Photo Courtesy Paul White Driver Billy Davis Jr. won six races including the feature Saturday night at Batavia Downs.

BATAVIA — You might say it was a two-horse race at Batavia Downs, except that it was between the top two drivers in western New York. Billy Davis Jr. won six races including the feature and Jim Morrill Jr. won five races including stringing four in a row, accounting for the winners of 11 of 13 races contested on Saturday night (Sept. 5).

Davis’s best victory came in the $8,000 Open II Handicap pace behind Class Six. Davis sat in fourth with Class Six while Under Paid (Denny Bucceri) led the field around once. Then Davis pulled Class Six first over and made a three-wide move at the three-quarters, grabbed the lead by the top of the stretch and held off a late rally by Daylight Rush (Dave McNeight III) to win by 3/4’s of a length in 1:54.1.

It was the fifth win in 20 starts this year for Class Six ($19.00) who is owned by Eric Prevost and trained by Sabrina Shaw.

Davis also scored with Inspector Murdoch (1:58.1, $4.80), Hold The Gold (1:55.4, $25.80), Sizzling summer (1:55.3, $5.10), Rockin Legend (1:58.2, $5.30) and This Baby Rocks (1:56.3, $2.20). All six wins were for six different trainers.

Among the five wins Morrill scored was the co-featured $7,000 Open III pace where he went gate to wire with Atlantis ($3.80) in 1:56.3 for owner Mike Torcello and trainer Gerry Sarama.

Morrill also won with Beachy Dream (1:55..2, $2.90), Sir Richie N (1:56.1, $3.20) and Odyssey Blue Chip (2:00.2, $8.60) which are also owned by Torcello and trained by Sarama giving them a grand slam evening, and Whosurpapa (1:56.1, $2.50).

After their big nights, Morrill remains the leading driver of the meet with 39 wins, followed by Billy Davis Jr. who has 31. Drew Monti sits in third with 17 and Dave McNeight III is fourth with 16.

Davis is currently the ninth leading percentage driver in North America for drivers with 500 or more starts (Davis has 536) with a UDR of .343, sitting right behind Tim Tetrick and just ahead of Dexter Dunn. Morrill is seventh among drivers in North America with between 300 and 499 starts (Morrill has 495) with a UDR of .383.

Batavia Downs had a big following at the windows on Saturday night as they registered their second largest handle ever under Western Regional Off Track Betting ownership, only behind the 2019 New York Sire Stakes Night of Champions last September. The Downs customers pumped over $120,000 more through the windows tonight than they did one years ago on this same date.

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday (Sept. 9) with post time set for 5 p.m.

Robert L. Johnson of Tonawanda, New York entered into rest on Tuesday (Sept. 1). He was the beloved husband of Patricia (Tabone) Johnson; devoted father of Jill (Michael, DDS) Piazza and Emily (Fernando) del Valle; cherished grandfather of Dominic, Nicholas and Mina; loving son of the late Robert and June Johnson; dear brother of Deborah (William) Negrych; also survived by loving aunts, cousins, nieces, nephews and friends.

Mr. Johnson was a regular on the western New York harness racing circuit since 1970 and won the training title twice during that time. He campaigned many horses over the years including Dragoon and Tonto Hanover, but the best horse of his career was the 46-time winner Incredible Looker (1:52.4, $202,559). He was part of the local racing fabric for two generations and he will be missed by his fellow horsemen.

Relatives and friends may visit the Lombardo Funeral Home (Northtowns Chapel) at 885 Niagara Falls Blvd. (near Eggert/Sheridan Dr.) on Sunday (Sept. 13th) from 1-5 p.m.

Online condolences may be offered at www.lombardofuneralhome.com.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1