New Year's Day Harness preview 1/1/15

December 30th, 2014

While many sports enthusiasts will certainly be paying close attention to the two college football semifinals today between Oregon and Florida State University and Alabama and Ohio State to determine the first two teams to compete in the inaugural college playoff championship game on January 12, standardbred owners, trainers, drivers and fans will be looking to kick off the new year in stellar fashion this evening at Dover Downs.

Typically, while most tracks opt to card their best races on the weekend, Dover Downs offers its best overnight product on Thursday each week and that will certainly be the case on New Year's Day when the Delaware five-eighths mile oval presents a solid 15-race card that also includes the normal Wednesday evening feature for trotters and several other conditions for that gait.

In the opening race on the card, a non-winners of $9001 last six class for trotters, give Credit Blues (Sean Bier) a chance to start the year with an 8-1 upset for trainer Eli Scott, Jr. Credit Blues ended his 2014 campaign with a 6-4-3 slate and $32,000 bankroll from 32 starts, including a 1;55.4 mark over the strip. Railbound Six Gun Hall (Corey Callahan) is likely to attract much of the attention and should drop to 7-5 by post time, while Ashes Cash (Tyler Raymer) and Pittstop Ruthie (Tony Morgan) both appear capable of overcoming outside post draws.

Several races later in the fifth, a non-winners of $100,000 lifetime class for pacers that have earned at least $45,000, look for Spinfiniti (Ron Pierce) to post a mild upset for trainer Doug Lewis. Spinfinit ended his '14 campaign with a solid 9-4-1 slate and $60,000 bankroll from 23 starts and he merits respect here in a race where Little Ben (Trace Tetrick) looms as the 6-5 choice for trainer Jim King, Jr. Cherokee Hunter (Callahan), Rock Absorber (Victor Kirby) and Laramars Soul (Allan Davis) all loom as upset possibilities as well.

Two races later in the seventh, a non-winners of $12,001 last six class starts/optional $25,000 claiming event for trotters, look for any number of horses to succeed. Spunky Jack (Roger Plante, Jr.) certainly looms the one to beat following a campaign in which he posted a 4-13-7 slate and earned over $112,000, but Dnieper (Morgan), Jacks To Open (Andy Miller), Ronan (Callahan) and Swish (Trace Tetrick) each has a good chance to score. Ronan is the only horse entered for the $25,000 claiming tag. Ideal Revenue (George Dennis) won his last start at 70-1 for trainer Jim Atkinson.

Then one race later in the eighth, a winners over class for older pacers look for Texican N (Pierce) to overcome his assigned post seven slot and post the mild upset. This Peter Tritton trainee has faced a bevy of tough customers at tracks in New York, Pennsylvania and Delaware and has enough gate speed to control the tempo from the outset. Adventure Bound (Art Stafford, Jr.), who posted a 5-4-3 slate seasonal mark of 1:49.2 at Rosecroft Raceway last fall for trainer Eric Ell, will look to circle the field from post eight. Bj's Rameau (Andy Miller) won 13 of 39 starts and earned over $$150,000 last year for trainer Nick Surick and merits respect from the six slot.

One race later in the winners over class for trotters, normally the Wednesday feature here, give I Like My Boss (Jonathan Roberts) a chance to kick off the new year in style for trainer Robert Shahan. Last year the talented Don Boss Vita gelding won 14 of 20 starts and earned nearly $200,000 while dominating the Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund races before tailing off form toward the end of the season. But when he's right, I Like My Boss can overhaul the early leaders and then outkick the late bids of Baximum (Davis) and Enrico As (Ross Wolfenden).

Then one race later in the 10th, the featured $25,000 Delaware Special for older pacers, look for Just A jolt (Kirby) to continue his winning ways from a year ago and kick off 2015 in style despite his eight hole draw. This talented and durable sort won 16 of 36 starts and earned nearly $225,000 last season for trainer Jim King, Jr., topped by a wire-to-wire score in the $40,000 Governor's Cup at Harrington Raceway last summer on that track's lucrative Governor's Day program. Mustang Art (Callahan) will pose a serious threat just to his inside and both Papa Ray and Believe This Bob can win at this level.