By Tim Bojarski for Batavia Downs
(Photos courtesy of Wendy J. Lowery)
Batavia, NY — Kevin Cummings has been Batavia Downs leading dash driver for most of the meet and his piloting prowess was on full display Saturday night (Dec. 3) when he won seven of the 13 races on the program, including both co-featured races.
In the $14,000 Open I trot Cummings sat second with CR Blazin Beauty behind Captain Krupnik (Jim Morrill Jr.) from the start until the top of the stretch as Con Air Hall (Dave McNeight III) applied pressure to the leader for the last half of the mile. Then in the straight, CR Blazin Beauty shook loose and took the lead before holding off a late rush from Lougazi (Ray Fisher Jr.) at the wire to win by one-quarter length in 1:58.1.
It was the 50th career win for CR Blazin Beauty ($8.40) who is owned by Marissa Russo and trained by Dave Russo.
The following race was the $14,000 Open I Handicap pace and Cummings went the distance with Stranger Things.
It took a little effort to get there, but after being parked to the quarter in :27.4, Stranger Things grabbed the lead from Mississippi Rabbit (Jim Morrill Jr.) and settled in for the ride. He hit the half in :57.2 and passed three-quarters in 1:25.4 on top by 2-½ lengths. Then coming into the stretch, Mississippi Rabbit came off the pegs and roared towards the leader. He made up ground but not enough as Stranger Things hung tough and won by a length in 1:55.
Stranger Things ($8.80) collected his 11th win of the year for owners Virginia Schoeffel, Kathy Schoeffel and James Reuther. Angelo Nappo trains the winner.
Cummings completed his lucky seven with wins behind Raylen Givens (1:59.3, $2.90), Cellular (2:01.4, $5.70), Thor De Vie (1:59, $6.20), The Longest Yard (1:54.1, $2.20) and Beachboydesire (1:58.2, $3.70). He also had two seconds and a third from his 13 drives that gave him a sparkling .650 UDR for the night.
Cummings also put some space between himself and Jim Morrill Jr. who sat second behind him in the standings at the start of the night by only two wins. Now Cummings has extended his lead to seven over Morrill (136 to 129) who had two wins of his own on Saturday.
Trainer Jim Rothfuss scored a double to lead all conditioners for the night.
Live racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday (Dec. 7) at 6 p.m. and there is another carryover available. The Jackpot Hi-5 Pentafecta in the 13th race will start with $6,473 in the pool. Free full past performance race programs for all live race days can be downloaded by visiting the track’s website at bataviadownsgaming.com