There were six mares in the $14,000 Distaff Open I Handicap at Batavia Downs on Wednesday night (Dec. 14) but it turned into a match race that saw Shallow out-duel Demeter N to claim her 12th win of the year.
Jim Morrill Jr. put Shallow on the lead but Larry Stalbaum had Demeter N revved up in the breeze and they drew alongside the leader at the quarter in :28.4 and from there, the pair that had been splitting starts between Saratoga and Batavia got into it. With no hole to be had and the front unattainable, Demeter N continued to dig on the rim past the half in :57.3, around turn three and then up the backstretch to three-quarters in 1:27.2.
Shallow was under urging from Morrill and Stalbaum was rocking in Demeter N’s bike as they rounded the last bend only one-half length apart. Heading into the lane there was no quit in Demeter N, who continued to gain ground on Shallow who started to look vulnerable. As the gap shortened along with the stretch, it appeared Demeter N could reach. But Shallow had enough left to close out the deal and won by a neck in 1:57 in a real thriller.
With the win, Shallow ($3.40) eclipsed the century mark in earnings, now boasting $104,236 for owner Room4040 LLC Stables and trainer Andy Gardiner.
In the $10,000 conditioned event for fillies and mares, Candy’s Desire (Kyle Cummings) caught a perfect trip behind Saulsbrook Olympia (Dave McNeight III) into the stretch and then shook loose to catch Lyons Anita (Kevin Cummings) at the light to win by three-quarters of a length in 1:57. Owned by her driver Kyle Cumming along with Alyssa Cummings, the Tammy Cummings trained Candy’s Desire returned $6.40.
Kevin Cummings and Jim Morrill Jr. each had driving hat tricks as trainer Shawn McDonough also won three on the conditioning side.
Batavia Downs wraps up the 2022 meet on Saturday (Dec. 17) at 3 p.m. and there is another carryover available. The Jackpot Hi-5 Pentafecta in the 13th race will start with $10,733 in the pool and as it is the last night of racing for 2022, there will be a force out and the pool has been guaranteed at $15,000 through the USTA Strategic Wagering Program.
The clubhouse will open the doors at 2:30 p.m. and will offer a prime rib and shrimp buffet that will be served from 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. The Railbar will be open at 2:30 p.m. until the end of the last race, which will be approximately 7 p.m., however it will not remain open for the Bills game.
The final day of racing will also host the “Day of Distinction” year-end awards, which will be presented by the Upstate New York Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association and Batavia Downs to honor all the human and equine stars of the 2022 meeting.
Photo by Wendy J. Lowery.