Batavia Hits New Handle Heights As Longshots Rule

Published: January 29, 2024 09:01 pm EST

For the fourth time in only six days of live racing in 2024, Batavia Downs set a new one day, all-source record handle while under the ownership of Western Regional Off Track Betting on Monday, Jan. 29. Bettors pushed $515,078 through the windows to top the short-lived old record of $509,180, which was set only one week ago. 

The handle reflects that Batavia’s loyal wagering patrons turned out in force again to bet the second round of the Western New York Trackmaster Series that had evenly matched fields and yielded outcomes many didn’t anticipate, with price horses giving chalk bettors agita while sending speculators home with a jovial disposition. 

The top class, $12,162 Trackmaster 79 division produced two large payouts after come-from-behind efforts were put in by both.  

First, Dogfight (Kevin Cummings) got away sixth at 25-1 and remained there to the half that was cut by Remember The Beach (Jim Morrill Jr.). At that station, Cummings pulled Dogfight third-over with cover and then swung three-deep into the last turn. At the top of the stretch, Lanas Desire (Dave McNeight III) took the lead from Remember The Beach, but Dogfight quickly supplanted Lanas Desire in deep stretch to win by 1-1/4 lengths in 1:57.1 over the 'good' track.

It was the first win of the year in three attempts for Dogfight ($52). The eight-year-old Sweet Lou gelding is owned by Mike Torcello and trained by Sam Smith.

Then later, Ill Take The Bet (Drew Monti) also got away sixth as Sleeping Single (Jim McNeight Jr.) and Carrythetorchman (Dave McNeight III) traded blows and leads from the half to the top of the stretch. It was there that Monti steered Ill Take The Bet into the passing lane, found clear road and bolted to the line to win by a neck in 1:57.4. 

Similarly, it was the first win of the year, from fourth tries, for Ill Take The Bet ($38.80), a five-year-old Betting Line gelding owned by Justina Ohol. Mike Ohol conditions the winner. 

Other upsets on the card included Rockn With T (1:59.1, $49.90), Always A Fiji (2:00.1, $31.40), Odds On Cheddar (1:58.1, $25) and Jimmy CR (1:59.1, $18.40).

Nine of the night’s participating horsemen scored doubles during the proceedings. Drivers Brett Beckwith, Drew Monti, Jim Morrill Jr., Kevin Cummings and Kyle Cummings joined trainers Sam Smith, Jim Rothfuss, Shawn McDonough and Chris Petrelli in claiming two wins each on Monday. 

Live harness racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Thursday, Feb. 1 at 3 p.m. and the program will feature the second round of the Western New York Trackmaster Series for trotters along with a $20,270 Open I for both gaits. 

(With files from Batavia Downs)

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