Banca trainee Weslynn Dancer looks to break through in the talent filled field.
by Jay Wolf
MGM Northfield Park’s executive vice-president of racing/simulcast, Dave Bianconi has put together the greatest field in the five-year history of the $175,000 Cleveland Trotting Classic, and arguably the most accomplished field to compete in any event at the suburban Cleveland oval.
The field of eight includes a Triple Crown winner, two Hambletonian champions, winners of three Breeder Crown finals, owners of four world records, five millionaires and has a combined $11.2 million in career earnings.
Looking to make a name for herself in this year’s CTC will be the 5- year-old trotter, Weslynn Dancer.
The Deweycheatumnhowe—Weslynn Legacy mare, who will leave from post #2, comes into Saturday night in top form for Barbara and James K. Boese of Milton, DE. She is conditioned by Richard Banca.
Weslynn Dancer’s last start was a solid second-place performance to Atlanta in the $192,000 Armbro Flight Final on June 15 at Woodbine Mohawk Park.
Weslynn Dancer was disrespected that night by the betting public and was made a 69-1 shot. Hall of Fame driver David Miller sat with the mare in sixth through the first half mile and rallied Weslynn Dancer with a final quarter of a mile in :26.3 to get within a half-length of the 2018 Hambletonian champ in 1:50.2.
“She’s just a nice horse,” said Banca. “She’s been racing great. She couldn’t be racing better than she is now.”
On the season, Weslynn Dancer has won four of 17 starts and $187,452.
Getting around the half-mile oval should not be an issue for Weslynn Dancer, who has scored all her 2019 wins at the half-mile Yonkers Raceway.
“(The inside post) will be a big help. Drawing outside would have really hurt her chances,” said the 44 year-old trainer. “She will probably get around Northfield better than she does at Yonkers.”
The sport’s all-time winningest driver, Dave Palone, is scheduled to drive the 6-1 morning line choice.
“We got lucky,” said33 Banca. “(Dave) was happy to go (to Northfield Park) and I was glad that (getting Palone) worked out.”
Guardian Angel As drew the coveted rail position and was named the 2-1 morning line favorite by Bianconi. The Archangel stallion comes into the CTC with a three-race win streak on the line. Trainer Anette Lorentzon will use one of Yonkers’ leading reinsmen, Jason Bartlett, to drive.
The defending CTC champion, Marion Marauder, drew post five and has been named the 7-2 second choice. The 6-year-old Muscle Hill stallion was the 2016 Trotting Triple Crown champion and is a winner of $3.1 million. Marion Marauder will be handled by his regular pilot Scott Zeron.
The 2015 Hambletonian champion, Pinkman, will leave from post #4 for Brett Miller. Per Engblom has picked up the training duties of the Explosive Matter gelding after the retirement of Jimmy Takter. Pinkman is a winner of $2.8 million during his six year career.
Emoticon Hanover ($2.8 million), Dayson ($1.0 million) and Plunge Blue Chip ($1.0 million) are the field’s remaining millionaires.
The Cleveland Trotting Classic is scheduled for race #12 (estimated post time of 10:45 p.m.) of the 16-race Saturday night card. The first post is 6:00 p.m.
The Classic undercard features two divisions of the Ohio Sire Stakes for 3-year-old colt pacers. The second $50,000 division features Rock Candy from the Brian Brown Stable. The Pet Rock colt is undefeated in five seasonal starts for Country Club Acres, Joe Sbrocco and Richard Lombardo.
The $175,000 Cleveland Trotting Classic (Race 12)
PP. Horse (Driver/Trainer) Morning Line Odds
1. Guardian Angel As (Jason Bartlett/Anette Lorentzon) 2-1
2. Weslynn Dancer (Dave Palone/Richard Banca) 6-1
3. Emoticon Hanover (Jody Jamieson/Luc Blais) 8-1
4. Pinkman (Brett Miller/Per Engblom) 4-1
5. Marion Marauder (Scott Zeron/Paula Wellwood) 7-2
6. Musical Rhythm (Ronnie Wrenn, Jr./Benoit Baillargeon) 10-1
7. Dayson (Chris Page/Ron Burke) 15-1
8. Plunge Blue Chip (Aaron Merriman/Ake Svanstedt) 12-1