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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

RUS NY Fair Series Final Just Days Away

This year’s Racing Under Saddle New York Fair Series championship will be held on September 2 at Monticello Raceway along with the New York Sire Stake’s County Fair Finals.

This marks the second year of the series, which included nine races at seven fairs across the state. Horses and riders have been competing the last two months with the hopes of making it into the final race and capturing the championship title.

Horses earned points during the series to determine final entries. Soon, the anticipation of what horses and riders will be competing in the final will be over. The draw will take place this Friday.

All participants will earn $650 for earning their way into the championship race. Monticello Raceway is contributing $2,500 toward the final and the rest of the funds is coming from the series’ flagship sponsor the New York Sire Stakes. The NYSS generously donated $5,000 as initial purse money.

The winner will also receive a championship cooler donated by Peterson’s Harness Shop in Vernon, N.Y. and a lead line donated by Divine Equine Custom Equipment.

A High Point Rider Award will once again be presented at the final to the rider who has earned the most points, regardless of horse(s) ridden throughout the series.  To be eligible for the award riders must participate in at least three races.

Horses are required to compete and finish in at least two races throughout the series to be allowed entry into the championship race. Nine horses participated in the series with seven qualifying for the final. Points earned are accrued by horse, regardless of rider in each race. Up to five qualifiers will be eligible for the final race. In the event of a scratch, the horse with the next highest points will be entered into the final. In the event of a tie, charted race lines will be reviewed and the RUS NY Management Committee will select the horse to be entered based on past performance history.

Horses eligible include:

Winner’s Star K leads the group going into the final with 183 points. The 14-year-old black gelding trained by Michael Miller and owned by Lewis Miller has been on a winning streak as of late.  Michelle Miller has ridden the horse to victory at the last three fair races. Winner’s Star K (American Winner- Gina’s Star - BJ’S Super Star) ran his first racing under saddle race at Afton Fair where he placed fourth. From there, he continued to show improvement. He placed second in the first division of the Otsego County Fair in Morris, crossed the finish line in 2:19.0 in Palmyra and Bath and wrapped up the season with a win in 2:13.4 in Trumansburg.

Glorious Winner is sitting in second on the point list with 150 points. The 7-year-old bay gelding has been ridden to victory by trainer Jocelyn Gale twice this season. He set a mark of 2:18.2 in Morris and showed more speed with his 2:16 victory in Hemlock.  Glorious Winner (Credit Winner - Fox Valley Flan - Vaporize) has also earned two second place finishes (Afton and Trumansburg) with Gale aboard.

Strongbow has raced at every fair of the series but Afton. The 13-year-old chestnut gelding is just one point behind his competitor Glorious Winner (with 149). Strongbow (Striking Sahbra- Crooked Lady - Cumin) was generously leased to be used for RUS this year and has been ridden by a new licensed rider Codie Smith and a more seasoned rider Michelle Miller. Strongbow is trained by Michael Miller and has two third place finishes, three second place finishes and was able to get himself into the winner’s circle at the last fair race in Trumansburg.

Iron Will has only participated in two races. However, the 9-year-old bay gelding has remained unbeatable in the series.  Iron Will (Credit Winner - Armbro Archer - SJ’s Photo) is owned by the J Sansone Sables in Vernon, N.Y. Heather Reese rode him to victory with a time of 2:11.0 in Afton and a mark of 2:13.3 in Owego.

Mozart was ridden by Andrea Pratt and Codie Smith during the fair series. The 12-year-old bay gelding accumulated 55 points in four races (one which he was pulled up and did not finish). Trained and owned by Lewis Miller, Mozart (Yankee Paco- Brisco Maud - Brisco Hanover) placed third in Owego, fifth in Afton and second in Hemlock.

My Friend Charlie was acquired by rider and trainer Andrea Pratt late in the season. The 4-year-old brown gelding got his first start mid way through the series at Morris where he placed second. My Friend Charlie (RC Royalty - Sand Moxie - Muscles Yankee) has 49 points and also earned two third place finishes with Pratt aboard in Bath and Trumansburg.

Striking Mystery, aka “Frosty” because of his white color, has raced at three fairs earning 45 points toward the final.  The 14-year old gelding also got a late start in the series.  He placed third at Morris where he made his first start. Striking Mystery (Striking Sahbra - Love A Mystery - Dream of Glory) placed fourth in Bath and second in Trumansburg.  He is owned, trained and ridden by Jennifer Lowrey.

The Fair Series was made possible thanks to the following sponsors:

 • Flagship Sponsor: New York Sire Stakes
 • Monticello Raceway • Divine Equine Custom Equipment
 • Peterson’s Harness Shop (315-829-3924)
 • The Southern Tier Harness Horsemen’s Association, Nichols NY
 • Afton Driving Park, Afton, NY
 • Early Owego Antique Center
 • T&K Harrington LLC
 • Tammy King (Owner of harness and RUS horses)
 • Ashely Eldred(rider)
 • G A Brazee Trucking, New. Berlin, N.Y. (607-343-6608)
 • Prolifiq Sign Studio Edmeston, NY (607-965-4024)
 • Lavigne’s Construction (315-250-0650)

 What is Racing Under Saddle: Also known as Monte Racing, RUS, is a hybrid between harness racing and thoroughbred racing. The sport consists of a rider atop a Standardbred (generally a trotter) in a saddle instead of pulling a sulky. RUS is an exciting part of international standardbred racing and is conducted daily at most european tracks as part of their regular pari-mutuel wagering programs.

The sport has seen a surge in popularity in the U.S. the past few years. The Fair Series is organized by RUS NY, an organization that helps coordinate and promote under saddle races across the state. The main goal is to promote the unique sport, educate about the versatility of the Standardbred breed as both a racing and a riding horse and to help Standardbreds find great homes after they finish their days on the track.

 To keep up on RUS NY happenings follow the group on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.