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Ballagio Hanover Steps Up For Open Win

Published: December 12, 2015 12:01 am ET

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After not having much success jumping up from the claiming ranks, the 8-1 Ballagio Hanover (Jim McNeight) had a reversal of fortunes in winning the $10,000 Open trotting feature at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Dec. 11).

Leaving from post one, Ballagio Hanover briefly yielded the front to Leave Your Mark (Truman Gale), but retook the lead before hitting the quarter in a comfortable :29.2. But shortly after that station, Write That Down (Shawn McDonough) pulled first-up and drew next to the leader; a position he would maintain for nearly a half-mile.

The pair duelled past the half in :59 and three-quarters in 1:28 flat before Ballagio Hanover finally put away the challenge of Write That Down around the last turn. From there, he trotted clear of the field and won handily by a long length in 1:58.2.

The win was the seventh of the year for the lightly-regarded Ballagio Hanover ($19.00) -- six of which were for owners Jack and Maria Rice, who claimed the horse at Tioga Downs on July 11 for $5,000. Maria Rice trains the winner.

In the co-feature $7,700 Open II Trot, Red Clay (Shawn McDonough) notched his eighth win of the Batavia Downs meet, making him the winningest trotter of the 2015 session. Red Clay was sitting fourth when he pulled past the stands for the first time, took the lead and trotted his back half in :58.4 to win by six open lengths in 1:59.4. Red Clay ($3.10) is owned by Patricia and Carmen Cappotelli and is trained by Carmen Cappotelli.

Shawn McDonough had a driving triple on the card while Jim McNeight and Jack Flanigen both chimed in with doubles. Trainer Maria Rice conditioned two winners as well.

The meet comes to a close at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Dec. 12) with a 12-race card on tap. There is a $396 carry over pool for the Pick 5 wager and it carries a mandatory payout. Post time for the first race is 6:15 p.m.

(With files from Batavia Downs)


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