Tuesday harness preview

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Ted Black

December 2nd, 2014

With the Rosecroft Raceway fall meet rapidly coming to an end, the focus for owners, trainers, drivers and fans alike on Tuesday evening will be the continued pursuit of the coveted horse of the meet title, an honor that will be bestowed upon a pair of horses next Tuesday, Dec. 9, while the top trainer and driver will get recognized on closing night, Saturday, Dec. 13.

Fittingly enough, Tuesday's opener, the $10,000 Open 2 Handicap for pacing fillies and mares, could play a role in determining the horse of the meet titles. Both the Rosecroft Raceway track management and the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association each select one horse of the honor and Tuesday's opener has a pair of logical contenders - Don't Fool Around (Jonathan Roberts) and Happy Feet Too (Roger Plante, Jr.) who will start from posts six and eight, respectively.

Don't Fool Around, a seven-year-old I Am A Fool mare trained by Darryle Dennis, has won four of nine starts and earned over $13,000 at the meet including a lifetime mark of 1:53.3 on November 18 while taking a split, non-winners of $5000 last five class for pacing fillies and mares. But Don't Fool Around has also been wildly inconsistent, often following a sharp score with a dull effort. In her five setbacks at the meet, Don't Fool Around did not finish second or third and twice she failed to earn a check.

Happy Feet Too, a four-year-old Art Major filly trained by John McIntyre, has won her last two starts including last week's F-M Open 2 and now sports a solid 3-2-1 slate and $15,700 bankroll from eight starts at the meet. She displayed speed and tenacity last week, leaving to protect the pocket and then closing inside late to score in 1:53.4, while one week earlier she captured the faster half of the split, non-winners of $5000 last five class in 1:52.4 despite a long, first over journey into a 55-second back half.

But both Don't Fool Around and Happy Feet Too could be derailed in their bids for horse of the meet honors by Dragon Ruffles (Ken Weckstein) who has displayed ample speed in each of her two local appearances while settling for second both times behind Happy Feet Too. This four-year-old daughter of Dragon Again has displayed speed early in the mile and past the half, but in each of her two local tries she has been unable to outlast the late bid of Happy Feet Too. But that could change in Tuesday's opener and Dragon Ruffles could spoil the party for both Don't Fool Around and Happy Feet Too.

Then just past the midway point of the 12-race card, a pair of trotters will both look to keep their hopes alive for potential horse of the meet honors when they meet in the $10,000 Open 2 handicap for trotters. House On Fire (Roberts) has won three of five local tries for trainer Judith Welty, all at this level, and was second to Chinese Cuisine when that one set the all-age track record for trotters of 1:53.4 on Nov. 11. House On Fire was a nondescript sixth in a conditioned event at Harrah's Philadelphia last out, but should be much sharper in his Rosecroft return on Tuesday while leaving from post seven.

Just outside of him is Molly B'Golly (Donnie Russell), a four-year-old daughter of Glidemaster trained by Lawrence Marston. In her 10 previous starts at the meet, Molly B'Golly sports a solid 4-2-3 slate and earnings of $20,000 and she is riding a two-race win streak including last week's Open 2. Molly B'Golly finished third when Chinese Cuisine set the all-age track record and she was second behind Deadliest Catch one week earlier in two other tries at this level. Most of her success has come against the non-winners ranks, but Molly B'Golly has been the most consistent trotter of the meet.

One race later in the $10,000 Open 2 for older pacers, a trio of horses will look to keep their hopes alive for a trophy presentation next Tuesday, while the idle Lyons Meandragon, a winner four times at this level during the meet, will perhaps be rooting for an outsider to score.

Hot Art (Plante) has won his last two starts in sharp fashion for two different drivers and now gets a third one. Last week he led throughout to capture the $8500 Open 3 in 1:51.3 for his third win in nine starts at the meet for owner-trainer-breeder John Baxter. A victory at this level would certainly help his cause of being recognized by one of the groups. His clocking last Tuesday was the fastest of the evening.

Just to his outside is Hi Sir, a talented, five-year-old Sir Luck gelding owned, trained and driven by Russell Foster who also arrives with a two-race win streak and is sure to depart with at least one trophy next week. Hi Sir, who was tabbed as the Ocean Downs horse of the meet by the local USHWA chapter and will get his trophy belatedly next week, owns a 3-1-1 slate and $19,000 bankroll from 10 starts at this meet and has primarily been in the top class throughout the meet. Last week he overcame a first over journey and then outlasted the late bid of Lord Terror (Mike Beaver) to score in 1:51.4.

Also looking to join the argument in this group if Shady Breeze (Frank Milby) who owns a 2-2-2 slate and $22,000 bankroll from only seven outings at the meet for Welty. Shady Breeze also boasts two wins in the Open 1 class, while none of his fellow horse of the meet contenders can claim one at that level. Shady Breeze, however, has not prevailed since taking the Open 1 here back on Oct. 14, losing three straight starts including consecutive defeats against Lyons Meandragon.

Then several races later in the penultimate race on the card, Cowboy Artist (Beaver) will look to keep his name in the mix when he seeks his fifth score of the meet while facing non-winners of $2500 last five starts and optional $5000 claimers. Clearly the dominant claimer of the meet, Cowboy Artist owns a 4-3-1 slate and roughly $17,500 banked along the way for trainer Eric Ell and owner William Still and another victory would certainly enhance his chances of taking home a title next Tuesday.