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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

Ft. Washington, MD --- A 16-race card with more than $300,000 in purses highlights the Wednesday night (May 31) harness racing card that concludes the Spring meet at Rosecroft Raceway. Four Maryland Sires Stakes races will be conducted and showcase the continued growth in the Maryland Sires Stakes program. A couple of seasons ago one of these races included a walkover. All four finals have enough horses to be carded as part of the pari-mutuel card. The 3-year-old filly trotting division for $70,400 is highlighted by the Holy Guacamole distaff, Holy Trout. Two starts back she set the standard for the MDSS program, trotting a mile in 1:57. She has a record of 12 wins in 16 starts and earnings of $70,706 for breeder-owner Dr. William Solomon and trainer Steve LeBlanc. Roger Plante has been her regular pilot over the past two years. She will score from post seven. The Les Givens trained entry of Camita (Givens) and LG’s Hotshoegirl (Orlando Greene) have been her closest pursuers. Mr Ham Sandwich is the 6-5 computer generated morning line choice in race four for 3-year-old colt pacers. Rosecroft’s leading driver Russell Foster won both finals during the 2-year-old season with the son of Cam’s Rocket, and Mr Ham Sandwich won last week’s elimination in 1:53.2. He has won nine of 12 lifetime starts and $58,042. Tom’s Tarzan has chased him home in both eliminations for driver Brian Burton. The sophomore colt trotters are highlighted by the powerful Richard Hans entry, Ei Ei O and Hybrid Henry. Hybrid Henry won nine of 10 in his freshman year, dominating the MDSS to the tune of $78,949. Last week he drew off for Foster after his stablemate made a break trying to gain on him before the three-quarter pole. Ei Ei O made his lifetime debut at three and has won three of five starts. His only losses have come when the son of Cam’s Rocket broke stride. Burton will drive and have the rail. The 3-year old filly pacing division has seen the most depth with improvement from several fillies so far this season. The biggest eye opener has been Hybrid Heidi. The Cam’s Rocket filly made only two starts last year, and a barn change to Carlin Savage has seen her find some good footing of late. She has won two straight in the care of Savage including last week’s eye popping 1:53.1 score. Richard Hans is the owner-breeder. Miss Valerie, a daughter of Allie’s Western, suffered her first career loss in 12 lifetime starts last week. A winner of $75,450 as a 2-year old, Miss Valerie draws post six for Plante and trainer LeBlanc. Evergreen Marla, sired by Capitol Power, was an easy winner for Foster in her elimination in 1:55.1. She made $34,887, finishing second or third in eight of 13 starts, at two. She has the rail in the final for owner Frank Lemon and trainer Jerry Nock. Cheap Aint Fast kept up with Hybrid Heidi last week, only missing by three-quarters of a length. She has had an adventurous start to her season, making a break, falling before a start and then last week towing along behind a fast winner for owner Gloria Kinnamon and trainer Tony Sapienza. Kinnamon was the owner of the champion filly from last year, Fastestgirlaround.  Whitesville Michele might be a live longshot for driver David Hill III and owner-trainer Gary White. The Capitol Power filly has been aggressive in her first two starts, parked to the half in :57 in her debut and last week closing well to be second in Evergreen Marla’s division. The $10,000 Open for Mares is highlighted by the last two winners, Breadcrumb Income (Burton) and Rhapsody Rose (Plante). Each has won by a neck the last two weeks. Its a battle for young versus old and Burton campaigns the 4-year-old mare while Brian Fisher trains the 11-year-old mare for the Twin Ponds Stable. She has 39 wins and lifetime earnings of $366,463. Post time is 5:40 p.m. (EDT) and features a Pick-5 (races 7-11) with a 12 percent takeout and a Pick-4 (races 12-15). by Pete Medhurst, for Rosecroft Raceway

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          

Frank Milby drove five winners on the Wednesday night harness racing card at Rosecroft Raceway bringing his Spring meet total to 18, four shy of leader Russell Foster. MIlby sent Wildman to his third straight victory as the three-year old son of Real Artist won in 1:53.2 for owner-trainer Phillip Jasper.  Brian Burton won three races and had the highlight win on the card. He drove  three-year old trotter EI EI O, a son of Cam's Rocket, to a victory in his debut in 1:57. His back was :56 coming from mid pack with a breath taking three-wide backside brush to the lead.  Richard Hans owns and trains EI EI O, who is the fourth fastest three-year old trotter on record in North America this season.  Pete Medhurst 106.7 FM The Fan PxP Voice Naval Academy Athletics Voice of Rosecroft Raceway  

