DOVER, Del. – In only his second season as a harness racing driver, Barton Dalious is making a big splash in the Delaware harness racing scene.
On Thursday night (December 16), at Dover Downs, the 23-year-old will aim for his second win in a six-figure race in as many tries this season, teaming up with First State Joni in hopes of sweeping the Delaware Standardbred Breeders’ Fund series for 3-year-old foals and geldings on the capital oval.
First State Joni is looking to cap his second season on a winning note in their $ 100,000 DSBF Final, one of four such events on Thursday’s schedule in Dover. the Delmarvalous-The Jonigold colt owned and bred by Frank Deliberti’s Wiz Kids stable not only won seven times this season and cashed $ 117,674, but he was also instrumental in the development of Dalious as a driver.
“Over time you get more experience, and the way I see it is you get better with each race and try to learn something with each race,” Dalious, a third generation rider and the son longtime Delaware-based coach W. Bart Dalious, said. “Every horse is different; every race is different. The more opportunities you get, the more likely you are to do well.
According to Dalious, First State Joni “likes to hang on,” but has come a long way since the Delaware circuit moved to Dover in November. After a pair of minor berths in conditioned races, First State Joni clinched back-to-back wins in their DSBF Series preliminaries, taking their lifetime mark of 1: 54.1 in the second round last week.
And while winning a DSBF Final is nothing new for Dalious and First State Joni – they won the Summer Series Final together at Harrington Raceway on July 29 – expectations are higher the second time around. Despite the added pressure, Dalious is confident in the ability of his manager – and hers – to control the terms:
“Since I started riding him he’s come a long way,” said Dalious of First State Joni, who was set up as the 5-2 morning line favorite in the Series Finals. Thursday and who will start from pole in the pack of eight horses. “He’s always had good door speed, but he let me rate it more and come home a little better.”
Dalious has also come a long way. After notching just seven wins in his rookie season in 2020, he has won 44 of 442 starts this year and amassed more than $ 525,000 in purse winnings – numbers he hopes to increase on Thursday.
And although a six-figure victory already this season is certainly a point of pride, the impact that a second victory of this type would have is not lost for the upstart driver either:
“It would be really huge,” he said. “The first one was a huge accomplishment, but doing it twice would be a good start. It’s pretty exciting; I didn’t expect to be into something this serious so quickly. It means a lot to me. “
The Delaware Standardbred Breeders’ Fund final for 3-year-old stimulation foals is the 10th race on
Thursday’s pari-mutuel program at Dover Downs comes with a $ 100,000 final for 3-year-old trotting fillies (race 4), 3-year-old trotting foals and geldings (race 6) and fillies 3-year-old stimulation (race 8). The first message for the 15-ride card is 4:30 p.m. EST.
Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund