Monticello, NY --- On Wednesday evening (July 4), Monticello Raceway will host the first seasonal divisions of freshman pacing colts and geldings in both the New York Sire Stakes and the new Excelsior Series.
The NYSS colts will be vying for points which they will gain along the way competing at various racetracks in NY State. The top eight, when the divisions are completed, will earn a berth in the $175,000 New York Sire Stakes Final at Yonkers Raceway on Sept. 22.
As far as the Excelsior Series goes, the top eight point earners will battle in the $45,000 finale which will be raced at Saratoga Raceway on Sept. 21.
More than $200,000 is up for grabs for the New York-bred freshman pacing colts and geldings on July 4, with a special 5:30 p.m. post time.
The $145,000 NYSS will be split in six divisions while five divisions of the Excelsior Series will each race for a $12,700 purse.
According to program director John Flynn, who also makes the morning line, “It’s no easy task trying to tab these youngsters, most of whom have only a few charted lines on the program.”
Arguably the most competitive of the NYSS events is race number three which features Odds On Equuleus, Swift As A Shadow (Winbak Grad/Sired by Bettor's Delight), and Dealmaker. Each has been victorious this year but none in a pari-mutuel contest.
Odds On Equuleus has two wins in two starts in 2-year-old races at the Big M, the fastest a 1:55.1 effort on June 16. Hall of Famer John Campbell will be back in the silky when the colt leaves from post seven. Swift As A Shadow, a 1:57.1 winner on June 16, will have Tim Tetrick at the lines while Larry Stalbaum’s Dealmaker sports a 1:56 mark taken at Pocono Downs on June 28.
Then in the sixth race two good looking prospects, Deny Deny Deny and The Price You Pay (Bettor's Delight), will lock horns. The former has two wins in two Meadowlands 2-year-old race starts and will again have Tim Tetrick at the controls. The latter, won his second 2-year-old race start in 1:56.2 at Gaitway and Cat Manzi will do the driving.
In the eighth race, three undefeated colts -- Tijuana Party (Winbak grad by Badlands Nitro), Art Bettor Now (Bettor's Delight) and Visa Viper (Bettor's Delight) -- will go head to head. Art Bettor Now with Jeff Gregory aboard won a pari-mutuel contest in 1:57 over Saratoga Raceway’s half-mile track on June 15. Visa Viper (Mark MacDonald) copped his only win in a qualifying event at Tioga Downs in 1:57.3. Tijuana Party (Tim Tetrick) has won two 2-year-old races at Harrah’s Philadelphia, the fastest in 1:56.3.
But they’ll have to race against Manhattan Benny (Winbak grad by Riverboat King), who won a Landmark Stakes at Historic Track in 2:00.2 on June 29. Stephane Bouchard will again be the colt’s pilot.
And in the 11th race, Ray Schnittker’s Thirty Two Red (Bettor's Delight), a 1:56.3 Landmark Stakes winner at Historic Track on June 29, will be the one to beat in that contest.
But the real attraction for local railbirds will be the influx of top drivers coming here to race the colts. Add the names of Jason Bartlett and Patrick Lachance to the aforementioned top drivers who’ll be here that night for the racing action.
Remember post time on July 4 will be at 5:30 p.m. and about 20 minutes after the 11th and final race a great fireworks show will entertain the attending fans.