Tony Morgan on Friday afternoon joined Dave Palone and Herve Filion as the only North American harness racing drivers with 15,000 career wins when he guided Lightning Moon to victory in the first race on opening day at Harrah's Philadelphia. The 56-year-old Morgan was joined by a large crowd, including fellow drivers, in the winner's circle. Lightning Moon won by 4-3/4 lengths in 1:53.4 to give Morgan the milestone triumph. Steve LeBlanc trains the 9-year-old gelding pacer for owners LeBlanc Racing, Robert Laham, Gregory Laham and Jeffrey Franklin. "It's nice to be recognized by your peers, but it probably means more to my family than to me," Morgan said earlier this week. "I get my kicks out of just working every day. I like that. I like the daily grind. I like the competition and keeping busy. "It's another feather in my cap, I guess, so it's nice. And it gives my family something to talk about. That's nice too." Morgan, who was born in Ohio, rose to prominence in Chicago and now calls the Delaware circuit home. The son of driver/trainer Eddie Morgan Jr., himself the winner of 4,724 races, Morgan got his first win one month shy of turning 15 in 1973. In 1995, Morgan led all drivers in North America in wins, and captured the title again in 1996, 1997, 2006 and 2008. From 1995 through 2009, he was never out of the top 10 and racked up 10,695 wins during that span. Morgan was Harness Tracks of America's Driver of the Year in 2006, 2002, 1997 and 1996. He is one of only three drivers to win more than 1,000 races in a year, totaling 1,004 in 2006. Horses driven by Morgan have earned $117 million in purses, good for 13th place on the all-time list. Palone leads all harness racing drivers in the world in wins, entering Friday with 16,937. Germany's Heinz Wewering is second on the worldwide list, with more than 16,760, followed by Filion and Morgan. Morgan could pass Filion's total of 15,183 wins sometime this summer. The two competed against each other in the mid-2000s, following Morgan's move to Delaware from Chicago, and Morgan said following in Filion's footsteps was special. "Of course, he's been almost every driver's idol forever," Morgan said. "He was a great guy and a great driver and he outworked everybody for years and years. I guess that's kind of the model I've always followed. I've tried to stay as busy as I can, and the more practice you get, the better you get at it." Ken Weingartner
HARRINGTON, Del. - Callam Racing's Spunky Jack ($4.20, Roger Plante Jr.) recorded his 16th career win Wednesday with a 1:55.4 victory in the featured $17,000 Open Trot at Harrington Raceway. The 5-year-old Super Punk gelding was sent promptly to the lead from post position six and never relented in his three length win over Powerful Charger and Six Gun Hall. Trained by Steve LeBlanc, it was his fourth win of the year as his earnings ballooned to nearly $90,000 in 2014. The 10th race gave first state racing fans their first dose of pacing sire Riggins, who campaigned on the Delaware circuit for a portion of his career, with his offspring 2-year-old pacer Smoking Joey. Driven by George Dennis, the gelding prevailed in wire-to-wire fashion in 1:56.2 for an auspicious start to his career. Ross Wolfenden had three winners on the program. Victor Kirby, who is closing in on 3,000 career wins had a double, as did Bret Brittingham. by Matt Sparacino, for Harrington Raceway
TORONTO, April 14 - After failing to find the winner's circle in both preliminary legs, Reasonable Force found his best stride when it counted the most as he captured this year's edition of the $36,200 Youthful Series final Monday at Woodbine. In doing so, the Doug McNair-driven sophomore returned $33.00 to his backers. McNair and Reasonable Force were in no hurry off the gate as Account Rollover (Randy Waples) cleared to the lead past the opening station in :27.1. Account Rollover, who found the wire in the first leg of the series, continued to lead his nine rivals past the half in :56 and three-quarters in 1:24.4. McNair began the first-over attack around the final turn and was within striking distance of the tempo-setter turning for home. Down the stretch, McNair asked his charge for more pace and the three-time winner responded with a two length win. Post time favourite Andreios Kardia (Steve Byron) finished second, with Dragon Seelster (Paul Macdonell) finishing