Rosecroft and Pocono cap month of March on Sunday

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Ted Black

April 1st, 2019

On the day in which the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament was finally whittled down to the "Final Four", a pair of five-eighths mile harness racing ovals in the Mid-Atlantic region capped off the month of March with solid cards.

In the opening race on the Sunday afternoon card at Rosecroft, Varsity Hanover (Justin Vincent) benefited from a pair of early miscues from rivals Coaster (Kim Vincent) and favored Bad Man Sam (Tony Morgan) to inherit the lead before the half, faced pressure from Howsaboutakiss (Jason Thompson) down the backside and through the far turn and outlasted that one for a neck score in 1:56.4 in a non-winners of $4,000 last four starts class.

A 10-year-old Modern Art gelding owned and trained by James Whalen, Jr., Varsity Hanover notched his second win in eight starts this year and now sports 24 wins and nearly $180,000 banked from 166 career outings. During the early stage of his career Varsity Hanover earned the nickname "The Crumpton Crusher" because of his ability to defeat older rivals and later took a lifetime mark of 1:51.2 at age five.

Then just past the midway portion of the card in the other non-winners of $4,000 last five starts class, Al's Hammered (Allan Davis) lived up to his role as the even-money favorite when he found room entering the far turn, slipped out third over, fanned widest of all and overhauled Stakeout (Kim Vincent) to score by a neck in 1:54.2. A 10-year-old Droppin'thehammer gelding trained by Martin Davis, Al's Hammered notched his second win from 11 starts this year and boasts 47 wins and nearly $590,000 banked from 147 career tries.

One race later in the non-winners of $6,500 last five starts class for older pacers, Hi Sir (Russell Foster) left to secure good position, quarter moved to command before the half, raced unpressed down the backside then drew clear in the lane to a four-length score in 1:53.2. An 11-year-old Sir Luck gelding owned and driven by Foster and trained by his wife, Megan Foster, Hi Sir recorded his first win in four tries this year and now owns a commendable 54-41-42 slate and $520,000 banked from 272 career outings.

Then one race later in a non-winners of six races or $40,000 lifetime class for younger pacers, Bo Breeze (Morgan) continued his newfound winning ways when he rallied third over and widest of all down the backside, swept to command on the far turn then outlasted the late bid of Yeahboyyeah (Chuck Perry, Jr.) to score by nearly a length in 1:55. A four-year-old Nuclear Breeze gelding trained by Shawn Murray, Bo Breeze has won two straight and owns three wins in eight seasonal outings.

Yeahboyyeah has now finished second in each of his three local tries, although he was a bit unlucky on Sunday. Poised in the pocket through much of the mile, Yeahboyyeah appeared to brush the wheel of leader Crush Hanover (Eddie Davis, Jr.) down the backside nearing three-quarters, got rough briefly, angled out behind Bo Breeze and closed willingly to secure the place spot in a good effort for the Henry Lewis trainee.

Then one race later in the $9,000 "Winners Over" class for trotters, Believe In Me (Richard Still) maintained her razor sharp form when she brushed to command passing the half, opened a clear lead down the backside and cruised home four lengths clear of 2-5 favorite Southwind Ferrari (John Wagner) to prevail as the 5-2 second choice in 1:58.2. A five-year-old Conway Hall mare trained by Betsy Brown, Believe In Him recorded her second straight tally and now owns five wins in six starts at the meet.

One race later in a non-winners of $4,000 last five starts or $40,000 lifetime class for pacers, Jack Quick (Jonathan Roberts) rallied from well off the pace third over and widest of all in the lane and wore down Allie's Finale (Roger Plante, Jr.) and favored Kiss A Dragon (Foster) late for a neck score in 1:54.4. A four-year-old Nuclear Breeze gelding owned, bred and trained by Basil Sapienza, Jack Quick now owns four wins in seven starts at the meet and five victories in 12 seasonal outings.

That same evening at Pocono Downs, a quartet of non-winners of $3,500 last five starts events for pacers scattered throughout the card proved revealing.

Ideal Rocky (Matt Kakaley) overcame a first over trip to win the opening split as the even-money choice in 1:53.2 for trainer Ed "Jay" Gannon, Jr., Ron Bakardi (George Napolitano, Jr.) led throughout to win the next division as the 2-5 choice in 1:52.3, Chucaro Acero BC (Mitchell Cushing) took the third split in 1:54.2 then Sporty Spook (Tyler Buter) prevailed in the finale in 1:53.3 as the 3-2 choice for owner-trainer Brittany Robertson.

While Ron Bakardi was clearly the fastest of the group and Chucaro Acero BC the slowest winner, undoubtedly the second-best performance of the night in those four divisions was delivered by Street Boy (Mike Simons) who was second to Ron Bakardi in the second split. Street Boy stayed with Ron Bakardi throughout the mile and was beaten just over a length and six lengths clear of his nearest rival and should emerge victorious at the level this Sunday.