Cedric Washington wins King Pace
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He had a little luck going for him this year when he not only drew the favorite in the race but the pole position to boot. And from the get-go he took advantage of both.
When the gate sprung Washington sent Blissfull Doll to the lead and he was challenged on the outside by Cutting In Line, who was driven by his dad, General “Bubba” Washington Jr. But dad got no respect as his son left him out to dry and Cutting In Line never saw the pylons, at least not until the final three-eighths.
Cedric parked his dad past the half and when Blissfull Doll headed up the backside Washington braced for a challenge from Eve Freeluck and driver Bobby Williams Jr. who were sitting third in the early going.
After a short run at the leader Eve Freeluck faded on the last turn which allowed Don Simmonds and Fox Valley Marissa a clear shot at the leader. When Washington asked Blissfull Doll for more at the top of the lane, she responded and they cruised to an easy 1 1/2-length triumph over Simmonds’ pacer. Though Eve Freeluck faded on the last turn she paced well enough through the stretch to get the show dough.
“I had a good post position and drew a decent horse who showed early speed, and in her last three starts she was taken back. So it was a no-brainer to send her to the lead, especially from the rail,” Washington said. “She was full of pace the whole mile and when I asked her at the top of the stretch she stepped away so easily that I had a tough time pulling her up after the race.”
Washington then added: “It’s always good to win a race but the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Pace is not just any horse race. It’s an honor just to drive in a race named for the great civil rights leader because he has contributed so much to the African American-community.”
Blissfull Doll, trained by Anthony Regina, paid just $3.30 for win.
With only a few African-American drivers competing here director of racing Eric Warner had to reach out for others to be able to fill the race.
“Thankfully it’s never been too hard to get drivers for this race because every year in January we get calls requesting a mount in our Dr. King Pace,” Warner said. “The hard part is trying to accommodate everyone who wants to drive.”
Cedric and Bubba Washington, Bobby Williams Jr. and Paul Moore are local but Don Simmonds came in from Vernon Downs; Dennis Watson, who finished fifth, came from Freehold Raceway; and fourth-place finisher, George Polk Jr., who won last year’s Dr. King Pace, came in from Dover Downs. And James O’Farrow came in from New York City just to compete. (Monticello)