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Cummings, Samara Star At Batavia

Published: August 18, 2018 12:48 am ET

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Two longtime Batavia Downs regulars put up big numbers on Friday night (August 17) in front of a packed apron and sold out clubhouse on a beautiful late summer evening in Genesee County.

First, perennial driving leader Kevin Cummings won half the card, scoring five wins on the night, pulling away from his fellow drivers for the dash lead at the meet. Cummings won with Keystone Keen (1:56.4, $4.10), Striker Ace (1:57.2, $5.40), Gold Star Sonata (1:57.1, $4), Southern Palms (1:57, $21.20) and Northern Matador (1:59, $3).

Cummings is firmly entrenched as the current driving leader to this point with 27 wins; seven ahead of his nearest competitor. He is chasing his fifth title at the Downs and is off to a flying start.

Then legendary western New York horseman Gerry Sarama conditioned the winners of both featured trots, winning each with ease and returning double-digit payouts to boot.

In the $10,000 Open Handicap, Southern Palms (Kevin Cummings) got off to a slow start fourth as Ruddy Rusty (Jim McNeight Jr.) was rolling down the road with a four-length lead in a fast :56.4 half. Southern Palms took advantage of the fraction and became second-over at three-quarters behind Call My Broker (Ray Fisher Jr.), who was rushing the leader. At the head of the stretch, the three were even across the track but Southern Palms trotted home the best and won by two lengths in 1:57, which was a new seasonal mark.

The very next race in the $8,000 Open II, the Sarama-trained Theresnoway (Ray Fisher Jr.) went right down the road and he never looked back. After getting to the half in :58.2, Fisher let out the lines and Theresnoway opened up five by three-quarters and eight by the top of the stretch and from there he cruised to the wire much the best by eight in 1:57.1, which was also a new seasonal mark.

Southern Palms ($21.20) and Theresnoway ($11.40) are both owned by Mike Torcello.

Bedsides the big nights had by Cummings and Sarama, driver Drew Monti and trainer John Mungillo each added two wins to their meet totals.

The annual Race to Defeat Breast Cancer fundraiser and silent auction that was held by the Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester (BCCR) and sponsored by Batavia Downs was a rousing success as donations collected amounted to over $12,000 and beat last year’s total.

Live racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (August 18) with post time set at 6 p.m.

(With files from Batavia Downs)


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