There will be a lot at stake for all the entrants of the New York Sire Stakes for three-year-old pacing colts and geldings at Batavia Downs on Wednesday (Sept. 5), as it will be the last race for the group before the $225,000 final at Yonkers Raceway on Saturday, September 22. The one division that all eyes will be on will feature a heavyweight match between Springsteen and Hitman Hill, who both need to win for the opportunity to make that final.
Springsteen is currently 10th in points with 100, while Hitman Hill is sitting behind him in 12th with 75. The majority of the horses currently in position to make the final will also be competing on Wednesday, so it all depends on how well everyone does.
There will be three $39,200 divisions of the NYSS, as they have been carded as Race 1, 5 and 6. Post time for the first race will be at 5 p.m.
Springsteen (Rock N Roll Heaven-American Charm) has had a huge year. He won the $500,000 Hempt at Mohegan Sun Pocono in a lifetime best 1:48.3 in June along with two NYSS divisions this year. But he failed to make the $400,000 Adios final and more recently finished seventh in the $400,000 Milstein. This past Saturday (Sept, 2) he had a rough outing, as he finished last in the $500,000 Messenger Stakes at Yonkers.
He currently sits eighth in North America among all three-year-olds for earnings with $341,175 and has the sixth fastest win time for that same group of 1:48.3
Louis-Philippe Roy has been tabbed to drive Springsteen by trainer Rene Allard, and the duo has been gauged as the morning line choice at 8-5 from Post 3.
Hitman Hill (American Ideal-Fox Valley Shaker) has had a full dance card this year as well and has put in stellar efforts in each one of his outings. He finished third in the Hempt (behind Springsteen), third in the Adios final, and fourth in the $272,025 Empire Breeders Classic. He finished ‘one-two’ in his pair of NYSS events, and will return to Batavia Downs as the reigning track record holder for two-year-old pacing geldings with a mark of 1:52.4, which was taken in 2017.
For the year, Hitman Hill has recorded three wins and $200,387 in earnings with a seasonal and lifetime best mark of 1:49.3.
Akron, New York native Chris Oakes trains Hitman Hill and will have Brett Miller in the bike, as usual. They will depart from Post 6 and have been listed at 5-2.
The first division’s early 8-5 favourite is Topville Olympian (American Ideal-Our Sophia), who just finished a close third behind Stay Hungry and Jimmy Freight in the Messenger Stakes at Yonkers on Saturday. He has one NYSS win this year, but has never missed the board while competing in that series. He’s the top money earner in this race with $129,170 and has picked up the services of Brett Miller for the outing.
His main rivals appear to be Rockapelo (Rock N Roll Heaven), who scored his best win at Tioga Downs this year in the Geers Stakes (1:50.2), and the NYSS points leader Rootin Tootin (Roll With Joe-Wild Retreat), who has 180 and is 55 points ahead of his nearest rival.
Ideal Feeling (American Ideal-Feelinglikeastar) has received the track handicapper’s nod in the second division (he has been listed at 2-1). After taking an early season mark of 1:51.3 at Tioga, Ideal Feeling raced well in an elimination of the Meadowlands Pace in July that went in 1:49, although he missed the final. He then finished a strong second to Courtly Choice in an elimination of the Empire Breeders Classic before drawing Post 7 in the final, where he found himself chasing a 1:48.3 mile from the back of the pack. He has drawn Post 4 in a short field and will have Jason Bartlett along for the ride.
Also looking to get the win will be Real Surreal (So Surreal-Armbro Wallflower) – who finished third in the Empire Breeders Classic, pacing in 1:50 in defeat – and Ostro Hanover (Betterthancheddar-Ozmopolitan), who will be making his fourth start for his new trainer after winning a 1:52.4 NYSS race at Saratoga Raceway.