In four starts in the top trot class this year at the oldest lighted harness track in America, Icanflylikeanangel has not been worse than second. That trend continued on Friday night (Aug. 31) when he won the $10,000 Open Handicap Trot at Batavia Downs.
Empire Earl N (Billy Davis Jr.) left hurriedly to grab the lead immediately off the gate. The remainder of the field hit the pylons behind him allowing a tepid first quarter split of :29.2 to occur. But things changed quickly as Southern Palms (Kevin Cummings) pulled first up at the three-eighths bringing Icanflylikeanangel (Drew Monti) in tow.
Southern Palms drew even with Empire Earl N in the third turn and the two trotters tangled to the three-quarters just whiskers apart. That battle continued around the final bend but Icanflylikeanangel, who had been shadowing the leaders, was loaded with trot and tipped three-deep and head-long into the fray.
With three horses now strung across the track, Monti asked for more from Icanflylikeanangel and more is what he got. Icanflylikeanangel dug in and gained the advantage by mid-stretch, winning by a neck in 1:58.1.
Icanflylikeanangel ($2.70) registered his sixth win of the season and bulked his bankroll to $58,795 for owner Joseph Hess. D. Benny Eggers conditions the winner.
In the $8,000 Open II, Bold Dresser (Shawn McDonough) pulled off an instant replay of his win last week, going gate-to-wire cutting fractions of :28.4, :59.2 and 1:28.1 before trotting away down the lane under no duress in 1:58.2. It was the fourth win of the year for Bold Dresser ($5.50) who is owned by Harry Wortzman. His driver McDonough also does the training.
Drew Monti had the hot hand driving Friday, winning four races on the card. Besides taking the feature with Icanflylikeanangel, Monti also won with Gimme The Pacifics (1:57, $2.80), Golden Kronos (1:59.3, $3.20) and Barn Sis (1:58, $3.50). Monti now with 38 wins for the meet, is only one win behind Kevin Cummings (39) for first place in the dash driving competition.
There was no winner in the early Pick-5 wager on Friday night so there is a carryover pool of $496 for Saturday. As a result, Batavia Downs is offering a guaranteed pool of $1,500 for the early Pick-5 on Saturday (Sept. 1) when live racing resumes at 6 p.m. The early Pick-5 runs from race one to race five.--By Tim Bojarski/Batavia Downs