McArdles Lightning captures Dover feature
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McArdles Lightning came up big in the $30,000 Preferred Handicap as John Campbell reined a 1:50.2 triumph at Dover Downs on Thursday.
With six of the seven starters in the week’s top pace owning career records lower than 1:50 and three of his rivals fresh from victories in their most recent outings, McArdles Lightning came to the outside and rushed up the backstretch to challenge front-pacing Always At My Place (Yannick Gingras) around the final turn. He then pulled away with Wakizashi Hanover (Tim Tetrick) and Missle J (Jonathan Roberts) right behind and closing fast, but not quick enough to catch McArdles Lightning and Campbell in 1:50.3.
The win was the first in two starts this year for McArdles Lightning, a 5-year-old trained by Steve Elliot for owner Lightning Stable. It was the McArdle-Winning Venture ridgling’s 17th career win and $374,426 bankroll. Wakizashi Hanover edged Missile J for second money ending a four-race win streak by Missile J.
In the $27,500 Delaware Special Handicap, Emeritus Maximus emerged as the biggest surprise of the meet. Yannick Gingras took to the outside after the half-mile and rolled from mid-pack to overtake leader Seventh Secret (George Dennis. When that horse reached the final turn, he then pulled away to an impressive 1:50.3 victory. Captive Audience (Tetrick) was runner-up with Mustang Art (Campbell) the show horse.
Emeritus Maximus, a son of Rocknroll Hanover-Eternity’s Delight, was claimed in mid-January for $15,000 and has since won four times while stepping up the ladder to the Delaware Special ranks. He has won for his new owners $46,895 in purses including a 1:50 win last week. This was the 20th in his career and brings the 7-year-old to $456,375 lifetime.
Delaware-bred Remember Me VK was the longshot in the $20,000 Open pace. The Art Director-All Memory gelding owned by Sharon Wyatt, breeders Robin West and Ron Barton was a 13-1 shot. However, moving from an outside post to post two was helpful. Montrell Teague zoomed Remember Me VK three-wide after the three-quarters to snatch the lead and then had just enough to nip fast-finishing Nike Franco N (Tetrick) by a nose in 1:51.3.
The loss was the first in the U.S. for the New Zealand standout who had won all four of her starts on this side of the Pacific.
Star Messenger (Art Stafford Jr.) continues to impress. Claimed in late December for $20,000 by trainer Gary Ewing, the three-time 2017 wining gelding was a strong third.
In other undercard happenings, Mildred Ventriglio’s Major Uptrend made it two consecutive wins by scoring a 1:50.1 decision for Tony Morgan, racing for $15,500. --- Brit Evans’ Denslow Hanover gave Allan Davis a double in 1:52 in another $15,500 event --- Bret Brittingham drove Betty Brittingham’s Tip It On Back to his third victory in his last four starts in a $15,000 pace.
A tote delay in mid program took more than a half-hour before being rectified.