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FORT WASHINGTON, MD - The Horse of the Year is coming to Rosecroft. S S G Stable's McWicked, harness racing's 2018 Horse of the Year, headlines an all-star group of Standardbred pacers Sunday evening in the $100,000 Potomac Pace at Rosecroft. First race post time is 7:15 p.m. for the 13-race program. Rosecroft will offer a $10,000 bonus to any pacer who breaks the track record of 1:47.3,set by Keystone Victory in the 2017 Potomac Pace. In addition, there will be a $5,000 guaranteed pool on the Pick 5, races 7-11. The $100,000 Potomac Pace has become Rosecroft's signature event. In its first three years, the Potomac has attracted some of the sport's biggest stars including Split The House, Keystone Velocity Always B Miki, Wakizashi Hanover and All Bets Off. "We're very excited and really looking forward to Sunday's $100,000 Potomac Pace," said Sal Sinatra, President and General Manager of the Maryland Jockey Club. "Since the inaugural Potomac Pace in 2016, the event has grown and has attracted some of the best pacers in North America. We very appreciative of all the horsemen who have supported this great event." McWicked joins that list as one of the sport's top stars. A winner of 40 starts and $4.9 million, McWicked became the oldest pacer to be named Horse of the Year. Trained by Casie Coleman and driven by Brian Sears, McWicked has surpassed $1 million in purses for the third time in his career, joining Foiled Again as the only pacers with three million-dollar seasons. The 8-year-old won the Dan Rooney Invitational and Allerage Farms Open Pace earlier this year. McWicked will leave from post seven. McWicked came up short in his attempt to win a third Breeders Crown Oct. 26 when he finished fourth behind American History in the $655,000 Breeders Crown Open Pace. American History, bred by Brittany Farm, previously won the $150,000 Bobby Quillen Memorial and has earned $437,291 this year. Those facing McWicked and American History in the Potomac include Dorsoduro Hanover, second to American History in the Breeders Crown and winner of last year's $530,000 Breeders Crown for 3-year-old colt and gelding pacers. Others entered in the Potomac include Dealt A Winner, fourth in last year's Potomac, This Is The Plan, who turned in the fastest mile ever on a half-mile track in Canada earlier this year, and Maryland's Slick Tony, a winner of 14 of 34 starts this season. by Dave Joseph, for Rosecroft Raceway                          

FORT WASHINGTON, MD - Rosecroft Raceway has cancelled live racing for Wednesday, Feb. 20 due to a winter storm that is expected to bring snow and freezing rain to the area. Live harness racing is scheduled to resume Sunday, Feb. 24 with a 4:40 p.m. first race post. Rosecroft and all Maryland Jockey Club facilities remain open for simulcasting Wednesday. Live racing returns to Laurel Park Thursday with a 12:30 p.m. post time. by Dave Joseph, for Rosecroft Raceway  

FORT WASHINGTON, MD - It was in May of 1949 that breeder, owner and driver William E. Miller opened Rosecroft, the "Raceway by the Beltway." Seventy years later, just eight minutes from National Harbor, harness racing trotters and pacers are still competing at Rosecroft. Beginning Wednesday, the track in Oxon Hill will open for its four-month spring meet. The 12-race program kicks off at 6:40 p.m. The program will include an $8,000 pace for Maryland-preferred fillies and mares. Frank Milby will be seeking his third consecutive driving title at Rosecroft. Milby finished with 46 wins over the fall meet, two more than Russeell Foster. The top two drivers were more than a dozen ahead of third-place finisher Jonathan Roberts. Milby also won the 2019 spring title by visiting the winner's circle 56 times, 13 more than runner-up Roger Plante Jr. Like Milby, trainer Arlene Cameron will also be looking for a natural hat trick. Cameron took last year's spring title with 23 wins and took the fall meet with 27 wins, 12 more than runner-up Brian Wright. Rosecroft will race every Wednesday and Sunday in February and March. Post time will be 6:40 p.m. on Wednesday and 4:40 p.m. on Sunday. In April, Rosecroft will race each Wednesday and Sunday and will also race Monday, April 22 with a 6:40 p.m. post time. In May, Rosecroft will race on Saturday the 4th and 18th with a 7 p.m. post time. by David Joseph, for Rosecroft Raceway              

