After getting a trip she hasn’t seen in some time, Hey Kobe rallied late to nab the $9,500 Fillies and Mares Open pacing feature at Batavia Downs on Wednesday evening (November 15).
Starting from the pylons for the first time in months, Hey Kobe (Ray Fisher, Jr.) got away third behind Squeeze This (Billy Davis, Jr.) and Rockin Kasbah (Larry Stalbaum). But her passive posture only lasted until the three-eighths before Fisher pulled the mare and started to roll towards the leader in front of the stands.
After drafting in neutral around the third turn, the plugs were popped, and Hey Kobe found new interest and got even with Squeeze This at the three-quarter pole. From there, Fisher and Davis became highly animated in their respective bikes, using body language and flailing lines to urge their mounts to remain stout. The battle continued all the way down the stretch before Hey Kobe got the call at the buzzer, winning by a neck in 1:55.2.
It was the fourth win of the year for Hey Kobe ($5.10), who now has earned $64,625 for owner Keith Pinkowski. Mihajlo Zdjelar, Jr. trains the winner.
In the co-featured $8,000 Fillies and Mares Open II, North America’s winningest Standardbred of 2017 Quicksilvercandy A (Larry Stalbaum) did all the heavy lifting, but was denied win number 21 as Aritzia Hanover (Kevin Cummings) drafted behind her the whole mile until the top of the lane, when Cummings pulled out and paced right on by in mid-stretch to win by a length in 1:55.3.
It was the second consecutive win for Aritzia Hanover ($4.40), who also claimed a new seasonal mark with the victory. The six-year-old daughter of Bettor’s Delight is owned by Vogel & Wags Nags Stable and Pine Hill Racing, Ltd., and is trained by Maria Rice.
Remaining the hottest driver at the Downs, Kevin Cummings won another three races on the card, leading all reinsmen on the Wednesday program.