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>The New York Sire Stakes Night of Champions is scheduled for September 22 at Yonkers Raceway, but a Wednesday night (September 12) clash of three-year-old trotting titans at Batavia Downs will give harness racing fans a sneak preview of the championship.

The sophomore trotters square off in two New York Sire Stakes divisions.

The three-year-old colt and gelding trotters, featuring Yonkers Trot winner Archangel, will invade Batavia, as will some of the top dash-winning drivers in North America. Namely, two of the top five drivers --- 'The Minister of Speed' George Brennan, and Dan Noble --- and four of the top 16 with Jim Morrill Jr. and 'The White Knight' Brian Sears.

While Noble has been a regular weekday driver during the current Batavia meet, Morrill, Sears and Brennan are coming for sires stakes drives in the final series event of the season. It’s also the final NYSS card of the Batavia season. First-race post time is 6:25 p.m.

The kings of the three-year-old trotting colt division --- Brookroad Knight, Archangel and Coraggioso --- have solidified spots in the September 22 championship showdown. They will still very likely put on a show of speed in the ninth race, which is the second of two NYSS events on the 12-race program.

Coraggioso drew the rail and Sears will again drive for trainer Gates Brunet and owners Joe Spadaro and Tom Durkin. Sitting right alongside as the gate swings postward will be Archangel, the Yonkers Trot champ who finished fourth in the Hambletonian on August 4 at the Meadowlands Racetrack. Morrill will drive Archangel for trainer Peter Arrigenna and the ownership group of Alan Hainsworth, Arrigenna and Clare Semer.

Brookroad Knight, the NYSS points leader, drew Post 6 and will be driven by Jeff Gregory. Brookroad Knight has 208 series points for trainer Bruce Borden and owner John O’Connor. Archangel, Coraggioso and Delano are tied for second at 200 series points. All three are coming off NYSS victories at Yonkers Raceway on September 4. Archangel, by Credit Winner, won on a track labelled 'good' in 1:56.4, Brookroad Knight, by CR Excalibur, triumphed in 1:57.1, and Coraggioso, by Conway Hall, tripped the beam in 1:58.4.

But while those three already have reservations at Yonkers on September 22, some trotters --- like Trouble (PP4, G. Brennan) and Slugfest (PP5, R. Schnittker) in Race 9 --- are trying to solidify their berth in the final.

Others are still looking to leapfrog their way into the Night of Champions, like Race 7 starters No Frosting (PP3, J. Gregory), New York Attitude (PP4, F. Paquet Jr.) and A Penny Earned (PP6, B. Sears). The morning-line favourite in the seventh race is Mado Dream. George Brennan will be in the sulky for trainer Anette Lorentzon. Mado Dream, by Taurus Dream, is fifth in the NYSS points standings at 162.

(With files from Batavia)