third. Trained by Tony Montini for owners Doug Dunbar and Steve LeBlanc, Reasonable Force lifted his career earnings to $44,840. The son of Shadow Play now has a 2-2-1 record from eight starts this season. Also on Monday's program, the second round of the Lifetime Dream series continued with two $18,000 divisions. Rose Run Oriana (Randy Waples) kicked-off the 10-race programme with a 1:54.2 score in the first division. The daughter of Trainforthefuture enjoyed a new career best in the debut for trainer Corey Johnson. Waples led gate-to-wire with the 15-time winner through panels of :28, :57 and 1:25.3, before fending off 3/5 favourite Rockin With Dewey (Mario Baillargeon) in deep stretch to win by one and a half lengths. Samira Hanover (Paul Macdonell) finished third. Owned by Rolling Hills Racing Stables, Rose Run Oriana will look for the series sweep next week as her bankroll increased to $134,717. She paid $4.90 to win. One race later, Her Name Is Lola (Phil Hudon) enjoyed her fifth career score at odds of 3-1. The daughter of Majestic Son laid parked on the outside at the quarter in :28.2, before clearing to the lead before the half in :57.2. From there, the trotting miss led her five rivals past in 1:26.1 before fending off a late challenge from Frisky Magic (Randy Waples) to win by a nose. Standing My Ground (Sylvain Filion) finished third. Trained by Russell Bax for Baxmar Holsteins Ltd, Her Name Is Lola increased her bankroll to $85,560. She paid $8.70 to win. by Greg Gangle, for WEG
DOVER, Del.---- The Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund kicked off its preliminaries for sophomores on Monday with three $20,000 filly pace divisions with two favorites and a longshot posting wins. Meanwhile Jeremes Sweetheart got back in the win column in the $20,000 Mares Open Handicap on March 24 at Dover Downs. Seboomook Boo Yah, winner of last Fall's $100,000 freshman final, returned in top form in her first start of the year, as Allan Davis guided the Garnet O'Marrow homebred daughter of Gambler's Dream-Seboomook Mao to a 1:55.3 win overtaking front pacing Fashion Guru (Ben Stafford Jr.) in the dash to the finish line. Wayne Givens conditions the winner, who now has won eight of 11 starts with two third racking up $120,286 in purses. I'm Won Rum Wiser was the other favorite to win her seasonal debut. The $100,000 Harrington Final-winner notched a 1:57 success in her $20,000 DSBF prelim with trainer George Dennis in the bike. The Headmaster-La Gloria Cubana filly won for the sixth time in nine starts, all in the money. The Wiz Kinds Stable and breeders George & Tina Dennis own the winner of $112,150 in her career. Bettylou Who (Bret Brittingham) slipped along the passing lane to finish second in front of Mommom's Little C (Jonathan Roberts) third. The lone upset came when the Steve LeBlanc-trained Reflected Art pulled a 24-1 surprise in the other $20,000 prelim. Ross Wolfenden roared past race favorite Jonigold heading to the three-quarters and sped away to a 1:54.4 lifetime mark. Megginspin (Ron Piece) closed along the passing lane to finish second with Jonigold (Bart Dalious) taking third place. The victory was the first of the year and second lifetime for Reflected Art, a daughter of Artzina-Queen Jodi owned by Winbak Farm and LeBlanc Racing. In the $20,000 Mares Open Handicap, Jeremes Sweetheart raced second until the final step when the Jereme's Jet-Fox Valley Evanna five-year-old nosed past Spend It All for a 1:51.4 triumph. Ron Pierce drove the winner stalking Spend It All (Jim Morand) from the start until the stretch when Jeremes Sweetheart sped to the inside and rushed to victory for the third time in 2014, only once finished out of the money in nine races. Ken Wood, Bill Dittmar and Steve Iaquinta own Jeremes Sweetheart, a $46,320 winner this year and $310,712 lifetime. The greatly improved Paradise Lost (Ross Wolfenden) was only a head-back in third. Ron Pierce and Allan Davis led all drivers with three wins apiece; Tim Tetrick, Montrell Teague and owner and trainer Trish Foulk added two wins each. On Tuesday, March 25, two $20,000 divisions of DSBF Three-Year-Old Filly Pace 1st prelim divisions top the 15-race card. by Marv Bachrad, for Dover Downs
