American Courage & Matt Kakaley

There were three divisions of the New York Sire Stakes for two year old colt and gelding pacers contested at Saratoga Casino Hotel on Wednesday night. The overwhelming favorite among the freshman pacers heading into the evening was American Courage (American Ideal-Nota Fool Bluechip- Art Major) who was the dominant force in the recently completed Springfield Pace at Yonkers Raceway. The Travis Alexander trainee went two-for-two in the series highlighted by a career-best 1:53.3 victory in the $104,250 Final. The good-looking freshman came into Wednesday’s try in the $47,967 division of the NYSS with an undefeated three-for-three record and was subsequently the betting public’s 1-9 favorite as he looked to remain unbeaten. Driver Matt Kakaley wasted little time getting American Courage to the early lead and they never looked back winning decisively in 1:54.3 over a track labeled ‘good.’ American Courage already has earnings of more than $93,000 and looks poised to have an even bigger summer as the Sire Stakes season progresses. American Courage is owned by the Fiddler’s Creek Stables of West Bloomfield, MI.

Town Gossip (American Ideal-Flibbertigibbet-Albert Albert) was the runner-up to American Courage in his first two career starts in the Springfield Series but on Wednesday broke his maiden in front of driver Joe Bongiorno. Town Gossip was his race’s odds-on favorite as he cruised to the front-end and drew away late to prevail in 1:56.1. Owned by Robert Weinstein of Bellmore, NY, Town Gossip earned the winner’s share of the $48,867 purse in his division of the NYSS on Wednesday. The talented gelding is trained by Jenn Bongiorno.

The third and final division for the freshman pacing colts went the way of King James Express (Art Major-More Diamonds- Dragon Again) who parlayed his pocket ride to victory with Jason Bartlett at the controls. The Mark Harder-trained freshman drew the rail and sat the two-hole to the race’s favorite Carrythetorchman (Marcus Miller) and when Bartlett gave King James Express his cue around the final turn, the gelding stormed past the favorite before stopping the timer in 1:56.3 to record his first career victory in just his second lifetime start. King James Express is owned by Harder, Frost, Carleton and Lockhart.

Live racing resumes on Monday afternoon at Saratoga with a first post time set for 12 Noon.


Mike Sardella

Photo: Melissa  Simser-Iovino