More Dragon survived a demanding first quarter and rolled on to a convincing victory in Saturday's $32,500 championship of the Atta Boy Dan Pace for 3-year-old colts and geldings at The Meadows.
More Dragon was parked throughout a 27.2 opening panel before clearing to the lead. Winning driver Dave Palone said he wasn't overly concerned about the potential impact of that swift quarter.
"We were just looking for everybody to get settled," Palone said. "It was just a matter of everybody finding a spot and then moving him to the front. He responded really strong through the wire."
Once on top, More Dragon easily parried the first-over thrust of Trelane to score in 1:54.1, 2 1/2 lengths better than the pocket-sitting Arthur Pendragon. Rip This Joint was third. Palone indicated More Dragon, who's fresh enough with only three starts this year, may turn out to be a top performer.
"I think he's a pretty good colt," Palone said. "I know they'll be out there in 1:49 miles, but he's been well within himself. I've seen these kinds of horses move to other tracks and shade 1:50. He has a terrific attitude. The only knock on him is he's a little fella, but he takes great big steps, and he has a good way of doing it."
Ron Burke trains More Dragon, a Dragon Again-Liscaramore gelding, for Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Knox Services and David Wills.
In the $22,500 Winners Over $10,000 Life/Preferred Handicap Pace, Dew N Doughnuts was able to slip by three horses in an early jackpot and prevail in 1:52.2.
The trouble began when both Seventh Secret and Unlocked broke stride while trying for the lead, placing Sam Hill in a precarious position behind them. Aaron Merriman kept Sam Hill clear of the rest of the field, enabling Dew N Doughnuts and Tony Hall to ease through safely along the pylons. The 6-year-old son of Real Desire-Artbitration defeated the rallying Easy Again by a length, with the first-over Cammikey third.
Norm Parker conditions Dew N Doughnuts, who now boasts $314,274 in lifetime earnings, for Tom Klosky Jr.
Palone piloted five winners and Mike Wilder four on the 15-race card. (The Meadows)