Honours For Gural Hanover

Published: November 4, 2014 01:24 pm EST

An enthusiastic group of the top breeders and horsemen from the Empire state assembled at the Vernon Downs Hotel and Casino on Sunday, October 26 for the USTA District 8 meeting and annual presentation of the New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) awards banquet.

As the human and equine honours were distributed, anticipation grew for the horse of the year announcement for 2014.

Gural Hanover (Crazed-Givemearing) was named the NYSS three-year-old male trotter of the year, USTA District 8 three-year-old male trotter of the year and the overall District 8 horse of the year.

Gural Hanover was bred by Hanover Shoe Farms and was a $17,000 yearling purchase at the 2012 Harrisburg sale. After having only one start as a two-year-old, he kicked off his three-year-old campaign with an overnight win and a third in a NYSS event at Tioga on May 23. It was then the horse caught the eye of trainer Ron Burke who put together a group of notable stables to purchase the horse.

A week later the gelding was under the ownership of the Burke Racing Stable LLC, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Little E LLC and The Panhellenic Stable Corporation and from there with the guidance of Burke’s training, the horse simply took off.

He finished the year undefeated for his new owners in NYSS action, winning the seven remaining events as well as the $225,000 final at Yonkers Raceway. With Jim Morrill Jr. aboard as his regular driver in the series, he set new track records at Buffalo Raceway (1:56.1) and Monticello Raceway (1:55.2) and took a lifetime mark of 1:53.3 at Vernon Downs. His gaudy NYSS earnings total of $378,788 boosted his lifetime assets to $423,763.

Other divisional winners included last year’s District 8 horse of the year that was named this year’s three-year-old filly trotter of the year. Market Rally (Cash Hall-Supreme Dish) who was bred by Winbak Farm, is another member of the Ron Burke stable. Originally a $7,500 yearling purchase, the filly was privately acquired by Burke Racing Stable LLC, Our Horse Sense Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC and The Panhellenic Stable Corporation after finishing third in the 2013 Breeders Crown last fall. This year with Jim Morrill Jr. in tow, she won six of the eight NYSS legs and the $225,000 final. Those victories accounted for $375,400 in earnings which in turn boosted her lifetime take to $663,445. She set a track record at Saratoga Raceway (1:55.4) and lowered her own personal best to 1:54.4 at Tioga Downs.

The best of the freshman class was Mosquito Blue Chip who took two-year-old filly pacer of the year honours. Bred by Blue Chip Bloodstock Inc. and AV and Son Bloodstock LLC, Mosquito Blue Chip (Bettors Delight-Sandfly Hanover) is owned by Our Three Sons Stable LLC, Donato Falcicchio and Paul Jessop, who also trains her. Although racing well throughout the year, the filly didn’t find the winner’s circle until August 14 at Yonkers. But she hit her stride when it mattered and strung together four consecutive wins to close out the year, culminating in a victory in the $225,000 NYSS final with John Campbell aboard. The highlight of her year was setting a new track record at Tioga Downs (1:52.1) on September 4, which was also a new lifetime mark. Her NYSS earnings of $240,551 accounted for her entire year’s income.

On the diagonal gait, Barn Doll was named two-year-old filly trotter of the year. Bred by Little E LLC, Barn Doll (Conway Hall-Headintheclouds) is owned by Steve and Nancy Pratt and The Purple Haze Stable LLC. She posted seven wins in nine lifetime starts, with six of those wins coming in NYSS events. After winning six of her last seven starts of the year, Barn Doll was scratched ‘sick’ in the last event at Monticello. But despite the 19-day layoff, the filly came back sharp to take the $225,000 NYSS final by five lengths. She took a lifetime mark of 1:58.4 at Yonkers Raceway and earned $205,688 for her efforts during the year. Barn Doll is trained by Steve Pratt and was driven to all her series victories by Jeff Gregory.

Driver of the year honours went to Jim Morrill Jr., who dominated the NYSS circuit all season long. Morrill had 48 wins out of 154 starts giving him a NYSS UDR of .441. His $2 million in earnings more than doubled his nearest competitor. Morrill is currently the third leading driver in North America for UDR with a .402 and has banked $4.2 million in purses for the year.

Trainer of the year accolades were presented to Ron Burke. Burke’s pupils won 44 races from 126 starts giving him a NYSS UTR of .459. Their combined NYSS earnings of over $2 million almost quadrupled that of the next highest earner. Nationally, Burke is setting unbelievable records for the second consecutive year with 970 wins, $24.5 million in earnings and a UTR of .356.

Hanover Shoe Farm was the breeder of the state’s top money earners. They saw 17 of their production make 89 starts and win 24 of their NYSS events. The combined purse total of their efforts was just under $1.2 million. That is an average earnings of $13,483 per start.

Here is a complete list of all the NYSS Champions for 2014:


Barn Doll
Conway Hall - Headintheclouds
Owners: Steve Pratt, Nancy Pratt & Purple Haze Stables LLC
Breeder: Little E LLC
Trainer: Steve Pratt Driver: Jeff Gregory
NYSS Earnings: $205,688


Mosquito Blue Chip
Bettors Delight – Sandfly Hanover
Owners: Our Three Sons Stable LLC, Donato Falcicchio & Paul Jessop
Breeders: Blue Chip Bloodstock Inc & AV & Son Bloodstock LLC
Trainer: Paul Jessop
Driver: John Campbell
NYSS Earnings: $240,553


Market Rally
Cash Hall – Supreme Dish
Owners: Burke Racing Stable LLC, Our Horse Cents Stables, Weaver Bruscemi LLC & The Panhellenic Stb Corp
Breeder: Winbak Farm
Trainer: Ron Burke
Driver: Jim Morrill Jr.
NYSS Earnings: $375,400


It Was Fascination
American Ideal – On The Catwalk
Owners: Riverview Racing LLC, Alagna Racing LLC & The Bay’s Stable LLC
Breeders: Riverview Farms,
Steve Stewart & Michael Sofer
Trainer: Tony Alagna
Driver: Brett Miller
NYSS Earnings: $198,400


Crazy Wow
Crazed – No Pan No Gain
Owner: Joseph Hess
Breeder: Peter Pan Stables Inc
Trainer: Dan O’Mara
Driver: Dan Rawlings
NYSS Earnings: $170,170


Cartoon Daddy
Art Major – Ask Alice
Owners: Burke Racing Stable LLC & Joseph DiScala Jr.
Breeder: Robert Newman
Trainer: Ron Burke
Driver: Matt Kakaley
NYSS Earnings: $195,443


Gural Hanover
Crazed - Givemearing
Owners: Burke Racing Stb LLC, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Little E LLC & The Panhellenic Stb Corp
Breeder: Hanover Shoe Farms Inc.
Trainer: Ron Burke
Driver: Jim Morrill Jr.
NYSS Earnings: $378,788


All Bets Off
Bettors Delight – Armbro Penelope
Owners: Burke Racing Stable LLC, Frank Baldachino, The Panhellenic Stb Corp & Rosemary Shelswell
Breeders: Robert Tucker & Greg Tucker
Trainer: Ron Burke
Driver: Matt Kakaley
NYSS Earnings: $190,175