Washington, PA --- Undeterred by the sluggish early fractions, Up Front Dan overwhelmed the leader with a backside blitz and went on to a facile victory in Tuesday’s (March 26) $30,500 championship of the Walter Russell Memorial Pace for 3- and 4-year-old colts, horses and geldings at The Meadows.
Up Front Dan was sitting fourth while the leader, Incredible Dragon, waltzed to the half in 58.3. Winning driver Dave Palone said the leisurely pace didn’t worry him.
“I wasn’t concerned about the fractions,” Palone said. “I just wanted to race him out of a hole. When he got clear sailing and made the lead, I thought it was over. He hasn’t had many physical problems; he just needs to mature a bit. He has a lot of ability, but he’s just now starting to give you a good effort.”
Up Front Dan easily blew by Incredible Dragon, scorching the back half in 55.4 en route to victory in 1:54.2. Incredible Dragon saved place, 2-3/4 lengths back, while Really Lucky finished third.
Ron Burke trains the 4-year-old Dragon Again-She’s A Daisy gelding for Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC and Ed Mullinax. Palone noted that Burke has enjoyed a wee bit of success with another son of Dragon Again — Foiled Again, two-time Older Male Pacer of the Year and the richest pacer ever.
“I think it’s safe to say that Up Front Dan won’t go down in history as Ronnie’s favorite Dragon Again,” he said. “But I think he’ll make a useful horse.”
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