The 2018 Potomac Pace, which in its first two years at Rosecroft attracted many of the top older pacers in the country, has been scheduled for Sunday, Dec. 2, according to track officials.
Last year, the Potomac was held the weekend after the Breeders Crown and attracted three of the four top-three finishers from the Crown Open Pace. Keystone Velocity paced to an all age track-record 1:47 3/5 victory one year after All Bets Off equaled the record of 1:48 2/5.
The 2018 Breeders Crown was held the evening of Oct. 27 at Pocono Downs, and the winner of the Open Pace was Mcwicked. It will be interesting to see which horses show up for the Potomac more than a month after the Breeders Crown.
When it was created in the 1980s at Freestate Raceway in Laurel, the Potomac was a major summer stakes for 2-year-olds and regularly drew multiple divisions early on.
Here’s a look at several races on the Sunday, Oct. 28, program at Rosecroft:
Five pacers entered in this “non-winners lifetime” event exit the same race won by the impressive J P Oscar, who would be five-for-five at the fall meet if not for neck defeat in his second local outing. He is entered in a tougher condition event tonight (Race 8), and two who finished closest to him last week—Disturbia and Drinkin Again—look imposing here. Of those two, Drinkin Again has a few strong, fast lines during the meet for the Jasper stable and last week had to overcome the shuffle after an early tuck.
Diamondkeeper paced his typical solid closing quarter-mile last Sunday but had little chance from ninth at the half-mile mark to catch a leader who got away with a soft first half-mile. He finally draws an inside post for his fifth start of the meet off of a layoff and drops one more condition; class should tell in this “non-winners of $2,500 in the last 5 starts” pace.
The seven races held last Sunday before the transformer blew didn’t produce many fast closing quarter-miles, and such was the case with Major Blue Coat, who came home in half a minute but did withstand hounding pressure for more than three-quarters of a mile. He jumps two condition from the bottom but showed major improvement in his last two outings and has handled better in the past; not much speed outside of him on paper but the drivers at Rosecroft aren’t afraid to take their shots.
The Open I was canceled last week after the lights went out, but that evens the playing field as most of the pacers here were entered in that event. This is a good time to give a shout-out to Hi Sir, a 10-year-old gelding owned, trained and driven by Russell Foster who enters the race with more than $86,000 in earnings this year after what would be consider a slow season—for him—in 2017. He raced last Monday at Harrington and grinded out a first-up victory on a chilly, windy evening with a typically solid final quarter-mile and returns to the big track; earlier this year at Dover he was quite successful in the high-priced claimers and shows consistent form against top pacers at Harrington the last few months.