Yonkers, NY — New York’s richest night of racing returns to Yonkers Raceway this Saturday (Sept. 12) with the $1.8 million New York Sire Stakes Night of Champions. Eight finals featuring the best state-bred 2- and 3-year-olds will be contested for $225,000 each. Post time is 7:12 p.m.
A full list of entries can be found here.
American Courage (American Ideal-Nota Fool Bluechip) will be heavily favored among the 2-year-old colt pacers. It’s been seven wins in seven starts for trainer Travis Alexander and driver Matt Kakaley, including four wins in the NYSS. The freshmen has proven he knows how to win at Yonkers with three wins on the track this year, including a win in the $104,250 MGM Springfield Stakes final. American Courage will start from the five post for owner Fiddler’s Creek Stables.
Test Of Faith (Art Major-Cannae Cammie) will be the filly to watch as the points leader looks to cement her place as the best 2-year-old pacer this season. In five NYSS starts, she’s recorded four wins and a second-place finish. She’s also the top earner among 2-year-olds in the series this year with $145,250 for trainer Brett Pelling and owners Melvin Segal, Kentuckiana Racing Stable, and Eddie Gran. She starts from post six in the final.
Ambassador Hanover (Chapter Seven-Angel Eyes Hanover) is undefeated in four NYSS starts. Ambassador Hanover is trained by Ake Svanstedt, who also owns with Howard Taylor, Judith Taylor, and Order By Stable.
Destined To Dance (Chapter Seven-Go Go Dancer) stands atop the points among 2-year-old filly trotters at a perfect five-for-five in NYSS starts this season. John Butenschoen trains for co-owner/breeder Crawford Farms and co-owners Heritage Standardbreds and Rich Preziotti. Destined To Dance drew the three post in her final.
Standout rivals Major Betts (Art Major-Southwind Johanne) and Splash Brother (So Surreal-Sugarcoated) will be favorites looking to settle their score in the final for 3-year-old colt pacers. Major Betts is trained by Mark Harder, who shares ownership with Joe Jannuzzelli and Deena Frost. Splash Brother is trained by Ray Schnittker, who co-owns with Steven Arnold, Tammy Flannery and Nolamaura Racing.
Hen Party (Roll With Joe-My Lady Day) sits atop the points standing for 3-year-old filly pacers with four wins in five NYSS starts. This past week, the Empire Breeders Classic winner tied the Saratoga track record for her division with a 1:52 score. She starts from post three for trainer Tony Alagna and owner Crawford Farms Racing.
Chaptiama (Chapter Seven-Crediama) will want to avenge a second-place finish in last year’s final as a 2-year-old in what’s proven to be the most competitive division in the NYSS this season — 3-year-old colt trotters. Chaptiama is facing challengers Hobbs, Barn Holden, Berkery J, and Bourbon Express, all finalists last year. Chaptiama is trained by Trond Smedshammer for owner Purple Haze Stables.
Top overall earner in the NYSS this season, Love A Good Story (Chapter Seven-Celebrity Lovin) will look to bolster her already impressive $281,197 in purse money in the final for 3-year-old filly trotters. Finishing the season with a perfect NYSS record will be the goal for trainer Julie Miller and owners Pinske Stables, Kentuckiana Racing Stable and Daniel Plouffe.
“We saw great performances from our New York-breds in what proved to be a very competitive season, despite it being a little shorter than usual due to the current pandemic,” said M. Kelly Young, executive director, Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund. “We’d like to congratulate all the owners, trainers and drivers representing the New York Sire Stakes at the Night of Champions, and thank all of our participants throughout our program for their flexibility this season.”
The finals for the NYSS Excelsior Series are scheduled for Sept. 11 at Tioga Downs, post time is 3 p.m. The County Fair finals were raced on Sept. 6 at Goshen Historic Track. A live stream of the event can be viewed here.