Major Betts, Blank Stare, JK Last Chance get Tioga NYSS wins

Nichols, NY – Tioga Downs played host to three divisions of the New York Sire Stakes for sophomore pacing colts & geldings at Tioga Downs on Sunday (June 28).

Major Betts won the first of three NYSS for 3-year-old pacers at Tioga Downs Sunday. Fred Brown Photo.

Major Betts (Dexter Dunn) rocketed past Splash Brother (Tyler Buter) in the stretch to take the $38,233 first division.

Major Betts ($10.20) jumped out of the gate and went to the front and led to a first quarter in :26.1.  The odds-on favorite, Splash Brother, went first-over from third and took over the lead with a circuit to go.  He led to the half in :53 with Major Betts following in the pocket.  As they made the move down the backstretch, it was Groovy Joe (Matt Kakaley) who made the first move going first-over from third.  He couldn’t make any traction and actually fell back as Splash Brother hit three-quarters first in 1:21.

As they made the turn for home, it was evident that it was going to be a two-horse race.  Major Betts popped out of the pocket as they reached the stretch and blew right on by to win in 1:49.4.  Splash Brother had to settle for second money.  Groovy Joe held on to finish third.

Major Betts is a 3-year-old colt by Art Major.  He is owned by Joe Jannuzzelli, Deena Frost and trainer Mark Harder.  in his first win in his first start of 2020, he earned his fifth career victory.

In the second division, Blank Stare (Corey Callahan) won the $38,233 second division as the favorite.

Genius Man (Jason Bartlett) went straight to the lead, but Blank Stare ($3.50) went by him just after the first quarter, which went in :27.  Blank Stare led to the half in :55.3.  Reagan Blue Chip (Brian Sears) went first-up and put on the pressure and briefly held the lead before Blank Stare reclaimed the front, hitting three-quarters in 1:22.2.

Blank Stare and Reagan Blue Chip battled all the way down the stretch, but in the end Blank Stare was too strong and won by a length in a lifetime best of 1:50.1.  Regan Blue Chip was second with Genius Man claiming third.

Blank Stare is a 3-year-old gelding by Bolt The Duer.  He is trained by John Butenschoen for owners Harmony Oaks Racing Stable Inc, James Crawford IV and In Over My Head Stable.  It was his second win of the year and fifth of his career.

In the $38,934 third division, JK Last Chance came from far back to earn his trip to the winner’s circle.

Cigars And Port (Mark MacDonald) took control early and led to the first quarter in :26.2 and to the half in :55.  Save Me A Dance (Jason Bartlett) came first over and took charge just after Cigars And Port hit three-quarters in 1:22.3.

JK Last Chance ($14.80) was sixth at the half and found himself second-over in fourth after three-quarters.  He went along side Save Me A Dance as they made the turn for home.  JK Last chance skipped away in deep stretch to win easily in a lifetime best of 1:50.4.  Save Me A Dance was second best and Ideal Perception finished third.

JK Last Chance is a 3-year-old gelding by So Surreal and is owned and trained by Jim McDonald.  He did not race as a 2-year-old.  The gelding is two for two as a sophomore.

Wally Hennessey drove five winner on the night.  Along with sire stakes winner JK Last Chance, he finished first with Mr Dunnigans ($2.20), Cashallic ($2.60), Queen Me Again ($11.60), and Steuben Warlock ($8.80).

Tioga Downs returns to live racing on Monday (June 29) with a 13-race card stating at 4 p.m.

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