He was a god 2-year-old but at age three Coraggioso is even better, and arguably the best of the 3-year-old colt trotters in the rich New York Sire Stakes .

On the Monday afternoon, August 6th program at Monticello Raceway, the  son of Conway Hall- Electra Hanover has been installed as the 9-5 early line favorite in his $83,922 division—race 10-- of the 167,844 NYSS for sophomore trotting colts and geldings. In the other $83,922 split—race six—Gaelic and Garlic gets the odds-maker’s early nod.

Although there are some nice colts is the Sire Stakes, unquestionably Coraggioso is the cream of the crop. As a freshman the colt had four wins, two seconds  and a third in nine starts and amassed purses of $93,424. This year in eight outings he has five wins, two seconds and one third and  has already bankrolled $208,661.

Coraggioso is co-owned by Joe Spadaro and longtime friend, Tom Durkin. If that latter name rings a bell….yes… it is the same Tom Durkin, who is the outstanding race announcer.

“When I retired from NYS Thoroughbred Breeding and Development Fund, where I was Deputy Executive Director, I purchased a Standarbred horse,” Spadaro said.  “As a former trainer, owner and breeder, I wanted to have something to do. Tom and I have been longtime friends and he saw I was having fun in the game and he wanted to participate. And as former race announcer at the Meadowlands Tom is very familiar with harness horses.”

Asked how they came across Coraggioso Spadaro explained.

“Tom and I bred him from our one mare breeding operation named Electra Hanover who’s by Lindy Lane.  We purchased her privately after seeing her listed on website - - in January of 2008.She was part of package deal along with being in foal to S.J.'s Caviar and a yearling by S.J.'s Caviar by her side - Total cost was $12,000.

“Tom names all the foals in alphabetical order with Italian names because he's an Italian wannabe,” Spardaro joked. “Coraggioso in English is courage. Our 2012 yearling is called Determinato (Determined), then we have 2012 foal named Eletrizzantte (Electrifying) - Electra Hanover is currently in foal to Donato Hanover.

“Coraggioso’s nickname is Ali because he "floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee", Spadaro added with a smile. “He’s a  nice horse to be around; very professional and loves to compete.”

Coraggioso  is trained and driven by Phil Fluet and comes into the NYSS Monticello  contest off a 1:55.3  victory in  the Tompkins-Geers at Tioga Downs. His best win time thus far is 1:54.3 a mark taken while winning the Historic Stakes at Tioga Downs.

On June 8 at Vernon Downs, Coraggioso finished a close second in 1:53.1 to Archangel,  who will be racing in the Hambletonian on Saturday.

Asked why they didn’t enter Caraggioso in the Hambo Spadaro paused for a moment and then answered;  “Even though Coraggioso took a new lifetime mark in Historic Stakes at Tioga Downs, Phil (Fluet) felt he didn't have the same kick finishing mile therefore they scoped him and scoping revealed he had some congestion in his lungs along with some blood; therefore it was decided to place Coraggioso on lasix.  Our choice was based on his long term career Tom and I have mapped out and didn't want to jeopardize his career by removing lasix to race in Hambo elims and final.  He definitely has the caliber to fit with those horses. 

Coraggioso will start from post six in what appears to be the toughest of the two divisions. The colt’s nemesis Brookroad Knight, who defeated Coraggioso at Vernon  in 1:53.4 on July 11, will start inside him from post  five with Jimmy Morrill, Jr. at the controls.

Morrill will also drive favored Gaelic and Garlic In the other NYSS division. That son of Credit Winner-La Tapatia is owned locally by Bernard White and Kristie Leigh Farm.

Along with the two $83,922 NYSS sophomore colt trots there will be four $12,700 divisions of the Excelsior Series or 3 year old colt and gelding trotters in races, 1, 4, 5, and 8.

Post time for the 14-race card will be at 12:50pm.