Freedomformysoul established a new Monticello Raceway track record for freshman pacing colts on Monday afternoon when Jim Morrill Jr. drove the son of If I Can Dream to a 1:55.2 triumph in their division of the $110,000 New York Sires Stakes (NYSS). The victory erased the former standard of 1:55.3 set by Share The Delight during 2007.
Coming into the race off a stunning 1:53.3 track record last week at Saratoga Raceway, Freedomformysoul was understandably the overwhelming betting favorite and Morrill used the front-end route for an easy victory over Rockntouch and driver Yannick Gingras.
After getting looped on the first turn by Mikado Blue Chip (Mark MacDonald), Morrill wheeled his colt back to the lead and they passed the first stanza in a stiff :28 and then paced the second quarter in :28.2, reaching the halfway point in :56.2. From there it was "catch me if you can," and no one could.
"I got to the half faster than I wanted to, so I didn't even pull the (ear) plugs.” Morrill admitted after the race. "He's one of the best 2 year olds I've ever driven. He's the real deal.”
Owned by the Freedomformysoul Stable and trained by Nancy Johansson, the son of If I Can Dream paid $2.30 for win.
Southwind Masimo won a division of the NYSS in 1:55.4 for Patrick Lachance. That final time was abetted by a speed duel for the lead between We Think Alike (Ray Schnittker) and Old Man Cleary (Gingras) with early fractions of :27.1 and :56.2.
Lachance had Southwind Masimo out after the half and they swept to the front up the backside and were all by themselves at the wire some 11 lengths ahead of K Ryan Blue Chip and driver Joe Pavia Jr.
"They were playing hardball up front which worked out good for me,” Lachance said in the winner's circle.
Southwind Masimo is owned by Hudson Standardbred Stable and Conrad Leber and trained by Lachance. The winner paid $27.60.
In yet another NYSS split, Americanprimetime, sent off at odds of over 79-1, lit up the tote board and paid $161.50 when Tyler Buter drove him to victory in 1:57. They rallied from five lengths back at the top of the lane to collar Ultimate G, driven by Jason Bartlett.
Americanprimetime is owned by the Rock N Roll Stable and trained by Rick Dane Jr.
Bartlett won a pair of $110,000 NYSS splits. His first was with Twin B Stingray in 1:56.4, pacing a 28-second final stanza en route to victory. And they needed every bit of that to hold-off Bet You and driver Gingras by a head.
Twin B Stingray is owned by J & T Silva Racing Stable and C C Stables and trained by Aaron Lambert. He paid $20.20 for win.
Bartlett's other NYSS victory came with My Spirit Soars in1:57.2 for owner Daniel Van Wart.
After putting My Spirit Soars on the lead, Corey Braden made a quarter-pole move with odds-on favorite JD He's Da Bomb and Bartlett let them take command before the half. From there Bartlett bided his time and in the lane rallied My Spirit Soars to a head victory over Berkley and Scott Zeron.
"I didn't want to go with him (Corey Braden) when he came at me near the half so I let him go. If I didn't my colt would probably not have gotten a check (piece of the purse),” Bartlett admitted.
Trained by Tom Fanning, My Spirit Soars paid $5.90 for win.
Excelsior Series winners and their drivers included: Can't It Be Me (2:00-Bruce Aldrich Jr.); Southwind Rex (1:58.4-Jeff Gregory); Spiritintheclouds (2:00.3-Mickey McGivern); Artistic Major (1:59.2-Brent Holland) and Hayden's Little Man (1:59.3- Phil Fluet). (Monticello)