Batavia, NY — Hard work from Kim Crawford and his track crew put aside the effects of an overnight ice storm that negatively impacted a large swath of Western New York and ensured that the Thursday afternoon (Feb. 23) card at Batavia Downs could be held as scheduled. And despite sloppy conditions with intermittent freezing rain throughout the day, the card went off without a hitch.
Three $13,000 Open races topped the program along with many big payouts for the wagering public.
A field of seven top-class distaff pacers went postward in the Mares Open, with the public all over American Delight N (Jim Morrill Jr.) — and the mare did not disappoint her supporters.
Morrill put American Delight N on the engine and never looked back. With Ball Diamond (Keith Kash Jr.) sitting in the garden spot, American Delight N set even fractions of :29, :59.2 and 1:29 before entering the final turn. Ball Diamond tipped to challenge at the head of the lane, but she couldn’t get the job done as American Delight N held sway to the line to win by a neck in a seasonal best 1:58.1.
It was the second win of the year for American Delight N ($4.10) and owners Mike Deters and Joel Warner. Kevin Reynolds Jr. trains the winner.
Next came the male pacers, and Out On Bail (Kevin Cummings) made his seasonal debut a winning one after a strong stretch drive.
A Game Changer (Deve McNeight III) fought hard against Lord Willoughby A (Winter Asher-Stalbaum) to get the lead in a quick :27.4 first quarter. A Game Changer slowed the pace to the half in :57.4, and that prompted Out On Bail to pull first-over from fourth as they rolled past the grandstand. A Game Changer saw his lead diminish as they went up the backstretch, and his opponent looked him in the eye around the last turn. Out On Bail and A Game Changer were even heading for home and matched strides as they approached the wire. Out On Bail got the advantage late and scored by a half length in 1:58.1.
Out On Bail ($6.40) is owned by Mike Torcello and trained by Sammy Smith.
Then, the top trotters took the stage with Cummings and Smith teaming up again with another Torcello-owned charge, Gemini Eddie, who turned a Northfield tightener into a Batavia victory.
Leaving from post seven, Credit List (Jim Morrill Jr.) out-muscled the pylon-starting Embrace The Rust (Jim McNeight Jr.) and crossed over at the quarter in :30.1. The top two positions remained unchanged for the next half mile until they were joined by Gemini Eddie, who made a three-wide move from fifth at three-quarters and gained into second in the last turn. Gemini Eddie hooked up with Credit List at the top of the stretch, and the two trotted in tandem all the way to the line, where Gemini Eddie got the advantage and won by a neck in 2:00.2.
It was the 27th lifetime win for the high-percentage Gemini Eddie ($8.20), who has finished in the money 55 percent of the time during his career.
The off going also provided a host of long shot payoffs throughout the card. The 50-cent Pick-5 combination of 3,8/7/3/5/2 returned $2,237.50 in the fifth race; a win by the 26-1 SBD Corazon (Denny Bucceri) resulted in a $55.00 win mutuel and $1,209.40 price for the 20-cent superfecta combination of 5-4-6-1 in the seventh race; and in the final contest of the night, Mean Irene (Kyle Cummings) upset at 16-1 for a win payout of $35.80, a $1 6-9-1-2 superfecta prize of $4,553.50 and a $1 trifecta of 6-9-1 that paid $1,335.50.
When live racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Monday (Feb. 27) at 3 p.m., there will be a $461 carryover in the Jackpot Hi-5 in the ninth race. Monday is also the final card of racing for the 2023 winter meet. Free full-card past performance forms for the entire card of live racing at Batavia can always be downloaded at the Downs’ website.