Gural Hanover heads NYSS at Batavia Downs

03:02 AM 02 Aug 2014 NZST
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Gural Hanover, harness racing
Gural Hanover and Jim Morrill, Jr.
Photo by Geri Schwarz

Batavia, NY - When the 3-year-old colt and gelding trotters go postward Friday (8-1) to chase their cut of the $116,000 up for grabs in the two divisions of the New York Sire Stakes, the track record for this category is in danger of falling and its demise could come at the hooves of Gural Hanover.

Since arriving at the Ron Burke Stable, Gural Hanover has been almost perfect; stringing four consecutive victories most recently. Included in those wins were an all-age track record of 1:56.1 at Buffalo Raceway and an all-age track record of 1:55.2 at Monticello Raceway. This week he is singularly focused on Batavia Downs.

The track handicapper has installed the gelded son of Crazed as the 1-5 choice and due to the short field of five there will be win and exacta betting only. And 1-5 might be a windfall for bettors considering Gural Hanover is the NYSS point leader of his class and he has leading NYSS driver Jim Morrill Jr. navigating once again.

With his front-running style, current form and penchant for half-mile tracks, Gural Hanover definitely has the ability to erase the 1:54.3 mark set by Archangel in 2012.

Whereas this division looks to have an overwhelming favorite, the first division has the makings of a real solid horse race.

Flyhawk El Durado, Cash Me Out and Zoey De Vie are as even a group of trotters that could be put together in a race. All three have beaten each other at some point this year and the group looks resigned to banging heads for the remainder of the season.

Flyhawk El Durado (Conway Hall-El Paso Girl) was the NYSS 2-year-old trotting colt champion in 2013. He was six out of nine last year and finished his campaign in strong fashion. Since starting back this year for trainer Mark Ford, he faced some stiff Grand Circuit competition early finishing third behind 2014 Hambletonian starter Trixton in the Simpson Stake at the Meadowlands in May. In this series so far he has two wins, a second and two thirds and is coming off the best last outing (a 1:55.3 win at Yonkers Raceway) of anyone in this race.

With the exception of an early season break at Saratoga, the Cheryl Mc Givern trained Cash Me Out (Cash Hall-China Victory) has been no worse than second all year posting four wins and five seconds in 10 starts. He is the second richest starter in this field with $130,575 on the card for this year and just finished second to Gural Hanover last week. Michael Mc Givern is at the helm once again.

Zoey De Vie (Conway Hall-Paul's Wink) made his stake debut this year in the Excelsior series victory before stepping up to the top level in June. Since then he has a win and three seconds in four NYSS starts. Last week he sat on the back of Flyhawk El Durado the entire mile at Yonkers but couldn't get by him in the lane. However the trainer/driver duo of Heidi Rohr and Jim Morrill Jr. will look to avenge that defeat in this leg tonight.

The talented trotting trio of Cash Me Out (4-5), Flyhawk El Durado (3-1) and Zoey De Vie (8-5) is currently ranked second, third and fourth respectively on the NYSS leader board.

The undercard features two divisions of the $25,500 Excelsior Series A and two divisions of the $13,400 Excelsior Series B series races.

Post time for the 12 race card is 6:35 p.m.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

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