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YONKERS, NY, Saturday, September 14, 2019- Rock Diamonds N (Ron Cushing, $17.20) and Benhope Rulz N (Shaun Vallee) were a two-speed dance number Saturday night (Sept. 14th), the former winning Yonkers Raceway's $42,000 Open Handicap Pace. Rock Diamonds N, the Master of the Maritimes by virtue of his win in last month's Gold Cup & Saucer, had no issues in his first appearance since early summer. From post position No. 5, he cleared his four inside foes well before a 27-second opening quarter-mile. It was a rated :56.4 intermission, with Benhope Rulz N pocketed and San Domino A (catch-driver Dan Dube) offered a weak, first-up bid from third. Rock Diamonds N threw down a 27-second third quarter (1:23.4) to keep the wolves at bay, taking a length-and-quarter lead into the lane. He then held his pocket pursuer by that same margin in 1:51.3, with The Real One (Pat Lachance), 19-10 fave Micky Gee N (Jordan Stratton) and San Domino A settling for the minors. For fifth choice Rock Diamonds N, a 6-year-old Down Under Rocknroll Hanover gelding co-owned by his escort, Kevin Sywyk and Frank Ranaldi & trained by Heidi Gibbs, it was his eighth win in 18 seasonal starts The exacta paid $90, the triple returned $337.50 and the superfecta paid $1,237. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway  

YONKERS, NY, Harness Racing - It was a grinding Lispatty (Austin Siegelman, $33.80) who prevailed Friday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $42,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. Away an early fourth from post position No. 2, Lispatty improved one place when the 4-5 pole-sitting fave Kaitlyn N (Jason Bartlett) jumped it off. Alexa's Power (Jim Marohn Jr.) and Dibaba N (Eric Goodell) fronted the fray early, with the former leading through subsections of a 27-second flat opening quarter-mile and a :55.4 intermission. Lispatty was out and moving toward a 1:23.4 three-quarters, hooking Alexa's Power in and out of the final turn before putting that one away. Lispatty then held off the lass she towed into it, Angel's Pride (George Brennan), by three-quarters of a length in 1:52.3. Betterb Chevron N (Jordan Stratton), Dibaba N and 'Alexa' settled for the small change. For sixth choice Lispatty, a 6-year-old daughter of McArdle owned by Gilberto Garcia-Owen and trained by Gilberto Garcia-Herrera, it was her eighth win in 27 seasonal starts The exacta paid $156, the triple returned $1,125 and the superfecta paid $3,174. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, September 7, 2019- Favorites Eye ofa Tiger AS (Jason Bartlett, $3.90) and Theartofconfusion A (Austin Siegelman, $4.60) both prevailed Saturday night (Sept. 7th), winning Yonkers Raceway's $46,000 co-featured harness racing Open Handicaps. Eye ofa Tiger AS, assigned outside his seven rivals in the week's marquee trot, made the first lead. He then played leapfrog with Dayson (George Brennan) by a :28.1 opening quarter-mile. Eye ofa Tiger AS found a comfy :57.3 intermission and was moving toward a 1:26.1 three-quarters when Dayson jumped it off in the pocket, leaving the course. Eye ofa Tiger AS owned a length lead into the lane before holding off a ground-saving There'sademoninme (Eric Goodell) by three-quarters of a length in 1:55.1. New Heaven (Jim Marohn Jr.), Barry Black (Troy Beyer) and Fashion Creditor (Siegelman) settled for the minors. For Eye ofa Tiger AS, a 5-year-old statebred Chapter Seven gelding co-owned by ACL Stuteri AB & Kjell Johansson and trained by Anette Lorentzon, it was ninth win in 24 seasonal starts The exacta paid $17.40, the triple returned $57 and the superfecta paid $347.50. The weekly adult pace saw Theartofconfusion A, just removed from his all-age track record, dispose of five foes. From post position No. 4, he led through intervals of :28.2, :56.4, 1:23.4 and 1:51. Pole-assigned Benhope Rulz N (Shaun Vallee) completed a two-speed number at 47-1, with The Real One (Pat Lachance), San Domino A (Bartlett) and I'm Some Graduate (Brennan) picking off the remainder. Micky Gee N (Stratton) did not fire. For Theartofconfusion A, a 9-year-old Down Under Riverboat King gelding co-owned by (trainer) Gilberto Garcia-Herrera and Barbara & Donald Arnstine, it was his seventh win in 25 '19 tries. The exacta paid $61, the triple returned $165 and the superfecta paid $554. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway  

