Rollaway Zak had won one-half of his races this year -- seven of 14 -- and at the end of the Hazel Park meet he had been dominant in Open competition.
Coming over to Northville Downs this fall, however, his first two starts featured two- and three-wide, futile moves, and an extended break. From the bettors' perspective, he had plenty of questions and plenty of promise, and they decided to bet him that way -- and were properly compensated.
Eight trotters faced the gate this past Thursday night at Northville Downs in a $10,000 Open, in which the fans favored Call City Hall, who finished second last week in this class and claimed a victory one week before that. Their second choice was Honor The Cash, the winner in the Open last week, who sports a 2005 bankroll of $94,579. Rollaway Zak was the third choice.
Honor The Cash and Call City Hall were honored with the outside posts, respectively, by the race secretary, and Rollaway Zak started from post position one.
Eric Goodell, sitting behind Honor The Cash, wanted the front early, and urged the 5-year-old to the lead on the first turn. Upsidedown and driver Art McIlmurray got away second, and driver John Moody and Benn's Prime Time raced third.
Rollaway Zak left seventh, in front of a breaking Double Helix, who was handled by Mark Webster.
Honor The Cash passed the quarter pole in :284, and as he rounded the second turn and raced in front of the grandstand Tyler Buter brought Call City Hall out from sixth, and started to trot up on the outside.
Robert Rowland and Rollaway Zak followed Call City Hall, and as Honor The Cash passed the midway marker, in 1:002, Rowland had Rollaway Zak were trotting three-wide.
On the second turn, Call City Hall continued to trot first-over and Rollaway Zak settled back into forth. On the backside, Honor The Cash continued to hold command, and Call City Hall moved up to second, less than one-half a length behind the leader. The three-quarter pole came and went in 1:301.
On the final turn and trotting into the stretch, Honor The Cash and Call City Hall were together, and then Call City Hall momentarily broke stride.
Rollaway Zak had been racing second-over; he came wide into the stretch and set his sights on the wire. In his recent victories, Rollaway Zak (Rompaway Butch--Perfectly Sassy) had cut most of the quarter-mile fractions, but on Thursday he was displaying another side of his ability.
Closing the best, in :291, Rollaway Zak posted another victory, this time in a time of 1:594. Honor The Cash raced strongly to the wire and finished on and one-quarter lengths back, in second, and Upsidedown finished third.
Robert Rowland owns and trains Rollaway Zak, a 6-year-old who now has earned $21,529 this year, and $49,514, lifetime.
by Dan Conway, USTA Web Newsroom correspondent
ourtesy of The USTA