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King hopes E.T. can dial up a win in DSBF final

Wednesday, March 28, 2018  By: Ken Weingartner


Hightstown, NJ --- He’s known around the barn as E.T., but Evolution Tour is not from outer space --- even if trainer Jim King Jr. says with a laugh the gelding is “an alien.” This E.T. is quite at home in Delaware, where this week the 3-year-old pacer will try to capture his first DSBF championship after two narrow misses last season.


Dover Downs hosts four $100,000 Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund finals for 3-year-old pacers and trotters as part of Thursday’s 14-race card. Racing begins at 4:30 p.m., with the DSBF championship for female trotters kicking off the action. The remaining finals are races two (male trotters), six (female pacers) and eight (male pacers).


Evolution Tour is unbeaten this year in two races, both preliminary rounds of the DSBF, and is the 3-1 third choice on the morning line behind last season’s two-time DSBF champion Slick Tony (2-1) and Transitioning Joy (5-2). Slick Tony, who beat Evolution Tour by a nose in both of last year’s state-bred finals, starts from post No. 1 while Transitioning Joy leaves from post No. 2 and Evolution Tour from post No. 3.


Slick Tony, a son of stallion No Spin Zone, is owned and trained by George Leager, who also bred the colt, and will be driven by Russell Foster. He has won 10 of 13 career races and never finished worse than second, earning $166,797 in purses.


Transitioning Joy, a son of Barber Pole, is trained by Clyde Francis for owners George Teague Jr. Inc. and Joy Teague. The homebred colt, who has won four of 12 lifetime starts and earned $71,600, will be driven by Montrell Teague.


Tim Tetrick will drive Evolution Tour, a son of Roddy’s Bags Again owned by King’s wife Jo Ann.


“My job is pretty much done,” King said about the final. “I’m going to leave the rest in the hands of the master. How it’s going to play out, you figure that Slick Tony’s not going to settle for anything less than second and Joy is not going to want to sit third. So chances are I’m going to be third and first over. But Timmy will get it figured out. I think my horse is good enough and I know my driver is.”


Evolution Tour, purchased for $15,000 at the 2016 Standardbred Horse Sale, has won six of 10 career races and never finished worse than second on his way to $111,550 in purses. He defeated Slick Tony and Transitioning Joy in a first-round division of this year’s DSBF series and heads to the final off a 4-1/2 length win over G W T last week.


In last year’s championships, Evolution Tour came from off the pace from post No. 8 at Harrington Raceway to miss by a nose in the first final and then got nipped by a nose at Dover Downs after leading from the start from post No. 1 in the second final.


“The first time was just a lack of experience,” King said. “He had the ability to go by, he just didn’t. Some horses are more racy than others. That wasn’t on the top of his list. He didn’t put forth his best effort there. But Slick Tony is a really nice horse. The second time, Slick Tony just out-footed him. Timmy elected to cut it and he just got caught.


“But they were both good paychecks.”


King thinks Evolution Tour better understands the game this year.


“That’s the biggest thing right now,” King said. “He’s come into himself and he’s a lot more willing than he was before. He was a bit of a slow learner. He didn’t know he was supposed to excel at times. Now he’s kind of picked that up. Timmy has put him on the front end and he’s stepped off. Timmy’s come first over and he had every reason not to go forward when they turned for home, but he did.


“He’s just improved and is getting to be more of a racehorse all the time.”


King expects “E.T.” to remain close to home for the rest of the campaign.


“He’s going to be really good for the Delaware stakes,” King said. “As far as him being a top contender someplace else, I’m not seeing it. I just think he’s going to be really nice for around here.”


In Thursday’s remaining DSBF finals, Deja Vu Blue is the 2-1 morning-line favorite among female trotters, Super Fly is the 3-1 pick among male trotters, and Go Sandy Go is the 5-2 choice among female pacers. For Thursday’s complete entries, click here.

 


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