Batavia, NY — It’s not too often Batavia Downs gets to host a Hambletonian finalist and Dan Patch Award winner all in the same night, but Saturday (Aug. 24) will be one such occasion as Gimpanzee (Chapter Seven-Steamy Windows) will be in town to compete in the $118,500 New York Sire Stakes for 3-year-old colt and gelding trotters.
After going a perfect nine for nine, sweeping all the NYSS legs and final and closing out the year with a win in the $600,000 Breeders Crown, Gimpanzee was named the Dan Patch 2-year-old colt trotter of 2018. He picked up at three right where he left off when he won his first start in the $215,200 Empire Breeders Classic at Vernon Downs and then two consecutive NYSS events, including a new lifetime mark of 1:52.4 at Tioga Downs, and ran his lifetime unbeaten streak to 12.
His next start was in a Hambletonian elimination where he was parked the whole mile from post seven and finished fourth, only 1-1/4 lengths behind Green Manalishi S in a time of 1:50.3. He advanced to the final and experienced almost the exact same trip; left from post seven, was parked the whole mile and finished a strong closing third, beaten only a length behind the winner Forbidden Trade in 1:51.
Gimpanzee’s first start in the three weeks since will be in the $58,700 division of the NYSS and for obvious reasons, he is heavily respected as the 1-5 morning line choice. Trainer Marcus Melander has his regular driver Hall of Famer Brian Sears in the bike and they drew post one in this seven-horse race.
There will only be win betting offered on the race.
The Batavia Downs track record for 3-year-old trotting colts is 1:54.3 set by Archangel in 2012 and later tied by his son Top Flight Angel in 2017. Given Gimpanzee’s 1:55, 7-1/2 length romp over the half at Yonkers back in June, this record could be in serious jeopardy.
In the $59,800 opening split of the evening, Livinonthedash (Muscle Mass-Sunshine Glide) has been made the 2-1 morning choice and certainly looks the part.
Livinonthedash comes in with four wins (all on half-mile tracks) out of his last five starts, the only loss in that stretch being to Gimpanzee.
Unraced at two, he made his first state stakes start in the Excelsior A series where he made a break and was placed sixth. From there his fortunes turned around. After two overnight starts at Harrah’s Philadelphia, Livinonthedash has since been a formidable contender in the NYSS and has the highest money earned ($129,622) and is the third highest in points (179) in his bracket.
The father and son team of trainer Erv Miller and driver Marcus Miller will start from post four.
Winnerup (Credit Winner-Up Front Hotsey) looks to make his presence known despite having drawn post eight as he is the highest money winner ($126,945) and has the second most points (200). Winnerup also likes a half-mile track having won easily at Monticello and Yonkers and just getting beat at Saratoga last week by Livinonthedash.
Trainer Trond Smedshammer, who usually drives Winnerup, has put Brian Sears in the seat for this race and that is the first time anyone other than Smedshammer has sat behind this horse since April.
Lucky Weekend (Lucky Chucky-Weekend Vacation) has only missed the board once in his last six starts and that was due to a break while out of contention. He comes into this race off a win at Saratoga and that was gate-to-wire from post eight.
Jim Morrill Jr. picks up the lines for trainer Chris Lakata in here.
There are also two $15,000 Excelsior A races on the card. Post time for the first race is 6 p.m.