Jack Sparrow, the 6-year-old trotter who's been off to a slow start in 2009 after finishing 2008 as the top horse in our Hometown Harness Rankings, got back on the right track Friday night by winning the $9,000 Open Trot at Buffalo Raceway.
Driven by trainer Jim McNeight, Jack Sparrow ($5.50) sat in third place during the first three-quarters of the 2:03 2/5 mile before pulling out and wearing down the Australian Stock, the front-running favorite driven by Ray Fisher Jr.
It was the second win in six 2009 starts for Jack Sparrow, who has earned $10,980 for owner Michael Calimeri of Falconer. The win snaps a three-race losing streak in which Australian Stock posted two wins and a second.
With three wins and three seconds, Australian Stock has earned $20,250 in six local starts and is the still the meeting's richest horse. The 5-year-old gelding is trained by Laurie Patistas for owner Kathleen Weller of Elma.
In the co-featured $9,000 Open Pace for fillies and mares, owner/driver James M. Dunn of Orchard Park piloted Spacie Jessie ($16.60) to a two-length victory in 1:59 3/5.
It was the third victory in five 2009 Raceway starts for Spacie Jessie, a 6-year-old mare trained by Ron Beback Jr. She won $51,195 in 41 starts last year and this year has made $14,100 in six races.
Filly's Victory, Party News (the 1-5 favorite) and Girly Toys led the mile before Spacie Jessie made her winning move.
--- Bob Summers