Harrington and Rosecroft host lucrative freshmen finals on Wednesday

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Ted Black

October 2nd, 2018

While many harness racing enthusiasts are accustomed to seeing the sport's best trotters and pacers compete on weekends, a pair of tracks in adjacent states in the Mid-Atlantic Region will offer a twist in that usual array when both Harrington Raceway in Delaware and Rosecroft Raceway in Maryland host a total of eight finals for two-year-olds of both gaits and genders.

Harrington Raceway will offer four, $100,000 Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund finals for two-year-olds early on the card, while Rosecroft will present its four Maryland Sire Stakes finals for juveniles during the middle portion of the program. Several drivers competing at Harrington in those respective finals will make the 100-mile trip to Rosecroft immediately afterward so they can also drive several horses in the MDSS finals.

Harrington's third race on the card Wednesday is the $100,000 DSBF final for two-year-old colt pacers and much of the attention will be on railbound Chillaxin Away (Victor Kirby). This Jim King, Jr. trainee was second in the opening round of elims on Quillen night then came right back to score by five lengths in 1:54.3 last week and looms the solid choice in the final.

While Chillaxin Away drew the coveted rail on Wednesday, Dashiki (Montrell Teague) was burdened with post position eight. One of two George Teague, Jr. trainees in the final, Dashiki defeated Chillaxin Away in their first meeting in 1:54.1 then settled for second last week and will be fortunate to garner the place spot this week in the final due to his unlucky post draw. The other Teague trainee, Keepmywiglegametyt (Jim Morand) won his two DSBF elims in 1:57.1 and 1:583, while Son Of A Lynx (Ross Wolfenden), the half-brother to freshman and sophomore star Slick Tony, drew post seven for owner-breeder-trainer George "Ronnie" Leager.

One race later in the $100k DSBF final for two-year-old colt trotters, Embrace The Grind (Jonathan Roberts), rates the odds-on choice having won all three of his starts for owner-trainer Andrew Glassmyer, including prelim wins in 2:00.2 and 2:02.4, respectively, by a combined margin of 11 lengths. Phantom Feet (Wolfenden) won one elim in 2:04.3, Go Jetem (Art Stafford, Jr.) won one in 2:05.3, while Just As Striking (Eddie Dennis) and Say Gesundheit (Kirby) seek their diplomas in this spot.

Then one race later in the $100k DSBF final for two-year-old filly pacers, The Lady Sheriff (Teague) arrives off elim wins in 1:56.4 and 1:57.2, respectively, and looms the solid fave for "Team Teague. But the race also includes Golden Wigglet (Bart Dalious), an opening round winner in 1:57.1 and Anneke (Morand), who won an elim in 1:56.1 but gets post eight here for trainer Brenda Teague. Both Roddys At It Again (Stafford) and Vistamista (Kirby) rate upset chances since both were upended in their respective elims TWICE as odds-on choices and either one could prevail at a generous price in this event.

One race later in the $100K DSBF final for two-year-old filly trotters, Ske's Spooky (Wolfenden) drew the rail and gets the nod as the favorite here for owner-breeder-trainer Mark Groce. Fellow elim winners Dark Dutchess (Roberts) and Royal Locket (Corey Callahan) both own 2:04.4 scores, while Star Time (Kim Vincent) and Command The Day (Kirby) both rate modest upset chances despite their maiden status and unlucky post draws.

That same evening at Rosecroft Raceway the stakes action will get under way right at the midway point of the card with the first of four, $67,000 Maryland Sire Stakes finals for two-year-olds of both gaits and genders. The early start to the festivities at Harrington should give Morand, Morgan and Roberts enough time to make the trip and take the reins for their drives in the finals at Rosecroft.

In the first of that quartet, How Bout Dat Rusty (Roberts) arrives as the stronger half of the Mike Hall-trained entry having won four of eight starts and over $50,000, including the MDSS final for this group at Ocean Downs in 1:56.3. But upstart filly pacer Anna B (Wagner), a winner of both of her starts and B For Real (Frank Milby), with one win and four second-place finishes from six starts for owner-breeder Bryan Truitt, are both major players in here.

Then one race later in the $67K MDSS final for two-year-old filly trotters, Pats A Keeper (Jared Moyer) rates the stronger half of an Arlene Cameron-trained entry that includes Mary's A Keeper (Wagner). But elim winner Bossy Hilly (Roberts) and Gittin All Sexy (Foster) cannot be excluded from the equation. Both fillies own two wins in six starts and at least one MDSS prelim score and could foil the Cameron duo in this event.

One race later in the $67K MDSS final for two-year-old colt pacers, named in honor of the late, great Wayne Smullin, a potential Hall of Fame driver who died 35 years ago following a horrific accident at Freestate Raceway in Laurel, another Cameron trio looks tough to overlook.

Where's Barry (Wagner), Dennis The Menace (Jason Green) and Sonny's Blessing (Moyer) all rate solid chances to prevail. But the likely favorite in this event is Rusty's Houdini (Jason Thompson) who won both of his elims in 1:54.3 and 1:55.2, respectively, for trainer Jerry Nock. Rockin The Shades (Foster) won one elim in 1:55.2, while Berzerker (Morgan) won one in 1:55.4 then was second, placed third, in the other.

Then one race later in the fourth $67K MDSS final of the night, I Deliver (Roberts) looms the slight fave off consecutive 1:59.3 victories in the elims for trainer Greg Haverstick, but the Richard Hans-trained entry of Gaareat Gazoo (Milby) and Whoopdee Goo (Morand) form a solid entry. Whoopdee Goo won the MDSS final at Ocean Downs in 2:01.1 and owns four wins and nearly $50,000 banked from six starts. Remarkable De Vie (Morgan) has won twice in seven starts for trainer Syl King, Jr., and cannot be discounted.