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      

Rosecroft's 2016 Fall Meet comes to an end Thursday night with leading harness racing driver and trainer titles on the line and a visit from Santa Claus. First race post for the 13-race closing night program is 6:40 p.m. Driver Russell Foster goes into Thursday's final program with 50 wins, just one more than Roger Plante Jr. Frank Milby is third with 36. On the training side, Brian Burton and Kenneth Schlotzhauer are tied with 17 winners, two ahead of Joseph Offutt. Arty Foster Jr., leads in win percentage with 12 victories from 33 starts (36 percent). Closing night at Rosecroft will include a visit from Santa Claus, who will be available for free pictures between 7-8 p.m. There will also be a special $15 buffet in the Terrace Dining Room and $1 hot dogs and $1 sodas at the first floor concession stand. 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  

FORT WASHINGTON, MD – Brian Burton stood in the paddock before the first race one recent evening at Rosecroft and was asked what the significance is of Tuesday evening’s $100,000 Potomac Pace at the 67-year-old harness racing facility. The trainer and driver didn’t hesitate. “It gives us a little shine,” he said. It’s been nearly 10 years since Rosecroft held a race worth $100,000 or more. The historic facility has hosted Breeders Crown races, the Messenger Stakes and William E. Miller Memorial. Its guests have included Elizabeth Taylor, George Foreman, George Plimpton, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Ken Stabler and Oleg Cassini. But it hasn’t been since the $122,170 Wayne Smullin Memorial in 2007 that a race of significance like the Potomac Pace has been held at Rosecroft. Yes, the Potomac Pace will be Rosecroft’s first big race since the iPhone was introduced. “It’s very exciting,” said Thomas Cooke, president of Cloverleaf Standardbred Owners’ Association, which represents owners, trainers, drivers and grooms involved in Maryland’s Standardbred industry. “I look at this as a rebirth. It’s opportunity to show the track, the market and the product. I’m impressed by the caliber of drivers and horses coming in. It’s a win-win for everybody.” The Potomac Pace - featuring some of the best aged pacers in the country including Shamballa, Mach It So, All Bets Off, Wakizashi Hanover and Keystone Victory – is one of the first steps by the Maryland Jockey Club to reinvigorate Standardbred racing in Maryland. “We have committed ourselves to showcasing Standardbred and Thoroughbred racing in Maryland,” said Sal Sinatra, President and General Manager of the Maryland Jockey Club, whose parent company, The Stronach Group, purchased Rosecroft from Penn National Gaming earlier this year.  “We just signed a two-year extension with Cloverleaf,” he added. “Along with the Potomac Pace, we also are talking about a few Sire Stakes races in the spring and fall. Our experience in Thoroughbred racing has shown us that big days breathe life into the racing program. Come winter after this meet, we’re looking forward to doing some renovations to the grandstand and facility for our regular customers.” Sinatra and Cloverleaf have also increased the number of racing days for 2017 from 54 to 60. Rosecroft, which opened in 1949, has seen plenty of ups and downs throughout its history. The track has gone through several ownerships since the late 1980s and was closed to live racing for several years. But Sinatra, Cooke and others are hoping Tuesday’s Potomac Pace is the beginning of better things. “This is a great race,” Burton said. “[Racing secretary) Peter Hanley did an incredible job putting this race together, but we have to keep upgrading our stock and showcasing our sport. But I think this is an incredible race Tuesday night and a start. To be honest, while we would have loved to have had Wiggle It Jiggleit and Always B Miki, I think this is a better horse race and betting race. I think you’re going to see a huge performance. I think you could see a track record.” Cooke admits he would like the track record of 1:48 2/5 set by his own Nuclear Breeze to stand a little longer. But he also admits a big night of racing Tuesday is the first step in helping Maryland Standardbred racing. “I don’t want to see a track record,” said Cooke, laughing. “But this is a big opportunity for all us to show new owners and partners we’re moving forward. It’s a big step.” 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 David Joseph  

Fort Washington, MD - After finishing second in the RUS America Trot at Ocean Downs this past summer, Hyway Marcus' team was determined to make their next trip to the Free State a victorious one and it indeed was the case Thursday evening (November 17) at Rosecroft Raceway as the harness racing five year old altered son of Gut Instinct was victorious in the $5,000 RUS America Trot presented by the Cloverleaf Standardbred Owners Association, Maryland Standardbred Breeders Association, and the Maryland Jockey Club, operators of Rosecroft. The winning time was 2:01.1. A quartet of horses met the starting gate but it quickly became a trio as In Nomine Patri broke stride after the wings on the starting gate opened, eliminated from contention. The race quickly developed into a duel between the two Patti Harmon-trained horses as Hyway Marcus, ridden by Maria Buchanan, took the remaining trio to the first quarter in :29.2 with Funny Photo (Sophie Engerran) alongside and P L Incoming trotting in third. The duo continued racing side by side as Hyway Marcus raced to the half mile marker in :59.2 with Funny Photo continuing to race outside a head back. After the half, Buchanan got her mount to the three-quarter pole in 1:30, continuing to extend his lead, earning an eight length victory over Funny Photo. P L Incoming was a distant third with In Nomine Patri ending up fourth. With his victory, Hyway Marcus closed out the 2016 RUS season with a record of 4-2-1-0 and earnings of $3,725. Lifetime his racing under saddle record is 5-3-1-0 with $6,225 in earnings with all but one victory coming in Maryland. With the conclusion of the season, Hyway Marcus will be returning to the sulky-racing wars but one can expect to see him back under saddle in 2017. RUS America would like to thank all their sponsors for supporting the 2016 RUS season. Planning for 2017 is already under way with invitations to return to Rosecroft in addition to the Meadowlands, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs. Any track looking to be added to the 2017 calendar or individuals interested in RUS may contact RUS America at info@rusamerica.info. Allan Schott RUS America

