Splash Brother Letting It Fly In 2020

Published: September 9, 2020 04:43 pm EDT

Splash Brother is making quite a comeback this year, having earned his place behind the gate in the $1.8 million New York Sire Stakes Night of Champions at Yonkers on Saturday (Sept. 12). According to co-owner and trainer Ray Schnittker, the three-year-old gelded pacer looked solid last year until a fateful day at Saratoga Casino Hotel.

“He looked really good that day until Mark MacDonald fell off and Splash Brother got loose,” said Schnittker of the incident while scoring down for a leg of the New York Sire Stakes on July 20, 2019, at the half-mile track. MacDonald sustained a broken shoulder, which was later repaired by surgery, and was forced to sit out the rest of the year on the sidelines.

Schnittker said the horse was also impacted, despite performing well in NYSS events the rest of the season and finishing fourth in the final at Batavia Downs to close out his two-year-old year.

“We believe he hurt his shoulder because something was just bothering him, but we still to this day don’t really know. We just knew that he wasn’t the same.”

But the son of So Surreal trained back well in 2020, and he went on to win the $240,600 Empire Breeders Classic and two legs of the sire stakes while being steered by regular driver Tyler Buter. His last start (on Sept. 1) was a return to Saratoga where he dug in for a 1:51 victory, just a fifth of a second off the track record.

Splash Brother, pictured victorious at Saratoga Casino Hotel on September 1, 2020.

“It’s funny when he came back this year, it was no problem,” said Schnittker. “It is like he is a five-year-old child with that type of energy behind him.”

Schnittker is trying to capture some of the same magic he had in last year’s NYSS season. He picked up two Night of Champions wins at Batavia last year with Cigars And Port and USTA District 8 Horse of the Year Hickfromfrenchlick.

For now, Schnittker is concentrating on the NYSS final, where his horse will start from the rail. Splash Brother has been installed as the 9-5 morning line favourite in the eighth race on Saturday. Following that, Splash Brother will be heading to Indiana for five races in which Schnittker is expecting good outcomes.

The New York Sire Stakes Night of Champions will take place on September 12 at Yonkers Raceway. Post time will be at 7:12 p.m. Spectators are not permitted, but owners of horses competing may reserve their spot to attend in-person by calling the NYSS office at 518-388-0224 by Friday at 3 p.m.


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