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Morrill & Brainard Sweep Sire Stakes

Published: August 7, 2016 6:30 pm ET

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Perfect summer weather enticed a large live crowd trackside to watch the New York Sire Stakes for three-year-old pacing colts and geldings at Batavia Downs on Sunday afternoon (August 7) and the horses did not disappoint.

In the first $59,100 division, it was all about Roll Away Joe (Roll With Joe-Chatelaine), who left sharply to take a lead he would not relinquish. Jim Morrill Jr. led the field to a very soft :59 half as no one pulled to challenge the pacesetter to that point.

When an outer flow finally did start to form, they couldn’t even get close to Roll Away Joe after Morrill gave him his head at the five-eighths pole and then sat as a passenger. They flew home in :56 flat, stopping the clock in 1:55 as a wrapped-up winner by two-lengths.

After the race, Morrill said, “It couldn’t have gone any easier. After a half in :59, it would take a pretty good horse to beat him. I just shut him down; it was kind of like a training mile for him.”

Roll Away Joe ($2.40) is owned by Howard Taylor, Stephen Demeter and Thomas Lazzaro and is trained by Tracy Brainard.

In the second $60,200 split, they were piled four-deep around the first turn with Talk Show, Acting Out, Ideal Son and Fine Diamond all gunning for the front. Talk Show (Jim Morrill Jr.) released Acting Out (Kevin Cummings) and Fine Diamond (Matt Kakaley), who then continued to battle to the quarter in :27.2. When Fine Diamond finally cleared in the turn, Morrill immediately pulled Talk Show at the three-eighths pole and was back on the pylons with the lead by the half.

Up the backside, Talk Show was holding a gapped lead with Beast Mode (Mike Whelan) outside at his flank when Artmagic (Billy Dobson) moved from fifth and swung three-deep to challenge at three-quarters in 1:25.1. But as soon as he got close, Morrill popped the plugs and Talk Show went into overdrive. He opened up an immediate three-length lead and then cruised down the lane, crushing the field by over five lengths in 1:54.2.

“That [first] quarter helped me. I just tried to keep him nice and quiet and those guys mixing it up made it easy for me to do that,” said Morrill. “He had a ton left in the tank at the end of the mile; I shut him right down to a walk.”

Talk Show (Art Major-Lush Limbaugh) is owned by Talk Show Partners LLC, Bradley Grant and Taylor, and is also trained by Brainard. The winner paid $2.90.

There were also two $15,000 divisions of the Excelsior A series on the card.

The first division was won by Dateline Hanover (Rock N Roll Heaven-Dont Deny Me) in 1:55.1, which was a new lifetime mark. Dateline Hanover ($8.60) was driven by Tyler Buter and trained by Mark Harder for co-owners Rick Phillips, Peter Venturini and Deena Frost.

The second leg saw Fresh Cut (American Ideal-Flip For Love) score in 1:54.4 for driver Kevin Cummings and trainer Erv Miller. Fresh Cut is owned by Bay Pond Racing Stable. The winner returned $7.50.

Morrill Jr. drove six winners on the card, surpassing his total of five taken during his last visit to the Downs this past Wednesday. He tallied with the aforementions Sire Stakes winners Roll Away Joe ($2.40) and Talk Show ($2.90), as well as Americanation ($2.10), Fashionable Apple ($5.50), Fast Fool ($5.90) and No Real Surprise ($5.50).

Billy Dobson also had a driving double while trainer Dave McNeight Jr. sent three to the winner’s circle and Brainard had her two Sire Stakes winners.

(With files from Batavia Downs)

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