BATAVIA DOWNS: Slay, Molotov Cocktail to battle in NYSS race Friday
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BATAVIA DOWNS: Slay, Molotov Cocktail to battle in NYSS race Friday

Aug 25, 2022

BATAVIA — The New York Sire Stakes for 3-year-old trotters of both genders will be contested at Batavia Downs during a special Friday night card (Aug. 26) with $232,700 in purses, as well as points up for grabs for horses that still need to solidify a spot in the finals at the Night of Champions at Tioga Downs on Saturday (Sept. 10).

The marquee event will be the $119,800 division for colts and geldings where two 2022 Hambletonian elimination competitors will square off.


Slay (Chapter Seven-Swinging Royalty) is currently tied as the second fastest 3-year-old trotting colt in North America as a result of his 1:51, :26 flat last quarter victory in the $125,000 Stanley Dancer Memorial at the Meadowlands in July. Two weeks after that he was in the $100,000 Hambletonian elimination where he was beaten only 3-¾ lengths although he missed making the final. But he bounced right back in a NYSS event at Saratoga where he handily won gate to wire in 1:54.3 and 1-½ lengths ahead of Molotov Cocktail. That was also his fastest win time ever recorded over a half mile track.

Slay has been competing against the best sophomore trotters in the country all year including Joviality S, Jiggy Jog S and Temporal Hanover and as a result, has amassed $202,997 in earnings this year putting him seventh on the list among all North American 3-year-old male trotters. In the NYSS series he is currently tied for second in points (125) with Cool Papa Bell and is third in earnings ($84,825) and has his sights firmly on the finals in two weeks.

Joe Bongiorno will be in town to drive Slay from post five for trainer Tony Alagna.

Molotov Cocktail (Chapter Seven-Moonlight Cocktail) was the NYSS 2-year-old male trotting champion last year and returned strong for his second campaign. He took an early season lifetime mark of 1:52.2 at the Meadowlands in an overnight event which is one of only two wins for him this year. But the second came last week in the $200,000 Earl Beal consolation at Mohegan Sun Pocono, where he scored in 1:52.4. In between he was beaten only 4-½ lengths in his Hambletonian elimination and although he didn’t make the final, followed that up with a very impressive third in the $50,000 Muscle Hill at the Meadowlands where he was race timed in 1:51.4 after being parked most of the mile.

Molotov Cocktail has also encountered many tough trotters on the trail this year having faced off against Hambletonian winner Cool Papa Bell and Rebuff and his 2022 efforts put him 10th in North America for earnings among all 3-year-old male trotters. However because of his Grand Circuit schedule he has only two NYSS starts where he finished second both times. That currently puts him in a three way tie for eighth in points and he needs a top finish here to ensure a trip to the lucrative final at Tioga.

Brain Sears will drive for Hall of Fame trainer Linda Toscano and they will leave from post four.

The fillies will go in two fields and there does appear to be a standout in each group.


The first $55,900 division features Cash Infusion (Chapter Seven-Swing Anna Cash) who has had a very full dance card this year. She competed in the $187,500 Empire Breeders Classic at Vernon Downs, $126,165 New York New York Mile at Yonkers Raceway, $123,000 Zweig Memorial at Vernon and $33,500 Continental Victory at the Meadowlands where she finished third and was race timed in 1:52.3. Plus she took money in all four of those events against very tough fillies like Joviality S and Jiggy Jog S while competing in much fuller fields. A big plus is her 1:57 lifetime mark that came on the half mile track at Saratoga earlier this spring. She did break at Monticello in her last start but recovered nicely to be beaten by only three lengths.

Trained by George Ducharme, Cash Infusion will leave from post four with Tyler Buter at the lines.

Looking to upset is In A Tiny Way (ConwayHall-Mc Tiny’s Hope) who was unraced at two but has had an outstanding year at three, starting with a win in her first stake engagement in a $15,000 Excel “A” race at Tioga Downs in a lifetime best 1:54.3. She has since gone on to do some of her best work on twice-arounds, winning in 1:57.3 at both Yonkers and Monticello Raceway, the latter in her last start which was a NYSS event. Jordan Stratton will drive from post two for trainer Mike Simons.

Then in the $57,000 second leg, Valentina Blu (Chapter Seven-Corazon Blue Chip) comes in with the credentials to be a prohibitive betting favorite at post time. Last year she finished second in the $200,000 NYSS final to Joviality S, third to Venerable in the Mohawk Million and second in the $294,580 Kindergarten Classic making up the bulk of her $336,703 first-year earnings. This year she has only made five starts back thus far but two of those were NYSS wins. She also finished third in the $187,500 Empire Breeders Classic behind Joviality S and Bare My Soul, who she is currently tied with for top NYSS points in her division. After finishing sixth in the $123,000 Zweig she took a month off and won her first race back at Monticello in handy fashion. This is definitely a prep race for the finals for this filly.

Joe Bongiorno will steer for trainer Tony Alagna from post two.

Seven On The Rocks (Chapter Seven-Spicedbourbongirl) is a five time winner this year but none have come in stake action despite being very competitive in his NYSS starts. She’s A Scorcher (Chapter Seven-Chilitodayhotamale) just got beat in 1:57.2 in a NYSS race at Buffalo in June but has since faced very formidable company over bigger tracks at both Oak Grove and The Red Mile in Kentucky Sire Stake action. Both will look to upset the probable favorite.

John Stark Jr. trains and will drive Seven On The Rocks from post three while Jordan Stratton will drive Tony Alagna’s entry She’s A Scorcher from post five.

The NYSS are carded as race one, three and eight. There are also four $15,000 Excel “A” series events carded as race two, four, five and six.

Friday’s card also features the 17th Robert J. Kane Memorial Pace that has a stellar field of eight top Open pacers slated to go postward in race nine for $75,000 which is the highest purse ever offered in this race.

Post time for race one is 6 p.m.

By Tim Bojarski,

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