Racing Roundup: A F F Bigdaddy makes it two straight in Batavia Open

by harness racing publicists across North America

The Saturday (Oct. 13) edition of Racing Roundup features results stories from Batavia Downs, Saratoga Casino Hotel, Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway, The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono and Vernon Downs.

A F F Bigdaddy makes it two straight in Batavia Open

Batavia, NY — A F F Bigdaddy continued to be a hot horse among the top class pacers at Batavia Downs as he won his second straight $11,500 Open Handicap pace on Saturday (Oct. 13).

Paul White photo

A F F Bigdaddy won his second straight Open at Batavia Downs on Saturday.

The race got away in post position order meaning Bugatti (Jim Morrill Jr.) was calling the shots. After reaching the quarter in :28 flat, In Runaway Bay (Kevin Cumming) pulled first-up at the three-eighths and brought A F F Bigdaddy (Denny Bucceri) with him. Now in two rows, positions remained unchanged from the half to the three-quarters with the race proceeding in a timely 1:25.3.

As the pacers were rounding the final turn, Bucceri swung A F F Bigdaddy three-deep at the apex and it was clear the pair meant business. Under a full head of steam, A F F Bigdaddy paced by In Runaway Bay and then Bugatti before opening up a three length lead and hitting the wire a wrapped-up 1:54.1 winner.

It was the fifth win in the last eights starts for A F F Bigdaddy ($10.80) who now has seven for the year along with $41,393 in earnings. Jennifer and Marcus Rogowski own the 5-year-old Sir Luck gelding who is trained by Steve Kiblin,

In the $9,900 Open II Handicap, Cool Like Fire (Billy Davis Jr.) came from off the pace late amidst a four-horse charge down the lane to win his fifth race of the year by a length in a time of 1:54.2. Cool Like Fire ($14.20) is owned by WIlliam Emmons and is trained by Jim Clouser Jr.

Four drivers scored doubles on Saturday night. Drew Monti, Jim Morrill Jr., Billy Davis Jr. and Denny Bucceri all got a pair across during the proceedings.

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday afternoon with post time set for 5 p.m.

— by Tim Bojarski

Saratoga Casino Hotel

Crockets Cullen N (Christian Cullen) is a new addition to the Larry Stalbaum stable as the New Zealand import made his U.S. debut just a couple of weeks ago. Last Saturday night (Oct 6), Crockets Cullen N came to Saratoga Casino Hotel for the first time and made an immediate impact, winning in 1:52.1.This weekend, it was up into the Open Pace for Stalbaum’s new acquisition and Crockets Cullen N again proved up to the task. First-over on veteran leader JK Panache (Jimmy Devaux), Crockets Cullen N surged by heading to three-quarters and paced a third panel in :27 seconds before clearing the lead. The favored Mar Nien A (Jay Randall) followed the cover of Crockets Cullen N but had to settle for second as the Stalbaum trainee scored in 1:51.4, a new lifetime best. Crockets Cullen N paid $13.20 to win and led an exacta and triple that came back $35.20 and $241.50, respectively. The Australian invader Mar Nien A had been three-for-three since moving to the stable of trainer Amanda Kelley but was the runner-up in Saturday’s $18,000 Open Pace. JK Panache earned the show spot. Stalbaum piloted three winners on the card. Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon at Saratoga with a matinee beginning at 12:15 p.m.

Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway

Winwood Mac (Dan Noble) edged Holdingallthecards (Jeremy Smith) and Hot Rod Dylan (Travis Seekman) in a very tight photo to capture the $17,500 Open I Pace at Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway on Saturday (Oct. 13). Exploding from the gate the winning 5-year-old son of Canyon Wind lead at every call, including an eye-popping :26 flat opening quarter mile. The Ron Burke-trainee didn’t tap the breaks for long either, stopping the subsequent teletimers in :54.3, 1:22.1 and crossing the final beam in 1:50.3. It was the fourth seasonal score for Winwood Mac and 22nd of his career. He eclipsed the $300,000 earnings plateau in his last start. Winwood Mac belongs to Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi and P. Collura.
A $15,000 Open II Pace was won by Bettor Spirits N (Jason Brewer), topping K-Rock (Trevor Smith) and Doctor Carter (Cameron McCown) in 1:53. The 7-year-old Bettor’s Delight stud’s triumph was his 6th of 2018 and 20th lifetime. He is owned by Chris Choros, Eleven Star Stable, Jason Brewer and P. J. Dillon.

