by Michael Chamberlain, Vernon Downs Publicity
Driver Jim Morrill Jr. was the star of the evening on Friday night at Vernon Downs. He won with six of his nine drives on the 12-race program. One of those wins was with Gural Hanover (Crazed-Givemearing) in the $59,100 New York Sire Stakes for 3-year-old colt and gelding trotters. The win was the seventh consecutive Sire Stakes win for Gural Hanover. Gural Hanover actually sat second behind Wild And Crazy Guy (John Macdonald) through the opening quarter of 27.4 seconds. As the field moved into the backstretch, however, Gural Hanover powered to the lead and never looked back. He dominated the remainder of the race and eventually moved away with authority in the stretch to win by four lengths. The rest of the fractional times were 56.4 for the half, 1:25.3 for three-quarters, and a final time of 1:53.3. Wild And Crazy Guy tracked Gural Hanover after being passed, but could never again mount a serious threat. The complete order of finish for the second division of the New York Sire Stakes was: Gural Hanover, Wild And Crazy Guy, Zoey De Vie, Karets, and Hallanet.
Gural Hanover is owned by Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC of Pennsylvania and Little E LLC and Panhellenic Stable Corporation of New York. The trainer is Ron Burke.
The first division of the $59,100 New York Sire Stakes for the sophomore trotters actually produced a better final time of 1:52.4. The winner was Flyhawk El Durado (Conway Hall-El Paso Gal), driven by Mark Macdonald. The race was similarly run to the second division, as Royal Max (John Macdonald) led through the opening quarter of 26.4 before Flyhawk El Durado moved past and led the rest of the way. The half was 56.1 seconds and three-quarters went by in 1:24.3. The complete order of finish for this division of the New York Sire Stakes was Flyhawk El Durado, Royal Max, Expressive Action, Daley Lovin, Mister Anson, and Lukas Hall.
Flyhawk El Durado is owned by Martin Scharf of Lawrence, New York and trained by Mark Ford.
The dominant man of the evening, though, was Morrill. He started the evening off right, winning with his first two drives, Winbak Glory in the second and Morning Joe in the third. He didn't return to the Winner's Circle until the seventh race with Genius At Work in the first division of the New York Excelsior "A" Series. The score with Gural Hanover in the ninth followed. That was part of a natural hat trick of wins for Morrill to wrap up his night. He won with Engagedatlexington in the tenth and Flaming Yankee in the eleventh. Morrill also finished second twice on the night, with Omnipotent in the fifth and Crazzycrazzy in the eighth.
Live racing will resume at Vernon Downs on Saturday night with a 12-race program. First post time is 6:45pm.