Sunday marked the kickoff to the New York Sire Stakes season at Saratoga Casino Hotel as three year old colt and gelding pacers took center stage on a beautiful afternoon in the Spa City. There were three divisions of $58,000+ stakes competition and trainer Chris Oakes and driver Tyler Buter stole the show. Buter won four consecutive races at one point on the card including three for Oakes. Two of their victories came in the “big time” Sire Stake races as Shake That House (American Ideal-Shake That Junk-Camluck) and American Mercury (American Ideal-Tessa Hanover-Somebeachsomewhere) scored impressive wins on the matinee card. Shake That House was making his first NYSS start of the year and wound up as the afternoon’s fastest winner, stopping the timer in 1:51.3 while going coast-to-coast to earn the winner’s share of the $58,100 purse. The victory was the third in three starts in 2019 for the superstar pacer and the sixth in eleven career tries.
American Mercury had a rematch with rival Hickfromfrenchlick (Mark Macdonald) on Sunday as those two squared off for the second consecutive time in stakes competition. Two weeks ago at Monticello, Hickfromfrenchlick held off the late bid from American Mercury to secure the Sire Stakes score. The two saw their roles reversed on Sunday though as Oakes’ American Mercury got up in the final stride in the $59,200 stakes try to best Hickfromfrenchlick in a mile paced in 1:52. Buter piloted four winners including a pair in Excelsior A competition as he drove Oakes’ Rickybobbynthehaus (American Ideal) to victory and guided Notwithoutafight (Art Major) to a wire-to-wire score for trainer Erv Miller. On a day in which Oakes and Buter scored two victories among the day’s three big Sire Stakes races, the other winner in a $58,100 event was Fromthestartagain (So Surreal-From The Start-Western Terror) who recorded his first Sire Stakes victory, setting a lifetime mark of 1:53 with Jason Bartlett driving for trainer John Grasso.
The next installment of the NYSS at Saratoga will take place in two weeks when three year old trotting fillies are featured on Sunday June 9th.
Live racing resumes at the Spa on Wednesday afternoon with a first post time set for 12:00 Noon.
Photo: Melissa Simser-Iovino