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YONKERS, NY, Wednesday, January 17, 2018 — Yonkers Raceway ‘s Sunday (Jan. 21st) harness racing shall offer a first post of 11:30 AM. Races 1 through 7 (post time 2:30 PM) go as overflow-field, added-distance ‘French’ trots. Final post time for the 12-race card is 4:10 PM. Note that the sequence for Sunday’s ‘New York, New York Double’ is again Aqueduct’s third race (post time 1:20 PM) and Yonkers’ fifth race (post time 1:30 PM). Program pages sent when available.    Yonkers’ January schedule includes all Sundays (remaining one post time TBA), along with Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday evenings (post time 6:50 PM). Again, all dates are pending approval of the New York State Gaming Commission.  Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, January 14, 2018 — Put Foiled Again together with Run and Tell Pap and you get a 25-year-old harness racing gelding. Well, not quite, but… While the exploits of 14-year-old pacer Foiled Again—he of the 99 career wins and sport’s-best $7.6 million lifetime bankroll—have been well-documented by any number of authors (including this one), trotter Run and Tell Pap also just keeps on keepin’ on. The 11-year-old son of High Falls pounced from the pocket at a $19 mutuel Sunday afternoon (Jan. 14th). From post position No. 4, he won the $20,000, sixth race by a neck in 2:30.1 for the mile-and-a-quarter distance. ‘Pap,’ acquired by co-owners (as Burke Racing, trainer) Ron Burke and Weaver Bruscemi in late November, stalked Jacks to Open (Matt Kakaley) around the oval, then picked him off late. Run and Tell Pap, who makes his living as an optional $20,000 claimer, has ‘only’ 68 career wins in 233 starts to go along with more than $766,000 in earnings. He’s compiled four, six-figure purse seasons, including one as a 2-year-old and one a season ago at 10. What these two grizzled vets have in common, besides being Burke stablemates and winning here the past two days, is one George Brennan. “This trotter (Run and Tell Pap) seems as if can do go all day,” Brennan said. “I thought he was good last week (first-up before tiring), but his hopples seemed a bit tight. Today, I just moved my bike a bit closer to him and no problem.” As far any trade secrets to driving the geriatric geldings, Brennan deferred. “None. They’re just pros,” he said. “I mean Foiled Again last (Saturday) night, gets a bit lazy on the front end, then sees another horse and he knows what to do.” With 167 wins between the two of them, they know exactly what to do. Frank Drucker  

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, January 13, 2018 — As harness racing driver George Brennan succinctly said, “What can I say?”  Brennan spoke of Foiled Again beginning his final racing season with his 99th career victory Saturday night (Jan. 13th), highlighting Yonkers Raceway’s 11-race soiree. The sport’s richest horse added to his $7.5 million retirement account with a hard-earned, half-length victory. Quarter-moving to the lead from post position No. 3 in the $20,000, fourth-race pace, even-money favorite Foiled Again ($4) took a lot of first-up heat from All Down the Line (Eric Goodell). In start No. 304, Foiled Again won that back-half battle, prevailing by a half-length in 1:55. The 14-year-old Dragon Again gelding, co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke, Weaver Bruscemi and JJK Stables, improved the bankroll to $7,606,857. Informed this was indeed Foiled Again’s 99th win, Brennan said, “I’m reasonably sure he gets to 100.” Saturday night’s featured $40,000 Open Pace saw Thisjetsabookin’ (Jordan Stratton, $18.40) rebuff 3-5 fave Gokudo Hanover (Matt Kakaley) at the quarter, then finish it off. From post No. 5 in the half-dozen, Thisjetsabookin’ (:27, :56.3, 1:25, 1:53.3) held off the odds-on choice by a half-length, with Killer Martini (Brent Holland) third. For fourth choice Thisjetsabookin’, a 6-year-old Jereme’s Jet owned by William Emmons and trained by William Adamczyk, it was his third win in the last six tries dating to early November. The exacta paid $46, with