Batavia, NY — It was a big night of racing at Batavia Downs on Saturday (Oct. 15) with over $150,000 in purses up for grabs and the card was highlighted by a pair of $15,000 Opens for horses of both gaits.
The Open I Handicap trot went to Lougazi, who came from behind to win in his best effort of the year.
Last week’s winner C R Blazin Beauty (Dave McNeight III) took the lead and trotted to the :28.4 quarter before Credit List (Jim Morrill Jr.) came roaring up the outside to gain that position. But his lead didn’t last long either as McNeight came right back with C R Blazin Beauty midway through turn two and was back in front by the top of the stretch, heading for the half. As soon as C R Blazin Beauty crossed over, Lougazi (Ray Fisher Jr.) pulled from fifth and started his journey into contention.
Lougazi drew alongside C R Blazin Beauty by the three-quarter pole and it looked like he was going right on by. But C R Blazin Beauty stiffened up and came back, and both trotters were even coming out of the last turn. When they straightened out for home, Lougazi swelled up and trotted away from the field. He was wrapped up halfway to the wire where he won by 1-3/4 lengths in a personal season’s best of 1:57.2.
It was the seventh win of the year for Lougazi ($6) who has now earned $89,860 for owner Mary Warriner. Ryan Swift trains the winner.
Fisher and Swift also teamed up to win with the upset-minded Play Rock (1:56.3, $48.40) that gave Swift a training double. Fisher would end the night with three driving wins.
The premier Open I Handicap pace was won by Out On Bail who regained his form of last month to capture his ninth win of the year.
Drew Monti sent Puzzling off the gate for a short-lived lead when Jim Morrill Jr. decided Out On Bail should be on the point and went there with him. He settled onto the pylons with a 1-1/2 length lead at the quarter in :28.2 and controlled the proceedings from there. With no legitimate challenge coming from the field, Out On Bail and Puzzling separated by two lengths as they headed towards three-quarters. Around the last turn, Out On Bail pulled away from Puzzling and as they swung down the lane, Morrill sat chilly as he opened up 3-1/2 lengths with Out On Bail who won in 1:54.
Out On Bail ($3.70) is owned by Mike Torcello and is trained by Sam Smith.
Morrill ended the night winning four races on the card. Besides Out On Bail he also scored with Deputy Seelster (1:55.4, $6.70), Embrace the rust (1:59, $6.80) and B J Laredo (1:58.3, $3). As a result, Morrill closed the gap slightly between himself and Kevin Cummings for the dash driving lead. Cummings is on top with 93 and now Morrill is just seven behind in second place with 86.
When live racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday (Oct. 19) there will be a $1,662 carryover in the Pick-5 wager in the first race and the pool will be guaranteed at $5,000 through the United States Trotting Association’s Strategic Wagering Program. As such there will be free past performance programs for the first five races on Wednesday available for download on the USTA website starting on Sunday (Oct. 16). Post time for the first race is at 6 p.m.
Free full past performance race programs for all live race days can be downloaded by visiting the track’s website at bataviadownsgaming.com and clicking the “Live Racing” tab and then you watch all the races live on the Batavia Downs YouTube channel.