"That was crazy. Horses aren't supposed to go that fast here," driver Brett Miller said after Hitman Hill annihilated the Buffalo Raceway track record for 3-year-old gelded pacers with a 1:51.4 mile on Sunday (July 8) in winning his division of the New York Sire Stakes (NYSS). The previous standard was 1:53.1 established in 2016 by Missile J.
Other winners were Rootin Tootin ($2.90) who posted a three-quarter length victory in 1:53.4 while Trump Nation ($3.00) notched a three-quarter length win in 1:54.0 on the crystal clear afternoon.
Things didn't go the way Miller had hoped at the start with Hitman Hill. "I wanted to get to the lead and go from there but they (Rockapelo and Topville Olympian) were just going too fast so I had to drop into third."
After watching splits of :27.4, :56.3 and 1:24.2, Miller guided Hitman Hill to the outside with a panel to race and used a :27 last quarter to secure the victory in record time. Topville Olympian (James MacDonald) took second with Rockapelo (Jim Morrill Jr.) securing the third place check.
Co-owned by Tim Hill and the Northfork Racing Stable., it was the second win in seven tries in 2018 for Hitman Hill (American Ideal-Fox Valley Shaker). The win upped his seasonal bankroll to $115,870 and $262,403 in his brief 14-race career.
Rootin Tootin used the passing lane to gain the lead and managed to hold off a late rally by Twin B Tuffenuff (Miller) to post the victory in the opening leg. My Delight took the show position.
With My Delight (Scott Zeron) setting the pace with fractions of :28.0, :57.0, and 1:26.1, Rootin Tootin eventually shook free from third and poured it on with a :27.2 last frame.
Morrill Jr. said of Rootin Tootin, "He doesn't like the front end so I took him back. He gets lazy on the front end. But when we found racing room in the stretch, he sprinted to the line. It all worked out well."
Co-owned by trainer Blake MacIntosh, Stuart McIntosh, Fred Brayford and Robert MacNeil, it was the third victory in seven starts this year for Rootin Tootin (Roll With Joe, Wild Retreat). The 3-year-old colt has earned $49,195 in 2018 and $113,041 lifetime.
Trump Nation, the winner Art Rooney Memorial Pace earlier this season at Yonkers, never got to the lead until past the opening quarter-mile marker and hung on late to beat Real Surreal (MacDonald) in the final division.
"I wanted to follow the four (Real Surreal) but that didn't work out so I had to go," Bartlett said of making the big brush to the top early.
With fractions of :28.1, :57.2 and 1:26.3, Trump Nation needed every moment in going :27.2 in the lane to hold of the late charges of Real Surreal (MacDonald) and Major Authority (Morrill Jr.).
"He dug in when he had to," Bartlett said of Trump Nation.
The 3-year-old colt is co-owned by the Crawford Racing Stable and Evan Katz. Trained by Chris Oakes, Trump Nation (Betterthancheddar-Late Flyin N) has produced $209,346 in winning this year and $259,656 lifetime.
Driver/trainer Ray Schnittker took both the $15,000 Excelsior A race and the $6,500 Excelsior B event.
Schnittker registered a $14,20 surprise with Major Sugar Rush in 1:54.1 in the "A" race and then captured the "B" bracket as Damion Diesel Hahn cruised to a $9.30 score in 1:55.4.
Bartlett, Morrill Jr. Schnittker and Ray Fisher Jr. each had doubles on the program while Oakes and Schnittker had two training victories.
Racing will return on Wednesday at 5 p.m. with a 14-race program scheduled. The card will be highlighted by the New York Sire Stakes with the 2-year-old filly trotters ready to compete.
For more information including the latest news, upcoming promotions, simulcast schedule, race replays, results and entries, go to www.buffaloraceway.com. (Buffalo Raceway)