Day At The Track
Search Results
1 to 16 of 19

FORT WASHINGTON, MD – Pollack Racing LLC’s Endeavor, an 11-1 harness racing longshot, wore down heavily-favored Breeders Crown winner American History down the stretch to win Sunday’s $100,000 Potomac Pace by a neck at Rosecroft.   Driven by Tim Tetrick and trained by Jeff Cullipher, Endeavor, a 6-year-old gelded son of American Ideal, won for the sixth time in 24 starts this year and boosted his career earnings to more than $600,000 after a game, first-over trip. Dealt A Winner, 16-1 and competing in his fourth Potomac Pace, rallied along the inside to finish second, a neck in front of the 3-5 favorite American History. Dorsoduro Hanover, second behind American History in the Breeders Crown, was fourth. Courtly Choice was fifth and Slick Tony sixth.   Endeavor, who paced the mile 1:49.4, returned $24.60. The exacta paid $145.40.      The Potomac’s eight-horse field went to post with only six behind the gate when 2018 Horse of the Year McWicked (post 7) and This Is The Plan (post 5) both scratched due to sickness. The popular 5-2 favorite, McWicked was scratched due to a fever.   Scoring away from the gate, Dorsoduro Hanover and driver Matt Kakaley went to the front but driver Joe Bongiorno moved American History to the lead around  the first turn and went a quarter mile in :27.1 and the half in :54.2. Pacing fourth around the first turn, Tetrick sent Endeavor first-over while American History stopped the teletimer in 1:21 2/5 for three quarters. Despite a game effort by the Breeders Crown winner down the stretch, Endeavor kept grinding toward the leader before overtaking the favorite in the final yards.    “I was hoping Joe (Bongiorno) and Dorsodura would kind of fight it out to the quarter, but I think Matty (Kakaley) was already planning on following Joey’s horse,” Tetrick said.   “It worked out good for me. I was watching Joe’s horse leave the gate and he seemed a little rough-gaited. I thought maybe if I can get to him and pressure him down the backside I can have a little shot at maybe being second or third instead of fourth. My horse is a great, big grinding horse and I wanted to wear him down. “I was doing all I could to get to him. I was pushing my horse, but that’s the way he likes it.”     Rosecroft

With the late scratches of both McWicked and This Is The Plan, all eyes were on harness racing favorite American History in the $100,000 Potomac Pace at Rosecroft Raceway Sunday night. Racing fans were treated to an exciting upset finish as the starting gate pulled away for the start of the ninth race feature. It was Dorsoduro Hanover (Matt Kakaley) first to show with Dealt A Winner (David Miller) grabbing the pocket spot and American History (Joe Bongiorno) moving up on the outside to the opening quarter mile in :27.1. American History cleared to the front and led the field to the half mile in :54.2. Then in the backstretch, Endeavor and driver Tim Tetrick) came first-over and starting grinding his way towards the leaders at the three-quarters in 1:21.2. At the top of the stretch, American History still had a one length lead with Endeavor coming on. Then in a classic stretch drive, Endeavor and Tetrick got by American History and then held off Dealt A Winner to win by a neck in 1:49.4. American History was third by a half length in the three-horse dash to the wire. Sent off at odds of 11-1, Endeavor posted his sixth win of the season. The six-year-old gelded son of American Ideal is trained by Jeff Cullipher, who co-owns him with Pollack Racing, LLC. He paid $24.60 to win. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink

Two of the top harness racing horses scheduled to race tonight in the $100,000 Potomac Pace at Rosecroft Raceway have been scratched. McWicked was scratched due to a fever reported trainer Casie Coleman-Hearty. "I wanna apologize to the fans who were hoping to see Mcwicked at Rosecroft tonight. He has been in Jersey over a week and been great, he was great this am. His caretaker went to go get him a bit ago to ship for tonight and he hadn't ate his lunch (very unusual for wicked he eats everything). He felt warm so he checked his temp and he was high, even used a second thermometer both read the same. "Sadly we do gotta do what’s right for him and scratch him tonight. The vet came in on a Sunday pulled blood and treating his temp and I’m sure he will hopefully get over this quick and be able to still go to the TVG."   Also scratched from the same race is Ron Burke's This Is The Plan. Top four-year-old this year became the fastest horse ever in Canada on a half mile track with a 1:49.1 record in the $200,000 Prix d'Ete at Trois-Rivieres.    by Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink

