Drivers post 'hat tricks' at Rosecroft

Profile Picture: Ted Black

Ted Black

March 16th, 2016

It was difficult to separate whether horses or drivers deserved top billing on Tuesday evening at Rosecroft Raceway as two drivers each won three races and at least one horse they drove delivered a sharp score.

Trainer-driver Donald Dancer won with three horses on the first one-half of the card, steering trotters Keystone Cocoa and Zeigler Hanover to victory in both halves of a split condition, with his triple completed in the middle when he guided Elusive Point to a strong, first over victory in 1:54.2 in a non-winners of $4000 last five starts class for pacers. Elusive Point ended the 2015 Rosecroft fall meet by posting five straight tallies and he regained his winning ways in his second start of the current meet.

"He was really good tonight," Dancer said after the race. "There's something about this track. He just loves it here. He gets pumped up as soon as he sets foot on the track. He was like that when I brought him here for a qualifier. He had a little trouble his first start back here, but tonight he was really good. He doesn't seem to mind racing first up."

A four-year-old Art Major stallion originally purchased for $65,000 as a yearling and sent to prominent trainer Ron Burke, Elusive Point never made one start for his former conditioner and Dancer and partner Neil Gargiulo purchased him for $18,000 at the Meadowlands fall sale. Elusive Point won six of 11 starts last year and banked nearly $18,400 and his latest victory pushed his lifetime earnings past $22,000. The well-bred stallion could eventually have a second career as a stud, but he appears to have several more good years of racing before that occurs.

Berry recorded a driving triple later on the card and posted a natural 'hat trick' by guiding Vapour N to a narrow victory in the $12,000 Open 2 Handicap and both Rockin Romeo and Cruising West to determined scores in a split, non-winners of $4000 last five condition. Vapour N, a seven-year-old Jereme's Jet gelding, notched his first win of the season despite racing first over down the backside and through the far turn to overhaul Contraband Hanover and Real Tough late in 1:51.4.

"He can probably leave a little faster, but there's no sense sending him hard out of there each week," Berry said of Vapour N, a $54,000 purchase upon arriving from New Zealand in January along with Bettor Rock On N and Bit Of A Legend N, both of which have recorded wins against overnight foes at Yonkers Raceway in New York and are entered in this Saturday's opening round of the George Morton Levy Memorial Series. "He doesn't mind racing first up, but he does like to wait on horses a little bit. He seems to like this track and they race for good money here."

Drivers Jonathan Roberts and Russell Foster both recorded driving doubles on Tuesday. Roberts won an early non-winners of $2500 last five starts class with Kelly Land for owner-trainer James Eveland and later won a similar split with Q Rock for trainer Luis Collazo. Foster captured the last two races on the card, guiding Rock On Precious to a narrow victory over T's Electric (Frank Milby) in a non-winners of $6000 last five starts class and then prevailing in the nightcap with Toms Titan for trainer Joe Eisenhower and owner-breeder Tom Cooke.