Jim Morrill Jr. was on fire at Batavia Downs Saturday night (Oct. 22) as he won seven of the 13 races carded and vaulted himself into the dash driving lead for the meet.
Morrill started early and was relentless as the night went on. He scored with Thunderbolt Jaxon ($4.80, 1:56.3), Outoftexas ($5.50, 1:55.3), Green Olives ($3.30, 1:56.2), Dodger Hanover ($2.80, 1:57.3), Littlebitaclass ($7.00, 1:54.2), Adversary Seelster ($3.50, 1:57.1) and Zipnthruthehall ($2.90, 1:57).
The current record for wins on one card at Batavia Downs is eight, set by Jim Morrill Jr. in 2005 and matched by John Cummings Jr. in 2006.
Beside his septuple successes, Morrill also had three seconds and a third among his 12 drives for the night and that added up to a .750 UDR for the evening.
Morrill is currently ranked third in North America for UDR in 2016, sporting a gaudy .415 for the year. He has amassed 322 wins in 1,197 starts and earned $3,776,654 as a result to this point.
Photo of Littlebitaclass taking the lead with driver Jim Morrill Jr. at the reins.
By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs
The fifth win of the night for Jim Morrill Jr. was with Littlebitaclass who won the $10,000 Open pacing feature.
Claimed two weeks ago for $20,000 and victorious in each start since, Littlebitaclass left and out-legged China Dream (Shawn Gray) to the front shortly after they passed the quarter pole. From there, Morrill grabbed leather to settle the gelding until Knocking Around (Dave McNeight III) drew alongside approaching three-quarters.
When they tripped the timer in 1:25.2 at that station, Knocking Around took a half-length lead and appeared to have gotten the best of the leader. But Littlebitaclass gallantly fought back and regained a neck advantage by the head of the stretch. But Knocking Around would not go away and was joined in the fray by China Dream, who had gotten the trip and came up the passing lane. Flanked by adversaries on both sides, Littlebitaclass dug in hard and refused to lose, hitting the wire first by a mere head in 1:54.2.
It was the ninth win of the year for Littlebitaclass and it boosted his earnings to $52,201 for 2016. The 5-year-old gelded son of Santana Blue Chip is owned by Mike Torcello and trained by Gerry Sarama.
Trainer Alex Giuliani sent three winners postward while fellow conditioners Gerry Sarama and Mihajlo Zdjelar Jr. each doubled up.
As was previously mentioned, there is a new dash driving title leader at Batavia Downs in Morrill, who now tops everyone with 73 wins. Kevin Cummings, who was not in action Saturday, is tied for second with Drew Monti with 68 wins and Ray Fisher Jr. is a close fourth with 62.
Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday (Oct. 26) with post time at 6:15 p.m.