KZ Bezz won Monticello Raceway's second annual Junior Free For All on Monday afternoon when driver Jimmy Taggart Jr. hustled her to the front and defeated seven rivals in a 1:58.3 clocking.
In what was almost an exact replica of last year's race, Taggart, who drew the mount behind KZ Bezz this season, raced her the same way that she was raced in the contest last year when Greg Decker Jr. won the event with her in 1:57.4.
Sent off the 6-5 favorite Taggart gained command before the first turn and had a 1 1/2-length lead over Lady Belle and driver Bruce Aldrich Jr. as the quarter mile timer flashed :28. Taggart got KZ Bezz by the half in :59, two lengths in front of Lady Belle and that margin stayed the same when the two passed the third stanza in 1:28.3.
From that point Taggart kept the pedal to the metal and KZ Bezz began to open up daylight and she finished some six lengths ahead of Lady Belle. Third place went to Hannah''s Creek. driven by Peter Lutman Jr.
Asked why he decided to send K Z Bezz to the lead when she has been racing from behind in most of her previous starts, Taggart replied, "I thought she was the best in here so I wanted to put her on the front end. I remember that's the way she won this race the race last year against similar company.”
Although KZ Bezz won five times last season, this was the 8-year-old Dream Away mare's first win in 21 trips to post this year.
KZ Bezz is owned by Tom McGuiness and Susan McGuiness of Hicksville, N.Y. Trained by Mike McCauley she paid $4.60 for win.
Other drivers who competed included (in the order in which they finished ) Billy Parker Jr., Jimmy Marohn Jr., Joe Ricco Jr., Jimmy Doherty Jr. and John De Simone Jr.
A strange thing about this year's Junior Free For All probably went unnoticed by most people. But put this into perspective: The race was one that was drawn only from the entries that were in the box for June 17 races just so eight drivers who carry a ‘Jr.' after their surname could compete the event which was meant to pay tribute to dads and raced one day after the National Father's Day Holiday only because the Mighty M is dark on Sundays.
And of all the eight starters in this year's Junior Free For All, as luck would have it, only KZ Bezz competed in the race last year.
For the record, the horses and the drivers in the event were chosen by a lottery drawing. (Monticello)