He's Watching became "He's Wandering" Monday night, and it nearly cost him the title of "He's Perfect." He's Watching, despite bearing out noticeably through the lane, did stick his tongue out at the right time, just barely winning his division of Yonkers Raceway's $233,087 New York Sire Stakes Jim Crawford Pace for 2-year-old colts and geldings.
Leaving from post position 5 as the 1-4 favorite in the $78,629 third (final) division, He's Watching and driver Jim Morrill Jr. used the same MO as their previous local visit. Easing from the gate, He's Watching then moved past second choice All Bets Off (George Brennan) just after a :28 opening quarter-mile. A pair of :28.2 quarters (:56.2, 1:24.4) with no outer flow, gave He's Watching a length-and-a-half lead entering the lane.
However, He's Watching ($2.50) then began an impromptu meet-and-greet with the fans on the apron, maintaining anything but a straight line. All Bets Off had every chance, but missed a short schnoz in 1:53.3. Hardts or Bettor (Jordan Stratton), the 101-1 rank outsider, was third, beaten nearly nine lengths.
He's Watching, a world record-holding son of American Ideal co-owned by (trainer) Dave Menary, Brad Gray and Michael Guerrero, is now 7-for-7 (all in NYSS) this season ($179,222 and counting for a three-grand yearling). The exacta paid $3.50, with the triple returning $28.
"When I was scoring him down, he was running in a bit," Morrill said, "but in the lane he was running out. I don't know exactly why he did it, but Dave and I are going to talk about it."
Next up is the $1.8 million New York Night of Champions here a week from Saturday (Sept. 28).
Driver and trainer won the previous ($77,229) sire stakes division as pocket-sitting Major Trick ($18.80) picked off 3-5 fave Twin B Speedo (Brian Sears) in 1:55.1. The winner, from post 2, stalked through intervals of :28.1, :58.1 and 1:26.4, then won three-quarters of a length. Thereisapaceforus (catch-driver Mark MacDonald) was third.
For Major Trick, a homebred son of Art Major owned by Gray, has three wins and a pair of seconds in seven tries this summer. The exacta paid $40.80, with the triple returning $208.50.
Morrill's personal hat trick began with odds-on Big Boy Dreams ($2.90) in the first ($77,229) grouping. In tight quarters early and pocketed from post 2, "Big Boy" eased by Design Guru (Brennan) late. The margin was a half-length in 1:55 while Sir Sam's Z Tam (Pat Lachance) was third.
For Big Boy Dreams, an If I Can Dream colt owned by Dominick Rosato and trained by Tracy Brainard, he's now 5-for-9 after a third consecutive win (sire stakes) win. The exacta paid $6, with the triple (three wagering favorite in order) returned $17.
New York Sire Stakes continue Thursday and Friday nights, respectively, with the $235,887 Pat Quaglietta Trot (2-year-old fillies) and $227,488 Lew Barasch Trot (2-year-old colts/geldings).
The Raceway's five-night-per-week live schedule continues, with first post every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:10 PM. Evening simulcasting accompanies all live programs, with afternoon simulcasting available around the NYRA schedule. (Yonkers)