Batavia, NY — Having not seen post one in what seems like forever, Black Is Back took full advantage of the anomaly on Saturday night (Aug. 22) and went gate to wire with relative ease in the $8,500 Open I pacing feature at Batavia Downs.
Percy’s Z Tam (Jim Morrill Jr.) left fast from post seven and took an early lead. But Black Is Back (Drew Monti) pulled the pocket quickly and went to the front for what would be the remainder of the race. After the :29 first panel, Monti backed down the half to a pedestrian :58.3 and looked about as solid as a favorite could at the point.
As they headed into the third turn, Under Paid (Denny Bucceri) was rolling up to Black Is Back and tried to push the pace and Black Is Back responded with a :27.2 third quarter. With his chasers now in check on the strength of that burst, Black Is Back spun off the far turn under loose lines and kicked home smartly to win by 1-1/4 lengths in 1:54, which was his best effort of the year.
It was the fourth win in 10 starts for Black Is Back ($3.50) who is owned by Curtis Edholm and Mihajlo Zdjelar Sr. Mihajlo Zdjelar Jr. trains the winner.
In the $7,250 Open II-III pace, Long Train Runnin (Bucceri) pulled third over from sixth at the half, tipped three-deep at three-quarters, took the lead in the stretch and with Bucceri bouncing in the bike, paced away to a 1-1/2 length win in 1:53.4. The time was also a new seasonal mark.
Long Train Runnin ($3.00) is owned by William Emmons and is trained by Jim Clouser Jr.
Five drivers accounted for all 13 winners on Saturday as Billy Davis Jr., Drew Monti and Jim Morrill Jr. had driving triples while Denny Bucceri and Dave McNeight III each scored two wins. Trainers Darrin Monti and Gerry Sarama led all conditioners with two wins each as well.
Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday (Aug. 26) with post time at 5 p.m.