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Downstate NYSS season begins with Thursday’s Hugh Grant Pace
Friday, June 20, 2014 - by Frank Drucker, publicity director, Empire City at Yonkers Raceway

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Yonkers, NY --- Yonkers Raceway hosted its first New York Sire Stakes event of the season on Thursday (June 19), the $221,000 Hugh Grant Pace for 3-year-old colts and geldings. Three divisions went for $72,800, $74,100 and $74,100, respectively.

The opening event saws odds-on Western Conquest (Marcus Miller, $2.70) take no prisoners from the pole. After a :26.4 opening quarter-mile, he rebuffed the advances of second choice Ideal Fashion (David Miller) through a :54.2 intermission. From there, a 1:23.4 three-quarters gave him a length lead into the lane.

Western Conquest finished it off by three-quarters of a length over pocket-sitting Moliere Hanover (Jason Bartlett) in 1:52.3. Third went to Keystone Honor (Matt Kakaley).

For Western Conquest, a homebred son of American Ideal owned by Tanah Merah Farms and trained by Erv Miller, it was his second win in six seasonal starts. The exacta paid $17.20, with the triple returning $70.50.

“He’s handy and he’s smart,” Marcus Miller said of Western Conquest. “Last week (NYSS at Vernon), I was stuck in the two hole and he paced a terrific (:25.4) last quarter, but they went too slow early. I wasn’t going to sit behind anyone tonight.”

The second sire stakes event saw Jeneral Patton (Tim Tetrick, $3) prevail from the pocket that Western Conquest wanted no part of.

Jeneral Patton -- from post position No. 3 -- sat behind second choice Sir Sam’s Z Tam (Pat Lachance) through intervals of :28.1, :57.3 and 1:25.4, before diving inside. He went on to win by 1-1/2 lengths in 1:53. Sir Sam’s Z Tam was a safe second, with Forty Five Red (Yannick Gingras) third.

Jeneral Patton, an Art Major colt owned by Ken Jacobs and trained by Linda Toscano, is now three-for-five this season. The exacta paid $6.40, with the triple returning $24.40.

In the winner’s circle, Tetrick offered his escort was “on a line” but “very talented.”

“We didn’t race him at 2 after he hurt himself, so he’s learning,” Jacobs said. “We started with him a bit late this season and staked him late, but I expect him to be a good one.”

The evening’s final statebred race found a first-up Ideal Cowboy (Bartlett, $13.80) winning in 1:52.4. Unhurried from post No. 6, he watched as 6-5 fave Twin B Speedo (Mark MacDonald) set early fractions of :27.1 and :57.1.

Ideal Cowboy passed the leader in and out of a 1:24.4 three-quarters, widening to 2-1/2 lengths into the lane. However, Twin B Speedo found renewed life in the lane, closing the margin only to miss by a half-length. Capital Account (Gingras) was third.

For fourth choice Ideal Cowboy, an American Ideal gelding trained by PJ Fraley for co-owners Bamond Racing and J&T Silva Stables, it was his second win in seven ’14 tries. The exacta paid $31.20, with the triple returning $108.

“He was chasing the best colts (in the North America Cup),” Bartlett said. “Tonight, we were able to get to the leader easily because they weren’t going much early. Then, he just dug in.”

Note that since no one took down the Thursday night Pick-5, Friday’s gimmick offers a $10,0000 guaranteed pool with a carryover of $2,972.95.

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