Validus Deo overpowers field in Batavia Open
Written by WBTA STAFF on September 17, 2018
Validus Deo (Photos courtesy of Paul White)
By TIm Bojarski, for Batavia Downs
For the second time in three weeks, Validus Deo laid claim to being the best pacer in western New York after winning the $10,000 Open Handicap pace at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Sept. 15).
The starter released the field and they all hit the pylons in draw order going into the first turn. Halfway up the backside, Bugatti (Ron Beback Jr.) pulled to advance but Valudis Deo (Kevin Cummings) swooped three-deep around him and took the lead by the quarter in a tepid :28 and at that point, the race was won.
Validus Deo motored down to the half in :55.4 and three-quarters in 1:24 flat as Whosurpapa (Billy Davis Jr.) tried to challenge first-over but didn’t have any answers once out there. Rounding the last turn Cummings got more aggressive with his drive, knowing the pocket-sitting Barry Hanover (Shawn McDonough) was ready to pounce. As that situation unfolded, Validus Deo was up to the challenge and maintained his lead to the wire in 1:52.2, which was a new seasonal mark for the winner.
Validus Deo ($5.70) registered his ninth win of the year and 35th of his career for trainer/driver Kevin Cummings who co-owns the winner with Matthew Rosiek and Robert Johnson.
The $9,000 Open II was won by Upfront Countryboy (Billy Davis Jr.) who got away last before sliding up to fourth along the pylons past the half and shaking loose three-deep at the top of the stretch to pull away and win by a length in 1:52.4.
It was the 11th win of the year for Upfront Countryboy ($17.40) who is owned by William Emmons and trained by James Clouser Jr.
The fastest mile of the night was orchestrated by Lucan Hanover (John Cummings Jr.) who went wire to wire in 1:52 in an upper level condition race. The very classy $1.1 million earner Lucan Hanover ($5.10) took up residency at Batavia Downs in early August after a private purchase by Vogel & Wags Nags Stable, Jack Rice and Pine Hill Racing. Maria Rice trains the winner.
Drew Monti led all drivers on Saturday with three wins followed by John Cummings Jr. and Billy Davis Jr. who both had two.
There was no winner in the early Pick-5 wager on Saturday, meaning there is a carryover pool of $620 for the early Pick-5 when racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday (Sept. 19) at 5 p.m. DIrector/General Manager of Live Racing Todd Haight has also announced that the early Pick-5 pool will be guaranteed at $1,500 on Wednesday.