The mutuel payouts may have been small, but the purses were spread around in the three-year-old filly pacing division of the New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) at Batavia Downs on Sunday (Aug. 2). A different sire, driver and trainer won each leg of the series as they represented the best New York State has to offer for this sex and gait.
In the first $39,200 division, Mosquito Blue Chip (Jim Morrill Jr.) left the gate and took a methodic path to the front in :27.4. Leading the single-file group and still unchallenged to the half, Morrill kept a tight grip on the filly with an eye on closing out the deal. When they rolled towards three-quarters, Morrill popped the plugs and Mosquito Blue Chip responded in kind, quickly pulling away to a four-length advantage. With Morrill stretched out like he was in a recliner, the pair scurried home in :28.2 with no one even close, to win in 1:54.2.
“She felt like her old self today. She was on cruise control the entire mile,” said Morrill of the filly, who is now two-for-two lifetime at Batavia Downs.
Mosquito Blue Chip (Bettors Delight-Sandfly Hanover) was sent off the prohibitive 1-9 favourite and paid $2.30 for the win. Paul Jessop trains and co-owns the filly with Our Three Sons Stable and Donato Falcicchio.
As most expected in the second $39,900 leg, Band Of Angels (Matt Kakaley) and Moremercy Bluechip (Andy Miller) left from post three and four, respectively, and got away 1-2 before sauntering to a pedestrian :29-second first quarter. With the rest of the field still in post position order behind the two favourites, Kakaley continued to grab leather in an even slower :29.4 second panel. From there, it was all Band Of Angels, who was given her head and quickly opened up a five-length lead before Kakaley lowered the lines and stored the whip. Band Of Angels ($2.50) paced the back half in :56.2, winning in 1:55.1 with Moremercy Bluechip closing ground on the wrapped-up winner to finish second.
After the race, Kakaley pointed out that “she did it as easily as a horse could do it and had plenty left coming down the stretch.”
Band Of Angels (Rock N Roll Heaven-Time N Again) is conditioned by North America’s leading trainer, Ron Burke, for owner W.J. Donovan.
The final $39,900 split featured a speed duel between two unrelenting contestants and it started as soon as the gate pulled away.
As the field headed into the first turn, they were spread three-wide across the track; Jag Out (Andy Miller) on the pylons, Nippy W Hanover (Jim Morrill Jr.) in the middle and Artiawitchtoyou (Mark MacDonald) out widest of all. Off the turn, Nippy W Hanover settled in second, but Artiawitchtoyou opted to go on. As she drew next to Jag Out at the quarter in :27.1, it was clear the leader had no intentions of giving up that spot. As they contentiously passed the half in :55 flat, Jag Out and Artiawitchtoyou were seemingly pacing in tandem heading into the third turn, but then Artiawitchtoyou had taken all the air she could and by the 1:24.3 three-quarter split, started to show the effects. As she started to fade off, Jag Out continued to drive on to an impressive two-length victory in the fastest time of the day (1:53.4). The winner paid $8.00.
“She was awesome! I know we went fast early, but she's that good,” said Miller about the speed duel between his charge and Artiawitchtoyou.
Jag Out (American Ideal-Impertinent) is trained by Erv Miller, who co-owns her with Paymaq Racing and Mystical Marker Farms LLC.
There were also two divisions of the NYSS Excelsior A Series on the card for $30,000 in purses.
The first went to Yes You Can (If I Can Dream-Cantbuymehappiness), a gate-to-wire winner in 1:56.2 for driver Jim Morrill Jr. and trainer Heidi Rohr. Yes You Can, who paid $2.40, is owned by the Holland Racing Stable.
The second division was won by Hey Kobe (Bettors Delight-American West), who also led the entire mile for driver Mark MacDonald and trainer Marthe Drolet. Hey Kobe is owned by Stephen Schneider and William Siegel. The winner returned $4.00.
Driver Jim Morrill Jr. notched four victories on the card with Kevin Cummings adding two more wins to his meet-leading total.
Racing resumes on Wednesday at Batavia Downs when two divisions of the New York Sire Stakes two-year-old trotting colts and geldings go postward for a total of $110,000 in purses. Post time is set for 6:35 p.m.
(With files from Batavia Downs)