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Team Swift Sweeps Batavia Opens

Published: September 17, 2021 11:25 pm ET

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Driver Ray Fisher Jr., trainer Ryan Swift and owner Mary Warriner were a formidable team at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Sept. 17) as they won both top trotting features of the week.

Friday's "A" Team took the $12,300 Open I Handicap Trot with Lougazi ($3), who made his first Batavia Downs appearance of 2021.

Willie B Worthy (Kevin Cummings) led to the quarter in a slow :29 split, so Fisher pulled Lougazi early from third and sat outside the leader pushing the pace. After a :56.4 half and 1:26.4 three-quarters, Lougazi finally crossed over and took command heading into the final bend. From there, he trotted home with authority and won by a length in 1:56.

The win was the 39th lifetime for the seven-year-old gelded son of Lous Legacy.

In the $11,000 Open II Handicap, Franks Watching was assigned post eight and dismissed by the betting public at 25-1. But that had little bearing on the outcome.

Franks Watching went right to the front, increased his lead incrementally at each quarter station, turned for home with a 3-1/2-length margin and coasted home to win in a new lifetime-best time of 1:57.1.

The win was the seventh of the year for the upset-minded Franks Watching ($52.50).

Shawn McDonough was the leading horseman on Friday with a driving hat trick and also two training wins.

Franks Watching wasn't the only longshot to hit the board on Friday. The card opened with a real bomb when Western Passage was sent off at 37-1 to pay $77.50. Being the first race of the Pick-5 wager, it resulted in no one having the winning combination. As a result, there is an $898 carryover for that wager on Saturday (Sept. 18) and the management of Batavia Downs has announced there will be a $5,000 guaranteed pool as well. That will be part of the USTA's Strategic Wagering and free program pages for those races are available on the USTA's website or by clicking this link.

There is also a carryover of $1,156 for the Jackpot Super Hi-5 pentafecta in the last race on Saturday and free full card program pages are always available for download at the Batavia Downs website and Facebook page.

Post time for the first race is 5 p.m.

(With files from Batavia Downs)

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