(NEW KENT, VA) — Omaha Survivor shook off three straight runner-up finishes and returned to the winners circle for the first time since opening weekend by capturing Thursday’s $3,500 co-featured conditioned pace at Colonial Downs.
An extremely competitive field of eight lined up behind the gate including six pacers who had a winning mile of 1:51 2/5 or faster at the New Kent fall meet. Jeff Nisonger, driving Omaha Survivor for the first time, positioned the 8 year old Ideal Towne gelding in the pocket initially and stayed there until mid-stretch when he calmly came out and overtook front stepping Vertigo Hanover.
Henry Lewis’ Vertigo Hanover, who was going for his sixth win of the season, led from the outset and cut panels of :27.0, :55 4/5 and 1:24 1/5. Omaha Survivor got to the finish first though by a 2 ½ length margin in 1:51 4/5.
The win was driver Nisonger’s middle leg triumph of a natural driving hat trick. The 32 year old connected in the race prior with John Ingram’s Diesel Fuel and in the race after with Gerald Russell’s Ashley Force. He is currently the fifth leading reinsman with 21 wins.
Quiet Charmer kicked off the afternoon with a tight win over My Heidi in the $7,800 final leg of the Juniors Trotting Series. The 4 year old Cash Hall mare had a second and third in the first two series legs but went wire-to-wire with big money on the line. Frank Milby directed Quiet Charmer to a 1:57 1/5 victory, a head better than Jane Dunavant’s My Heidi, who won the second leg by a pair of lengths over Quiet Charmer. The winner is trained by Joe C. Mapes for his wife Irene.
Colonial Downs has only two days left in its annual fall campaign. Cards will be presented Saturday and Sunday at 1 PM. The $380,000 Virginia-bred “Day of Champions” highlights action Sunday with eight divisional championships up for grabs. Three of the “Champions” races will be non-betting starting at 12:20 PM and the remaining five will be part of a twelve race pari-mutuel program.