Batavia, NY — Although it was a short field after the scratch of Mr. Euroman, Cultural Paradise was grossly overlooked and ended up putting regret in the wallets of those who ignored him after he handily won the $8,500 Open I Handicap harness racing pace aton Saturday (Oct. 17).
As Stratosphere (Drew Monti) and Manceiver (Denny Bucceri) traded leads going to the half, Cultural Paradise (Kyle Cummings) stayed third on the pylons, chasing the pace.
Positions remained unchanged in the abbreviated five-horse group by the half and to the three-quarters where Cultural Paradise tipped out and started to move towards the front. Halfway through the last turn, Cultural Paradise cleared Manceiver and opened up by 1-3/4 lengths down the lane and hit the light first in 1:54.1 at 19-1.
For Cultural Paradise ($36.00) it was the fifth win of the year, all taken in his last seven starts. Don Rothfuss trains for owner Howard Ouriel.
In the $7,500 Open II pace, Beachy Dream (Jim Morrill Jr.) followed PC's Expresso (Dave McNeight III) for 7/8th's of a mile before pulling the pocket at the top of the stretch and out-sprinting him to the line for a one-length victory in 1:55. The ultra-consistent Beachy Dream ($2.60) is owned by Mike Torcello and trained by Gerry Sarama.
Shawn McDonough had a busy combined night, winning two races as a driver and three races as a trainer. Individually, Kyle Cummings had a driving hat trick with Jim Morrill Jr. scoring two wins and trainer Jim Clouser Jr. had two wins as well.
Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday (Oct. 21) at 5 p.m. when there will be a guaranteed $3,000 Pick-5 pool in race one. As part of the USTA Strategic Wagering program there will be free program pages for races one through five available early next week at the Batavia Downs and USTA websites.