Day At The Track

$100,000 NYSS at Batavia

12:30 PM 10 Aug 2020 NZST
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American Courage, harness racing Major Betts, harness racing Groovy Joe, harness racing Town Gossip, harness racing
American Courage and driver Matt Kakaley
Paul White photo
Major Betts (#3) and driver Dexter Dunn beat Ideal Perception
Paul White photo
Groovy Joe and driver Matt Kakaley
Paul White photo
Town Gossip and driver Jim Morrill, Jr.
Paul White photo
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Batavia, NY --- Batavia Downs played host to the New York Sire Stakes 2 and 3-year-old harness racing pacing colts and geldings on Sunday afternoon (Aug. 9) and the perfect weather brought out some exceptional performances.

Outstanding 2-year-old colt American Courage (American Ideal-Nola Fool Bluechip) remained undefeated when he won his $50,400 NYSS division. After starting a bit off the gate, American Courage tucked in fifth momentarily before driver Matt Kakaley pulled and advanced him to third at the quarter behind the leading Carrythetorchman (Marcus Miller). But just past the three-eighths, Kakaley had him out and rolling again and this time right to the front.

American Courage cleared and took the lead by the five-eighths pole and really dug in from there. Kakaley sat chilly as American Courage opened up four lengths at the three-quarters, six lengths by the top of the stretch and then jogged home by 10 open lengths, wrapped up in 1:54.2.

"The gate got going a little fast and got away from us. I just wanted to get away clean and get around the track," said Kakaley. "This is a serious colt."

American Courage ($2.10) remains perfect, now winning six of six lifetime starts for owner Fiddler's Creek Stable who also bred the winner. Travis Alexander is the trainer.

The other $50,400 2-year-old division went to Town Gossip (American Ideal-Fibbertigibbet) who led at every station from post one. Jim Morrill Jr. backed down the half to a pedestrian :59 before stepping on the gas and letting Town Gossip accelerate away from the field. After hitting the three-quarters in 1:28.1, Town Gossip turned for home and opened up a 5-1/4 length lead at the wire for a 1:57.1 win.

It was the second NYSS win of the year for Town Gossip ($3.00) who is owned by Robert Weinstein. Jennifer Bongiorno trains the $25,000 Lexington Selected acquisition who was bred by Winbak Farm.

The sophomore set saw it's best performance come in the second $55,000 split when the 3-year-old colt Groovy Joe (Roll With Joe-Chotat Milk) went coast to coast in the fastest mile of the day.

Matt Kakaley rushed Groovy Joe off the gate and out-muscled Save Me A Dance (Jason Bartlett) for the lead at the quarter in :27. The race proceeded in single file to the half and past the five eighths before anyone decided to pull on the leader.

Splash Brother (Tyler Buter) tipped from last midway up the backstretch and tried to push the issue but came up short in the last turn. Groovy Joe was clear in the lane by two lengths with only the pocket sitting Save Me A Dance with a chance at him. He did close strong down the lane but Groovy Joe hung on to win by 1/2 length in 1:52.

It was the second NYSS win this year for Groovy Joe ($4.30) who is owned by Hutt Racing Stable, Blake Macintosh, Ozzie Mackay and Hoofbid Racing. Blake Macintosh also trains the winner who was a $17,000 Goshen Yearling sale purchase that was bred by Winbak Farm.

The first $54,000 3-year-old division was won by Major Betts (Art Major-Southwind Johanne) for driver Dexter Dunn who made his first ever driving appearance at Batavia Downs.

Major Betts took the lead and cut fractions of :27, :56.4 and 1:25.4 before his first challenge of the race came from Blank Stare (Corey Callahan) who pulled within a length of him at that third station. Major Betts successfully rebuffed that attack and headed down the lane on top by a length. But as he drifted just off the pylons, the pocket sitting Ideal Perception (Jason Bartlett) shot up the cones to take his best shot. Major Betts still had pace and stood his ground to win by a head in 1:53.3.

It was the third straight NYSS victory for Major Betts ($2.10) and owners Joseph Jannuzzelli, Mark Harder and Deena Frost. Mark Harder also trains the colt who was bred by Southwind Farms and sold at the Lexington Selected sale for $70,000.

There were seven $15,000 divisions of Excelsior A and four $6,600 divisions of Excelsior B races Sunday as well and those results can be found at this link. (https://racing.ustrotting.com/chart.aspx#636946)

Matt Kakaley, Jason Bartlett and Drew Monti all had hat tricks on the all-stake card with Tyler Buter and Jim Morrill Jr. each scoring two wins as well.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs
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