Monday Harness Preview for 6/30/2014

June 30th, 2014

by Ted Black

Serious harness racing fans may have needed a day to recover following Saturday evening's lucrative, stellar card at Pocono Downs, but they will probably want to jump back into action on Monday evening at a pair of half-mile ovals.

In actuality, Harrington Raceway in Delaware and Ocean Downs in Berlin, Maryland, five miles west of Ocean City, have more in common than simply being half-mile ovals. Both have a long tradition of providing owners, trainers, drivers and fans with harness racing meets and often the two tracks share horses, trainer and drivers. On Monday evening they will not have that much in common.

In the opening race on the Monday card at Harrington, look for West Star Director (Ben Stafford, Jr.) to salvage some dignity after a humbling effort two starts back in the opening round of Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund elims for three-year-old pacing colts. The sophomore son of Art Director was a solid second as the 4-5 favorite in the second round after making a costly break and settling for seventh in the opening round on June 15.

Go Big Spinder (Jonathan Roberts) who was third and first in his two DSBF elims to secure a berth in the $100,000 final here on Governor's Day, July 24, drew the outside seven hole in this affair. The homebred No Spin Zone colt has won five of 12 starts for owner-trainer and petite blacksmith Leigh Louthan and is probably using this outing to stay sharp for the big event here next month.

Then in the second race on the card, look for Cash Cab (Jim Morand) to reverse his bridesmaid status following a pair of second-place efforts against slightly lesser, as he draws the rail for this non-winners of $6501 last five starts class. Cash Cab has been hindered with poor posts for the past month and finally draws inside, which should give him the edge over Bettor's Arena (Victor Kirby) who drops back into a spot where he won two starts back, albeit at 17-1.

Then in the third race, Motorino (Allan Davis), another DSBF final-bound colt looking to stay sharp, draws the rail against a tough group that includes Jingle Bell Rocker (Kirby) and What's the Story (Tony Morgan). Motorino won three straight before settling for third last weekend, while What's The Story steps up from the non-winners of four races lifetime class off a sharp 1:53.2 score for trainer Tim Crissman.

Three races later in the latest renewal of the $17,000 Open Handicap, give the razor sharp Framed Art (Art Stafford, Jr.) a chance to upend the big boys in his Open debut. A winner of two straight for his trainer-driver, Framed Art has prevailed despite racing first over and grinding down his rivals over a half-mile oval that is typically not conducive to that tactic and often unforgiving to those who attempt it.

Last week's winner, Feel Like A Fool (Morand) draws the rail and will be tough, while Just A Jolt (Kirby) will look to regain his winning ways after an unlucky journey last week. Just A Jolt has thrived over the half-mile oval and has already secured the spring horse of the meet for trainer Jim King, Jr., thanks to five Open victories, including a pair in 1:50.3.

That same evening at Ocean Downs, the famed Maryland half-mile oval where the sand meets the stonedust, a trio of races appear playable.

In the third, the C-1 class for pacing fillies and mares, look for KJ's Caroline (Ray Robinson, Jr.) and Lookinforagoodtime (Brian Burton) to settle the issue in the lane. KJ's Caroline was a good second in her debut over the seaside oval last week and draws the rail, while Lookinforagoodtime won last week at Harrah's Philadelphia in 1:54.1.

Several races later in a C-3 class for older pacing boys, look for Scirocco Billy (David Hill, III) to finally attain his first win of the season for owner-trainer Gary White. Winless in 17 previous starts, Scirocco Billy has been second twice and third once in three starts over the track and the trainer-driver combo scored a huge upset on Sunday evening when Whitesville Bug prevailed at 50-1 in a MDSS event for 4-5-year-old pacing mares.

Then one race later in the featured B-1/A-3 handicap for older pacers, give SB Mikes Hot Beach (Mike Rossi) the nod in this competitive, compact field of six. A sharp second last week in a non-winners of $12,501 last five class at Harrington won by the razor sharp Framed Art who steps up into that track's Open this evening, SB Mikes Hot Beach has speed, an inside post and a fitness edge over Osceola Gold (Frank Milby), Charger (Justin Vincent), Manhattan Rusty N (Mark Gray) and Caviart Tyler (Brandon Henley0 who won the June 13 event here in 1:54.3.