Just Plain Loco goes crazy mile in Batavia feature
Questionably overlooked by the betting public, Just Plain Loco just plain ran away with the race and scored an impressive 3-¾ length victory in the $15,000 Open I Handicap pacing feature at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (July 23) over the speedy oval on a hot summer night.
Just Plain Loco (Dave McNeight III) shot right to the front and took a gapped length advantage to the quarter in a quick :27.1, forcing the 1-5 Surfer Beach (Jim Morrill Jr.) to seat third. After getting to the half in a softer :56.3, Just Plain Loco started pulling away from the pocket-sitting Stop Action (Shawn McDonough) and the rest of the field that was trying to keep up. But try as they might, they couldn’t as Just Plain Loco turned on the jets and scooted away to a 3-½ length advantage at the top of the stretch and as McNeight glanced back at the trailers, Just Plain Loco cruised home with the easiest of victories in 1:53 flat, tying his seasonal mark.
Winning his fourth Open pace in the span of the last five weeks, Just Plain Loco ($11.80) pushed his bank to $62,270 this year for owners Paul Lang and Mark Toth. Jeniffer Giuliani trains the winner.
McNeight finished the night with the hat trick in the bike.
In the $14,000 Open II Handicap pace, McSpidey also went gate to wire and matched his best time of the year as well.
Art Scene (Jim Morrill Jr.) crossed over to the front just past the eighth pole, but Kyle Cummings immediately pulled McSpidey from third, bolted to the lead and never looked back. After setting fractions of :28.1, :57.3 and 1:26 with Art Scene on his back and the rest of the field a few lengths behind, McSpidey turned for home and held off a late brush from the pocket-sitter to win by ¾ of a length in 1:54.2.
McSpidey ($6.50) got his sixth win of the year for owner William Emmons and trainer Jim Clouser Jr.
Cummings and Clouser also hooked up to win with Lanas Desire (1:57, $19.60), giving each a double for the night.
Then in the $13,000 Open III Stratosphere got a perfect trip and pounced late to score.
Stratosphere (Drew Monti) got away second behind Sunfirewindrain (Jim McNeight Jr.) who paced to the quarter in pedestrian :29.1. Shortly after that station Three Dragons (Dave McNeight III) tipped from third and was intent on pushing the pace. That move quickly failed as Sunfirewindrain sped up and Three Dragons could not step with the :27.1 third panel. As they rolled into the turn, Stratosphere was now on Sunfirewindrain’s back and was waiting for the word “go” from Monti. That call came from the top of the stretch and Stratosphere swelled up in the lane, pulling away to an easy 2-½ length victory in 1:55.1.
It was the third win of the year for Stratosphere ($7.30) who is owned by his driver and trained by Darrin Monti.
Live racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Sunday (July 24) with post time at 1:15 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.
Photos by Wendy J Lowery.
Top photo: Just Plain Loco