by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway
HAMBURG, N.Y. --- After standing tall for nine years, Buffalo Raceway's track record for the aged (5+) pacing horses took a beating for the second time in a week. On Saturday night (July 15), Utah Beach ($6.50) did the damage as he covered the mile over the fast track in 1:53.2, topping the old mark of 1:53.4 just set on July 8 by Show Stopping.
Before Show Stopping's effort last week, Civil Attack's standard of 1:54.0 stood proudly since 2008.
It was a gate-to-wire performance by Utah Beach (Ray Fisher Jr.) who notched fractions of 28.1, 56.2 and 1:24.4. Before Utah Beach was officially awarded the victory and becoming a track record holder, the 5-year-old horse had to sweat out a photo finish with Bahama Bay, who eventually was deemed a nose behind.
Sending Utah Beach right to the lead off the gate was the game plan according to driver Ray Fisher Jr. "The horse gets a little pouty if he's not on the lead so I just let him roll. I thought he might run out of gas but he dug in at the wire." Fisher Jr. added, "I didn't realize it was a record until (track photographer) Steve Roth told me in the winner's circle."
Owned by James Kurilla and trained by Jeff Amann, it was the third win in 12 starts this season for Utah Beach (Somebeachsomewhere-Pears N Amoretto). The victory pushed his 2017 earnings to $19,636 and $112,677 lifetime.
In the featured $9,000 Preferred Pace, Itsonlyrocknroll A ($4.00) tied a seasonal best of 1:53.3 in putting away Major Trick (Fisher Jr.) by two lengths while Western Alumni (Kevin Cummings) was third.
Starting from the five post, Larry Stalbaum had little resistance in getting Itsonlyrocknroll A to the top, posting solid fractions of 28.0, 56.4 and 1:25.4. There was little drama heading to the wire as Itsonlyrocknroll A kept to his task and cruised across the wire.
Owned by Stalbaum and trained by Kimberly Asher, it was the ninth win of 2017 for the 6-year-old gelded Itsonlyrocknroll A (Million Dollar Cam-Boldandbeautiful). He increased his seasonal winnings to $45,970 and $218,643 lifetime.
Stalbaum finished the night with four wins with Fisher Jr. adding a triple. Asher had a training double.
Racing will continue on Sunday afternoon with 11 races going to the post at 12:30 p.m. There will be action in the New York Sire Stakes for the 2-year-old filly pacers along with races in the Excelsior A and B Series.
For more information including the latest news, upcoming promotions, race replays and results, to to www.buffaloraceway.com