Fox Valley Veto, Blue Bell Bonnie win Friday night features at Batavia Downs
Batavia, NY — Two top class races highlighted the second last race card at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Dec. 13) and both winners rewarded their backers with premium mutuels.
In the $12,500 Open I Handicap trot, Fox Valley Veto was overlooked at 11-1 and pulled the upset with a strong closing effort.
Saratoga invader Golden Kronos (John Cummings Jr.) flew to the lead and rattled off fractions of :29 and :59.2. At the half Wheels A Turning (Shawn McDonough) pulled first up and Fox Valley Veto (Billy Davis Jr.) followed his cover. Positions remained the same until the top of the stretch when Davis tipped Fox Valley Veto clear and matched strides with Golden Kronos all the way to the wire where he got a slight advantage and won by a head in 1:58.4.
It was the third win in a row and 12th of the year for Fox Valley Veto ($24.80) who has now earned $72,317 for owners Vogel and Wags Nags Stable and Jack Rice. Maria Rice trains the winner.
Then in the $12,500 Open I Handicap pace for fillies and mares, Blue Bell Bonnie turned some heads as she breezed the fastest mile of the night.
Driver Dave McNeight III burst through the gate with Blue Bell Bonnie, went right to the front and never looked back for a second. Posting furious fractions of :27.4, :56.4 and 1:25.2, Blue Bell Bonnie rounded the final bend and took a two length lead into deep stretch where he won in a shocker time of 1:54.3.
It was the 10th win of the year for Blue Bell Bonnie ($10.60) and it pushed her total for 2019 to $75,258. Burke Racing and Weaver Bruscemi own and James Clouser Jr. trains.
The Downs 2019 driving champion Billy Davis Jr. was the top dog again on Friday after winning four more races on the card. Besides the already mentioned Fox Valley Veto, Davis also won with Expensive Toy (1:58.4, $3.00), Traverse Seelster (1:59.3, $13.60) and Are You In (2:00.4, $8.70).
Drew Monti also scored a driving hat trick and Shawn McDonough doubled up both as a driver and a trainer.
Live racing resumes for the final time in 2019 on Saturday night (Dec. 14) with post time at 6 p.m.
By Tim Bojarski