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The Leaders Of The Pack - Part 5

Published: September 19, 2012 9:14 pm ET

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The Leaders Of The Pack Series takes a closer look at the eight New York Sire Stakes divisional leaders and their biggest threats in the $1.8 million Night of Champions at Yonkers Raceway on September 22.

The following is the fifth part of the eight-part series.

Three-Year-Old Colt and Gelding Pace

The Leader: Forever Just, a colt by Bettors Delight, out of Forever Cam, by Western Hanover, owned by Stake Your Claim Stable and Fred Wallace, trained by Linda Toscano.

Forever Just may not be the best three-year-old pacing colt in Linda Toscano’s stable. And while he’s raced well, he’s lost six straight races with five different drivers. Yet he is the leader of the three-year-old pacing colt and gelding New York Sire Stakes point standings.

And that’s not going to change. Saturday was the final race of the NYSS schedule at Batavia Downs, and Forever Just, who finished second to Major Bombay at 7-1 in the second of two $64,000-plus divisions, is the point leader heading into the $225,000 NYSS final at Yonkers Raceway on the Night of Champions, September 22.

“Forever Just is as much a blue-collar worker as any horse in the barn,” Toscano said. “He shows up every week. As long as you put him into the race, he’s always right there at the end.”

Forever Just’s last two wins were in the two NYSS races at Yonkers on May 21 and June 29, which bodes well for his chances in the final.

Regardless, the favourite in the final will be Toscano-trained Heston Blue Chip, owned by Ken Jacobs, who skipped the Batavia NYSS after finishing fifth in the Cane Pace five days earlier.

“I don’t like to race him with five days off,” Jacobs said. “He’s fine, and he’ll go in the final.”

Heston Blue Chip, who won an elimination for the Meadowlands Pace before finishing fourth in the final, had the misfortune of drawing the outside post in the field of nine in the Cane Pace Final at Tioga Downs.

“He had no shot,” Jacobs said. “If you’re not in the final, you can leave and find a hole.

“I told Tim [driver Tim Tetrick] to take him back, and if he gets a cheque, fine. If not, it’s no big deal.”

That’s because even with the fifth-place finish, Heston Chip is nine-for-11 this year and 20-for-23 lifetime with two seconds.

The horse who beat him in the Cane, New York-bred Dynamic Youth, did race in the first division of the NYSS at Batavia Saturday. He broke early and finished sixth to Bet On The Law, which meant Dynamic Youth didn’t earn a single NYSS point. NYSS points are divided in the same way a purse is split: 50, 25, 12, eight and five per cent to the top five finishers. Only the top eight in the point standings qualify for the NYSS final.

Forever Just (225) and Heston Blue Chip (200) finished 1-2 in the standings, followed by Steelhead Hanover (187), Bet On The Law (166), Coral Snake (158), Major Bombay (157) and Breakin The Law (123). Lawgiver Hanover and Escape The News finished tied for eighth with 120.

Related Stories

Leaders Of The Pack - Part 4
Leaders Of The Pack - Part 3
Leaders Of The Pack - Part 2
Leaders Of The Pack - Part 1

(Agriculture & New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund)

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