Challenged for almost the entire mile, Fox Valley Veto took on all comers and went wire to wire to capture the $10,000 Open Handicap Trot at Batavia Downs on Friday evening (Dec. 1).
Fox Valley Veto (Billy Davis Jr.) and Lutetium (Kevin Cummings) both wanted the front and they went at it hot and heavy off the gate. Fox Valley Veto cleared and then held Lutetium at bay outside to the half in a quick :57.2.
Past the five-eighths Lutetium rightfully packed it in and Fox Valley Veto opened up a three-length advantage when he hit the three-quarters in 1:27.2. But during the third quarter, Empire Earl N (Larry Stalbaum) had motored up from the back of the pack and was closing quickly on the leader.
At the top of the stretch Empire Earl N was full of trot and looked like he was going to blow right on by. But Fox Valley Veto had the will and held his ground, toughing-out the win in 1:58.
It was the third win in five starts at Batavia Downs for Fox Valley Veto ($4.00) who is owned by Vogel & Wags Nags Stable and Jack Rice. Maria Rice is the trainer.
In the $8,000 Open II trot, I Want Kandy (Drew Monti) left and tucked behind Kahoku (Kevin Cummings) who cut seven-eighths of the mile before Monti pulled and trotted right on by to win by a length in 1:58.2.
It was the first win in two Batavia Downs starts for I Want Kandy ($6.30) and the eighth win of the season overall. Darrin Monti trains the winner that is owned by Carl Monti.
There was an accident in the first turn of the night's seventh race when Catherine'sdiamond (Ray Fisher Jr.) took a bad step and went down and Madd Hoss Jackson (Larry Stalbaum) couldn't get around her and hooked bikes. Stalbaum became unseated but both horses were immediately controlled by their drivers and taken safely to the outside of the track as the race progressed.
Both horses were unhurt and both Fisher and Stalbaum drove the remainder of their mounts.
Stalbaum maintained his Batavia Downs dash driving lead as he won two races on the card (both came after the incident in the seventh race) while the second place Ray Fisher Jr. scored the hat trick. Currently at the meet Stalbaum has 119 wins, Fisher has 117 and Drew Monti has 111. (Batavia)