FORT WASHINGTON, MD - One hundred grand has never been spent as well at a harness racing track as it will Sunday night when the $100,000 Potomac Pace goes to the post at Rosecroft Raceway. Not only is 2018 Horse of the Year McWicked among the eight pacers entered, but so are American History and Dorsoduro Hanover, the one-two finishers in the last weekend's $500,000 Breeders Crown Open Pace at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Six of the Potomac Pace entrants are racetrack millionaires. "This is our fourth Potomac Pace and this is no doubt the strongest field we've had," said Peter Hanley, Rosecroft's racing secretary. "It should be a great betting race, too." "The big dogs are coming to play," said Casie Coleman, trainer of McWicked the Potomac's 5-2 morning favorite. "This is a very tough race for $100,000." There will be an extra $10,000 at the finish line for any pacer who breaks the Rosecroft track record of 1:47 3/5 set by Keystone Velocity in the 2017 renewal of the Potomac Pace. American History will line up behind the mobile starting gate as the race's hottest horse. He rallied up in the inside part of the stretch to win the Breeders Crown Open Pace by two lengths over Dorsoduro Hanover, an earner of $1.1 million who also returns in the Potomac Pace. "He's matured as a four-year-old and he's going with these guys," said Tony Alagna, the trainer of American History, following the Breeders Crown. "He's so versatile. He can (win) on any size racetrack. He's a special animal. American History, a winner of 16 of career 42 starts and $1,037,656, will be handled by regular driver Joe Bongiorno. They'll start from the favorable No. 2 post and are 3-1 second choice on the morning line. McWicked, harness racing's amazing eight-year-old champion, was the 6-5 betting favorite in the Breeders Crown but raced evenly to finish fourth, beaten four lengths. "He raced big," said Coleman. "The track (surface) wasn't at its best and I had a bar shoe on him (left front). It's hard to switching shoes late in the game, so we went ahead and raced him in the bar shoe. He had trouble getting a hold of the track." McWicked enters the Potomac Pace with career earnings of $4.9 million, second only to Foiled Again ($7.6 million) on the all-time trot/pace list money list. Despite drawing the No. 7 post position, he's the race's 5-2 morning line favorite. The other three millionaires in the Potomac Pace are This Is The Plan ($1.4 million), Courtly Choice ($1.3 million) and Dealt A Winner ($1.2 million). This Is The Plan's 1:49 1/5 clocking in the Aug. 18 Prix d'Ete at Hippodrome Trois Rivieres is the fastest mile ever on a half-mile oval in Canada. Courtly Choice won this year's Canadian Derby at Woodbine Mohawk, and Dealt A Winner is back after finishing fourth in last year's Potomac Pace. The Potomac Pace is the ninth race on the 13-race program that gets underway at 7:15 p.m. and also includes the $25,000 Maryland Invitational. The race for Maryland owned, sired, bred or foaled in the state horses has attracted a field of nine. Romantic Interest, a six-time winner in 2019, is the 3-1 morning line favorite. by Bob Roberts, for Rosecroft Raceway

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 continues its 70th year of harness racing when its opens for its fall meet Sunday evening. First race post is 7:15 p.m. The 13-race program will include a $12,500 Open Handicap with a field of nine. Roseroft will conduct live harness racing every Sunday and Wednesday through Dec. 18. The $100,000 Potomac Pace has become Rosecroft's signature event. In just 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 looking forward to a great fall meeting at Rosecroft," said Sal Sinatra, President and General Manager of the Maryland Jockey Club. "The fall meet has always attracted great racing and enthusiastic crowds. We're also looking forward to our signature event, the $100,000 Potomac Pace, which has produced some great races in just a short period of time. We look forward to working with a wonderful group of horsemen." Frank Milby will be seeking his fourth consecutive driving title. He was in the bike 280 times and won 51 of those races during the spring. Jonathan Roberts finished behind Milby with 25 victories, one more than John Wagner. Roger Plante Jr, and Jared Moyer rounded out the top five. Like Milby, trainer Arlene Cameron will also be seeking a fourth consecutive title. She had 39 wins during the spring meet, 23 more than Megan Roberts and 25 more than Kenneth Schlotzhauer. Brian Burton, Basil Sapienza, Jason Walters and Brian Wright all had 10 training victories. Dates for the Maryland Sire Stakes at Rosecroft are Sept. 15 and Sept. 22 for 2-year-old filly pacers and 2-year-old trotters. by Dave 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 - Put up $100,000, says the sport's leading harness racing trainer Ron Burke, "and you'll get a lot of good horses." Such is the case with Sunday's $100,000 Potomac Pace. The second running of historic Rosecroft's signature event drew many of the best aged pacers in North America Thursday including Burke's defending champion All Bets Off, Breeders Crown champion Split The House, Levy Series champion and Ben Franklin victor Keystone Velocity, and William Haughton Memorial winner Mach It So. If that wasn't enough, the Potomac will also bring together Mel Mara, Boston Red Rocks, Wakizashi Hanover, Dealt A Winner and Bit of a Legend N. The Potomac boasts three of the top six aged earners this year and three of the first four finishers from last weekend's Breeders Crown. The track record of 1:48.2 - set in 2007 by Nuclear Breeze and equaled last year when All Bets Off edged Split The House by a nose- could be in jeopardy. "It's a speed-favoring track. You can be aggressive on that track," Burke said. "Last year the track was lightning fast," said Rene Allard, trainer of last year's fourth-place finisher Keystone Velocity, "and I expect it will be the same this year." Keystone Velocity drew the rail for Sunday's race, inside All Bets Off. Breeders Crown Aged Pacer winner Split The House has the nine post. The Potomac Pace was created just two years ago shortly after The Stronach Group, owners of Rosecroft, purchased the historic Standardbred track from Penn National Gaming. "We're extremely excited about Sunday's second running of the Potomac Pace," said Sal Sinatra, President and General Manager of the Maryland Jockey Club. "To have the field of pacers we have in this race, a race in only its second season, is truly remarkable. Obviously, this race couldn't grow without the support of horsemen throughout North America and the great Standardbred breeders and owners in Maryland. "We're committed to showcasing the best of Standardbred and Thoroughbred racing in Maryland and we're thrilled to showcase some of the greatest pacers in the sport here Sunday evening. Racing secretary Peter Hanley has done a great job putting this race together and we're looking forward to another great evening at Rosecroft." David Joseph

