I’ll Drink To That, Stop Staring grab NYSS victories

Hamburg, NY – It was ‘cheers’ and ‘bottoms up’ for I’ll Drink To That as he was in a celebratory mode after pounding the field in the $56,000 first division of the New York Sire Stakes for the 3-year-old colt and gelding pacers at Buffalo Raceway on Wednesday evening (June 9).

Driven by Jim Morrill Jr., I’ll Drink To That ($2.50) easily beat Bottle Rocket (Michael Whelan) by 5-1/4 lengths in 1:53.1 over the fast track. King James Express (Matt Kakaley), the 2-year-old NYSS champion, took third place.

I’ll Drink To That is fastest in NYSS at Buffalo Raceway. Bill Burke photo.

In the $57,000 second division, Stop Staring (Mark MacDonald) roared past Southwind Petyr in deep stretch to collect the head victory in a lifetime best of 1:53.3. Mullinax (Morrill Jr.) was able to grab the show spot.

I’ll Drink To That had to tussle with No Schmo Joe and Bottle Rocket to see who was going to set the splits. When the dust had settled, I’ll Drink To That was able to win that scrum. It also proved to be the beginning of the end for the rest of the field.

Putting up fractions of :27.3, :55.3 and 1:24.0, I’ll Drink To That opened up a five length lead at the top of the stretch and ended up winning by a throttled down 5-1/4 lengths.

Trained by Chris Ryder, it was the third victory in five starts for I’ll Drink To That (American Ideal-Margarita Monday). The 3-year-old colt has now produced $52,237 in winnings this season and $113,391 in his brief career.

Stop Staring ($14.40) chased down Southwind Petyr (Marcus Miller) late to earn his third straight win.

“He’s a nice little guy and loves the half mile tracks, trains on them, so we figured he’d have no problems here,” MacDonald said of Stop Staring. “The horse won his last two at Yonkers and is a lot better than what the program shows.”

It seemed like the favored Southwind Petyr was in control in the lane but Stop Staring came barreling three wide down the stretch to take the head decision in the shadow of the finish line.

Co-owned by trainer Ray Schnittker, Theodore Gewertz, Steven Arnold and Paul Bordogna, it was the third win in seven tries on the season for the gelded Stop Staring (So Surreal-Paramelons Hanover). The victory jacked his 2021 earnings to $53,175 and $91,658 lifetime.

In the first of two $15,000 Excelsior A paces, Surrealin (Kakaley) beat Idealthecards by a length in 1:57.3.

Stop Staring gets up late to take the NYSS division. Bill Burke photo.

Owned by the Purple Haze Stables, LLC and trained by Paul Kelley, it was the second win in three attempts this season for Surrealin (So Surreal-Dune In Red). The gelding has now put $12,900 in the bank this year and $18,120 in his career.

The Purple Haze Stable, Kelley and Kakaley connections took the second division as Icangogo ($5.40) showed that he could ‘go go’ in the lightning lane, beating Bullville Jonathan (Morrill Jr.) by a length in 1:55.4. It was the first lifetime win for Icangogo after six previous starts. The decision pushed his season winnings to $12,900 and $15,900 lifetime.

In the lone $6,500 Excelsior B event, KJ Michael Gary (Kakaley) registered a three quarter length score over Americanexpression (Leon Bailey) in 1:57.3. The victory was worth $6.30 to his backers.

Kakaley enjoyed his night at Buffalo Raceway with four trips to the winner’s circle while Ray Fisher Jr. and Kyle Cummings had doubles. Kelley, Ryan Swift and Tammy Cummings each posted two training victories.

Racing will return on Friday evening at 5 p.m. with a 9-race card scheduled.

For more information including the latest news, race replays, entries and results, go to www.buffaloraceway.com

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