FORT WASHINGTON, MD - Western Fame, sitting the perfect pocket trip with Maryland native Corey Callahan in the sulky, went by 7-5 harness racing favorite Filibuster Hanover down the stretch to win the $100,000 Potomac Pace Sunday evening at Rosecroft Raceway. Western Fame, a recent acquisition by trainer Rene Allard, who trained last year's Potomac Pace winner Keystone Velocity, covered the mile in 1:49 2/5. The victory, the 16th of Western Fame's career, pushed his career earnings over the $1 million mark. Filibuster Hanover, a winner of more than $600,000 this year, was second with driver Matt Kakaley and Duplicated N was third. "He's been a nice horse and we're just happy to have him," Allard said. "The trip worked out perfect. We're thrilled to have him. This horse, the deal happened pretty quick and everyone that was part of it...we got it done, boys, so shout out to everyone. I couldn't be happier." Coming off a fourth-place finish behind McWicked in the TVG Open Nov 24, Western Fame went to the front leaving the gate but was quickly headed from the inside by Filibuster Hanover, who took control around the first turn past an opening quarter in :21 4/5 a length in front of Western Fame. "I know Matty's horse can leave really fast and mine was the other gate speed in the race," Callahan said "I figured I'd either get there and let Matty come back or it was only the two of us so I got stuck behind him." Callahan paced behind Filibuster Hanover, who went the half in :55 1/5 and three quarters in 1:21 4/5 while Endeavor raced first over. Entering the stretch, despite a game effort by Filibuster Hanover, it was Western Fame who would claim the third running of the Potomac Pace. Western Fame returned $7.20 Foiled Again...for the 107th Time Foiled Again, the richest horse in harness racing history, chalked up win No. 107 earlier in the evening when he won the appropriately titled $15,000 Foiled Again Invitational. The 14-year-old gelding, breaking from the outermost No. 9 post, paced past the pacesetter and longshot Arts Blaze down the stretch to win in 1:53 4/5 as he closes in on the end of his racing career. The son of Dragon Again has started 328 times in his career and has amassed more than $7.6 million. "He is special, that's for sure," said driver Matt Kakaley. "He's a once-in-a-lifetime horse and I'm glad I got to drive him a little in his career." Asked if he had any doubts he would run down Arts Blaze, Kakaley said, "I knew he was going to reel him in. When he was that close on the last turn I wasn't worried" Foiled Again returned $2.60. NOTE: Slick Tony, the 4-5 favorite, came four-wide into the stretch with driver Montrell Teague to win the $25,000 Maryland Invitational for horses owned, sired or bred in Maryland. A homebred 3-year-old owned and trainer by George Leager, Slick Tony won his ninth race of the year and pushed his career earnings over $370,000. Sams Triple Crown was second and pacesetter All The Cookies was third. David Joseph

