Elite Awards won the fastest of three $20,000 Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund (DSBF) $20,000 Three-Year-Old Male pace preliminaries, with Casino Bags Carlo and Go Big Spinder, the others while Emeritus Maximus takes the $30,000 Preferred Handicap on a speed-filled Thursday at Dover Downs.
George Dennis took Elite Awards to the front and continued on for a 1:54.2 success in the first DSBF $20,000 prelim, winning for the second straight time this year and building his career record to nine wins and a second in 10 races. Karen Walls owns the Powerful Toy-Silk Slips gelding trained by Dave Rearic who now has earned $114,225 lifetime. Art Retreat (Tim Tetrick) came on strong to finish second ahead of Hawker (Jeff Fout).
The second DSBF prelim was all Casino Bags Carlo as Vince Copeland sailed out of post 7 and never looked back in a 1:54.4 decision. Last November's $100,000 DSBF final winner made his seasonal debut in this one for Cavalli Pazzi Stables. The Roddly's Bags Again-Casino Bus soph gelding won for the sixth time in his career and now has banked $108,911 in his two seasons of racing. West Star Director (Ben Stafford Jr.) flew down the lane to finish second ahead of By A Noggin (Vic Kirby).
Go Big Spinder rushed down the passing lane to score a 1:54.4 triumph in the other $20,000 DSBF prelim with Ron Pierce in the bike. Virginia Louthan, bred, owns and trains toe No Spin Zone-David's Art colt posting his second straight win and fourth of the year. Bobbies Power Play (Bryan Truitt) was second with front-pacing Lewiebyalength (Corey Callahan), third.
The DSBF second leg events will be raced Monday through Thursday, next week. The top eight point-getters in the action return the last week of the meet, April 7-10 for $100,000 finals.
In the top race on the regular program, Tom Cancelliere's big buy of the winter, Emeritus Maximus, stepped up to the $30,000 Preferred Pace and Pierce did the rest taking the Rocknroll Hanover-Eternity's Delight 4 year old right to the top and made all quarters winning ones for a 1:50.1 conquest. The win was the third in a row for the Cancelliere trainee. Lindwood Player (Callahan) charged down the lane to finish second with Feel Like A Fool (Dennis) the show horse.
The fastest clocking on the card came in the $17,500 Open Handicap when KDM Stable's Tarpon Hanover made his first local start a 1:49.2 lifetime best as David Miller guided the Badlands Hanover-Tarport Herald 4 year old conditioned by Nick Surick to his second straight win and third of the year. Just A Jolt (Tetrick) was runner-up. EZ Noah (Pierce) took third. (Dover Downs)