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Morrill, Missile J Dominate In New York

Published: June 15, 2016 11:16 pm ET

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A pair of track records, seven victories and a New York Sire Stakes win. It was just another day at the office for driver Jim Morrill Jr. at Buffalo Raceway on Wednesday night (June 15).

Morrill Jr. captured a $58,000 division of the New York Sire Stakes for the three-year-old pacers as he guided Missile J to a neck victory over Manny in a track record of 1:53.1, which eclipsed the gelding mark of 1:53.4 set by Murder He Wrote in 2014.

Earlier in the program, Morrill Jr. and Terrorcam set a new track standard for the four-year-old pacing mares with a 1:54.1 clocking in a filly and mare optional claiming race. The winning time crushed the old record of 1:55 established by Bet The Ranch in 2009 and Skyway Tia in 2015.

Wednesday marked the fourth time this season that Morrill Jr. has posted seven wins on a program at Buffalo Raceway as he accomplished the feat on March 3, March 25 and April 15. Kevin Cummings still holds the Buffalo Raceway mark to beat with eight wins back on June 11, 2005.

Fine Diamond and driver Joe Bongiorno won the $59,100 first division of New York Sire Stakes with a half-length decision over Craftship in 1:56.

Missile J ($2.20), the winner of the $300,0000 Art Rooney Stakes at Yonkers Raceway earlier this season, opened up a six-length edge with a quarter-mile to pace, but just had enough left to beat the hard-charging Manny (Chris Lems) by a diminishing neck in 1:53.1.

A blistering :26.2 second panel, which set up a :54 half for Missile J, wasn't what Morrill Jr. was hoping for, stating, "He was all wound up. He just wanted to go."

And go he did. Missile J tipped the timer in 1:23.1 to three-quarters, but was begging for the finish line.

"He was certainly tired at the end, especially with those fractions," Morrill Jr. said after the race.

Manny finished in second with JK Heaven Sent (Bongiorno) taking third.

Owned by Kj Stables LLC and the Purple Haze Stables and conditioned by Linda Toscano, Missile J (American Ideal-Cantors Daughter) earned his sixth win from 10 starts this season. The victory increased his seasonal earnings to $232,675. Missile J was unraced in 2015.

In the other NYSS division, Fine Diamond and Bongiorno sat back and watched the front end battle between Craftship (Morrill Jr.) and Bottom Deals (Lems). The speed duel did the pair in as Fine Diamond scooted down the passing lane to register the half-length decision. Craftship took the place position and Autotune Hanover (Dobson) was third.

"With Bottom Deals and Craftship pushing the fractions, it set it up pretty well for me," said Bongiorno. "Fine Diamond was excellent."

A Meadowlands regular, the 22-year-old Bongiorno said, "It's my first time here [at Buffalo Raceway] and it was a great experience."

The win was the fourth in six starts for Fine Diamond (Rock N Roll Hanover-Yellow Diamond). The decision pushed his seasonal bankroll to $63,635 and lifetime earnings to $209,145. He is trained by Ron Burke and owned by the Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi and the Panhellenic Stable.

In the Excelsior A Series, with each leg carrying a purse of $15,000, the winners were: Hash Tag Chrome (Sam Schillaci), Readysetletsroll (Billy Dobson) and Heres The Scoop (Morrill Jr.).

The non-betting Excelsior B Series race worth $6,200 went to Americanation (Dobson).

Wanna Rock N Roll (Lems) captured the $9,500 Open Pace for the filly and mares in 1:56.1 and returned $4.20.

(With files from Buffalo Raceway)


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