The fall meet kicked off Sunday, Sept. 16, with some familiar names returning to the winner’s circle—Fashion Smile (Race 1), Capital Builder (Race 2), Manattack (Race 6) and Sam’s Triple Crown (Race 8)—a few at more-than-fair odds. Drivers John Wagner and Jonathan Roberts each won three on the card.
In Race 7, a mid-level condition event, 6-year-old Coaster looked the best he has in a long time with a nice off-the-pace win in 1:54 2/5, final quarter of :28. It was the first win in 13 starts this year for Coaster, who took his mark of 1:51 at Rosecroft last year; he is worth a follow-up because his best efforts here have come in bunches. Here’s a look at several races on the program for Wednesday, Sept. 19.
Owner Ken Weckstein is listed to drive two of his own horses tonight (Ruthless Dude in Race 5 and Spinout in Race 11—and both look live with the right trip) but opted to name John Wagner to drive Dragon Ruffles in this race. Her lone win this year came at Ocean Downs, but the mare is much better on the bigger track, has a touch of speed and finds a comfortable spot for her return to Rosecroft.
The major threat here is Shaker Rei, who somehow consistently ended up in the Gold class at Ocean Downs and usually isn’t at her best on the half-miler. Now 11 years old, Shaker Rei clearly prefers Rosecroft and previously has done well off a brief rest for owner, trainer and driver John Gazzerro. Stablemate James Riverside was hung out uncovered for a long way Sunday and finished a decent fourth in his best effort in a few months.
The Pick 5 begins with a difficult “non-winners of $1,000 last five starts” trot that could offer some value because the expected favorites, Accokeek Mercury and Explosive Yankee, haven’t done much lately at Ocean Downs and haven’t trotted that much faster than the rest on the half-miler.
Much depends on which horse or horses fire off the gate in a race devoid of strong speed on paper, and here’s guessing Explosive Yankee does so despite drawing post 9. Possible price plays are Bella Chippie, who draws inside and should appreciate the bigger track; and Tzar, who often left for early position at Ocean Downs only to get parked out on multiple occasions.
DBs Rosco did well at Rosecroft earlier this year when he joined the Bounds barn, including a win in 1:52, and scored in 1:53 1/5 at Saratoga Raceway this summer while in the care of another trainer. His last effort at Harrington against legit condition types suggests a big wake-up call here, albeit at a short price. He looks like a horse to key on.