Flyhawk El Fuerte Takes Batavia Series Final

Flyhawk El Fuerte
Published: February 22, 2024 09:41 pm EST

The finals of the Western New York Trackmaster Series for trotters were held at Batavia Downs on Thursday, Feb. 22 and in the main event, Flyhawk El Fuerte pulled off the upset in the $27,027 TM79 division.

P C Foreign Affair (Jim Morrill Jr.) grabbed the lead from post eight and maintained a gapped advantage through quarters of :28.4, :58.4 and 1:28.4 while Flyhawk El Fuerte (John Cummings Jr.) kept close in the pocket. With no serious threat coming from behind, the top two trotters traversed the last turn, where Cummings tipped Flyhawk El Fuerte and went on the attack. As they entered the stretch, Flyhawk El Fuerte had a full head of steam and blew past P C Foreign Affair to win by 2-1/2 lengths in a season's best 1:58.3.

Flyhawk El Fuerte ($12.20) is owned by Kathleen Pratt and Andrea Lehmann and is trained by Joe Skowyra, who sent two winners postward on Thursday.

There were also two division finals for the TM74 class.

The $20,270 group was bested by Classic Sunny (2:00.1, $3.70), who was one of two winning drives for Kevin Cummings. Classic Sunny is owned by Anthony Alessi and Fred Yellen and trained Scott Bompczyk.

The $10,811 split was won by Finnick Odair (2:01.4, $3.70), who was driven by Brett Beckwith for owner/trainer Rose Russo.

There was also a trio of Open events on Thursday’s card that highlighted the best horses on the grounds. 

In the $20,270 Open Handicap for pacing fillies and mares, Shecouldbegood N (Kyle Swift) made a first-over move at three-quarters trying to reel in the front-running Ball Diamond (Keith Kash Jr.). Still trailing by 1-1/2 lengths at the head of the stretch, Shecouldbegood N paced furiously to the wire and won by one-quarter length in 1:56.3. 

The victory was the 40th career win for Shecouldbegood N ($9.60), owned by Michael Milazzo and trained by Candace Bandstatter, who also had two winners on Thursday. 

The $18,919 Open Handicap for male pacers went to Primo Uomo (Brett Beckwith), who led at every station before holding off a late-closing Optical Illusion N (Jim McNeight Jr.) to win by one-half length in 1:54.2, which was a new seasonal mark.

The heavily backed Primo Uomo ($2.60) is owned by Chris and Dale Lawton and trained by David Dewhurst.

Beckwith had a driving hat trick during the card.

Finally in the $20,270 Open Handicap Trot, E Street (Jim Morrill Jr.) was never challenged as he led from gate to wire to score an easy 1-1/4-length upset victory in 1:58, which was also a new seasonal mark.

It was the second straight win for E Street ($20.80), who is trained by Rachelle Mungillo and owned by Elite Harness Racing.

Morrill ended the day with two driving wins. 

Driver Dave McNeight III tied Beckwith with three wins on the day; however, all three of his provided huge payoffs. “Triple Sticks” won with Magical Mistress (1:55.4, $24.40), Mayweather Hanover (1:56.2, $37.40) and VJ Panderosa (1:56.4, $47.60). 

There was also an instant jackpot in the day’s final event when the 1-2-9-3-4 pentafecta combination returned $5,524.10 for a 20-cent wager.

Live harness racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Monday, Feb. 26, which is the last day of live racing for the winter meet. Post time will be at 3 p.m.

(With files from Batavia Downs)

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