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Batavia Top Performers Announced

Published: December 2, 2010 12:30 pm ET

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Dominance at the highest level is the mark of a true winner, and that is why the upstate New York chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association, in association with Batavia Downs, is proud to announce the best driver, trainer and horses for the 2010 Batavia Downs meet.

Driver of the Meet: Kevin Cummings
The defending driving champion of the 2009 Batavia Downs meet has successfully retained his crown. This year has seen Kevin Cummings score 105 victories and earn $509,000 in purses with a UDR of .321. If you throw in the fact he has hit the board 50 per cent of the time the whole meet, you can see why he is tops among the driver colony again in 2010. Cummings rang up a career best $1.1 million dollars in purses for the entire calendar year in 2009, but has managed to beat that total with $1.3 million dollar total this year, in roughly as many starts. Cummings is a trainer’s favourite for catch drives and a fan favourite at the windows. There is no one more respected as a driver locally than Cummings.

Trainer of the Meet: Sherri Holliday
Much like Cummings, Sherri Holliday defended the crown she won at Batavia in 2009. The two-time champion posted some gaudy numbers including 62 wins, $263,000 in purses and an outstanding UTR of .369. Not to mention her charges hit the board 51 per cent of the time. With the addition of several new horses this summer, Holliday’s stable took off at the Batavia meet and never looked back. This was exemplified this past Saturday when her barn sent five winners postward with husband Ken doing the steering. Regardless of gait or class, Sherri Holliday has her horses ready to race each time they go postward. Holliday was also named the Western New York Trainer of the Year.

Trotter of the Meet: Fifty Two Finn
When owner/trainer Ron Stebbins decided to claim Fifty Two Finn at Tioga Downs back on September 10, little did he know that the horse that was having trouble getting a cheque at the Meadowlands would turn into a money machine at Batavia. Since coming to the Genesee County oval, '52' has scored six wins (all in Open Class company), a second and a third in 10 starts and bankrolled $31,350. Capably driven by the recently red-hot John Cummings, Jr. in all but one of his Batavia starts, Fifty Two Finn has taken on all comers in the track's top trotting class and turned them away in a quick fashion. His fastest mile at Batavia was a 1.58.3 outing on October 29, where he pulled away to a handy three-length victory. His eight wins on the year ties his lifetime best output for victories in one year.

Pacer of the Meet: Two Twentytwo
Two Twentytwo was a promising, highly staked horse whose career was cut short by an injury. In 2006 as a two-year-old, Two Twentytwo won the $96,647 Champlain Stakes and the $154,148 Nassagaweya Stakes, both at Mohawk Raceway. He finished his two-year-old campaign winning five of his last six starts. After two winning qualifying miles to start his three-year-old campaign, he was being prepped for the $1.5 million Pepsi North American Cup at Woodbine Racetrack, and was considered a favourite to win that race. After finishing fourth in the elimination, he was scratched prior to the final and his three-year-old campaign came to a close. In 2008, he did regain some of his top form. He took his lifetime mark of 1.51.3 at Woodbine, but then put in just three more starts before being sidelined for two years. After a lot of hard work and care, trainer Richie Mays brought him back to the track this spring and he has been one the best Open pacers locally all year. Since the Batavia meet started, Two Twentytwo has won six times in 10 starts with two seconds. He also set a season’s best time of 1.53.2 at Batavia on August 14. Domenic Colarusso, Jr. was the breeder of Two Twentytwo and has owned him his entire career.

Cummings, Holliday and the connections of Fifty Two Finn and Two Twentytwo will be on hand to receive their trophies in the winners circle this Saturday night during the 'Night of Distinction' at Batavia Downs Casino.

(With files from USHWA)

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