'Sassa' & Morrill Jr. Headline NYSS

Even though the overwhelming majority of the two-year-old pacing fillies in the $110,000 New York Sire Stakes were making their first pari-mutuel starts on Friday, they raced like veterans.

Sassa Hanover, a daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven, turned in the fastest mile of the evening when Jimmy Morrill Jr. guided her to a gate-to-wire two-length triumph in a time of 1:56.3 at Monticello Raceway.

It turned out to be the Jimmy Morrill Jr. show as the talented reinsman also scored victories with Bettor N Better in 1:58 and Band Of Angels in 1:58.3. Mike Lachance won the other NYSS division with Shes Heavenly in 1:57.3.

But the star of the show was undoubtedly Sassa Hanover, who is trained by Ron Burke. Undefeated in her two previous baby races over the mile oval at Gaitway Farm, Morrill sent the filly to the lead from the seven-hole as the gate sprung and they took command as they rounded the first turn and sped by the first stanza in :29.

They were two lengths in front as they passed the halfway point in :59.1 and up the backside Morrill let out a notch and Sassa Hanover zoomed by the three-quarters in 1:28.2.

As they rounded the final turn, Zeke Parker rallied Mosquito Blue Chip from far back and challenged the leader, but Sassa Hanover kicked in a :28.1 final quarter and was a solid two-length winner over Parker’s filly in 1:56.3.

“I’ve been waiting for her all night,” Morrill said of Sassa Hanover, who was in the 10th and final race on the card. “I love this filly. She’s big and strong and surprisingly well-mannered [for a youngster]. Believe me, she’s the real deal.”

Owned by Burke Racing, Panhellenic Stable and Weaver Buscemi, Sassa Hanover paid $6.30 for win.

Morrill’s first victory came with another Burke trainee when he sat the pocket and rallied to victory down the passing lane to score with Band Of Angels, another daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven. But a :28.2 last quarter was needed for the neck triumph over Zip Code Envy, driven by Mark MacDonald. Band Of Angels is owned by W. J. Donovan and returned a $5.80 win mutuel.

Morrill also scored with the good-looking Bettor Delight filly, Bettor N Better. After gaining command at the quarter in :29.1, Morrill yielded the lead and waited patiently in fourth position as he searched for daylight. When the field headed for home, Morrill found room on the inside and rallied the filly to a one length victory over Heavens Legacy and driver Brent Holland. The victory gave Burke his third training win on the card. Bettor N Better is owned by Blue Chip Bloodstock and Our Horse Cents Stable. She paid $4.70 for win.

Lachance and Shes Heavenly made a laughter out of their division as they romped to an easy wire-to-wire five-length triumph over Fan Mail and Morrill Jr. Shes Heavenly is owned and trained by Bob Horowitz. She paid $3.10 for win.

(With files from Monticello Raceway)