Full house for Batavia Downs' 2022 opening
Opening night at Batavia Downs was the scene of a crowded clubhouse, an apron full of fans and a visit from the New York Sire Stakes 2-year-old trotting fillies who competed for a total of $105,600 in purses, divided between three $32,500 divisions.
The first of those divisions saw Last Page First (Chapter Seven-Kelsy's Keepsake) take the lead and never look back.
Driver Bob McClure took control of the race before the quarter and marched his filly confidently on the point. With no challenges to speak of, Last Page First set splits of :29.3, 1:00 and 1:30 with only All The Rage (Ake Svansted) making a run into second. Down the lane Last Page First was on cruise and finished the deal by 3-¾ lengths in 2:00.1.
It was the first-lifetime win in her first-lifetime start for Last Page First ($14.40). Luc Blais trains for Determination. Tara Hills Stud and David Heffering bred the winner.
In the second split, Mari (Crazy Wow-Kaska) scored the upset after several breakers changed the complexion of the race.
My Belfast Angel (Tyler Buter) took the lead and the heavily favored Canterbury Hanover (Brian Sears) was positioned to claim that spot but made a break before the quarter. That left U Gurl (Marcus Miller) in the pocket and Mari (Drew Monti) drafting third. My Belfast Angel continued to lead to the half when U Gurl made a break heading towards three-quarters. When that happened, Monti pulled Mari, took the lead and never looked back. She turned for home and trotted away by 2-¾ lengths in 2:00.
It was also the first-lifetime win for Mari ($26.20) and owner Jason Shaw. Amanda Shaw trains the winner who was bred by Annette Roydon.
Monti had the hot hand Wednesday as he also won a NYSS Excel A, Excel B and two overnights to end with five driving wins for the evening.
The third division went to Kayleigh S (Chapter Seven-Pasithea Face S) who won handily in gate to wire fashion.
By the time the race hit the first turn, four horses broke, leaving Kayleigh S (Brian Sears) with the lead and only Metro Matty (Drew Monti) to contend with. After setting soft fractions of :30.3 and 1:02 to the half, J Wow (Jim Marohn Jr.) and Woolco (Tyler Buter) both had caught the field and were still in the mix. Sears kept the third quarter tame again in :30.2 but let his filly loose after that. Kayleigh S opened up three lengths around the final turn and was wrapped up trotting home in a swift :29.1 to win in 2:01.3.
Kayleigh S ($2.90) remained undefeated lifetime after scoring her second straight win for owner Courant and trainer Marcus Melander. Am Bloodstock was the breeder.
The New Sire Stakes will return to Batavia Downs on Wednesday (July 27) when the 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings will compete for a total of $103,000 in purses.
Live racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday (July 23) with post time at 6 p.m. Free full past performance race programs for all live race days can be downloaded by visiting the track's website at bataviadownsgaming.com and clicking the "Live Racing" tab.