One week after the New England Patriots upended the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl 53, many harness racing enthusiasts were focused on the Sunday cards that unfolded at Rosecroft Raceway in Maryland, Pompano Park in Florida and Northfield Park near Cleveland, Ohio.
In the opening race on the Sunday card at Rosecroft, Capital Builder (Jonathan Roberts) left early to secure good position before the opener in 26.4, yielded to 6-5 favorite Rock N Roll Jet (Kim Vincent) before the half in 55.4, sat a tight pocket down the backside and through the far turn, angled to the passing lane and just got up for a nose victory while forging a 12-1 upset in 1:53 in the $12,000 Open Handicap.
Capital Builder, a six-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding trained by Megan Robers for her father, owner William “Bib” Roberts of Yankee Co-Ed fame, Capital Builder kicked off his 2019 campaign with a determined triumph. A winner 12 times in 36 starts last year, Capital Builder recorded his 16th win and eclipsed the $105,000 career bankroll from 64 lifetime outings. He has always displayed a fondness for the local oval and was twice named the horse of the meet by the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the U.S. Harness Writers Association.
Rock N Roll Jet finished a gritty second in defeat for owner-trainer William “Buddy” Bright and is still in quest of his first win from five tries this year. The dominant force in last year’s Open Handicap here, reeling off four straight wins in the top class in November, Rock N Roll Jet had spent much of December and January in the upper classes at Dover Downs after finishing a respectable fifth in the third edition of the $100,000 Potomac Pace won by Western Fame.
Then one race later in the featured “Winners Over” class for trotters, Deacons Valley (Russell Foster) easily lived up to his billing as the 1-9 favorite when he gained command before the opener in 27.4, rolled by the half in 57 flat, raced unpressed down the backside and by three-quarters in 1:25.2 then cruised home four lengths clear of Overnight Shipper (Robert Hoffman) in 1:55.1. It was the second win in five starts this year for the nine-year-old Valley Victory stallion trained by John Cabot.
Several races later in a non-winners of two races or $12,500 lifetime class for pacers, Owen’s Spirit (Tyler Davis) easily overcame post eight to gained command from Allgonowhoa (Allan Davis) before a crisp 27.1 opener, maintained and honest tempo to the half in 57.1 and by three-quarters in 1:26.1 then rebuffed the late bid from the pocket horse late for a length score in 1:55. A four-year-old Rusty’s All In gelding trained and bred by Robin Callahan, Owen’s Spirit notched his first win in three starts this year and now owns four wins and $13,000 banked from 15 career outings and he lowered his lifetime mark in the process.
Then three races later in a non-winners of $4,000 last five starts class for older pacers, Diamondkeeper (Russell Foster) just lived up to his billing as the prohibitive 1-9 favorite when he rallied from well off the pace and widest of all on the far turn to score by a length over P L Hoofhearted (Frank Milby) in 1:54.2. An eight-year-old Pine Valley gelding owned and trained by Basil Sapienza, Diamondkeeper recorded his first win in two starts already at the meet and now owns 36 wins and almost $335,000 banked from 126 career outings.
Two races later in a non-winners of four races or $30,000 lifetime class for younger pacers, Jack Quick (Roberts) gave every impression that he could be a budding star on the circuit when he brushed to command past the half and cleared well before three-quarters in 1:24.3 then romped home four lengths clear in 1:53.1 as the 3-5 favorite. A four-year-old Nuclear Breeze gelding owned, bred and trained by Sapienza, Jack Quick notched his second win in five starts this yer and his fifth win from 22 career tries, pushing his lifetime bankroll just past $26,000.
Then two races later in the penultimate race on the card, a tough, non-winners of $6,000 last five starts class for pacers, Rocktavius (Richard Still) left to gain command in a 28 opener, yielded to 9-5 second choice Abelard Hanover (Roberts) before the half in 57.1, sat a loose pocket down the backside and far turn, angled to to the passing lane and just got up in 1:54. A six-year-old Rocknroll Hanover gelding trained by Megan Roberts, Rocktavius prevailed in his seasonal debut and now 23 wins and nearly $150,000 banked from 96 lifetime tries.
Sunday evening in the opener at snowy Northfield Park, Bourbon Billy (David Lake) gained command soon after the start of the non-winners of two races or $20,000 lifetime class for younger pacers, got a breather by the half in 59.4, rebuffed a first over bid from 3-5 favorite Meetmeatthedance (Ronnie Wrenn, Jr.) and edged clear late to score by two lengths in 1:56.4. A five-year-old Western Sakra gelding trained by Rick Mapes, Bourbon Billy ended a prolonged drought to record his fifth win from 47 career tries and pushed his lifetime bankroll past $50,000.
Then one race later in a non-winners of $4,000 last four starts/optional $8,000 claimers for trotters, BB Tinkerbelle (Ronnie Wrenn, Jr.) gained command soon after the start and led throughout to score as the 4-5 favorite in 1:57.4. An 11-yer-old Approved Action mare trained by Al Tomlinson, BB Tinkerbelle notched her first win in three starts this year and now owns 31 wins and nearly $180,000 banked from 200 career outings.
Several races later in a non-winners of one race or $7,500 lifetime class for pacers, Isaac’s Ideal (Lake) lived up to his billing as the 3-5 favorite the hard way. Rebuffed early by Scoot-N-Nya (Greg Grismore), Isaac’s Ideal brushed to command before three-quarters in 1:29 then drew clear late in 2:00.2. A four-year-old Party At Artsplace mare trained by Sarena Evans, Isaac’s Ideal notched her second win in three starts this year, her third win in 15 career outings and pushed her lifetime earnings past $10,000.
That same evening at Pompano Park, American Passport (Wally Hennessey) lived up to his role as the 1-2 favorite in a non-winners of $4,500 last four starts class for pacers when he gained command in a wicked 26.2 opener, got a breather by the half in 56.3, met token pressure by three-quarters in 1:25 then held safe Mikado Blue Chip late to score in 1:52.4. A six-year-old American Ideal gelding owned and trained by Melissa Beckwith, American Passport recorded his third win in six starts this year and now owns an 8-5-5 slate and over $325,000 banked from 37 career outings.