YONKERS, NY, Friday, September 6, 2019 - A from-last, favored Betterb Chevron N (Jordan Stratton, $4.80) prevailed in the late going Friday night (Sept, 6th), winning Yonkers Raceway's soggy harness racing $46,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. Away last-from post position No. 5-among the half-dozen (reduced after a defection), Betterb Chevron N saw Wisdom Tree (Jason Bartlett) and Reclamation alternate up front, the latter grabbing the lead before a :26.3 opening quarter-mile. It was a :55.3 intermission before D G's Elsa (Joe Bongiorno) make a weak bid from fourth. That forced Betterb Chevron N wide early before a 1:23.4 three-quarters. Reclamation owned a length lead in and out of the final turn. Wisdom Tree edged off the cones, about to win the battle but lose the war. Wisdom Tree picked off Reclamation, but could not stall the people's preference. Betterb Chevron N prevailed by a length in 1:53.2. Wisdom Tree did snatch second, with Reclamation, Lispatty (Austin Siegelman) and Angel's Pride (Brian Sears) settling the remainder. For Betterb Chevron N, a 6-year-old Down Under daughter of Bettor's Delight owned by William Hartt and trained by Lance Hudson, it was her eighth win in 21 seasonal starts The exacta paid $47, the triple returned $121 and the superfecta paid $347.50. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Thursday, September 5, 2019 - It was the Sweet 16th and final downstate Empire visit of the season Thursday night (Sept. 5th), with Yonkers Raceway hosting the $161,500 New York Sire Stakes Mike Cipriani Trot for harness racing 3-year-old fillies. All of 10 lasses entered, so a pair of $80,750 quintets comprised the event. The opener immediately had a different look when 1-10 favorite Quincy Blue Chip (Jim Morrill Jr.) jumped it off. That left pole-sitting Sensibility (Scott Zeron, $11.60) to her own devices, and she finished what she started (:28.4, :58.2, 1:27.2, 1:56.2). Stella Jane (Jason Bartlett) chased around the oval, missing a neck, with Pilgrim's Lass (Jim Marohn Jr.) third. For Sensibility, a daughter of Muscle Mass co-owned by (trainer) George Ducharme, W J Donovan, Joe Sbrocco and Jim Winske, it was his second win in 11 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $54.50, with neither triple nor superfecta wagering offered to the abbreviated number of starters. The second sire stakes event saw Winndevie (Bartlett, $2.30) get stung early by Sweet Chapter (Matt Kakaley) before making the lead and drawing out. From post position No. 5, she had no issues (:28.1, :58, 1:26.2, 1:55), the final margin 4½ length. Sweet Chapter finished more than seven lengths ahead of Gobi Princess (Jordan Stratton). For Winndevie, a Credit Winner miss owned by Purple Haze Stables and trained by Trond Smedshammer, it was her fourth win in 10 '19 tries. The exacta (two wagering choices) paid $4.40, again with neither triple nor superfecta wagering offered due to insufficient participants. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, September 3, 2019-Yonkers Raceway Tuesday night (Sept. 3rd) offered the $150,400 New York Sire Stakes Lew Barasch Trot for harness racing 2-year-old colts and geldings. Tuesday's event once again honored the memory of 'Tootie,' whose unmatched PR savvy in the golden age of the game helped make the nascent Roosevelt International Trot a happening. There were two divisions, including one off the card. Berkery J (Dave Miller), from the outside post position No. 5, sat pocketed to Barn Holden (Andy Miller) in the $74,500 non-bettor. Barn Holden led through intervals of :29, :59.2 and 1:28.3, taking a length-and-a-quarter lead into the lane. He couldn't stall his stalker, as Berkery J went right by, widening to a length-and-a-half in a life-best 1:57.3. Sky Castles (Charlie Norris) was a best-of-the-rest third, beating a pair of breakers. For Berkery J, a son of Chapter Seven owned by Ken Jacobs and trained by George Ducharme, it was his third win in eight seasonal starts. "He was a lot of fun," Dave Miller said. "He did it on his own." The $75,900 wagering division wound up