Batavia, NY — Hickfromfrenchlick came to play on Sunday (Aug. 4) in his $58,700 division of the New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) for 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings at Batavia Downs, going gate-to-wire in impressive fashion and equaling the track record.
Leaving from post one, driver Matt Kakaley was rolling immediately with Hickfromfrenchlick (So Surreal-My Girl’s A Star) and had prohibitive post-time favorite Shake That House (Tyler Buter) alongside, also trying to make the front. These two tangled to the quarter in :26.2 when Buter relented and ducked into the pocket heading into the second turn. With no pressure moving to the half, Kakaley backed it down to :28.3, but as soon as the second circuit ensued, Shake That House pulled and came right back at the leader one more time.
Hickfromfrenchlick and Shake That House squared off and paced in tandem from the five-eighths to the three-quarters, getting there in a lightning 1:22.4. Around the final bend, Hickfromfrenchlick got a half-length advantage that he took into the stretch. Kakaley threw his lines and his horse responded with more. Hickfromfrenchlick put away Shake That House and held of a quickly-closing Buddy Hill (Marcus Miller) to win by a neck in 1:51.2.
The winning time of 1:51.2 was a new lifetime mark for Hickfromfrenchlick and also tied the Batavia Downs track record for 3-year-old pacing colts set by All Bets Off back in 2014. Oddly enough, Kakaley also drove All Bets Off in that record performance.
“Well, we had the rail and he’s good on the front, so that’s where I wanted him, especially with no passing lane here. We controlled the pace and he responded well to the challenge,” said Kakaley. “He was getting a little tired in the lane, but he saw the one (Buddy Hill) coming at him and had enough left to hold him off at the wire.”
When told he tied the track record of All Bets Off, Kakaley said, “As I recall, we were on the front that day too and he had quite a bit left at the wire.” All Bets Off ran away with that race by eight lengths.
Hickfromfrenchlick ($6.50) scored his fourth win in seven starts this year and now has $114,925 on the card in 2019. Ray Schnittker trains and co-owns Hickfromfrenchlick with Nolamaura Racing and Thomas Spatorico.
Steve Jones was the breeder of Hickfromfrenchlick.
In the second $58,700 division, American Mercury was peerless in victory after controlling all fractions from the start.
Tyler Buter floated American Mercury (American Ideal-Tessa Hanover) off the gate after Artie’s Ideal (Marcus Miller) bolted to the front. He then rolled up the outside and took over the lead in a comfortable :28.1. The field stayed single file and American Mercury hit the half in only :57.
Magic Joe Lindy (Drew Monti) pulled first-up at the five-eighths and advanced towards the leader. He got to within one length of American Mercury at the three-quarters and stayed there around the last turn. When they hit the stretch, Buter was line-driving American Mercury, and he paced strongly all the way to the wire to win by 1-3/4 lengths in 1:52.2.
It was the third straight win for American Mercury ($2.10) and his sixth of the season. The gelding has now earned $211,843 this year for owners Crawford Farms Racing, Northfork Racing Stable, Chuck Pompey and Scott Bice.
Steve Stewart, Julie Nash and Charles Nash bred American Mercury.
There were also $15,000 divisions of the Excelsior “A” series that were won by Rickybobbynthehaus ($4.40, Buter, 1:53.4) and Chatelroll ($3.00, Jason Bartlett, 1:53.2).
Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Monday (Aug. 5) with post time at 5 p.m.