Saratoga Racetrack has been known for years as the Graveyard of Favorites as many of thoroughbred's elite go down to defeat in the Spa in big races contested there. Well, harness racing has its own Graveyard of Favorites as well, known as the Delaware County Fair and yesterday was a prime example of this. In the Buckette, Maven went down to defeat, defeated by Bluff who controlled the race the entire way in a world record 1:54 over the half mile oval. In the first division of the Jugette, the three year old pacing filly darling American Jewel finished third in a mile won by Better B Lucky who wired the field in 1:51.4 by playing hardball (Click here for the whole Jugette story).
At times it is just a case of circumstances which causes the favorites to go down to defeat, often by the horse based in the Midwest who has been aiming for Delaware the whole season, sometimes due to a tough campaign finally catching up to them, and sometimes just a case of a horse who happens to come out of obscurity for their one day date with destiny only to return to semi-anonymity for the rest of their racing career.
Then there are times when the track itself is a factor, a bad post being the great equalizer. The very good horse unable to overcome the challenge of an outside post but the great horse able to rise up and meet the challenge. All these factors for the handicapper to consider when making their wagers.
Today may be one of those days when we will see if greatness arises in the name of A Rocknroll Dance who has yet to seal the deal as the best sophomore pacer of 2012. A victory in the Little Brown Jug by the son of Rocnroll Hanover can move him up up from the best of an even crop of three year old pacers to one who risen far and above the rest of his classmates as he drew post postion seven in the second division of the Jug's first heat. Who may be standing in his way? Sweet Lou, who after all the anticipation of this year has fallen flat for while he has won six of eleven starts this year, he has failed to win in the marquee events. After a disappointing season and drawing post position one in his elimination, the expectation is Sweet Lou is going to leave and not look back, playing a game of 'catch me if you can'. Will A Rocknroll Dance go down to defeat or become one of the great ones? We will know by 7:00pm this evening. This is all part of what makes Delaware special. Enjoy today's racing.
Other races to look at today: In the third race, Pet Rock, who has been putting together quite a successful campaign for himself in relative anonymity leads the field in the Delaware Open Series for 3yo colts and geldings as the 1-5 favorite. On paper he looks to be unbeatable
The Old Oaken Bucket (Race Eleven) looks like a wide-open affair. Fusion Man is the leading contender in the race after winning the KYSS final at the Red Mile. One In A Million has been a disappointment this year with gait issues but draws the rail. If somehow One in A Million manages to stay on stride there is a chance for redemption.
In the first division of The Little Brown Jug (Race Thirteen), Bolt the Duer is reportedly in it for one heat. Since winning the Adios back in July, Bolt The Duer has put on a four race win streak thanks to his domination of the KYSS this year. Will the half mile track be his undoing and can Michael's Power, a horse who has quietly won eleven of fourteen races this year in Ontario rise to the occasion?
In the second division of The Little Brown Jug (Race fourteen), it looks to be a battle between Sweet Lou and A Rocknroll Dance. Will Sweet Lou get his revenge, A Rocknroll Dance meet his destiny, or will some young upstart shine? .
In the little talked about Ms Versatility (Race Sixteen) some of racing's best aged trotting mares take to the track. Does Cedar Dove bounce back from her defeat in the Muscle Hill or was Beatgoeson Hanover's victory at Vernon Downs in the Muscle Hill the start of something remarkable?
The Winback Pace (Race seventeen) is wide open this year with only Valentino and Aracache Hanover headlining the race. Does one of them pick up the honors for 2012 or does another pacer punch their ticket to join the FFA ranks?
Enjoy your Jug Day and good luck.