Watts Was I Drinkin tastes victory at Plainridge
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Spending more time parked out than drafting, Watts Was I Drinkin came up big winning the $14,000 fillies and mares winners-over handicap pacing feature at Plainridge Park on Tuesday afternoon.
Empty Gesture (Chris Long) got away strong and did the heavy lifting on the front end for the bulk of the mile. Watts Was I Drinkin (Mike Stevenson) tucked in third from post five off the gate but didn't stay there long. After getting to the quarter in :27 flat, Stevenson pulled Watts Was I Drinkin in front of the stands and came first-up into the second turn. She continued to advance incrementally until she drew near even with Empty Gesture at the three-quarters.
Now locked up in a tussle, Watts Was I Drinkin and Empty Gesture went stride for stride around the last turn and into the stretch with neither mare getting a clear advantage. But Stevenson kept working and although parked five-eighths of the mile, Watts Was I Drinkin had enough left to finish the job and won by a neck in 1:52.3, which was a new lifetime mark.
Watts Was I Drinkin ($6.80) has now won three of her four starts at Plainridge Park since shipping in from Bluegrass Downs in Kentucky for owner Little Bapa and trainer Eric Beach.
The $10,000 conditioned event for pacing distaff 6-year-olds and under saw Our Royal Majesty ($23.60) upset the apple cart when she pulled from third going to the half and never looked back en route to a three-length win in a lifetime best effort of 1:53.2. Driver Wally Watson and trainer Lisa Watson co-own the winner.
From the "here's something you don't see too often" department; the heavily favored Pancakes ($2.80) won the fourth race as expected. But with 65-1 shot Final Champion finishing second and 50-1 shot Mia's First Time finishing third with the second and third betting choices running out, the 1-8-4 trifecta paid $2,043.80 and the superfecta combination of 1-8-4-3 returned an instant jackpot of $12,529, both for a $2 wager.
Three drivers each had two wins on Tuesday. Mike Stevenson, Wally Watson and Mitchell Cushing all doubled up.
With four months of the meet down and four left to race, Drew Campbell has a commanding lead in the dash driver derby with 103 wins thus far. Shawn Gray and Greg Merton are locked up in a tight battle for second with 77 and 74 wins respectively and behind them are Mike Stevenson with 42 wins, Nick Graffam with 38 and Mitchell Cushing with 34.
On the training side the race is much closer at the top. Eric Beach leads with 24 wins, Elisha Lafreniere is second with 23 and Mike Eaton is third with 21. Right behind them is James Dunn with 19 wins and Jeff Lieberman with 18. (Standardbred Owners of Mass.)