Stratosphere, Southern Palms claim Buffalo wins

Hamburg, NY — There was no breather for Stratosphere ($12.80) in Buffalo Raceway’s $10,500 Class AA-Open Handicap Pace on Saturday night (April 24) but he was more than up to the persistent challenges in taking a half-length win over Mr Ham Sandwich in 1:54.1, the fastest mile of the 2021 meet.

Stratosphere took a half-length win over Mr Ham Sandwich in 1:54.1. Bill Burke photo.

After collecting the lead just before the opening panel, Stratosphere (Drew Monti) was under constant siege during the entire mile tour around the half-mile oval. First it was Santana Beach who was parked alongside Stratosphere for the first half. After Santana Beach threw in the towel, it was time for Mr Ham Sandwich and Iluvtomakemoney to take their turns at Stratosphere. While giving it their best shots, Stratosphere was more than up for the challenge and gamely crossed the finish line ahead of Mr Ham Sandwich (David McNeight III) and Iluvtomakemoney (Ray Fisher Jr.).

Owned by Drew Monti and trained by Darrin Monti, it was the second victory in five attempts this season for the 6-year-old gelded Stratosphere (Mach Three-Northern Jade). The win improved his seasonal bankroll to $13,950 and $127,315 lifetime.

In the co-featured $10,400 Class A-Open Handicap Trot, Southern Palms ($3.20) let Mr Quaker do all the dirty work, then went by in deep stretch to register the head decision in a seasonal best 1:57.1.

Mr Quaker blasted off the starting gate and posted quick fractions of :28.4, :57.1 and 1:26.3. Southern Palms (Jim Morrill Jr.) stayed in the pocket until ducking down into the passing lane and eventually went past the stubborn Mr Quaker. Keystone Apache (Billy Davis Jr.) finished in third place.

Owned by Mike Torcello and trained by Gerry Sarama, the 8-year-old gelded Southern Palms (RC Royalty-Pacific Elegance) has now posted three wins in eight starts this year. The victory increased his earnings to $15,445 on the campaign and $356,613 in his career.

There were a couple of big shockers on the evening as This Baby Rocks (Ray Fisher Jr.) kicked off the 11-race program with an $86.00 victory while Gallant Major (Jim McNeight Jr.) followed that up in the fourth race with an $84.50 triumph.

Morrill completed the evening with three driving wins while Fisher and Monti had doubles. Sarama had a pair of training victories.

Racing will continue on Wednesday evening with an 11-race card with a scheduled post time of 5 p.m. There will be a guaranteed pool of $10,000 in the Pick-5 which begins in the second race.

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