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Merton, Mungillo On Fire

Published: July 25, 2013 10:54 am ET

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Wednesday, July 24 was a big night at Batavia Downs for driver Greg Merton, trainer John Mungillo and the Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester.

If Western New York racing fans aren’t familiar with Greg Merton they certainly are now, as he guided home six winners on the Wednesday program, including going a perfect five-for-five for trainer John Mungillo.

“I’ll be here every Wednesday night,” Greg Merton said. “Then after Tioga closes, I plan on racing here on weekends as well.”

In the featured $8,500 Filly and Mares, Keep It Fair made it two straight victories in the top class for distaff pacers in Western New York circuit as she cruised to a convincing two-length win over Patsy's Luck in 1:57.2 over a 'fast' track. She had won the Fillies and Mares Open at Buffalo Raceway last week and now has visited the winner's circle in three of her last four starts.

Keep It Fair, driven by Merton, took the lead just before the quarter-pole, playing give-and-go with Patsys Luck. Keep It Fair then set sail the rest of the way, posting the fractions in :28.3, :58.4 and 1:28.4 before registering the comfortable victory. Patsys Luck (driven by Fern Paquet Jr.) kept pace for second, while Terror Rising (Kevin Cummings) and Puff Mommy (Shawn McDonough) were third in a dead-heat.

Sent off as the 1-2 favourite in the field of six, Keep It Fair returned $3.10 on a successful Win wager. The win was Keep It Fair's ninth in 22 starts this season. The seven-year-old mare is owned by Angelo Schifano of Angola, N.Y. and trained by John Mungillo. The victory moved her seasonal earnings to $44,239 and to over $300,000 lifetime.

The other big winner on the second program of the 2013 season at Batavia was the Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester.

In addition to the $3,000 raised from the sponsorship of all 12 races, several horsemen, lead by Black Magic Stable and Empowered Racing, made healthy donations. All the drivers in Race 10 donated their five per cent commission. The entire staff of the race office along with several Western OTB employees and racing fans all pitched in to bring the total raised to close to $6,000.

Racing action returns to Batavia on Friday night, featuring 12 races starting at 6:30 p.m. The feature is the $8,500 Open Trot, with a full field of eight going behind the starting gate. Mythical Hall is the 2-1 morning line favourite with Ron Beback Jr. scheduled to drive. Mythical Hall has captured three of the past five Open Trots at Buffalo Raceway, all in gate-to-wire fashion, and brings a seasonal bankroll of nearly $63,000 to the Batavia Downs half-mile track.

(Batavia Downs)

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