FORT WASHINGTON, MD – Wakizashi Hanover reached the pinnacle of the harness racing world when he pulled off an upset victory over odds-on favorite Wiggle It Jiggleit in the $1 million North America Cup at Mohawk Raceway in June 2015. The pacing son of Dragon Again subsequently faded from the Standardbred spotlight and was sidelined due to a breathing problem that required two surgeries. The 4-year-old gelding, though, is on the comeback trail and may be ready to return to the spotlight in Tuesday evening’s $100,000 Potomac Pace at Rosecroft Raceway. 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 appears to have breathed new life into his racing career. “He had two different surgeries. The first was OK, but it wasn’t sufficient. He had another surgery and, since the second surgery, everything seems much closer to where he’s supposed to be,” said Jim King Jr., who trains Wakizashi Hanover in a partnership with his wife Joann Looney-King. In his two official starts since returning to action in November, both at Dover Downs in Delaware, Wakizashi Hanover lost a photo finish while finishing second and, most recently, closed from far back to capture an open handicap by a nose in 1:49.2. “He paced his last half in 53-and-3 (seconds) – that’s pretty good. I don’t care if you’re at the Meadowlands, 53-and-3 is pretty good,” said the 64-year-old trainer, who is based in his native Delaware. Wakizashi Hanover had demonstrated a strong late kick in the North America Cup, in which he defeated Wiggle It Jiggleit by three-quarters of a length in 1:48 for driver Tim Tetrick. “We were pretty confident going in, even knowing that Wiggle It Jiggleit was in the race. I had never seen a horse like Wiggle It Jiggleit before,” King said. “My horse was all about himself at that time. In the elimination, he was super-outstanding. His last quarter was 25-and-2 (seconds) against a good bunch of horses. The next week, he tripped out and did what he needed. He followed Wiggle It Jiggleit around there and, when the time came, he accelerated.” A similar performance would make Wakizashi Hanover mighty tough to beat in the Potomac Pace, which drew a field of eight, including Shamballa, who became the only horse to beat Wiggle It Jiggleit and Always B Miki in the same race while registering a career mark of 1:47.1 at Meadowlands in August. “I think that’s a tall order, but I think he can compete with the horses he’s in with (Tuesday). I saw a lot in the last two weeks that wasn’t there earlier, so I think he’s on the comeback trail,” said King, who will hand the reins to Trace Tetrick, Tim Tetrick’s younger brother. “I kinda wish he had one more start under him, but you go when the opportunity is there. I’m not going to be astonished if he wins. I think he has a real chance.” David Joseph

