Successful debuts for Fast Choice and Thirsty Thursday in NYSS at Yonkers

Yonkers, NY — The New York Sire Stakes circuit was once again at MGM Yonkers Raceway on Thursday night (June 27) as 2-year-old colt and gelding pacers competed in a pair of sections.

Fast Choice prevailed by 1-3/4 lengths in 1:54.3. Mike Lizzi photo.

In the first test, worth a purse of $77,300, Fast Choice (Scott Zeron) and Baleville Bomber (Braxten Boyd) hooked up in a duel for the lead to the :28.1 opening quarter, but Zeron, who was on the inside, was unwilling to let Baleville Bomber go and left him on the outside. Courts On Fire (Yannick Gingras), who was also on the rim, was then guided three-wide to get around both Fast Choice and Baleville Bomber, and he took a brief lead on the second turn before Zeron re-moved Fast Choice to the top prior to the :57.4 half.

With much of the field bothered past the quarter by a break from Sg Exit Velocity (Jason Bartlett) and then Baleville Bomber gapping in the three-hole, Fast Choice and Courts On Fire got away from the others and continued to race first and second to the 1:26.2 three-quarters before Gingras took another shot at Fast Choice by tipping out on the final bend.

Fast Choice had something left in the stretch though, and kicked back clear, prevailing by 1-3/4 lengths in 1:54.3. Courts On Fire was second and Holt Hanover (Mark MacDonald) finished in the third position.

Breeder Winbak Farm and sire Courtly Choice swept the exacta with Fast Choice and Courts On Fire.

Fast Choice, a gelding trained by Jared Bako for owners Ashley Bako and Randy Zane, was making his pari-mutuel debut off a first and a third in two qualifying races at Pocono and paid $6.40 to win as the 2-1 favorite. He keyed an exacta of $18.00 and a trifecta of $105.50.

Thirsty Thursday (Matt Kakaley) left from post eight in the $78,700 division but wound up four-wide on the first turn and three-wide until the :28.3 opening quarter when he was able to get by both Red Blooded (Bartlett) and Digging For Gold (Gingras) for the top spot. After getting looped by Thirsty Thursday, Digging For Gold would not settle in the third spot and wound up sitting two-wide to the outside of Thirsty Thursday through middle-half panels of :57.2 and 1:26.3.

On the last turn Digging For Gold began to tire, but Thirsty Thursday was full of pace, pulling away from the rest of the field to take a 3-1/4 length victory in 1:55.3. Idealofaday (Zeron) was up for the second spot and Red Blooded faded to end up third.

Coming off a third and two victories in his qualifying races at Pocono, Thirsty Thursday was a winner in his first outing for owners Flying A Racing Stable and Chuck Pompey. Thirsty Thursday, trained by Hunter Oakes and bred by Pompey in partnership with Northfork Racing Stable, is out of Yonkers track record holder and world champion Tequila Monday and returned $6.90 to win as the 2-1 third choice. The exacta was worth $53.00 and the trifecta kicked back $242.50.

A pair $20,000 New York Excelsior “A” Series races for the rookie pacing males also went behind the gate, with the victories going to Spirit Of Freedom (by American Ideal, bred by Winbak Farm and paid $38.00 to win) in 1:58.4 for driver Tyler Buter, trainer John Butenschoen and owners Harmony Oaks Racing Stable Inc., Andray Farm, Son Of A Beach Racing and Carl Austin Jr. and Cigar Smoking Joe (by Huntsville, bred by co-owners Kristie Leigh Farm and Ian Behar along with Joseph Betro, paid $5.60 to win) in 1:59 for driver Jason Bartlett and trainer Scott Blackler.

Friday night (June 28) showcases one of the biggest programs of the season at MGM Yonkers Raceway as the Trotting and Pacing Triple Crowns for sophomore colts and geldings begin with the $300,000 MGM Yonkers Trot and the $225,000 MGM Grand Messenger Stakes finals, plus there are the $90,000 Park MGM Pace and two $55,000 New York New York Mile contests for 3-year-old fillies.

Fans attending the races live on Friday will be treated to an outdoor market on the track apron. An integration of the casino and track worlds will take place as patrons from both sides of the gambling world will be welcomed to enjoy special food stands, live music and other promotional items as part of a Triple Crown Fan Fest.

MGM Yonkers Raceway is currently operating on a Monday-Tuesday-Thursday-Friday-Saturday live racing schedule with post time each night at 7 p.m. (EDT).

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