by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- It took a four-way photo to determine the winner of Buffalo Raceway's $15,500 Open Pace on Saturday night (May 27) and it was Sporty Deal who came away with the $19.20 upset victory. He beat Casimir Richie P by a nose in a seasonal best 1:54.2 while Avion Seelster was a neck behind in third with Alta Engen A completing the photo by placing fourth just a half length off.

sporty deal.jpg  
Photo by Bill Burke  
Sporty Deal pulls off $19.20 upset win.  

Casimir Richie P (Jim Morrill Jr.) set the pace over the fast track and rolled to splits of :27.3, :56.3 and 1:25.3. But it was a mad dash for home with Avion Seelster (Ray Fisher Jr.) and Alta Engen A (Kevin Cummings) taking dead aim at the leader on the outside while Sporty Deal (Keith Kash Jr.) found some racing room in the passing lane.

Everyone appeared on even terms approaching the wire but it was Sporty Deal who arrived on the scene late and managed to escape with the narrow come from behind win.

Owned by the L'Emmur Stable and trained by Kash Jr., it was the fourth win in 10 appearances on the season for the 5-year-old Sporty Deal (Sportswriter-Michelle's Ideal). The victory jumped his seasonal earnings to $29,365 and $63,975 in his career.

In the $13,500 Pace, Villiam ($4.50) made it two straight victories by registering a half length win over Sportskeeper in a seasonal best 1:55.2. A :27.3 last panel by Villiam secured the trip to the winner's circle.

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Photo by Bill Burke  
Villiam makes it two straight victories.  

A break by All About Lynx around the clubhouse turn the first time scattered the field slightly. Sportskeeper (Morrill Jr.) and Villiam (Joseph Chindano Jr.) who were both intent on leaving, managed to avoid the early trouble and rush to the top.

Sportskeeper showed the way with fractions of :29.3, :58.2 and 1:27.4. But Villiam, who was drafting along in second, couldn't wait to pull the pocket and challenged the pace setter going around the final turn. Through the stretch, Villiam slowly but steadily inched away from Sportskeeper and notched the half length victory. American Trademark (Kash Jr.) got up in time for third place honors.

Trained by Chindano Jr. and owned by Anthony Evgenikos, it was the third victory in nine starts on the campaign for Villiam (Rock N Roll Heaven-Village Mirage). The win moved his bankroll to $29,285 on the campaign and $293,794 lifetime.

Chindano Jr. completed the evening with a driving/training double while David McNeight III had a pair of victories as he swept the early daily double.

Racing will return on Wednesday afternoon at 2:30 p.m. with a 13-race card set. The New York Sire Stakes will make its first appearance of the season as a pair of $57,000 (approx.) events are slated for the 3-year-old filly pacers. There's also a $20,000 Excelsior race which will kick off the card. Also, a $2,226 carryover awaits in the Pick 5 which starts in the second race.

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