The intermittent rain showers on Thursday afternoon didn't deter Market Rally and Avalicious from their main objectives as each won their respective $60,200 divisions of 3-year-old trotting fillies in New York Sires Stakes (NYSS) at Monticello Raceway. Both fillies, from the powerful Ron Burke stable, were driven to victory by Jimmy Morrill Jr.
The two trotting events were the last of the NYSS preliminary legs prior to the top point earners in the summer-long series convening at Yonkers Raceway on Sept. 13 to compete in their $225,000 division final.
With her victory in 1:57.3, Market Rally finished with 325 points which will undoubtedly make her the favorite in her rich NYSS finale. Avalicious, on the other hand, was victorious in 1:57.4 and finished with 175 points as second best.
There's no argument that Market Rally has been the best NYSS sophomore trotting filly this year and her nine-length victory over Gammy's Girl (Mark MacDonald) and Cutup Hanover (Jeff Gregory) only emphasized it.
With her triumph on Thursday the daughter of Cash Hall-Supreme Dish has run her seasonal bankroll to over $262,000 on the strength of six wins and one second in nine starts.
Sent off the1-9 favorite from the pole position Morrill hustled Market Rally to the lead as Gates Brunet and Driving Miss Crazy left strong from the six hole. The two fillies were wide open on the first turn but unfortunately for Driving Miss Crazy's connections she went offstride and Market Rally was alone on the front end when she tripped the first quarter timer in :28.2.
Two lengths in front as she passed the half in :57 Morrill was looking to give his filly a breather. When she passed the third stanza in 1:27 Market Rally had a five-length lead which she opened to nine at the wire.
"We were getting out of there pretty quickly and I got my filly wound up, and because of that we got to the half faster than I wanted to, "Morrill related. But from there she was on cruise-control the rest of the way.”
Owned by the Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Buscemi LLC, Our Cents Stable and the Panhellenic Stable, Market rally paid $2.30 for win.
In the other NYSS split Morrill eased Avalicious away from the gate slowly and at the first quarter they were in sixth position, some nine lengths off the leader. Morrill bided his time in the early going and at the half he moved the filly out behind cover and it up the backside and into the final turn before he gave Avalicious her head. And when he did the daughter of RC Royalty-Say Your Prayers rallied to a three-length victory, her fifth of the year.
Asked why Avalious was four, or so, lengths off the gate at the start of the race Morrill explained, "I wanted to ease her away so she'd stay trotting. She gets a little anxious behind the gate but once she gets away (on the trot) she's usually steady the rest of the mile.”
Avalicious, owned by M.C. Crawford, A.C. Crawford and P.D. Crawford, was sent off as the 3-10 betting favorite and returned a $2.60 win mutuel.
Three Excelsior Series trots bolstered the undercard with the locally owned Dreamsteeler the most impressive.
(Local) owner Andy Herzog was on hand to watch his Cash Hall-Dream Street filly maul her competition with Morrill at the lines. It was Dreamsteeler's seventh win in eight seasonal starts after going 10-for-10 last year.
Sent off five cents on a dollar, Dreamsteeler was victorious in a time of 2:01 and paid $2.10 for win.
After the photo was taken in the winners circle Herzog was asked why Dreamsteeler doesn't race in the sires stakes. "I bought her in mid-June and she wasn't eligible to them (the NYSS), only to the Excelsior Series. But she's already won my money back and I got a pretty nice filly trotter to boot.”
Other Excelsior winners were Ski To The Max (Gates Brunet) in 2:02.1 and Slice Slice Baby (Charlei Norris) in 2:00.2. (Monticello)