Wheels A Turning rolls in Batavia Open trot
Written by Alex Feig on August 17, 2019
Wheels A Turning (Photo courtesy of Paul White)
By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs
Batavia, NY — After heavy late afternoon rains degraded the track to sloppy, a very game Wheels A Turning overcame the weather, a slow start and a breaking horse to score a decisive victory in the $12,500 Open Handicap trotting feature at Batavia Downs on Friday evening (Aug. 16).
Off the gate, Dragin The Wagon (Shawn McDonough) went for the lead and in doing so, got parked three-deep around the first turn before clearing at the quarter in :27.3. Once on top, McDonough backed off the half to :57 trying to save some for later. Going past the stands before they hit the third turn, Rose Run Speedster (Jim Morrill Jr.) and Wheels A Turning (Dave McNeight III) pulled and got an outer flow going to try and take advantage of the early speed.
As they trotted past the five-eighths, Keystone Apache (Billy Davis Jr.) pulled from second and immediately made a break in front of Rose Run Speedster. That cleared the way for Rose Run Speedster to draw alongside Dragin The Wagon and Wheels A Turning, who was on his back, to go three-deep at three-quarters in 1:26.3. Dragin The Wagon said goodnight at the top of the stretch leaving Rose Run Speedster and Wheels A Turning engaged in a match race to the wire. After trotting in unison for almost the last eighth of a mile, Wheels A Turning finally nudged ahead before the wire and won by a length in 1:56.4.
The eighth win of the season for Wheels A Turning ($5.60) was also a seasonal best effort and the winner’s share of the purse boosted his earnings to $61,810 for owners Burke Racing and Weaver Bruscemi. James Clouser Jr. trains the winner.
In the $11,000 Open II trot, Lucky Guess (Ray Fisher Jr.) was on a mission when the gate released the field, taking control from post one like a shot. After being unchallenged to the half in a tepid :59.2, Noble Legend (Billy Davis Jr.) pulled from third at the half with Southern Palms (Jim Morrill Jr.) behind him and they both started to push the issue.
Motoring up the backstretch, Lucky Guess and Noble Legend went stride for stride to the three-quarters when Noble Legend started to fade and Southern Palms tipped three-deep and advanced. When the race moved off the turn, Lucky Guess had opened up a two-length lead and down the lane, Fisher raised the lines over his head to let his horse trot home on her own and win in 1:58.2.
The time was a new lifetime mark for the 6-year-old daughter of Lucky Chucky-Athenea.
It was the second win in three Batavia Downs starts for Lucky Guess ($14.20) and her owner Dennis Beaver. Kirk Desmond trains Lucky Guess.
Ray Fisher Jr. was the hot driver for the night, scoring a Grand Slam on the card. Jim Morrill Jr. got the Hat Trick and Dave McNeight III and Billy Davis Jr. each had driving doubles.
In a true oddity of racing, there were two dead heats for win recorded at Batavia Downs on Friday with Jim Morrill Jr. and trainer JD Perrin involved in both of them.
Batavia Downs hosted a fundraiser for the Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester (BCCR) on Friday night. Donations by many owners, trainers and drivers along with donations from fans attending live racing combined with proceeds from the silent auction to earn a total of over $13,500, which exceeds last year’s best-ever record. That money will go directly to the BCCR.
Batavia Downs would like to thank everyone who participated in this great fundraiser for such a worthy cause.
Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday (Aug. 17) with post time at 6 p.m. Saturday’s card features a chance for one lucky fan to win a $3,500 diamond bracelet courtesy of TAG Jewelers.