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Racing Roundup: Focus Power in career best at Batavia Downs
Saturday, September 23, 2017 - from harness racing publicists across North America

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The Saturday (Sept. 23) edition of Racing Roundup features results stories from Batavia Downs, Hollywood Dayton Raceway, Kawartha Downs, Vernon Downs, The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono and Saratoga Casino Hotel.

Focus Power in career best at Batavia Downs

Batavia, NY --- Focus Power left no doubt who the top pacer on the grounds was this week as he tripped out to a two length victory in the $10,000 Open Handicap pace at Batavia Downs on Saturday evening (Sept. 23).

Paul White photo
Focus Power sets a new lifetime mark of 1:52.4.

The Downs leading driver Drew Monti sent Focus Power off the gate and took a short-lived lead until he relinquished that spot to Fireyourguns (Mike Caprio) who rushed up and grabbed it by the quarter in :26.2. Fireyourguns then set stout fractions of :55.3 and 1:24.1 while Focus Power drafted in the garden spot.

With little challenge coming from the rest of the field to that point, the top two horses rounded the final turn in line before Monti popped Focus Power out of the pocket and let him do the rest. Focus Power's legs were a blur as he paced into overdrive and flew by Fireyourguns and away from the rest of the group to win in 1:52.4, which was a new lifetime mark.

It was the third win in the last four starts for Focus Power ($6.40), two of which were Open-I paces at Batavia Downs and has earned $81,470 so far this year. The 5-year-old altered son of Shadow Play is owned by James Caradori and trained by Darrin Monti.

In the $9,000 Open II pace, Santana Beach (John Cummings Jr.) went gate to wire in commanding style, winning by eight lengths in 1:53, which was a new seasonal mark.

Santana Beach ($13.80) is owned by Jason Newell and is trained by Richard Roth.

RUS New York had an exhibition non-betting event after the seventh race and the finish was as exciting as last year's race.

Funny Photo (Sophie Engerran) led the entire race cutting fractions of :30.4, 1:02.3 and 1:33.3. But just when it looked like he was home free, One True Friend (Hillary Harnett) came flying from behind and mounted a serious challenge at the top of the lane. But although One True Friend made up almost seven lengths, Funny Photo still hung on and won in 2:04.3, which was a seasonal mark for the winner.

Funny Photo is owned by his rider, Sophie Engerran and is trained by Kimberly Gilman-Daios.

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednsday (Sept. 27) with post time at 5 p.m.

--- by Tim Bojarski

Hollywood Dayton Raceway

Doctor Carter (Mike Micallef) pulled a mild upset in Hollywood Dayton’s featured $18,500 Open Pace on Saturday night (Sept. 23), nipping Secret Threat (Josh Sutton), who was last week’s winner, in 1:50.4. The winning 6-year-old son of Total Truth equaled his lifetime best effort capturing his 36th career victory. Owned by Andrea and Tommy Householder and trained by Pat Karcher, Doctor Carter’s total bankroll now has reached $420,000. Micallef shot directly to the lead when the starting gate sprung open, then yielded to Let’s Drink On It (Travis Seekman) as the pair sped past the opening quarter beam in :26.2. Content to sit the pocket through fractions of :53.4 and 1:22, Doctor Carter and Micallef were patient as Secret Threat pressured Let’s Drink On It from just past the half until mid-stretch. As Let’s Drink On It began to yield and Secret Threat finally nosed in front, Doctor Carter found a seam and scooted past the pacesetters in the final strides. Dispatched at 4-1 odds, Doctor Carter returned $10.60 to his faithful. Coupled with Secret Threat, the exacta returned $46.20. Longshot My Hero Ron (Tyler Smith, 25-1) grabbed the show dough which triggered a $269.85 payoff for a 50-cent trifecta ticket. Excitement is building for next Friday night (Sept. 29) when the Grand Circuit stops at Hollywood Dayton Raceway. Top horses and drivers are expected from around North America for the $160,000 (est.) Dayton Trotting Derby and the $150,000 (est.) Dayton Pacing Derby. Trotter Homicide Hunter and pacer All Bets Off, both impressive winners in Grand Circuit stakes at Hoosier Park on Friday (Sept. 22) are likely entrants who will be challenged by the best older harness horses in training. Post time will be 6:15 p.m.

Kawartha Downs

Lets Leavem left his rivals in the dust in tonight’s Racing Under Saddle trot at Kawartha Downs as he won by more than 12 lengths. Sarah Town owns the 7-year-old gelding by Angus Hall and she also rode him in tonight’s event which was the first appearance by the RUS riders at the Fraserville track this year. Shane Arsenault trains the winner who was recording his sixth victory of the 2017 season. On Kawartha’s previous race card, leading driver Nick Boyd reached the milestone of 100 lifetime wins. He quickly added to that total tonight with a pair of wins including with Liplock, a 2-year-old filly he trains who was recording her first lifetime win. A daughter of Art Major, Liplock was making her fourth career start. The consistent miss had never finished worse than third and earned her first trip to the winner’s circle with tonight’s 1:57.2 effort. Kiss Me Or Not provided Boyd with his second win as they hauled down pacesetter Oakrock Eldorado to win in 1:54.3. It was a seasonal best for the Mach Three 6-year-old daughter owned and trained by Dave Snowden. Next Saturday marks the final race night at Kawartha Downs for the 2017 season and features the Shorelines Drivers’ championship for the track’s top drivers of the year including Boyd and Rick Webb who recorded a driving triple this evening. Post time is 7 p.m.

