BATAVIA, N.Y. --- Can He's Watching set his third track record in four weeks?
That question will be answered Saturday night at Batavia Downs when harness racing's next superstar, He's Watching, highlights the three $34,537 divisions of the New York Sire Stakes for 2-year-old colt pacers in what should be one of the biggest nights of the year in Western New York.
And along with the great Sire Stakes action, there will be three divisions of the $12,600 Excelsior Stakes for the 2-year-old colts and the $8,500 Open Pace. It will also Hall of Fame Night where former Western New York driver/trainer Gaston Guindon will be inducted in the Upstate New York Hall of Fame, Batavia division. There's also an Old-Timers race to cap off the night's activities with Guindon, Fred Haslip, Gerry Sarama, Clint Galbraith and Dick Welch battling it out on the track once again in a non-betting affair.
But first, all eyes will be on He's Watching (American Ideal-Babberhood). He is a perfect five-for-five in his young career with a world record, two track marks and $122,640 in the bank thus far. He set the world record for two-year-old pacing colts on a 5/8-mile track and the Tioga Downs mark when he posted a 1:50.0 in a 6-1/4-length win on August 9 in Sire Stake competition.
Less than two week later, it wasn't a record but He's Watching covered the Yonkers Raceway half-mile oval in 1:54.2 in romping to an easy 5-1/2-length victory. Then last Saturday night he got back in stride with another record with a 1:50.0 clocking on the 7/8-mile Vernon Downs track in scoring a 2-1/4 length victory also in Sire Stakes competition.
Probably his most impressive victory, however, was his first career start at Saratoga Raceway on June 28. He's Watching broke stride at the start and spotted the field 14-1/4 lengths but rallied to win by 3/4 lengths in 1:55. He also broke at the start at Buffalo Raceway in his second start on July 10th but came back to win. He's been on his best behavior ever since and his record proves it.
Co-owner and trainer David Menary said of He's Watching, "He's a guy with a big engine. He wants to go from second gear to fifth gear too fast. He's got to learn to not show off so much."
The front-running He's Watching is the prohibitive 2-5 favorite in the seventh race with Jim Morrill Jr. scheduled to be aboard. The 2-year-old colt mark at Batavia Downs is 1:54.2 set in 2012 by Doctor Butch and is definitely in jeopardy.
Menary added, "It's scary how fast this horse is." He was bought for $3,000 by Menary and Michael Guerriero in the 2012 Harrisburg Yearling Sale, a great purchase to say the least.
While He's Watching will go in the seventh race, there's a possibility of the track record being broken before then as Forty Five Red (If I Can Dream-Sakura Hanover) leads the field of six in the first race, the opening division of the $34,594 Sire Stakes.
Scoring from the three post, Forty Five Red has four wins in seven lifetime starts. He won the $111,250 Sheppard Final at Yonkers in 1:55.4 on July 20th and went gate-to-wire last weekend at Vernon Downs in 1:51.1. The Ron Burke-trained Forty Five Red already has earned $150,286 this season. Jim Morrill Jr. will get the driving assignment.
The big night of racing with 13 races slated on Saturday gets underway at 6:30 p.m. For more information including race replays, statistics, schedule and promotions, go to http://bataviadownsgaming.com/
by Brian J. Mazurek