Judge Joe, Russell Hill Highlight NYSS

Published: June 19, 2009 11:23 pm EDT

New York Sire Stakes completed their week-long Yonkers Raceway engagement with Friday night's $216,465 White Plains Trot for three-year-old colts and geldings. Five divisions at $43,293 a pop were deftly displayed


Judge Joe, a homebred son of Credit Winner, was a premier player in this division a season ago for Team Ackerman. He has kept it going this far in 2009, making his first-division foes race for second money.

Easily overcoming his outside seven-hole, odds-on "Joe" and driver Doug R. Ackerman two-moved around pole-sitting Calchips Brute (Jim Morrill Jr.), then toyed with his classmates.

Cozy comfort stations of :29, 1:00.2, 1:31.1 and 2:01 saw Judge Joe bang the gavel 2 1/4 lengths ahead of Calchips Brute, with D Ws Don (Stephane Bouchard) third.

For Judge Joe, a homebred son of Credit Winner trained by Doug Ackerman, he returned $2.60 while enhancing his perfect four-for-four seasonal resume. The popular exotics included a $3.50 exacta and $10.80 triple.

"He knows his job better than I do," Ackerman said, "I just point him out of there and let him do his thing. I can't say enough about him."

Judge Joe has won all three of his '09 NYSS efforts, is 11-for-15 lifetime with earnings in excess of $380,000. He's also Yonkers Trot-eligible

Russell Hill, as good as any this division has offered up thus far in '09, did--like Judge Joe--make short work of post No. 7.

The 15-cents-on-the-dollar choice in the final NYSS grouping was forced very wide leaving, then had to negotiate a pair of misbehavers.

It took nearly two turns---past a pokey :30.1 opening quarter-mile--for "Russell" to make the lead. From there, he rated along through fractions of 1:00.3, 1:31.1 and 2:00.3, defeating America (Jeff Gregory) by a length-and-a-half. Majestic Lad (Cat Manzi) was third.

For Russell Hill, a Conway Hal colt, trained by Jimmy Takter for Canadian co-owners Sam Goldband, Al Libfeld and Mavrin Katz (the latter two as breeders), he duplicated Judge Joe's $2.30 for his fourth victory in a half-dozen seasonal sojourns.

"Russell" now has '09 earnings in excess of $152,000. The exacta paid $8.10, with the triple returning $29.20.

"I don't think we've seen how good he is," Morrill said. "Tonight, I was just concerned about babying him around the first turn.

"Once he made the lead, there wasn't much to it."

Ironically, Morrill wound with the same sort of trip/result (out two turns before making the lead) as he did with Not Enough in last week's final of the Lismore Pace.

Hitontheflipside (Jordan Stratton) won Friday night's second White Plains division, going up the cones to defeat pace-setting Oliver Kiss (Trond Smedshammer) by three-quarters of a length in 2:00.1. South Jersey Flash (Steve Reisenweaver) was a credible, first-up third.

Things did not go well for Donttellmywife (Gregory), last season's frosh champ and this night's 2-5 favourite. He was bothered by a first-turn breaker, broke himself, caught the field to race second-over, then went in the wrong direction The local track record-holder (two-year-old trotting geldings) wound up sixth.

Friday's other NYSS events went to:

Big Sky Domino, g (by CR Excalibur); owner Dominic Costagliola/trainer Chris Marino/driver Morrill Jr.; 2:01.2/$3.50;
Monaghan Man, g (by Malabar Man); co-owners Alan & Gus Johnston/trainer Ray Van Dreason/driver Gregory; 1:59.4./$5.70.

Friday night's $44,000 Open Handicaps--for trotters and distaff pacers, respectively--were won by Winnin Image (Greg Grismore, $13) in 1:57.2 and Twin B Tiara (Jim Pantaleano, $29.60) in 1:54.1.

Sire stakes action resumes at Yonkers on Tuesday night, with the $219,800 New Rochelle Trot for three-year-old fillies. There are five divisions, including two off the wagering card.

(Yonkers Raceway)