the triple returning $119. Reminder the Raceway offers another ‘French’ Sunday (Jan. 14th), with a first post of 11:30 AM. Foiled Again in 99th win Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Friday, January 12, 2018 — Odds-on Sally Fletcher A (Jason Bartlett, $2.70) was saved by the wire Friday night (Jan. 12th), winning Yonkers Raceway’s first-of-the-season harness racing $40,000 Filly and Mare Open Pace. The auto-drawn field of seven traversed the rain and the wind and the fog, with Sally Fletcher A—from post position No. 2—wanting no part of an early seat. The people’s preference worked around polester Scandalicious (Matt Kakaley), making the lead just after a :27.1 opening quarter-mile. It was a :56.4 intermission when Best of Jenna (Dan Dube) took out of third. She was chugging along toward a 1:25 three-quarters, never getting that close to the leader. Sally Fletcher A owned a length-and-a-quarter lead into the lane, but she wasn’t out of the wet woods. Scandalicious edged from the pocket, while a ground-saving Sell a Bit N (Jordan Stratton) moved crisply along the cones.  However, Sally Fletcher A did get the line when she needed it, nipping Sell a Bit N by a head in 1:55. Scandalicious was photoed for second, while Sassa Hanover (George Brennan) and Truth and Liberty (Greg Merton) rounded out the payees.  For Sally Fletcher A, a 5-year-old Down Under daughter of American Ideal owned by Blindswitch Racing Stable and trained by Al Annunziata, her local and 2018 debut was a fifth win in six North American tries. The exacta paid $26.20, with the triple returning $90. Friday’s Pick 5, buoyed by a double carryover in excess of $15,000 ($15,113.25, to be exact) and a $40,000 guaranteed pool, attracted $44,637 of fresh lettuce. After new-money takeout, an approximate pool of $48,591 was divvied up. The winning combination of 1-2-3-1-1 returned $759 for each correct half-a-buck wager. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Thursday, January 11, 2018 -- Yonkers Raceway's Friday evening (Jan. 12th) Pick 5 harness racing wager starts with a double carryover of $15,113.25 as well as a $40,000 guaranteed pool. The 'instant' guarantee is in conjunction with the U-S Trotting Association's Strategic Wagering Program. The Pick 5 is a 50-cent base wager comprising races 7 through 11 during every racing card. It has no consolation payoff, meaning if no one selects all five winners (as was the case Monday and Tuesday nights), the entire pool (minus takeout) moves to the next racing program. Friday's full-card program is available through Empire City's entries/results page at webfiles.yonkersraceway.com/racing/programs/fri_program.pdf, while Pick 5 program pages are available at trackmaster.com/freeContent/usta/freeContentFiles/hpl/yrx0112x.pdf. For further information, visit handicapping.ustrotting.com. A reminder that first post for all evening programs is now 6:50 PM. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, January 7, 2018 — Today’s tome is entitled ‘Passing Thoughts About No Passing Lane.’ Yonkers Raceway began its 2018 harness racing season Sunday (Jan. 7th) by closing down the open stretch. A nippy, see-their-breath, late-morning pacing opener served as the guinea pig for the new layout.   Precursor to the seven ‘French’ trots, it was a tight-photo win by a first-up Union Man Hanover (Matt Kakaley, $14.20) in 1:57.3.  Thus, Kakaley became the perfect initial candidate to discuss the new layout. “I probably would have waited a bit longer (moving from third) with the passing lane,” he said. “I wanted to make sure I was out there. I think first-over is going to be more advantageous now, but it was just one race.” Kakaley ended up with four winners during the 12-race card. One obvious observation was the pocket-sitting Scarlet Chaser (Jordan Stratton) extricating himself from the cones, slipping out to race second-over early in the final turn. “(Scarlet Chaser) won in the passing lane his last start, but that wasn’t an option here,” Stratton said. “I was able to move him outside and he raced well. The new rules are in place, and we’ll figure it out. “It is what it is.”  “There are going to be some strategy changes, that’s for sure,” Brent Holland said. “Sitting the two-hole may not always be a good spot,” he said after getting shuffled out when the leader tired in day’s trotting feature. “It didn’t work out for me.” The last word for the first day went to six-time local driving champ Jason Bartlett. “It certainly makes things different,” Bartlett said. “It’s hard to say how much, because you have to see how each race unfolds. We just have to try to put the horse in the best position.” Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, January 7, 2018 — Yonkers Raceway took the bow off its 2018 harness racing season Sunday (Jan. 7th), with lone lass Consolidator (catch-driver Jim Marohn Jr., $16.60) winning a chilly $50,000 Open Handicap Trot. Originally drawn with nine entrants, the field was pared to seven after the eight-hole (Melady’s Monet, sick) and nine-hole (Tight Lines, weather) assignees were scratched. Consolidator, from post position No. 4, worked out a third-over trip.  She set it up after Mostinterestingman  (Brent Holland) stuffed Money Maven (Yannick Gingras) into the pocket before eventually yielding to  9-10 choice Cash Me Out (Eric Goodell). All this took place through early intervals of :29.4, 1:00 and 1:30.2. Money Maven then made his second move, going right at Cash Me Out at the 1:59.3 milepost. A second-up Luminosity (George Brennan) wasn’t the  problem, but Consolidator was. She closed fastest, picking off Money Maven by a head while getting the mile-and-a-quarter in 2:29. Cash Me Out faded to third, with Home’n Dry (Matt Kakaley) and Luminosity settling for the remainder. A casualty of the demise of the passing lane was Mostinterestingman, pocketed behind a tiring leader and ending up sixth (sidebar story a bit later). For fourth choice Consolidator, a now-5-year-old daughter of Triumphant Caviar co-owned (as Allard Racing) by (trainer) Rene Allard, Bruce Soulsby, Laura Baker and Alan Weisenberg, the winning ’18 debut pushed her career earnings over $488,000. The exacta paid $79.50, with triple returned $256.50. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Friday, January 5, 2018—Yonkers Raceway’s 2018 live harness racing season begins Sunday (Jan. 7th), doing so without the passing lane. With approval of the New York State Gaming Commission, track superintendent Ed Ryan and his crew did the job of moving the homestretch pylons back to whence they came many moons ago. “We did this to produce earlier movement and make the races more exciting,” Raceway COO Bob Galterio said. “It should eliminate horses sitting in and change the strategy for both drivers and handicappers.  “This is something our fans have requested, and we appreciate the cooperation of the horsemen and the Gaming Commission in allowing this to happen. We encourage everyone to take a look at our product, and feedback is always welcome.” A reminder that Sunday’s live card begins at 11:30 AM, with Monday (Jan. 8th) ushering in an earlier evening first post of 6:50 PM. That earlier first post goes for all night programs, which in January are Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday. Post times for the remaining Sundays are TBA. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Thursday, January 4, 2018—Yonkers Raceway begins its 238 harness racing program, 2018 live season this Sunday (Jan. 7th) at 11:30 AM, but Monday (Jan. 8th) starts a new evening post time. First nighttime post for the outset of the season shall now be 6:50 PM, 20 minutes earlier than the previous norm. January finds four evenings (Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday) affected by the change, which was approved by the New York State Gaming Commission. Live racing continues Sundays throughout the month, with those remaining post times all TBA.  