Welcome to Potomac Pace night. The $100,000 event (Race 10) under invitational conditions drew a fine crew for this time of year post-Breeders Crown.
The morning line probably tells the tale regardless of which horse ends up being the favorite. Dealt A Winner (3-1), Filibuster Hanover (5-2) and Western Fame (4-1) finished one-two-three behind potential Horse of the Year Mcwicked in the TVG Open pace final Nov. 24 at Meadowlands in a 1:48 2/5 mile; it’s worth noting Western Fame makes his first start for a new barn, that of Rene Allard, which has won a lot of races this year.
On that same night at Meadowlands, Geez Joe and Duplicated N finished one-two in a “non-winners of $15,000 in the last 4 starts” condition event, each with final quarter-miles of :26 1/5 (final time 1:49 1/5). This is clearly a step up in class, but they’re both 4-year-olds with room for improvement.
Duplicated N is particularly intriguing in that he has raced only three times in this country and is based in Harrington, Del., with Jim King Jr. and wife Jo Ann, who have done extremely well with Down Under horses in recent years. The gelding may be worth using on the tickets, and he should be a much bigger price after getting hammered in his first three U.S. outings.
Here’s a look at some other races on the Sunday, Dec. 2, program:
In September 1983 at Freestate Raceway, the great Rambling Willie raced as part of his farewell tour after a win at Freehold Raceway. The victory in New Jersey would turn out to be his last before retirement. In a 6-horse field in an “open” pace made up of some of the better local condition horses, the Maryland guys took their shots and Rambling Willie could never get off the rail. If memory serves, he checked in fourth.
Things should be different for 14-year-old Foiled Again, who will face a much easier bunch than Rambling Willie did in this $15,000 “invitational” pace. That said, anyone who watches Rosecroft racing on a regular basis knows a horse usually has to earn it. If you’re banking on an upset, 13-year-old Intheblinkofaneye sports decent Meadowlands form and owns a 1:51 2/5 mark here this year, while 10-year-old Real Flight is in his best form of the year with nice back-to-back off-the-pace wins at Rosecroft.
In any event, enjoy the race. Foiled Again has lost a few steps but it’s amazing he was able to race at a very high level for as long as he did.
Rosebud Dr Evil hasn’t been able to get on track at the fall meet but was competitive in tougher conditions here during the spring meet. He draws the pylons in this bottom-level condition pace with quite a few horses that lack gate speed and don’t come home that fast. It’s a stretch, but if he can race back to his effort of Oct. 17 at Rosecroft, that should put him back in the winner’s circle.
Capital Builder missed fitting this condition last week by $1 and ended up in the Open I pace, where he got away fourth and ended up being shuffled. This week the “non-winners of $6,000 in the last 5 starts” class is open to higher money winners who drew outside, and Capital Builder is one of them in post 7. His fate will probably hinge upon whether visiting driver Matt Kakaley fires away from the gate; doesn’t appear to be too much early gas inside of him. Sam McSmith has been closing fast (sub-:28 final quarter-miles) at Dover Downs from off the pace and, despite his 0-for-12 record this year, seems to fit in well with these.
The $25,000 Maryland Invitational drew a legitimate group of mostly “open” type pacers, and it’s likely that Slick Tony will be sent away as the favorite given his strong second-place finish Nov. 15 at Dover behind Duplicated N, who ends up in the Potomac Pace. Slick Tony can come home as fast as any of these and also can be used early if necessary; looks pretty tough. Kiss A Dragon did the dirty work for almost three-quarters of a mile in last week’s Open I pace, which was taken by a gritty first-up Rock N’ Roll Jet, who also goes in the Potomac; it’s all about the trip with this one but the price may be right.
Crossfirehurricane has been strictly a come-from-behind type in recent races but has shown some life late in the mile, particularly last week against a heavily-favored winner (Rock N Row, Race 8) who shipped in on a big drop from Dover. He catches one of the lighter editions of this second-level money condition at Rosecroft and need only improve a bit to be a major factor here.