DOVER, Del.---- Traverse Seelster continued his reputations at top trotter at the track chalking up his third $20,000 Open Trot/Handicap win in a row at Dover Downs on Wednesday, Feb. 12. Corey Callahan had another four-win 'slam. With Callahan in the bike, Traverse Seelster took the lead at the opening quarter and led the rest of a 1:53.2 mile to keep his 2014 winning record, now at three straight. Trained by Josh Green for owner Keith Pippi, the Angus Hall-Tavelin Lavec six-year-old gelding fought off a mild attack from Jersey Boy (Trace Tetrick) on the backstretch on the way to his 24th career victory upping his lifetime earnings to $445,009. Green Day (Vic Kirby), a $1.3-million winner, was a strong second this week. Cash On Delivery (Vince Copeland), in only his second start of the New Year, came on to finish third. In one of two $15,000 Winners-Over trots, Walt Callam's Spunky Jack, reined by Roger Plante, ground-out a 1:55.1 victory for trainer Steve LeBlanc. It was his third triumph of the meet after finishing second in his previous two starts. Baximum (Daryl Bier) was a fast finishing second in front of Amiga Valley (Montrell Teague). A $15,000 4&5-Year-Old Winners-Over trot went to Vito Cuccii's Ashes Cash, driven by Ross Wolfenden for trainer Leigh Raymer. The Cash Hall-Asameg gelding won easily besting Ideal Revenue (George Dennis) and Six Gun Hall (Allan Davis), second and third respectively. In the day's longest shot, Eddie Davis Jr. piloted 35-1 Benbar Stables' Cadillac Cruiser to a come-from-behind 1:55.1 lifetime best, for trainer Jon Nikodemski, to win the $12,000 conditioned trot. Musclelaneous (Callahan) came on for second in front of Can Do (Kirby). Driver Allan Davis picked up a win, his 998th of his career. Callahan drove four winners, Pierce had a driving triple while Leigh Raymer trained three wins. Ross Wolfenden won two races. Callahan and owner-trainer Dylan Davis teaming for two wins while Pierce and trainer Joe Skowyra hooked up for a double. Trainer Josh Green looks for an unprecedented Third Straight week sweep of the $30,000 Preferred, with Dancin Yankee, and $27,500 Delaware Special by All Stienam in the Wednesday co-feature paces. $30,000 Preferred Pace Thursday Back this week, a pair of Josh Green-trained pacers, Dancin Yankee and All Stienam, are the horses to beat in the $30,000 Preferred and $27,500 Delaware Special respectively on another top pacing program, Feb. 13 at Dover Downs. Post time is 4:30 p.m. Baron Racing’s Dancin Yankee won his fourth in a row and this week will be in the hands of Vic Kirby. Harry von Knoblauch’s Texican N and Ross Wolfenden finished second for the second-straight time. Special Forces, driven by Corey Callahan, had a tough overland trip but gets an inside post this week for owners William Robinson, Mike Mallett and Country Club Enterprises. The other contenders are Ken Wood, Bill Dittmar and Steve Iaquinta’s Adventure Bound handled by Ron Pierce, Trevor Stafford’s Bigtown Hero leaving from the rail with Art Stafford Jr. JJ&M Stable and Green Racing’s All Stienam (Trace Tetrick) seeks a second-straight $27,500 Delaware Special Handicap. Max Walton and Greg Papaleo’s Mustang Art (Pierce) and Robin and Jay Breasure’s People Are Crazy (Kirby) finished second and third respectively. Brit Evans and Foulk Stable’s Full Of Sand (Corey Callahan) returns after sitting out a week after a win, Sunshine Superman, owned, trained and driven by Toby Lynch, should enjoy an inside post starting position as will Heavenly Way’s Jeremy’s Successor (Sean Bier). Completing the lineup are Kovach Stable’s Feel Like A Fool (George Dennis) and Its That Time (Eddie Davis Jr.) from post 1. Three winners last time out – Mike Casalino and Dylan Davis’ Lindwood Player (Callahan), Reg Hazzard and Niel Gargiulo’s Peachys Pistol (Davis) and Jim Behrendt’s Ice Scraper (Roger Plante) – head the $18,000 Open pace, four $15,000 Winners-Over and two $25,000 Claiming paces are also on the card. by Marv Bachrad, for Dover Downs
