by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway
HAMBURG, N.Y. --- The front running Flashy Trick had just enough gas left in the tank and managed to hang on by a nose over long shot Tymal Torch to capture the $24,000 Niatross Knockout Claiming Series final at Buffalo Raceway on Saturday night (Feb. 27).
It was a perfect ending to the popular month-long series as the top four finishers were within a half length of each other in the blanket finish.
Flashy Trick, a winner in gate-to-wire fashion in last week's semi-finals, set sail from the rail for driver David McNeight III. Putting up leisurely fractions of 30.1, 1:01.1 and 1:31.2 over the sloppy track, Flashy Trick knew things weren't going to come easy in the last quarter mile.
The race boiled down to the sprint to the finish line. Flashy Trick ($4.10) was up for the challenge and was able to turn back the serious threats from Tymal Torch and third place finisher Mach It Paid (Jim McNeight). M G Jade (Jim Morrill Jr.) was fourth, just a mere head off the winner.
Owned by Courtney McNeight and trained by David McNeight Jr., it was the third win of the season for Flashy Trick (Memphis Flash-San Trick) with all victories coming in the Niatross Claiming Series. The win upped the 7-year-old gelding's seasonal bankroll to $18,800 and $80,334 lifetime.
In the $10,000 consolation race of the Niatross Knockout Claiming Series, Aberarder Smitty ($2.10) and Morrill Jr. absolutely smoked the field in 1:58.4, beating Sir Altb Z Tam (Todd Cummings) by 13-1/2 lengths. Le Reina Road (David McNeight III) took the show spot.
Aberarder Smitty, who won two legs of the Series but failed to reach the finals after a fifth place finish last week, took out his frustrations on the field of seven. Aberarder Smitty has now won five times in six tries this year. The win bumped his seasonal earnings to $15,234 for owner-trainer Jeff Amann.
China Dream has been coming up just short the past two weeks in the $10,000 Open Pace, finishing third each time by less an a length after gobbling up big ground in the stretch. This time though, China Dream was able to stalk the pace and used that patented closing kick to register a length win over the favored Youwillwishyouhad in 1:58.2.
Finishing no worse than third in his previous four appearances in the Open, driver Jack Flanigen maneuvered China Dream first over to the half, chasing the pace-setting Youwillwishyouhad. In the stretch run, the devastating late kick by China Dream was way too much as Youwillwishyouhad and driver Bruce Aldrich Jr. could do nothing but watch. Beach Hero (Truman Gale) finished in third.
Owned by Jack Rice and trainer Maria Rice, it was the second victory in five appearances for the 5-year-old gelded China Dream (If I Can Dream-China Art), now a winner of $14,900 in 2016 and $104,493 lifetime.
Morrill Jr. made his 2016 seasonal debut in the sulky and he started out the year with a bang by posting a five-bagger. Drew Monti had a driving double.
Racing will resume on Wednesday at Buffalo Raceway with a 12-race card slated for 5 p.m.
For more information including upcoming promotions, results, race replays and the latest news, go to www.buffaloraceway.com