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gelding Gone Baby Gone turned in the fastest time of the seven New York Sire Stakes divisions for freshman pacing colts and geldings at Monticello Raceway on Thursday. The meet's leading driver, Billy “Zeke” Parker Jr., guided the altered son of Pro Bono Best-Soft Sell to a 1:58.4 victory in their $21,701 split.


Trained by Gary Messenger for his wife Brenda Messenger and avid amateur driver Dr. Scott Woogen, Gone Baby Gone was sent off as the odds-on favorite after coming into the contest off a 1:58 victory here at the Mighty M.


Parker sent Gone Baby Gone to the lead from post position four and they had four lengths on the field at the quarter in a soft :30. The open-lengths lead at that point was due to confusion in the first turn by those who trailed.


While on top Parker kept his pacer moving evenly and they passed the half in 1:00. As they rounded the clubhouse turn for the second time Parker chirped to his charge and Gone Baby Gone was gone. The gelding paced the third quarter in :29 and opened up five lengths as they passed the third stanza. Gone Baby Gone then cruised home an easy two-length winner. Lislea Reardon finished second for John Stark Jr. and Brian Cross drove the third place finisher, Major Jette.


Needless to say Parker was all smiles after the victory and extremely impressed by Gone Baby Gone’s ability.


“He just waits for you to give him a signal (to go) and when you do he just takes off,” Parker said. “All I did was lift the lines and he was gone. He’s quick as a cat.”


Also impressive that afternoon was the Saratoga Raceway invader Flexjet, who toured the double-oval in a time of 1:59.2 for driver Danny Cappello Jr., who was thrilled with his colt’s performance.

After they took command when the gate sprung, Cappello yielded the lead to Sign Of Delight and driver Luc Ouellette as they passed the quarter pole. But no sooner did Sign Of Delight make the front then Cappello retook the lead and from there they never were challenged. Halfway down the homestretch Cappello was grabbing leather and still Flexjet turned on a :29.3 final stanza en route to an easy four-length triumph.


“I think he’s better in a hole than he is on the front-end,” Cappello said as he walked his colt to the winner's circle and then added with a smile, “He’s the real deal.”


Trainer Chet Poole shares ownership with Winbak Farm, Norman Kelapire and Debra Chase.


Both Flexjet, a son of Village Jove-No Sweets Please, and Gone Baby Gone remained undefeated, each with three consecutive pari-mutuel wins.


Driver Jimmy Morrill Jr., last year's New York Sire Stakes “Driver of the Year” is right back at it again this season. The talented teamster won three NYSS splits on the card.


Morrill’s first triumph came behind Ken Jacobs' Holiday Spot (Artiscape-Hawaiian Ty) in the $21,310 first division. While on the lead he lulled his competition to sleep with a :33 third quarter and then sped off to an easy 2:03 triumph for trainer Linda Toscano.


Morrill and Toscano hooked up again in the second division which resulted in a 2:00 triumph with Capital Blue Chip (Art Major-Ichiban Blue Chip) for owners Stake Your Claim Stable and Fred Wallace.


Morrill’s final victory came with Double Dakota in 1:59.1 in the colt's first pari-mutuel start. The son of Artiscape-Driven To Sin is trained by Ronald Burke for the Burke Racing Stable, Lawrence Carr, Phillip Collura and Frank Baldachino.


Jason Bartlett gave trainer Mark Ford a NYSS victory when he guided Eagle Art M to a 2:00 triumph in yet another $21,710 split. It was the first win in three seasonal starts for the Art Major-Stasia’s Girl colt owned by Frank Dettore Horse Racing LLC.


And though he probably was the smallest in size of the 55 NYSS starters the diminutive Speculative Edge showed his heels to the field when the Bettor's Delight-Prosecutor Mindale colt poured on a :29.1 last quarter en route to a 2:00.2 victory for driver Stephane Bouchard. Owned by Michele Panebianco and Alan Crawford, Speculative Edge is trained by Brian Connor. (Monticello)