Rosecroft Titles Come Down To the Wire

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Ted Black

December 16th, 2016

Horses and drivers braved the sub-freezing temperatures and biting head winds throughout the Thursday evening finale at Rosecroft Raceway when the chase for the human titles literally came down to the wire.

Heading into Thursday's 13-race card that capped the 30-night fall meet, Brian Burton and Ken Schlotzhauer were tied for the training title with 17 wins each, while Russell Foster held a one-win lead over Roger Plante, Jr in the race for the drivers title.

Burton took the lead by steering Real Passing Lady to victory in the opener, a non-winners of $4000 last five starts class for pacing fillies and mares. Although it would prove to be a busy night for Schlotzhauer, whose Madge's Lil Fortune (Frank Milby) finished third in the opener, Burton would never relinquish the lead to garner his first training title.

Neither Foster or Plante recorded a victory in the first five races on the card, but Plante drew even in the sixth when he steered Lucky Mass to a first over triumph in a non-winners of $1001 last five starts class for trotters for trainer Charles Tisa, while Foster finished second with Swan Anna Miss.

But in the very next race on the card, Foster regained the lead when he steered Girlfriend Bash to a narrow victory over 45-1 outsider Proud Maryet (David Hill, III) in a non-winners of $2500 last five starts class for pacing fillies and mares for trainer Carlin Savage, who had notched her first training victory with the six-year-old Roddy's Bags Again mare on October 20.

Then in the very next race on the program Plante drew even again when he guided the classy Rhapsody Rose to a gritty victory as the 6-5 choice in the $12,000 Maryland Special Open Handicap for pacing fillies and mares. Rhapsody Rose notched her second straight score in the top class for pacing distaffers and did so racing against a bias hindering speed horses on a night when strong head wins greeted horses and drivers when they entered the stretch twice.

As luck would have it, one race after Plante drew even atop the standings, Foster regained the lead by steering Killaly to a determined score in a non-winners of five races lifetime class for pacing fillies and mares. Killaly is a three-year-old daughter of Badlands Hanover trained by Jason Bowers for owner Mike Chaney.

After neither driver prevailed in races 10-12, Foster took a one-win lead into the finale. But Plante ended the meet in style when he steered In Front Charlie to a virtual wire-to-wire score in a non-winners of $2500 last five starts for owner-trainer Brittany Bounds. In Front Charlie won for the second time in three starts for Bounds - who also captured the previous race with Diva's Princess - and gave Plante a share of the driving title with Foster.

While Plante earned his first driving title, Foster recorded his second crown, having also shared the spring meet honor with Jonathan Roberts.

Two nights earlier on the Tuesday card, Diamondkeeper was honored as the fall meet champion by Rosecroft track management. He had won 4 of 10 starts and banked over $32,500 at the meet for owner-trainer Basil Sapienza with Plante as his regular pilot. Hide Me Away was the choice among members of the U.S. Harness Writers Association's Mid-Atlantic Chapter as fall meet champ for trainer Arty Foster, Jr.