Rosecroft opens with several big efforts

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Ted Black

October 11th, 2017

While the opening round of the Maryland Sire Stakes for two-year-olds of both gaits and genders took center stage during the first weekend of the fall meet at Rosecroft Raceway, local racegoers were also treated to a bevy of quality performances by older pacers and trotters in various overnight races.

Just past the midway point of the Sunday night card at Rosecroft, Rocktavius (Roger Plante, Jr.) delivered a powerful performance while taking a non-winners of $4001 last five starts class for older pacers in 1:50.4. A four-year-old Rocknroll Hanover gelding owned and trained by William "Bib" Roberts of Trapeze and Yankee Co-Ed fame, Rocktavius easily lived up to his billing as the 4-5 favorite when he gained command early and carved out all the fractions en route to a six-length victory.

One race later on the card in the featured "Winners Over" Handicap for older pacers, Rock N Roll Jet (Kim Vincent) prevailed as the tepid 2-1 choice over Hickory Aloha (Timmy Offutt) when he rallied late to score in 1:51.3. An eight-year-old Rocknroll Hanover gelding owned and trained by William "Buddy" Bright notched his sixth win in 29 starts and looks poised to be among the short list of contenders for overnight horse of the meet.

Then one race later on the card in the weekly feature for trotters, Don Dorado (Art Stafford, Jr.) lived up to his role as the 4-5 favorite in the "Winners Over" Handicap when he gained command early, opened a four-length lead on the far turn then just lasted for a length score over Dunn Dealin in 1:54. A six-year-old Donato Hanover gelding trained by Trevor Stafford for owners Harry Smith, Jr. and Carolyn Smith, Don Dorado has already won twice at the meet and three straight overall and appears among the contenders for horse of the meet honors.

Then one race later in another non-winners of $4001 last five starts class for pacers, Howsaboutakiss (Frank Milby) rallied from midpack to score in 1:51.1 as an overlooked 7-1 shot in his local debut. A five-year-old Jazzy Hanover stallion owned and trained by Philip Jasper, Howsaboutakiss ended a modest drought to notch his fifth win in 32 starts this year and lowered his lifetime mark by nearly full two seconds.

One night earlier the Saturday card was designed to highlight the ladies and did so for horses and trainers.

In the featured $10,000 Open Handicap for pacing fillies and mares, Donna's Beach (Art Stafford, Jr.) made two moves before reaching the half in 54.2 and held safe Miss Read (Milby) and Westsluckycam (Russell Foster) to score in 1:51.4. A four-year-old Shark Gesture mare owned and trained by Brian Malone, Donna's Beach notched her ninth win in 28 starts this year and her 10th tally in 62 career outings and also lowered her lifetime mark by nearly two full seconds in the process.

Then one race later in a non-winners of $6000 last five starts class for pacing fillies and mares, Pop Writer (Timmy Offutt) delivered a sharp score when she prevailed as the 5-2 third choice. A five-year-old Sportswriter mare trained by Megan Roberts recorded her sixth win in 25 starts this year when she scored in 1:52, establishing a new lifetime mark. It was her 13th win in 53 career outings and likely earned her another berth in the F-M Open Hcp.

Then several races later in a non-winners of $4000 last five starts class for pacing fillies and mares, Irish Kath N (Stafford) when she benefited from a fast early tempo and live cover down the backside and overhauled Real Passing Lady (Brian Burton) in the lane for a length score in 1:53. A seven-year-old McArdle mare trained by Michael Hall, Irish Kath N notched her second win from 14 starts this year and posted her 13th tally from 93 career tries in her local debut.