After flexing his muscle and invoking his will, Focus Power overtook In Runaway Bay in the shadow of the wire after a quarter-mile battle to win the $10,000 Open Handicap Pace at Batavia Downs on Saturday afternoon.
In Runaway Bay (Kevin Cummings) and Focus Power (Drew Monti) left for position and ended up getting the best seats in the house -- sitting one-two. In Runaway Bay was on top and Focus Power was right on his back while the rest of the field ended up watching quite a duel. By the time the race got to the five-eighths pole, these two had separated from the pack and the fans were treated to a literal match race.
After motoring up the backside in :28.2, Monti pulled Focus Power, popped the plugs and drew alongside In Runaway Bay midway through the final turn. From there both horses were full throttle and matching strides for the rest of the contest. While Cummings and Monti rocked and knocked in chaotic synchronicity all the way down the stretch, In Runaway Bay and Focus Power gave it everything they had right to the wire with Focus Power gaining a head advantage under the light in 1:54.3.
It was the ninth win of the year for Focus Power ($5.50) who now has $92,395 earned in 2017. James Caradori owns the 5-year-old son of Shadow Play that is trained by Darrin Monti.
The $9,000 Open II Pace saw Show Stopping (Kevin Cummings) drop out of last week’s top class to go wire-to-wire in 1:55 and easily win the co-feature this week. Heavily backed by the betting public, Show Stopping ($2.80) continued his career year by posting his 11th win and boosting his bankroll to $72,366. The Resilient Racing Stable owns Show Stopping who is trained by Rose Russo.
Four drivers won 12 of the 13 races on the card Saturday. Larry Stalbaum, Ray Fisher Jr., Drew Monti and Kevin Cummings all steered three winners on the night and they just happen to be the top four dash winnings drivers of the Batavia meet in that order. After today’s action the leaderboard is Larry Stalbaum (98), Ray Fisher Jr. (94), Drew Monti (93) and Kevin Cummings (75). (Batavia)