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Drew Monti wins half the card at Batavia Friday

August 12, 2017

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After three near misses in the resident top trot, Empire Earl N got the job done in winning the $10,500 Open Handicap trotting feature at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Aug. 11).

Striker Ace (Drew Monti) and Osprey Vision (Dave McNeight III) butted heads for the lead for almost a quarter-mile before Striker Ace finally took control, but the :27.3 first quarter would take a toll on both later in the race. Past the half Edom Up Blue Boy (Rock Vinci) pulled first-over with Empire Earl N (Larry Stalbaum) right behind.

Edom Up Blue Boy made a steady advance and took over the lead by the top of the lane. But his shadow Empire Earl N kept coming, eventually swung clear in the stretch and trotted away to a relatively easy win in 1:59.2.

Empire Earl N ($9.40) now has earnings of $45,905 on the strength of five wins this year for his owner Larry Stalbaum. Kim Asher does the training.

Batavia Downs defending dash driver Drew Monti had the hot-hand on Friday, winning half the races on the card. His quintuple conquests included Rollovin (1:55.4, $3.10), Tenor Duharas (1:59.1, $3.30), Winky’s Pride (1:59.2, $3.10), Lutetium (1:57.2, $8.40) and Skyway Tia (1:57.3, $6.90).

With those five wins Monti vaulted himself back into the dash driving lead once again this year, now with 18 tallies. That is one ahead of Ray Fisher Jr. (17) who also had a driving triple on Friday, and two ahead of Jim Morrill Jr. (16) who was at Tioga Downs driving in New York Sire Stakes action. (Batavia)

At Saratoga Friday night, Her Own Land (Blissfull Hall) set a lifetime mark in Friday night’s feature.  In her first start off the claim for trainer Andy Sardella, Her Own Land, an Open winner earlier in the season, moved out to the early lead in Friday’s $10,500 feature for fillies and mares.

Despite posting sizzling fractions of :27.2 and :55.2 in the first half, Her Own Land had something left late in the mile. The 6-year-old mare stopped the timer in 1:52.3 which goes down as a new career mark. Sometimes Graceful (Wally Hennessey) sat the pocket and was the runner-up while Keene Olivia (Billy Dobson) earned the show spot. Her Own Land was the even-money favorite and led an exacta and triple that paid $15.60 and $82, respectively.

The win was number six on the season for Her Own Land, who was driven to victory by Bruce Aldrich Jr. Aldrich piloted three winners on the Friday card. Live racing continues on Saturday night with a 7:05 p.m. first post. (Saratoga)

At Vernon Downs, Parkhill Horton (Jimmy Whittemore) won the $6,000 trotting feature at Vernon Downs on Friday night (Aug. 11).

Parkhill Horton (Oaklea Julian) would charge right out to the lead and go gate-to-wire, setting all the fractions, :26.3, :56.2, 1:26.1, 1:55.2. Sweet Ashley T (Homer Hochstetler) would come up to finish second with Ozymandias (Howard Okusko Jr.) getting third. Parkhill Horton ($16.20), who is owned Jeffrey Agan, David Adsit, and trainer Robert Gale, would win for the third time this season and for the 20th time in his career.

Jimmy Whittemore won three races for the second straight night. He would also win with Jackson's Gold ($6.00) and Gingertree Finnegan ($3.50). Joe Nassimos would also win three times on the night. He would win with The Big Muscle ($6.20), CJ's Roll On Two ($64.50), and Funny Photo ($20.00). Vernon Downs returns to action Saturday night (Aug. 12) at 6:45 p.m. For more information go to www.vernondowns.com.

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