Guy Howard is a happy man. And why shouldn’t he be afterl his sophomore trotting colt Aruba Vacation scored his third consecutive triumph in a New York Sire Stakes at Monticello Raceway on Thursday.
Fern Paquet, Jr. guided the Dream Vacation gelding to a solid 1:58.4 victory in his division of the $190,000 NYSS for 3-year-old trotting colts and geldings. Howard was on hand to join in the photograph after Aruba Vacation’s victory, which was his fifth in seven seasonal starts as the colt increased his seasonal earnings to over $87,000.
“I’ve had some nice horses over the years,” the Binghamton, NY, resident said,” but this guy (Aruba Vacation) is probably my best one ever. He’s a homebred, out of my Giant Hit mare Dixie Hit, who won over $81,000 for us in 2002.”
Paquet used the front end route to victory turning back Stimulus and driver Daniel Dube, who was making his first start since his terrible accident at the Meadowlands on June 18.
Needless to say, Paquet is impressed with Aruba Vacation as well.
“He (Aruba Vacation) is a real nice colt; he’s handy and a pleasure to drive,” Paquet said after the victory. “So far he’s beaten the best and we look forward to a big year from him.”
In another division, Celebrity Bluechip and driver Jason Bartlett posted a 1:58.4 victory when they turned back Tempest De Vie and driver Frode Fladen.
Bartlett put the son of Credit Winner on the lead and played catch me if you can. And nobody could as Celebrity Bluechip trotted off to a seven-length victory which was the colt's fourth of the year.
The winner paid $4.00 and raised his seasonal bankroll to over $78,000 for owners Celebrity Farms, Dr. Herb Burns, and Steve Demeter.
In yet another $38,202 division, Blacktuxwhitesocks, who won the NYSS $175,000 freshman colt trotting final last year at Vernon Downs, toured the Mighty M double oval in 1 :59.1 for driver Jeff Gregory. Danny Cappello Jr. shadowed the winner with Jocular until the top of the stretch at which point Blacktuxwhitesocks, a son of Credit Winner, trotted away to a four-length victory.
Owned by the Purple Haze Stable of Fairport, NY, Blacktuxwhitesocks went off as the prohibitive favorite and paid a paltry $3.30 for win.
Ray Schnittker got in the scoring column when he guided Margarita Man to a seemingly incredible 16-length triumph for the Malabar Man colt’s first seasonal victory in a 1:59:3 clocking. The winning margin resulted from the fact that five of the other starters went offstride somewhere during the mile. Off The Grid, with Jimmy Morrill, Jr. driving, stayed flat the entire way and finished second.
“This is the best he’s been so far this year and maybe he’ll get better as we go on, but we drew an easy field today and we bottomed them out,” Schnittker said after his victory.
Margarita Man was sent off at odds of over 6-1 and paid $14.80 for win. He is owned by the Margarita Man Stable of Middletown, NY.
A final NYSS split saw driver Brandon Simpson shock the betting public when he guided 28-1 shot Kona to a head victory over Schnittker’s Big Stick Lindy in 2:00.2, with Strong Hope and Michael Vanderkemp just another head back in third place.
Kona, a Dream Vacation gelding, owned by Bradley Kramer, ECS Racing and Bow River Jewelry's Arthur Strozewski, won for the second time in nine seasonal outings. Those with faith in Kona were rewarded with a $59.50 win payoff. (Monticello Raceway)