Dover, Del--- Longshots were in vogue for feature trots on New Year's Day at Dover Downs as Spunky Jack used the passing lane to win the $20,000 Open in a four-horse photo while Ideal Revenue stormed the outside to win a $14,500 trot on Wednesday, Jan. 1. Corey Callahan drove four winners. While Awsome Valley cut out the fractions from the start until the final step fighting off competition from mid backstretch until Roger Plante scooted Spunky Jack along the passing lane to get up for a 1:56.2 victory. Owned by Walt Callam, Spunky Jack, trained by Steve LeBlanc, was overlooked at 13-1 despite winning his previous start. It was the 13th career win for the now five-year-old altered son of Super Pink-My Embrace. Awsome Valley (Tony Morgan) finished a valiant second with Mandabra (Corey Callahan), making his first start since last July, edging good closing Enrico AS (Allan Davis) for third. One race later, Mike Rossi pulled Ideal Revenue off the rail in mid-stretch and flew past the early leaders to score an easy 1:55 triumph, a lifetime best, in the sub-feature trot. The Revenue D-New Ideal gelding, owned by Carol and trainer Jim Atkinson, was followed by Jailhouse Juice (Toby Lynch) and early leader Lock Tight (Corey Callahan). Dnieper (Daryl Bier) was a strong finishing fourth. Meet leading driver Corey Callahan got off to another fast start driving four winners. In addition to a 53-1 winning drive, Mike Rossi also brought in a 27-1 shot, Check Dons Pulse in the 15th race for his second win. First post on weekdays, Monday through Thursday, is 4:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday are dark days. Sunday racing begins at 5:30 p.m. There is no charge for parking or admission when visiting Dover Downs. Harness and thoroughbred simulcasts are featured from 12 Noon until 12 Midnight in the Dover Downs Race and Sports Book. To dine in the Winner's Circle restaurant, call 302-674-4600 for reservations. Marv Bachrad
Dover, Del--- For the second straight week, Jersey Boy turned back seven rivals to score a 1:54.3 victory in the $20,000 Open trot at Dover Downs on Wednesday, Dec. 18.. Trace Tetrick driving for trainer Ed Gannon Jr. and owners Dom Costanzo, Dawn Gannon and Yannick Gingras became the fourth and last horse to take the lead, matched his lifetime best of last Wednesday, a 1:54.3 triumph. The four-year-old altered son of Yankee Glide-Atlanta Games notched his eighth win of the season and now has won $78,745 in 2013. Again, Baximum(Daryl Bier) finished second ahead of Enrico AS (Allan Davis), third. Walter Callam's Spunky Jack, driven by Roger Plante recorded a 1:55.4 score in the $15,000 Winners-Over trot. Steve LeBlanc conditions the Super Punk-My Embrace four-year-old gelding who racked up his ninth win of the year helping to build his seasonal total to $84,036. Dalglish (Vic Kirby) closed strongly along the passing lane to finish second. I'm So Striking (Eddie Dennis) took show money. Vic Kirby led all drivers with four wins, Tony Morgan had three, Corey Callahan and Trace Tetrick added two wins each. Dynamic Boy seeks a second straight victory in the Thursday feature $30,000 Preferred pace. Thursday, racing begins at 4:30 p.m. It's the last day of live racing before the annual Dover Downs' "Christmas Holiday Break," which begins on Dec. 20 through Dec. 28. Live Racing resumes on Sunday, Dec. 29 with post time at 5:30 p.m. Horsemen's Christmas Drive at Dover The “Fourth Annual Horsemen’s Christmas Drive” is drawing to a close. Again this season, the fund raiser enable local families and children to have a Merry Christmas through contributions from the harness racing and local community. Last year, under the direction of the Drive’s founder, trainer Jane Davis, 77 local families and more than 220 children were able to have a Christmas to remember. Already, this year, $1,000.00 has been given to the Food Bank of Delaware. All donations are Tax Deductible. For those who would like to contribute to this effort, make checks out to ‘Horsemen’s Welfare Trust Fund.’ Horsemen can make their donations at the DSOA Paddock Office at Dover Downs or mail to DSOA Office, 830 Walker Square, Dover DE 19904. For additional information, contact Janet Davis at 302-632-7915. by Marv Bachrad for Dover Downs
Starlit Eyes, fresh from a wire-to-wire victory in last week's $20,000 preliminary, and overlooked at 18-1, completed the same mission from post 8 in the $100,000 Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund (DSBF) Three-Year-Old Filly Trot Final for a 1:58.3 victory on Tuesday, April 9 at Dover Downs.
Commitment To Win pulled a stunning 12-1 harness racing upset while No Picnic scored a courageous victory in the two Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund $100,000 finals for trotters and pacers respectively. Dover Downs on Saturday, Dec. 3. Driver Jon Roberts joined the 2,000 win club.