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Dave McNeight III wins five including feature at Batavia

By Tim Bojarski
Photo of Avion Seelster courtesy of Wendy J. Lowery

Dave McNeight III had a huge night at Batavia Downs on Saturday (Oct. 14) as he won five races during the evening. The most notable win came with Avion Seelster who despite making a jump in class to the featured $15,000 Open I pace, won his third straight race and ninth overall of the year.

McNeight put Avions Seelster on the point and after a leisurely stroll to the half in :58.2, had a lot of work to do the second time around. Stranger Things (Aaron Byron) pulled first over and brought Lanjo Lee (Kyle Cummings) with him as they headed up the backstretch. Stranger Things took the lead at three-quarters and pulled away by almost a length, but he could not clear Avion Seelster. At the top of the stretch, Avion Seelster came back on to regain the top spot but had a target on his back for Lanjo Lee, who streaked down the middle of the track. McNeight rocked and knocked Avion Seelster while Lanjo Lee was gobbling up ground. The two battled all the way to the wire where Avion Seelster hung on by a mere nose in 1:55.

The win pushed Avion Seelster ($17.40) to $99,732 in earnings for the year, but he also eclipsed the quarter-million mark lifetime, now boasting $255,845 in the bank. Marissa Russo owns the David Russo-trained gelding.

McNeight also won with Tiger Baron (1:55.1, $2.10), Hot Shot Joe (1:56.4, $4.90), Carrythetorchman (1:55.4, $16.00) and Knocking Around (1:56, $31.20).

There were also a pair of $12,500 upper-level conditioned paces on the program Saturday.

In the first, Gunslinger Hill (Drew Monti) turned a first-over move into a half-length victory over Stop Action (Kevin Cummings) in 1:56 to chalk up his ninth win of the year. Jeniffer Giuliani trains Gunslinger Hill ($3.30) for owner Ronald Viele.

Then later, Belmont Major N (Jim McNeight Jr.) followed the exact same script, pulling first-up at the half to eventually run down Fireball (Joe Chindano Jr.) and win in an identical 1:56. Belmont Najor N ($4.80) is owned by the S&K Misfit Stable and trained by Amanda Kelley.

Live racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday (Oct. 18) at 6 p.m. and there will be a $6,562 carryover in the Jackpot Hi-5 pentafecta wager in race 13.

Free full past performance programs for every live card of racing at Batavia can always be downloaded at the Downs’ website ( under the “Live Racing” tab and all the racing action can be viewed as it happens for free at the Batavia Downs Live Facebook page.

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