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Davis, Rice Partner For Batavia Hat Trick

Published: August 19, 2020 10:14 pm ET

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It was a big night for driver Billy Davis Jr., trainer Maria Rice, and the ownership group of Vogel and Wags Nags, Team Rice Racing and Adelphi Bloodstock at Batavia Downs on Wednesday night (Aug. 19) as they sent three from their stable to the Purple Haze Winner’s Circle, including the winner of the co-featured race.

In the $8,000 Open I-II Trot, Noble Legend followed Il Mago (Jim Morrill Jr.) the entire mile until the head of the stretch, when Davis tipped and out-trotted the leader to the wire while holding off a fast-closing Lunar Credit (Jim McNeight Jr.) in 1:58.1, which was a new seasonal mark.

It was the second straight win for Noble Legend ($6.50) and third win of the year.

Then, in the $7,250 fillies and mares Open II-III Pace, Protect Blue Chip drafted third most of the mile while Tellawoman (Morrill) and HP Sissy (Denny Bucceri) took turns on the lead. Davis pulled from that spot at the three-quarters, cleared by the top of the stretch and held off one final bid by Tellawoman to win by a length in 1:54.4, which was also a new seasonal mark.

The heavily favoured Protect Blue Chip returned $3.10.

Finally, in the $7,250 Open II-III Trot, Keystone Apache displayed some old form as he went unchallenged from the word go, scoring a wire-to-wire 8-1/2 length victory in 1:57.3. That too was a new seasonal mark for the winner.

It was the fourth win in the last six starts for Keystone Apache ($2.80).

Jim Morrill Jr. also had a driving hat trick, including winning the other $8,000 feature — the Open I-II for fillies and mares — with Toothofthedragon.

Toothofthedragon, who had been third the whole race, found just enough room to get out in the stretch and catch the race-long leader Little Joke (Billy Davis Jr.) by a head to win in 1:56.

Toothofthedragon ($4.30) is owned by Mike Torcello and trained by Gerry Sarama.

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday (Aug. 22) with post time at 6 p.m.

(Batavia Downs)

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