Tuesday harness preview

Profile Picture: Ted Black

Ted Black

November 3rd, 2014

While thoroughbred racing fans perhaps got their fill of excitement last weekend when Santa Anita Park hosted the two-day Breeders Cup Championship races, standradbred fans were able to enjoy a solid card at Hoosier Park last Friday and will have another one to look forward to on Thursday when Dover Downs hosts eight Matron Stakes events for two- and three-year-old trotters and pacers worth nearly $1.6 million. But the first matter of hand involves the Tuesday evening card at Rosecroft Raceway in Maryland, with a bevy of races worthy of wagering.

Rosecroft Raceway's Tuesday cards have become more contentious since the outset of the fall meet and this evening's 12-race program is no exception. Beginning with the opening race on the card, a majority of the events on the Tuesday program look intriguing.

In the opener, a non-winners of $6000 last five starts class for older pacers, look for I Wanna Go Fast (Brandon Henley) to regain his winning ways this evening for trainer Brian Callahan. A seven-year-old Three Olives gelding, I Wanna Go Fast was hard used to the half in 53.1 and three-quarters in 1:21.2 last week before giving way late as the 2-5 favorite. A winner here on the opening night card six weeks ago, I Wanna Go Fast should find his way back to the winner's circle this evening while starting from post two. Manhattan Rusty N (Justin Vincent) merits respect after a good, first over try last week in this class.

Just past the midway point of the card in the evening's eighth race, the $10,000 Open 2 for pacers, look for Shady Breeze (Tony Morgan) to solidify his status as one of the early candidates for horse of the meet honors when he leaves from his assigned post seven slot. Sporting two wins, one second- and two third-place finishes in the Open 1 class for owner-trainer Judy Welty, Shady Breeze was a gritty third in the top class last week despite missing the week before. He was eventually overhauled in the lane by Adventure Bound and Bandolito, two talented pacers that will likely be fixtures in the Open, Preferred and Delaware Special at Dover Downs each Thursday.

A trio of horses who raced well last week will be looking to topple the favorite in Tuesday's feature. Hi Sir (Russell Foster) has been first and second in three tries in the Open 2; Game Day (Corey Braden) circled the field to win at this level last week for trainer Duane Wagner and owner Clarissa Coughlin and is always a danger with his late kick, while Lyons Meandragon (Roger Plante, Jr.) sports two wins in this class and has enough early speed to be prominent throughout. Toms Titan (Jonathan Roberts) has missed the last two weeks, but drops out of the Open 1 where he was favored twice in three tries in the top class.

Then one race later in the $10,000 Open 2 for trotters, keep a close eye on Deadliest Catch (John Duer) a Lexington invader who romped home seven lengths clear in 1:54 in a qualifier last weekend. Also trained by Duer, Deadliest Catch equaled the all-age track record for trotters in his qualifier - unfortunately it does not count - while wearing trotting hobbles for the first time. He had made repeated breaks in qualifiers and overnight races at The Meadowlands and Lexington last spring and summer without the trotting hobbles, but the equipment change could mark the turning point in his career.

An early glimpse at Thursday's stellar card at Dover Downs reveals some of the best trotters and pacers that the sport has to offer will be on hand for the various, lucrative Matrons Stakes. Wild Honey will be the odds-on favorite in the opener for two-year-old trotting fillies. Bettor Be Steppin will look to topple a Burke trio in the sixth race for freshman pacing fillies. Yankee Bounty, who has won eight of nine starts for owner Frank Chick and Burke, will be the solid choice in the seventh for freshman pacing colts.

But the highlight of the card will be the 10th when Jim Takter trainees Father Patrick and Nuncio face off in the $200,000 Matron Stakes for sophomore trotting colts. Father Patrick has won 11 of 15 starts and earned over $1.44 million this year, but he was foiled in all of the Triple Crown races. Nuncio, who has won 10 of 15 starts this year and earned nearly $1.3 million, has never been worse than second in his career and actually boasts victories in two legs of the Triple Crown, the Kentucky Futurity and the Yonkers Trot. Messenger Stakes winner All Bets Off headlines the 11th for sophomore pacers, while the razor sharp Act Now will be tough to beat in the 12th. A full preview will appear on Thursday.