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Milestones, Firsts And Streaks At Buffalo

Published: June 21, 2009 11:42 pm ET

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It was a busy afternoon at Buffalo Raceway with milestones, firsts and streaks, as the New York Sire Stakes for three-year-old colt pacers traveled to the Hamburg oval for a Father’s Day afternoon card, with four divisions worth nearly $40,000 each being contested on the 13 race card.

Jason Bartlett streaked together three wins that included two Sire Stakes victories. Starting in the fifth race, Bartlett guided Handsome Harry to the winner’s circle in 1:55.4. Handsome Harry is on an amazing streak himself with six straight wins and has finished in the money in all 12 of his starts in 2009 for trainer Mark Ford. Haroun Hanover and driver Matt Kakaley finished two lengths back after regaining the place position from Diamond Stick Pin and Howard Okusko, Jr. down the stretch.

After taking a $6,000 claiming overnight pace, Bartlett guided the Paul Kelly-trained colt Outa My Head for his third win of the afternoon in 1:57.4. It was the second Sire Stakes victory for the Bettors Delight offspring in two starts this season. Civil Yankee (Jim Morrill, Jr.) set all the fractions before giving way to Outa My Head down the stretch, but held off Tyree (Ray Schnittker) to finish second.

In the third division of New York Sire Stakes, heavy favourite OK Braveheart, with Jim Morrill, Jr. in the sulky, cruised home to a two-length victory in 1:56.2 over My Last Laugh and trainer/driver Ray Schnittker. Tomslastchance (Matt Kakaley) rounded out the top three.

With a spectacular drive coming out of the first turn, Matt Kakaley won his first Sire Stakes race of 2009 in the final division aboard Spacehill. The 1:55.3 clocking was the fastest mile of the four divisions. Mr Vitti (Ray Schnittker) made a push at Spacehill down the stretch, but did not have enough to catch the Space Shuttle colt. Woodstock Hanover and driver Jason Bartlett finished third.

A special congratulation also goes out to John Stark, Jr., a Saratoga regular who was in town competing in the Sire Stakes and reached career driving victory 4,000. In the ninth race, an overnight for colt and gelding pacers, Stark pulled T Rex out from cover at the half-mile marker and was two-wide with Clay Hill King Pin, driven by Ron Beback, Jr., throughout the second lap before turning it on down the stretch for his 4,000th career trip to the winner’s circle. Buffalo is not unfamiliar for Stark, who learned the business from his father on the Buffalo-Batavia circuit before moving to Vernon Downs in the mid 80’s and eventually settling in Saratoga.

(Buffalo Raceway)

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