When post positions for the $100,000 Potomac Pace were drawn on Wednesday the field appeared in deep in quality and quantity, but on the afternoon of the race the signature event lost two of its primary attractions, reigning horse of the year, McWicked and This Is The Plan.
Nevertheless, while the Potomac may have scratched down to a field of six the feature event still had ample quality remaining, with Breeders Crown Open hero, American History (Joe Bongiorno) being made the solid 3-5 favorite while Breeders Crown runner-up Dorsodoro Hanover (Matt Kakaley) was the solid 2-1 second choice.
Those looking to forge at least minor upsets included Courtly Choice (Corey Callahan) at 9-2, Endeavor (Tim Tetrick) at 11-1, Dealt A Winner (David Miller) at 16-1 and local star Slick Tony (Russell Foster) at 35-1. Dealt A Winner has made an appearance in each of the four Potomac Pace events, while Endeavor was back for his third try.
When the gate folded in the Potomac Pace, Dorsodoro Hanover left to gain command down the backside then yielded to American History passing the opener in 27.1. American History continued to roll by the midway mark in 54,2 then Endeavor angled out first over from fourth and launched his bid down the backside as the favorite rolled by three-quarters in 1:21.2.
At the top of the lane, American History was under serious urging as Dorsodoro Hanover and Dealt A Winner angled to the inside as Endeavor continued to grind his way toward them from the outside. Under serious urging from Tetrick, Endeavor closed willingly in the lane and overhauled American History and Dealt A Winner late to score by a head in 1:49.4 as an overlooked 11-1 shot for owner-trainer Jeff Cullipher.
“I knew right after the start that I was going to be first over,” said Tetrick, who was elected to the harness racing Hall of Fame. “When I saw Joe’s horse getting a little rocky early, I thought he looked uncomfortable so I thought if I could get to him that I had a shot. My horse raced huge first over and he just kept grinding. He’s raced with these a few times before and held his own.”
In one of the better races on the card, Rollin Ring Afire (Allan Davis) rallied from well off the pace and third over and widest of all in the lane to capture the $25,000 Maryland Invitational in 1:51.2. A seven-year-old Rocknroll Hanover gelding trained by Willard Reynolds, Rollin Ring Afire recorded his second straight score and now owns a 6-3-6 slate and over $40,000 banked from 26 seasonal outings after surging past Romantic Interest (Milby) and Rollinlikethunder (Davis) in the lane.
Then one race earlier in a non-winners of $4,000 last four starts class for older pacers, Hey Dali (Callahan) overcame a first over bid to wear down 9-5 favorite Redwood Again (Matt Kakaley) to score by two lengths in 1:53.1. Owned and trained by Frank Milby, Hey Dali now owns a 7-2-3 slate and $31,000 banked from 31 seasonal outings and boasts 31 wins and nearly $175,000 banked from 169 career outings.
One race earlier in another non-winners of $4,001 last four class, B Fast Eddie (Frank Milby) forged a mild upset when he gained command in a 26.3 opener, rebuffed a bid from 3-5 choice Beammeupscottie (Eddie Davis, Jr.) before the half, opened a clear lead down the backside and through the far turn and held sway through the lane for a length score in 1:54. A six-year-old Big Jim gelding owned and trained by Eric Foster, B Fast Eddie now owns a 5-2-1 slate and $22,000 banked from 19 seasonal outings and recorded his 20th career victory in the process.
Then several races earlier in the Sunday opener, Judge Bob (Jonathan Roberts) rallied from well off the pace and second over to capture the $10,000 Open Handicap for trotters by nearly a length over 17-1 outsider Don Dorado in 1:55.4. A four-year-old son of Great George Twon trained by Megan Roberts, Judge Bob notched his 10th win in 29 starts this year and pushed his seasonal earnings past $50,000 and his latest score bumped his lifetime earnings past $100,000 from 39 lifetime tries.