Tuesday cards shine brightly at Rosecroft

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Ted Black

November 26th, 2014

With the Rosecroft Raceway 30-day fall meet rapidly winding to a close, owners and trainers are looking to have their various trotters and pacers in peak form as more than a handful of horses remain in contention for the coveted horse of the meet titles to be presented on the Tuesday, December 9 card. The driving and training titles, both of which are also up for grabs, will be recognized on closing night, Saturday, December 13.

While most tracks designate the weekends for their top events, the best trotters and pacers that Rosecroft has to offer typically compete every Tuesday evening when the exported simulcast signal is most widely accepted and several of the races are shown live on the Television Games Network (TVG). The Tuesday, November 25 card hardly solidified the horse of the year title - both the Rosecroft Raceway track management and the Mid-Atlatic Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association each select a winner - as several contenders joined the likely frontrunner.

In fact, a glimpse of the Tuesday results revealed that at least a handful of horses remain alive for the honor from both groups. Although he failed to deliver his best effort in the weekly feature $10,000 Open 2 for pacers, Lyons Meandragon remained the favorite for at least one of the titles. The five-year-old Dragon Again gelding  trained by John McIntyre for owner William Sartin has won four of 10 starts and earned over $23,000 at the meet, with all four of his victories occurring in the Open 2 class. He took his seasonal and lifetime mark of 1:51.1 on October 14, while his other three scores have been in the identical clocking of 1:52.2.

Another older pacer with four wins at the meet settled for second on Tuesday, but raced well in defeat and still merits consideration for the title. Cowboy Artist, a six-year-old Blissfull Hall gelding trained by Eric Ell for owner William Still, has spent nearly the entire meet facing $5000 claimers where he boasts a solid 4-3-1 slate and $13,500 bankroll from 10 starts. Named for breeder Steve Warrington of Sanabelle Island fame, Cowboy Artist has been second twice at the $5000 level since reeling off three straight victories on October 28, November 4 and Nov. 11 and those two efforts hardly diminished his reputation.

After a slow start to the meet, Molly B'Golly has emerged as the track's most consistent trotter. On Tuesday evening the four-year-old Glidemaster mare trained by Lawrence Marston for owners Stacey and Lacey Marston, overcame a first over bid to capture the $10,000 Open 2 for trotters in 1:55.3 to notch her fourth win in 10 starts at the meet. She has only been worse than third once and banked $20,000 along the way. House On Fire, Deadliest Catch and Chinese Cuisine went much faster during the meet, but Molly B'Golly has enjoyed the most prolonged success over the oval while the others ventured elsewhere.

Two pacing mares that faced one another on Tuesday in the $10,000 Open 2 handicap for distaff pacers, Don't Fool Around and Happy Feet Too, both have to be considered heading into the final weeks of the meet. Happy Feet Too notched her second straight score and now owns a 3-2-1 slate from eight starts at the meet for McIntyre, while Don't Fool Around settled for fifth on Tuesday but owns four wins in nine tries at the meet for trainer Darryle Dennis and owners Donnie and Nancy Drewer.

Two older pacers also kept their hopes alive for possible horse of the meet honors from either the track or the scribes with sharp, fast scores on the Tuesday card two days before Thanksgiving. At least one of them is going to depart the December 9 card with a trophy.

Hi Sir continued his recent stellar form by overcoming a first over journey to capture the $10,000 Open 2 for older pacers on Tuesday in 1:51.4 for owner-trainer-driver Russell Foster. A six-year-old Sir Luck gelding that Foster purchased for $20,000 18 months earlier, Hi Sir notched his second straight score and his third win in 10 starts at the meet and now boasts two wins in the Open 2 ranks. Hi Sir was selected as the Ocean Downs horse of the meet by the local USHWA chapter and will get belatedly recognized for that honor on the Dec. 9 card and he could depart with a second trophy if either the scribes or track selects him for the Rosecroft fall meet honors.

Another pacer who joined the discussion for a possible horse of the meet title also prevailed 20 minutes later in the $8500 Open 3 handicap for pacers on Tuesday. Hot Art, a five-year-old Art Major gelding owned and trained by John Baxter, posted his second straight score and his third win in nine tries at the meet when he led throughout to prevail easily in 1:51.3, the fastest clocking on the card. Hot Art has spent most of the meet facing mid-level conditioned foes, but his belated form spree cannot be overlooked and a victory in the tougher Open 2 class next Tuesday could certainly elevate this Baxter trainee's chances of being selected for horse of the meet honors.

Over the last five nights of the meet the driving title will get decided as both Jonathan Roberts and Frank Milby are virtually inseparable in the dash-winning standings through Tuesday's card. The trainer title is equally contentious with McIntyre, Roger Hans, Eric Ell, Judy Welty and Duane Wagner all within close proximity to one another in the win column.