Vernon Downs

Calvin B (Chris Lems) took the Open Pace ($11,400) at Vernon Downs on Saturday (Sept. 23). John MacDonald added five more wins to continue his spectacular season. Golden Gun would fire out to take the lead and put up the early fractions of :26.2, :54.4 and 1:22.0. Calvin B (Bettor's  Delight) who is owned by Dolores Smiel and trained by Heidi Rohr, would go first-over and take over at the top of the stretch and play catch me if you can by holding off Oh My Joepa (John MacDonald), to win in 1:50. Oh My Joepa was second best with Andreios Kardia (Fern Paquet Jr.) finishing third. Calvin B ($5.40) won for the sixth time this season and got the 27th victory in his career. All Charged Up (John MacDonald) won the filly and mare feature ($9,000). All Charged Up (Ponder) would charge out to the lead and would put up all the fractions of :26.1, :54.1, 1:24.1 and 1:54.1. Walk Two Moons (Claude Huckabone III) would apply pressure all the way through three-quarters but would die out in the stretch. All Charged Up ($2.90), who is owned by J P Stables and trained by MacDonald, found yet another gear to pull away by sixth lengths in the end to capture her fourth race of the season. Love Live Laugh (Jimmy Whittemore) would take second and Dw'sblissfulthinkn (Chris Lems) got third. Vernon's leading driver, John MacDonald would also get victories with A Lister ($3.70), Apollo Seelster ($3.30), Joe Joe Joe ($2.80), and On The Big Swing ($2.10). Garlandsandpearls ($8.30), with driver Dein Spriggs would win the CKG Billings amateur race. Toss Cartwright (Peter Kleinhans) finished second with Jelectric (Bob Davis) getting third. Vernon Downs returns to live action on Thursday (Sept. 28) with a 10-race card starting at 6:45 p.m. For more information go to

The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono

Wilkes-Barre, PA --- The Meadows shipper Redder Than Red charged home to take a 1:54 decision by a nose over Dynamic Edge in the $16,500 featured trot at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, while in the companion pacing event Bushwacker overcame the first-over grind to win by two lengths in 1:50 on Saturday -- a night that was also spiced up by two horses who paid over $100 to win. The 8-year-old SJ’s Caviar gelding Redder Than Red, who had just won in 1:53.2 on the engine two starts back, used closing tactics upon coming into the Downs, and the well-timed move just got the winner of $358,858 up over Dynamic Edge for driver Tyler Buter and owner/trainer Lisa Dunn. Redder Than Red’s full brother (they’re both chestnuts) and former barnmate under the Dunn shedrow, the seven-year-old Ruddy Rusty, was also in the co-feature but could not produce enough rally to be a factor.  The Rocknroll Hanover gelding Bushwacker had gotten early position in the pacing headliner, but brisk early action forced him to come first-over, although it did help that the half was reached in :53.3. The winner of $652,457 easily surmounted the grinding route to defeat pacesetter Te Kawau N for trainer Chris Ryder and the ownership of Henderson Farms. Anthony Napolitano is by far the leading driver in the “bomber” ($50 or more) category at Pocono (he now has eight; Simon Allard is closest at four). He expertly weaved through traffic in the last eighth to spring a surprise with Rock On The Hill to rewrite the longest price of the meet to $188.20 in the night’s fourth contest. Later driver Vinnie Ginsburg got in on the mutuel fun, getting a pocket trip with Keystone Camaro, then coming on to win by three lengths and pay $104.80 on the nose in the 11th. It was the first time this year that Pocono had seen two $100 or more visitors to Victory Lane on one card.

Saratoga Casino Hotel

The fractions in Saturday’s Open Pace were like those rarely seen before at Saratoga Casino Hotel. An early speed duel resulted in a first quarter in :26.1 and a half in :54.1. The Heidi Rohr-trained Deetzy (Jereme’s Jet) took advantage of the battle and committed first-over approaching the half. Softened by the early fractions, the top tandem faltered and Deetzy pounced. Accelerating into a big lead around the final turn, Deetzy paced away from his rivals before stopping the timer in a dazzling 1:50. It was the second fastest mile of the year at Saratoga, second only to Luck Be Withyou’s score in 1:49.2 in July. The time marked a new lifetime best for Deetzy, who was driven to the win in the $18,000 Open by Billy Dobson. Somewhere Fancy (Jim Devaux) followed the top one’s cover and wound up as the runner-up on Saturday night while Dancin Yankee (Mark Beckwith), who is the track record holder owning a 1:48.4 win from back in 2014, earned the show spot. Deetzy was dismissed at odds of 7-1 on Saturday and led an exacta and triple that paid $132 and $922, respectively. Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon at Saratoga with a 12:15 p.m. first post.  

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