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Batavia, NY---Fresh off a win in the Yonkers preferred pace last week, BJ's Guy shipped into Batavia Downs to take on the best local harness racing talent on Saturday night (Oct. 15) and went from worst to first in the $9,500 Open pacing feature. Normandy Invasion (Jim Morrill Jr.) took a methodical stroll to the front off the gate and eventually opened up a two-length lead at the quarter in :27.2. Positions remained unchanged to the half in :55.2, when BJ's Guy (Drew Monti) started up on the outside from last and prompted Brees Creek (Kevin Cummings) and China Dream (Shawn Gray) to pull in front of him, establishing a three-horse outer flow going up the backside. When the group passed three-quarters, China Dream tipped three-deep and BJ's Guy followed in step and they both began to chip away at Normandy Invasion's lead. As they came off the turn and stormed down the lane, Normandy Invasion began to tire and China Dream got to the front, but BJ's Guy brushed harder and overtook him in the middle of the track and got home first in 1:53.4. China Dream did hold on for second and Junior Pride (Ray Fisher Jr.) snuck up the passing lane to grab third. It was the ninth win of the season for BJ's Guy ($7.70) who has now earned $91,902 during the year for owners Blindswitch Racing Stable, David Sebolsky and Stanley Yoskowitz. The 7-year-old gelded son of Towner's Big Guy is trained by Jose Godinez. Jim Morrill Jr. won four more races on Saturday night and those wins pushed him into second place for the dash winning lead with 65 victories behind Kevin Cummings who has 68. The quadruple also gave him 12 wins in the last three nights of racing at Batavia. Also on Saturday, Shawn Gray scored a driving hat trick while Drew Monti doubled up on the card. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday night (Oct. 19) with post time set at 6:15 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

Batavia, NY---After finishing second in the top local trot twice last month, Noble Legend ($25.40) blew up the tote board along with his harness racing rivals in winning the $10,500 Open trotting feature at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Oct. 14). After taking last week off, Noble Legend returned to the track with a new attitude and approach. Driver Shawn Gray sent Noble Legend right to the front and took no prisoners from there. He lead the troops by two open lengths through fractions of :28.1, :57.3 and 1:26.2 while the trailers were struggling to keep up. At the top of the lane, Noble Legend was cruising under mild urging from Gray when Studio City (Dave McNeight III) who was second the whole mile, drifted off the pegs in an attempt to collar the leader. But all that did was allow BZ Glide (Mike Caprio) to slide up inside him and get into the action. Noble Legend trotted on to win in 1:56.4 by a length over the fast-closing BZ Glide and Studio City, who finished second and third respectively. It was the eighth win of the season for Noble Legend who increased his 2016 bankroll to $55,983 for owners Vogel & Wags Nags and Jack Rice. Maria Rice trains the 4-year-old son of Kadabra. In the co-featured $10,000 Open mares pace, Dontch Remember ($26.20) shook off a two-month winless streak and led the ladies wire-to-wire by gapped lengths to win her eighth race of the year in a new lifetime mark of 1:54.4. Gerry Sarama trains the 6-year-old Western Terror mare for owner Mike Torcello. Driver Jim Morrill Jr. continued his torrid pace at the Downs, winning another five races on the card. He scored with Love U Forever ($3.70, 1:58.3), The Bronx Bumper ($7.10, 1:58.4), Keystone Wild Card ($4.10, 2:02), Dontch Remember ($26.20, 1:54.4) and Son Of Nordic ($9.90, 1:58.3). The five wins and one second in eight starts gave Morrill a .694 UDR for the night. Drew Monti had a driving double and Mike Ohol had two winners on the training side. The dash driving leader board continues to be tight. Kevin Cummings, despite not visiting the winner's circle on Friday, remains on top with 67 wins. Drew Monti is second with 62 and Jim Morrill Jr. vaulted into third on the strength of his performance with 61 victories. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Oct. 15) at 6:15 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