FORT WASHINGTON, MD - For Ron Burke, North America's leading harness racing trainer in victories and earnings, Sunday's $100,000 Potomac Pace at Rosecroft Raceway is just another pari-mutuel mission. For trainer Buddy Bright, it's the opportunity of a lifetime and it comes less than a week before his 71st birthday. Burke will be represented by Filibuster Hanover, the probable favorite, and stablemate Rockin Ron. Bright, a regular at Rosecroft for years, sends out longshot Rock N Roll Jet, a one-eyed pacer and winner of five of the last six Open Paces at the Fort Washington, MD. oval. It could be a classic case of David vs. Goliath. Burke's stable has won over 900 races and more than $20 million this year. Bright's barn has 16 victories and $114,256. Filibuster Hanover and Rockin Ron combine for 10 victories and $1.16 million in earnings this year. Rock N Roll Jet has nine victories and $73,975 in earnings. But as far as horses being on top of their game, it's Bright's Rock N Roll Jet that is in the spotlight. The 9-year-old gelding has won his last four starts, all at Rosecroft oval. "He's sharp right now," said Bright. "He won last week from the eight hole. Never saw the wood (rail) and got up in time (by a neck) in 1:51 3/5." Bright said Rock N Roll lost his left eye to a fungus four years ago, but that it hasn't affected his performance. "He's the same. He doesn't care. He just races hard." As for upsetting Burke's two entries, Bright is eager to try them. I don't know if we can beat them, but if we draw inside of them, we'll give a heckuva try." Rock N Roll Jet drew the No. 5 post, between Filibuster Hanover (4 hole) and Rockin Ron (8 post). The Burke trainee has raced in all the top level races this season, but both are on losing streaks. Filibuster Hanover hasn't won since scoring in the June 10 Graduate at Tioga Downs, having lost his last 13 starts. Rockin Ron's last victory came in the May 26 Camluck. He has since lost 14 starts. The victory droughts do not faze Burke. "I don't buy into the belief that horses need victories to boost their confidence," said Burke. "It's a big mistake to attempting to tie human emotions to horses." ROSECROFT EXTRAS: In addition to the $100,000 Potomac Pace, Sunday's card will feature the $25,000 Maryland Invitational for horses owned, sired or bred in the state, as well as the $15,000 Foiled Again Invitational. Slick Tony and Sams Triple Crown, both eight-time winners this year, head the Maryland Invitational. Foiled Again, the richest horse in harness history with earnings of $7.6 million, has drawn the No. 9 post for his farewell tour appearance. The Burke-trained Foiled Again is 14 and faces mandatory retirement following his final start on Dec. 31 at The Meadows. David Joseph

FORT WASHINGTON, MD - Ron Burke is a numbers guy. You would expect as much from a trainer juggling a 250-horse stable of trotters and pacers and has been the best in the harness racing business for a decade. Burke, based in Washington, Pa. at The Meadows as well as a nearby farm, never misses one of his pupil's starts, be it in person or via a computer or television screen. He will have his eye on the mobile starting gate Sunday when he sends out both Filibuster Hanover and Rockin Ron in the $100,000 Potomac Pace at Rosecroft Raceway. Not only does Burke, 49, know his business in and out, he also knows the storyline of outstanding accomplishments by others in the Standardbred community. He took notice last weekend when Aaron Merriman, a regular at both The Meadows and Northfield Park in northeastern Ohio, became the first driver in harness history to win 1,000 races in two seasons. "Aaron drives for me. I've done what he's done twice as a trainer. I'm hoping to do it again this year," said Burke who has sent out 924 winners this year through Nov. 28. "I'm very proud of having that many wins." And a stack of purse dollars, as well. Burke became the first harness trainer to cash for more than $100 million in career earnings (in 2014) and this year soared over the $200 million mark. Another Burke milestone was becoming the first trainer to earn $20 million in a single season. He has done so six consecutive years, including this season. The $28,414,071 his stable banked in 2014 is the highest by a trainer of any breed. All this from a 6-foot-5 horseman who once told the New York Times that, as a youngster, "I was scared to death of (horses), and that's not a lie." Burke, won the inaugural Potomac Pace in 2016 when his All Bets Off rallied to prevail by a nose over Split The House while equaling the Rosecroft then track record of 1:48 2/5. All Bets Off finished second in last year's Potomac renewal. "The race has been good to me," said Burke. Burke believes that while Rockin Ron has banked $532,311 this season, Filibuster Hanover gives him his best shot at winning this year's Potomac. "He's ready to roll," said Burke. "He's been facing the best of the best all season." Filibuster Hanover drew the No. 4 post in the Potomac field of eight and has won five of 18 starts and $636,601 this year. His biggest victories came earlier this year when he won the May 27 Commodore Barry Invitational at Harrah's Philadelphia and May 20 Confederation Cup at Flamboro Downs. Filibuster Hanover ran into the red-hot McWicked (12 for 19 for $1.5 million this year) in the Oct. 27 Breeders Crown Final Open Pace and had to settle for second money. "He's only four and that was a big effort in the Breeders Crown," said Burke. "I'm confident he'll race well in the Potomac." David Joseph

