OLDE TIME HOCKEY’S 1:53.4 EQUALS A TRACK RECORD IN $155,000 NYSS; FRAMED ART WINS IN 1:53.1
Tuesday, September 3rd wasn’t a particularly great day to make speed at Monticello Raceway. The weather was dry with little humidity in the air and the temperature had cooled. However, the sun shone brightly and the winds were minimal and in spite of it not being a ‘perfect day’ Olde Time Hockey and Framed Art each blazed to victory in their respective divisions of the $155,000 NY Sire Stakes .
Jason Bartlett drove Olde Time Hockey to a 1:53.4 triumph which equaled the track record for sophomore pacing geldings, and Framed Art held off late charges to win his split in 1:53.1.
In what turned out to be an entertaining afternoon of harness racing, the rich NYSS program was joined by four $12,700 divisions in the Excelsior Series.
But the day belonged to the Tom Fanning-trained gelding, owned by David Van Wart and driven by Jason Bartlett.
When the race started Olde Time Hockey left slowly from the pole position and was circled on the first turn by Ray Schnittkder’s Thirty Two Red. Not content to follow, Bartlett moved his charge to the lead as the quarter mile marker flashed :28.1.
From there Bartlett and OldeTime Hockey showed the way past the half in :56.2 and as they approached the third stanza in 1:24.2. Jimmy Morrill, Jr. made a move from fourth position with Bet The Moon and they charged toward the leader.
As the field rounded the final turn Olde time Hockey had a length lead which, as they headed for paydirt, was slowly diminishing. In the final strides three pacers charged to the wire with Bet The Moon, on the outside and Thirty Two Red, on the inside but Olde Time Hockey wouldn’t be denied and he scored a neck victory equaling the fastest mile ever paced here by a 3-year-old gelding.
Happy owners joined Bartlett in the winner’s circle as did trainer Fanning and all couldn’t contain their enthusiasm.
“Now we’re in the final at Yonkers,” blurted a joyous owner Dave Van Wart referring to Olde Time Hockey now having earned enough points to race in the $225,000 NYSS divisional finale later this month.
And even Bartlett was impressed. “We finally got an inside position,” Bartlett spouted referring that the colt has been outside of fifth in all but one of his last seven starts.
“He’s a nice horse but he’s on the lazy side and you have to stay after him,” Bartlett added.
Olde Time Hockey’s 1:53.4 triumph in the $79,375 NYSS split tied the standard set by Trigger Finger and Bruce Aldrich, Jr. 2011.
In the other $77,975 NYSS division Mark MacDonald sent Framed Art to the lead from the three-hole but it came at a price of :27.1.
Once on top MacDonald took no prisoners as Framed Art sailed by the half in :55.3 and the three quarters in 1:23.4. Favored Doctor Butch, driven by Jimmy Morrill, Jr., made a run at the leaders up the backside but couldn’t get any closer than two lengths off when the rounded the final turn.
On the way to the wire MacDonald and Framed Art kept the challengers at bay and though he was tiring Framed Art held on for a length triumph in a new seasonal mark for the son of Artiscape. Bettor Than Yopu was exond for Jimmy Maroh, Jr. and Doctor Butch ended up third.
“He went a gutsy trip today and he raced real good last week in the sire stakes at Saratoga and was possibly going to win it but he got inadvertently hit in the face with a whip,” MacDonald said of Framed Art who finished second in that Spa City event.
When asked kiddingly ‘was he (Framed Art) looking to run out the draw gate on the final turn’, MacDonald laughed and said; “No, he wasn’t . But he did shy from the shadows on the track and bore out a bit but I got his attention quickly and we didn’t lose much there.”
Owned by Art and Andy Stafford and trained by Art Stafford, Framed Art paid $10.60 for win.
It was all Morrill in the Excelsior Series paces as he won three of the four events. He won the first split with He’s A Lock ($2.40) in 1:55.3 and copped the second with Just Bettor ($3.70) in 1:55.4. Morrill also won the fourth and final Excelsior Series contest with Royce Blue Chip ($4.50) in 1:56.3. The other division went to Militia Man ($3.70) and driver Marcus Miller in a 1:56.2 clocking.