Experts handicap this evening's NYSS Night of Champions at Batavia Downs
By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs
Seven industry publicists and handicappers give their selections for the $1.8 million New York Sire Stake Night of Champions finals and the $50,000 Robert J. Kane Memorial Invitational pace tonight at Batavia Downs.
Dave Brower-Meadowlands broadcaster, handicapper and oddsmaker
Zero Tolerance has been virtually unbeatable in NY so far this year, but could get a nice test from the outer draw. So Awesome has picked up her game of late and might be able to sit a "garden trip" with a big kick at the end.
Let's take a shot here with Quincy Blue Chip, who benefited from the post draw over Winndevie! She has beaten that foe a couple of times and I think her inside edge will make the difference, AS long as she trots!
Merga Hanover should have no trouble crossing over in here and has been the dominant force on the NYSS circuit so far. I'm not even worried about the outside post. She's simply the best of these.
Hypnotic AM hasn't lost yet this year and it's not going to happen tonight, after the very "friendly" draw of post two. This is just a killer in the making, and I hope we get to see her go Grand Circuit in Lexington (Ky.) after this.
Dorsoduro Hanover got a nice break after "keeping up" in the McKee on Hambo Day and had the perfect prep for this at Scioto. This is a race he will be "aimed" for and I think he just outclasses these for the Burke Brigade and Matty K.
Just to make things interesting, Groovy Joe got stuck behind the eight-ball, but it might not matter. He's beaten pretty much every horse in the field already and he's also proven he can overcome a bad post. Easily best with no American Rebel around.
In the night's most wide-open contest, I think Berkery J might have a little speed edge on the outside-drawers. Sears was listed on two in and I hope he took this one. That will put the Ducharme colt over the top!
If you want to bet against Gimpanzee, I suggest you go buy a hot dog instead! Post seven won't matter for this super-talented Melander-trained colt and it's on to the Grand Circuit against his stablemates after this.
I've really enjoyed watching Hickfromfrenchlick mature this season for the duo of Schnittker and Kakaley. This is a real nice colt, and he's getting better and more mature. The draw puts the race in Matty's capable hands, and I think they will be very tough to catch!
Michael Carter - Social Media and Publicity Directo - USTA
This race becomes a little more wide open with Zero Tolerance drawing toward the outside. She hasn’t raced from the outside on a half in a while and that is obviously a little concerning. So Awesome has been a consistent filly who has the speed to ration out the fractions.
Pilgrims Lass added Hopples and seems to be over whatever breaking issues she may have been having. She is one to watch late as she will be coming from off the pace.
Merga Hanover is going to be a tough beat from out here, the start three back from post six at Batavia is really hard to ignore. I’m not sure that you beat her here.
This is going to be an interesting race, because the top three horses have only faced each other once a piece and so far its been all about Hypnotic AM. She is a tough filly, who already has proven her Grand Circuit potential.
My hometown hero, Southwind Amazon, gets a try against Grand Circuit caliber again tonight. He has been able to hold his own against some of the top level horses, look for him to be sneaky good tonight.
While post eight will be tough to overcome, Groovy Joe has raced from out here before with little to no problems. Not sure you’ll get much of a price on him, but I like his chances.
This is one of the more competitive Sire Stakes finals of the night and that makes it a fantastic betting race. Hobbs gets some much needed post help, and if he fires like he did two back after a perfect trip, he wins.
This becomes a whole new race with Gimpanzee drawing the outside, even though he is the obvious class of the race. Lucky Weekend gets Morrill back in the bike and if anyone can win from this spot and take down the champ it’s him.
Shake That House entered even though he is eligible to the Jug on Thursday, he looks to rebound following a tough effort in the Empire Breeders Championship. He is as versatile as they come. This is a whole new race with American Mercury skipping.
Bob 'Hollywood' Heyden - Handicapper
Excellent and one of the more wide open NYSS events, Sulky Queen reunites with Sears and gets the jump on the outside leavers.
Get those Pick-4 tickets going and don't be shy about hitting #8 a few times. Remember that sire Credit Winner won the first SIX NYSS finals he was ever in back in 2004-2005!
NO-this is not a mirror image-the SAME numbers two races in a row. A very consistent sort Galleria Gal can take advantage of a lot of uncertainty (XTRA Lead changes) and roll by late.