Batavia, NY---For the second week in a row, Kaitlyn Akeeper shown best in winning the $7,800 mares Open II/optional claiming harness racing feature at Batavia Downs on Wednesday night (Oct. 12). Rather than bolt for the lead as he had done over the last three weeks, Jim Morrill Jr. took Kaitlyn Akeeper off the gate and allowed Mondatta (Dave McNeight III) and Terrorcam (Wade Tomaszewski) to duke it out for the front. When they had finally settled, Morrill tipped Kaitlyn Akeeper early and took the lead from them before the three-eighths pole. From there the race was history. Kaitlyn Akeeper got to the half in :58.1 and three-quarters in 1:26.4, all the time with horses in two-rows behind her. With a gapped two-length lead going around the far turn, the win looked assured and the race would be for minor spoils. As they headed down the lane, Mayabelle (Kevin Cummings) shook loose from behind the fading Mondatta and made a run at the leader, but Kaitlyn Akeeper hung on to win in 1:55.4 by a diminishing two lengths. Mayabelle was second and Mondatta hung on for third. It was the seventh victory of the year for Kaitlyn Akeeper ($2.60) and it raised her purse total to $45,272 for owner Mike Torcello. The winner was trained by Gerry Sarama. Kaitlyn Akeeper was also claimed out of the race for $21,750 by Mark Jakubik. Jim Morrill Jr. scored a driving triple on Wednesday night while Kevin Cummings, Shawn Gray and Dave McNeight III all had two wins apiece. Trainer Dave McNeight Jr. also conditioned two winners on the card. Live racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday (Oct. 14) with post time at 6:15 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Batavia, NY---The temperature was cool for the final matinee card of harness racing at Batavia Downs for 2016 but Drew Monti was red hot, winning five races on Monday afternoon (Oct. 10) including the special Columbus Day featured $5,000 "Run for the Cannolis" Italian driver's race. The Run for the Cannolis is an annual tradition at the Downs to honor the large Italian population in the city of Batavia. It was started decades ago and has continued each year on Columbus Day. In this year's edition, Monti drove Beechwood Wayne to a three-length win in 1:58.1. After getting away second, Beechwood Wayne followed closely as Goddess's Justin (at the pylons) and First Of Fun (outside) battled side-by-side for the lead for over a quarter mile. When First Of Fun finally failed, Beechwood Wayne popped the pocket at three-quarters and blew right by Goddess's Justin. But the race wasn't over. Rock C. Vinci, who has won this race for the last two years, had tracked Monti's move around the far turn and was now breathing down Beechwood Wayne back at the head of the lane. As both drivers went to the stick in the dash to the wire, "Drivin' Drew" had the jump and got Beechwood Wayne there first to claim the cannolis for 2016. It was the ninth win of the year for Beechwood Wayne ($3.60) and third in a row during his current streak. The 9-year-old gelded son of Western Terror is owned by Tessa Roland and trained by JD Perrin. Monti also won with Big unit ($7.50, 1:58), Quick Silver ($9.40, 1:58.4), Mystical Valentine ($4.00, 1:56.4) and Girls Luv Diamonds ($4.10, 1:57) to complete the five-bagger. His wins combined with a second and two thirds saw Monti's UDR soar to .519 for the day. Ray Fisher Jr. had a driving triple on Monday and Kevin Cummings scored a double. And the wins recorded by all three drivers have made the dash competition at the meet extremely close. After Monday's races, Cummings sits on top with 62 wins, Monti is second with 60 and Fisher is third with 56. With 28 racing days left, the driving crown is definitely up for grabs. Live racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday evening (Oct. 12) with post time set for 6:15 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

Batavia, NY---Although overlooked by many and sent off at a hearty 9-1, Foiled Again brought his harness racing A-game to Genesee County and exhibited the heart that has earned him over $7.4 million in lifetime earnings to win the 14th annual $50,000 Robert J. Kane Memorial pace at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Oct. 8). Off the gate, Scott Rocks (John Cummings Jr.) and Mel Mara (Jim Morrill Jr.) argued for the lead and registered a swift :26.4 quarter in the process before Mel Mara relented and tucked in second. With Scott Rocks now dictating the proceedings, the field stayed in single-file around the far turn before Polak A (Shawn Gray) pulled first-over at the three-eighths to start the outer flow. Polak A drew alongside Scott Rocks at the half, stalked him around the turn and then passed the tiring leader before crossing over at three-quarters in 1:22.4. At this point Foiled Again (Kevin Cummings) who had been tracking the race from fifth, tipped three-deep around Southwind Amazon (Shawn McDonough) and caught up to the leader by the top of the stretch. Then as they came down the lane, Foiled Again swelled up under mild urging from Cummings and paced right by Polak A to win by a length in 1:52.2. Polak A hung on for second and Mel Mara overcame road trouble to grab third. It was the third time Foiled Again has won the Kane Memorial, having also scored victories in the 2009 and 2013 editions and the second time Kevin Cummings has won