Davis Jr. dishes--and tweets--on the Don Mills
February 03, 2012
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North America’s leading dash-winning driver Billy Davis Jr. will steer a trio of 4-year-old trotters in the opening round of the Don Mills Trotting Series on Monday night at Woodbine.
Many will be watching Davi’s Twitter account to see if he feels he is on-line for a big night, especially after a particular tweet on Thursday, Feb. 2. Under his handle @BillyDavisRacin, he tweeted, Auctioneer(10-1). In race 12 Trainer wants me to cut this race.
Tweets like these are not uncommon for the 25-year-old reinsman. Davis was able to accomplish what he tweeted. In gate-to-wire fashion, the red-hot driver won with Auctioneer at odds of 15-1.
Dean Towers, a popular blogger and horse owner, who tweets from his account @Pullthepocket, replied, Who says twitter can[t] give inside info $32 winners.
On the social media site, Davis provides daily insight on his drives, but early on, he wasn’t sold on the idea.
“I was on it for a bit then I kind of stopped,” he explained. “I wasn’t really getting the hang of it. Then a couple of people came up and asked me why I stopped and told me I should keep doing it. It’s kind of nice when I get people asking me what horses I like each week, and I try to give a little insight and help people out.”
Davis is quite candid on Twitter. After finishing third in the Valedictory final on Dec. 26, 2011, he tweeted, Very depressed about how I drove Curator. Nearly in tears.
Davis admits he wears his emotions on his sleeve and will beat himself up when he feels he made a mistake.
“I was always told that a catch-driver is only as good as their last drive, so I kind of live by that,” he explained. “These trainers, grooms and owners, they work all week on these horses. They invest all their time and money and it can all go down the drain in the two minutes I sit behind them on the track.
“I know there are a lot of things that are out of my control when I am out there, but I feel pretty bad when I make a mistake out there, when I cost people money.”
Going into the first leg of the Don Mills Series, Davis Jr. offers an early look at his contenders. This time, he isn’t restricted to 140 characters.
In the first race, the first $25,000 division of the series, trainer Anette Lorentzon will send out Calipari from post six.
The son of Ken Warkentin-Sheena Hall, who swept his division of the Graduate Series at Georgian Downs, has a lifetime record of 7-1-1 in 21 outings, with $108,580 in career earnings for owner Acl Stuteri Ab of Paris, Ky.
Fresh off of a two-month layoff, the 4-year-old gelding will make his first start of 2012. His last start in the Autumn Series final impressed the horseman.
“He raced really well,” said Davis, who guided Calipari to victory in the $60,000 dash on Dec. 5. “I got a perfect trip and everything worked out and he sprinted home.
"The only thing I am worried about him for Monday is that he hasn’t raced since then, so he might be a little short,” he added. “They threw in a qualifier on Wednesday (Jan. 25), which is pretty decent, but he still might be a little bit short for the first leg.”
Lorentzon will also hand over the reins to Davis in the second division, slated as the third race. The Guelph resent will sit behind EL Rock, who will leave post two.
The son of Yankee Glide-Courtney Hall is also owned by ACL Stuteri Ab. The 4-year-old gelding has fashioned a lifetime record of 4-4-1 in 19 starts, with earnings of $109,525.
Having never driven EL Rock, the winner of the 2011 Charles I. Smith and New Jersey Futurity at Freehold Raceway, Davis has done his homework, carefully looking at the trotter’s chart lines.
“He shows a lot of speed, even off the gate,” he said. “He shows some decent miles racing at Yonkers. He could be one I could leave with and get in the race early.”
That said, Davis will contact Lorentzon before the first leg to prepare for the drive. He ensures his Twitter followers that more information will be tweeted the day of the race.
In race nine, the fourth and final division, Davis will drive the Marcel Bouvier-trained and owned Over And Out.
The son of Ken Warkentin-Divine Miss J has four wins, nine seconds and seven third-place finishes in 44 lifetime starts and has banked $121,734 in career earnings.
“I really like this horse,” he said. “He tries a lot. He is not a typical horse where you can give him a nice tidy trip and he’ll sprint home for you. He is more the type of horse that you stick him on the outside and let him do his own thing.”
Davis says the most recent outing was a prime example.
“Last week he finished third and was parked the whole mile out of the 10 hole, which was probably the best thing for him, because if I got away third or fourth and then tried to come after settling him down, he probably wouldn’t have raced as good,” he said. “He just likes to grind it out.”
The $35,000 second leg of the Don Mills, for 4- and 5-year-old trotters in 2012, non-winners of $150,000 lifetime as of midnight, Dec. 31, 2011, is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 16, with the $75,000 final set for Monday, Feb. 27. (WEG)