Hudson Phil convincing in Batavia Open pace
Batavia, NY — Saratoga Raceway regular Hudson Phil traveled four hours west on the 90 for his first-ever start at Batavia Downs and the trip was worth his while. He won the $12,500 Open Handicap pace in gate to wire fashion at the Downs on Saturday night (Aug. 3).
Hudson Phil (Jim Morrill Jr.) flew off the wings and took command with Lucan Hanover (Billy Davis Jr.) drafting close behind. After going to the quarter in :27.2, Morrill grabbed leather and backed the second panel off to a meager :29 as the rest of the field finally caught up. As they started on the second circuit Upfront Countryboy (Drew Monti) pulled first up on the outside to pass the gapped Adonis Bay (John Cummings Jr.) and then dropped back into third to save ground.
The race moved into the last turn and Monti pulled Upfront Countryboy out again and aggressively started driving him as they headed into the stretch. Hudson Phil was still in command but Upfront Countryboy was closing with every step. Lucan Hanover, who had been following the leader the entire mile, was now full of pace but had nowhere to go and was locked on the pylons. Hudson Phil stayed strong on the point and held off all challenges to win by a neck in 1:53.3.
Hudson Phil ($2.30) has now earned $86,832 for owner Kellogg Racing Stables on the strength of his eight 2019 wins. Jackie Greene trains the 4-year-old son of Shanghai Phil-Hazel.
The $11,000 Open II was a very entertaining race. Cultural Paradise (Kyle Cummings) was cruising along smartly on the lead at the half in a moderate split of :56.1, before taking the race to the head of the stretch looking like a winner. But Iammbrightside N (Dave McNeight Jr.), who had been drafting on the outside for a half-mile, pulled three-wide at the three-quarters and was under a full head of steam. Cultural Paradise and Iammbrightside N battled side by side all the way to the wire where Iammbrightside N got the advantage by a neck in 1:53.3.
It was the 33rd lifetime win for Iammbrightside N ($12.20) who is owned by Mirussa Russo and trained by Dave Russo.
Several horsemen had multiple winners on Saturday night. Jim Morrill Jr., Dave McNeight III and Billy Davis Jr. all had three winners on the evening while trainer Dave Russo also sent two horses to the Purple Haze winner’s circle.
The New York Sire Stakes glamour division; the 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings will invade Batavia Downs on Sunday when live racing resumes to vie for $117,400 in total purses. Post time for the first race is 1:15 p.m.
By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs