Precision Bluechip, driver Foster headline Rosecroft's fall meet

Owner-trainer Courtney Brooks leads Precision Bluechip into the winner's circle at Rosecroft on Sunday night, Dec. 19 after catch driver Russell Foster steered the aged gelding to a 1:53 score in the $20,000 Maryland Pacing Derby

FORT WASHINGTON — When Rosecroft Raceway simultaneously brought down the curtain on its 2021 fall meet and entire season for the calendar year Sunday night, a number of pacers with Mid-Shore connections were looking to make one final visit to the winner's circle at the five-eighths-mile oval here.

And, perhaps, depart with a prestigious piece of hardware.

Rosecroft offered a trio of featured events in the closing week and honored its top equine and human athletes alike on Sunday night.

Driver of the meet and pacer of the meet were decided in the same race and fittingly by the same driver.

In the penultimate race, the $20,000 Maryland Pacing Derby, Precision Bluechip (Russell Foster) was made the 3-5 favorite from post three and Rocktavius (Jonathan Roberts) was the solid 4-1 second choice.

Both arrived with four wins from eight starts and roughly the same amount of earnings, so this race was essentially a tie-breaker.

When the gate folded, Precision Bluechip, Volley Ball Beach, Derby Dog Hanover and Rocktavius all left very alertly, but Precision Bluechip had no intentions of yielding the advantage to any of his foes.

The favorite parked all comers to the opener in 26.1 and past the half in 54.3 seconds, and then met another challenge from Transparency down the backside and through the final turn.

But with a pair of titles at stake, Precision Bluechip kept Transparency at bay in the lane for a length score in 1 minute, 53 seconds.

Precision Bluechip's victory simultaneously cemented the horse of the meet title and also the driver of the meet crown for Foster.

A 6-year-old Bettor's Delight gelding owned and trained by Courtney Brooks of Church Hill, Precision Bluechip notched his fifth win in eight starts at the meet and his 13th score in 33 seasonal outings — pushing his 2021 earnings just over the $100,000 plateau.

Several races earlier in a non-winners of four races lifetime class for younger pacers, Southwind Adirondk (Jim Morand) rallied from well off the pace and widest of all to forge a 13-1 upset in 1:55.1.

A 4-year-old Art Major gelding trained by Trevor Stafford of Greensboro for owner Jody Lee Cahall of Preston, Southwind Adirondk prevailed in his first start for his connections. He owns a 4-7-0 slate and $29,000 banked from 26 seasonal outings.

In a non-winners of four races or $30,000 lifetime class for younger pacers, Walden Woods (Foster) lived up to his role as the 8-5 favorite when he gained command before the opener in 27.2, got a breather by the half in 57 flat, raced unpressed by three-quarters and then drew clear late to a six-length score in 1:54.2.

A sophomore son of Betting Line trained by Samuel Young for owner Daphne Young of Church Hill, Walden Woods now owns a 5-6-6 slate and banked $32,000 from 34 seasonal outings.

Four nights earlier on the Wednesday, Dec. 15 card, a pair of local trainees found the winner's circle on a formful program that offered a pair of $20,000 co-features — the Maryland Distaff Invitational for pacing fillies and mares and the Maryland Trotting Derby for older trotters.

Catch driver Jonathan Roberts prevailed in both races conducted just over an hour apart, guiding Lyons Softassilk to a mild 8-5 upset in the Distaff in 1:53.1 and then steering Judge Bob to a length tally as the odds-on favorite in the Trotting Derby.

In the penultimate race on the Wednesday card, Cruzinforavictory (Eric Davis) lived up to her role as the 3-5 favorite in a non-winners of $6,000 last four starts for pacing fillies and mares when she overcame a prolonged first over journey to overhaul Shady Madam (Roger Plante Jr.) in 1:53.3.

A 6-year-old Hypnotic Blue Chip mare owned, bred and trained by Jeff Clark of Centreville, Cruzinforavictory now owns a 4-12-4 slate and $50,000 banked from 38 seasonal outings and sports a 17-32-25 slate and almost $245,000 banked from 133 career outings.

Then several races earlier in a non-winners of one race or $5,000 lifetime class for younger pacers, TKO Blue Chip (Roberts) easily lived up to his role as the prohibitive 1-20 favorite when he scored by three lengths in 1:55.2.

A 2-year-old son of Roll With Joe trained by Eric Ell and co-owned by Ell and Thomas Leager of Sudlersville, TKO Blue Chip recorded his first win in four lifetime outings and more than doubled his career earnings in the process.

Several local pacers enjoyed a superb start to the final month of racing at Rosecroft.

On Dec. 5, Manaccount (Jim Morand) rallied from well off the pace after Shim (Tony Morgan) carved out insane fractions of 26, 53 and 1:20.4 to score by a neck over Volley Ball Beach in 1:51.1.

A 4-year-old American Ideal gelding owned and trained by Trevor Stafford, Manaccount concluded his 2021 campaign with a 6-7-5 slate and more than $55,000 banked from 35 starts. He lowered his lifetime mark to 1:51.1.

That same night, Cousin Brucie (Jason Thompson) lived up to his role as the 1-5 favorite in a non-winners of $1,250 last four starts class for older pacers when he led throughout to prevail by two lengths in 1:53.4.

A 9-year-old Rocknroll Hanover gelding trained by James Eveland for owner Thomas H. Lord of Greensboro, Cousin Brucie ended a modest drought when he notched his seventh victory of the campaign at the midway point of the Dec. 5 program.

It was his 32nd lifetime score from 240 career tries and pushed his earnings past $255,000.

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