quite formful as odds-on Chaptiama (Trond Smedshammer, $3.20) made the pole work for him (:29.2, :59.4, 1:29.1, 1:57). Bourbon Express (Jason Bartlett) chased the winner around the oval, beaten a length-and-a-quarter. Hobbs (Greg Merton) and Altus Hanover (Mike Simons) rounded out the gimmick finishers. For Chaptiama, a homebred Chapter Seven gelding trained by his driver for owner Purple Haze Stables, it was his second (consecutive) win in seven '19 tries. The exacta paid $6, the triple (three wagering favorites in order) paid $11 and the superfecta paid $49. "We train him with shoes, then take them of when he races, except for Monticello," Smedshammer said. "He's the shoeless wonder." New York Sire Stakes wrap for the downstate season Thursday night (Sept. 5th), with the $161,500 Mike Cipriani Trot for 3-year-old fillies. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway  

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, September 1, 2019--Yonkers Raceway's Saturday night (Aug. 31st) four-stakes program, which offered nearly $1.25 million in stakes purses alone, was well-received at the windows...real or electronic. The dozen-race Yonkers Trot/Messenger Stakes/Hudson Filly Trot/Lady Maud card had a total handle of $1,037,833. Note once again the Raceway is dark for the live racing Labor Day (Monday, Sept., 2nd), returning Tuesday night (Sept. 3rd) with the $150,400 New York Sire Stakes Lew Barasch Trot for the 2-year-old colts and geldings (one division off the card, one included in wagering card). Tuesday's program also includes a $10,000 guaranteed pool Pick 5 (50-cent base wager, races 7 through 11). Program pages accompany this release. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, August 31, 2019-It there was a better harness racing advertisement for New York-breds than the one Yonkers Raceway displayed Saturday night (Aug. 31st), one would be hard-pressed to find it. Odds-on favorite Gimpanzee (Brian Sears, $2.60) gave nothing else a chance in the 65th Yonkers Trot, dusting his seven foes in a track-record performance. From post position No. 4 in the $500,000 foray, Gimpanzee took the lead from 127-1 number Sheena's Boy before a 28-second opening quarter-mile. The early portion of the race included a pair of jumpers in Osterc (George Brennan) and Livinonthedash (Marcus Miller). While those two miscreants were leaving the course, Hambletonian winner Forbidden Trade (Bob McClure) was easing into a four-hole. That four-hole became a three-hole after Soul Strong (Dexter Dunn) broke. Meanwhile, Gimpanzee was all by his lonesome at the :56.4 half. Then, for good measure, he threw down a :56.4 back half, the result a 1:53.3, 4¼-length win in the second jewel of the Trotting Triple Crown. The mile was a track record for 3-year-old cots and the fastest Trot held here (Windsong's Legacy won the 2004 edition at Hawthorne in a stakes-record 1:53.1). Forbidden Trade, though no threat to the winner, was a credible, two-move second (in horse's and driver's first local appearance). A recovering Soul Strong was third, with 199-1 rank outsider No Drama Please (Jason Bartlett) and HL Revadon (Jim Marohn Jr.) moved up to fourth and fifth, respectively, after Sheena's Boy broke in a tiring pocket, disqualified from fourth to sixth. Osterc and Livinonthedash rounded out the order. For newly-minted millionaire Gimpanzee, a statebred son of Chapter Seven co-owned by Courant Inc. and S R F Stable, it was his fifth win in seven seasonal starts (career 14-for-26, $1,145,996) The exacta paid $8.50, the triple returned $18 and the superfecta paid $269. Gimpanzee has won all five of his Westchester starts, while Sears won his fourth Yonkers Trot. "All the credit to Marcus (Melander) and his outfit," Sears said. "He's been a total pro from the first time I sat behind him, just so mature and he was ready tonight. It's just a pleasure to be a part of it." "When the draw came out, I knew it was his race to lose," Melander said of the defending statebred and overall divisional champion. He's been great on a half (-mile track). "He lays down in the turns over like a motorcycle. "This is an amazing race to win and I don't think there is a better 3-year-old on a half-mile track and I think he showed it tonight." A race later, the