by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- A reunion, a rivalry or just a plain old fashioned get-together. Whatever you want to call it, three finalists in the 2021 New York Sire Stakes in the 2-year-old colt and gelding pacing finals will renew acquaintances on Wednesday afternoon (June 1) at Buffalo Raceway in the $60,300 first division of the traveling event.
The rematch takes place in the fourth race as 2021 2-year-old NYSS pacing champion JD starts his drive for a repeat but will have to deal with Forrest Blu and Pleaseletmeknow who finished in second and fifth respectively in the finale at Yonkers. The boys have grown up more and they collide for the first time in 2022 in hopes of earning a spot in the 3-year-old pacing division title race.
JD captured the title last year by rallying late to nip the pace setting Forrest Blu by a neck in 1:55.2. Pleaseletmeknow was just 2-1/4 lengths behind at the finish to collect the fifth place check.
Thus far this season, JD (So Surreal-Park N Orchard) has two starts with one being a disqualification victory in the W.N. Reynolds Stakes at Yonkers on May 6. A winner of $168,866 lifetime, JD drew the seven hole and will have Mark MacDonald in the bike.
Forrest Blu, the runner up to JD last season in the finals, appeared to have won the crown but faltered late in the stretch and had to settle for second place. He was out of the money once in nine races in 2021 and arrives with just a single start thus far this year, that being a fourth place finish in a conditioned event at Pocono on May 21. 
A winner of $120,686 thus far in his career. Forrest Blu (Roll With Joe-Lima Fairest) drew the two position on the starting grid and will have Tyler Buter guiding him on the Hamburg half mile oval.
Pleaseletmeknow (American Ideal-I Said Please) is the other entry that competed in last season's NYSS. He was steady for most of the mile until late in the race but still collected the fifth place check. A winner of $144,822 lifetime, Pleaseletmeknow has the four hole with Matt Kakaley driving.
The remainder of the first bracket includes Shake It (Jim Morrill Jr.), Blue Collar Man (Dan Daley), Roll With The Flow (Keith Kash Jr.), Heavens Secret (Marcus Miller) and Dinner Party (Drew Monti).
While the first division looks solid from top to bottom, the other $60,300 leg, slated for the sixth race, has eight gentlemen trying to build up their resumes.
Bounty Hunter (Huntsville-Stonebridge Sundae) is the top money winner with a bankroll of $75,829. Ironically, he had nine starts in 2021 with seven second place finishes and one third. He did break into the win column, however, in his last try, a 1-3/4 length decision in 1:55 at Harrah's Philadelphia on May 20. Bounty Hunter will start from the seven hole with Morrill Jr. aboard.
Shakertown is a major danger as well. Finishing in the money nine times in 10 outings last season including two victories, he earned $65,075 in his freshman campaign. Shakertown has the six spot and will be steered by Kevin Cummings).
The rest of the field includes Sir Real Games (Monti), American Zestar (Kakaley), Top Genius (Buter), Te Amo Blue Chip (MacDonald), Crack A Smile (Kyle Cummings) and Seven Hundred (Marcus Miller).
There's some tough track records the boys will be trying to erase. The 3-year-old colt pacing mark is 1:52.3 established by Steelhead Hanover in 2012 while the gelding record is 1:51.4 set in 2018 by Hitman Hill.
There's a pair of $15,000 Excelsior Series A races on tap going off as the fifth and seventh events on the 10-race program. Post time is 1:30 p.m.
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