BATAVIA, N.Y. --- It's been two months since Doctor Butch was in the winner's circle but returning to Batavia Downs Saturday night (Sept. 14) to battle in the New York Sire Stakes for the 3-year-old pacing colts could be the perfect remedy.
Doctor Butch's last victory came on July 14th where he rolled to a 3/4-length win in 1:53.4 during a New York Sire Stakes event at Buffalo Raceway. Since then, he has not tasted victory. Last season, Doctor Butch found comfort locally when he set the Batavia Downs track record for 2-year-old colt pacers by going the mile in 1:54.2, a mark tied last Saturday by the sensational He's Watching. So he's hoping Western New York provides the cure.
While on a six-race losing streak, Doctor Butch did finish first in a Sires Stakes event at Saratoga Raceway on August 17th but was disqualified and placed second so he's chomping at the bit to get back into the winner's circle for trainer Linda Toscano.
Despite the so-called 'losing streak', don't shed too many tears for Doctor Butch (Art Major-Classical Yankee) as he has rolled up an impressive bankroll of $261,717 in 2013 and $606,411 lifetime. Driver Jim Morrill Jr. will be in the sulky and will try and get Doctor Butch in recovery mode, scoring from the four hole.
The 5-2 morning line favorite however in the first division, which goes off as the opener on the 13-race card, is Captive Audience. He has just two wins in 22 lifetime starts and is 0-for-12 in 2013 but looks are extremely deceiving.
Captive Audience (Art Major-Captiva Island) went 1:50.1 in a second place finish in the $116,868 Simcoe Stakes at Mohawk Raceway last Saturday night and before that in an August 17th Sire Stakes race at Saratoga, he had a horrible trip, getting pushed back to seventh behind stalled cover. Captive Audience shook free around the final turn, went four-wide and finished a fast-closing third losing by just 2-1/2 lengths.
He has been in the money 9-of-12 times this season, earning $114,402 and $293,570 lifetime. Denis St. Pierre will drive and start from the rail in the field of five.
In second division, the fifth race, it looks like a re-match of last week's Sire Stakes event at Monticello Raceway. That's where Olde Time Hockey (Art Major-Sunshine State) nipped Bet The Moon (Bettor's Delight-Sun N Moon) by a neck in 1:53.4, setting the track record for 3-year-old pacing geldings.
Olde Time Hockey has five wins in 17 career starts and has amassed $147,027, all coming this season and starts from the two hole with in the field of six for driver Ray Fisher Jr. Tom Fanning does the training of the 3-1 second choice.
The Ron Burke-trained Bet The Moon has not won since July 28th, but turned a 1:50 time that day at Tioga Downs, despite a break at the gate. A winner four times this season, Bet The Moon has earned $192,026 in 2013 and $374,718 in his 25-race career and will be driven by Jim Morrill Jr. from the four hole. They are the slight 5-2 morning line favorite.
The Batavia Downs track record for 3-year-old colt pacers is 1:52.1 set in 2010 by Joey The Czar.
There will be two divisions of the Sires Stakes worth over $61,000 and each of the fields have combined lifetime earnings of over $1 million. There will be also three $12,700 divisions of the Excelsior Series and the $8,500 Open Pace. The first post is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.
The fourth annual 'Dash For Cash', a scholarship harness race for high school seniors will also be held Saturday with $7,500 in scholarship money up for grabs. The scholarship race is a partnership between the Harness Horse Breeder's of New York, the Western New York Harness Horsemen's Association, Buffalo Raceway and Batavia Downs.
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by Brian J. Mazurek for Batavia Downs