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'Handsome' Colt Headlines Night Of Champions

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Published: September 25, 2009 12:37 pm ET

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Very quietly one three-year-old colt pacer has amassed a record of 15 wins, 3 seconds and 2 thirds in 20 starts, winning nine of his last ten starts and banking over $300,000 on the season.

With the harness racing world poised on Vernon Downs on Saturday, September 26th for the New York Sire Stakes “Night of Champions”, one of the most intriguing divisions falls on the ninth race for the sophomore colt and gelding pacers when that colt goes postward.

Perennial New York Sire Stakes king Jim Morrill Jr. until last week had been the main driver for three of the top pacers in the class with Ok Braveheart, Hypnotic Blue Chip, and Handsome Harry. When all three drew in together last week at Yonkers Raceway, Morrill had a tough decision on his hands and ended up making the winning decision in Handsome Harry.

“He (Handsome Harry) had the rail last week so that played a big factor in my decision, I liked the spot last week and it was a decision I had to make. If I would have been third to those two horses last week I wouldn’t have been surprised because they are all so talented. I wasn’t looking towards the final in the decision I made last week because they were going for $109,000. Depending on the early fractions on Saturday night, I think they will have to go in 49 and a piece or 50 and a piece to win, they are all such nice colts” said Jim Morrill Jr. on his way to Vernon Downs from Delaware, Ohio where he captured the Juggette with Showherthemoney.

In the $175,000 final for 3-year old pacing fillies on Saturday night, All Spirit and Jimmy Marohn Jr. have been slated as the 5-2 morning line favourite. The 3-year old daughter of Bettor’s Delight-Spirit of Ivy has won seven of fourteen seasonal starts with a mark of 1:53 taken at Tioga Downs for trainer Tim Lanpher. “She’s coming into the race pretty fresh, and she has speed that she can carry out through the entire mile” said driver Jimmy Marohn Jr. All Spirit has drawn post position eight in a field of nine for the night’s seventh event.

Morrill also commented on his mount in the 3-year old filly pace and believes Eagle Way has a good a shot of any to win on Saturday night. “Eagle Way is a nice filly, she has just as good of a shot as any in that race, she is healthy and sound for how long the seasons been and with any luck we should be right on the wire with the rest of them” Morrill said.

The 3-year old colt trot looks to be a showdown between the two Takter trained colts in Judge Joe and Russell Hill. Judge Joe and John Campbell have been slated as the 2-1 morning line favourite with Russell Hill and Jim Morrill Jr. second choice at 3-1. Judge Joe is coming into the $175,000 final off a fifth place finish in the $1 million dollar Canadian Trotting Classic at Mohawk Racetrack last Saturday night. However Russell Hill has posted eight wins in 2009 and has only missed the board on two occasions this season. “Judge Joe is the horse to beat in this race, I thought coming into it I would have the horse to beat, but Russell Hill gives you everything he has every race, and with any luck we will be looking for the upset” said Morrill.

A free downloadable program for Saturday night’s New York Sire Stakes “Night of Champions” is available at www.vernondowns.com.

(Vernon Downs)


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