09/12/2015 10:46PM

Yonkers: Bartlett, Morrill double up in Sire Stakes finals

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Mike Lizzi
Betting Exchange marked the second NYSS win for driver Jason Bartlett on the night.

The rain may have fallen heavily before and during the 3-year-old New York Night of Champions program, but the way races were decided at Yonkers on Saturday night looked incredibly familiar. It was of course about speed once again over the half-mile track that has been lightning fast of late but a little slower due to a sloppy surface on Saturday. The rain didn’t dampen the spirits of drivers Jason Bartlett or Jim Morrill Jr. The two shared honors capturing a pair of $225,000 finals apiece.

The festivities kicked off with a mild upset as Jewels In Hock got to the top and 3-5 favorite Barn Doll got away sixth. Jim Morrill Jr. was able to set an overly aggressive pace with a clear idea of keeping distance between his 2-1 second choice and the chalk. With fractions of 28 1/5, 57 and 1:26 1/5 the favorite had a long way to motor and cover that wasn’t getting her that close. On the final turn, Jeff Gregory behind Barn Doll sent her in motion but she simply ran out of real estate. Jewels In Hock, a daughter of Credit Winner owned by Ken Jacobs’ J K Stables LLC, held on with Barn Doll second and Lady Winona third.

“I thought if we had any advantage over Barn Doll it was that she (Jewels In Hock) could get off the wings,” said Linda Toscano, the winning trainer.

Bartlett got his New York Sire Stakes championship night rolling when he shot 9-1 outsider Band Of Angels from post eight right to the front looping favorite Mosquito Blue Chip in short order.

Band Of Angels, a daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven, was able to cut a reasonable half with opening fractions of 28 2/5 and 58 seconds. Bartlett and the Ron Burke-trained miss accelerated on the backstretch with a 28 1/5 individual third quarter and then had enough in the tank to complete the mile in 1:54.

W J Donovan owns the filly that won for the sixth time in 2015. Devil Child finished second after a perfect pocket journey and Mosquito Blue Chip salvaged the third spot after a grueling overland trip.

“On paper she shows great early speed,” said Bartlett, who got the mount with regular pilot Yannick Gingras out of town. “I got easy fractions but I wanted to keep separation.”

Yonkers Trot winner Habitat got the respect expected and reached the lead at the quarter in the 3-year-old male trotting final. Also trained by Ron Burke, Habitat set fractions of 29, 58 2/5 and 1:28 before sprinting away in 1:56 3/5. Early leader Wings Of Royalty settled for second with Mythology Bluechip finishing third. Morrill doubled up with the 1-5 betting choice. Burke Racing, Our Horse Cents Stables and Weaver Bruscemi own the son of Conway Hall, who is now with over $1.2 million in career earnings.

Betting Exchange and Bartlett closed out the finals in the 3-year-old pacing male division making a regaining move at the quarter and romping in 1:52 4/5 over the off surface. The 4-5 betting choice set fractions of 27 1/5, 56 4/5 and 1:24 4/5 before hitting the homestretch with a 28-second final panel.

“We changed his bridle before his last start,” said Tom Fanning, the winning trainer. “He was waiting on horses.”

Betting Exchange waited for no one on Saturday, cruising to just his third victory in 15 starts for owners Howard Taylor, Susan Kajifasz and Fanning. Americanprimetime, a 41-1 outsider, rallied along the passing lane for second ahead of early pacesetter National Seelster.