(NEW KENT, VA) — Jovial Joker N, a 13 year old Life Sign gelding, turned back the clock and scored a convincing divisional win Wednesday afternoon in the Horace Martin Memorial Pacing Series at Colonial Downs.
The victory was Jovial Joker N’s 50th and helped boost his career bankroll over the $433,000 mark. Trainer Dean Eckley and driver Robert Dinning, both competing at Colonial for the first time ever, saw their pacer sent off as the 13-1 long shot in the 7/8ths mile race.
Henry Lewis’s Putnam’s Art got to the front early and triggered initial quarter panels of :26 2/5, :55 4/5 and 1:25.0 before hooking up with Art At Heart together at the top of the stretch. Jovial Joker N, a length behind in third at that point, cruised by the pacesetters and coasted home to a 3 1/4 length win in 1:39.0.
Don Brainard’s JK Geronimo connected in an earlier Martin division, beating Gerald Longo’s Lemondrop Martini by 1 ¾ lengths in 1:38 3/5. Driver Corey Braden, who had two wins on the afternoon, guided the 5 year old pacing mare to her fourth straight win.
Two first leg divisions of the VHHA Pacing Series complemented the opening day program. George Anthrop’s Glad Its Over and Dean Eckley’s Plain Easy scored wins respectively in 1:55.0 and 1:54 3/5. The former stormed back from sixth at the top of the stretch to win by one half length over Stately Man while Frank Milby directed the latter to a 1 ¼ length triumph after pacing third throughout most of the mile.
Colonial Downs’ fall season continues Thursday with a ten race card that begins at 1:00 PM. The sixteenth annual standardbred campaign continues thru October 27th on a Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday basis.