Nicota made up a ten-length deficit at the half and stormed home to win the fastest of eight harness racing Virginia-bred title races in the $334,000 "Day of Champions" Saturday at Colonial Downs. The showcase event wrapped up Colonial's annual fall race season.
In last week's prep race, Nicota lost by a neck to Rick's Crossroads, who was the heavy favorite in Saturday's $43,800 three-year-old colt & gelding pace. Nicota was actually buried until the home straightaway when reinswoman Devan Miller began the late surge while pacing seventh. The Blissful Hall gelding went three wide, passed the frontstepping six and crossed in 1:52 1/5, three lengths over Richie's Place.
Nicota is trained by Judith Welty for Thomas Cooke of Rockville, Maryland. Tap Five finished third.
In the $40,400 sophomore colt & gelding trot, The Doctor reached the winners circle for the third time this fall. Trainer/driver Renfrow Hauser directed his Luring gelding to a wire-to-wire effort in 1:58 1/5. The Doctor beat Charlie Dunavant's Blue Motorcycle by a length while Jamas took third.
In the $39,500 three-year-old filly pace, Blueridge Kathleen shook off her runner-up status in last Saturday's prep to gain revenge on Tidewater Misty in the championship event. Despite a modest four-horse field, trainer Vickielynne Lake's charge nosed out Tidewater Misty in a thrilling stretch duel that ended in 1:53 3/5.
The Edenridge Farms of Charlottesville, Virginia cleaned up in the $41,700 three-year-old filly trot when their three-horse entry finished first, second and fourth. Abigail Eden beat her stablemate Sadie Eden by a neck in 1:57 1/5. The winner, who spent most of her summer competing in Canada, grabbed cover behind Sadie through most of the race, then came out in deep stretch to win by a neck. Lee Wind took third. John Wagner, the meet's leading trainer, conditions both trotters.
The deepest field of the four freshmen races came in the $47,800 colt & gelding pace, where Whatamach dominated with a wire-to-wire performance in 1:54 2/5. Chris Page, Colonial's top ‘09 driver, guided the effort for trainer Fran Raia II, who had a three-horse entry. Thecolt captured an elimination division last week in 1:55 2/5.
Two of the other three "Champions Day" freshmen races were also decided by wire-to-wire trips while the third saw a dominating performance. Blueridge Tornado had an easy time in the $38,500 colt & gelding trot against two other foes. The Scottys Smarty gelding won by 31 lengths in 1:59 4/5 after a quick half in :56 3/5. Luring Maxine breezed to a seven-length triumph in the $40,400 filly trot in 2:04 4/5 for trainer/driver Renfrow Hauser, while Goldnmyair made up for a break in the prep by scoring a convincing win in the $42,200 filly pace. Chris Page directed the 1:55 2/5 mile, a six-length win, for trainer Don Milby.
After driver Page and trainer Wagner received their respective "end of season" honors, the "Horse of the Meet" was awarded to Diane Helen's Mata Harry, who had four wins and three second place finishes while racing in the toughest classes on the grounds. The trophy was presented by members of the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association.