half-million-dollar 64th Messenger Stakes found American Mercury (Tyler Buter, $16.20) finding room inside and picking off 1-20 favorite Bettor's Wish (Dexter Dunn) in 1:51.3. Pole-sitting Bettor's Wish, as expected, left the gate, while American Mercury-from post No. 3-stepped around Branquinho (Ray Schnittker) and into an early pocket. They weren't going that much (:27., :55.3), not even when U S Captain (Bartlett) moved from fourth. That one did draw alongside Bettor's Wish, however, in a modest 28-second (1:23.3) third quarter. That left Buter with a decision...swing off the cones or hope to find room inside. Bettor's Wish-the lone $30,000 supplemental entrant into the race-owned a length lead into the lane, gradually disposing of U S Captain. A patient American Mercury was loaded, though, needing a path to ply his craft. He was obliged when Bettor's Wish bore out and the pursuer took down the prohibitive fave, winning the second jewel of the Pacing Triple Crown by a head. U S Captain was third, with Branquinho and Escapetothebeach (Corey Callahan) grabbing the minors. Waterway (Joe Bongiorno), Aflame Hanover (Sears) and Reigning Deo (George Brennan) brought up the rear. American Mercury (No.3) picking off 1-20 favorite Bettor’s Wish (Dexter Dunn)   --Mike Lizzi photo It was the first Triple Crown win of Buter's career. For second choice American Mercury, a soph Empire-bred American Ideal gelding co-owned by Crawford Racing, Northfork Racing, Chuck Pompey & Scott Bice and trained by Chris Oakes, it was his seventh win in 10 '19 tries. The exacta paid $22, the triple returned $57.50 and the superfecta paid $308.50. "He was super-sharp coming into the race," Buter said. "First and foremost, I owe [trainer] Chris [Oakes] a big thank you for giving me a shot on this horse. It's been a fun ride all summer, driving him and traveling New York. He definitely came through tonight and showed everybody what he can do. "I came off Dexter (Dunn)'s helmet there and he kicked on the gas. I think that might have been the winning move, because if I stayed there, Dexter was probably going to back into me as much as he could. So then, as soon as I was off his helmet, Dexter stepped on the gas, and I was able to get back down the inside and find a little room late, and it worked out" Asked when the 'switch went on' for American Mercury, Oakes offered, "When I gelded him. He was kind of a big, growthy 2-year-old. He had a lot of ability; we loved him training down, and quite honestly wasn't quite as good as I thought he would be at 2, even though he raced some pretty good miles. Bringing him back at three, he was training good, but I just thought he'd probably be more focused, mentally, for racing, as a gelding. We made that decision and I honestly believe it helped him a lot. "He means business now."   by Frank Drucker for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, August 31, 2019--It was an loud Saturday night (Aug. 31st) exclamation point after the stakes portion of Yonkers Raceway Triple Crown harness racing program. Theartofconfusion A (Austin Siegelman, $8.30) rewrote the local track record books to the tune of 1:49.3, Yonkers Raceway's first-ever sub-1:50 mile. From post position No. 4 in the $30,000, 11th-race pace, Theartofconfusion A ('I just let him roll,' Siegelman said) gave nothing else a shot. The confirmed off-the-pace number this night plowed through intervals of :26.2, :54.2 and 1:21.3. His lead increased from 2½ lengths at the half to five lengths at the three-quarters to six lengths in and out of the final turn. The final margin was an obscene 10 lengths, taking two-fifths of a second off the previous Westchester record held in thirds by The Real One (Pat Lachance, 2016). Tequila Monday (Matt Kakaley, this past June) and American History (Joe Bongiorno, a week ago Saturday). Mach N Cheese (Eric Goodell) was a more-than-distant second as the 4-5 favorite, while Fine Diamond (George Brennan) and Elwell (Jim Marohn Jr.) rounded out the gimmick finishers.                                                                                            --Mike Lizzi photo For second choice Theartofconfusion A, a 9-year-old Down Under Riverboat King gelding co-owned by (trainer) Gilberto Garcia-Herrera and Barbara & Donald Arnstine, it was his sixth win in 25 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $18.60, the triple returned $297 and the superfecta paid $1,279.   by Frank Drucker for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, August 31, 2019-Golden Tricks (Andy Miller, $17.20) inherited the pocket, then snapped 9-10 favorite Quincy Blue Chip (Jim Morrill Jr.) at the wire Saturday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $124,334 Hudson Filly Trot for harness racing 3-year-olds. A race later, odds-on Trillions Hanover (George Brennan, $2.80) whipped four rivals first-up from last in the $122,224 Lady Maud for 3-year-old pacing fillies. Golden Tricks, from post position No. 3, was actually the first leader before yielding to Starita (Dexter Dunn). The latter jumped it off in the second turn after a :28.2 opening quarter-mile. While Starita was misbehaving, Quincy Blue Chip was out and moving, making the lead before a 57-second intermission. It was a seemingly-sensible 1:27.3 three-quarters after minimal grief from 70-1 Magical Beliefs (Brian Sears). Quincy Blue Chip had a comfortable length-and-a-half lead into the lane, but Golden Tricks methodically wore her down. Golden Tricks stuck her tongue out of the money in 1:56. Starita was a recovering third, with Magical Beliefs hanging around for fourth. For third choice Golden Tricks, daughter of Trixton owned by Brixton Medical and trained by Ake Svanstedt, it was her fourth win in 10 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $60.50, the triple returned $91 and the superfecta paid $489. "I tried to keep her quiet," Miller said after his first drive behind Golden Tricks. The lass had made a Zweig (Vernon) break in her last start. Ake (Svanstedt) said she warmed up good and she felt very good As for Trillions Hanover, who has been knocking hooves with the best in her division all season, a first career half-mile oval appearance wasn't pretty, but it was effective. From post No. 4, she was unhurried, beating no one early in the field that was reduced to a quintet. Bestseller Hanover (Jason Bartlett) made the lead and put up subsections of :27.3; :57.1; and 1:24.4. The speedy third quarter was when Trillions Hanover came to visit. The latter went by early in the lane, defeating a pocketed JK American Beauty (Jordan Stratton) by a length. Bestseller Hanover did hold off a second-over Blue Ivy (Tyler Buter) for third. For Trillions Hanover, a Somebeachsomewhere miss trained by Tom Fanning for co-owners VIP Internet Stable, Falcon Racing & Paul Lang, it was her third win in a dozen '19 tries. The exacta paid $10, with triple and superfecta wagering scrapped due to the abbreviated assemblage. Trillions Hanover                                                          --Mike Lizzi photo "She tries hard, which is something I can't always say about the fillies," Fanning said. "I was worried about the turns, but she hung in there."   by Frank Drucker for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Friday, August 30, 2019-- A shocking rerun, as Feelin' Red Hot (George Brennan, $8.20) successfully authored another down-the-road triumph Friday night (Aug. 30th), winning Yonkers Raceway's $46,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. Assigned outside her seven foes, Feelin' Red Hot pole-vaulted over all of 'em, working around 3-5 favorite Alexa's Power Jason Bartlett) before a 27-second opening quarter-mile. After a :55.4 intermission, Dibaba N (Eric Goodell) tried it meekly first-up from fifth. Meanwhile, Feelin' Red Hot rolled in and out of a 1:23.1 three-quarters. Taking a length-and-a-half lead into the lane, she held off Alexa's Power, winning by a length-and-a-quarter in a season's-best 1:50.4. D G's Elsa (Joe Bongiorno) was a best-of-the-rest three-hole third, with Dibaba N and Safe from Terror (Jim Marohn Jr.) settling for the remainder. For second choice Feelin' Red Hot, a 6-year-old daughter of Feelin' Friskie co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke and Weaver Bruscemi, it was her 12th win in 27 seasonal starts The exacta paid $16.40, the triple returned $71.50 and the superfecta paid $289.50. Saturday night (Aug. 31st) is one of the Raceway's marquee programs of the season, featuring the 64th Yonkers