The Potomac Pace program this past Sunday produced some excellent action and a rarity—two dead-heats for win.
Congratulations go to the connections of 14-year-old Foiled Again, who won an “invitational” as part of his farewell tour to get victory No. 107 in his career. But credit also goes to the Rosecroft drivers who made the winner of more than $7.6 million earn it.
Foiled Again, who had post 9, fired away for driver Matt Kakaley but had to tuck into the four hole as 14-year-old Arts Blaze, most recently the winner of a $4,000 claimer, committed to the lead for Jason Thompson through an opening quarter-mile in :27. Foiled Again had to go first-up passing the stands for the first time and didn’t get past Art’s Blaze until late in the mile, which was timed in 1:54 3/5.
Real Flight and John Wagner, who followed the winner’s cover, also made it interesting and closed late for second, a half-length behind Foiled Again. Art’s Blaze, who has won 54 races and at one time was an open pacer, held gamely for third.
The Potomac Pace went to Western Fame, a recent pickup for the Rene Allard barn, which won the race last year with Keystone Velocity in track-record time of 1:47 3/5. Corey Callahan steered the 5-year-old horse to a perfect pocket trip that produced a 1:49 2/5 win over Filibuster Hanover and Duplicated N, a Jim King Jr. trainee who indicated he could be heard from at the top level going forward.
The dead-heaters were Rock King Deo and Redwood Again in a “NW 2 life” pace, and Capital Builder and Sam McSmith in an upper-level condition event. The latter two were head-to-head from the three-quarter mark to the wire in arguably the most exciting race of the night.
Dan Herbst, the longtime track superintendent at Rosecroft, gets credit as usual for manicuring the surface under difficult circumstances—rain the night before and dampness and cloudiness that persisted on race day.
With the Potomac Pace in the books, there are four programs remaining for the fall meet: Dec. 5, 9, 12 and 16. Here’s a look at several races on the Wednesday, Dec. 5, program:
Winter Games last week finished almost two lengths behind Hot Hot Jenna, who appeared headed for a first-up trip but was able to secure the pocket passing the half-mile mark and went on to victory. Winter Games lost some ground passing the three-quarter mark when her cover stalled and shifted to the pylons; class and a better journey may put her over the top here.
Skyway Raptor was a very game second last week after a grinding first-up trip in which he lost cover at the half-mile mark when the horse that pulled in front of him broke strike. The winner of the race, K J Charlie, followed Skyway Raptor the whole way and just got up late to win but isn’t in this one tonight; second start for the Kerry Welty barn after racing in the Midwest.
If Arts And Flowers had found daylight a few steps sooner when they turned for home at Harrah’s Philly Nov. 30 she would have been a 24-1 winner of a “non-winners of $10,000 in the last 4 starts” filly and mare pace. She returns to Rosecroft at a higher level than her previous local start—a victory—earlier in November; draws post 9 but has a touch more early speed than several of the main contenders who drew inside of her.
Simple Man shows a broken equipment line in his last start Nov. 25 in a “NW 3 life” pace won by Pace Car, who returned to win impressively from post 9 this past Sunday night. His company lines are fairly strong for the bottom-level money condition, and his last couple of races in this class rated higher than normal; maybe this is the spot for a breakthrough.