11/07/2014 12:19AM

Dover: Nuncio's victory highlights lucrative Matron card

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Nuncio is a repeat winner in the Matron, having also won in his freshman season.

Nuncio and driver John Campbell overcame post eight to capture the $200,350 Matron Stakes for three-year-old male trotters, one of eight Matrons at Dover on Thursday night. The son of Andover Hall was parked nearly three-eighths of a mile before clearing the front and easily held pocket-sitter Harper Blue Chip at bay with Hillustrious rallying late for third. Father Patrick, the 1-2 favorite, made a break as the gate opened and was never a factor.

Nuncio, trained by Jimmy Takter for Stall TZ Inc, has now won four consecutive stakes races, this one timed in 1:54 1/5.

“He’s turned into a true professional,” said Campbell of Nuncio, a repeat winner in the Matron having captured the event as a two-year-old in 2013.

Takter swept the Matrons for three-year-old trotters with his sensational Shake It Cerry, setting a track record of 1:52 4/5 despite racing over a track labeled “good.” Shake It Cerry and driver Ron Pierce overtook stablemate Lifetime Pursuit at the quarter and never looked back. Lifetime Pursuit settled for second with Cee Bee Yes coming up the inside for third.

“She’s a special filly,” said Pierce following the victory, her 14th in 16 starts as a three-year-old. Solveig’s Racing Partners own Shake It Cerry.

Pierce came back with a 24-1 upset guiding Big Boy Dreams for trainer Ron Burke from off the pace in the $186,550 Matron for three-year-old colts. Owned by Dominick Rosato Big Boy Dreams swept the field in a 1:50 3/5 mile.

The race set up with strong early fractions as Lyonssomewhere and Yannick Gingras jetted to the front in :25 3/5 from post seven. Prior to the quarter Luck Be Withyou made an extended move to the front and reached the half in a hectic :52 4/5. Favored All Bets Off tried to move but couldn’t reach the leader. Jet Airway and Big Boy Dreams made solid moves down the backstretch and Big Boy Dreams was in great position at the 1:21 2/5 three quarters.

Capital Account finished second with McWicked finishing third.

Pierce picked up the drive on Weeper and captured his third Matron with the three-year-old filly in the $179,200 event. The daughter of Allamerican Native was first to the front and yielded willingly to odds-on favorite Act Now past the quarter. Pierce sat comfortably until the stretch where he found the passing lane and used it perfectly. Owned by Bay Pond Racing and trained by Kelly O’Donnell, Weeper won for the eighth time in 14 starts this year. Uffizi Hanover rallied for second with Major Dancer a game third after a long overland journey.

Driver Yannick Gingras enjoyed three stakes wins. He swept the two-year-old trotting Matrons scoring with the heavily favored Wild Honey in 1:55 2/5. Christina Takter, Jim Fielding, Herb Liverman and John Fielding own the daughter of Cantab Hall and Jimmy Takter trains. Now a winner of nine of 10 starts Wild Honey scored by a half-length over Bright Baby Blues with Smexi third.

Habitat won for the seventh time in his first season for trainer Ron Burke in the $237,500 Matron for juvenile colt trotters. Gingras guided him from the pocket to victory as the 2-1 second choice. Muscle Diamond rallied inside the passing lane with pacesetter Cruzado Dela Noche giving ground grudgingly in third. By Conway Hall, Habitat is owned by Burke Racing, Our Horse Cents Stables and Weaver Bruscemi.

Burke continued his winning form with Sassa Hanover, getting the victory in the $199,600 Matron for juvenile pacing fillies. The New York-bred overcame post eight for Gingras and put away pocket-sitting favorite Bettor Be Steppin on the final turn in a 1:52 3/5 mile. Bettor N Bettor rallied inside for second with Well Hello There completing the Burke-trained trifecta. Owned by Burke Racing, Panhellenic Stable and Weaver Bruscemi, Sassa Hanover has nine wins in 11 starts in her first year at the track.

In The Arsenal served notice that he’s the two-year-old to beat in the Breeders Crown with a vicious 1:51 virtual wire-to-wire victory in the $193,200 Matron for pacing colts. With Brian Sears in tow the son of American Ideal waited for longshot Lyons Levi Lewis to clear on the first turn then marched to control. Tomy Terror took a shot at him before the half but never menaced. Lyons Levi Lewis held the place spot with Bet You finishing third. Now a winner of four straight stakes events In The Arsenal won for trainer Kelvin Harrison and owner-breeder White Birch Farms.

“He’s got a lot of go,” said Sears following the victory. “He’s still a little green but he’s learning.”

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