Thirty-three years after he won his first Rokeby Bowl with Lord Loudoun in 1949, Dr. Joe Rogers came up with another winner today, Baby Doe by 17 lengths over Hamid. Randy Waterman rode the victor. Laughing Dragon was third and Bagdads Gal fourth in the field of steeplechasers.
Rogers has won this prestigious first leg of Virginia's amateur "big three" (Rokeby, Middleburg Bowl and Eustis Cup) three other times, but today's victory had to the most pleasing for the Loudoun County physician.
Baby Doe, Virginia's leading race mare last year, went racing over hurdles, made the big jump to timber at Rappahannock and was so impressive that Rogers aimed her for the Rokeby.
The 7-year-old bay, under the careful handling of Waterman, prevailed wire to wire over a 3 1/2-mile course with 21 fences. A Piedmont point-to-point crowd of close to 2,000 fans watched, thoroughly wind-chilled.
Waterman further added to his spring lead among the riders with another convincing victory in the Oakley Plate, guiding Champerty to a distance win over Mike duPont on Constantine. The Salem Farm's timber fences knocked out Machu Picchu at the 12th and Noble Order at the 13th.
Susan Sutula reversed last week's order when she brought home Too Far Gone ahead of Hillary Thompson on Boca Bird and regained the lead for the Virginia Ladies Rider championship.