A patient steer from a veteran driver produced an upset victory in the $9,500 Mares Open Pace feature at Batavia Downs on Wednesday night (Aug. 26).
Driven by Jim McNeight, Badlands Love sat last and watched the rest of the field argue position before swooping in to claim the spoils.
There was a traffic jam off the wings when Country Delight (Jack Flanigen) and All About Boyz (Dave McNeight III) went toe-to-toe through a fast :27.3 quarter. Not wanting to join the front-end fray yet locked out of a hole, heavy 1-9 favourite Ugly Betty (Drew Monti) ended up drafting third on the outside the entire time. These positions held firm past the half and three-quarters (1:26.2).
As the group left the turn at the top of the stretch, Ugly Betty tried a three-wide tip and Dontch Remember (Ray Fisher Jr.) reached four-high. But wily veteran McNeight, who was saving ground the entire race, stuck to his guns and thus, the pylons, before barreling up the inside of the pack to end up best of all with a 1:57.2 victory.
The win was the seventh in 30 starts this year for Badlands Love ($29.40) and the winner’s share pushed her coffers to $59,568 for owners Richard, Randy and Robert Roth. Richard Roth conditions the four-year-old Badlands Hanover mare.
Driver Shawn McDonough score a natural hat trick winning races six, seven and eight. Jim McNeight, Ron Beback Jr. and Jack Flanigen all tallied doubles.
(Standardbred Canada with files from Batavia Downs)