it after taking the 2006 race with Michael Scores. "He went real well tonight" said Cummings. "He was a little lazy early but he did a good job tracking the field. He knows his business and I was confident at the three-quarters that he could win this. It was great to win the Kane tonight." It was the 90th career win for Foiled Again ($20.20) who now sits just $13,492 short of $7.5 million lifetime. The 12-year-old Ron Burke trainee is owned by the Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi and the JJK Stable. In the co-featured $15,000 Brian Schroeder Memorial Trot, Serious George (Shawn Gray) got away fourth before pulling first-over at the half to pound out an arduous journey and overtake the front-running BZ Glide (Mike Caprio) to win in a new lifetime mark of 1:57.2. Serious George ($23.00) is owned by James Palladino and trained by Rich Mays. Driver Shawn Gray was red hot on Saturday, winning five races on the card. He scored with Studio City ($3.90, 1:58.1), Surfer's Paradise ($8.60, 1:55.4), Serious George ($23.00, 1:57.2), Gallant Major ($5.40, 1:56.2) and Life's Lessons ($4.40, 1:56.1). Kevin Cummings and Jim Morrill Jr. both had driving hat tricks and trainers Ron Burke and Gerry Sarama each claimed three wins apiece. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Monday afternoon (Oct. 10) for the last matinee card of the season. The Columbus Day special gets underway at 1:15 p.m.   Tim Bojarski

Batavia, NY---Seven horses with a combined lifetime earnings of over $11 million comprise the harness racing field for the 14th annual $50,000 Robert J. Kane Memorial Pace which will be contested at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Oct. 8). The Kane Memorial is dedicated to the former chairman of the board of Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corporation (which owns and operates Batavia Downs), Robert J. Kane. Kane worked on the board for 26 years and had the vision to see the value in purchasing the track in 1998, that had been shuttered for three years after having its license revoked. The facility has gone through a complete turnaround since then and WROTB has developed the property into the premier entertainment destination spot in Genesee County. The 2016 edition of the Kane (which goes as race seven) is also a homecoming of sorts for trainer Chris Oakes who is originally from nearby Akron, New York. He started his career at the Downs in the 1980's and conditions two horses in this year's Kane, with his stable star Luck Be Withyou installed as the 5-2 morning line choice. Luck Be Withyou has faced Wiggle It Jiggleit and Always B Miki many times this year and has always been formidable competition for those two dominant aged pacers. Luck Be Withyou took a lifetime mark of 1:47.4 at Pocono Downs on July 2 and has also been race-timed under 1:50 on seven other occasions this year. His best effort on a half-mile track was a 1:51.1 win at Saratoga Raceway in July, but he was race-timed in 1:50.3 at Harrington Raceway just two weeks ago. Leaving from post one, Luck Be Withyou will be driven by the Downs leading reignsman, Kevin Cummings. Mel Mara is the second choice at 7-2 and is one speedy pacer. On June 4 at the Meadowlands, he beat a very talented Open class field and equalled the all-time race record for an older pacing stallion on a mile track when he stopped the clock in 1:47. In his 21 starts this year, Mel Mara was race timed under 1:50 15 times and his best effort over a half-mile track was a 1:50.1 win at Harrington Raceway three starts ago. Jim Morrill Jr. takes the reigns for trainer Dylan Davis and starts from post three. Scott Rocks comes in sharp as a tack and knows this oval well. He just raced at Batavia Downs on September 24 and jogged in 1:52. He was a wrapped up winner with a lot left in the tank and he did it after being off for three weeks. He took a lifetime mark of 1:48 at Pocono Downs on May 28, but he also won in a phenomenal 1:49 clocking at Northfield Park on September 3. Leaving from post two, John Cummings Jr. will once again team Scott Rocks, who is the other entrant for trainer Chris Oakes. Southwind Amazon is fast on any surface. He took a lifetime mark of 1:49.2 at Pompano Park on March 13, but was also race timed in 1:49.2 at Northfield Park in a second place finish to Scott Rocks on September 3. He has also won in 1:50.3 at Northfield and 1:50.4 at Saratoga Raceway. Southwind Amazon is having a career year with 11 wins and $109,599 earned and looks to add to those numbers in this event. Shawn Mcdonough gets the nod from trainer Paul Holzman and will depart from post five. The entire field is as follows: 1 Luck Be Withyou - Kevin Cummings 5-2 2 Scott Rocks - John Cummings Jr. 5-1 3 Mel Mara - Jim Morrill Jr. 7-2 4 Polak A - Shawn Gray 4-1 5 Southwind Amazon - Shawn McDonough 9-2 6 Foiled Again - Jack Flanigen 8-1 7 Rockin In Heaven - Drew Monti 6-1 The current all-time pacing track record at Batavia Downs is 1:51.1 set by Aracache Hanover in 2011 when he won the Kane Memorial that year. In recent weeks, the track at Batavia Downs has been lightning fast and with favorable weather forecast, this field has the ability to demolish that standard. There is also an outstanding undercard on Saturday night's 11-race schedule and it includes the $15,000 Brian Schroeder Memorial Trot, to go as race five. Local favorite BZ Glide (Mike Caprio) is the 5-2 pick to hit against Yonkers Raceway invaders Lady's Dude (Kevin Cummings, 3-1) and Auspicious Hanover (John Cummings Jr., 4-1). Post time for the first race is 6:15 p.m. Tim Bojarski

Batavia, NY---After dropping down from Open company and back into the harness racing claiming ranks, Kaitlyn Akeeper ($4.10) hung on to win the $7,800 mares pacing feature at Batavia Downs on Wednesday night (Oct. 5). Jim Morrill Jr. shot off the gate and put Kaitlyn Akeeper on the lead and set early fractions of :27.4 and :57. At the five-eighths pole, Mayabelle (Kevin Cummings) pulled first over and applied pressure on the outside for the rest of the race. The group moved to three-quarters in 1:26.4 before rounding the turn and pacing down the lane. With just a length separating them, Mayabelle was outside, Kaitlyn Akeeper in the middle and Missevil (Shawn Gray) was on the pylons after getting the two-hole trip. But Kaitlyn Akeeper toughed it out and won by a neck over Missevil in 1:55. Mayabelle finished third. It was the sixth win in 2016 for Kaitlyn Akeeper and the purse boosted her annual earnings to $41,372 for owner Mike Torcello. The 4-year-old American Ideal mare is trained by Gerry Sarama. Ray Fisher Jr. had a big night, winning four races on the card; three of which provided substantial payoffs. He scored with Chrome finish ($14.00, 2:00), Sobhon Hanover ($26.00, 1:59.1), Twin B Sportsman ($3.90, 1:55) and Artistic Topaz ($28.20, 1:57.2). Jim Morrill Jr. had a driving triple and Shawn Gray doubled up for the night. Trainers Gerry Sarama and John Mungillo also both sent two winners for pictures. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday (Oct. 7) with post time at 6:15 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Batavia, NY---An all-day rain left the track sloppy for the harness racing card at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Oct. 1), but some of the fastest times of the meet were recorded during the evening. None the least the one Highview Conall N registered while winning the $10,000 featured Open pace at the Genesee County oval. The red-hot Jim Morrill Jr. fired the New Zealand bred off the gate and to the lead as the rest of the field watched in single-file fashion. After fractions of :27.3 and :56.2, Highview Conall N and the second place Heaven Rocks (Kevin Cummings) had a two-horse breakaway in place as they opened up six-lengths on the rest of the field while motoring up the backside. As those two continued to compete alone, Knocking Around (Dave McNeight III) pulled from fourth and started to close the distance with the leader. Around the far turn, Highview Conall N was widening the gap between himself and Heaven Rocks as Knocking around was closing it from third. When they straightened out down the lane it was Highview Conall N pacing strong to the wire for a 1:53.2 win with Knocking Around closing well for second over Heaven Rocks. It was the eighth win of the year for Highview Conall N ($4.10) and it raised his annual income to $74,770. The 7-year-old son of Christian Cullen was a recent acquisition for owner/trainer Nick Gampietro Jr., who purchased him privately on September 26. For the second night in a row, John Cummings Jr. scored a driving grand slam. He returned to the Purple Haze winner's circle with Cheyenne Louie ($6.70, 1:54.4), Normandy Invasion ($2.70, 1:54.4), Youwillwishyouhad ($63.00, 1:55.1) and Bags of Money ($6.00, 1:57.4). Jim Morrill Jr. was a close second with a triple and Drew Monti came through with two. Trained JD Perrin also conditioned two winners on the night. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday night (Oct. 5) with the first post set at 6:15 p.m.     Tim Bojarski

