Little Joke has last laugh in Batavia distaff Open
Written by Alex Feig on August 22, 2019
(Photo courtesy of Paul White)
By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs
Batavia, NY — With the prohibitive favorite coming up short, Little Joke took it upon herself to win the $12,500 fillies and mares Open I Handicap pace at Batavia Downs on Wednesday afternoon (Aug. 21) and blow up the tote board at 21-1.
Lady London (Shawn McDonough) went right to the front while the rest of the field opted to stay in post position order behind her, except for HP Sissy (Ray Fisher Jr.) who broke behind the gate. Lady London went to the quarter in :28 and an even slower half of :57 and still no opposition from anyone in the race.
As they moved into the third turn, 3-5 favorite Sidewalk Dancer (Hunter Oakes) pulled from fifth and tried to advance in the breeze. But progression was negligible as she hung a parked third to the three-quarters in 1:24.4, still 2-3/4 lengths behind the leader. At this point Billy Davis Jr., who had been enjoying a perfect trip in the two-hole with Little Joke, tugged the right line and asked the mare to drive on. And respond she did; pacing past Lady London at the top of the lane and then under an animated drive by Davis, held off a fast closing Miss Mary Mach (Dave McNeight III) in deep stretch to win in 1:53.1.
The time was a new seasonal mark for Little Joke and was only 1/5th of a second off the track record for aged pacing mares.
It was the sixth win of the year for Little Joke ($44.20) who has now earned $50,928 for owners Vogel and Wags Nags Stable and Jack Rice. Maria Rice trains the winner.
Davis and Rice had so much fun in the feature, they teamed up again for an instant replay in the $11,000 Open II Handicap with Hey Sweetie ($7.00), who like her stablemate earlier, tripped out behind the front-running Mach’s Echo (Drew Monti) until the top of the stretch where she pulled, took the lead and won in 1:55.1.
Hey Sweetie is owned by Vogel and Wags Nags Stable, Jack Rice and Adelphi Bloodstock.
Billy Davis Jr. went on to win two more races, giving him the Grand Slam on the evening.
Long prices seemed to be the theme of the day and in the third race, Missevil (John Cummings Jr.) was happy to oblige. She scored from post eight at 25-1 paying $52.50, beating 19-1 Keystone Zeta (James McNeight Jr.) who finished second. These top two finishers sparked an 8-3 exacta that returned $1,504, an 8-3-2 trifecta that paid $3,524 and an 8-3-2-ALL superfecta that produced an instant jackpot payout of $11,316.
There was a $10,000 guaranteed Pick-5 pool at The Downs on Wednesday that was not hit and as a result another guarantee has been made. When live racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday (Aug. 23), the Pick-5 will have a guaranteed pool of $35,000 as part of the United States Trotting Association’s (USTA) Strategic Wagering Program and free program pages will be available on the USTA website as a result. This is the highest guaranteed pool ever offered in the history of Batavia Downs.