Yonkers, NY — Forrest Blu, Early Action and Pickup Man Hanover emerged victorious in their respective New York Sire Stakes splits for 2-year-old pacing colts and geldings on Tuesday evening (Aug. 24) at Yonkers Raceway.
The first $46,166 division was raced as a non-wagering event before the pari-mutuel card. JD (Mark MacDonald) went to the front from post five and hit the quarter in :27.3 and the half in :57.2. As the field raced towards the 1:25.4 three-quarters, pocket sitter Forrest Blu (Tyler Buter) attacked and cleared JD for the top spot early on the last turn. From there, Forrest Blu held sway over a gaining Flip My Chip (Marcus Miller) to score by a half length in 1:54. JD finished third.
Forrest Blu, a Roll With Joe-Lima Fairest gelding, is trained by John Butenschoen and owned by breeder Crawford Farms in partnership with Harmony Oaks Racing Stable Inc. and James Crawford IV. This was his fourth victory from seven trips behind the gate, and he has now pocketed $69,508.
In the $47,066 second section, Bounty Hunter (Brian Sears) had early command after speeding away from post five, but 1-9 favorite Early Action (Jason Bartlett) moved out from third and brushed to the point after the :29.1 opening quarter. Bounty Hunter then backed down the half to just :59.2, but he had to pick up the tempo beyond that marker as Blue Collar Man (Dan Daley) advanced first-over after vacating the cones from last.
Blue Collar Man sustained his bid to advance into second on the outside, but Early Action quickened and rebuffed him to the 1:26.4 three-quarters and around the last turn. Coming off the bend, Early Action dispatched Blue Collar Man for good and went on to defeat Bounty Hunter by three-quarters of a length in 1:54.3. Te Amo Blue Chip (Jim Marohn Jr.) checked in third.
From the first crop of Huntsville, Early Action is trained by Joe Holloway for owners Val D’Or Farms and Ted Gewertz. Early Action now has three wins and a second-place finish from five appearances, has earned $49,408, and paid $2.10 to win. The exacta was worth $7.20 and the trifecta kicked back $26.00.
Early Action, bred by Hanover Shoe Farms, was a $60,000 Standardbred Horse Sale purchase and is the first foal out of the Village Jolt mare Fashion Katie (1:52.1, $194,333).
The $47,066 final flight saw Greg The Leg (MacDonald) charge away from the pole position, but going to the :28.3 quarter, George Brennan pulled out of the two-hole with a headstrong KJ Hunter and landed on the engine. KJ Hunter ripped through a half of :56.1 and three-quarters in 1:24.3, but 3-5 favorite Stretch The Line (Buter) looked poised to challenge on the last turn after sustaining a big first-over move.
Disaster struck for Stretch The Line, though, as he put in a step on the bend and then rolled into a break, leaving KJ Hunter back on a clear lead. Meanwhile, Stretch The Line’s miscue left Pickup Man Hanover (Billy Dobson), who had been second-over but gapped, two-wide and trying to get into contention, with Seven Hundred (Sears) following him.
In the lane, KJ Hunter still had something left and tried to hold off the closers, but Pickup Man Hanover collared him in mid-stretch. Pickup Man Hanover still had work to do, though, as Seven Hundred maintained his rally on the outside and Pleaseletmeknow (Matt Kakaley) had room on the cones. Neither one of them could reach Pickup Man Hanover, however, as he hit the wire a nose in front of Seven Hundred in 1:54.4, with Pleaseletmeknow third.
Monica Krist trains Pickup Man Hanover, a gelded son of Huntsville and Pilgrims Witchie, for owners Dennis and Simone Noud. Pickup Man Hanover, who was bred by Hanover Shoe Farms and is a brother to Photobombr Hanover (1:49, $402,722), sold for $22,000 at the 2020 Standardbred Horse Sale, and he has now compiled a 3-3-0 record from six tries and put $76,495 in the bank. He returned $7.60 to win as the 5-2 second choice and was atop a $57.00 exacta and a $131.50 trifecta.
Power Blu, a Heston Blue Chip-Power Again gelding bred by Winbak Farm, won the first of two $15,000 New York Excelsior “A” Series tests in 1:56 for driver Jordan Stratton, trainer Sam Schillaci, and owners Schillaci Stables LLC and Sam Bova Racing LLC. Huntsville-Bettoronthebeach colt Bloodhound, bred by Walnridge Farm, was the 1:56.1 winner of the other Excelsior “A” race for driver Tyler Buter, trainer Claude Huckabone III and owner James Crawford IV.
A single $6,600 New York Excelsior “B” Series contest also took place, with the victory going to KJ Unreal on the front end in 1:56.1 for driver Greg Merton and trainer Gary Messenger. A So Surreal-Winsmith Molly colt, KJ Unreal is a homebred for Brenda Messenger, Scott Woogen, and Philip Shapiro.
This concluded Yonkers Raceway’s regular-season schedule for the New York Sire Stakes circuit, but the oval will play host to the eight championships for 2-year-olds and 3-year-olds of both sexes and gaits on Night of Champions, which is scheduled for Sept. 10.