Batavia, NY --- Justgottogetthere was one of the best resident trotters in western New York last year, however 2016 has been a bit of a different story. But it was like old times for the harness racing gelding on Friday night (Sept.30) as he won the $10,500 Open trotting feature at Batavia Downs. Justgottogetthere (Jim Morrill Jr.) went right to the front at the start of the race and remained there until the end. While setting early panels of :28.2 and :58.4, the only challenge the leader got came from Snapshot Springs (Drew Monti) who pulled near the half and tried to engage the front. But the closest he could get was a half-length from second seated Noble Legend (Shawn Gray) who was tracking there the whole mile. After they hit three-quarters in 1:27.2, Justgottogetthere got busy and extended his lead around the far turn and just trotted away in the lane to win by three in 1:57.1. Noble Legend was second and Snapshot Springs finished third. It was the fourth win of the year and a seasonal mark for Justgottogetthere ($11.20), and the first trip to the winner's circle with him for new owner Mike Torcello, who privately purchased the son of Valley Victor on September 3rd. Gerry Sarama trains Justgottogetthere. In the co-featured $8,500 Open II trot, Serious George ($5.50) came early to press the front running Socialdelight (Ray Fisher Jr.) before running her down to win in 1:57.4. Serious George is owned by James Palladino and is trained by Richard Mays. John Cummings Jr. won four races Friday night. He had pictures taken with Gun Show ($4.00, 1:56.2), Hez a Buckeye ($5.60, 1:59), V I P ($9.20, 2:02) and Northern Matador ($13.20, 1:59). Shawn Gray and Jim Morrill Jr. both chimed in with two wins apiece. The Batavia Downs early Pick-5 which on Friday was part of the USTA Strategic Wager with a guaranteed $4,000 pool, recorded the track's largest handle ever by 50%. The 3-2-1-2-6 combination returned $202.00. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Oct. 1) with a guaranteed early Pick-5 pool of $1,500. Post time is 6:15 p.m.   Tim Bojarski

Rider Vanessa Karlewicz did this superstitious act before racing in her first fair final and the outcome was great for the 36-year-old and her mount, Admirable Hanover, because the duo ended the night in the harness racing winner's circle at Batavia Downs. Karlewicz, of Florida New York, called the experience "surreal." "When I crossed the line there was a massive roar, but I had no idea if I had won by half a second, by 1,000th of a second or even lost," she said. "As we slowed our horses up on the backside, I was still unsure as to who would be continuing on to the winner's circle," she continued. Then the placings were announced... I had won! It finally sunk in and that's when I became emotional... My first meaningful win on a bigger track. I was overtaken with joy and gratefulness." As the race moved off the last turn, Karlewicz pulled Admirable Hanover and drew alongside last year's fair final winners Andrea Pratt and My Friend Charlie. Admirable Hanover edged his way past the wire and won by a neck in 2:03.4. My Friend Charlie was second and Jeanie Marie closed sharply for third after an early race miscue in the non-betting event. Karlewicz said it is natural to envision yourself winning, but said she also tried to keep her expectations grounded. "We have had a few wins this year, but those were all on fair tracks," she said. "I also knew that there was a competitive field of horses in the final, not to mention last year's winner. Certainly I knew I had my work cut out for me, but was going to give it my best shot." This marked the third year RUS New York has organized a fair series. It included 12 races at nine fairs across the state, a race at Saratoga Harness Track (a part of their fair day) and the championship race. It was a historic event because it was the first time Batavia Downs had ever held a racing under saddle event. The win was the third in six starts under saddle for Admirable Hanover this year. The horse is owned by Peter Gerry and is trained by his rider, Karlewicz. This is the fourth year the 9-year-old gelded son of Cantab Hall has competed in RUS and the 2:03.4 time was a new lifetime RUS mark for him. The win was a little extra special for Karlewicz because it came the night before her birthday. "Admirable certainly gave me the best birthday gift ever," she said. "I was so overwhelmed with both people congratulating me on the win, along with birthday wishes. To say I was on cloud nine is probably still an understatement. Everybody's kind words and support was very meaningful." Karlewicz has not always been in the racing business and still considers herself to be somewhat of a "newbie." In fact, Karlewicz's full-time job is managing her family's horse farm "The Stables at MiraBella." It is primarily a hunter/jumper facility. The farm houses about 40 horses: A mixture of boarders, lesson horses and young stock as breeding is also a big part of the business. Karlewicz said she initially got introduced to Standardbreds three years ago through Connor Racing Stables. "I started out jogging a few horses once in a while for fun. The more I was around it, the more fascinated I became. I was intrigued to learn about a different side of the sport and I was certainly drawn into the speed and thrill of racing," she explained. According to the horse enthusiast, she received a lot of support while learning the