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Protect Blue Chip Back To Winning Ways

Published: September 15, 2021 9:49 pm ET

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Last week, Protect Blue Chip finished third in her first start back from a five-week respite. That start served her well, as she bounced back with a season’s best effort in winning the $12,300 Distaff Open Handicap Pace at Batavia Downs on Wednesday night (Sept. 15).

Jim Morrill Jr. hustled Protect Blue Chip to the lead and kept everyone honest through fractions of :27.4 and :57. At that point, the field split — three in and three out — with the outer flow consisting of Stay Beautiful (Braxten Boyd), Wonderful World (Drew Monti) and Misty Memory N (Shawn McDonough).

Feeling the pressure, Morrill tapped the gas and Protect Blue Chip sped up the third panel to :28.2. However, despite the increased tempo, Stay Beautiful continued to reel in the leader, and Misty Memory N, full of pace, tipped three-high. Heading for home and in the midst of attack, Protect Blue Chip stayed brave and fended off all comers under a mere line drive by Morrill, winning by 1-1/4 lengths in 1:54.

It was the eighth win of the year for Protect Blue Chip ($3.40), who is owned by Vogel & Wags Nags, Team Rice Racing and Adelphi Bloodstock. Maria Rice is the trainer.

Morrill ended up as the winningest driver on Wednesday after he added scores with Willy Mouse (2:00.1, $5.40) and Hey Kobe (1:56.4, $4.20) to take home a hat trick.

A scratch-shortened field of five mares started in the $9,900 Open III Pace, and when they hit the wire, they were all within 1-1/2 lengths of each other.

Ellieonthemove (Kevin Cummings) got away easy and led to the half without opposition. Then, Twin B Kini (Drew Monti) tipped first-over at five-eighths and drew even with the leader by the 1:27.3 three-quarters. At the top of the stretch, the entire field fanned out across the track. All five horses had a shot to win, but Twin B Kini was toughest of all and hung on by a neck in 1:56.4.

Twin B Kini ($5.00), who came in fresh off winning the New York Sire Stakes County Fair final for three-year-old pacing fillies at Historic Track in Goshen on Sept. 5, increased her 2021 win total to 11 on the strength of this victory for her owners John Sixt and Judy Blaun, who also does the training.

Monti and Blaun combined for consecutive double after also winning with Barry Hanover (1:55.3, $3.10) in the following race.

The Jackpot Hi-5 was not hit in the last race on Wednesday, so there will be a $946 carryover for that bet on Friday (Sept. 17), when live racing resumes at Batavia Downs at 5 p.m.

(Batavia Downs)

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