Ocean Downs offers two nights of Maryland Sire Stakes finals

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Ted Black

July 17th, 2018

Beach goers in Ocean City often find their ideal place to cool off and unveil their afternoon tans to be five miles west at Ocean Downs in Berlin and over the past two nights the half-mile oval offered a quartet of Maryland Sire Stakes finals for three-year-olds and upsets were actually the norm.

In one of the early races on the Monday card, Crystals Pistol (Russell Foster) benefited from a fortuitous inside draw as the strongest part of a three-ply entry that was sent out as the 3-2 second choice when she gained command in a 28.3 opener, maintained an honest tempo by the half and three-quarters and just outlasted the late surge of 2-5 favorite Gaagaa Gone (Corey Callahan) to prevail in the $67,000 MDSS final for three-year-old filly trotters.

A sophomore daughter of Cam's Rocket, a pacing sire, trained by Arlene Cameron for owner Syl King, Jr., Crystals Pistol notched her fourth win in nine starts this year and more than doubled her seasonal earnings to $58,000 while lowering her lifetime mark by one-fifth of a second. Gaagaa Gone, owned and bred by her driver, settled for second in a very good effort and eclipsed the $100,000 plateau in career earnings despite suffering just her fifth setback in 18 career tries.

Then two races later in the $67,000 MDSS final for three-year-old pacing colts & geldings, Bt's Breeze (Victor Kirby) benefited from patient handling early and a lively outer flow then rallied three-wide on the far turn and swept past Lloyd's All In (Jared Moyer) and Allie's Finale (Roger Plante, Jr.) to score by two lengths in 1:54.4. A sophomore son of Nuclear Breeze owned and trained by Bryan Truitt, Jr., Bt's Breeze now owns a 6-3-7 slate and banked nearly $80,000 from 20 starts this year after forging an 8-1 upset after being the odds-on choice in his previous four outings.

Then two races later on the card in the first $7500 Gold Class for pacers, Sporty Mercedes (Foster) lived up to his role as the 2-5 favorite when he gained command along the rail soon after the start, carved out honest early fractions and held sway through the lane to score by three lengths in 1:55.1. A five-year-old Sportswriter gelding trained by Joe Hunderpfund, Jr., Sporty Mercedes notched his fourth win in 14 starts this year by leading throughout and holding sway late despite tiring.

Then two races later on the card, Rock N Row (Jonathan Roberts) gained command soon after the start and led throughout and rebuffed a prolonged first over bid from favored Bluejeansnredwings (Foster) to score by a length in 1:55 in the latter $7500 Gold Class. A six-year-old Rock N Roll Heaven gelding trained by Willard Reynolds for owner Donald Scott Fowler, Rock N Row recorded his third win in six starts at the meet and now owns a 6-2-3 slate and $33,000 banked from 25 seasonal outings.

Then one night earlier on the lucrative, competitive Sunday evening program that kicked off the two nights of MDSS Summer Showdown action, What That Is (Brian Burton) forged a mild 3-1 upset in the $67,000 MDSS final for three-year-old trotting colts and geldings. One week after being trounced by Hambo hopeful Whats The Word by 16 lengths in a MDRF event over the seaside oval, What That Is gained command from favored Chucky De Vie (Russell Foster) early and just outlasted that one's late inside bid to score by a head in 1:57.2.

A sophomore son of pacing sire Cam's Rocket trained by Judy Welty for owner-breeder Brian Emerson of Mr Ham Sandwich fame, What That Is recorded his third win from seven starts this year and now owns a 9-3-4 slate and nearly $125,000 banked from 17 career tries. Chucky De Vie had gotten the better of him in their MDSS final at Rosecroft Raceway in the spring, but What That Is was poised for the rematch in last Sunday's affair.

Then several races later on the card, Miss Choptank (Allan Davis) overcame an extended first over journey to prevail as the even-money choice by wearing down HS Shauna (Art Stafford, Jr.) in the final 100 yards. A sophomore daughter of Total Truth trained by Wayne Givens, Miss Choptank angled out first over before the half and grinded her way past HS Shauna to score in 1:54.3 for her second MDSS final tally of the season.

Then one race later on the Sunday card, Downthehighway (Davis) lived up to his name and 3-10 favoritism when he gained command just past a 27.2 opener and carved out honest fractions to the half and three-quarters and held safe JW Renegade (John Mackinnon) to score in 1:53.3 in the $8500 Platinum Class. A five-year-old Dontgetinmyway stallion trained by Wayne Givens, Downthehighway notched his second straight score at the level - both as the odds-on choice - and likely earned an invite to the $11,000 Open Handicap next weekend.

Speaking of the Open Hcp, one race later on the card Options Are Adream (Ross Wolfenden) lived up to his billing as the 4-5 favorite when he brushed from third to take command before the half in 55.3, rolled by three-quarters in 1:23.3 and held sway through the lane to score by two lengths over Kiss A Dragon (Foster) and Ponderingjacksfame (Frank Milby) to score in 1:53. A five-year-old If I Can Dream gelding trained by Wolfenden for owner David Banks of Rookery fame, Options Are Adream survived a long inquiry to notch his sixth win in 14 starts this year in a solid prep for Governor's Day at Harrington Raceway next Thursday.

Then one race later in the $7500 Gold Class One, All Gold (Milby) benefited from a pocket trip behind White Rolls (Jason Thompson) through honest fractions of 27.3, 56.3 and 1:25.1 then overhauled that one in the lane for a two-length score in 1:55. An eight-year-old Tell All gelding trained by Art Papadopoulos for Banks, All Gold recorded his second straight win at the level and now owns a 3-1-2 slate and $14,000 banked from 16 starts this year.

Then one race later in the $7000 Gold Class Two, Bottega (Rickard Still) lived up to his role as the 3-5 favorite when he benefited from a pocket trip behind Our Jerry Lee N then surged past that one along the pylons to score by a length in 1:56.4. A seven-year-old Western Ideal gelding trained by Still for owner Midsize Construction, Bottega recorded his third straight tally and now owns four wins in six starts at the seaside oval and joined the short list of horse of the meet contenders.

Then one race later in the $6500 Silver Class, Foxland (Kim Vincent) benefited from an inside draw and pocket trip behind 1-5 favorite Delco Liar (Davis) through the first three calls then overhauled that one in the lane to score by a neck in 1:55.3 as the 7-2 second choice. One week after fading badly as the 8-5 choice against similar, Foxland recorded his second win in three starts at the meet for owner-trainer Ken Schlotzhauer.