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July 23, 2018 - 6:24pm

Batavia Downs' season opener tonight features NYSS action

posted by Billie Owens in sports, Batavia Downs, harness racing.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

As the Standardbreds gather for the start of the 72nd season of racing at the oldest lighted harness track in America this evening (July 23), Batavia Downs celebrates the opening by hosting three $36,567 divisions of the New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) for 2-year-old trotting fillies.

The NYSS events are carded in races two, four and six with post time for the card set at 6 p.m.

The first event has Quincy Blue Chip (Chapter Seven-Sirenuse) listed as the 8-5 morning line choice and she certainly looks the part. After winning her first lifetime start wire to wire over an off track at Yonkers Raceway on July 3, Quincy Blue Chip just got beat a neck in her second outing at Buffalo Raceway but still knocked two-full seconds off her initial clocking, being timed in 1:59.

Quincy Blue Chip will leave from post four with driver Jim Morrill Jr. for trainer Garth Dowse.

Gobi Princess (Muscle Mass-Mrs. D) made a break in her career debut at Yonkers but still finished fifth despite the trip. In her last start at Buffalo she minded her manners and was rated well along the pylons to finish a strong second, closing at the wire. She will be a major competitor from post one and should get a perfect trip from there.

Trainer Annette Lorentzon has Scott Zeron in the bike behind Gobi Princess and they are listed at 7-2.

In the second split, Safe Word (Credit Winner-Fifty Shades) is coming in off a two-race win streak and has improved with each start all year. After finishing second in her first outing at Monticello Raceway, she proceeded to win at Yonkers by a head and then win again at Buffalo by almost five-lengths. She is currently tied with Amal Hall as the top point getter in the series and also leads all her divisional peers for earnings.

It’s a Batavia Downs home-coming for Jeff Gregory who trains and drives Safe Word and will leave from post one at 9-5.

The horse to watch in this race is Conway Kellyanne (Conway Hall-Pacific Centerfold) who seemed to really blossom in her second lifetime start on July 3 at Yonkers. She left, cut the mile and cruised to a very fast 1:58.1 win, which was a lifetime mark for her and the fastest of four heats at the Hilltop that night. Her connections did not race her in the third leg at Buffalo so she does come in 20 days between starts. Look for her to use her speed to get forwardly placed and take her best shot late.

Charlie Norris trains and drives Conway Kellyanne who will start from post four at 7-2.

The final leg is headlined by Amal Hall (Credit Winner-Arabella Hall) who is coming into the race red hot. She won her first NYSS start at Monticello then finished second to Conway Kellyanne in 1:58.2 at Yonkers. Her last outing at Buffalo was not only another win; it was a 1:59 lifetime mark for her and a new track record for age, gender and gait by a full second. She will be a stalking force from inside with her late brush.

Amal Hall will leave from post two at 2-1 for Team Orange Crush: Julie Miller doing the training and Andy Miller in the bike.

Winndevie (Credit Winner-Vida De Vie) comes into this event batting .1000 in the NYSS. She has two starts (at Monticello and Yonkers), two wins and has displayed two different styles of racing. She closed in :28.4 in both of her wins and dropped almost three full seconds off her win time between the two outings. She currently sits third in the point standings right behind Amal Hall and Safe Word and is poised to move forward.

Trond Smedshammer both trains and drives Winndevie who starts from post five at 5-2.

There is an upset minded filly in the race named Sensibility (Muscle Mass-Twin B Sensation). She has yet to win a NYSS event but hasn’t missed the board either, finishing second twice and third once. She has dropped a full second in three consecutive starts and has closed in :28.2 her last two trys which is faster than anyone in the race besides Amal Hall.

Sensibility is trained by George Ducharme and will be driven from post six at 4-1 by Scott Zeron.

There are also four $15,000 Excel “A” series trots on the card that go as races one, five, seven and nine and two Excel “B” series trots in races three, eight and 10.

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