FORT WASHINGTON, MD - Rosecroft kicks off its four-month fall Standardbred race meet Sunday with three Maryland Sire Stakes, a 12-race program with two Open Pace events, and the return of its Pacer of the Meet and Trotter of the Meet from the spring. First race post for the Sire Stakes is 3:30 p.m. The 12-race program begins at 4:40 p.m. Rosecroft will race each Sunday and Wednesday with first race post time at 4:40 p.m. on Sunday and 7 p.m. Wednesday. There will also be a special Saturday program, Nov. 3 with a 7 p.m. first race post. The third running of the $100,000 Potomac Pace will also be contested during the fall meet. "We're looking forward to a great fall meet at Rosecroft," said Sal Sinatra, President and General Manager of the Maryland Jockey Club. "We continue to have a great partnership with the horsemen and breeders and we're looking forward to building on the success of the Potomac Pace." Fashion Smile, named Trotter of the Meet earlier in the year, is entered in the first race Sunday. The 7-year-old will leave from the outside. Meanwhile, Capital Builder, the Pacer of the Meet, is entered in the second race, a $10,000 Open Pace. The eighth race on Sunday's program will also be an Open Pace with, among others, AL's Hammered, who has earned more than $500,000 in his career. Driver Frank Milby, the leading driver in the spring, will be back to defend his title. Milby won 56 races earlier this year at Rosecroft, 13 more than runner-up Roger Plante Jr., Arlene Cameron who the training title with 23 winners, three more than Megan Roberts. By David Joseph, for Rosecroft Raceway    

FORT WASHINGTON, MD - Keystone Velocity set a new standard at historic Rosecroft Sunday evening when he set a harness racing track record while winning the second running of the $100,000 Potomac Pace in 1:47.3. Defending champion All Bets Off was 1½ lengths behind the winner in second and Dealt A Winner was third. Keystone Velocity, a 9-year-old gelding trained by Rene Allard and driven by Daniel Dube, shattered the previous track record of 1:48.2 set in 2007 by Nuclear Breeze and equaled in last year's Potomac Pace by All Bets Off. Purchased by Allard, VIP Stable, Earl Hill Jr., and Kapildeo Singh in 2016 after being off the track for nearly two years due to an ownership dispute, Keystone Velocity won for the eighth time in 22 starts this year, adding to wins in the $529,000 finals of the Levy Memorial Pacing Series and $500,000 Ben Franklin at Pocono. The Western Hanover gelding has now earned $800,000 this year. Keystone Velocity returned $14.80. "I had the perfect trip," Dube said. Indeed. While Breeders Crown winner Split The House shot to the front and set an opening fraction of :25.3, Dube paced fourth behind a :53.1 half before picking up the cover of Dealt A Winner down the backstretch. All Bets Off took the lead around the final turn while entering the stretch, but Dube guided Keystone Velocity to the outside and shot past the defending champion inside the final 50 yards. "Second over with those fractions," Dube said. "My horse was really strong today and feeling good. He's a nice horse and he likes that kind of trip. You can tell. At the end of the year to go [1:47.3], that's a nice horse." The Potomac, which boasted three of the top six aged earners this year and three of the first four finishers from last weekend's Breeders Crown, was created just two years ago shortly after The Stronach Group, owners of Rosecroft, purchased the historic Standardbred track from Penn National Gaming. Earlier in the evening, Rocktavius made a bold move to take the lead past a :54.2 half to win the $20,000 Maryland Invitational for driver Matt Kakaley. It was the 4-year-old gelding's second consecutive win and sixth in 20 starts this year. David Joseph

