Welcome back to Rosecroft Raceway for the winter/spring meet, which will offer 30 racing programs through May 18.
The schedule is familiar, with live racing on Wednesdays at 6:40 p.m. and Sundays at 4:40 p.m. There are a few expections: There is no racing Easter Sunday, April 21, so that card will move to Monday, April 22, with a 6:40 p.m. first post. In May, there is no racing Sunday, May 5, but there is racing on two Saturdays—May 4 (Kentucky Derby) and May 18 (Preakness Stakes)—with first post at 7 p.m.
Details on the usual Triple Crown package in the dining room will be released later, but note the dining room is open every Sunday with a buffet beginning at 3 p.m.
On Feb. 24 the track will host a “Paint, Sip and Race” event from 1:30-4:30 p.m., and it includes a buy-one-get-one-free offer for the dinner buffet during live racing. Details are available elsewhere on the website.
And there will be several “I Want To Be A Driver” promotions—March 17, May 12 and another in April; on those same days a “spectator” package is offered for those that chose not to sit in a double-seated training cart and take a tour around the racing surface with a licensed driver.
The packages include a dinner buffet in the dining room and a group photo in the winner’s circle. Please contact Gina Maybee at 240-766-7869 for more information.
The Cloverleaf Standardbred Owners Association announced recently that purse bonuses for Maryland-owned and Maryland-bred horses will increase to 30%, and Maryland-sired horses will earn a 50% bonus. The bonuses will not be combined if a horse is a double qualifier.
The CSOA noted that the economy and horse industry are bolstered by having two of the largest Standardbred breeding farms in the country in Maryland. Thus, Maryland-foaled horses will receive an entry preference as well. The preference priority now is as follows: Maryland-owned or Maryland-sired, Maryland-bred, and Maryland-foaled.
In another change, consolation races will be held on the same program as the Maryland Sire Stakes finals as long as a minimum of five horses are entered.
The CSOA also said the industry has partnered with North American Harness Update (www.nahupicks.com), which will offer full-card analysis of Rosecroft races and a segment on the local action during its weekly show.
The first card of the 2019 season attracted 105 horses for 12 races, and it presents the usual challenges after roughly eight weeks of down time. Of the 105 (before scratches), 47, or 44.7%, haven’t raced since mid-December. So for those who like to wager based on recent form, it’s tougher than usual.
It’s fair to expect horses that have been racing at Dover Downs, Freehold Raceway and Meadowlands in January to attract play, especially the ones dropping in class. It probably doesn’t matter where they finished in those races, either, particularly if they show legitimate closing quarter-mile times.
Also note that the first round of qualifiers at Rosecroft was held Wednesday, Jan. 30, just before the region plummeted into the deep freeze for a couple of days. The temperature for the qualifiers is listed at 34 degrees with a two-second time allowance. The fastest qualifier went in 1:58 3/5; that equates to 1:56 3/5 based on the time allowance but likely is even faster.
Here’s a look at a few races on the Wednesday, Feb. 6, program:
Allie’s Finale and Diamondkeeper, both in from Dover with established Rosecroft form, and Meadowlands shipper Cherokee Ranger figure to draw the most action given recent lines and drops in class to the “NW of $4,000 in the last five starts condition.” Two others in the race may offer some value, and they both exit the same Jan. 30 qualifier won by the legitimate Lil Johnny. Blue Fox checked in third after cutting the mile and in his most recent start in December at Rosecroft went off stride at the start in his first for the Cameron barn; efforts on the half-milers in Canada indicated ability. Yankee Artillery, fourth in the qualifier, was more than competitive at this level at Rosecroft in 2018 and makes his first start in the Bier barn.
This second-level money-earned pace includes eight horses that haven’t started since early or mid-December and one—Little Power—who shows a couple of recent so-so outings at Dover in $7,500 claiming races at long odds. Of the layoff types, James Riverside ended 2018 with a near-miss in this class at Rosecroft and is usually OK off a rest. Beammeupscottie competed at the next-up level here in his most recent starts in November and had a useful qualifier Jan. 30 behind Rocktavius, who competes at the top level at Rosecroft.
In the featured pace for fillies and mares, two of them exit Dover’s tricky “winners of 6 races” class, which can be as tough as a “winners over” at times and generally superior to the track’s “winners of 6 races that haven’t won in the last 4 starts” condition. One of them, Lil Miss Gorgeous, draws the pylons here and can turn in a quick final quarter-mile with a trip. The other, Gracefullyforgiven, last time out was over her head versus Bettor Trix N, who competes at the top level at Dover. Winter Games, who had her best season last year and loves the Rosecroft surface, qualified Jan. 30 after the layoff and if ready to roll absolutely fits here.