Black Is Back wins Batavia Open; Gray wins five
Written by Alex Feig on August 19, 2019
By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs
Batavia, NY — Black Is Back took full advantage of post one in Saturday night’s (Aug.17) $12,500 Open Handicap pace at Batavia Downs, going gate to wire in impressive fashion.
Driver Dave McNeight III flew off the wings to claim the point with Black Is Back in the first turn and then kept his foot on the gas to the quarter in :27 flat. The race was basically over at that point as the pair would just continue to extend their lead from there.
After hitting the half in :56.2 on top by 1-½, Black Is Back paced away to a two length lead at three-quarters and four lengths by the top of the stretch. As he turned for home, McNeight sat statuesque as the wrapped-up Black Is Back continued to pull away and hit the beam on top by seven in 1:53.2.
It was the second win in four Batavia Downs starts and seventh win of the year for Black Is Back ($3.70) who now has banked $50,110 this year for owners Curtis Edholm and Mihajlo Zdjelar Sr.. Mihajlo Zdjelar Jr. trains the winner.
The $11,000 Open II Handicap also went to a coast to coast winner; Tullow N.
John Cummings Jr. rousted Tullow N off the gate and to the front and never let anyone get close to them the whole mile. After clicking off fractions of :27.4, :56.4 and 1:24.4 with a loose lead to boot, the field was scattered behind Tullow N except for Manceiver (Drew Monti) who sat the pocket the entire way and was close enough to be considered a contender. But Tullow N didn’t see it that way as he turned for home and pulled away to a 2-¾ length win in 1:53.1.
With $55,135 in earnings on the strength of four wins in 2019, Tullow N ($8.10) is also two for four since coming to Batavia Downs. Blindswitch Racing owns the 8-year-old altered son of Mach Three-Tessa Bromac and Dave Russo does the training.
Shawn Gray was in from Saratoga to drive on Saturday and put on a clinic while he was here. Gray won half the card; five out of the 10 races including a natural Hat Trick in the final three races of the night. He had his picture taken with Best Ears (1:54, $9.20), Myell’s Rockstar (1:54.2, $6.30), Thisjetsabookin (1:54.2, $4.20), M G Home Run (1:56, $13.60) and P C Shockwave (1:56.4, $2.60). The five-bagger vaulted him from ninth to fourth in the local driver standings in one night.
Live racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Sunday afternoon (Aug. 18) at 1:15 p.m. Sunday will feature a $3,000 guaranteed pool on the early Pick-5 wager that runs from race one to race five. It is part of the United States Trotting Association’s (USTA) Strategic Wagering program and as such, free program pages are available for those races on the USTA website or by clicking here for a direct download. (http://bit.ly/2Nc7pwj)