Trot and 65th Messenger Stakes, both Triple Crown events and both worth $500,000. Companion events--the Hudson Filly Trot and Lady Maud--each go for more than $120,000. Post time for the dozen-race card is the usual 6:50 PM, with the featured going as races 4 through 7. The Raceway opens for simulcasting Saturday at 11:30 AM in advance of Gulfstream Park's early post time of 12:15 PM. Note that Saratoga Race Course's final weekend has a first post of 12:30 PM through Labor Day (Monday, Sept. 2nd). by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Thursday, August 29, 2019--Yonkers Raceway Thursday night (Aug. 29th) hosted the $161,500 New York Sire Stakes Bruce Hamilton Pace for 3-year-old colts and geldings. The event once again honored the memory one of the state's true get-it-done gentlemen, the long-time Executive Secretary of the Harness Horse Breeders of New York whose contributions to the industry were way too numerous to mention here. Although only of the $80,750 divisions was bettable, both winners were quite logical. The pre-card quintet was led by Hickfromfrenchlick (Matt Kakaley), disposing of his four inside rivals in 1:52.4. Taking over from Major Blake (Jason Bartlett), Hickfromfrenchlick threw down intervals of :27.1, :56.1 and 1:24.4 before the final maker. He defeated a misbehaved-early Artie's Ideal (Marcus Miller) by a half-length, with Major Blake third. Respect Our Flag (Joe Bongiorno) and Bicorne Hanover (George Brennan) were the stragglers. For Hickfromfrenchlick, a son of So Surreal co-owned by (trainer) Ray Schnittker, Nolamaura Racing and Thomas Spatarico, it was his seventh wins (with two seconds and a third) in 10 seasonal starts ($275,886). Last season's Sheppard winner here is now 11-for-17 lifetime, "Use whatever word you want about him," Kakaley said. "Fast, gusty, handy." Pole-sitting Rollwithpapajoe (Bongiorno, $5.80) finished what he started (:28., :57.4, 1:25.1, 1:53) a few races later. Covered Bridge (Brian Sears) chased from the pocket, missing a length-and-three-quarters, while 13-10 fave Major March (Bartlett) was a two-move third. Dealer's Table (Jordan Stratton) and Melodie's Major (Tyler Buter) brought up the rear. For 'Papajoe,' a Roll With Joe gelding co-owned by Barbara Bongiorno Stable, Bill Lambos & Dionisios Liberatos and trained by Jennifer Bongiorno, it was his fifth win in 15 ' 19 starts. The exacta paid $13, with neither triple nor superfecta wagering offered. "He has such quick speed that he can put himself in good spots," driver Bonorno said. If the sire stakes results were quite predictable, they weren't nearly the 'free space' of It's Rigged (Buter). That one had things--and the oval --all to himself, walking over a bottom-level statebred Excelsior event in 1:56.4. Thursday night's Pick 5 wager, which began with a $8,292.11 carryover and $20,000 guaranteed pool, found $32,054 of new cash. The winning combination of 6/1/3/1/5 paid $72.50 for each correct half-dollar ticket. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Thursday, August 29, 2019--Here's one that can't lose...guaranteed or your non-wagering money cheerfully refunded. Yonkers Raceway Thursday night (Aug. 29th) hosts a good, old-fashioned walkover. The 3-year-old pacing gelding It's Rigged (punchline optional) has the honors at about 5:30 PM in a $6,100 New York Sire Stakes Excelsior 'B' event. Tyler Buter, who began the day at 3,209 career wins, is reasonably certain to get another one. It's Rigged, a homebred Riggins gelding, enters with three wins and four seconds in his nine seasonal starts ($13,100). He's owned by Last Hurrah Stable and trained by Eldo Leonelli. Ironically, it's the second consecutive season the Raceway has hosted a walkover. The 3-year-old statebred pacing filly Windsun Magnolia and Jim Marohn Jr. made it look easy last September, disposing of her no rivals in a life-best 1:58. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Wednesday, August 28, 2019- Of the dozen 3-year-olds who entered this season's Messenger Stakes, four were trained by Tony Alagna. Students of history should not have been surprised, as Alagna has come within a dirty nose of winning Yonkers Raceway's second jewel of the harness racing Pacing Triple Crown four years in a row. In 2015, Revenge Shark (Yannick Gingras) won a three-horse photo, upsetting in the Messenger at odds of 9-1. By contrast, in 2016, Racing Hill (Brett Miller), in the midst of a $1.5 million season, fooled no one (we checked), winning this race at five-cents-on-the-dollar. In 2017, 22-1 Art Scene (Jordan Stratton) closed inside, running out of racetrack against another 1-20 winner in Downbytheseaside. Last season, Stay Hungry (Doug McNair) outgamed Jimmy Freight in what was essentially a match race. "(The Messenger) is a race that's very important to us," Alagna said from Lexington, KY. "Obviously, you have to be lucky, but also versatile and quick off the gate." Of Alagna's barbershop quartet for this season's 64th edition, three advanced to Saturday night's (Aug. 31st) half-million-dollar final...though not necessarily the one the trainer figured. "I thought Captain Trevor was our best chance, but he didn't race well (last in his elim)," Alagna said. He scoped sick and we're not sure why-maybe the shipping-but that's horse racing. We just move on." Alagna is 'moving on' with U S Captain (Jason Bartlett, post 4), Waterway (Joe Bongiorno, post 6) and Escapetothebeach (Corey Callahan, post 7). The trainer opined about the trio. " U S Captain raced very well last week (second to Aflame Hanover). It looked to me as if he lost some momentum getting jammed up behind the leader (eventual winner). "Waterway (third to Aflame Hanover) seemed to be doing his pacing at the wire, which is all you can ask. Last season, he paced in (1):50 and 1 and won the consolation of the Kentucky Sire Stakes (Red Mile), so we thought he'd come back a bit better, but he gets around Yonkers very well. "Escapetothebeach came first-up against Bettor's Wish (finishing third), and that's been the story of his season. He's had some bad posts and bad trips, but I think he's had a really good season." U S Captain and Waterway both entered the Messenger off local overnight wins, a fact that wasn't lost on Alagna. "We wanted to try them there with the Messenger in mind," Alagna said. As for the three-head monster looking to take down pole-sitting behemoth Bettor's Wish, "They came out of last week well and are coming into the final training well. "I'm looking forward to it." The Messenger goes as the seventh of Yonkers' dozen Saturday races, the card also featuring the 65th Yonkers Trot ($500,000) as the sixth race, $124,334 Hudson Filly Trot (4th race) and $122,224 Lady Maud (5th race). Those program pages accompany this release. First post is the usual 6:50 PM. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Wednesday, August 28, 2019-Yonkers Raceway has pushed up its harness racing entry box closing this Monday (Labor Day, Sept. 2nd) to 9 AM, instead of the usual 3:30 PM. There's no holiday live racing, hence the early closing. It's a double-draw box for the Friday/Saturday (Sept. 6th/7th) programs. For more information, please contact the race office at (914) 457-2627. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway  

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, August 27, 2019--George Brennan doesn't get his mail delivered to the Westchester harness racing winner's circle. Lately, it's just seemed that way. This past Friday night (Aug. 23rd), Brennan won half of Yonkers Raceway's dozen races. That was child's play. Tuesday night (Aug. 27th), Brennan turned 6-for-12 into 7-for-11, as is one more win with one fewer race. Brennan's night's began with a chalky $6.40 early double when Wild West ($2.80) won the $13,500 pacing opener (1:54.1) and Bigboy Rosco ($4.50) won the $18,500, second-race trot (1:56.1). Win Nos. 3 and 4 were also short wagering reaches as Birch Island Betty ($3.40) took down the $18,500, fourth-race pace (1:53.2) and JK Heaven Sent ($3.90) won the $18,500, sixth-race pace (1:54). Brennan then fooled the public--twice--winning the $13,500, seventh-race pace with Reach for Infinity ($10.60) in 1:54.1 and the $24,000, eighth-race pace with Badix Hanover ($47) in 1:58.3 for the mile-and-one-sixteenth. He ended the evening ripping out of the $18,500, 11th-race pacing pocket with favored Sunken Treasure ($4.60) in 1:53.1. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

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