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HAMBURG, N.Y. — Stratosphere ($3.40) was out of this world by rallying to beat Southwind Onyx by a head in the $10,000 Open I-II Handicapped Pace on Saturday evening (March 27) at Buffalo Raceway in 1:55.0 over the fast harness racing track.

In the co-main event, the $10,000 Open I-II Handicapped Trot, Stormont Rare (Jim Morrill Jr.) came back home to Buffalo Raceway after stints at Northfield Park and Saratoga Raceway and made it a triumphant return by taking a 1-1/4 length victory over Majestic Kat in 1:57.2.

In the opener on the 12-race program saw Stratosphere (Drew Monti) rally late in the lane to beat Southwind Onyx (Kyle Cummings) by a head. Under Paid (Ray Fisher Jr.) was third.

Southwind Onyx did the dirty work as he was first over at the top of the lane and got the lead, rolling past Dojea Solo (Morrill Jr.). Stratosphere, in the meantime, followed the live cover of Southwind Onyx and managed to wear down the new leader in the stretch to collect the victory.

Owned by driver Drew Monti and trained by Darrin Monti, it was the first win in two starts for the 6-year-old gelded Stratosphere (March Three-Northern Jade). The victory upped his seasonal earnings to $7,500 and $120,865 in his career.

In the top tussle for the trotters, Stormont Rare ($4.50) was determined to cut the fractions and it paid off in the end.

After briefly relinquishing the lead to Majestic Kat (Billy Davis Jr.), Stormont Rare regained the advantage and posted fractions of :28.4, :58.0 and 1:27.2. In the drive to the wire, Stormont Rare was just too tough as Majestic Kat could cut into the lead. Wilberforce (Kyle Cummings) took the show position.

Conditioned by Gerry Sarama and owned by Mike Torcello, it was the second win in eight starts for the 5-year-old gelded Stormont Rare (Glidemaster-Stormont Fried). The victory upped his bankroll to $9,505 and $60,179 in his lifetime.

David McNeight III and Monti had triples in the sulky with Morrill Jr. and Davis Jr. each having two victories. Sarama had a training double.

Racing will continue on Wednesday evening with an 11-race card set for 6 p.m. There will be a $3,000 guaranteed pool in the Pick 5 starting in the second race.

Buffalo Raceway also announced that all Friday night racing dates in April previously scheduled will be cancelled due to a horse shortage. Also starting on April 7, all Wednesday programs will begin at 5 p.m EDT. while the Saturday programs will continue to have the usual 6 p.m. post.