NYSS Awards Doled Out

Published: November 5, 2013 11:28 am EST

The top luminaries of New York State racing convened on the main concourse of Tioga Downs on Sunday, October 27 for the 2013 New York Sire Stake (NYSS) awards dinner and District 8 meetings. Categorical accolades were handed out during the banquet and the announcement of the top equine honour capped off the evening.

When that envelope was opened, two-year-old trotter Market Rally (Cash Hall-Supreme Dish) was named USTA District 8 Horse of the Year for 2013. Owned by John Yoder and Megan Wilson, trained by Megan Wilson and driven by John Cummings Jr., Market Rally overcame a slow start to her campaign to end up as one of the top first-year distaff trotters in the country.

Market Rally was a $7,500 yearling purchase that only had a fourth-place finish in a NYSS event on her card as of August 16. At that point it was discovered she had a sore shoulder that was hindering her performance. When that issue was addressed, a quick change of fortunes occurred and the filly showed her true ability.

She won two of her next four races, and finished second twice (all in NYSS events). In the $225,000 final, Market Rally got away sixth to the half and after following a live outer flow to the three-quarters, unleashed a strong stretch drive to hit the wire first by a neck.

Two weeks later, Market Rally finished fifth in the Breeders Crown elimination and qualified for the final. She put in a solid effort in that $500,000 event finishing third in the mile that went 1:53.4.

For the year, Market Rally had four wins in 12 starts and earned $281,816 in purses.

There were outstanding performers atop each category for age, sex and gait and several of them drew national attention during the year.

Hes Watching (American Ideal-Baberhood) was the NYSS Two-Year-Old Colt Pacer of the Year. The swift side-wheeler that is owned by Brad Gray & Michael Guerriero and David Menary (who also trains him) was a perfect eight-for-eight on the year. He swept his division and collected $291,722 in purses for his efforts.

Overlooked by many at the Harrisburg sale, Hes Watching was a $3,000 yearling purchase that turned out to be a world record holder this year. That impressive outing was at Tioga Downs on August 9 when he paced his mile in 1:50 flat, which was three-fifths of a second faster than the old record held by Rock N Roll Heaven.

Hes Watching spent his entire year racing in New York because he was not staked anywhere else in 2013, but that will change next year when his connections unleash him on the Grand Circuit.

Fool Me Once (Art Major-Fool That I Am) was awarded Three-Year-Old Colt Pacer of the Year for owners Daniel Smith and the Mark Austin Stables Inc. He captured four legs of the NYSS at Vernon (in a track record 1:50), Yonkers, Tioga and Saratoga before scoring a 1:51.3, eight-length victory in the $225,000 final at Yonkers.

On the Grand Circuit, Fool Me Once was the fastest winner during the North America Cup eliminations, as he went wire-to-wire in 1:48.1. In the $1-million final, he again dictated the pace before getting caught by Captaintreacherous and finishing fourth. He also won his $116,868 division of the Simcoe Stakes and was third in his $215,500 division of the Tattersalls Stakes. His 10 wins in 17 starts earned him $507,824 for the year.

In the three-year-old filly pacer category, Social Scene (American Ideal-On The Catwalk) walked away with the hardware as best in the class. Social Scene went about setting track records across the state, as she posted a new standard of 1:52 at Yonkers Raceway and 1:52.2 at Monticello Raceway. Although, her most impressive performance of the year was probably at Tioga Downs on June 9 when she won in 1:51.2 with a third quarter split of .26 and final half in .54 flat.

In September, Social Scene competed in the $257,750 Jugette. She finished fourth in the elimination and qualified for the final where she finished fifth after being parked most of the mile. But the filly came back to New York 10 days later to take the $225,000 NYSS final.

Social Scene, who is trained by Casie Coleman, won seven races in 16 starts and earned $289,188 for her owners, the West Wins Stable, Steve Calhoun and Mac Nichol.

On the human side, Jim Morrill Jr. repeated as District 8 pari-mutuel driver of the year. His 47 wins dwarfed his nearest competitor and his purses totaling $2,314,805 more than doubled those of the second-place finisher.

Doug Ackley received the award for District 8 County Fair driver of the year. He tallied 35 wins and earned $63,722 in purses.

Linda Toscano defended her title as the District 8 Trainer of the Year. She registered 15 wins in NYSS events and bankrolled $881,011 in earnings.

Winbak Farm was the top breeder in the state and was responsible for horses that won a combined 90 races and over $1.9-million in purses between the NYSS, Excelsior Series and County Fair races.

Here is a complete list of all the 2013 NYSS champions:

Market Rally
Cash Hall—Supreme Dish
Owners: Megan Wilson, Johnny Yoder
Breeder: Winbak Farm
Trainer: Megan Wilson
Driver: John Cummings Jr.
NYSS Earnings: $217,608

Bettor Business
Bettors Delight—Tricky Business
Owners: JFE Enterprise LLC, Triple D Stables Inc.
Breeder: Dorothy Hock
Trainer: Scott DiDomenico
Driver: Daniel Dube
NYSS Earnings: $169,748

Bouncing Bax
Credit Winner—Bax Machine
Owner: Harbor Racing Stable LLC
Breeder: Windsong Stable
Trainer: Jim Raymer
Driver: Jason Bartlett
NYSS Earnings: $298,609

Social Scene
American Ideal—On The Catwalk
Owners: West Wins Stable, Steve Calhoun, Mac Nichol
Breeders: Riverview Farms, Steve Stewart, Michael Sofer
Trainer: Casie Coleman
Driver: George Brennan
NYSS Earnings: $250,258

Flyhawk El Durado
Conway Hall—El Paso Gal
Owners: Martin Scharf
Breeders: Kathleen Pratt, Andrea Pratt
Trainer: Mark Ford
Driver: Mark MacDonald
NYSS Earnings: $289,368

Hes Watching
American Ideal-Baberhood
Owners: David Menary, Brad Gray, Michael Guerriero
Breeders: Brittany Farms, Robert Burgess, Karin Olsson Burgess
Trainer: David Menary
Driver: Jim Morrill Jr.
NYSS Earnings: $291,724

Crazy About Pat
Owner: Patricia Stable
Breeders: Harvey Fried, Patricia Stable
Trainer: Noel Daley
Driver: Eric Goodell
NYSS Earnings: $316,387

Fool Me Once
Art Major—Fool That I Am
Owners: Mark Austin Stables Inc., Daniel Smith
Breeder: Roll The Dice Stable
Trainer: Mark Austin
Driver: Brian Sears
NYSS Earnings: $274,440

(Harness Horse Breeders of New York State)

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