Melander and a perfect freshman Hypnotic AM -- I think we've seen this movie before. Division championship will be hers with a win tonight and a Breeders Crown.
2018 Jug Runnerup but then the divisional champion Dorsodoro Hanover finds himself in a good spot to get the latter half of his season rolling. This should be a barn burner.
Groovy Joe has never been worse than second-including three back when he started from the same post. Lukewarm call for him in a race where you might want to hit the all-button if you've caught something early.
Chaptiama has gotten hot at just the right time for Trond Smedshammer. Bred by Winbak Farms, remember they more than doubled any other breeder in the NYSS program in 2018 with better than $1.8 Million and are on the doorstep of their 10,000th winner!
Gimpanzee The King should have no issue dispensing these en route to his 15th career win. His stirring Yonkers Trot win was everything it looked like and more.
Arties Deal is my upset special for the night. The rail is sure to get way overbet, and the leavers figure to be many. His 2 and 3 YO season look amazingly alike 2/11 at 2 125G; 2/11 at 3 134 G. Good spot to get his REAL season into gear.
Ken Warkentin - Track Announcer - The Meadowlands
Zero Tolerance draws a challenging post, yet the undefeated top points-getter in her NYSS division is tough to deny fresh off an easy win @ Batavia.
Stella Jane just missed to Sensibility with a perfect trip @ Yonkers, that may have signaled a return to top form & she has the inside advantage on the major players in here.
The Fun Marshall was a solid runner up to Merga Hanover last out @ Vernon Downs, a rousing winner @ Saratoga before that & now has rail control to trip out.
Hypnotic AM has simply been flawless for the red-hot Team Melander, Grand Circuit caliber filly draws inside where Brian Sears can control her destiny.
Hayden Hanover, a 1:47.3 Meadowlands performer this season, regained form in his last two, just missed to Iamarocknrollegend N last out @ Yonkers.
Save Me A Dance was a hard-charging second in the Sheppard Final, tuned up with a solid third @ Tioga Downs & draws inside the standout Groovy Joe.
Note the 1:54.4 tally @ Vernon Downs on 7-25, rebounded with a close second last out, plenty of potential here & Ake Svanstedt will have him primed for the big money.
2018 undefeated Dan Patch Award winner Gimpanzee was a very good third in the Hambletonian Final & crushed in the Yonkers Trot, world-class colt.
Shake That House was a decisive upsetter in the Hempt, got torched in the EBC, regrouped & draws well for the rematch with Hickfromfrenchlick.
Gordon Waterstone - Associate Editor - The Horseman And Fair World
Zero Tolerance is obviously the one to beat and will be the betting favorite, but So Awesome has a post advantage so let’s take an early stab that she’ll use that to turn the tables and pull the upset.
Quincy Blue Chip has only beaten herself this year so as long as she tends to business she will be tough to collar. Winndevie and Sensibility should be moving forward off the gate and if the choice makes a mistake, they’ll be the ones taking advantage.
Merga Hanover has been nearly flawless but again the post advantage here goes to The Fun Marshall and that gives her the edge to finally reverse the order.
Hypnotic Am comes into the race unbeaten and she will come out of the race unbeaten as she looks head and shoulder above the rest. Seventimesalady is the horse to key underneath for exotics.
Dorsoduro Hanover finally gets away from Lather Up and outside posts, and that combination should make the difference and lead to victory. Toss Southwind Amazon’s last start as well as Hitman Hill’s, and you have the rest of the ticket filled.
If Groovy Joe had drawn anywhere inside he would have been hard to beat, but post 8 negates his advantage so the edge goes to Cigars And Port, who should get a great trip in here. But don’t overlook Sandy’s Bolt, who has post 1 and comes in off a layoff and heavy backing in his previous attempts.
The early speed is all on the outside here and it seems likely Berkery J and Bourbon Express will be the last ones to the front. It will be a battle from there, but don’t overlook Barn Holden or even Chaptiama, who has won two straight.
It’s not a question if Gimpanzee wins here, but a question of “by how many lengths?” He’s in his own league here, and among the other starters give Livinonthedash the nod.
Hard to imagine a scenario from post 1 that Hickfromfrenchlick won’t have the lead at the first-quarter call, whether he forces the issue or there is some quick give-and-take. Shake That House could be auditioning for a Little Brown Jug appearance here so a big effort is expected.