Juanita\'s 1:58.2 ties Ocean Downs track record
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Both of those marks were set August 21, 2002 by Yankee Maxi (Balanced Image-Yankee Mama).
Driven, owned and bred by Jim Morand, Juanita impressed backers as the 1-5 race favorite by winning one of the five Maryland Standardbred Race Fund races with total purses of $74,700. This fund race, worth $18,500, took the talented Les Givens-trained filly to over $150,000 in winnings this year and in excess of $325,000 lifetime.
“She’s always been real little, but she’s had a lot of heart,” Les Givens\' son Brandon said.
Brandon Givens was in the winner\'s circle himself on Wednesday after he drove colt Always A Choice to the Race Fund win (1:57.1, $4.40) in the colts and geldings pace, worth $18,200. Last year, the Three Olives-Myriad colt set both Ocean Downs and Race Fund records for a 2-year-old colt (1:56.2) when driven by Frank Milby. The Robert Leager Jr. owned and trained Always A Choice went inside Wednesday to nip Lobo Billy, driven by John Wagner, at the wire.
“He battled me all the way to the wire, but my horse had a little more left than his did,” Brandon Givens said.
Givens, who had a driving triple Wednesday at the Ocean also had the lines as Southern Blue won the Race Fund fillies pace worth $9,750. It was the sixth win in 12 starts for the Nuclear High-Ky Romance filly owned and trained by Gerald Kelly.
The other Race Fund fillies pace was won by Talk All Day, driven and trained by David Wade (1:58.2, $2.80). The Western Hanover-Double Talk filly has now won nine of her 15 starts this year while racing mostly on the Pennsylvania Fair circuit.
“She’s a sweetheart. I love her. We bought her at Harrisburg as a yearling,” Wade said. He had held her out due to soreness as a 2 year old. “This year, she’s just been a real nice filly.”
Victor Kirby earned a driving double Wednesday. One of his wins was with his own horse, Perfect Man, in the Race Fund colt and gelding trot worth $18,500.
“I got lucky. We went kind of slow fractions and that benefited my colt (2:03, $40.20),” Kirby said.
David Wade’s Bettis finished second, losing at the wire to Perfect Man’s late brush.
Kirby’s other winning drive was in the final leg of the Hal Belote Memorial stakes series. The 6-year-old gelding Magic Swan (Enjoy Lavec-Swan Lake) trotted a strong 1:57.4 mile to win his second straight in the late-closer series ($4.20). (Ocean Downs)