A heady drive by Billy Davis Jr. conserved effort for Squeeze This both early and late in the mile before he let her lunge down the lightning lane and capture the $10,000 Fillies and Mares Open Handicap Pace at Batavia Downs on Wednesday evening.
Voltina (Kevin Cummings) went back to her penchant of cutting the race, firing hard off the gate to take early command. She yielded briefly to Exotic Beach (Larry Stalbaum) at the quarter, but retook the front by the three-eighths pole. As they motored past the half in :57.3, Squeeze This came first up from sixth and dropped fortuitously into the two-hole in front of the now-gapping Exotic Beach and was sitting right on Voltina’s back.
As the group passed three-quarters, Hey Kobe (Ray Fisher Jr.), who had drafted up behind Squeeze This, was now second on the outside and pushing the issue with the frontrunner all the way around the turn. At the top of the lane Hey Kobe made her way by Voltina who was visibly tiring, Aritzia Hanover (Drew Monti) was flying three-deep around Hey Kobe and Squeeze This, well, squeezed into the passing lane and was pacing up a storm by the pylons. When they hit the wire Squeeze This scored a head victory in 1:56.2 over Aritzia Hanover who was another head in front of Hey Kobe who finished third.
It was the seventh win of the year for Squeeze This ($14.20) and the win pushed her earnings to $54,866 for owner Garth Betchel. Jim Graham trains the 5-year-old daughter of Allamerican Native.
In the $8,000 distaff Open II, America Ferrera (Kevin Cummings) turned a two-hole trip behind Sarah Cola (Billy Davis Jr.) into a 1:56.3 seasonal best win. Owned by Henry Conradt, America Ferrera ($32.40) is trained by Mike Ohol.
The USTA Strategic Wagering Program guaranteed pool of $12,500 on the early Pick-5 wager turned out to be a boon for the night’s handle. Aided by longshots America Ferrera ($32.40) and Tinker Taxi ($80.00), the $2 early Pick-5 combination of 4-2-2-4-7 paid $21,020 on the strength of $18,340 in new money bet. The night’s first race handled the most money ever wagered on a single race at Batavia Downs since OTB reopened it in 2002 and the overall handle for the night was up 27 percent over the same date last year with two less races on the card.
"It was a great night at the windows for Batavia Downs on Wednesday," said Todd Haight, Director/General Manager of Live Racing. "We would like to thank the USTA and Chris Schick for partnering with us on the Strategic Wagering Program tonight and also TrackMaster for providing the free program pages that enhanced everyone’s handicapping enjoyment."
Kevin Cummings remains hot and led all drivers again Wednesday night, winning three races on the card.
Batavia Downs would like to wish all our fans and patrons a very Happy Thanksgiving and look forward to seeing everyone back at the track when live racing resumes on Friday (Nov. 24) at 6 p.m. (Batavia)