(Wings Of Royalty with driver Chris Lems.)
By Tim Bojarski, Batavia Downs Media Relations
Perfect weather and a lightning fast track greeted the New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) 3-year-old colt and gelding trotters to Batavia Downs on Friday (Sept. 4) and those participants took full advantage of the conditions to pursue their share of the $120,400 in purses available.
Heavily favored Wings Of Royalty (RC Royalty-Sparkling Cider) rewarded his backers as he turned in a very strong performance, winning his division convincingly in 1:56.3.
After pole-sitter Mythology Bluechip (Mark Macdonald) made a break in the first turn, Gabe The Bear Dean (Ray Schnittker) took the early lead until Wings Of Royalty (Chris Lems) motored on by before the quarter in :28.4. The participants then remained single-file behind the leader through a :59.1 half and 1:27.4 three-quarters.
At that point Schnittker pulled Gabe The Bear Dean from second and tried to mount a challenge, but the attempt was futile. Lems let Wings Of Royalty out a notch and he flew down the stretch to win easily by three lengths with a snappy :28.4 final panel.
“I knew Ray (Schnittker) would let me go (to the front) and once we made it, he was on cruise control. He was very strong finishing the mile,” said driver Chris Lems.
It was the fourth win in 14 starts for Wings Of Royalty ($3.20) and it raised his 2015 earnings to $178,323 for owner Raymond Campbell. The colt is trained by George Ducharme.
(Fashion Creditor with driver Jim Morrill Jr. and Royal Deceptor with driver Michael McGivern.)
The first division was historic as it was the only time a NYSS race at Batavia Downs ended in a dead heat. The judges camera could not separate Fashion Creditor (Credit Winner-Bon Voyage) and Royal Deceptor (RC Royalty-Art of Deception) at the wire.
There was a stiff battle off the gate when Royal Lad (Aaron Byron) would not let Maestro Bluechip (Trond Smedshammer) go, who in turn parked-out Royal Deceptor (Michael McGivern) and the three horses went three-wide to the quarter in :28.3. As they hit the turn, they all finally seated with Royal Deceptor being the best of the bunch. At this point, Fashion Creditor (Jim Morrill Jr.) was a gapped fourth watching the proceedings.
After the dust had settled, McGivern grabbed leather and grabbed it hard as he gave Royal Deceptor a serious breather with :31 and :30.3 second and third quarters. During that time, Royal Lad made a break from third and Fashion Creditor advanced to that spot, creeping closer to the leader.
Then Morrill pulled at three-quarters and began to force the issue. Royal Deceptor still had a three-length lead but the advantage was clearly perilous. At the head of the stretch, Fashion Creditor was trotting his hips off down the lane, gobbling up ground with every stride while Royal Deceptor was expending every ounce of energy he had left to hang on to his lead. At the wire, both horses’ best efforts gained them victory in 1:58.3.
It was the third win in 13 starts for Fashion Creditor ($2.10), pushing his earnings to $106,380 for the year. The gelding is owned by Joseph Smith and trained by Tom Fanning.
For Royal Deceptor, it was his seventh win in 13 starts and it increased his 2015 bank to $137,163 for owners Charles Foster, Michael Sentiwany Jr., and Michael James. The colt is trained by Cheryl McGivern.
There were also two divisions of the NYSS Excelsior Series “A” trot that went for a combined $30,000 in purses.
Crazshana (Crazed-Keystone Shana) won the first division in 1:59.2 for trainer-driver Trond Smedshammer. The gelding is owned by Wanda Polisseni’s Purple Haze Stable.
The second split was won by Bavaro (Credit winner-Repetitions) in 1:59 flat for trainer-driver Ray Schnittker. Schnittker shares ownership of the colt with Paul Bordogna and Jonathan Kurnit. The winner returned a handsome $46.80.
Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday (Sept.5) with post time set at 6:35 p.m.
(Photos courtesy of Paul White.)