Monticello, NY --- On Monday afternoon (Sept. 30) Monticello Raceway hosted four $45,000 finals of the Excelsior Series for 2-year-old pacers and trotters and arguably the most impressive was the victory turned in by Spreester when she easily defeated seven other New York bred pacing fillies by four lengths in 1:57.4.
Jimmy Morrill, Jr. was in the sulky when Spreester started from the seven hole and made the front before the quarter-mile timer flashed :29.1.
|Geri Schwarz photo|
|Spreester was a 1:57.4 winner in her Excelsior Series contest.|
Once on the lead they remained unchallenged as the daughter of American Ideal-Rodeo Spree paced through fractions of :59 and 1:28.2 before Morrill gave her her head and she paced off to an easy victory over Barbuda Babe and Jimmy Meittinis. Carlota Blue Chip was third for Joe Bongiorno.
Trainer Paul Zabielski handed the lines to Morrill for the first time and he sat behind the filly who had previously won seven of nine races this year. A relatively small filly Morrill said of her, “She’s like a little car, just as handy as can be.”
Although Morrill was impressed with the filly her owner Kimberly Zabielski was more so after she rushed from the paddock to the winner's circle with a smile from ear to ear. While she held Spreester for the photo she said; "We bred her and we’re so proud of her. She’s our first sires stakes winner."
In spite of having the seven hole Spreester was sent off as the odds-on favorite and paid $3.80 for win.
In the colt division, Jason Bartlett and Natural Leda were also teamed up for the first time and the talented reinsman took advantage of racing luck and got Natural Leda home first in a 1:57.2 mile.
After a pocket trip though the half and around the clubhouse turn, Bartlett felt his colt was ready for action.
“He was good up the backside and they were working hard in front of me so I moved (to challenge) and we got alongside of Jimmy (Morrill, Jr. with Cabbies Delight) and my colt outpaced him to the wire,” Bartlett said of Natural Leda.
Cabbie’s Delight held on for second and Hands Off Frank (Jordan Stratton) finished third. Owned by Deanna Frost, Rick Phillips and John Fielding, Natural Leda (Bettor's Delight-Helen Of Leda) returned a $16.00 win payoff.
John Stark, Jr. guided Royal Max to his fourth win in his last five starts when they easily captured the freshman colt trotting division, turning back Uproar and driver Chris Lems in a time of 2:01.1 by an eased-up six lengths. Dan Daley got Commissioner Daley up for the show dough.
Royal Max looked mighty impressive in victory and Stark was asked why he wasn’t racing in the sire stakes to which he simply said. “He got good late.”
Owned by Ed Smith, Crawford Farms, Jim Giannuzzi and Dave Smith, the son of RC Royalty-The Young Princess paid $3.60 for win.
The $45,000 filly final went to Ski To The Max and driver Gates Brunet in 2:02.4 over Trish (Jim Meittinis) and Brookside Lily (Aaron Byron).
“She got good late and I think next year she’s sires stakes caliber,” Brunet said of Ski To The Max.
Co-owned by Ted Gewertz, Debbie Brunet and Jean Brunet, Ski To The Max (Conway Hall-Enjoy The Sun) paid $3.60 for win.