Third Shift, Barn Holden lead NYSS frosh trotters at Batavia
By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs
The New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) 2-year-old trotting colts and geldings will be in Genesee County on Wednesday (Aug. 7) to compete for their share of the $103,000 in total purses available in two divisions to be raced at Batavia Downs.
Third Shift (Chapter Seven-Overnight Command) and Barn Holden (Conway Hall-Barn Babe) are the top two point-getters and money earners in their age, gait and gender group and will both be on hand for this stop.
The first division (carded as race five) goes for $52,000 and has Third Shift leading the way.
Third Shift has two lifetime wins and both were in NYSS action. He finished second in the other start after a break that set him back at Yonkers. And he just took a lifetime mark of 1:54.4 at Vernon Downs last week in a come-from-behind performance that has him coming into this race perfectly spotted.
Trainer Ake Svanstedt will drive Third Shift from post two at 5-2 morning line.
His main threat in the race looks to be Bourbon Express (RC Royalty-Kasha) who cut the mile and finished third behind Third Shift at Vernon last week. He drew post one and will have the chance to cut the mile again and hope to hang on this week.
Bourbon Express has Jason Bartlett aboard at 2-1 for trainer Jessica Okusko.
The second leg (carded as race seven) has a purse of $51,000 with Barn Holden spotted as the morning line even-money favorite.
Barn Holden also has two wins this year and is also coming in off a new lifetime mark at Vernon. Barn Holden led the entire mile and trotted away down the stretch to win by four and a half lengths in 1:55.3. His other win this year was also on the front end and it looks like that may be the strategy here with the short five-horse field.
Batavia regular Kevin Cummings drove to Vernon to steer Barn Holden last week; Wednesday trainer Steve Pratt will bring the colt to Batavia for Cummings and last week’s winning combination have drawn post two for this event.
Berkery J (Chapter Seven-Southwind Catlin) will look to stand in the way of another Barn Holden win and has shown he has the ability to do so. He threw a huge mile at Yonkers three starts ago, winning in 1:58.2 by over seven lengths to take his lifetime mark. That’s faster than any horse in this race over a half-mile track. He has gate speed and with a trip, could be dangerous.
Trainer George Ducharme has assigned Jason Bartlett to drive Berkery J once again the they will leave from post four at 2-1.
There are also two divisions of the $15,000 Excelsior “A” series trots that will go in races two and four. Post time for the first race is 5 p.m.