Batavia, NY — Heavily backed at the windows, Black Is Back delivered for his supporters after going gate to wire in the $8,500 Open I Handicap pace at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Oct. 24).
The red-hot Dave McNeight III pushed the car away with Black Is Back and took the point passing the quarter in :28 and led a single file field to the half from there. Rounding turn two, McSpidey (Denny Bucceri) and Cultural Paradise (Kyle Cummings) pulled into the breeze and prompted the third quarter to a snappy 1:25.2.
Rounding the last turn, Cultural Paradise tipped three deep, Percy’s Z Tam (Jim Morrill Jr.) went four-wide around him and McSpidey shook loose from the pylons and all five horses were charging down the lane. With a highly animated group of drivers doing their best to get there first, McNeight and Black Is Back refused to lose and hung on by a half-length in 1:54.4.
It was the seventh win of the year for Black Is Back ($2.80) who is owned by Curtis Edholm and Mihajlo Zedjelar Sr. Mihajlo Zedjelar Jr. trains the winner.
The $7,500 Open II Handicap pace went to Machlicious (Drew Monti) who got away fourth before pulling first-over at the half, taking the lead at the three-quarters and then maintaining a 1-½ length lead to the wire where he won in 1:55.2.
Machlicious ($5.10) captured his third win in his last four starts for owner Jim Caradori and trainer Darrin Monti.
Dave McNeight III led all drivers on Saturday with driving Grand Slam but Ron Beback Jr. had a big night as well, winning three races as both a driver and a trainer.
There was a $5,000 guaranteed Pick-5 pool at Batavia Downs on Saturday that paid out big. The winning combination of 6-3-5-5-4 returned $6,065 for a $1 wager.
Live racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday (Oct. 28) at 5 p.m. There will be another guaranteed Pick-5 pool of $3,000 on Wednesday and it will again be part of the USTA’s Strategic Wagering Program with free program pages available on both USTA and Batavia Downs websites starting early next week.