The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono

The Mach Three gelding Rebellious gave driver Anthony Napolitano his sixth of seven winners on the Saturday card at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono when he won the $21,500 featured pace in 1:51.3. The 3-year-old Hitman Hill, favored against more seasoned rivals despite not having raced since his Little Brown Jug elimination, moved to the lead past the :26.2 opener and got a big breather to the :56.2 half. Napolitano had Rebellious second-over by the 1:24.2 three-quarter clocking, and through the lane the sharp pacer, still last at the stretch call, swept past everybody to claim a 1-3/4 length victory, coming his personal back fractions in :54.1 – :26.2 despite 46-degree temperatures. Michael Deters trains the winner of two straight and 13 races overall in 2018, and co-owns him with Joel Warner; the pair purchased the late-bloomer after he started the 2018 season hot at Pompano for Team Zeron. In the $18,000 claiming handicap pace co-feature, Onlythetuffsurvive was the first horse to show off the gate, but with constant lead changes and challenges, he found himself fourth-inside past the three-quarters. But in the stretch the innermost part of the Pocono Pike opened up to the altered son of A Stud Named Sue, and driver Marcus Miller’s horse was full of pace to catch Pembroke Wildcat, going for his fourth straight win, in 1:52.1. Onlythetuffsurvive, who lost a streak of his own last week – he had been second five straight times before going offstride in his last outing – got back to winning form in a big way for trainer Donald Billings and Samuel Abdoo, and paid $51.20 to win in the bargain. But that price was almost “chalk” considering the previous race, where trotter Atlantic Crest, whose previous three races were a win, a break on the lead, and a win, handled an upgrade in company with aplomb for owner/trainer/driver Sergio Corona, also using the Pocono Pike to win going away and return $98.00 for a $2 ticket. This was the 11th time this meet that Pocono has had two $50+ winners on one card, and the second in three days – it also happened this past Monday – but the first time that longshots had clicked in successive races since April 3. Anthony Napolitano’s brother George, the meet’s leading driver, had three wins on his own Saturday, putting the Napolitano brothers” in double digits for the 13-race card. Pocono goes into high Breeders Crown gear on Monday, when both all supplemental entries must be made and the fields for the 2-year-old eliminations, to be raced Friday, will be drawn. Eliminations for the 3-year-olds and the older divisions will be drawn Tuesday and raced Saturday.

Vernon Downs

Golden Gun (Josh Kinney) won the featured pace ($6,500) at Vernon Downs on Saturday (Oct. 13). Western Toro (John MacDonald) forged to the front and led the field to a first quarter of :26.2 and the half in :55.1. Golden Gun ($10.00) settled into fourth as they hit the first quarter. Owned by The Wiz Kids Stable LLC., and trained by Jeff Sorenson, he went first-over on the backstretch and joined Western Toro as they went side by side all around the final turn. Western Toro held a narrow lead as they hit three-quarters in 1:23. The two continued to trade blows all the way downs stretch. Golden Gun surged ahead in deep stretch and held off the late charge of second place finisher I Am Golden (Ron Harp) to win in 1:51.4. Western Toro held on for third. Golden Gun is a 6-year-old gelding by Headmaster.It was his fourth win in 2018. He now has 28 career victories. Round The Beach (John MacDonald) cruised to an easy win in the other featured pace ($6,000). Round The Beach ($3.00) fought for and took the lead and she never looked back getting an easy gate-to-wire victory. Owned and trained by MacDonald, she laid down all the fractions (:27.3, :57.2, 1:26.1, 1:53.3). Brimfield (Jimmy Whittemore) fired late to finish second. Banacek (Adam Capizano) got third money. Round The Beach is a 3-year-old filly by Somebeachsomewhere. It was her fourth with this season and her fifth career victory. John MacDonald, Claude Huckabone III, and Josh Kinney all had driving doubles on the night. “J Mac” got his wins with Dry Creek Gin ($7.30) and Round The Beach ($3.00). Huckabone III went to the winner’s circle with Sea Harrier ($6.30) and Awesum Ace ($8.20). Besides Golden Gun, Kinney won with Cujo McBain ($39.60). Fox Valley Photog (Michelle Miller) easily wins RUS race. Fox Valley Photog went gate-to-wire to win the non-betting Racing Under Saddle race. Owned by Joe D’agostino with Phil Kadushin and trained by David Dewhurst, the 12-year-old gelding by Vaporize put up all the fractions (:30.4, 102.2, 1:33.2, 2:04.4). Iron Will (Heather Reese) finished second. Better To Be Lucky (Sietske Dijkhof) was third. Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Friday (Oct. 19) starting at 6:10 p.m. For more information go to

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