09/10/2016 11:45PM

Batavia Downs: New York Sire Stakes sweep for Morrill Jr., Brainard

Paul White
Milky Way Rae was the first of two NYSS winners for Jim Morrill Jr. and Tracy Brainard

Horses trained by Tracy Brainard and driven by Jim Morrill Jr. have been tough to beat over the years, and Saturday night at Batavia Downs was no exception. That dynamic duo swept both 3-year-old pacing filly divisions of the New York Sires Stakes and claimed the winner’s share of $119,300 in purses.

In the first $60,200 division, Milky Way Rae (American Ideal-Aurora Borealus) was used early and late before grinding out a victory down the lane.

Milky Way Rae left for the lead but was pursued from the outside by American Ivy (Dan Daley) through a 27 3/5 quarter. By the three-eighths, America Ivy had taken a seat in third, allowing the leader a breather and a 56 second half. But before Milky Way Rae could get too comfortable, No Clouds Bluechip (Kevin Cummings) had pulled from fourth, with Dime A Dance (Drew Monti) right behind her.

As the trio paced by three-quarters in 1:25, No Clouds Bluechip stalled and Dime A Dance went three-wide around her in the last turn. Starting with a two length deficit at the top of the stretch, Dime A Dance put on a ferocious drive and took it to the leader, but Milky Way Rae fended off the challenge to win by a nose in 1:54 4/5.

“The race shaped up good for her because she likes to rock on the front,” said Morrill Jr. “I thought she could go in 1:52 tonight on this track, but it didn’t come to that.”

It was the fifth win of the year for Milky Way Rae ($13.20), and it boosted her 2016 earnings to $86,674 for owner Fortunate One LLC.

The second $59,100 leg saw Wishy Washy Girl (Roll With Joe-Wish All You Want) trip-out for the win and give the Morrill/Brainard team their second winner's circle presentation.

Wishy Washy Girl left and dropped in second behind Time On My Hands (Ray Fisher, Jr.), who was rolling from the pylons. But despite the two being ahead of the field by a good ten lengths, Morrill Jr. pulled and tried to go to the front, cutting the quarter in 27 seconds. However, Fisher would have none of that, and he pushed his filly on and made Morrill Jr. see-saw his back into the hole.

Between the half in 55 2/5 and three-quarters in 1:24 4/5, Art Critic (Drew Monti) pulled and drew alongside Wishy Washy Girl. At the same time, Fisher was highly animated in urging on the front-stepping Time On My Hands, who was clearly running out of gas. This locked in Wishy Washy Girl, who was raging with pace until the top of the lane. When the passing lane finally opened up, Morrill Jr. popped Wishy Washy Girl through the opening and sped to an instant two length lead and won in 1:54 4/5.

“She was good, but she would have been a lot better if they went 1:22 to three-quarters,” Morrill Jr. explained. “That’s why I came out of the two-hole at the quarter, because when they go too slow she’s tough to hold. She was crawling over that horse around the last turn; she was very good.”

The win gave Wishy Washy Girl three for the year, and the purse enriched her bank account to $82,328 for owners Michael Cimaglio and Stephen Demeter.

--press release (Batavia Downs)--