Though the draw isn’t until Nov. 29, the $100,000 Potomac Pace looks like it will have a competitive group of eight horses, among them Dealt A Winner, who competed in the first two editions of the race with a third last year and a fifth in 2016.
Pete Hanley, the racing secretary at Rosecroft, said other horses expected for the Potomac are Indiana standout Endeavor; Filibuster Hanover, who won last year’s Little Brown Jug; Rock N’ Roll Jet, who has won four consecutive Open I paces at Rosecroft; Western Fame, who has earned almost $1 million and recently moved into the barn of Rene Allard; Geez Joe and Duplicated N, who finished one-two in a condition event at Meadowlands last weekend that was timed in 1:49; and Rockin Ron, who like Filibuster Hanover is trained by Ron Burke, the leading trainer by wins (more than 900) and earnings (more than $20 million) this year.
“A lot of horses have been turned out for the year,” Hanley said, “so for what’s out there now, it should be a pretty good field.”
The Burke-trained Foiled Again, the 14-year-old gelding who has won more than $7.6 million, will visit Rosecroft on Potomac Pace night and race in a $15,000 event for horses 10 and older. Many of the horses expected for the race are locally based, including Real Flight, a 1:53 4/5 winner of a condition event Nov. 21, and Arts Blaze, a 14-year-old who capture a claiming race in 1:54 2/5 Nov. 25.
Hanley said the “Foiled Again Invitational” will be slotted early on the Sunday card—first post time is the usual 4:40 p.m. EST—to make time for a meet-and-greet later in the program. In his most recent start Nov. 24 at Meadowlands, Foiled Again finished fourth in a $12,500 “Auld Lang Syne” pace that went in 1:51 4/5.
Foiled Again faces mandatory retirement Jan. 1 and is scheduled to race for the last time in western Pennsylvania the evening of Dec. 31 at The Meadows, Burke’s home track.
The program will include a $25,000 Maryland Invitational pace that will attract several of the Open I regulars at Rosecroft including All The Cookies, Hickory Aloha, Sams Triple Crown, Kiss A Dragon and Slick Tony. The race is for horses owned, sired or bred in Maryland.
On another note, Cheri Stambaugh, who administrates the Maryland Standardbred Race Fund, said all stallions that will stand in Maryland for the 2019 breeding season must be registered by Dec. 1 for their foals to be eligible to the Maryland Sire Stakes program. Stallion registration forms and regulations are available at www.msrfonline.com and payments should be sent by certified mail to P.O. Box 540, Union Bridge, Md., 21791-0540.
Here’s a look at several races on the Wednesday, Nov. 28, program at Rosecroft:
It is crap-shoot time in this bottom-level money condition trot with multiple possibilities for wake-up calls for horses that have the ability to win but often struggle to do so. Candy Stash faced the toughest bunch last time out but has missed a couple of weeks. That said, she shows by far the fastest miles recently and probably only needs to secure good early position to win. Bella Chippie exits a higher condition event but the race was more on par with this one; 9-year-old mare does her best when in contention early and that could be the case if she repeats her effort three starts back. Explosive Drama showed improvement with a first-up bid through a :29 2/5 third quarter-mile in his second start after the mandatory qualifier; anything close to his best makes him a factor.
Talbot Farmgal picks up the services of John Wagner, who was behind the 3-year-old filly for her three best races of the meet in October. She drops from the “NW 2 life” level to the “NW 1 life” class; beaten 31 lengths last time out but maybe the several weeks on the sidelines did her some good. A few trainers at The Meadows in western Pennsylvania have had success over the years with pick-ups from the Indiana-based barn of Don Eash. ER Houston will make his first start for Brian Wright in search of his first win in his 33rd start, but his Hoosier Park form is good enough to factor here.
Center of Hope in recent starts has faced a bit tougher at Dover Downs and Yonkers and improved somewhat last time out with the addition of the anti-bleeder medication Lasix. The 3-year-old filly was sharp at Harrington in October and earlier this year took a mark of 1:53 2/5 at Pocono Downs; she draws well and lands in what appears to be a light “non-winners of $4,000 in the last 5 starts” event given Rosecroft standards.
Threedee Delight N appeared to toy with a bottom-level money condition group of fillies and mares Nov. 21 in her first start for the Sheldon Powell barn and, given her history, shouldn’t find this group too difficult, either. Her :28 1/5 final quarter-mile after a strong first-up brush to the lead heading to the three-quarter mark was very encouraging.