FORT WASHINGTON, MD - All Bets Off was the beneficiary of a perfect trip and a contested early pace to capture the $100,000 Potomac Pace Tuesday evening while equaling the harness racing track record for a mile at Rosecroft Raceway. Driven by Matt Kakaley, All Bets Off was timed in 1:48.2 while edging Split the House by a nose and tying Nuclear Breeze's 2007 track record in the inaugural edition of the Potomac Pace. All Bets Off started sharply to sit second behind Split the House, who showed the way around the first turn and along the front stretch while setting blistering fractions of 23.3 (seconds) and 52.1 for the first half after withstanding an early challenge by Mel Mara and driver Corey Callahan. Split the House, the 5-2 second choice, continued to show the way along the backstretch, hitting the three-quarter pole in 1:19.3. Shamballa, the 9-5 favorite, was taken to the outside by Scott Zeron heading into the far turn but was unable to mount a serious challenge. Kakaley eased All Bets Off off the rail for the stretch drive and steadily wore down the game pacesetter at the wire. Wakizashi Hanover, driven by Trace Tetrick, closed strongly along the inside to finish third. "It was absolutely perfect. I got to follow David around there. That horse had to go big fractions because he left Corey out there in the front of the grandstand. A half in 52.1 (seconds) was smoking.," said Kakaley, who winner was sent to post as the 4-1 fourth choice.. "I was kind of worried about Shamballa being second-over but he really didn't factor in at all of the last turn. Coming off the turn, I thought I'd get right by, but Split the House was real game though." The Potomac Pace was the first race at Rosecroft to offer a purse worth $100,000 or more in nearly 10 years. The historic 67-year-old facility has hosted Breeders' Crown races, the Messenger Stakes and the William E. Miller Memorial. However, it hasn't been since the $122,170 Wayne Smullin Memorial in 2007 that a race with the significance of the Potomac Pace has been held at Rosecroft. Tuesday evening's mile invitational offered the eight pacers in the field opportunities to step out of the imposing shadows of Always B Miki and Wiggle It Jiggleit, harness racing's most celebrated and accomplished superstars. Always B Miki was recently retired, while Wiggle It Jiggleit is enjoying a well-deserved hiatus. "It makes a big difference for my horse because he's just as good as all the others. He's not quite as good as Wiggle It Jiggleit and Always B Miki, but he's a very, very good horse. I mean, he's got more than $2.2 million now," Kakaley said. Split the House held on to second after setting All Bets Off for his track-record equaling performance, a length ahead of Wakizashi Hanover. "I am really proud of my horse tonight. We set great fractions throughout the race and we just missed the win," Miller said. "I couldn't have asked for more from my horse, and look forward to our next race. Third-place finisher Wakizashi Hanover entered harness racing's spotlight when he pulled off an upset victory over Wiggle It Jiggleit in the $1 million North America Cup at Mohawk Raceway in June 2015. The son of Dragons Again, who is owned by Tri County Stable and Bruce Kennedy, defeated the odds-on favorite by three-quarters of a length while pacing in 1:48 for driver Tim Tetrick. A winner of $1.1 million in 2015 and named Canada's champion 3-year-old pacing colt or gelding, Wakizashi Hanover became hampered by a paralyzed flap in his airway the end of the 2015 season and he underwent tie-back surgery in April. Winless in four starts after returning to action in July, the Pennsylvania-bred pacer underwent a second surgery in August that has breathed new life into his racing career. "I had to settle for the 7 Hole early, and when the passing lane opened, he really kicked in," said Tetrick of Wakizashi Hanover. "He gave his race, and I was happy that he closed on them so well." The Potomac Pace may well be the last of All Bets Off's career. "I love this horse," Kakaley said. "He's had a great career. I think the plan is for him to go off to stud." David Joseph

