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Always At My Place Wins Dover Debut

Published: February 16, 2017 9:50 pm ET

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Always At My Place made his first visit to Dover Downs a winning one, having just enough to nip Cajon Lightning by a short nose in the $30,000 Preferred Handicap in 1:51.1 while Sweet Rock came on to catch Emeritus Maximus in the final strides to win the $27,500 Delaware Special on a windy and chilly Thursday, Feb. 16.

Yannick Gingras drove Always At My Place in his first start of the year for Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, Lawrence Karr and Phil Collura. Cajon Lightning took the lead early and led until the final strides, finishing second for the fourth consecutive start. Veteran $1.5-million winner Dancin Yankee and Ross Wolfenden picked up the third-place cheque. Always At My Place is an Always A Virgin-Best Place gelding, who chalked up his 28th lifetime success lifting his career earnings to $589,122.

In the $27,500 Delaware Special Handicap, Sweet Rock and driver Allan Davis were all out to pass veteran Emeritus Maximus (Gingras), a winner of two straight after being claimed for $15,000 last month. Emeritus Maximus took the early lead and finished a strong second in the 1:51.4 mile. Sweet Rock, a Rocknroll Hanover-Penny For Nickel gelding, scored his first win of the year for trainer Wayne Givens and owners Legacy Racing Of DE Inc., Reginald Hazzard II, and Gary Calloway. It was his 17th career trip to the winner’s circle and pushed his earnings to $466,377. Blazing Bobby Sox, a winner of his last two in this class, closed boldly to just miss while taking show money.

On the hard-hitting undercard, Star Messenger, a horse claimed by trainer Gary Ewing in December, won for the third time with Tony Morgan at the controls notching a 1:50.2 victory, the fastest on the program, in a $15,500 male pace.

In a $15,000 four and five-year-old male pace, Gingras also drove Bad Gamer, a Badlands Hanover-Kattimon four-year-old he owns with trainer Ed Gannon Jr., Frank Canzone and Ronald Sabatini in a 1:51.4 performance.

Art Stafford Jr.’s first win came guiding Ben Stafford and Bill Dagget’s Cloud Speed to a last-to-first 1:53 score in a $15,000 male pace for young horses.

Allan Davis and Yannick Gingras led all drivers with three wins apiece, Art Stafford Jr. had a double; trainer Ron Burke and owners Weaver Bruscemi along with trainer Wayne Givens and owners Reg Hazzard and Legacy Racing earned two wins each.

(With files from Dover Downs)

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