Cowboy Artist's Redeeming Race?

Ted Black

December 11th, 2014

This weekend a pair of harness racing ovals on the East Coast will conclude their 2014 standardbred seasons with cards filled with overnight races that could enable savvy players to pad their bankrolls heading into the upcoming holiday season.

Saturday night Rosecroft Raceway will conclude its fall meet by offering a 13-race card that will get started early by a local author. Freddie Hudson, a former trainer and driver and current member of the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association, will greet fans as they enter to sign his new book, "Roosevelt Raceway - Where It All Began" that Hudson co-wrote with Billy Haughton, Jr. and Victoria Howard.

Hudson and his fellow authors have already signed copies of the book at the famed The Book Revue in New York and the Meadowlands Racetrack on Breeders Crown night, but on Saturday night Hudson will meet local racegoers at Rosecroft on the ground floor of the clubhouse. Previous signings at The Book Revue and the Meadowlands were well-received, so Hudson should have a busy night in store.

In the opening race on the card, a $5000 claiming event for horses that have not won in their last four starts, look for Cowboy Artist to regain his winning ways. A winner four times at the meet and an earlier candidate for fall meet champion, Cowboy Artist has finished second three times in five winless starts since his last visit to the winner's circle for trainer Eric Ell and owner William Still, but this appears to be an ideal spot for the gelding to end the meet on a good note.

Then several races later on the card in a non-winners of $3000 last five starts class for pacers, look for Booze Cruzin (Jared Moyer) to regain his winning ways while getting a huge class break. Booze Cruzin has spent the meet facing much tougher, including the non-winners of $6000 last five class in each of his last two starts, so this drop should enable the Merla LaFountaine trainee to end a modest drought. Perhaps his best effort of the meet was a second-place finish behind Call Me Bud in an overnight race here on Nov. 11 that went in 1:51.1, which proved to be the fastest mile of that evening.

Then several races later on the card in a non-winners of two races lifetime event for younger pacers, look for Roll Big to deliver big. A winner of his first two starts at the Woodstock Fair for trainer-driver John Baxter, Roll Big easily scored in his parimutuel debut at Rosecroft on Nov. 29 by six lengths in 1:59.3 and last week he nearly overcame a parked out journey behind dull cover to prevail while finishing second as the 5-2 second choice. He should have little trouble with this group.

Then in the 13th and final, a non-winners of $1500 last five class for pacers, give Samcro (Frank Gannon, III) a chance to atone despite starting from post seven. In each of his last four outings Samcro has faced non-winners of $2500 last five company and endured tough trips. Tonight his youthful trainer-driver should be able to overcome his outside slot and gain command early and lead throughout to capture the season finale.

That same night at Yonkers Raceway in New York, a full field of eight talented aged pacers will convene for the $44,000 Open Handicap and the race will garner top billing as the centerpiece on the track's penultimate program for 2014.

Last week's Open champion, Sapphire City (Eric Carlson) has won four straight races and is peaking at the right time, while BJ's Guy has won his last two starts against the non-winners of $25,000 last six class and earns a spot in the Open. Beach Memories has been the beaten favorite in the Open in each of the last two weeks for trainer Ron Burke and merits respect in this event again despite his two recent failures.

But it would only seem fitting if the last Open Handicap winner of the season would be PH Supercam (Jason Bartlett), a durable, talented, well-traveled sort who sports an 11-5-12 slate and earnings of nearly $600,000 this year from 37 starts for trainer Paul Fraley. PH Supercam likely secured his status as the track's horse of the year long ago, but it would only seem fitting if he could overcome his assigned post eight and rally to capture the track's final Open Hcp of the season.

Then on Sunday morning at Yonkers Raceway, the track's final card of the year will once again highlight the trotters who will be asked to compete at the marathon one-mile and one-quarter distance over the New York half-mile oval as thousands of enthusiastic European onlookers wager on the early events.

In the opening race on the card, the $44,000 Open Handicap for older trotters, much of the attention will go to DW's Ny Yank (George Brennan) who will be seeking to repeat despite being assigned post position eight on the far outside. But his main threat will come from Sevruga (Andy Miller) the durable sort who notched his 30th career victory last week in a non-winners of $18,000 last six class and double-jumps into the Open looking to topple the 'Yank' in the last Open of the season.

Then in the second race on the card, a non-winners of $18,000 last six class for trotters, look for Pilatus (Miller) to control the tempo from his inside slot and post a mild upset in this event. Last week in his first start since October 30, Pilatus led through the first three calls before fading to third against non-winners of $12,000 last six company. But despite the modest class hike following the setback, Pilatus should be fit enough to control the pace early and upend this group.

Then one race later in the third, a non-winners of $25,000 last six class for trotters, give Bentley Karan (Bartlett) a chance to prevail despite a modest class hike. Last week in a non-winners of $18,000 last six group he raced first over down the backside and through the far turn and settled for second as Sevruga led throughout and drew off in 1:55.4. With Sevruga double-jumping into the Open, Bentley Karan should be able to handle the other trotters in this condition.

Then in the 12th and final of the card and the season at Yonkers, look for All Fired Up (Brennan) to dictate the tempo early and capture this non-winners of $12,000 last six class for pacers. Last week he was burdened with post position eight and trainer Shaun Vallee simply took him around the oval, but Sunday afternoon Vallee will hand the lines to Brennan and All Fired Up should be able to handle this group from the rail in similar fashion to his Nov. 30 win against non-winners of $8000 last six company when Vallee was in the bike.