By John Manzi
MONTICELLO July 4, 2003 Alpine Dandys 1:55.2 victory was the fastest of the five $25,000 divisions of the $125,000 New York Sire Stakes for sophomore pacing colts and geldings, which was held on Sunday at Monticello Raceway.
Other divisional winners included Pass The Deck, Stock Market Wiz, Its The Paper Boy and Sammys Honor.
Alpine Dandy, with Zeke Parker aboard, kicked in a 27.3 final quarter to keep the 1-5 betting favorite, Brando Blue Chip (with Stephane Bouchard aboard) at bay and went on to win the first division in 1:55.2.
Racing on the half-mile oval after many tests over bigger racetracks, Bouchard kept Brando Blue Chip off the quick early pace by opting to sit fourth along the inside during the first four furlongs. Heading up the backstretch the second time around, Bouchard and Brando Blue Chip made a run at the lead but the Ed Gilligan-owned Alpine Dandy was up to the test as the two pacers raced head to head around the final turn. Alpine Dandy then opened up a length on his challenger as the two straightened for home. Not being able to make up any ground in the quick final stanza Brando Blue Chip finished in second place, one and one-half lengths behind the winner. Third place went to Wizzard Wonder, driven by Jeff Gregory.
The second division went to Pass The Deck and driver Gregory in 1:56.1. The Davids Pass colt, owned by Mentally Stable Inc., went one of the toughest trips ever. Favored Crackin Good and driver Bouchard parked the winner past the half in 57 seconds, only to see Pass The Deck rally again in the stretch to score a two-length triumph over the horse that parked him on the outside during the first half of the race. Watch Out For Me finished third for Wally Hennessey.
Karl Ungerman and the Sampson Street Stables Stock Market Wiz, in rein to Wally Hennessey, took the third division in 1:57. Content to let John Stark and Milliondollarbill set the pace, Hennessey shadowed Starks colt until the top of the stretch before making a move. Then coming out from behind the leader with a charge, Stock Market Wiz paced by Milliondollarbill to score a two- length victory as AP Stonehenge came from far back to finish third for Kyle DiBenedetto.
Fred Montelones Its The Paper Boy, in rein to Jack Rice, used the front-end route to score the geldings maiden victory in the fourth $25,000 division. Unraced at two, the altered son of Magical Mike was victorious in 1:57.2. Kassa Direct, driven by Perry Simser, charged home to be second while Blackjack Magic and Kyle DiBenedetto took home the show dough.
Gregory scored his second triumph in the Sire Stakes events by winning the final division with Sammys Honor in 1:58.2. After letting The Baron, driven by Bill Bailey, set the early fractions, Gregory followed cover until the top of the stretch then fanned three-deep and rallied to score the first victory in 11 seasonal starts for the grey son of Davids Pass. Local colt Four Starzzzz Opus finished third for Greg Merton.
This years Peoples Pacer, Cross Express, made his first start for his 100 mythical owners on Sunday. The nations leading driver, Stephane Bouchard, drove the horse for trainer Art Green.
Of the 100 fans who were chosen to be mythical owners in drawings a few weeks prior to the pacers first start, 67 were on hand for Cross Express first race. The pacer was parked to the quarter in 28 seconds and while on the lead paced through swift fractions before tiring and fading to fourth in the final strides. The time of 1:57.1 was one of the fastest races that the pacer has been involved in thus far this season. Railbirds, who know Cross Express capabilities, feel that racing on the front end with the speedy fractions hurt the horses chances of winning that afternoon. . . The raceways 32nd annual fabulous fireworks extravaganza will be tomorrow night, July 5. Its always the best show in the Catskills. . . Entries are now being taken for Larry Romans Ms. Monticello Raceway Beauty Pageant, which will be held on Sunday, July 27. For information about the pageant or to enter, please call me at 794-4100, ext. 455.