Batavia, NY — Thor De Vie left a string of second place finishes behind and got back to his winning ways after out-muscling a solid field of six in the $11,200 Open I Handicap Pace at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (July 31).
It was Katy-bar-the-door horse racing in the night’s feature race as four horses left and no one would give way. It was Thor De Vie (Dave McNeight III) on the point on the pegs, Windsong Jack (Ray FIsher Jr.) one out and even, Endeavors Pride (Kevin Cummings) behind Thor De Vie and Surfer Beach (Jim Morrill Jr.) behind Windsong Jack. These four paced as a pack through fractions of :27.4 and :56.4 and continued the same past the five-eighths marker.
As the group headed up the backstretch, the outer flow began to lose touch and Endeavors Pride finally had room to roam. Cummings pulled Endeavors Pride approaching the three-quarters and hooked up with the leader. Endeavors Pride got as close as Thor De Vie’s wheel but getting closer was hard to do. Thor De Vie swelled up at the head of the stretch and held off the challenge as well as one from a late-closing Stranger Things (Kyle Cummings) to win by a half-length in 1:54.3.
It was the fourth win of the year for Thor De Vie ($10.20) who is owned by Jim Graham, Lee Winters, Paul Tandlmayer and Giuseppe Micchia. Jim Graham also trains the winner.
The $10,000 Open II Pace went to Lord Willoughby A who was catch driven by Ray Fisher Jr. for owner/trainer Larry Stalbaum.
Fisher sat chilly in the garden spot for seven-eighths of a mile while Catcha Lefty A (Mike Baumeister) dictated the pace, walking to the half in :59 before tapping the gas in a :27.4 third panel. But Lord Willoughby A kept up tight as the pace increased and when Fisher tipped him coming off the last turn, Lord Willoughby A paced hard down the lane and he caught Catcha Lefty A at the line to win by only a nose in 1:55.2.
After scoring his fourth win of the year, Lord Willoughby A returned $5.40.
Jim Morrill Jr. led all drivers on Saturday with three wins and trainers Jenn Giuliani, Gerry Sarama and Lee Dahn all had two wins apiece.
Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Sunday (Aug. 1) with post time at 1:15 p.m.