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Marino Dominates Fraser Opener

Published: March 18, 2021 1:15 am ET

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It came as no surprise that Jim Marino kicked off the 2021 season at Fraser Downs with a training grand slam, including wins in all three featured events on Wednesday evening's (March 17) program.

Sporty Dragon ($3.00) was the expected favourite in the evening's featured event, an $8,500 optional claiming pace, and he soundly lived up to his odds-on billing with a strong 1:55.2 score for Marino and the J J J Stables.

Brandon Campbell settled the four-year-old Custard The Dragon gelding off a soft early pace, which was controlled by 25-1 outsider Mach Silver (Rod Therres) through early sectionals of :29 and :57.4. Up the backstretch, Sporty Dragon began his ascent, gradually working closer through the far turn and collaring Mach Silver in mid-stretch. Sporty Dragon capped the sixth winning mile of his career with a :28.1 final quarter, widening his margin of victory to 1-1/4 lengths over Mach Silver and Pureform Mr Toffee.

Marino and Campbell swept the sub-features as well, with Moosette ($3.20) and Dontpokethedragon ($2.20) capturing their respective $8,000 conditioned events.

In the night's top distaff event, Moosette launched a first-over attack with three-eighths to go, pushed clear of pacesetter Whatineedisaman in mid-stretch, and held off the late challenge of Mystic Shadow to win by a neck in 1:56.4 for the Shale Stables. The four-year-old daughter of Hes Watching now has won three times in her career.

Dontpokethedragon utilized different tactics altogether, establishing an uncontested lead before sprinting home in :27.4 to defeat stablemate Shales Storm by a widening 3-1/2 lengths in his first start for Marino, who — along with partners Paul Sanders and the J J J Stables — assumed ownership of the four-year-old Custard The Dragon gelding from former trainer Keith Clark last month.

Kelly Hoerdt notched a training and driving triple as well, winning with Watch Me Boogie ($5.80, 2:00.3), Thankyaverymuch ($2.80, 1:55.3) and Chazmichaelmichael ($3.20, 1:55.4).

The current stand at Fraser Downs continues through the end of April, with racing on Wednesday and Friday evenings.

To view Wednesday's complete results, click the following link: Wednesday Results – Fraser Downs.


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