The best 2- and 3-year-old trotters and pacers in the Bluegrass State will be out in full force at The Red Mile on Sunday, Sept. 1, as the historic Lexington racetrack hosts the $2 million Kentucky Sires Stakes (KYSS) Championship Night.
Eight $250,000 finals will be featured on the race card, which gets underway at 7 p.m., with the track offering free admission and concession specials. Also scheduled to be at the track on Sunday is Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear and his wife, Jane, who will make a winner's circle presentation.
The marquee event of the night is Race 6, a $250,000 contest for 3-year-old colt trotters. Lining up behind the gate in post 1 is Yonkers Trot winner Dewycolorintheline, with trainer Ray Schnittker handing the lines over to leading driver Tim Tetrick. One of nine sons of Deweycheatumnhowe in the race among the 10 finalists, Dewycolorintheline has a second and first in the KYSS preliminaries. Schnittker will remain in the sulky behind Caveat Emptor, who has a third and first in KYSS action, from post 2.
Also in the race is Lauderdale, who finished sixth in the $1 million Hambletonian in early August at the Meadowlands. Trained by Jonas Czernyson and driven by Corey Callahan, the son of Deweycheatumnhowe will start from post 4. Another top contender is Master Of Law, who comes into the race riding a four-race win streak, including a career-best 1:53.4 victory in his KYSS opener on Aug. 15. With a position in the final secured, trainer Frank Antonacci decided to sit the son of Deweycheatumnhowe in the second round. Master Of Law will have his work cut out for him as he will start from post 10 with driver Scott Zeron.
One horse to watch is Mystical Dew, who captured last year's KYSS freshman final for owner Mystical Farms, trainer Jeff Smith and driver Tyler Smith. The son of Deweycheatumnhowe made just seven starts last year and comes into Sunday's race with just two starts under his belt, a pair of thirds in the KYSS preliminaries.
"I never started him until way late, or I would have had to start him in against older horses in the Invite (at Hoosier Park),” Jeff Smith explained of Mystical Dew returning to the races in late July for a trio of qualifiers. "I didn't want to race him against older horses and break his heart, so we kind of got him started late.”
Mystical Dew may be hard to read in this year's KYSS final as he started from the outside posts 9 and 10 in his two preliminaries. Smith said any chances for a finals repeat will depend on the trip.
"I know we can trot with them, it depends on the kind of trip we get,” said Smith, who drove the trotter himself last time out after Tyler directed in the KYSS opener. "That's basically what it will amount to. There are a lot of nice horses in there; it will be whoever gets the best trip who is the one who is going to win it.”
Tetrick will also pick up the drive on Bandolito in the KYSS final for 3-year-old colt pacers. The son of Ponder brings an eight-race win streak into the race, including a sweep of his KYSS preliminaries that included a career-best 1:49.3 effort last time out. The Daryl Bier trainee will start from post two in a field that includes the top five in last year's final, including one-two finishers Duel In The Sun and Blatantly Best, who finished noses apart. (The Red Mile)