Lip Reader A goes last to first at Buffalo

Hamburg, NY — Lip Reader A ($2.60) proved it’s not how you start but how you finish.

For the second race in a row, Lip Reader A lagged off the starting gate, dropping back to last, but closed with a rush to claim the $14,000 Open Pace at Buffalo Raceway on Saturday night (April 20). He beat Optical Illusion N by a neck in 1:55.2 over the fast track.

It was the second straight Open victory for Lip Reader A (Drew Monti) and third in four attempts.

Down the stretch, Lip Reader A never gave up and methodically inched for the neck victory. Barnstormer Images.

Optical Illusion N took control of the early pace, setting splits of :29.2, :58 and 1:26.2. Meanwhile, Lip Reader A sat sixth and last, but began his first over journey heading down the lane the first time. A tip of the hat goes to Better Take It as he provided some live cover for Lip Reader A but then called it a night turning for home.

Down the stretch, Lip Reader A never gave up and methodically inched for the neck victory. Optical Illusion N was a tough luck second with Six Degrees (Shawn McDonough) rolling in for third.

Co-owned by Vogel & Wags Nags and Team Rice Racing, Lip Reader A (Sportswriter-Strike Line) is trained by Maria Rice. It was the fourth win of the year in six appearances for the 10-year-old gelding, putting $34,180 in the bank on the campaign and $206,698 lifetime.

In the co-main event, the $14,000 Open Trot, Crazy Ritz ($3.70) took advantage of his inside post and went gate-to-wire in turning back Power And Grace by a neck in 1:58.

After a third place finish in last week’s Open Trot, losing by just a half-length in his seasonal debut, Crazy Ritz (James McNeight Jr.) was up to the task in his second outing.

Scoring off the rail, Crazy Ritz used the give and go with Power And Grace to gain the top, playing catch me if you can from there. With the field double decked at the half in :58, everyone but Johnny Boy, who broke before the start, had a legitimate chance.

But Crazy Ritz rebuffed all their efforts and stayed on task. There were no serious challengers down the lane as Power And Grace (Drew Monti) and BJ’s Smitty (Jim Morrill Jr.) could only battle for second and third place honors.

Owned by James Palladino and trained by Jim McNeight, it was the first victory in two tries for the 4-year-old Crazy Ritz (Crazy Wow-Bubblesnritz). The win moved his 2024 earnings to $8,680 and $97,687 in his career.

Racing will resume on Wednesday afternoon at 2:30 p.m. with an 11-race card set.

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