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Stalbaum Sweeps Batavia Opens

Published: September 19, 2021 12:05 am ET

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Former Batavia Downs driving champion Larry Stalbaum returned to western New York and has already started to find his old groove. On Saturday night (Sept. 18) “The Bomber” swept both pacing features with horses he owns and trains and did it in impressive fashion.

Stalbaum took the $12,300 Open I Handicap with recent acquisition Matticulous GB off a tough first-over trip.

Art Scene outfought Daylight Rush and Major Authority for the front and led the field to the half in :56. Stalbaum pulled Matticulous GB first-over and drew alongside Art Scene by three-quarters. The two pacers then went stride for stride around the last turn and into the final eighth. The battle continued into deep stretch where Matticulous GB got the edge over Art Scene and then held off a late burst from Daylight Rush to win in 1:53.4.

Matticulous GB got his third win of the year, but first in two starts for Stalbaum. He paid $5.50 to win.

Then in the $11,000 Open II Pace, American Zest A returned to the Downs after two starts at Saratoga and, despite being a beaten favourite in four previous Genesee County starts, demolished the resident group this night.

Stalbuam played give-and-go with Catch A Lefty A at the start of the race before taking control of the race with American Zest A by the quarter and from there, the race was history. After getting to the half in an unchallenged :56.4, American Zest A started to lengthen his lead at three-quarters and by the top of the stretch he was clear by four. Stalbaum sat chilly as American Zest A cruised down the lane by open lengths and won in a sparkling 1:52.3.

American Zest A got his sixth win of the year and pushed his earnings to $58,168 this year. He paid $3 to win.

Stalbaum added a win with catch drive Better Watch Out to lead all drivers with three wins and all trainers with two.

There was a guaranteed $5,000 pool in the Pick-5 wager on Saturday and $5,438 of new money was generated on the strength of the $898 carryover and a USTA Strategic Wagering guarantee. The combination of 2-1-1-2,4-3,5 paid $142 for a 50-cent wager.

There was no winner in the Jackpot Hi-5 pentafecta wager on Saturday, so there will be a carryover of $1,527 for that wager on Wednesday (Sept. 22) when live racing resumes at Batavia Downs with post time for the first race at 5 p.m. (EDT).

(Batavia Downs)

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