Day At The Track

'Seaside' surges to Matron

06:18 AM 15 Nov 2017 NZDT
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Downbytheseaside, Harness Racing
Conrad Photo

Downbytheseaside will try to continue a late-season surge when he faces seven foes in Thursday's $210,000 Matron Stakes for harness racing 3-year-old male pacers at Dover Downs. The colt, who is harness racing's richest horse of the year, is the 5-2 morning-line favorite despite starting from post seven.

The race is one of four Matron Stakes for 3-year-old pacers and trotters Thursday at Dover Downs. Idyllic Beach is the 5-2 morning-line favorite in the event for female pacers while Devious Man is the 3-1 choice in the Matron for male trotters and Ice Attraction gets the 3-1 nod for female trotters.

Racing begins at 4:30 p.m. EST.

Downbytheseaside enters the Matron Stakes off a career-best 1:48.3 win Nov. 4 in the Monument Circle at Hoosier Park. His time was one-fifth of a second off Freaky Feet Pete's track record for 3-year-old male pacers.

For the year, Downbytheseaside has won 11 of 19 races and earned $1.32 million for owners Country Club Acres, Joe Sbrocco, Richard Lombardo, and Diamond Creek Racing.

He faces on Thursday a field that includes Little Brown Jug champion and Monument Circle runner-up Filibuster Hanover, who is the 3-1 second choice from post one with Yannick Gingras driving for trainer Ron Burke. Burke also sends Rock N Tony, Eddard Hanover, and Miso Fast into the event.

Chris Page will drive Downbytheseaside for trainer Brian Brown, leaving from post seven, which has produced only four winners in 111 races during the current meet at Dover Downs.

"He seems as good now as he's been all year," Brown said. "He trained sharp (on Saturday) and checked out OK, so I think we're ready to go."

Downbytheseaside, who has battled issues with his feet throughout the season, won his first four races this year, including the Art Rooney Pace, before a third-place finish in the North America Cup. He was second in the Meadowlands Pace and third in the Cane Pace before winning the Messenger Stakes as part of another four-race win streak.

He then finished fifth in both his Little Brown Jug elimination and final and third in a division of the Tattersalls Pace. He won his elimination for the Breeders Crown and was second in the final before capturing the Monument Circle.

"The horse has actually gotten better," Brown said. "He's put on some weight in the last month and his feet the last month are better.

"He had some tough spots where things weren't going his way and we could have easily lost him, but he recovered. I think it speaks to his guts and his durability. I just wish he would have been this good a couple months ago."

Brown also trains 3-year-old male pacer Fear The Dragon, who has won 12 of 16 races this season and is No. 2 in purses with $1.26 million for owner Emerald Highlands Farm. The colt was not eligible to the Matron, but his connections discussed supplementing the horse to the race.

However, after battling health issues in recent weeks and qualifying on Nov. 9 in 1:53.4 at Hollywood Gaming Dayton Raceway, the decision was made to sit out.

"Dragon qualified decent, but he didn't qualify great," Brown said. "And for him to have to go against these horses, I think he has to be great. I don't want to cheapen the horse at all. We're still not a hundred percent sure he won't race again, but he's not racing this week."

The Matron for 3-year-old male pacers is Race 10 on Thursday's 13-race card. Estimated post time for the race is 7:30 p.m. EST.

There is no lack of talent in the remaining Matron Stakes. The field for the 3-year-old filly pace includes six of the division's seven richest horses: Caviart Ally, Agent Q, Idyllic Beach, Bettor's Up, Tequila Monday, and Obvious Blue Chip.

Breeders Crown and Canadian Trotting Classic champion What The Hill, Yonkers Trot winner Top Flight Angel, and Kentucky Futurity winner Snowstorm Hanover are among the horses joining Devious Man in the Matron for male trotters.

Ice Attraction, the Kentucky Filly Futurity winner, meets a group that includes stakes-winners Thats All Moni, Cool Cates, On A Sunny Day and Dream Together in the filly trot.

For Thursday's complete entries, click here.

Ken Weingartner

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