Harrington Raceway will showcase many of Delaware’s top standardbreds Thursday evening as part of the annual Governor’s Day program during the Delaware State Fair.
The 13-race program which features Harrington’s richest aggregate purse total for one card on the season of $610,000, will have a 7 p.m. post time. A prestigious day of racing is ahead that honors the memory of former track officials, legislators and horsemen and is the focal point for many horsemen year round in pursuit of local bragging rights and camaraderie in front of the biggest crowd of the season for Delaware harness racing. Every horse on the program is either Delaware owned and/or bred.
There will be an autograph session featuring the top eight leading drivers at Harrington as well as two of racing’s top reinsman, Tim Tetrick and Corey Callahan, beginning at 6 p.m. in the grandstand lobby. There will also be t-shirts thrown into the crowd after designated races.
As has been customary, four $100,000 Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund (DSBF) finals will be featured among 3-year-old pacers and trotters as will fixtures for aged horses such as the $40,000 Governor’s Cup, $30,000 Legislator’s Cup, $30,000 Charles Murphy Memorial Trot and $20,000 President’s Cup.
The first $100,000 DSBF final will include the pacing fillies as two arch rivals who swept their eliminations will square off, Joann Looney-King’s Purrfect Bags (5/2, Victor Kirby) and Let It Ride Stables, Dana Parham and Carter Racing’s Totally Rusty (2-1, Corey Callahan).
The second DSBF final event to go post ward is the filly trotting final, in a competitive group that includes Charles Wimbrow’s Silence Is Bliss (5/2, Allan Davis) and Marvin Meyer’s Cuddle Punk (7/2, Tim Tetrick), who both swept their elimination events. Bib Roberts, Graham Grace Stables and M&W Stables’ Callmemza (3-1, Jon Roberts), a 2-year-old Harrington DSBF champ and 3-year-old champ at Dover Downs, is also a prime contender. The event is named in honor of former Harrington Raceway President, Jack Walls, who passed away in 2003.
The DSBF final for trotting colts and geldings is scheduled as the ninth race and honors the memory of former driver/trainer Hal Belote who was tragically killed in a racing accident in 2006.
Nanticoke Racing and Delbert Cain’s Go Byem (7/5, Les Givens) is considered to be the one to beat after decisive wins in his eliminations for his trainer Givens, a native of Seaford, Del., who has been one of the most successful at winning DSBF events.
The last DSBF final on the program is one of the most competitive as three heavy hitting pacers will do battle in Sharon Wyatt, Robin West and Ronald Benton’s Remember Me VK (2/1, Montrell Teague), Mo Coo Inc. and Jonathan Klee Racing’s Quick Art (5/2, Anthony Morgan), and Michael White’s Son of A Sizzle (5/2, Kirby).
In the Governor’s Cup, a stablemate of Purrfect Bags for trainer Jim King Jr., Janet Hudson’s Just a Jolt (2/1, Kirby) aims for a repeat victory in the prestigious event for aged pacers. Only Daryl Bier’s Bandolito (7/2, Bier) sports a higher seasonal bankroll in the field. The Honorable Governor Jack Markell is expected to be on hand once again to present the trophy to this year’s winner.
The top event for pacing mares on the program, the Legislator’s Cup, is headlined by Jason and Susan Skinner’s BJ’s Sweetheart (8/5, Morgan), who was third in last year’s event, and Reggie Hazzard’s A La Notte Hanover (7/5, Davis). For the first time in recent memory, no mare in the field is older than five. The race also honors the memory of long-time state senator Thurman Adams, who passed away in 2009 as the longest serving senator in the history of the First State.
The Charles Murphy Jr. Memorial Trot, is named after the former Harrington Raceway and Delaware State Fair board member. Prayer Session (7/5, Callahan) is the early favorite in the event for older trotters for owners Gary Evans and Foulk Stables.