Salazar and driver Ron Beback Jr. started from post one, led the whole race and won pulling away in the $9,500 Open Pace at Batavia Downs Saturday night (Aug. 23).
Off the gate, Salazar motored into the first turn fast enough to seat What The Sheik (Dave McNeight Jr.) who left two deep and then park out Rock N Roll Legend (Drew Monti) who was three-high at the eighth pole. The group hit the quarter in :27.3 and continued to the half in :57.3.
Realizing he was not going to see the wood, Monti popped the plugs on the still parked Rock N Roll Legend and drove on. He got his nose to the leader's tail when Western Alumni (Jim McNeight Jr.) made a three-wide move passing the three-quarters in 1:27.1 and three horses were in hot pursuit of the leader at that point. But Beback raised the lines in the final turn and Salazar responded to some intermittent urging down the lane to score a convincing two-length victory in 1:55.1.
What The Sheik, who had the two-hole trip, was second and Western Alumni came up to be third. The winner paid $4.80.
This was the fifth win in 28 starts for the 8-year-old gelded son of McCardle and it brought his seasonal earnings up to $55,152 for owner Lisa Denison. Salazar is trained by Lisa Lederhouse.
The Down's leading dash-driver Kevin Cummings scored a driving triple on the night while Shawn McDonough, Jack Flanigen and Drew Monti all registered doubles. The latter are currently second, third and fourth respectively in the local standings. (By Tim Bojarski/Batavia Downs)