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Track Record For ‘Gural’; Five For Morrill

Published: July 16, 2014 11:25 am ET

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Gural Hanover’s victory in his $59,100 division of the New York Sires Stakes for sophomore colts and geldings on Tuesday, July 15 at Monticello Raceway was an eye-opening one when Jim Morrill Jr. guided the big altered son of Crazed-Givemearing to a new overall trotting track record of 1:55.2.

It was the fastest trotting mile in the 58-year history of the ‘Mighty M’ and it erased the former standard of 1:55.4 set by Man About Town in 2007. In doing so, Gural Hanover set a new standard for three-year-old trotters, expunging the 1:57.1 mark co-held by Green Day (2007),Gaelic And Garlic (2012) and Ex King (2013).

Morrill also won the second $59,100 NYSS split with Zoey De Vie in 1:57.3 and he was victorious in three Excelsior Stakes, which gave him five winners on the card.

But Gural Hanover was the overwhelming star of the day.

In against his arch rival, Expressive Action (driven by Mike Simon), Morrill chose to send Gural Hanover to the lead from Post 4 on the hot and humid afternoon. They gained command on the first turn and cruised by the first quarter in :28.2. From there, Morrill let the big fellow ramble past the half in :57.2, two full lengths ahead of Expressive Action – and that was as close as Mike Simon’s trotter could get to Morrill’s.

At the third stanza, Gural Hanover had a three-length lead, which was opened to four at the wire. Expressive Action finished second with Hallanet and Trond Smedshammer another length back in third position.

“He’s push-button,” Morrill said of Gural Hanover in the winner’s circle after the race. “You can leave with him, put him in a hole or do whatever you want and you can drive him with two fingers. He’s a monster and a real pleasure to sit behind.”

Lightly-raced Gural Hanover only had one start as a freshman and was victorious in 2:00 at Balmoral Park in late September. The big, bold-going gelding now has four wins; one second and one third from six seasonal starts. His bankroll has swelled to over $104,000.

Owned by Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi, Little E and Panhellenic Stables and trained by Ron Burke, the winner returned a $2.30 win mutuel.

Morrill, unquestionably the dominant force on the NYSS circuit, also copped the second $59,100 NYSS split with Zoey De Vie, a Conway Hall-Pauls Wink gelding trained by Heidi Rohr.

In that contest, Flyhawk El Durado and driver Mark MacDonald seemed to have everything under control as they led Zoey De Vie and odds-on favourite Cash Me Out (Mickey McGivern) through fractions of :28.3, :59 and 1:28.4. However, as Flyhawk El Durado rounded the final turn, the trotter went off stride, which opened an easy path to the finish for Zoey De Vie, who rallied and kept Cash Me Out at bay to score a one-length victory in a new lifetime mark of 1:57.3.

“He’s a good colt who has had some bad luck, but we got good luck today,” Morrill said, referring to Flyhawk El Durado making a break as the field turned for home. “We were in the right place at the right time but we still trotted a :28.3 last quarter to win it.”

Owned by Jesse and John De Long, Zoey De Vie paid $8.10 for the win.

All the three-year-olds in Excelsior Series performed also admirably. Winners (with the time and drivers) were: JL Cruze (1:59.4, Jim Marohn Jr.), Crazzy Crazzy (1:58, Jim Morrill Jr.), Winbak Glory (1:59.2, Jim Morrill Jr.), General Bill Brown (1:57.3, Mark MacDonald), Flyhawk Thriller (1:58.1, Jim Morrill Jr.) and Consumer Rate (2:01.1, Mark MacDonald).


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