Freshmen colts for 'Night of Champions'

01:57 PM 10 Sep 2009 NZST
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Ray Schnittker and Margarita Man
Ray Schnittker and Margarita Man - Leading point-earner in his class
Ray Schnittker and Margarita Man leave the winner’s circle after their track-record performance. (USTA)

As the exciting $1.4 million New York Sire Stakes Night of Champions draws ever closer, many top harness racing horses are vying for a post in the NYSS finals at Vernon Downs on Saturday, September 26, 2009.

Peter Goold, executive director of the Agriculture & New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund, which administers the New York Sire Stakes said, "Our New York Sire Stakes is the most competitive program of its kind, providing money-earning opportunities for horses of all ability levels. These two-year-old horses below appear to be contenders for the Night of Champions. They show amazing talent at a young age and we're sure they'll prove to be great athletes not only in the New York Sire Stakes program, but also on the grand circuit."

The New York Sire Stakes racing program is designed for two- and three-year-old New York-bred horses. The program offers three tiers of competitive racing: the County Fair series for horses to "earn as they learn"; the Late Closers series for horses that show promise for the more competitive series, but still need time to develop; and the Sire Sakes series for the most talented New York-breds. This article profiles two-year-old pacing and trotting colts who are poised to be contenders in the New York Sire Stakes Night of Champions.

Two-Year-Old Trotting Colts:

Margarita Man by Malabar Man has five starts with four wins and one third this season, raking in $75,202 in New York Sire Stakes earnings. Owned by Margarita Man Stables (Middletown, NY) and bred by Winbak Farms (Walden, NY), this horse is the leading point-earner in his class. Trained by Ray Schnittker, Margarita Man is on track to make it to Vernon Downs for the finals.

Shaq is Back by Credit Winner has five starts with three wins and two seconds for the 2009 NYSS season. He has made $72,853 in NYSS earnings so far for his owners Give Me the Credit Stable of Middletown, NY. Shaq is Back is also trained by Ray Schnittker (Middletown, NY) and is primed to be a strong opponent in the finals this year. He was bred by Steve Jones (Montgomery, NY) and Fair Wind Farms.

Carnegie by Conway Hall is another strong competitor for the Night of Champions action. He has made $65,159 in NYSS earnings with four starts, three wins and one second this season. His owner, breeder, and trainer is Kathleen La Montagne of Chesterfield, NJ.

RC Serpent by Conway Hall has earned $41,030 in NYSS earnings this year with a solid 2-1-1-0-0 NYSS record. His owners are Ann-Mari Daley (FL), Albert C. Crawford (Cazenovia, NY), Richard Lombardo (OH), and Highland Green Farm (FL). Bred by Mary Jane White (FL) and trained by Dan Daley, RC Serpent may be a staunch adversary in the NYSS finals.

Two-Year-Old Pacing Colts:

He's Gorgeous by Art Major has earned $90,676 in New York Sire Stakes earnings this year and is the leading point earner in his class. His owner is Ken Jacobs of Baldwinsville, NY; his trainer is Linda Toscano and he was bred by Yankeeland Farms, Inc. He has five NYSS starts with three wins, one third and one fourth. He's Gorgeous is sure to keep the competition lively for his foes on September 26.

Gone Baby Gone by Pro Bono Best boasts a 2-2-1-0-0 record for the 2009 NYSS season. He has brought in $60,716 in NYSS earnings for his owners Scott Woogen (VA) and Brenda Messenger (Monticello, NY). Trained by Gary Messenger, Gone Baby Gone is sure to be a formidable competitor. He was bred by Ross Bonafield (West Edmeston, NY).

Flexjet by Village Jove has five starts with three wins for the 2009 NYSS season. He has earned $51,941 in the NYSS so far. His owners are Winbak Farm, Norman Kirapire (Floral Park, NY), and Chester Poole (FL). Bred by Winbak Farm and trained by Chet Poole, Jr., Flexjet has what it takes to make it to the NYSS Night of Champions.

Bluff Point by Pro Bono Best has earned $47,860 in the NYSS this year for owners Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, and JJK Stables. Trained by Ron Burke and Phil Fluet, Bluff Point has five starts with one win and three seconds for the 2009 NYSS season. He was bred by David Firmstone of Penn Yan, NY. Bluff Point positioned to keep the pressure on in his bid for the finals.

Be on the look out for these top competitors as they strive to make their way to the 20th annual New York Sire Stakes Night of Champions at Vernon Downs on Saturday, September 26th. The $1.4 million cash grab is comprised of eight, $175,000 sire stakes finals, for two-and three-year-olds of both sexes and gaits. Post time for the event is 6:55pm.

For more information on the New York Sire Stakes racing program, please visit www.nysirestakes.com.

Christine BURLING

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