The 2019 winter/spring meet at Rosecroft will begin a little earlier and end a little earlier under a schedule approved by the Maryland Racing Commission Dec. 13.
The four-month calendar of racing shows a starting date of Wednesday, Feb. 6, with the final program set for Saturday, May 18—Preakness Stakes day. This year, the meet ended May 31.
Racing will be held for the most part Sundays (first post time 4:40 p.m.) and Wednesdays (first race 6:40 p.m.). There will be racing two Saturdays—closing night and May 4—with first post of 7 p.m., and on Monday, April 22 (first post 6:40 p.m.) to compensate for the closure Easter Sunday.
The meet is scheduled for 30 days. Ocean Downs, which will most likely open about two weeks after Rosecroft closes, was awarded 48 nights of racing; the schedule will be released at a later date, as will the schedules for the Maryland Sire Stakes and Maryland Standardbred Race Fund events.
Here’s a look at several races for the closing night program, Sunday, Dec. 16:
Cedar Hall Heiress got a wake-up call on the drop to this second-level money condition event last Wednesday night in an eighth-to-second overland effort; Allan Davis picks up the drive as Timmy Offutt opted for Victoria’s Munky. She historically has grouped together her best efforts and has defeated tougher in the past. The latter, who gets in under the per-start earnings condition, has been strong in her three most recent efforts at Rosecroft, all at this level, and she draws the pylons post.
James Riverside usually comes home decently time-wise and moves to post 2 after back-to-back efforts at this level from the two outside posts. He could find himself in a good position to work out a trip from striking range and isn’t afraid to grind on the outside. Toms Titanium exits a couple of strong “NW life” events and has enough gate speed to overcome post 8; will probably be favored on the drop.
The final “winners over” trot of the fall meet offers many ways to go from a handicapping standpoint and it’s hard to dismiss any of the nine entered; the value may not be apparent until the gate is moving. A few of the potential price plays are Master Clave, a successful Delaware stakes trotter at 2 and 3 who only has one win as a 4-year-old but has shown he belongs with these in recent efforts; and Overnight Shipper, who sports a fast and winning qualifying mile here in late November and since then has been competitive at Harrah’s Philly.
Russell Foster sticks with Toms Tornado, a versatile gelding who can fire away early, grind it out uncovered or close well off live cover; post 9 isn’t ideal for this one but this second-level money condition pace has a wide-open look to it, and the price may be right.