Blueridge Pushy and Riggy, respective two-year-old Virginia-bred champions last year in the filly and colt pacing divisions, captured their three-year-old $5,000 prep races Saturday at the Oak Ridge Estate as harness racing returned to the scenic venue for the first time since 2001.
Herman Hagerman's Blueridge Pushy beat four other fillies in her race, the first pari-mutuel harness event contested at the one mile oval in 14 years. J D Wengerd directed the three and a quarter length victory in 2:02.2, and in identical fashion to 2014's finale, beat the same runner-up and third-place finishers in the same order again Saturday. Freddy Darby's Loves You Baby was second and Scott Warnick's Here Comes Lucy ended up third. Blueridge Pushy is a Badlands Hanover filly out of Cams Pushy Woman by Cambest.
Brian Burtons Riggy also held off four foes to reach the winner's circle in the male counterpart. The Riggins gelding covered the mile in 2:00 and beat Majestos by two lengths. Riggy came to Virginia on a roll, fresh off a pair of runner-up finishes and a dominant victory in Maryland. Leonard Hubbard owns the victor, who will defend his title next Sunday in the $40,000 final.
The two Virginia-bred trotting preps were held as non-betting events prior to the card and a pair of longtime conditioners scored wins in very different fashion. Renfrow Hauser's Max Santorini went wire-to-wire in the colt/gelding trot and held on to win by just a nose over a pesky Flaming Caviar. Charlie Dunavant's Ah Me didn't rely on a close call, rolling to a 20 length triumph over stablemate Kiss My Cart in the filly division. Max Santorini, a Gregory Pecs colt out of Luring Maxine by Luring, crossed the wire in 2:11.1 while Ah Me, a Mr Commando filly out of Koala Kosmos by SJs Photo, connected in 2:07.1.
Driver Brandon Givens had four wins on the afternoon aboard Mohegan Hanover, Youcantstopthis, Stealin The Show and Somewhere With You. The first trio came within the day's first six races and, interestingly, the hot reinsman recorded his next one in the seventh race with a horse that was overlooked at odds of 60-1. Somewhere With You returned $132.00 for a $2 win ticket.
Racing at Oak Ridge continues Sunday with a nine race card beginning at 1:00 p.m. Virginia-bred two-year-old prep races take center stage with a quartet, all featuring a $5,000 purse.
(With files from Oak Ridge Estate)