Day At The Track

NYSS colts battle at Vernon

12:44 PM 10 Jul 2020 NZST
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Groovy Joe, harness racing Splash Brother, harness racing
Groovy Joe and driver Matt Kakaley
Fotowon photo
Splash Brother and driver Tyler Buter
Fotowon photo

Vernon Downs hosted two divisions of the New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) for sophomore harness racing pacing colts and geldings on Thursday (July 9). Both divisions raced for a purse of $57,000.

Splash Brother (Tyler Buter) cruises to victory in the first division.

Save Me A Dance (Jason Bartlett) went to the front but Reagan Blue Chip (Brian Sears) blew on by just before hitting the first quarter in :26.0. He used a :29.0 second quarter to hit the half in :55.0. Splash Brother ($5.10) made his move from fourth and took over as they headed to the final turn. He started to get some separation after hitting three-quarters in :122.2.

As they made the turn for home the battle was for second as Splash Brother turned on the Jets and set a new track record for 3-year-old geldings in 1:49.0. Save Me A Dance found an opening on the inside to get second. With the favorite JK Last Chance (Wally Hennessey) coming up to get third.


Splash Brother is a gelding by So Surreal. He is owned by trainer Ray Scnittker along with Nolamaura Racing, Steven Arnold, and Tammy Flannery. It was his third win this season after getting no wins as a freshman.

Groovy Joe (Matt Kakaley) much the best in the second division.

Genius Man (Marcus Miller) got the first call but Groovy Joe work his way to the front from his outside post to take over before the first turn. He hit the first quarter in a sizzling :25.3. The colt continued to control the pace with a :28.1 second quarter, putting up a half of :53.4. As they headed around the final turn the big favorite Blank Stare (Scott Zeron) made his move first-over but it was Groovy Joe first at three-quarters in 1:21.4.

As they reached the stretch Groovy Joe found another gear and all Blank Stare could do was watch as Groovy Joe hit the line in 1:48.4. It was a lifetime best but a second off the track record for sophomore colts. Noe the less he had the fastest mile of the night. Blank Stare settled for second with Genius Man holding on for third money.


Groovy Joe is a colt by Roll With Joe. Owned by Hutt Racing Stable, Ozzie MacKay, Hoofbid Racing and trainer Blake Macintosh. It was his first win in four starts this season. He now owns eight career victories.

Vernon Downs returns to live racing on Friday (July 10) with a 12-race card starting at 4 p.m. There will also be racing on Saturday (July 11) featuring NYSS for trotting 3-year-old fillies. The starting time for the 15-race card is a 1:10 p.m.

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by John Horne, for Vernon Downs

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