sport and was ultimately able to get her trainers/driving license. Karlewicz said she was graciously supplied with horses to drive and race from both the Connor Stables as well as owner/driver Peter Gerry. "RUS specifically was something I never knew existed until I saw a race one day during the Goshen matinees," Karlewicz said. "I knew instantly that I had to try it." Gerry's horse was stabled with the Connors where Karlewicz said he never quite developed into a horse for the "big races" so they gave her the chance to drive him in an amateur series. "He has proven to be a bit of a quirky horse in that he has struggled with the starting gate and he tends to get nervous and makes breaks especially when starting from the rail (the post position the duo had in the fair final)," Karlewicz said. This was a challenge being new to the sport, according to Karlewicz. However, she said, figuring the horse out has made her a better horsewoman. The rider/trainer said everyone at the Connor Stables and Gerry are supportive of RUS and were willing to try different horses in their program to see how they would fair doing it. Both Jennifer and Brian Connor have ridden horses under saddle themselves. "It always seemed like something Admirable was good at and seemed to like," Karlewicz said. "This year I decided to put most of my efforts towards RUS versus driving and made arrangements to take over Admirable's care and training schedule myself." "Being Admirable's full-time trainer brings a great sense of pride in that I feel his wins this year solidify my horsemanship skills in a field that's relatively new to me," Karlewicz added. Admirable and Karlewicz have had time to bond. She says she has had a lot more experience driving him, but feels he is much calmer while working under saddle. "One of the greater challenges driving him is that he is a very hot horse: Both jogging and in the race bike." Karlewicz said. "The under saddle work, I feel, keeps him calmer and therefore he's easier to handle. He is a horse that we towed a lot instead of jogging in an attempt to avoid him overworking himself in a jog cart every day. This is where I'm happy to offer him the under saddle work off the track. I think he really enjoys that." Coming down the stretch to the wire. Racing Strategy: Every horse has a preferred racing style or at least one that lets the horse perform at its best. For example, some like to leave, while others do better if tucked in a hole with cover and conserving energy until the end. So what is the secret to Admirable Hanover? Karlewicz said she always has to ease Admirable into the race and is not one that she likes to leave the starting gate with too fast. Her strategy for the final was to try and be patient off the starting gate and make it around the first turn. She said, "Once we make it that far, I can usually ease up and start participating in the race. There are usually always horses that like to leave so It works out for me to tuck behind someone. Addie generally races better mid pack so getting away third suited us. I knew going down the back stretch for the second time that I needed to start to make my move if I stood a chance. I pulled his ear plugs and he nicely filled the gap. Coming around the final turn I was really happy with where we were. I felt my horse had more in him, so I pulled to the outside and urged him on. Crossing that line first in that close of a race is a thrill I will never forget." How Karlewicz Began Riding: Karlewicz started riding when she was 8 years old. She said jumping has always been her main focus. However, she said she has dabbled a little with dressage, eventing, western, thoroughbreds, Arabians... "Jumping has always been my passion. Years later it's intriguing to be learning yet another side of the sport," she said. Karlewicz said she would love to see RUS continue to grow and one day evolve into a betting sport here in the U.S. "I would love nothing more than to be able to continue to participate in this sport, hopefully get more rides, and expand to racing at new tracks," she said. The rider/trainer said she has always been and adrenaline seeker so that is why racing under saddle "spoke to her." She said, "Once I got a taste of racing, both driving and RUS, I was instantly hooked." Now that the fair series has come to an end, Karlewicz said she is looking forward to starting back up in the NAADA Amateur Driving Series that takes place at Monticello, Yonkers and Freehold this fall. BY MICHELLE MILLER, RUS NEW YORK  

