Lucan Hanover withstood a tremendous closing effort from Dapper Dude to win the $30,000 Preferred Handicap in 1:51.2 on the Washington's birthday card, Monday, Feb. 22, at Dover Downs.
Newcomer Lucan Hanover, owned by West Wins Stable and piloted by Yannick Gingras, in his first local appearance had all he could handle in the stretch when Vic Kirby pulled last week's feature race winner, Dapper Dude, from dead-last as the select field of seven top class pacers turned for home. Dapper Dude finished strongly but fell a nose shy of victory in the week's top race.
The win was one of three for driver Gingras and one of two for trainer Andrew Harris. Lucan Hanover won his first start of 2016 and moved to $810,626 in career purses with his 19th lifetime win. Dapper Dude was followed by Sparky Mark (Jonathan Roberts), third. Bushwacker (Jim Meittinis) was the race favorite but finished off the board.
Blazing Bobby Sox, driven by Art Stafford Jr., enjoyed a perfect trip following Apollo Seelster (Gingras) on the outside en route to a 1:52.2 victory in one of two $15,000 paces for young horses. Art Stafford, the trainer-driver's dad, owns The Panderosa-Liamatters gelding, now a three-time winner in 2016. Sectionline Rocks (All Davis) came on in the lane to overtake Apollo Seelster for second-place money.
Trainer Eric Ell, who often wins races in bunches, was at it again, posting a triple.
Soto closed strongly to win for the third time in his last four outings, a $14,500 Male Winners-Over pace in 1:52.1, one of two wins for Vic Kirby. Fancy Colt (Tony Morgan), a 69-1 shot ,was a close second with Speed Again (Gingras) third. Soto is also owned by Ken Wood, Bill Dittmar and Steve Iaquinta, whose Jeremes General, with Allan Davis, collected a 1:52.3 score in a $20,000 Male Claiming race. Earlier, Ell conditioned Bill Emmons' Giant Sculpture, also driven by Davis, to a 1:51.1 victory in a $12,500 male pace.
George Dennis pulled Silver Fox J to the outside in mid-stretch and raced past leader Totally Dream (Corey Callahan) to score a 1:52.2 win in a $15,000 pace for young horses, the third win of the year for the Kenneth J-Fox Valley Backoff gelding trained and owned by Dennis, his wife Tina and The Wiz Kids Stable. Time Out I'm Tired (Montrell Teague) was the show horse.
Gingras' first win came directing pacer JT to a 1:51.2 success in one of two $13,500 4&5-Year-Old Male paces for trainer Ron Burke and owners Weaver Bruscemi and Burke Racing Stable. Go Collect (Corey Callahan) was second in front of Suchasenseofhumor (Jim Morand). It was the first win of the season for the Badlands Hanover-Snowhite Beach gelding.
Cams Director (Roberts) won the other $13,500 edition beating Swapportunity (Morand) in a 1:52 photo. Tina and Joe Clark and breeder Kovach Stables own the Art Director-Camcarol gelding. Big Secret (Ross Wolfenden) took third money. (Dover Downs)