FORT WASHINGTON, MD - Nearly a week after watching Split The House win the $421,000 Breeders Crown Open Pace, owner Michelle Crawford of Crawford Farms Racing was still having a hard time putting the harness racing victory into words.         "I don’t think it has hit me yet,” said Crawford earlier in the week. “It’s emotional. You know, this horse had so many obstacles. He didn’t race at two, he had a bone bruise last year, and he’s been unlucky. But to win our first Breeders Crown with him…to me it’s so special.” For Michelle and Al Crawford, the path from the Breeders Crown in Hoosier Park has led to Sunday’s $100,000 Potomac Pace at Rosecroft.  Split The House, 8-1 in the Breeders Crown, won’t have any easier time of things Sunday in the Potomac Pace. His opponents will include defending champion All Bets Off, Breeders Crown elimination winner and third-place Open Pace finisher Mach It So, and Levy Memorial Pacing Series and Ben Franklin winner Keystone Velocity. The lightly-raced Split The House was bred by Fair Winds Farm but purchased by the Crawfords in September of 2015. “When we had the opportunity to purchase him we were so excited,” Crawford said. “He’s a beast, he’s a beautiful horse. But he’s had some obstacles. But [trainer] Chris [Oakes] has done an amazing job with him. He had him swimming twice a day. Whatever issue they have we always take our time with them.” Split The House had only five starts this year leading up to the Crown. “I’d rather shut them down and take care of them so they come back,” Crawford said. “There’s the old adage that they, or any athlete, is like a bar of soap. The more you use them the less there is.” Patience has paid off for Split The House and the Crawfords. Having grown up on his family’s farm in upstate New York, Al along with Michelle have expanded their property and racing stable over the past dozen years. They currently have 72 mares and more than 60 race horses. They even managed to extend their holdings into Thoroughbred racing, winning the Grade 1 Vanderbilt at Saratoga earlier this year with El Deal. But the focus this weekend is Rosecroft and the Potomac Pace. “We’re looking forward to it,” Crawford said. David Joseph  

FORT WASHINGTON, MD - For nearly two years, Keystone Velocity was out of sight in the world of harness racing. But the pacing son of Western Hanover was never out of trainer Rene Allard's mind. Although he had earned nearly $500,000 in his career, an ownership dispute kept Keystone Velocity off the track for nearly two years. But last October, Allard was able to purchase Keystone Velocity - then an 8-year-old - with VIP Stable, Earl Hill Jr., and Kapildeo Singh. One year later, Keystone Velocity enters Sunday's $100,000 Potomac Pace at Rosecroft as one of the favorites with victories earlier this year in the $529,000 finals of the Levy Memorial Pacing Series at Yonkers and the $500,000 Ben Franklin at Pocono. "He's been great to us," Allard said. "He was always a nice horse. He wasn't injured, he was sound, but there was an ownership dispute. By the time that got squared away he was nearly two years without racing. But he had only raced some 80 times. I look at him now and, yes, he's nine but with the two years off he's like a 7-year-old." Keystone Velocity, from the final crop of stallion Western Hanover and a $3,000 yearling purchase for his original owners in 2009, has relished his second opportunity on track with Allard. The 9-year-old enters Sunday's Potomac Pace with nearly $750,000 in earnings this year. "He's been doing really well," Allard said. "He finished second in the elimination of the Breeders Crown. He's always playful, always happy. We're looking forward to [the Potomac Pace]. He finished fourth last year, but his foot was bothering him a little last year. "There's going to be some nice horses in there. Last year the track was lightning fast and I expect it will be the same this year. I'm looking forward to it." Allard is also looking forward to his renewed interest in Thoroughbred racing. Having grown up on a farm in Quebec with "every kind of animal," and living on a farm now with "ponies, Belgian horses, retired Standardbreds and everything else," Allard is trying his hand in the Thoroughbred world. He recently purchased a yearling for $20,000 at the Keeneland September Sale. "I claimed a Thoroughbred at Woodbine years ago and had another run at Belmont a couple years back," Allard said. "It's fascinating to learn about horses. So I went to Keeneland by myself and walked around on the last day of the sale and looked at the horses there. I didn't even buy a sales book. I just looked at the horses, saw one that I thought looked good, and bid on it." After buying a son of Liaison, a stakes winner who earned more than $750,000, Allard turned to someone and asked what they thought of the pedigree. "The guy said [the yearling] came from a family of runners," Allard said. "Then we talked some more and I found out the guy was [Hall of Fame and Kentucky Derby-winning trainer] Jack Van Berg. It was pretty cool. We started talking. Turns out he knew Billy Haughton and some other people." Allard's Thoroughbred is now under the care of Van Berg and he's looking forward to seeing the colt run. But this weekend, Allard is looking forward to Keystone Velocity adding to his earnings in the Potomac Pace at Rosecroft. First race post on Potomac Pace Night at Rosecroft is 6:40 p.m. David Joseph

