On Thursday, January 4, for the fifth time during the current Dover Downs meet, Little Ben scored a victory in a top class event at the Delaware track. On Thursday it came in the $30,000 Preferred pace.
All season long, Vic Kirby has been in the sulky for what have mostly been come-from-behind triumphs for Little Ben. The Jim King trainee outlasted Seventh Secret and George Dennis after a tenacious, late stretch, side-by-side engagement to stop the timer in 1:50. Just a head separated the contestants. Janet Hudson and JoAnn Looney-King own the six-year-old Jeremes Jet-Honeys Bud Lite gelding who won for the 25th time in his career. H has now banked $294,767 in lifetime purses. Argue Hanover, piloted by Corey Callahan, was third. Early leader Bettors Edge (Yannick Gingras) finished fourth in his quest for $2 million in purses.
Art Stafford Jr. put Soto into the early lead and led the rest of a 1:51.2 mile to take the $20,000 Open Pace. Eric Ell conditions the five-year-old Rock N Roll Heaven-Incredible Beauty winner of Ken Wood, Bill Dittmar, Steve Iaquinta who won for the third time in his last five outings. Soto has now won over a quarter-million dollars in his career. It was his 17th career victory.
Dancin Yankee returned to top form, as he delivered a 1:50.3 victory in a $15,500 Male pace, thus giving driver Tony Morgan his fifth win on the Thursday card and second for trainer Josh Green. The nine-year-old son of Yankee Cruiser-Dancewithebest collected his 55th lifetime score and raised his bankroll to $1,535,100. Rich Lombardo and L&J Racing own the Ohio bred. Screaman Seaman A (Yannick Gingras) edged Blazing Bobby Sox (Art Stafford Jr.) for place.
Morgan later came back for his fifth winning drive, as he escorted Rockinonby to the winner’s circle in one of three $15,500 events. Rockinonby bested Cloud Speed (Stafford Jr.) by three-quarters of a length and Suchaseneofhumor (Morand), third, to the finish line in 1:51. Niss Allen Inc. owns the Rockin Image-Stan’s Ann gelding who has won two of his last three and now has won in three-digits, $103,948 lifetime.
Yannick Gingras hit paydirt steering Rock N Roll World home in 1:51.4 in the other $15,500 division. The five-year-old exquisitely bred Rocknroll Hanover-Worldly Beauty horse held off fast closing Toatsmygoats (Sean Bier), second, and Feel Like A Fool (Callahan) in a tight finish.
After four winners Wednesday, Tony Morgan recorded five wins. Meet leader Vic Kirby had four wins. Trainers Eric Ell and Jim King plus owners, Wood, Dittmar, Iaquinta and Looney-King, had two wins.