Rosecroft set to host solid Sunday card

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Ted Black

December 2nd, 2018

Tomorrow evening while many sports enthusiasts are still watching the action from across the National Football League, harness racing fans will turn their attention to Rosecroft Raceway as the Maryland five-eighths mile oval hosts the $100,000 Potomac Pace for free-for-all pacers, the highlight of a 13-race program set to get under way at 4:40.

Sunday's feature is the third renewal of the $100,000 Potomac Pace and the event attracted a solid field of eight pacers, but did not draw division leader and harness racing horse of the year candidate McWicked, who won the $350,000 TVG Open the week before. McWicked would have been 1-5 in the Potomac and could have threatened the all-age track record of 1:47.3 set by 2017 Potomac Pace hero Keystone Velocity.

Among the favorites for this year's edition of the Potomac Pace is Filibuster Hanover, who finished third as the 9-2 second choice in the $350,000 TVG Open last weekend. A four-year-old pacer trained by Ron Burke, Filibuster Hanover owns abundant speed and will certainly make his presence known throughout the mile and looms a serious threat to give Burke his second win in three Potomac Pace outings.

Among the main threats to Filibuster Hanover is Dealt A Winner (David Miller), who makes his third consecutive appearance in the Potomac and seeks his first tally here. The Mark Silva trainee only boasts a pair of wins in 15 starts this year, but he was second to McWicked last weekend in the TVG Open and he boasts a pair of sub-1:48 victories in his career, including a 1:47.3 triumph in the Cane Pace at the Meadowlands at age three.

Another serious contender in the Potomac is Western Fame (Corey Callahan), a recent acquisition to the Rene Allard barn after spending the previous three years in trainer Jimmy Takter's barn. Western Fame also owns ample early speed and will get Lasix for the first time while making his Maryland debut. He could carve out the fractions or seek to sit a pocket trip behind Filibuster Hanover through the first three calls.

Among the other participants in the Potomac include Duplicated N, Geez Joe, Endeavor, Rockin Ron and local star Rock N Roll Jet. Endeavor has dominated Invitational events in the Midwest this season for trainer Jeff Cullipher, but was not a factor in the $250,000 Dan Rooney Memorial at Yonkers Raceway or the $150,000 Bobby Quillen Memorial at Harrington. Rock N Roll Jet has already secured his status as the track's pacer of the meet for owner-trainer William "Buddy" Bright and arrives having won the last four Open I Handicaps over the strip.

One race earlier a solid field of nine pacers will clash in the $25,000 Maryland Invitational, a veritable "Free State Free-For-All" for Maryland-owned pacers. Slick Tony, one of only two three-year-olds in the field, looms the favorite off a solid second-place finish behind Duplicated N last out at Dover Downs, while Sam's Triple Crown will get ample support following his second-place finish behind Rock N Roll Jet in last week's Open I Handicap here.

Then one race earlier in a non-winners of $6,000 last five starts class for older pacers, Rock N Row, Capital Builder and Lil Johnny will vie for favoritism. Rock N Row was a sharp winner against much softer last week for trainer Willard Reynolds, while Lil Johnny rallied from last despite excess, dull cover to win another conditioned event in 1:53.1. Capital Builder has always thrived over the local strip for trainer Megan Roberts.

Several races earlier on the card, Foiled Again will garner all of the attention when he leads a group of genuine aged pacers in a $15,000 Invitational. In the midst of his final month of racing, Foiled Again will likely be the odds-on choice in his local debut despite post nine on the outside. The 14-year-old Dragon Again gelding boasts 106 wins and record earnings of $7.6 million for trainer Ron Burke.

The nine starters in the Foiled Again event boast 392 wins and nearly $11 million banked and are also a combined 108 years of age. While several years past his prime, Foiled Again still appears capable of prevailing over the Rosecroft oval in 1:53. Look for the Maryland Invitational to go in 1:51 and the Potomac Pace, despite the absence of McWicked, should still go 1:48.2 on Sunday evening amid balmy conditions for early December.