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Black Is Back Best At Batavia

Published: August 17, 2019 10:15 pm ET

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Black Is Back took full advantage of post one in the $12,500 Open Handicap pace at Batavia Downs, going gate to wire in the Saturday (Aug. 17) feature.

Driver Dave McNeight III flew off the wings to claim the point with Black Is Back in the first turn and then kept his foot on the gas to the quarter in :27. After hitting the half in :56.2 with a one-and-a-half length lead, Black Is Back edged to a two-length advantage at three-quarters and widened to four lengths by the top of the stretch. As he turned for home, McNeight sat as Black Is Back continued to pull away under wraps and hit the beam on top by seven in 1:53.2.

It was the second win in four Batavia Downs starts and seventh win of the year for Black Is Back, who now has banked $50,110 this year for owners Curtis Edholm and Mihajlo Zdjelar Sr. Mihajlo Zdjelar Jr. trains the $3.70 winner.

Tullow N also went coast to coast when taking the $11,000 Open II Handicap Pace.

Driver John Cummings Jr. roused Tullow N off the gate and to the front, never letting anyone get close to them the whole mile. After clicking fractions of :27.4, :56.4 and 1:24.4 with a loose lead to boot, the field scattered behind Tullow N except for Manceiver, who sat the pocket the entire way and was close enough to be considered a contender. But Tullow N rebuffed the pocket sitter and pulled away to a two-and-three-quarter length win in 1:53.1.

With $55,135 in earnings on the strength of four wins in 2019, Tullow N is also two for four since coming to Batavia Downs. Blindswitch Racing owns the eight-year-old gelded son of Mach Three-Tessa Bromac with Dave Russo training the $8.10 winner.

Shawn Gray was in from Saratoga to drive on Saturday and put on a clinic. Gray won half the card; five out of the 10 races including a natural hat trick in the final three races of the night. He had his picture taken with Best Ears (1:54, $9.20), Myells Rockstar (1:54.2, $6.30), Thisjetsabookin (1:54.2, $4.20), M G Home Run (1:56, $13.60) and P C Shockwave (1:56.4, $2.60). The five-bagger vaulted him from ninth to fourth in the local driver standings in one night.

Live racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Sunday afternoon (Aug. 18) at 1:15 p.m., which will feature a $3,000 guaranteed pool on the early Pick-5 wager that runs from Race 1 to Race 5.

(with files from Batavia Downs)

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