by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway
HAMBURG, N.Y. --- Wings Of Royalty had the fastest time of the two $59,100 divisions in the New York Sire Stakes for 3-year-colt and gelding trotters Sunday afternoon as he toured Buffalo Raceway's half-mile oval in 1:57.2 on Sunday afternoon (July 19).
Workout Wonder, eligible for the Hambletonian at the Meadowlands in early August, may have taken another step in that direction by coasting to a 1:58.3 victory over the fast track in the other leg.
The times, however, were well short of the track mark of 1:56.4 established in 2014 by Cash Me Out.
In the first division, driver Chris Lems had the rail with Wings Of Royalty ($2.80) but couldn't protect pylon position as Gabe The Bear Dean fired out from the five spot to cease the early advantage.
"I knew Ray (Schnittker) was going to leave with Gabe The Bear Dean so I just thought I'd let him go and I'd drop into the two spot," Lems said. It proved to be the right choice. Wings Of Royalty retook the lead before the quarter pole and never looked back from there.
Setting fractions of 30.0, 59.2 and 1:29.4, a 28.3 final panel was more than enough to hold off the challenge of Military Blue (Mike Simons) and third place finisher Andy Ray (Daniel Dube).
Owned by Raymond Campbell Jr. and trained by George Ducharme, Wings Of Royalty (RC Royalty-Sparking Cider) has two victories in seven tries this season and increased his bankroll to $76,877 and $204,487 lifetime.
Buen Camino was expected to be a main threat in the Sire Stakes opener but was scratched.
Workout Wonder (Conway Hall-Dear Abs) kept his Hambletonian dreams alive after posting relatively easy victory against a field that was cut down to four due to the scratches of Fashion Creditor and Insomniac.
Dube went right to the lead with Workout Wonder ($3.30) and used soft fractions of 30.2, 1:00.3 and 1:30.2. Then they clicked off a blistering last quarter of 28.1 to turn back Royal Deceptor and salt away the victory.
"I kind of held him back around that last turn, but once we straightened out in the stretch, he took off," Dube said of Workout Wonder's fast last split.
About his strategy with Workout Wonder when going against just three others, Dube said, "I had a lot of confidence in him and just wanted to get him in front. I never even pulled the plugs."
Royal Deceptor (Michael McGivern) finished in second place while Maestro Blue Chip (Trond Smedshammer) took third.
Trained by Ake Svanstedt and owned by All Laid Out Stable, Inc., the win was the second in five outings for Workout Wonder, earning him $83,216 in 2015 and $94,818 lifetime.
In the $15,000 Excelsior 'A' Series, Commentary ($3.70) went the mile in 1:59.3 for Aaron Byron while Smedshammer steered Crazshana ($3.90) to the decision in 1:59.2.
Mark MacDonald drove The African to a popular $3.00 win in the first division of $6,500 Excelsior 'B' series while Patronus ($7.10) took the second leg in 2:01.3 for Mike Simons.
Drew Monti had a driving triple of the steamy afternoon.
Buffalo Raceway starts its last week of the 2015 season on Wednesday night with a 12-race card scheduled for 5 p.m. The New York Sire Stakes will be back with the 2-year-old colt and gelding trotters ready to duke it out.
For more information including the latest news, upcoming promotions, race replays and results, go to www.buffaloraceway.com