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Fortify upsets in Progress; Takter sweeps exacta

November 25, 2020
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Nancy Takter trainee Fortify ($22.40) took the second-over route to a 10-1 upset over stablemate No Lou Zing in the 2020 season’s final Grand Circuit stop for 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings, the $325,000 Progress Pace, on Wednesday night (Nov. 25) at Dover Downs.

Favorite No Lou Zing and driver Dexter Dunn were embroiled in a :25.2 first-quarter battle with Tattoo Artist (Yannick Gingras) and Captain Kirk (Andy McCarthy), prompting Tim Tetrick to ease Fortify into midfield to stalk comfortably.

No Lou Zing worked hard to clear for control with a circuit to go, and Tetrick angled Fortify into second-over cover behind the advancing Cattlewash (David Miller) nearing a :53 half. Fortify rode that live outer flow into striking range up the far side, watching Cattlewash push No Lou Zing to three-quarters in 1:20.2 before swinging three-wide on the final turn.

While No Lou Zing was able to shrug off the challenge of Cattlewash and open up a three-length lead in upper stretch, the punishing pace ultimately took its toll. Fortify charged down the center of the track to collar his stablemate by a half-length in 1:48.2, equaling Wiggle It Jiggleit’s stakes record set in 2015. Catch The Fire (Mike Wilder) split rivals in deep stretch to finish third, another 2-3/4 lengths behind.

Tetrick, who wore the colors of Fortify’s owner, Diamond Creek Racing, has now won the last three renewals of the Progress after capturing the 2018 edition with This Is The Plan and the 2019 edition with Shake That House. It was Takter’s first victory in Dover Downs’ signature event.

Fortify, a son of Sweet Lou-Can’t Stop Me Now, has now won five of his 23 career races and has amassed $372,447 in purses.

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