FORT WASHINGTON, MD – When harness racing returns to historic Rosecroft next week, there will be a few noticeable changes. The biggest? Rosecroft is going prime time. After running on Tuesday and Thursday evenings the past several meets, Rosecroft will race live every Saturday and Sunday beginning Saturday, Oct. 1 through Dec. 23, and Fridays on Nov. 3 and Nov. 24. First race post is 6:40 p.m. “In the past the thought was to run when no one else was running to garner simulcast handle on Tuesday and Thursday,” said Sal Sinatra, President and General Manager of the Maryland Jockey Club. “But in my opinion, in order to build the business you have to run when people are able to go to the racetrack. I believe that’s either Friday night, Saturday or Sunday. “Since Friday is a horrible traffic day in this area, we felt the best bet was Saturday and Sunday. We will race Fridays on Breeders’ Cup weekend and Black Friday. We’ve started to clean up the facility and we want to be open to let people see the new Rosecroft and enjoy the amenities. “As far as generating handle and business, I told the horsemen I think it’s a good thing to run when the Meadowlands is running because at least we know there’s harness players out there. It’s not someone watching on a whim.” Rosecroft, which opened in 1949, was purchased in August of 2016 by The Stronach Group, the parent company of the Maryland Jockey Club. Sinatra said the Maryland Jockey Club has spent the past year “observing handle, crowds, service, security and racing.” “We did a little facelift of the facility but we’ve continued doing some more over the summer,” he added. “We’ve put some new flooring down, added flat screen televisions, and we’ve looked to fix the concession stands and the dining service and buffet.” Sinatra said the $100,000 Potomac will return for a second consecutive year on Sunday, Nov. 5. The inaugural Potomac, which resulted in the best group of pacers to race at Rosecroft in some 30 years in the first $100,000 race at the track in nearly 10 years, was won by All Bets Off. There will also be Maryland Sire Stakes on Oct. 7-8, 14-15 and 22 and Nov. 11-12, 18-19 and 26. Sinatra said he’s been pleased with the cooperation the Maryland Jockey Club has received from horsemen the past year. In a move to enhance integrity, the Maryland Jockey Club will implement new security measures for horses shipping for the nightly races. “We have a security plan similar to the Thoroughbreds,” Sinatra said. “If you’re racing, and you’re not going to the paddock for the first six races, you will be assigned stalls. In the past horsemen would go into any of the four barns. Now there will be a stall, cameras and a guard. We just want to make sure the playing field is fair for everybody.” For more information on the Maryland Sire Stakes, go to: http://cloverleafsoa.org/fall-2017-maryland-sire-stakes-date-changes-for-rosecroft/ Rosecroft Raceway is a Stronach Group company, North America’s leading Thoroughbred racetrack owner/operator. The Stronach Group racetracks include Santa Anita Park, Gulfstream Park & Casino, Golden Gate Fields, Portland Meadows, Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, home of the world-famous Preakness. The company owns and operates the Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida, and is one of North America's top race horse breeders through its award-winning Adena Springs operation. The Stronach Group is one of the world's largest suppliers of pari-mutuel wagering systems, technologies and services. Its companies include AmTote, a global leader in wagering technology; XpressBet, an Internet and telephone account wagering service; and Monarch Content Management, which acts as a simulcast purchase and sales agent of horseracing content for numerous North American racetracks and wagering outlets. The Stronach Group is also a leading producer of social media content for the horseracing industry. For more information contact David Joseph at david.joseph@marylandracing.com or call 954.457.6451

