On Thursday night (July 23) Yonkers Raceway hosted the $217,000 New York Sire Stakes $217,000 Michael Sorentino Trot for 3-year-old colts and geldings. A total of 11 entered a pair of six-figure divisions.
The first ($107,500) grouping saw last season's frosh state-bred champion Flyhawk El Durado (Mark MacDonald, $6.30) finish what he started (:28.1, :57.4, 1:26.3, 1:55.3). What started out of as a quintet quickly become a foursome when 7-5 favorite Expressive Action (Mike Simons) broke leaving in the first turn.
Later on, a three-hole-sitting Lukas Hall (Jason Bartlett) also danced. "El Durado,” meanwhile, could not shake a pesky Zoey De Vie (Jim Morrill Jr.), though he did eventually whip that one by a length-and-a-half. Daley Lovin (Dan Daley) was third.
For third choice Flyhawk El Durado, a son of Conway Hall trained by Mark Ford for owner Martin Scharf, it was his third win in nine seasonal starts. The exacta paid $15, and there was no triple wagering.
"He can leave the gate and just about always trots four turns,” MacDonald said. "Last week (NYSS at Monticello), he did make a break but I think it was some sort of an equipment malfunction.
"Tonight, he was on his game. Obviously, the other horse (Expressive Action) was one of the ones to beat, and when he made a break, it made my job easier…but (Flyhawk El Durado) went a real good mile and beat another good horse (Zoey De Vie).”
The second ($109,500) sire stakes event saw odds-on choice Gural Hanover (Morrill Jr., $2.30) put up cheap intervals of :28.1, :58.1, 1:27.3 and 1:56.1 en route to a length-and-a-quarter victory. Leaving outside his five foes, he worked around second choice Cash Me Out (Mickey McGivern), then watched as that one tested him early from the pocket. Royal Max (Bartlett) was third.
For Gural Hanover, a Crazed gelding co-owner (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke, Weaver Bruscemi and Little E and Panhellenic Stables, it was his fifth win (fourth consecutive) in seven '14 tries. The exacta paid $3.30, with the triple (three wagering favorites in order) returning $11.20.
"He's just two fingers (to drive). You can do anything you want,” Morrill—his escort over the past four races—said.
New York Sire Stakes continue Friday night, with the $197,500 Milt Taylor Trot for 2-year-old colts/geldings. (Yonkers)