Batavia, NY---Wednesday night (Sept. 28) was a return to form for My Tallia Ideal when she came from off the pace to take the lead and fend off a late challenge to capture the harness racing featured $9,500 mares Open pace at Batavia Downs. Kaitlyn Akeeper (Jim Morrill Jr.) left for the lead around Memumsnotnice (Kevin Cummings) while My Tallia Ideal (Dave McNeight III) went from fifth to third and tucked. Positions remained unchanged through fractions of :27.2 and :56.2 when My Tallia Ideal pulled first over past the clubhouse with Who Says That (Shawn Gray) on her back. My Tallia Ideal eventually pulled alongside Kaitlyn Akeeper at the three-quarters before going right on by in the far turn. But just as it looked like she was going to pull away, Who Says That tipped around and came hard at her in the stretch. The two dueled head to head all the way down the lane and hit the wire near simultaneously, but the photo showed My Tallia Ideal was the victor by a nose in 1:54.1. The win was the seventh of the year for My Tallia Ideal ($2.80) and it pushed her earnings to $51,375 for owners Peter Kibler, Kenneth Owczarczak and Courtney McNeight. The 8-year-old Western Ideal mare is trained by Dave McNeight Jr. Ray Fisher Jr. had a driving grand slam Wednesday, winning with Wicked Elphaba ($6.40), Purple N Gold ($17.40), Prince Jubilee ($10.80) and Val's Jett ($2.60). Wade Tomaszewski and Jim Morrill Jr. both scored driving doubles. Trainers Richard Tomaszewski and Richard Lareau both sent two students to the winner's enclosure. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Sept. 30) with the first post set for 6:15 p.m. On Friday, the early Pick-5 (Races 1 to 5) starts with a guaranteed pool of $4,000.   By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

Batavia, NY---In the featured $10,000 Open pace at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Sept. 24), the only race was for second as the heavily favored invader, Scott Rocks led at all stations en route to registering the fastest pacing mile of the year at the Genesee County harness racing oval. John Cummings Jr. left with Scott Rocks and after easing him through a brutally sunlit first turn, got his horse in gear on the back straight and took the lead by the quarter in :27.4. As soon as he crossed over to the pylons, Cummings popped the plugs and took a reclined posture in the bike as he became a passenger for the rest of his ride. Scott Rocks was up by one and one-half lengths at the half in :56.2 and by two at three-quarters in 1:23.4. With the rest of the field scrambling to keep up at that point, the leader opened up three lengths under mild urging from Cummings and won wrapped-up in 1:52. China Dream (Shawn Gray) closed strong to catch second and Heaven Rocks (Kevin Cummings), who followed the winner the entire mile, hung on for third. It was the ninth win of the year, including three straight most recently for Scott Rocks ($2.50) and the purse increased his 2016 bank to $133,374 for owners Susan Oakes and Chuck Pompey. The 6-year-old gelded son of Rocknroll Hanover is trained by Chris Oakes. John Cummings Jr. had a driving grand slam on Saturday winning with Scott Rocks ($2.50, 1:52), Keystone Dalton ($3.10, 1:55), Foreign Officer ($4.30, 1:54.1) and Untouchable One ($3.40, 1:56). Drew Monti had a driving triple while Ray Fisher Jr. doubled up. Trainer JD Perrin conditioned three winning horses on the night. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday night (Sept. 28) with the first post at 6:15 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Batavia, NY---Fresh off a solid win in Open II company last week, Snapshot Springs moved to the top class for resident trotters and took a new lifetime mark in winning the $10,500 Open at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Sept. 23). With three horses leaving off the gate, it took until the quarter for the favored Kahoku (Kevin Cummings) to clear in :28.1. He then proceeded to lead the pack in single-file order to the half in :57.4. At that station, Snapshot Springs (Drew Monti) pulled first-over from fourth and motored up on the outside. Up the backside, Snapshot Springs pulled even with Kahoku and at that point, Monti popped the plugs before they hit the three-quarters in 1:27.1. From there he cleared and opened up a two-length lead around the last turn. Then with mild urging from Monti down the lane, Snapshot Springs coasted home to a fairly easy two-length win in 1:57. It was the seventh win of the year for Snapshot Springs ($8.40) and it enriched his 2016 earnings to $41,085 for owner/trainer Allan McCarty. Bob Davis won both $5,000 divisions of the C.K.G. Billings races. In the trotting leg he scored a wire to wire win with V I P ($15.80) and in the pacing division he went from worst to first with Helena's Hope ($7.00). John Cummings Jr. had a driving triple while Drew Monti and Shawn Gray scored doubles. Trainers Edgar Clarke and Jeff Amann both sent two horses to the winner's enclosure. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Sept. 24) with a 6:15 post time.   by Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