FORT WASHINGTON, MD - Shamballa has clashed with Always B Miki and/or Wiggle It Jiggleit in his six most recent starts, each time finishing behind harness racing's highly celebrated superstars. With Always B Miki recently retired and Wiggle It Jiggleit on a much-deserved vacation, Shamballa will assume the starring role in Tuesday evening's $100,000 Potomac Pace at Rosecroft Raceway. Trainer Rick Zeron, who owns the 6-year-old gelding in a partnership with Tao Racing, Howard Taylor and Cool Cat Racing, looks forward to participating in the inaugural Potomac Pace but expresses no feelings of frustration over Shamballa's fate in his last six outings. "I always looked at it as an honor to have a horse that good to be able to phone a racing secretary up and enter my horse to take on those horses," Zeron said. "I never ever took it as being frustrating. I looked at it as a challenge as in, 'Can we beat the big boys today? Or are we going to be second or third best.'" Of course, it's not like Shamballa always had to settle for second or third behind Always B Miki and Wiggle It Jiggleit. The son of Somebeachsomewhere, in fact, is the only horse to beat both Always B Miki and Wiggle It Jiggleit in the same race, capturing the $225,000 U.S. Pacing Championship at Meadowlands Aug. 6. The trainer's son Scott Zeron was at the controls for that day and will drive him once again at Rosecroft. "The race set up quite well, because Wiggle It Jiggleit went out there with Always B Miki. Miki didn't back up; he didn't get in the hole; he wanted the front end and Wiggle It Jiggleit didn't want to give it to him. So they were fighting, scrapping, pretty good going to the quarter-pole right through to the half," Rick Zeron recalled. "My son was sitting back about fifth with Shamballa and moved him to the inside going to the half. Freaky Feet Pete came out of the 3 Hole and took a run at Always B Miki on the front end. We just followed him, second over, and halfway down the lane Scott tipped him out and got the jump on Freaky Feet Pete and Always B Miki. Wiggle It Jiggle It at the time was caught in a hole. When Wiggle It Jiggleit broke loose, we were too far gone. We were at the wire." Shamballa's victory over 'The Big Three' was a big one but the most memorable race of the year for his trainer was his gelding's second-place finish at the Red Mile Oct. 9, when Always B Miki beat him by 1¼ lengths while pacing the fastest mile in harness racing history with a 1:46 clocking. "The big race obviously was the U. S. Pacing Championship, but the highlight of the year was when we raced in the Allerage in Kentucky with Always B Miki," Zeron said. "Wiggle It Jiggleit wasn't there that week. I told Scott, "You go on out of there. Always B Miki will come and pace around you. See if you can stay with him and try to beat him down the lane. The race went in 1:46 flat and my horse went in 1:46-and-1. We came home in 26-and-1." Shamballa has been installed as the 5-2 morning-line favorite in a field of eight pacers that includes Mel Mara, rated second at 3-1 on the strength of back-to-back Open Preferred victories at Yonkers following a third-place finished behind Wiggle It Jiggleit in a $250,000 Yonkers Invitational Oct. 15. Rated third at 4-1 is Mach It So, who finished second in the Nov. 14 $400,000 TVG Pace, in which Always B Miki called it a career on a winning note. Corey Callahan is scheduled to drive Mel Mara, while Tim Tetrick is slated to guide Mach It So. Tetrick's younger brother Trace Tetrick has been named to drive Wakizashi Hanover, who is rated at 10-1 but rates consideration looking to an upset victory over Wiggle It Jiggleit in the $1 million North America Cup at Mohawk last year. The 4-year-old gelding, who was subsequently sidelined with a breathing problem that required two surgeries, returned to winning form last time out with an Open Handicap victory at Dover Downs in 1:49.2. All Bets Off, Keystone Velocity, Split the House and Dealt a Winner round out a well-balanced field. The Potomac Pace has been carded as the 10th race on a 13-race program with a first-race post time set for 6:40 p.m. Admission and parking are free. David Joseph  

1 to 16 of 19