Dover In Motion streaking after extended layoff

by James Platz

Dover In Motion kicked off his 5-year-old season with a win Monday afternoon (Jan. 8), at Miami Valley Raceway. Steered by John DeLong for trainer and co-owner Jamie Macomber, the son of Dover Dan—Keystone Sadie scored a three-length triumph in the day’s $32,000 open handicap, trotting the mile in 1:52.3. The victory was the fifth consecutive for Dover In Motion dating back to late November. It was also another positive step as he attempts to recapture the brilliance he displayed as a freshman.

“I didn’t know what he was going to be like racing the winter months and the cold and the hard track,” said Macomber. “But I know him, and I know how well he did as a 2-year-old and I know his attitude. He came back even better than I had hoped as far as his attitude, wanting to win and wanting to be Dover.”

Dover In Motion didn’t make his first pari-mutuel start in 2023 until the first week of October. He was sidelined for a good portion of the year after an injury he sustained in the finale of his sophomore campaign. Macomber, who owns the trotter in partnership with M & M Racing (Ora Miller), decided to be extra precautious bringing him back to the races.

“He had some soft tissue damage in his right hind that required some time off,” she said. “I went ahead and doubled his time off just to make sure it healed up. I don’t think the right hind was a factor until his last start when he made a break in the stretch. I think he was sore in the left hind for a majority of his 3-year-old season, but we didn’t find much in his left hind.”

After winning eight of nine freshman starts and banking just over $300,000 for the connections, expectations were high for Dover In Motion’s 3-year-old campaign. Unfortunately, soreness plagued him throughout his 16 seasonal starts, and while he managed to hit the board in half of them, he produced only two trips to the Harrah’s Hoosier Park winner’s circle. Dover In Motion finished 2022 with $129,510 in earnings, but was also shelved with the injury.

“I trained him down at 3 and then I turned him out,” Macomber said. “He got ready way too early. I turned him out and he came back sore. It was extremely disappointing. To look at his lines and to look at the money he made, it wasn’t even terrible. So, you sound silly saying that it was disappointing, but we had such high expectations for him. He was a perfect 2-year-old.”

When Dover In Motion returned in October, his first start was an Indiana Sires Stakes elimination for older trotters, not what Macomber had planned. He raced second in the elimination, then trotted third in the $50,000 final.

“My plan was not for my first start to be in the aged sires stakes elimination,” she said. “But some sickness had gone through the barn and he had so much mucus. I refused to train him. Because he’s never had Lasix, I didn’t want to train him too much when he’s sick. So, I missed about 10 days with him. When you’re trying to prep one to win the sires stakes final when they are just training back, you kind of need it to be their third or fourth start. I didn’t want to go out and race him that hard his first start. But, in true Dover fashion, he went around there as well as he could and did awesome. My prayers were that he would come out of those first two races okay.”

He came out of the sires stakes contests fine, but when shipping to Cumberland Run in late October, Dover In Motion broke stride and finished out of the money. Macomber says the trotter has a tendency to sometimes become anxious and over-trot, which she believes he did in Kentucky. Returning to the familiar confines of Hoosier Park, Dover In Motion picked up his first victory of 2023 on Nov. 11, just over 14 months since his last triumph as a 3-year-old. He followed the win with a fourth-place finish, and since then has not tasted defeat. Beginning with a 1-length score on Nov. 25, he has run his record to five straight. During the 10-race stretch he has banked $86,760 and pushed his career tally to $525,670.

“Right now, he’s just so full of himself,” Macomber said. “He never has a bad day. Even when he was sore at 3, he never had a bad attitude. He knows he’s winning every week; I can tell you that. Sometimes he wants to take me for a ride out there when we are jogging and training. I’m thrilled and very fortunate for him to come back the way that he has.”

The owner and trainer is not racing Dover In Motion weekly. Instead, she is picking her spots with the trotter with the goal of getting him through the month of January sound and healthy. That would mark four months of competition since his return from the long layoff without any issues.

“My main goal is to get through January with him being 100 per cent sound,” she said. “Right now, my goal is for him to be completely sound in February. If he’s completely sound in February, I’ll turn him out and give him a break and then start preparing him for Hoosier Park.”