Schenectady, NY — The New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) hosted its Annual Awards Banquet Dec. 2 at Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel, honoring the top horses, trainers, drivers, owners and breeders of the 2018 harness racing season. Awards were given to the 2- and 3-year-old champions across the three racings series: the New York Sire Stakes, the Excelsior Series and the County Fair Series.
This season’s NYSS Night of Champions was held at Yonkers Raceway on Sept. 22. Taking home a combined $1.8 million in purses were champions Winndevie (Credit Winner–Vida De Vie), Gimpanzee (Chapter Seven–Steamy Windows), Money Shot Hanover (Art Major–Marinade Hanover), Reigning Deo (Rock N Roll Heaven–Little Miss K), Plunge Blue Chip (Muscle Mass–Dunk The Donato), Helpisontheway (Chapter Seven-Porque), Wisdom Tree (Betterthancheddar-Wisdom) and Rockapelo (Rock N Roll Heaven–Capelo Rose).
Leading breeder honors went to Winbak Farm, Linda Toscano was the top trainer, and Jim Morrill Jr. was the leading driver of 2018.
The 2019 Night of Champions date was unveiled during the awards banquet. New York’s richest night of racing will be held on Sept. 14, 2019 at Batavia Downs.
The evening honored the NYSS Excelsior Champions, who each took home the winner’s share of $55,000 purses at Saratoga Casino Hotel on Sept. 23. The 2018 champions are Lifetime Credit (Credit Winner–Mariah De Vie), Labadee As (Conway Hall–Smith Hall), Heavens Challenge (Rock N Roll Heaven–Challenge Accepted), Cal (American Ideal–Hula’s Z Tam), Michando (Muscle Mass–Haul’n Fanny), Nows The Moment (Credit Winner–Glide By), Special Kay Deo (American Ideal–Little Miss K) and Thor De Vie (So Surreal–Pebblebeach De Vie).
The evening also celebrated the NYSS County Fair Champions, crowned at Monticello Raceway on Sept. 6 following two months of racing at 20 county fairs across New York. Each final carried a purse of $10,000, and the winner’s shares were collected by Golden Gypsy (Ulay Boko–Uffra Girl), Hereyago (Muscle Mass–End of Innocence), Lily Hammer (So Surreal–Jens Underdog), Cal (Roll With Joe–Crystal De Vie), Good Luck Ginny (Lucky Chucky–Classical Ginny), Royal Bahama (RC Royalty – Becca J), Heaven’s Diva (Rock N Roll Heaven–Village Bolero) and Super Roll (Roll With Joe-Calista).
Joseph Chindano Sr. took home leading trainer honors, and his son Joseph Chindano Jr. took home the seasonal driving title.
“It’s always a special evening to be able to reflect on the past season and relive so many of the impressive moments from the New York Sire Stakes,” said M. Kelly Young, executive director, Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund. “We want to thank Batavia Downs for their incredible hospitality and we look forward to being back here next fall for the 2019 Night of Champions.”
The USTA District 8 Champions recognized at the banquet included Winndevie, Thunder (Conway Hall-Cr Oh Suzanna), Brooklyn Lilacs (Rock N Roll Heaven-Sombodythatiustono), Hickfromfrenchlick (So Surreal-My Girl’s A Star), Atlanta (Chapter Seven-Hemi Blue Chip), Perlucky (Lucky Chucky-Paper Girl), Alexis Faith (American Ideal-Cannae Cammie) and Trump Nation (Betterthancheddar-Late Flyin N).
Atlanta took home the coveted title of Horse of the Year, while Toscano was named as Trainer of the Year, Morrill as Pari-Mutuel Driver of the Year and Chindano Jr. as County Fair Driver of the Year.
The Bruce Hamilton Memorial Medal was awarded to longtime NYSS supporter and Standardbred owner Kenneth Jacobs. The medal is presented annually by Harness Horse Breeders of New York State in recognition of outstanding contributions to harness horse racing and the improvement of breeding Standardbred horses in New York.
About the Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund:
The Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund (the Fund) is a public benefit corporation established in 1965 by the Laverne Law (Laws of New York, Chapter 567 of the Laws of 1965). The mission of the fund is to promote agriculture through the breeding of Standardbred horses and the conduct of equine research within the state. To carry out its legislative mission, the Fund administers the New York Sire Stakes races, Excelsior/State Fair Series races, and County Fair Races.