In a career-best outing, Empire Earl N made two moves to victory in the $10,000 Open Handicap Trot at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Nov. 10).
Empire Earl N left from post three and cleared momentarily before Osprey Vision (Ray Fisher Jr.) overtook and settled on the lead. Kahoku (Kevin Cummings) who also left, got parked out third and was in for a long night.
Osprey Vision took the field to the half in :57.3 with Kahoku outside acting as a prompter. Positions remained unchanged until Fox Valley Veto (Billy Davis Jr.) tipped three deep around a predictably tiring Kahoku and was advancing towards the leader. When the race entered the stretch it appeared a three-horse finish, but Empire Earl N found the passing lane and shot through like a flash to win by a length in 1:57.1.
The winning time was a new lifetime mark for the 9-year-old Empire Earl N.
Now boasting $67,040 on the strength of seven wins this year, Empire Earl N ($4.20) is owned by his driver, Larry Stalbaum, and trained by North America's leading percentage trainer, Kim Asher.
In the $8,000 Open II trot, Hollywoods Thatway (Ray Fisher Jr.) took a two-hole trip after battling Lutetium to the quarter in :27.4, and turned it into a victory over same in 1:57.1 to claim his third straight win at Batavia Downs.
Hollywoods Thatway ($7.60) is owned by Vogel and Wags Nags Stable and Jack Rice and is trained by Maria Rice.
The red-hot Kevin Cummings led all drivers with three wins on the card. Cummings has now won eight races in the last two nights.
Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday (Nov. 11) with seven divisions of the Claiming Championship Series finals going for a total of $125,000. Post time for the first race is 6 p.m. (Batavia)