Vernon, NY — Vernon Downs played host to two divisions of the New York Sire Stakes for freshman pacing colts and geldings on Friday (Aug. 28) and trainer Mark Harder swept both divisions.
Southwind Petyr (Dexter Dunn) charged late to win the $51,300 first division. With unbeaten American Courage out of the race and scratched sick, it was a wide-open affair.
What About Bob (Troy Beyer) took the lead as they went by the stands for the first time. Southwind Petyr ($5.10) took control just before hitting the first quarter in :27.1. Sauvignon Bluechip (Tyler Buter) came flying first-over from fourth and took command and hit the half first in :56.2. Major Makover (Mark MacDonald) made a move first-over going around the final turn but Sauvignon Bluechip still had a slight lead as he hit three-quarters first in 1:25.1.
As they made the turn for home Major Makover came hard at Sauvignon Bluechip in the stretch and Southwind Petyr desperately needed racing room. He finally found an opening on the inside and squeezed right on by to win his first career race, hitting the mile in 1:52.4. Major Makover finished second with Sauvignon Bluechip settling for third.
Southwind Petyr is a colt by American Ideal-Southwind Paris. He is owned by Rick Phillips and trainer Harder. It was his first win in two career starts.
King James Express (Jason Bartlett) captured the $50,400 second division.
Make My Deo (Tyler Buter) went to the lead and led to the first quarter in :27. The big favorite I’ll Drink To That (Dexter Dunn) came first-up from third and took the lead, hitting the first half on top in :55.1. I’ll Drink To That looked strong hitting three-quarters first in 1:23.3.
King James Express ($10.60) made his move from third as they reached the stretch. He came flying down the stretch like he was fired out of a cannon and blew right on by to win in a lifetime best of 1:52. I’ll Drink To That held on to finish second and Stop Staring (Mark MacDonald) came up to finish third.
King James Express is a gelding by Art Major-More Diamonds. He is owned by Wayne Carleton, Deena Frost, Dean Lockhart and Harder. He is now two for six in his career.
Vernon Downs returns to live racing on Saturday (Aug. 29) with a 13-race card starting at 3 p.m. For more information go to www.vernondowns.com.