FORT WASHINGTON, MD – The ongoing revitalization of the Maryland harness racing industry will be on full display at Rosecroft Raceway Tuesday evening when an accomplished field of eight invitational and stakes pacers will compete in the inaugural edition of the $100,000 Potomac Pace. Shamballa, the only horse to defeat superstars Always B Miki and Wiggle It Jiggleit in the same race, and Mach It So, who finished second behind Always B Miki at Meadowlands last Saturday, were entered for the one-mile pace on Rosecroft’s acclaimed five-eighths of a mile oval. “We’re excited to bring this kind of race and this caliber of horses to Rosecroft,” said Sal Sinatra, President and General Manager of the Maryland Jockey Club, whose parent company The Stronach Group acquired Rosecroft this year. “We think this is one of the best races for older pacers this year. We want to thank the horsemen who will participate in this race, as well as the horsemen at Rosecroft, who have supported us and have been partners with us since this summer. We also want to thank our great fans who continue to support Standardbred racing in Maryland.” Rosecroft once ranked among the premier Standardbred racetracks, regularly hosting many of the sport’s brightest stars, including Mack Lobell, Cam’s Card Shark and Forrest Skipper. The scheduling of the Potomac Pace, which has attracted many of most celebrated pacers and most prominent trainers and drivers in the country, signifies track management’s commitment to revitalize Maryland’s harness industry. “Our goal is to continue building racing in Maryland and we think this is a major step in the right direction for Rosecroft,” Sinatra added. With Always B Miki recently retired and Wiggle It Jiggleit on the sidelines for a couple months, the Potomac Pace will be contested by most of the best horses currently in training. Shamballa and Mach It So will be joined behind the mobile starting gate by Wakizashi Hanover, Dealt a Winner, Keystone Velocity, All Bets Off, Mel Mara and Split The House. Shamballa, a 6-year-old gelding owned by trainer Rick Zeron, TAO Racing, Cool Cat Racing and Howard Taylor, registered his career mile mark of 1:47.1 at Meadowlands Aug. 6 while finishing a length ahead of 2015 Horse of the Year Wiggle It Jiggleit in the $225,000 U.S. Pacing Championship, in which Always B Miki finished fourth. Shamballa finished second, beaten by a length, when Always B Miki set a world record at the Red Mile in 1:46 Oct. 9. Scott Zeron will drive his father’s pacer in the Potomac Pace. Mach It So, trained by Jeffery Bamond Jr., is a winner of 33 career races and $1.6 million in purses while regularly competing against the best free-for-all pacers. Tim Tetrick is scheduled to return to the sulky after driving the 6-year-old gelding to his runner-up finish behind Always B Miki last weekend. Tri County Stable’s Wakizashi Hanover registered a career achievement last year by defeating Wiggle It Jiggleit in the $1 million North America Cup at Mohawk Raceway. The son of Dragon Again, who will be driven by Trace Tetrick, broke through with a 1:49.2 victory in a Dover Downs Open Pace last week after missing the first half of the 2016 season following throat surgery. Mel Mara, a two-time open winner at Dover since finishing third behind Wiggle It Jiggleit, in a Yonkers invitational pace Oct.15; Split The House, fourth behind Always B Miki, Wiggle It Jiggleit and Shamballa in the Breeders’ Crown Oct. 28; All Bets Off, a $2 million earner who has been competitive with the top pacers all season; Keystone Velocity, runner-up behind Mach It So at Yonkers last time out; and Dealt a Winner, third behind Wiggle It Jiggleit and Always B Miki in the Canadian Derby at Mohawk in September; round out the field. “The Potomac Pace is awesome for our racing program. It puts us back on the map,” Rosecroft Racing Secretary Peter Hanley said.”The more people see our program, the more they will see that our races have good full fields and competitive payoffs. This race will help to grow our program.” David Joseph 

(Fort Washington, MD) - Due to the lack of sufficient harness racing entries, the RUS America Trot scheduled for November 15, 2016 at MJC at Rosecroft will not be contested. Plans are for the race to be rescheduled for the Spring of 2017. "With only six horses competing at the Meadowlands, we suspected it would be difficult getting a sufficient field at Rosecroft", said RUS America Board Member Allan Schott, "However, we felt we owed it to our members to attempt to race at Rosecroft as we had planned. Obviously, getting enough horses to race this late in the year was more problematic than we thought it would be". Board Member Clarissa Coughlin added, "We would like to thank MJC at Rosecroft for have given us the opportunity to race on November 15. While it was prudent to cancel the race due the lack of entries, we look forward to working with the Maryland Jockey Club in bring racing under saddle to Rosecroft in the spring of 2017". Allan Schott by RUS America      

FORT WASHINGTON, MD - Harness racing drivers Russell Foster, Brian Burton, Jason Thompson and Mark Gray will take on some of Maryland's top Thoroughbred jockeys in a Sulky-Cycle Challenge Thursday, Oct. 20 at Rosecroft. The drivers will compete against Maryland-based jockeys Jevian Toledo, Kevin Gomez, Forest Boyce and Lauralea Glaser in both a sulky and bicycle race. Both drivers and jockeys will also take part in a Meet & Greet with fans between 5:45-6:15 p.m. in the grandstand. Bicycles used in the challenge will be donated to the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Washington and the Capital Guardian Youth Challenge. First race post is 6:40 p.m. "This is a fun event and a great way to connect our athletes from the Thoroughbred and Standardbred worlds," said Maryland Jockey Club President and General Manager Sal Sinatra. "I think our fans who watch and wager on each sport will have a good time whether meeting the drivers and jockeys or watching them compete for charity." Toledo, a graded-stakes winning jockey, practiced driving at Rosecroft Thursday. "It was different from what we're doing at [at Laurel Park], but it was fun," Toledo said. “I’m looking forward to it.” After the first race, two drivers and two jockeys will compete in a one mile exhibition race in double-seated carts. Drivers will have a VIP in their cart while jockeys will have a harness driver. The other two drivers and jockeys will compete in an exhibition after the third race. After the fifth race, drivers and trainers will compete in a bicycle race. Cash prizes between $500 and $100 will be awarded to the eight participants. For more information go to Rosecroft.com or call 301-567-4500. David Joseph

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