Batavia, NY – Blue Bell Bonnie has been one of the toughest mares competing at Batavia Downs this season. Coming off three wins in her last four starts and moving up in class, the mare went right to the front and never looked back in the $12,500 Open I Handicap pace for distaff participants at the Downs on Wednesday afternoon (Sept. 11).
Driver Jim Morrill Jr. sent Blue Bell Bonnie to the front and proceeded unchallenged to the half in relatively mild :57.4. With the field still in single file as they headed into the third turn, HP Sissy (John Cummings Jr.) finally pulled first-over past the five-eighths and made a bull rush towards the leader, drawing alongside her in the backstretch.
The two matched strides to the three-quarters and into the final bend before Blue Bell Bonnie found a new gear and started to pull away with a clear one-length lead. Morrill urged Blue Bell Bonnie down the lane and she responded to win by a length in 1:54 over a fast closing Little Joke (Billy Davis Jr.).
It was the eighth win of the year for Blue Bell Bonnie ($4.70) and it pushed her earnings to $52,798 for owners Burke Racing and Weaver Bruscemi. James Clouser Jr. trains the 7-year-old daughter of Mister Big-The Girl Can Bet.
In the $11,000 Open II fillies and mares pace, Mean Pauline (Shawn McDonough) got a perfect pocket trip behind Machin Marley (Jim Morrill Jr.) before popping the deuce at the top of the stretch and wrestling away the lead at the wire to win by a head in 1:57.
Now with four wins on the year and earnings of $30,756, Mean Pauline ($21.20) has already surpassed her efforts of last year for owner Harry Wortzman. Shawn McDonough drives and trains the winner.
Driver Jim Morrill Jr. lead all drivers with a triple on the card.
When live racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday (Sept. 13) at 6:00 p.m. there will be a guaranteed carryover pool of $4,000 for the Pick-5 wager. This will be part of the United States Trotting Association’s (USTA) Strategic Wagering Program and as such, free program pages will be available for races one through five on the USTA’s website.