Here is a recap from the final day of racing at the 2015 Oak Ridge Meet. Eight championship races were held featuring Virginia-bred 2 and 3 year old pacers and trotters of both sexes.
Trainer Charlie Dunavant’s Stable Captures 3 Ttiles in $363,000 Virginia-Bred “Champions” Card on Sunday at Oak Ridge
(ARRINGTON, VA — 10/19/2015) —- Trainer Charlie Dunavant collected a trio of big wins Sunday as Cicada’s Song (shown below), Ah Me and Elton J I all scored divisional titles in the $363,000 Virginia-bred “Champions Day” card at Nelson County’s Oak Ridge Estate. A total of eight championship races were contested that featured 2 and 3 year old pacers and trotters of both sexes.
Cicada’s Song continued a torrid month of October by scoring an easy wire-to-wire victory in the $43,075 freshman filly trot over two others. Never threatened, she crossed in a leisurely 2:07 3/5 under the guidance of driver Carlo Poliseno. The Dusty Winner filly was able to squeeze in a track record performance at Harrington Wednesday in between her Oak Ridge prep a week ago and Sunday’s triumph. Cicada’s Song covered that $20,000 Delaware state-bred prep in 1:59 2/5 October 14th, and headlines this week’s $100,000 final. She had a pair of prep wins earlier this month at the same two tracks and is now 6-for-6 in her young career.
Ah Me and Elton J both wired the field in their respective finals. The former breezed to a 2:04.0 triumph in the $45,600 3 year old filly trot while the latter had to rebound quickly after breaking stride before the start in the $46,150 freshman colt/gelding trot. Elton J regained the trotting gait and fended off a pesky Speedy Taxi by a length in 2:03 1/5. Poliseno completed a driving triple by directing both to victory.
Mark Gray’s stable also had a stellar day, earning a pair of wins and three runner-ups in Virginia-bred action. Motel Molly, who got nosed out a week ago by stablemate Hot Hot Jenna in an “All-Gray” three horse photo finish, turned the tables and beat her nemesis by a half length in the $49,500 2 year old filly pace. Hot Hot Jenna led from the start but at the top of the stretch, the eventual winner maneuvered from fourth to second and was just one length back. Gray, who drove Motel Molly, caught the leader just before the wire and crossed in 2:00 3/5, the identical time of a week ago.
I Am Delightful rebounded from two separate breaks in his prep race to eek out a neck victory over Flaming Caviar in the $43,000 3 year colt/gelding championship trot. Gray conditions both and he piloted the winner, a Bettor’s Delight gelding who crossed in 2:03 3/5. Anne McDonald, LLC of Alexandria owns the duo. The McDonald-Gray tandem got another runner up finish with Elma Lou earlier in the card, who finished 5 3/4 lengths behind Dunavant’s Ah Me in the sophomore filly trot.
Trainer Chuck Perry, who was in the bike for Hot Hot Jenna, scored a pair of training wins with John’s Dream in the $44,700 2 year old colt/gelding pace and with Majestos in the $46,200 3 year old male pace. While John’s Dream coasted easily against two other opponents for the second straight week (1:59 2/5), Majestos came from behind and was a neck better in a close three horse photo. The Three Olives gelding beat Riggy, last year’s 2 year old male pacing champ, by that slim margin in 1:57 4/5. Andy’s Lil Buddy, a Leon Harris trainee, was third in the tight finish. Perry, who owns Hot Hot Jenna outright and is partners with Katie Cobb in the latter, drove both pacers.
2014’s 2 year old pacing champion Blueridge Pushy returned as a 3 year old and defended her title in grand fashion. The Badlands Hanover filly wired the field in the October 10th prep and again in Sunday’s $45,600 finale. J.D. Wengerd, who drove for owner/trainer Herman Hagerman, carried a two length advantage into the stretch then opened up to win by 5 3/4 lengths in 1:58 4/5. The same runner ups in 2014’s freshman edition finished in the same order as sophomores — Loves You Baby was second and Here Comes Lucy was third.
The Champions card completed a four day stand at Oak Ridge for the first time since 2001. The Virginia Equine Alliance put on the ambitious venture in the heart of scenic Nelson County on back-to-back weekends.