Hightstown, NJ — Dorsoduro Hanover began his season with a win and will try to go out the same way in Thursday’s $260,000 Hap Hansen Progress Pace for 3-year-old pacers at Dover Downs. It will not be easy. In addition to facing seven talented rivals, Dorsoduro Hanover will begin the race from post No. 8, the least favorable starting spot on the gate at the track.
“I’m not too happy about that,” said driver Matt Kakaley, who will try to guide Dorsoduro Hanover to victory from a post that has produced only four winners from 100 starts during the current Dover Downs meet. “The eight hole is going to be tough. But it should be a good race for everybody to watch. There is a lot of speed in there.”
Dorsoduro Hanover, the sport’s richest 3-year-old with $1.25 million in purses this year, is the 5-2 second choice on the morning line. Jimmy Freight, who defeated Dorsoduro Hanover by a neck in last week’s Progress Pace elimination, is the 2-1 favorite. He will start from post No. 7 with driver Scott Zeron. This Is The Plan and driver Tim Tetrick are 9-2 and will leave from post three.
“This Is The Plan will be pushing for sure; I know Scotty will be leaving and I’m not taking back, so there’s going to be some action,” Kakaley said. “I don’t know how it will all shake out in the first turn, but there will be enough guys leaving, that’s for sure.”
The Ron Burke-trained Dorsoduro Hanover has won 10 of 21 races this year, finished second on six occasions and third once. His wins include the Breeders Crown, Adios, Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship, and an elimination of the Little Brown Jug. He finished second in the Little Brown Jug final and also was runner-up in the Meadowlands Pace and a division of the Tattersalls Pace.
The gelding has finished off the board only once in his past 10 starts, a fourth in the Nov. 15 Matron Stakes at Dover, where he was beaten by a neck. He is owned by Burke Racing, the group of Silva, Purnel & Libby, the Weaver Bruscemi partnership, and Wingfield Five.
“He’s had a long year and he’s still racing good,” Kakaley said about Dorsoduro Hanover, who made his seasonal debut on May 5. “Ronnie has done an amazing job keeping him sharp like this. He raced great last week, another first-over trip and he dug in hard all the way to the wire. You can’t really fault him. He usually gives you what he’s got.
“He’s had a tremendous year, there’s no doubt about that. He’s got the most money made, he’s been knocking on the door the whole year, racing hard the whole year, and he’s always right there. A couple of the other ones were good early and not so good late, or vice versa, but he’s been pretty consistent the whole year.”
In addition to the Progress Pace, Dover on Thursday hosts Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund championships for 2-year-old pacers and trotters.
The Progress Pace was renamed in 2015 to honor the late W.E. “Hap” Hansen, a Dover Downs and Brandywine Raceway executive who passed away the previous year. Following is the field for the Hap Hansen Progress Pace in post-position order.
1-Shnitzledosomethin-David Miller-Dylan Davis-15/1
2-Heavenly Sound-Victor Kirby-Bruce Saunders-12/1
3-This Is The Plan-Tim Tetrick-Ron Burke-9/2
4-Thinkbig Dreambig-Yannick Gingras-Jimmy Takter-8/1
5-Done Well-Corey Callahan-Ron Burke-10/1
6-I’m A Big Deal-Eric Carlson-Chris Ryder-12/1
7-Jimmy Freight-Scott Zeron-Andrew Harris-2/1
8-Dorsoduro Hanover-Matt Kakaley-Ron Burke-5/2