FORT WASHINGTON, MD - Driver Russell Foster celebrated an incredible spring meet at Rosecroft Wednesday evening by winning five races, including two Maryland Sire Stakes Finals, on his way to the harness racing driving title on closing night. Foster, a native of Easton who shared the spring and fall driving titles, ran away with the spring meet driving title with 70 wins, 25 more than runner-up Frank Milby. Roger Plante Jr. had 43 wins and Brian Burton 40. "The horses had a great meet," Foster said. "I got no complaints. I just have to thank everybody for letting me drive their horses. Anytime you win a leading driver it's cool. I'll take it." Foster won the $70,500 Maryland Sire Stakes Final for 3-year-old pacers with Mr Ham Sandwich and the $70,050 3-year-old trot final with Hybrid Henry. He then won behind Toms Treasure ($4.20), Rockin Glory ($2.40) and Dancing Rusty ($4.20). Kenneth Schlotzhauer, who just missed winning the fall meet title, took the spring meet title with 19 victories, two more than Judith Welty. Burton was third with 16 and Jerry Nock had 15. Schlotzhauer sent out Madges Lil Fortune ($6.60) to victory Wednesday evening. "They're going fast miles this year," Schlotzhauer said. "There's a lot better horses this year. Horses are flying. It ain't easy." Racing resumes at Rosecroft in October. David Joseph

FORT WASHINGTON, MD - Rosecroft will wrap up its harness racing spring meet this week with live programs on Tuesday and Wednesday. Tuesday's 12-race program will start at 6:40 p.m. Qualifying races will begin at 4 p.m. There will be a special 5:40 p.m. first race post Wednesday. Russell Foster, who shared Rosecroft's Spring and Fall Meet driving titles last year, is all alone at the top with 64 wins. His closest competitor is Frank Milby with 43. Brian Burton has driven 39 winners and Roger Plante Jr. 35. The training title will be up for the grabs the final week with Kenneth Schlotzhauer and Judith Welty tied with 16 wins each. Burton is one off the leaders with 15 and Jerry Nock has 14. David Joseph  

FORT WASHINGTON, MD - Racing fans are being given a unique opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes look at harness racing and jog a Standardbred when Rosecroft plays hosts to "I Want to Be a Driver" Tuesday, May 30. Two packages are available for the event, which begins at 3 p.m. and includes an evening of live harness racing at Rosecroft. The "I Want to Be a Driver" package includes a jog around the five-eighths mile track on a two-seated sulky, paddock tour, barbecue on the track apron, a group winner's circle photo, and a meet-and-greet with hors d'oeuvres. The package costs $90. The Spectator Package includes all of the above without the jog for $45. For more information on "I Want to Be a Driver," sponsored by the Cloverleaf Standard Owners Association, contact Gina Maybee of Cloverleaf at 301.567.9636. David Joseph          

