Following his stellar outing of Friday (Sept. 30) at Batavia Downs, driver Jim Morrill Jr. bounced back with another unbelievable performance on Saturday (Oct. 1) as he won five more races including the top two paces.
The $15,000 Open I Handicap went to Morrill and Rebellious, who got away fourth as Just Plain Loco (Dave McNeight III) took the field to the half in :55.4. There, Morrill made a second-over move following Surfer Beach (Greg Merton) who got it in gear heading into turn three. Surfer Beach cleared at three-quarters and Rebellious then followed him again to the top of the stretch. Heading down the lane Rebellious tipped out and got rowdy. He paced right by Surfer Beach and got home on top by 2-¾ lengths in 1:53.2.
It was the third win in a row, tenth win of the year and 65th-lifetime victory for the half-million dollar earner Rebellious ($4.40) who is owned by his trainer Mike Deters in partnership with Joel Warner.
Then in the $14,000 Open II Handicap Morrill took the garden spot with Mississippi Rabbit behind American Trademark (Keith Kash) to the half in a very tepid :59.2. The slow-going forced Stop Action (Shawn McDonough) to brush and crush to the lead up the backstretch and open up a three-length lead heading into the stretch. But Morrill rousted Mississippi Rabbit and high lined him all the way home to a one-length win in 1:55.2.
It was also the third win in a row for Mississippi Rabbit ($4.70) who is owned by Rocco Stebbins and trained by Joe Skowyra.
Morrill also won with Dewar N Jack (1:56.1, $9.30), Century Grizzly (1:54.2, $3.30) and Major Asset (1:54.2, $4.00). Morrill drove in 11 races Saturday night and aside from the wins, never missed the board. He finished second four times and third twice giving him an unheard-of UDR of .717 for the night.
At the start of this racing week, Morrill was 12 races behind Kevin Cummings for the dash lead at this meet. Now after only three days of racing he has closed that gap to three. Cummings currently sits with 78 wins and after Saturday’s action, Morrill now has 75.
Morrill wasn’t the only one winning races. Drivers Drew Monti, Dave McNeight III and Greg Merton each had two wins on the card as did trainers Chris Naedele and Maria Rice.
The $1,960 carryover and $5,000 guaranteed pool on the Pick-5 wager in race one brought $5,328 in new money and provided a winning payout of $595.50 for a 50-cent wager on the combination of 2-2-3-2-2,3. However, the Jackpot Super Hi-5 in the last race was not hit and that carryover has grown to $829 for that wager in the the12th race on Wednesday night.
Live racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday (Oct. 5) 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.
Photo by Wendy J. Lowery.