Batavia, NY — The eighth and final visit by eligible state-bred competitors of the New York Sire Stakes will be in town on Wednesday (Aug. 31) at Batavia Downs with a group of 13 male freshman trotters going to post in two divisions worth a total of $106,000. This is the final leg for this division and the last chance for horses to earn points towards making the NYSS Night of Champions to be held at Tioga Downs on Saturday (Sept. 10).
The top four slots for the 2-year-old trotting colt and gelding final have been solidified and as a result, those horses opted not to compete here on Wednesday. But it’s a wide open field for the final four spots and 15 horses could mathematically make the cut, depending on who declares. Ten of those 15 are entered at Batavia and that should make these two races as competitive as any seen here this year.
The $52,500 first division has Tillio’s Action (E L Titan-Nothing But Nice) who has only two lifetime starts but won impressively in his first in a NYSS event at Tioga in 1:56.3 by 3-1/2 lengths. Last week at Yonkers he drew post eight and although he finished sixth, rallied late to be beaten only 4-1/4 lengths. Post one here gives him a huge advantage to win and possibly make the final. Mike Merton drives for trainer John Grasso.
The Ake Svanstadt trained and driven Cecil Hanover (Chapter Seven-Columbia) has not won this year, yet he has the most money made his last four starts coming into this race ($32,487) and all four were in NYSS action. Wednesday’s post three is the best start he’s had since early July. He’s the only horse Svanstedt has in at Batavia the entire night and a win would ensure a final spot.
Kennebago (E L Titan-First Class Act) is the current fifth highest points leader coming in and has been a rock-solid competitor all year except for a break off the gate Aug. 1 and being interfered with last week. Post two is a perfect spot for trainer/driver Trond Smedshammer to gain his second win of the year with the gelding.
The $53,500 second split has seven starters and all are winless in the NYSS this year.
Onion Gum (Chapter Seven-Prinsessa) is very lightly raced and was scratched sick from his first NYSS event this year. But he does show two very impressive miles on either side of that scratch in a NYSS at Yonkers (second) and a Pocono overnight, where he took his 1:58, eight length win and lifetime mark. Jordan Stratton looks to have him in play here for trainer Lucas Wallin.
The Strawboss (Conway Hall-Jersey Gal) has two seconds and cashed in four out of four NYSS starts until last week at Yonkers where he was in position to make a bid for a win but made an unfortunate break at the top of the stretch. He draws back inside for trainer Joe Skowyra and Jim Morrill Jr. has the chance to finish on top this week.
Sevecheetah (Chapter Seven-White Cheetah) has good gate speed and is not afraid to use it. After facing the top NYSS point leaders the last six starts, he gets some class relief here and may want to exert his muscle on the point and make himself the one to beat. Trond Smedshammer both trains and drives and will start from post seven.
The NYSS races are carded as six and seven. There are also two $15,000 Excelsior “A” series races carded as two and four.
Post time for race one is 6 p.m.