While most people had their eye on 3-5 favorite Fireyourguns, who shipped in off three Open wins in four weeks at Tioga Downs, they overlooked Big Unit, who three starts ago paced one of the fastest miles in western New York this year (1:53.2). When they hit the wire tonight, Big Unit was the better man.
Flying off the gate from post one, Big Unit (Kevin Cummings) took the group to the quarter in :27.2, seating everyone in the process. But right after they hit that pole, Fireyourguns (Mike Caprio) immediately pulled from fifth and paced into the turn to make up lost ground. The pedestrian :29.2 second split made it easy for Caprio and his charge to draw near the leader, but as they hit the three-quarters in 1:25 flat, the closest they would get was a length away.
At the top of the lane, Cummings popped the plugs on Big Unit and the 5-year-old Armbro Deuce gelding hunkered down to stave off the late challenge from all comers to win by a half-length in 1:54.1. Pocket-sitting Rock N Roll Legend (Dave McNeight III) was second and a courageous Fireyourguns hung on for third. The winner paid $8.90.
This was the sixth win in 24 starts this year for Big Unit, bringing his 2014 earnings to $35,630 for owner Elizabeth Fair of Ancaster, Ontario.
Jack Flanigen, Drew Monti, Kevin Cummings, Ron Beback Jr. and Shawn McDonough all scored driving doubles on the night.
Racing resumes Sunday (Aug. 10) at Batavia Downs at 1:15 p.m. Next week Wednesday (Aug. 13) the New York Sire Stakes are back in town with two divisions of 3-year-old trotting fillies who will be vying for their share of $105,000 in purses. (By Tim Bojarski for Batavia Downs)