While fans of the National Football League were intently watching the full slate of games on Sunday afternoon and evening, Rosecroft Raceway kicked off its 30-night fall season on Sunday amid a slight adjustment to its post time.
In the moments after Bluebird Ideal won a conditioned race in 1:55.2 and prior to the post parade for the featured $12,500 Maryland Open for older pacers, a bank of lights over the front stretch of the racing surface went out and the track opted to nix the final four races on the program. Eight of the nine races that were conducted proved to be true to form.
Two races earlier in the non-winners of $6,000 last four starts class for older pacers, Waikiki Beach (Eddie Davis Jr.) easily lived up to his role as the even-money favorite when he gained command in a 27.1 opener, cruised by the half in 56.4, met token pressure down the backside then held safe the late bid of Rocktavius (Jonathan Roberts) to score by two lengths in 1:51.4.
A 7-year-old Somebeachsomehwhere gelding trained by Mike Hall, Waikiki Beach recorded his fifth win from 25 starts this year and now owns 33 wins and over $800,000 banked from 81 career tries. He will likely be a fixture in the upper level conditioned races throughout the Rosecroft fall meet and left a lasting impression on his catch driver.
“He’s a good old horse,” Davis said. “He’s a classy old horse. He made the lead easily and he still had something left at the end. He’s just a nice, nice old horse.”
Two races earlier on the card, Fantastic Voyage (Jonathan Roberts) proved his readiness for the next round of Maryland Sire Stakes eliminations this month when he led throughout to score by four lengths in 1:55.3. A freshman son of Cool Flying Fun trained by Shaun Callahan recorded his second win in six career outings and was the most impressive youngster on the card.
Two races earlier in a non-winners of one race lifetime event for younger pacers named in honor of the late Robert “Shag” Fox, Who’s That Rascal (Russell Foster) gained command in a modest 29-second opener, got a breather to the half in 1:00 flat then held safe Tricks R For Real (Michael Greene) and favored Leonard’s Legacy (Jonathan Roberts) to score by a neck in 1:57.3. It was the first win in five starts for the juvenile son of Rusty’s For Real trained by Sam Belote.
Two races earlier in a non-winners of $2500 last four starts for older pacers, Prince Clyde (Russell Foster) capped the early daily double by prevailing as the 3-5 favorite in virtual wire-to-wire fashion in 1:53.2. An 8-year-old Camluck gelding owned and trained by Richard Malone Jr., Prince Clyde notched his third win from 22 starts this year and now owns 35 wins and nearly $400,000 banked from 182 career tries.
One race earlier in the Sunday opener for trotters, Fair Glider (Eddie Davis Jr.) forged a mild upset when he rallied from just off the pace to edge favored Beep Beep Bye Bye (Justin Vincent) for a length victory in 1:57.2. An 8-year-old Yankee Glide gelding trained by Eric Davis, Fair Glider now owns a 3-5-5 slate and $24,000 banked from 38 starts this year and he recorded his 11th victory in 157 career outings and pushed his lifetime bankroll just shy of $150,000.
Rosecroft Raceway will again offer live harness racing Sundays and Wednesdays through Dec. 18 — with the lone exception being a Saturday card on Nov. 2 — with the first race slated for 7:15 p.m. each night. Highlighting the meet will be the fourth edition of the $100,000 Potomac Pace on Sunday, Nov. 10, and a quartet of Maryland Sire Stakes finals on Sunday, Sept. 29.
Speaking of the Potomac, several talented pacers that could be headed to Rosecroft for the track’s signature event this fall competed in the $440,000 Ewart Memorial at Scioto Downs on Saturday night. Several of those pacers could also be headed to Harrington Raceway this Monday evening for the latest renewal of the $150,000 Bobby Quillen Memorial Invitational.
Saturday night in the Ewart Memorial, McWicked (Brian Sears) rallied from just off the pace top edge Donttellmeagain (Tim Tetrick) and Western Fame (Dan Noble) for a nose victory in 1:49. McWicked is the reigning harness horse of the year and could be headed to Rosecroft for the Potomac, while Western Fame is the defending Potomac champion.
“We’re looking forward to a great fall meeting at Rosecroft,” said Sal Sinatra, president and general manager of the Maryland Jockey Club which owns the five-eighths mile oval. “The fall meet has always attracted great racing and enthusiastic crowds. We’re also looking forward to the Potomac Pace, which has produced some great races in just a short period of time.”
In fact, All Bets Off (Matt Kakaley) won the inaugural edition of the Potomac Pace in 2016 in 1:48.2 on a bitter cold night in November.
Then, one year later, Keystone Velocity shattered the track record when he overhauled All Bets Off late to score in 1:47.3. Last season, Western Fame prevailed in the Potomac in 1:49.2 on a night when the track was dampened by a mild shower.