Rosecroft, Pompano Park and Pocono Downs offer solid Sunday cards

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Ted Black

May 7th, 2018

One day after millions of Americans watched Justify capture the Grade I, $2 million Kentucky Derby over a sloppy track at Churchill Downs, harness racing fans had the chance to catch the action at a trio of five-eighths mile ovals in the same time zone but more than 1,000 miles apart.

Sunday's live program at Rosecroft opened with a non-betting, $13,000 Maryland Sire Stakes event for four- and five-year-old male pacers and a familiar face may have made his last local appearance. Mr Ham Sandwich (Russell Foster), who spent the first 29 starts of his career under the guidance of trainer Judy Welty for owner-breeder Brian Emerson, brushed to command before the half in 55.2, rebuffed token pressure down the backside and by three-quarters in 1:24 then drew clear in the lane to score in 1:53.2 despite nearly going off stride at two points in the lane.

A four-year-old son of Cam's Rocket trained for this one start by Trevor Stafford for Allard Racing, which purchased the Emerson homebred for $65,000 immediately after his 1:51.4 score against conditioned foes at Pocono Downs on April 28, Mr Ham Sandwich notched his third win from nine starts this year and now owns 17 wins and nearly $200,000 banked from 30 career outings. Mr Ham Sandwich had been the dominant MDSS performer at ages two and three and perhaps made his final start in the Free State since Stafford is taking him to Allard this week.

Then one race later in the $13,000 MDSS for four- and five-year-old pacing fillies and mares, Hybrid Heidi (Joe Columbo) gained command soon after the outset and carved out honest fractions of 26.4, 55.4 and 1:24.1 then drew clear in the lane from Whitesvillemichelle (David Hill, III) to score by three lengths in 1:53.3. A four-year-old Cam's Rocket mare trained and co-owned by Colombo and Sofia Zingale, Hybrid Heidi recorded her first win in five starts this year and now owns a 6-2-6 slate and $43,000 banked from 33 career tries.

Then one race later in the $8500 Winners Over class for aged pacers, Delaware invader Seventh Secret (Mike Cole) lived up to his role as the 3-5 favorite when he overcame post seven and a first over bid to score in 1:50.4, outlasting the stout late bid of JW Renegade (John Mackinnon). A seven-year-old Allamerican Native stallion trained by Columbo for owners George & Tina Dennis, Seventh Secret notched his fourth win from 13 starts this year and now owns 24 wins and nearly $425,000 banked from 115 career outings.

The next three races on the card had a familiar theme as trainer Arlene Cameron and catch driver John Wagner combined to prevail in succession with Southwind Ferrari in a conditioned trot event in 1:55, came right back to score with K J Alison and then won second over with Up Dog Hanover in 1:55 as the 2-5 favorite.

Fittingly enough, Bad Man Sam (Foster) overcame post eight and an extended cover journey to score an 8-1 upset in a non-winners of $2500 last five starts class for older pacers in 1:53.4. A 10-year-old Badlands Hanover gelding trained by Jason Bowers for owner Donald Leager, Bad Man Sam recorded his second straight win and now owns four tallies from 13 starts this year and the durable gelding posted his 40th victory from 233 career tries.

Then two races later on the card, Silver Fox J (Cole) saved ground through the middle stages of the mile and found room late along the inside to capture the $10,000 Maryland Open in 1:51.2 as the 5-2 second choice. A six-year-old Kenneth J gelding trained by Columbo for George & Tina Dennis, Silver Fox J now owns a 3-2-4 slate and $42.000 banked from 16 starts this year and his latest score pushed his career earnings toward $187,000. Abelard Hanover (Milby) finished a sharp second in defeat and looms one of the serious contenders for spring horse of the meet honors.

That same evening in the $6000 Isle Mile III, Major Starlight (David Ingraham) brushed to command before the half in 55.3, maintained an honest tempo by three-quarters in 1:24.2 then held safe the late bid of Sing For Me George (Mickey McNichol) to score 1:53.1. A seven-year-old Major In Art gelding owned and trained by Dustin Ingraham, Major Starlight now owns a 7-3-1 slate and nearly $40,000 banked from 18 starts this year.

Then one race later on the card, R Chism (John Moody) rallied from well off the pace and widest of all to capture the $5,000 Isle Mile IV event for pacers in 1:55.1. A five-year-old Six Of Diamonds gelding trained by Kim Sears, R Chism ended a modest four-race skid to notch his second win from eight starts this year and this one pushed his career earnings past $75,000.

Then one race later in the featured $7,000 Isle Mile II Handicap for older pacers, Four Socks (Wally Hennessey) left alertly to gain command in an honest 27 opener, got a breather to the half in 56.4, rebuffed a first over bid from favored Dees Rocketman (McNichol) down the backside, shook loose from that one on the far turn and edged clear from pocket-sitting Caviart Reagan (Ingraham) to score in 1:52.4.

A six-year-old I Scott Hanover gelding trained by Mike Murphy, Four Socks recorded his second win in his last three starts and now owns a 3-2-3 slate and nearly $20,000 banked from 13 starts this year. Caviart Reagan benefited from a pocket trip to gain the place spot in a big leap from scoring at the Isle IV level last week in 1:52, while Dees Rocketman offered little in his first start back since finishing third as the choice in the Open I on April 15.

That same evening at Pocono Downs, Golden Son (Jim Morrill, Jr.) lived up to his role as the 6-5 favorite in a non-winners of $17,500 last five starts class for older trotters when he benefited from a pocket trip through the first three calls then edged clear late to score in 1:56.1. A five-year-old Majestic Son gelding trained by Jenny Melander for owner John Devito, Golden Son notched his third straight victory and now owns a balanced 3-3-3 slate and $46,000 banked from 11 starts this year.