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Open Pacers Cross Potomac

Published: November 9, 2019 3:19 pm ET

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Big money will come from Elkton, MD on Sunday (Nov. 10) when the 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 $500,000 Breeders Crown Open Pace at Woodbine Mohawk Park. From the field, 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 5-2 morning-line favourite McWicked. “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 set by Keystone Velocity in the 2017 renewal of the Potomac Pace.

American History will line 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 winner 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 in 16 of 42 starts and $1,037,656, will be handled by regular driver Joe Bongiorno. They will start from the post 2 and are 3-1 second choice on the morning line.

McWicked, harness racing’s amazing eight-year-old champion, was the 6-5 betting favourite in the Breeders Crown but finished 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. He starts from post 7.

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 paced the fastest mile ever on a half in Canada when winning the Prix D'Ete at Hippodrome 3R on Aug. 18. Courtly Choice won this year’s Canadian Derby at Woodbine Mohawk and Dealt A Winner finished 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 favourite.

(with files from Rosecroft Raceway)

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