Photo of Justgottogetthere with driver Jim Morrill Jr.
By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs
Justgottogetthere was one of the best resident trotters in western New York last year, however 2016 has been a bit of a different story. But it was like old times for the gelding on Friday night (Sept. 30) as he won the $10,500 Open trotting feature at Batavia Downs.
Justgottogetthere (Jim Morrill Jr.) went right to the front at the start of the race and remained there until the end. While setting early panels of :28.2 and :58.4, the only challenge the leader got came from Snapshot Springs (Drew Monti) who pulled near the half and tried to engage the front. But the closest he could get was a half-length from second seated Noble Legend (Shawn Gray) who was tracking there the whole mile. After they hit three-quarters in 1:27.2, Justgottogetthere got busy and extended his lead around the far turn and just trotted away in the lane to win by three in 1:57.1.
Noble Legend was second and Snapshot Springs finished third.
It was the fourth win of the year and a seasonal mark for Justgottogetthere ($11.20), and the first trip to the winner’s circle with him for new owner Mike Torcello, who privately purchased the son of Valley Victor on Sept. 3rd. Gerry Sarama trains Justgottogetthere.
In the co-featured $8,500 Open II trot, Serious George ($5.50) came early to press the front running Socialdelight (Ray Fisher Jr.) before running her down to win in 1:57.4. Serious George is owned by James Palladino and is trained by Richard Mays.
John Cummings Jr. won four races Friday night. He had pictures taken with Gun Show ($4, 1:56.2), Hez a Buckeye ($5.60, 1:59), V I P ($9.20, 2:02) and Northern Matador ($13.20, 1:59).
Shawn Gray and Jim Morrill Jr. both chimed in with two wins apiece.
The Batavia Downs early Pick-5 which on Friday was part of the USTA Strategic Wager with a guaranteed $4,000 pool, recorded the track’s largest handle ever by 50%. The 3-2-1-2-6 combination returned $202.00.
Racing resumes at Batavia Downs tonight (Oct. 1) with a guaranteed early Pick-5 pool of $1,500. Post time is 6:15.