A couple of other notes… 1-With Aqueduct having cancelled its racing through Sunday (Jan 7th), the first scheduled 2018 installment of the ‘New York, New York Double’ has been nixed. We shall give it a shot a week from Sunday (Jan. 14th), with the comprised races obviously TBA as of now. 2-Yonkers has scrapped its Friday (Jan. 5th) simulcasting, due to any number of weather-related cancellations. Daytime simulcasting is scheduled to resume Saturday (Jan. 6th), with updates as needed.  Note that evening simulcasting returns during Yonkers’ first night program of the season (Monday, Jan. 8th).   Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Wednesday, December 20, 2017—Newly-appointed Yonkers Raceway director of racing Cammie Haughton met with the Raceway’s drivers prior to last Saturday’s (Dec. 16th) harness racing program. The hour-long meeting included many subjects, all designed to improve the product and thus, increase handle. “I spoke with the drivers about making the racing more exciting and competitive,” Haughton said. “More movement and no more holes, which should eliminate slow quarters. That’s the first thing I want to see.” Other areas addressed including having Yonkers’ off times away from other tracks, improving the track’s video and graphics presentation. Also, perhaps changing to staggered starting gate with more of a ‘slant’ than the one currently in use, giving outside-drawing horses a better chance. There are also plans to improve Empire City Bets, the Raceway’s ADW portal.     “Everyone I’ve spoken with is on the same page,” Haughton said. “They understand Yonkers has the best harness product, and they want to put out of the best possible presentation.” The 2018 season, which is scheduled to begin with a Sunday, Jan. 7th matinee (post time TBA, dates pending approval the New York State Gaming Commission), may also find Yonkers doing away with the passing lane (requested and pending NYSGC approval). “The elimination of the passing lane and more aggressive driving are going to make racing better,” Haughton said. “The purse money is too good for the racing not to be contested at the highest level. Management expects it and our fans expect it.” “We appreciate the continued support of our racing patrons, both on- and off-track, and Yonkers welcomes their feedback as we get ready for 2018,” Raceway COO Bob Galterio said.   Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Wednesday, December 20, 2017—The B’s had it in Westchester 2017, with Jason Bartlett and Richard Banca winning Yonkers Raceway’s harness racing driver and trainer titles, respectively. The 235-program season (three postponements), which concluded this past Sunday (Dec. 17th), saw Bartlett roll along to a seventh local title. The 36-year-old Bartlett, originally from Augusta, ME, was both the winningest (542) and busiest (2,635) driver, winning at a 22.9 a percent clip. His $10.4 million in purses also led the list. Jordan Stratton ascended to second with 378 wins and $8.3 million in purses, with the top five win list completed by George Brennan (327), Brent Holland (214) and Dan Dube (182). Banca, a 42-year-old native of Paterson, NJ, sent out 187 winners, 36 more last season’s leading trainer, Rene Allard. Banca also led with 986 starters (19 percent winning percentage) and purses ($4.01 million). Scott DiDomenico (117 wins), Ron Burke (109) and Gilberto Garcia-Herrera (87) completed the first quintet among wins.   The Raceway’s 2018 season is set to begin with a Sunday (Jan. 7th) matinee (post time TBA). A complete schedule accompanies this release, with all dates pending approval of the New York State Gaming Commission. Frank Drucker, Yonkers Raceway Publicity Director

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, December 17, 2017—Yonkers Raceway concluded its 2017 harness racing season Sunday   (Dec. 17th), with Melady’s Monet (Jason Bartlett, $16.60) winning a certifiably-strange $40,000 Open Handicap Trot. The happy half-dozen went as the late-morning opener, which may have proven a bit too early for the two favorites. It was Gural Hanover (George Brennan), as the 4-5 choice, breaking in the first turn, Meanwhile, 9-5 second choice Smalltownthrowdown (Yannick Gingras), after assuming a quick open-length lead, jumped it off down the backside.  That left B Yoyo (Joe Bongiorno) as the default leader, with Tight Lines (Jeff Gregory) pocketed and slow-starting polester Muscles on Fire (Brent Holland) third. After early intervals of :29.1 of :59.2, Melady’s Monet took out of fifth. That one, who had disappointed as the people’s preference the past two starts, advanced toward the leader at the 1:28.1 three-quarters. Melady’s Monet took over early in the lane, getting just enough of a ‘running start’ before Tight Lines found the passing lane. The latter beat the former by a neck in 1:56.4. Gural Hanover, recovering to race second-over,  wound up third, with B Yoyo and Muscles on Fire settling for the minors.   For third choice Melady’s Monet, an 8-year-old Revenue S gelding owned by Melady Enterprises and trained by Kevin McDermott, it was his seventh win in 17 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $109, with the triple returning $388.50. Sunday’s ‘New York, New York Double’ saw a combination of 5-Storm Prophet (Aqueduct’s 3rd race) and 4-Cash Me Out (Yonkers’ 6th race), the pair of favorites returning $8.30 for every correct dollar ticket. Total pool was $5,709.  The mandatory Pick 5 payout took in the last five races of the 11-race card, with a winning combination of 2/6/8/3/5 paying $337.75 for the requisite 50-cent wager. Total pool was $3,855. The Raceway’s 2018 season is scheduled to begin Sunday, Jan. 7th, the way it ended, with a ‘French’ matinee. Post time is TBA, with all ’18 dates pending approval of the New York State Gaming Commission.    Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, December 16, 2017—Gokudo Hanover (Matt Kakaley, $9.80) inherited the pocket, then inhaled the leader Saturday night (Dec. 16th), winning Yonkers Raceway’s last-of-the-harness racing season $40,000 Open Handicap Pace. Sitting chilly early from an assigned post position No. 2, Gokudo Hanover watched from third as Bakersfield (Greg Merton) made the first lead. That one gave it up to Thisjetsabookin’ (Jordan Stratton) before a snappy :26.4 opening quarter-mile. Thisjetsabookin’ then hung Caviart Luca (George Brennan) for the holidays, prompting a :55.1 intermission. Shane Adam (Jason Bartlett) moved off the cones from fifth, going around a fading Caviart Luca and taking his shot at the lead in and out of a 1:23.4 three-quarters. Bakersfield, surmising the leader was done, extricated himself off the cones to get behind Shane Adam. Wrong move, as Gokudo Hanover took this vacated space. A resurgent Thisjetsabookin’ retained his stubborn lead off the final turn, but was about to get swallowed up by a pair to his inside. Gokudo Hanover rolled by, as did Killer Martini (Brent Holland), the latter whipping the former by a couple of lengths in 1:52.4. Thisjetsabookin’, Shane Adam and a belated 5-2 choice The Real One (Pat Lachance) picked off the minor awards. For third choice Gokudo Hanover, a 5-year-old Cam’s Card Shark gelding co-owned by James Craparotta, Pat Berry Racing & Triple D Stables and trained by Scott DiDomenico, it was his 10th win in 34 seasonal starts (four wins, a second and a third in last six tries). The inside-number exacta paid $80.50, with the triple returning $294. The Raceway’s 2017 season concludes late Sunday morning (Dec. 17th), with first post at 11:30 AM. The 11-race card features seven ‘French’ trots (races 5 through 11), the ‘New York, New York Double’ (Aqueduct’s 3rd race, Yonkers’ 6th race) and a mandatory Pick 5 payout (50-cent base wager, races 7 through 11). Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Monday, December 4, 2017— When five wagering harness racing favorites in a Pick 5 sequence all go down, one of two things happen… It’s going to carry over, or It’s going to pay very well. It was the latter for one lucky bettor, taking down a five-figure Yonkers Raceway payday Monday night (Dec. 4th). Buoyed by a carryover of a bit more than $2,000, there was just over $11,000 of fresh money sent through the windows. Thus, after new-coin takeout, the races 7 through 11 winning combination of 2 - Bold and Brassy (Jordan Stratton, $5.60) 2 - Twin B Speedo (Stratton, $23.60) 4 - Warrawee Sunshine (Brian Sears, $5.10)   3 - Lindythefourteenth (Jason Bartlett, $20.20) 6 - Hail Damage Blues (Bartlett, $24) returned $10,341.25 for that lone correct half-a-buck wager. Ironically, in the last leg, 13-10 choice Juxta Cowgirl (Dan Dube) was snapped at the wire. Had she won, it would have resulted in a double carryover, though we’re guessing the lady/gentleman who cashed would not have seen the irony.   Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, December 3, 2017—Rank outsider Tight Lines (Jeff Gregory, $62.50) was the ground-saving harness racing star Sunday morning (Dec. 3rd), winning Yonkers Raceway’s $40,000 Open Handicap Trot. With just a seven-horse field, the weekly trotting feature went as the late-morning opener, before the seven ‘French’ trots. In play from post position No. 5, Tight Lines actually surrendered an early pocket to lone lass Charmed Life (Yannick Gingras), as both sat behind just-over-even-money favorite Melady’s Monet (Jason Bartlett). Meanwhile, Rubber Duck (Joe Bongiorno) found himself in no man’s land and rushed up to prompt early intervals of :27.3 and :56.4. Going toward the 1:25.4 three-quarters, Rubber Duck was retreating. Melady’s Monet, meanwhile, owned a length lead into the lane before Charmed Life pulled pocket. The lady went past ‘Melady,’ but a cone-skimming Tight Lines went past both of ‘em. Tight Lines defeated Charmed Life by a half-length in 1:55.1. Melady’s Monet faded to third. The minors went to DW’s NY Yank (Jordan Stratton) and Muscles on Fire (Brent Holland). For Tight Lines, a 4-year-old Yankee Glide gelding co-owned by his trainer/driver, Jesmeral Stable and William Richardson, it was his 10th win in 24 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $164.50, with the triple returning $530. Those sagacious handicappers who unearthed Tight Lines and Taco Tuesday (Dan Dube, $41.80) in the $26,000, second-race trot took home a season-high $1,279 daily double (last Sunday’s early double paid $1,162), This ‘New York, New York Double’ saw a winning combination of 4-Dream Pauline (Aqueduct’s 3rd race) and 3-Gruden (Yonkers’ 5th race) returned $13.30 for every correct $1 wager. Total pool was $4,927. Sunday matinees, along with the ‘New York, New York Double,’ conclude Dec. 17th (post time TBA). It’s the final program of the season. A friendly reminder from Yonkers Raceway that Monday evening’s (Dec. 4th) Pick 5 wager starts with a carryover of $2,036.97. The Pick 5 is a 50-cent base wager comprising races 7 through 11 during every racing card. It has no consolation payoff, meaning if no one selects all five winners (as was the case Sunday afternoon), the entire pool (minus takeout) moves to the next racing program. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, December 2, 2017—Pole-assigned Thisjetsabookin’ (Jordan Stratton, $11.60) needed every bit of a perfect pocket trip Saturday night (Dec. 2nd), winning Yonkers Raceway’s harness racing $40,000 Open Handicap Pace. It was 11-10 favorite Caviart Luca (George Brennan) as the only leaver, working around Thisjetsabookin’ before a :27.2 opening quarter-mile. After a :56.1 intermission, The Real One (Pat Lachance) took out of fourth. He engaged the leader in and or of a 1:24.2 three-quarters, actually poking his noggin in front. While Caviart Luca and The Real One were just about in synchronized step entering the lane, Thisjetsabookin’ was patiently awaiting his turn. He ducked inside, making it a three-way scrum. The short route was the best route, as Thisjetsabookin’ won by a neck in 1:52.4…matching his season’s-best effort. The Real One won the battle, but lost the war, with Caviart Luca, Orillia Joe (Brent Holland) and Bakersfield (Greg Merton) rounding out the payees.       For third choice Thisjetsabookin’, 5-year-old Jereme’s Jet gelding owned by William Emmon and trained by William Adamczyk, it was his fifth win in 19 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $61, with the triple returning $177. Sunday matinees continue tomorrow (Dec. 3rd), with first post of 11:45 AM. Frank Drucker

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