One night after Laurel Park hosted the latest edition of the Maryland Million on an ideal fall afternoon, Rosecroft Raceway offered a solid Sunday program amid rainy, windy conditions that were difficult for both humans and equines to navigate early.
In the opening race on the card, a compact field of five older pacers convened for the $11,000 Maryland Open contested belatedly as the combination of inclement weather and ongoing work on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge impacted the ability of numerous horses to make the journey. The surface was listed as “sloppy” for the first two races but as the weather improved the track condition was eventually upgraded to “good” for the last 11 races.
Soon after the gate folded in the Maryland Open, Slick Tony (Russell Foster) wasted little time asserting his superiority as the overwhelming 1-20 favorite when he gained command in a 27.4 opener, got a modest breather by the half in 56 flat, met token pressure from Romantic Interest (Frank Milby) down the backside and by three-quarters in 1:23.1, shook loose from that one then held safe Capital Builder (Jonathan Roberts) for a two-length score in 1:51.1 over the “sloppy” oval.
A four-year-old No Spin Zone stallion owned, bred and trained by George “Ronnie” Leager, Slick Tony notched his third straight victory, his 13th win in 33 seasonal outings and his 31st victory from 66 career outings, pushing his lifetime bankroll to nearly $550,000. The talented, versatile home bred will likely return next month to seek to successfully defend his title in the $125,000 Maryland Invitational on the $100,000 Potomac Pace undercard against a similar group of rivals.
One race later in the $10,000 Open Handicap for older trotters, What That Is (Roger Plante, Jr.) easily lived up to his role as the even-money choice when he overcame post six to gain command in a 27.4 opener, maintained an honest tempo by the half in 56.4, met token pressure from Whitesville Dixon (David Hill, III) by three-quarters then drew clear in the lane to a three-length score in 1:55.
A four-year-old Cam’s Rocket gelding owned and trained by Kerry Welty, What That Is now owns a 3-4-3 slate and $37,000 banked from 21 starts this year and the former Maryland Sire Stakes champion now sports a 15-8-7 slate and nearly $187,000 banked from 51 career outings. Whitesville Dixon continues to race well for owner-breeder-trainer Gary White and should attain at least one victory at this level during the meet.
Several races later in a non-winners of $4,000 last four starts class for older pacers, Sword Of The Spirit (Allan Davis) rallied third over and three-wide to overhaul a gritty Said No One Ever (Justin Vincent) to score as the 8-5 favorite in 1:53.4. An eight-year-old Aristic Fella gelding trained by Lewis Nunes, Sword Of The Spirit now owns a 3-6-3 slate and banked over $23,000 from 30 seasonal outings. Said No One Ever was parked the entire mile and just gave way in the final strides in a very game effort.
One race later in a non-winners of $4,100 last four starts class for pacers, F Twenty Two (Plante) saved ground down the backside and through the far turn, slipped through along the pylons at the head of the lane and overhauled 2-1 favorite Hickory Aloha (Timmy Offutt) in the final strides for a head victory in 1:53.2. The nine-year-old Jereme’s Jet gelding owned and trained by Colby Hubble has won twice in three starts at the meet and sports a 32-31-35 slate and over $225,000 banked from 242 career tries.
Then one race later in a non-winners of $6,000 last four starts class for older pacers seeking to earn a berth in the Open, Rocktavius (Roberts) tucked fourth in the early stages, angled out second over behind Prince Clyde (Foster) before the half, followed that one’s live cover down the backside, angled three-wide on the far turn and surged past the leaders in the lane to score as the 4-1 fourth choice in 1:53.3.
A six-year-old Rocknroll Hanover gelding trained by Megan Roberts for owner William “Bib” Roberts of Yankee Co-Ed fame, Rocktavius notched his eighth win in 30 starts this year and now boasts 30 wins and over $186,000 banked from 125 career outings. Prince Clyde held the place spot following a long, first over journey while Pokerface Bluechip (Richard Still) settled for third in his local debut.
One night earlier in the bevy of Breeders Crown eliminations at Mohawk Park in Canada, Dont Letem, Millies Possession, Warrawee Ubeaut and Bettors Wish all looked sharp in victory, while Beautiful Sin was clearly the biggest disappointment of the night. Dorsoduro Hanover looked very good taking the $34,000 Preferred, a prep for the Breeders Crown for older pacers that will include reigning horse of the year, McWicked, along with an array of tough customers.
Standardbred fans in the Mid-Atlantic region will keep close tabs on the Breeders Crown Open Pace since over one-half of that field is expected to compete in the $100,000 Potomac Pace at Rosecroft Raceway on Sunday, November 10, including McWicked and American History, hero of the $150,000 Bobby Quillen Memorial at Harrington Raceway last month. Courtly Choice, None Bettor A and Jimmy Freight have also committed to the Potomac Pace next month.