Batavia, NY---Susie's Delight proved patience is a virtue as she laid in wait before pouncing on her harness racing foes in the $9,500 mares Open pacing feature at Batavia Downs on Wednesday night (Sept. 21).   Kaitlyn Akeeper (Jim Morrill Jr.) set the pace as the heavy post time favorite All Charged Up (John Macdonald) couldn't get the front and didn't find a hole. That was the start of a long journey for her as she was parked the rest of the way. So with Memumsnotnice (Kevin Cummings) sitting second and All Charged Up hung out like laundry, Kaitlyn Akeeper cut fractions of :27.1, :56.3 and 1:25.2.   At three-quarters, All Charged Up was making her way to the rear and that freed Susie's Delight (Ray Fisher Jr.) from her encumbered position in fourth and she began a run up to the leader. Coming out of the turn, Susie's Delight drew even with Kaitlyn Akeeper and the mares battled into the stretch. Fisher began bouncing in the bike like he was sitting on a trampoline, urging his mare ahead. And ahead she forged to a half-length victory in 1:54.2.   It was the fourth win of the year for the 6-year-old daughter of Bettor's Delight ($13.00) and the time of 1:54.2 was a new seasonal mark for the winner. Susie's Delight is owned by the Swift Racing Stable and trained by Ryan Swift.   Drew Monti, Dave McNeight III and Ray Fisher Jr. all scored driving triples on the night while John Mungillo, Bradley Jackson and Dave McNeight Jr. conditioned two winners apiece.   Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Sept. 23) with post time for the first race set at 6:15 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

Batavia, NY---Track conditions were sloppy at best after torrential downpours swept through Genesee County, but China Dream didn't seem to mind the mud as he came first-over and put in a gutsy harness racing effort while winning the $10,000 Open pacing feature at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Sept. 17). From the pylons, Heaven Rocks (Kevin Cummings) took the lead by default as no one else in the field left. From there Cummings proceeded to cut pedestrian fractions for the class of :29.1 to the quarter and :59.1 to the half with his competitors following in post position order. Shortly past that station, China Dream (Shawn Gray) pulled first-up and drew alongside Heaven Rocks. The two matched strides up the backside and around the last turn. At the head of the lane, China Dream wore down Heaven Rocks, but met another challenge from Foreign Officer (John Cummings Jr.) who had tipped three wide and was driving. But China Dream was the better horse this night and held all comers at bay to win by length in 1:56.2. It was the ninth win of the year for China Dream ($10.80) and it raised his annual income to $65,055 for owners Jack and Maria Rice. China Dream is trained by Maria Rice. Shawn Gray posted four driving victories on the night while Ray Fisher Jr. won two. Trainers Maria Rice, Angelo Nappo and Richard Lareau all sent two winners postward. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Monday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. for the final twilight card of the year.   By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Batavia, NY--- The last time BZ Glide visited the harness racing winner's circle was on May 27 of this year, but that absence was quelled when he got up late to win the $10,000 Open trotting feature at Batavia Downs on Friday night (Sept. 16). As the race got underway, habitual leaver Kahoku (Kevin Cummings) took a stay-at-home approach and let Studio City (Dave McNeight III), Noble Legend (Jack Flanigen) and Serendipitious (Ray Fisher Jr.) all go for the top. Those three battled three-wide to the quarter in :27.4 before Noble Legend finally cleared and then Serendipitious overtook from him. But the action was far from over before they reached the half as Studio City pulled first over with Kahoku shadowing the move. The field was in two rows at three-quarters in 1:27.3 when Cummings pulled Kahoku three-high around the far turn. Not to be outdone, Mike Caprio pulled BZ Glide from the back of the pack and swung four-wide at the head of the lane. With horses coming from everywhere, four had a shot in mid-stretch. But it was BZ Glide who brushed the best to win by a neck in 1:58.1. It was the second win of the year for BZ Glide ($4.30) who is just rounding into form after being off two months over the summer. So far in 2016, he has earned $18,625 for owner Caprio Stable LLC. BZ Glide is trained by Alana Caprio. The Downs leading driver, Kevin Cummings and Drew Monti both had triples on the card while Mike Caprio checked in with two winners. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Sept. 17) with the first post set at 6:15 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

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