Late Night Joke Smokes Plainridge Oval

A pair of Winners-Over paces topped the Memorial Day card at Plainridge Park on Monday and there was no one to laughing at Late Night Joke’s performance in the faster of the two divisions.

In the $13,000 seven-horse leg, Quick Shot (Drew Campbell) played hardball with Late Night Joke (Shawn Gray) on the point but eventually relented past the 26-flat quarter. But as soon as Late Night Joke cleared, Quick Shot came right back out to reclaim the lead. These two paced strongly atop the field from the half to three-quarters with only a mild bid from Rockin Cougar (Nick Graffam) during that time.

Around the far turn it became a two-horse race and Late Night Joke pulled the pocket before the stretch and drew alongside Quick Shot when they finally did straighten out. From that point on Gray had the whip tucked and Late Night Joke cruised home to a two-length victory in 1:50.4, which was a new seasonal mark.

Late Night Joke ($10.80) scored his second consecutive win and third of the year for owner Dandy Farms Racing and Ft. Racing Stable. Jimmy Nickerson trains the winner.

In the $14,000 second division, Avatartist (Mark Eaton) found his way to the front once again but after three straight weeks of :25.4 first panel splits, this time in a more controlled :27.4. With no one pushing the issue, the race continued to the half in :57.3 and it was really over at that point. Avatartist then went back to back quarters in :27.2 and :27.4 and held off late charges by Sir Pugsley (Shawn Gray) and Fashion Bythebeach (Mitchell Cushing) to win by a length in 1:52.4.

Driver Mark Eaton also trains and co-owns Avatartist ($10.40) with Bob McHugh, Robert Griffin and Russell Young.

Driver Jay Randall had a big day at The Ridge scoring a Grand Slam on the afternoon. Randall won with Goddess Ofgoodness (1:57.4, $4.00), My Mind Is Madeup (1:52, $6.40), Fuzzylegsandall (1:54.4, $14.40) and Weekend Fling (1:55.1, $12.80).

Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Thursday with post time at 4 p.m. As a result of no one picking the winning combination once again, there is a $7,170 carryover pool for the Wicked Hi-5 Pentafecta wager in the sixth race on Thursday.

(Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts)