Yonkers, NY — Matt Kakaley guided American Courage and Natameri to victories in the two $75,900 New York Sire Stakes divisions for 3-year-old colt and gelding pacers that were featured on Friday night’s (Aug. 13) program at Yonkers Raceway.
Making his first start at the track since winning the MGM Grand Messenger Stakes final on July 2, American Courage took the first split in 1:52.
Starting from post two, he worked his way around pole-sitter Mullinax (Jordan Stratton) for the lead before the :27.3 opening quarter, then was unchallenged through a :56.2 half and a 1:24.3 three-quarters.
American Courage got some separation from Mullinax on the last turn, and after that he kept clear to the wire to score by 1-1/4 lengths in 1:52. Mullinax was a good second and Hidden Assassin (Jim Marohn Jr.) was a best-of-the-rest third.
American Courage is an American Ideal colt trained by Travis Alexander for owner-breeder Fiddler’s Creek Stables. This was American Courage’s 12th win from 16 career starts, and he has now earned $520,344. Sent off at 1-9, he paid $2.10 across the board and was atop a $5.20 exacta and a $17.40 trifecta.
In the other flight, Kakaley and Natameri secured the pocket spot behind 1-2 favorite Town Gossip (Joe Bongiorno) and watched as he reached the quarter in :27.1 and the half in :55.3. On the third turn Southwind Petyr (Jason Bartlett) attacked first-over out of fourth, and he would move up quickly into second prior to the 1:23.3 three-quarters, then advanced to get alongside Town Gossip on the final bend.
Town Gossip was able to fend off Southwind Petyr and turned for home first, but Kakaley found a seam up the pylons in the stretch with Natameri, and he had the kick to go with the space, getting up to win by a head in 1:51.2. Town Gossip had to settle for runner-up honors, and Southwind Petyr wound up third from a second-over I’ll Drink To That (Marohn Jr.).
Another American Ideal colt, Natameri is trained by Jessica Okusko for owner Purple Haze Stables. Natameri, who was bred by Robert Newman, has compiled a record of 6-2-1 from 13 lifetime tries, and he has now pocketed $85,144. He returned $7.20 to win as the 5-2 second choice and led a $13.20 exacta and a $24.60 trifecta.
Kakaley also won one of three $15,000 New York Excelsior “A” Series races with So Surreal gelding Surrealin in 1:54.1 for trainer Paul Kelley and owner Purple Haze Stables.
The other Excelsior “A” contests were won by Bolt The Duer colt Bolt Power in 1:52.2 for driver Jason Bartlett, trainer Andrew Adamczyk, and owner Bay Pond Racing Stable, and American Ideal colt Issac in 1:53.2 for driver Mark MacDonald, trainer George Ducharme, and owner Amy Cable.
One $6,500 New York Excelsior “B” Series test was also held, with Art Major gelding A B Collins taking a 1:55.1 decision for Bartlett and owner/trainer Carl Tirella.
The New York Sire Stakes circuit visits Yonkers Raceway again next week, as the 2-year-old trotting fillies will be in action on Thursday night (Aug. 19).