FORT WASHINGTON, MD - After grabbing a share of the Spring and Fall Meet driving titles at Rosecroft last year, Russell Foster has gotten off to a fast start during the 2017 Spring Meet by driving 10 winners on the first three programs. The 27-year-old native of Easton, MD is enjoying the success he had never envisioned for himself a few years ago, when a concentration on training pacers and trotters seemed to be a more practical career path. "I never contemplated getting out of the business, but I didn't really think I was going to have much success driving," Foster said. "I thought I would be more on the training end of the business." Foster credits his unexpected ascension to the top of the Maryland harness industry to veteran pacer Hi Sir, whose affinity for the Rosecroft oval triggered his owner/trainer/driver's breakthrough into driving prominence. "I started going good with him down at Ocean (Downs). I figured I'd try him at Rosecroft in the fall, and he had a good year. The following spring I took him back over there and my dad took a couple other horses over. He saw how good I was doing and he brought a couple," Foster said. "I started doing good with them and a few other people gave me a chance, and things kind of took off." The still active Hi Sir, who finished third in the Open Pace on Sunday, has won 20 races while being honored with multiple Horse of the Meet titles during his four years with Foster. "He's really just a good horse. He doesn't require a lot of vet work. He stays sound and he's really easy to handle," Foster said. "When I first took him to Rosecroft, he liked to close. All the races there, they were going fast early and not come home really fast, and he'd pick up all the pieces. Races set up perfect for him." Foster has become a popular catch-driver at Rosecroft while maintaining his two-horse stable of Hi Sir and Rock on Precious and assisting his grandfather, Arty Foster, who has eight horses in training. Foster started helping out his grandfather when he turned 14 and obtained his qualifying driver's license at 18. "It didn't take long after that to get my full license, but I really didn't drive full time," he said. "I worked for my grandfather. At that time he had probably 20-25 horses and it kept me really busy. The last two or three years he really cut back on horses, and that gave me more time to focus on driving a little bit." Foster, whose father Arty Jr. also maintains a stable at Rosecroft, has enjoyed several multi-win programs the past two years, including a five-win day last week. "The day that sticks out to me was in the fall (Sept. 20) when I won seven, two of them were Sire Stakes races," he said. Foster isn't letting his success go to his head, well aware of the depth of a talented Rosecroft driving colony. "It's tough. It all depends on who has the best horses that night," he said. "The first few nights I got lucky and I had the right horses to drive. It can turn around in a hurry." However, he admits to deriving satisfaction in achieving success in his own backyard. "I was born and raised in Maryland and have been going to Rosecroft since I was a kid. I used to love going over there on weekends," he said. "It's really a lot of fun to be driving there and having such success there now." by David Joseph, for Rosecroft Raceway

FORT WASHINGTON, MD - Rosecroft kicks off its 34-day spring harness racing meet Sunday evening with an expanded schedule and live racing on Kentucky Derby Day and Preakness Day. The spring meet will be Rosecroft's second live meet under The Stronach Group, the parent company of the Maryland Jockey Club, which completed purchase of the 67-year-old facility in August. The Stronach Group quickly invested in Rosecroft with a new high-definition, 21-by-30 television in the infield, a new pace car, and the inaugural running of the $100,000 Potomac Pace, the first $100,000 race to be contested at Rosecroft in nearly 10 years. Rosecroft will race Sunday and Tuesday the weeks of March 5 and March 12 with a 4:40 p.m. post on Sunday and a 6:40 p.m. post on Tuesday. They will go to a three-day week beginning March 19 with a Wednesday post time of 6:40 p.m. Rosecroft will also add Saturday programs on April 15, May 6 (Kentucky Derby Day), and May 20 (Preakness Day). Post time on Saturdays will be announced shortly. "We're excited about the spring meet and efforts to reinvigorate Standardbred racing in Maryland," said Sal Sinatra, President and General Manager of the Maryland Jockey Club. "We think the additional race dates will welcomed by our fans, and we hope to build the fan base through our off-track betting facilities. Installing a new infield board and the inaugural Potomac Pace were a good start last fall. We'll continue listening to our guests and horsemen to improve the facility and racing." Returning to Rosecroft will be driver Russell Foster, who shared last year's spring driving title with Jonathan Roberts and the fall driving title with Roger Plante Jr. "I'm excited to be back over there," said Foster, who recently received the Delaware Standardbred Owners Association's Horizon Award, presented to the horseman making outstanding progress during the year. "We've had a couple horses who have done well over there and it's a place I've been going to since I was a kid. I'm looking forward to it." David Joseph david.joseph@marylandracing.com or call 954.457.6451      

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