sunday guiding Whata Huckster, Kristy’s Keen and S S Future to the winner’s circle for trainers Jeff Ryan, Dale Visnovec and Dan Epp respectively.

Big Heern (Evan Coblentz) got the best of nine other foes in the first of a two-week “Survivor Series” for a $3000 purse. The same ten contenders are eligible to compete in a $6500 championship next Sunday night. Lets Talk About Me (Nick Roland) and Whos Your Daddy O (De Long) were second and third, but the top eight were within four lengths at the finish and the other two were in strong contention at the top of the lane, but made breaks. The upcoming final looks like a wide open affair.

The Sunday night handle of $183,827 was just $3000 shy of the all-time record set a week before a recent government-imposed three-week shutdown.

Running Aces resumes racing on Tuesday and Wednesday nights with 7:00 PM CST post times.

Gregg KEIDEL

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