Lougazi, Art Scene finish fast in Batavia features
Batavia, NY — With a host of Open events on the card at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Nov. 20), the main events both showcased impressive come-from-behind victories by Lougazi and Art Scene who both went from worst to first with stirring stretch drives to the wire.
Looking at the trots first, Lougazi won the $13,500 Open I Handicap for the diagonal-gaited set.
After getting away last while Mugshots Bro (Shawn McDonough) took the field to the half in :59, Lougazi pulled third over in the outer flow behind Barn Hall (Kevin Cummings) and Party Boy Hanover (Jim Morrill Jr.) who were spearheading the charge.
Barn Hall took the lead approaching the three-quarters and Party Boy Hanover opted to duck to the pylons and follow him. That left Lougazi in the breeze around the last turn and that was just fine with him. He drew even with Barn Hall at the top of the stretch and then simply trotted away in the lane while Fisher sat chilly, winning by an easy 2-¼ lengths in 1:57.4.
It was the eighth win of the year for Lougazi ($7.30) who now has $69,121 earned for owner Mary Warriner and trainer Ryan Swift.
Fisher, Swift and Warriner also won the $12,100 Open II Handicap trot with Franks Watching (Ray Fisher Jr.) who left strong off the gate and finished even stronger. After backing the half off to 1:01.4, Franks Watching trotted the back half in :58 flat and held off a late closing Warrawee Shipshape (Jim Morrill Jr.) to win by ¼ length in 1:59.4. Franks Watching ($5.60) visited the winner’s circle for the 11th time this year.
On the pacing side in the $13,500 Open I Handicap, Art Scene (Jim Morrill Jr.) ended a two week drought and revisited victory lane after taking the feature pace of the night. Art Scene got away last as McSpidey (Kyle Cummings) fought hard to get the lead and cleared at the quarter in :27.4. When the race got to the half, the field split into two rows when Santana Beach (Kevin Cummings) came first-over and brought American Zest A (Larry Stalbaum) along for the ride.
As the group approached three-quarters, Stratosphere (Drew Monti), who made his way to third-over at that point, tipped three-deep into the last turn and was closing ground with every stride. But at the same time, Art Scene was now in gear on Stratosphere’s back and tipped into the clear as they entered the stretch. Now spread three across the track, McSpidey, Stratosphere and Art Scene paced shoulder to shoulder to the wire where Art Scene got the advantage and won by ½ length in 1:55 with an impressive :28.3 final panel.
It was the seventh win of the year for Art Scene ($9.10) who has now earned $61,970 this year for owners Vogel & Wags Nags, Team Rice Racing and Adelphi Bloodstock. Maria Rice is the trainer.
Jim Morrill Jr. ended the night with three driving wins while Maria Rice scored a training double.
In the $12,100 Open II Handicap pace, Foo Fighter N (Kyle Cummings) led every step of the mile before crossing the line on top by 2-¼ lengths in 1:54.1 for trainer Jim Clouser Jr. Foo Fighter N ($4.30) nabbed his seventh win of the year for owner William Emmons.
Jim Clouser Jr. also had a training double.
Other horsemen scoring multiple wins were drivers Kevin Cummings with a hat trick, Drew Monti with a deuce and trainer Gerry Sarama with a double.
With no single unique winning ticket purchased in the Jackpot Pick-5 on Saturday night (Nov. 20), there will be a carryover of $21,499 for that bet in race nine when live racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday (Nov. 24). There is also a small but mentionable carryover of $105 in the Jackpot Pick-6 in race four.
Free full past performance programs for the entire card — that includes these races — can also be downloaded at bataviadownsgaming.com under the live racing tab, where they can be found for every live night of racing at Batavia Downs. Post time for the first race Wednesday is 5 p.m.
By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs