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YONKERS, NY, Saturday, January 28, 2017 - A repeating Caviart Luca and harness racing driver (George Brennan, bucked the front-end-is-awful trend Saturday night, repeating Yonkers Raceway's $45,000 Open Handicap Pace. In play from post position No. 3, Caviart Luca went right down the road (:27.3, :56.2, 1:24, 1:52.2), holding off a solid, season-debuting, first-over Long Live Rock (Dan Dube) by neck. Lucan Hanover (Brent Holland) was a belated third, with Roland N Rock (Jordan Stratton) and Somewhere in LA (Matt Kakaley) also closing for the minors. P H Supercam (Jason Bartlett) bottomed out of the pocket as the 19-10 favorite, finishing last among the octet. For second choice Caviart Luca, a 6-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke, Weaver Bruscemi and Phil Collura, he's won all three of his seasonal starts. The exacta paid $58, with the triple returning $804. Saturday featured a cavalcade of closers, as only four of the 11 horses charted with the lead entering the lane did indeed close the sale. It also featured an 'unhit' Pick 5, so Sunday afternoon's gimmick begins with a carryover of $2,436.39 (50-cent base wager, Sunday comprising races 6 through 10). Reminder first post for Sunday's 'French' matinee is 12:30 PM. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Friday, January 27, 2017 - Wrangler Magic (George Brennan, $16.60), who twice burned money as the harness racing favorite against less-talented lasses, was upon the money Friday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $45,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. Unhurried from post position No. 5, 'Wrangler' saw a three-wide Empress Deo (Scott Zeron) pay a :26.3 price for the early lead. After a 56-second intermission, 9-5 choice Hidden Land (Brent Holland)-looped at the outset then stuffed into a four-hole-made her second move. She engaged Empress Deo in and out of a 1:24.4 three-quarters, with the eventual winner gapping from second-over. Empress Deo owned a tenuous lead entering the lane, A slow (:29.4) final quadrant 1:54.3 helped the field close ranks, with Wrangler Magic winning the scrum by a neck in 1:54.3. Motu Moonbeam N (Mark MacDonald), who had every chance up the inside from the pocket, was second, with a course-altering Set Me up (George Brennan), Empress Deo and Delightful Dragon (Matt Kakaley) settling for the minors as the payees were separated by a length-and-three-quarters at the finish. Hidden Land wound up sixth. For fourth choice Wrangler Magic, a now-5-year-old daughter of Mach Three co-owned (as Allard Racing) by (trainer) Rene Allard and Kapildeo Singh, it was her first win in three seasonal starts. The exacta paid $99.50, with the triple returning $341. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, January 21, 2017 - Caviart Luca and harness racing dtiver George Brennan, $28.60 snapped odds-on Blood Brother (Jason Bartlett) at the wire Saturday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $45,000 Open Handicap Pace. 'Twas a night better suited for Carl Sandburg (fog reference for all you academics out there), Caviart Luca found himself away from post position No. 3. He sat as 3-4 choice Blood Brother two-moved to the lead before a :27.4 opening quarter-mile. Things remained unchanged after a 57-second intermission and 1:25 three-quarters, with Blood Brother taking a 2½-length lead into the lane. Despite a mediocre tow from P H Supercam (Scott Zeron), Caviart Luca was relentless from second-up. He picked off the pace-setter by a nose in 1:52.2, with P H Supercam, Roland N Rock (Jordan Stratton) and City Hall (Tyler Buter) settling for the remainder. E Z Noah (Dan Dube) was outrun. As an aside, it was the first time Bartlett did not drive P H Supercam here since September, 2013. For fifth choice Caviart Luca, a now-6-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke, Weaver Bruscemi and Phil Collura, he's won both of his seasonal starts. The exacta paid $65.50, with the triple returning $204. Frank Drucker

Lily's Swan Pond (George Brennan, $25) was a three-hole terror Sunday afternoon, winning Yonkers Raceway's harness racing season-ending, mile-and-a-quarter, $56,000 Open Handicap Trot. While a few of the nine participants--including 9-5 choice Hemi Seelster (Jason Bartlett)--misbehaved over the moist surface, 'Lily' had no such issues. From post position No. 3, he sat behind Not Afraid (Dan Dube) and Springbank Sam N (Jordan Stratton) though early intervals of :28.2 and :57.4. Bentley Spur (Joe Bongiorno), one of the back markers, tried it first-up from sixth toward a 1:27.2 three-quarters, but couldn't sustain a bid. By the 1:56.4 milepost, this was a three-horse affair. Not Afraid owned a length-and-a-quarter into the lane, but holiday company was coming. Lily's Swan Pond angled crisply out during the final turn and went up and over the two rivals in front of him. He rolled past, winning by a length-and-half in 2:27.2. Not Afraid saved second over Springbank Sam N, with Tornado Tim (Brent Holland) and a recovering Caulfield (Matt Kakaley) settling for the remainder. For fifth choice Lily's Swan Pond, a 4-year-old Swan for All gelding owned by Second Chance Stable and trained by Nick Surick, it was his fifth win in 33 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $118.50, with the triple returning $474. The season's final installment of the "New York, New York Double' offered a 1-I'masuperstar (Aqueduct's 3rd race) and 4-Luck o' the Irish (our 2nd race) winning combination, which returned $25.50 for every correct dollar wager. Total pool was $4,169. The Raceway's 2017 season is scheduled to begin with a Sunday, Jan. 8th, matinee (post time TBA), pending approval of the New York State Gaming Commission. As another reminder, Yonkers is completely dark for all racing wagering December 19th through 28th, inclusive. Frank Drucker

Harness racing favored Take it Back Terry (George Brennan, $4.30) prevailed from the pocket Saturday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $45,000 Open Handicap Pace. In play from post position No. 4, 'Terry' left around P H Supercam (Jason Bartlett), making the lead right at the :27.4 opening quarter-mile. He then gave it up to a three-deep First Class Horse (Eric Goodell), who found a :56.2 intermission. Melmerby Beach (Dan Dube) then moved from fifth, offered a minimal challenge in and out of a 1:24 three-quarters. First Class Horse then owned a length-and-three-lead into the lane, where Take it Back Terry was all dressed up. He ducked inside, winning by a neck in 1:52.4. First Class Horse just held second over a hard-charging Blood Brother (Jordan Stratton), with P H Supercam and newly-minted, all-age track-record holder The Real One (Pat Lachance) settling for the remainder. For Take it Back Terry, a 7-year-old Western Terror gelding co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke, Weaver Bruscemi, Larry Karr and Phil Collura, it was his seventh win in 31 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $33.80, the triple returned $171 and the superfecta paid $980. Note Sunday's (Dec. 4th) first post is High Noon. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, October 8, 2016 -- Favorites Bit of a Legend N (Jordan Stratton, $4) and Luminosity (George Brennan, $4.20) were the harness racing names above the moist Saturday night marquee, winning Yonkers Raceway's $45,000 co-featured Open Handicaps. Both did so in down-the-road fashion. Bit of a Legend N, from post position No. 6 in the weekly pacing feature, held off Mach it So (Jason Bartlett) in a two-speed number (:27.2, :56.3, 1:25, 1:52.2). The margin was a neck, with Feel the Need A (Eric Goodell) was a best-of-the-rest third. Melmerby Beach (Dan Dube) and a North American-debuting Ricimer A (Steve Smith) rounded out the payees. For Bit of a Legend N, a 7-year-old Down Under son of Bettor's Delight owned by Harry von Knoblauch and trained by Peter Tritton, it was his 11th win in 23 seasonal starts. The exacta (two wagering choices) paid $11, with the triple returning $32.60. The adult-table trot saw pole-sitting Luminosity go the distance (:27.4, :56.4, 1:25.4, 1:55.1), defeating a pocketed Cash Me Out (Tyler Buter) by a head. Crazy About Pat (Stratton) was a rallying third, with Dragin' The Wagon (Eric Abbatiello) and eight-ball-assigned Allerage Star (Dube) settling for the minors. For Luminosity, a 6-year-old Cash Hall gelding co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke and Weaver Bruscemi, he's now 6-for-25 this season. The exacta (two wagering choices) paid $7.30, with the triple returning $51. YONKERS’ MONDAY PICK 5 FEATURES $5,000 CARRYOVER A friendly reminder from Yonkers Raceway that Monday evening’s (Oct. 10) Pick 5 wager begins with a carryover  $5,023.18. The Pick 5 is a 50-cent base wager comprising races 7 through 11 during every racing program. It has no consolation payoff, meaning if no one selects all five winners (as was the case Saturday evening), the entire pool (minus takeout) moves to the next program. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Friday, September 23, 2016-Tessa Seelster (George Brennan, $7.70) again proved best Friday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $45,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. In play from her 'inside' post position No. 5 (posts 5 thru 8 were drawn), Tessa Seelster easily worked around pole-sitting, slight 2-1 favorite Devil Child (Eric Goodell). After a :27.3 opening quarter-mile, a :29.1 second substation (:56.4 intermission) served her well. Secret's Out N (Tyler Buter) took out of fourth and was originally pacing in place. She did eventually make steady advances in and out of a 1:24.1 three-quarters, though the leader maintained a length-and-a-quarter advantage entering the lane. 'Tessa' found the wire a half-length before Devil Child in 1:51.3. Secret's Out N held third, with Rock N Roll Xample (Dan Dube) and Tipitina (Brent Holland) settling for the minors. For third choice Tessa Seelster, a 4-year-old daughter of Shadow Play co-owned (as Burke Racing) by trainer Ron Burke, Weaver Bruscemi and Jonathan Newman, it was her ninth win in 19 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $24.80, with the triple returning $121. Saturday's card is enveloped by the 27th New York Night of Champions, the $1.8 million culmination of the sire stakes season. The Empire State's richest night of racing features eight, $225,000 NYSS, for 2- and 3-year-olds of both sexes and gaits. They go as the first eight races during the 13-race card, with first post the usual 7:10 PM. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, September 17, 2016 -- A pair of three-holes produced a pair of first-up Yonkers Raceway winners, as Always at My Place (George Brennan, $7.40) and Melady's Monet (Jason Bartlett, $5.70) annexed their respective $45,000 harness racing co-features. Always at My Place won the Open Handicap Pace, going up and over Feel the Need A (Eric Goodell) down the backside, then widening to two lengths at the (1:50.2) wire. Other closers Melmerby Beach (Dan Dube), The Real One (Pat Lachance) and 13-10 favorite Bit of a Legend N (Jordan Stratton) were second, third and fourth, respectively, while a shuffled P H Supercam (Jason Bartlett) settled for the last loot. Second choice Always at My Place, a 5-year-old Always a Virgin gelding co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke, Weaver Bruscemi, Larry Karr and Phil Collura, it was his sixth win in 19 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $65.50, with the triple returning $319. Melady's Monet survived a protracted duel with Luminosity (Brennan), then held off Allerage Star (Dube) to win the Open Handicap Trot by a neck in 1:54.2. Third went to E R Ellie (Stratton), with Luminosity fourth and a never-firing, 3-2 choice Obrigado (Mark MacDonald) placed fifth. Crazshana (Tyler Buter) did cross the line fifth, but was set down to seventh after just about whacking the kneecaps of Centurion ATM (Steve Smith) in the lane. 'Melady,' a 7-year-old Revenue S gelding owned by Melady Enterprises and trained by Kevin McDermott, is now 6-for-18 this season. The exacta paid $62.50, with the triple returning $265.50. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Friday, September 16, 2016 - A resurgent Tessa Seelster and harness racing driver George Brennan, proved best Friday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $45,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. Away fourth from her assigned post position No. 6, 'Tessa' saw pole-sitting Jungle Genie N (Brent Holland) seat everyone early. 'Genie' paid a :27.1 price for the privilege before 11-10 favorite Rock N Roll Xample (Dan Dube) made her second move. Leaving into a three-hole, she went by Jungle Genie N right at the quarter-mile, then led the ladies through a :55.4 intermission. Tessa Seelster then made her second move, out to engage the fave down the backside. Rock N Roll Xample continued to lead in and out of a 1:24 three-quarters, where it appeared she put her stalker away. The lead was a length-and-a-half in and out of the final turn, but Rock N Roll Xample was about to fade from the scene. Tessa Seelster found renewed life, though, getting the better of Jungle Genie N by a length in 1:52.2. Mach it a Par (Brian Sears), last of the seven entering the lane, rallied for third, with Secret's Out N (Tyler Buter) and Al Raza N (Mark MacDonald) rounding out the payees. Rock N Roll Xample tired to sixth. For second choice Tessa Seelster, a 4-year-old daughter of Shadow Play co-owned (as Burke Racing) by trainer Ron Burke, Weaver Bruscemi and Jonathan Newman, it was her eighth win in 18 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $144, with the triple returning $574. YONKERS’ SATURDAY PICK 5 FEATURES $2,400 CARRYOVER A friendly reminder from Yonkers Raceway that Saturday evening’s (Sept. 17) Pick 5 wager begins with a carryover of $2,422.49. The Pick 5 is a 50-cent base wager comprising races 7 through 11 during every racing program. It has no consolation payoff, meaning if no one selects all five winners (as was the case Friday night), the entire pool (minus takeout) moves to the next program. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Friday, August 26, 2016 - Favored Tessa Seelster (George Brennan, $5.60) just held off a stubborn Mach it a Par (Brent Holland) Friday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $45,000 Filly and Mare harness racing open handicap pace. Put in play from her assigned post position No. 5, 'Tessa' had to wait her turn at the outset. She sat outside while Jonsie Jones (Tyer Buter) stuffed Inittowinafortune (Jon Bongiorno) in behind. Tessa Seelster then found an unimpeded path to the front, though she a paid a zippy :26.3 price for the opening-quarter privilege. After a rated :56.2 intermisision, she saw Mach it a Par, who tried it first-up from seventh. Tessa Seelster found a 1:24 three-quarters, taking a length-and-three-quarter lead into the lane. She lost everyone save for Mach it a Par, who did not go away quietly. Tessa Seelster did close the sale, however, winning by a nostril in 1:51.4. Rock N Roll Xample (Dan Dube) was a crisp, ground-saving third, with Krispy Apple (Jason Bartlett) and Sell a Bit N (Jordan Stratton) settling for the minor awards. For Tessa Seelster, a 4-year-old daughter of Shadow Play co-owned (as Burke Racing) by trainer Ron Burke, Weaver Bruscemi and Jonathan Newman, it was her seventh win in 15 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $100.50, with the triple returning $671.50. Saturday night's card includes a pair of stakes for 3-year-old fillies, the $118,574 Hudson Trot and $109,050 Lady Maud Pace. Hambletonian winner Marion Marauder also hits town, leading the lone, $40,000 elimination for Yonkers Trot No. 62. Frank Drucker

Pocketed Outrageous Art (Jason Bartlett, $29) and two-move Luminosity (George Brennan, $7.90) shared the Saturday Derby Night glory, winning Yonkers Raceway's co-featured harness racing $40,000 Open Handicaps. The week's marquee pace was a two-speed number, with 6-5 favorite Atta Boy Dan (Brennan) and Outrageous Art leaving from post position Nos. 5 and 4 (each in one after an inside scratch), respectively. The people's preference led through intervals of :28, :56.4 and 1:24.3, negating a second move from outside assignee Lucan Hanover (Brian Sears). Atta Boy Dan owned a length-and-a-half lead into the lane, with Outrageous Art ducking inside. The double-digit number picked off the favorite, winning by a half-length in a season's-best 1:52.1. Stolen Car (Tyler Buter), Jeneral Patton (Pat Lachance) and Texican N (Jordan Stratton) completed the cashers. For fifth choice Outrageous Art, a 9-year-old son of Art Major co-owned (as Allard Racing) by (trainer) Rene Allard and Ameer Najor, it was his sixth win in 13 career starts. The exacta paid $83, the triple returned $619 and the superfecta paid $1,923. The week's trotting feature saw Luminosity get thrown in play early and that tact served him well. From post No. 7, he wedged into a three-hole behind Somebody AS (Stratton) and Monroe County (Bartlett). The former put up early weigh stations of :27.2 of :56.3, while Luminosity was planning his next move. That one engaged the leader through a 1:25.2 three-quarters before wearing him down off the final turn. Luminosity then finished it off, defeating a second-up Major Athens (Sears)-the slight 2-1 choice-by 2¼ lengths in 1:54.1 Homicide Hunter (Mark MacDonald) was an uncovered third in his 4-year-old/local/half-mile track debut, while Monroe County and Newcastle (Buter) settled for the remainder. . For Luminosity, a 6-year-old Cash Hall gelding co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke and Weaver Bruscemi, he's now 3-for-8 this season. The exacta paid $25.80, with the triple returning $132. Frank Drucker

Off-the-layoff Tessa Seelster (George Brennan, $12.40) finished what she started Friday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's harness racing $40,000 filly and mare Open Handicap Pace. In play early from her assigned post position No. 2, it was "Tessa" working around Mach it a Par (Brian Sears). She then completed her rounds (:27.4, :56.3, 1:24.2, 1:52.1) while beating her seven elders. Carolsideal (Dan Dube), as the 9-5 favorite, hung around first-up, though never getting to "Tessa," who owned a length-and-a-half lead into the lane. She held off a second-over Krispy Apple (Jason Bartlett) by a neck, with Mach it a Par, Caroslideal and Al Raza N (Mark MacDonald) settling for the remainder. For third choice Tessa Seelster, a 4-year-old daughter of Shadow Play co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke, Weaver Bruscemi and Jonathan Newman, she's now 4-for-4 this season after her first purse start since late January. The exacta paid $82.50, the triple returned $337 and the superfecta paid $1,335. Friday evening's $30,000 Filly and Mare Preferred Handicap Pace was won by Know it All (Eric Abbatiello, $10) in 1:54. Derby Day Saturday finds the Raceway in full Churchill Downs simulcast mode, with selected mutuel windows opening at 10 AM in advance of a 10:30 AM first post. The track apron has music, food and drink specials and the obligatory hat contest (with special guest judge Bethenny Frankel and cash prizes). The regular live program begins at 7:10 PM. YONKERS’ SATURDAY PICK 5 FEATURES $3,700 CARRYOVER A friendly reminder from Yonkers Raceway that Saturday’s (May 7) Derby Night Pick 5 wager begins with a carryover of $3,779.89. The Pick 5 is a 50-cent base wager comprising races 7 through 11 during every racing program. It has no consolation payoff, meaning if no one selects all five winners (as was the case Friday evening), the entire pool (minus takeout) moves to the next program. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Wednesday, April 6, 2016- For those who have yet to do so, it's about time to impress the judges. This weekend, Yonkers Raceway hosts the fourth of five preliminary rounds in both the Blue Chip Matchmaker sand George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series. Since it's women and children first, three, $40,000 Matchmaker divisions (races 5,6 and 7) are set for Friday evening. Al Raza N (Dave Miller, post 7), the only perfect (3-for-3) participant thus far, gets both a rotten draw and a new date. The 6-year-old Down Under daughter of Gotta Go Cullect-subject of a fine USTA story earlier in the week-drew outside of her rivals in the final event, with Miller enlisted by owner (as Durazzano Stable) to take some of the embarrassment of riches away from Jordan Stratton. The latter had driven Al Raza N throughout the series, but opted to chauffeur For the Ladies N (post 6) here for trainer Peter Tritton. For the Ladies N closed to upset at 19-1 a week ago, while Stratton and Tritton also combine with Sell a Bit N (post 4) in the second grouping. The 6-year-old Julius Caesar ma'am has won her last two series tries and is Stratton's surmised choice for the Apr. 23 series finale. Venus Delight (Jason Bartlett, post 5), defending series champ, landed in the opening event as she looks for her first Matchmaker win. Saturday night, it's four Levy divisions (races 6 through 9) at the usual $50,000 per. Series co-leaders Take it Back Terry and Bit of a Legend N-each 3-for-3-once again have managed to avoid one another. "Terry" drew post position No. 3 in the opening group, with George Brennan again doing the honors. Among his foes is Sana Fe Beachboy (Bartlett, post 6), who threw down the season's fast local mile (1:50.2) in winning his series event last weekend. Bit of a Legend N, who won from an impossible locale a week ago (enter the dance team of Stratton and Tritton for an encore), landed post No. 6 in the third division. With the subject of the season being exit polls, reigning Harness Horse of the Year Wiggle It Jiggleit (Montrell Teague) exits from the pole in the stacked second division. WIJI paced a vicious back half in his local/series debut in Round 3, winding up second to a down-the-road All Bets Off. Those two are next-door neighbors here, with All Bets Off and Matt Kakaley starting from post No. 2 in a gathering which also includes P H Supercam (Bartlett, post 4) and Lucan Hanover (Brett Miller, post 5). Domethatagain (Dan Dube, post 3), the '15 Levy winner, figures a contender in Saturday night's final division. Notably absent for this go-round is one Foiled Again, who has finished fourth twice (one in a dead-heat) and second in his three series starts. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

This Week: Blue Chip Matchmaker and George Morton Levy series fourth legs, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit at Yonkers this week features three $40,000 divisions on Friday (April 8) in the fourth round of the Blue Chip Matchmaker series for open pacing mares. The Saturday (April 9) card at Yonkers will see four $50,000 divisions in the fourth round of the George Morton Levy series for open pacers. Complete entries for the races can be found by clicking on this link. Last time: Yonkers Raceway's Saturday night (April 2) brought with it the third round of the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series. Four $50,000 divisions featured something for everyone, as in a pair of series hat tricks, a Ron Burke double, the fastest local mile of the season and a locally-debuting Harness Horse of the Year. Let's start with apropos props for the series co-leaders, with Bit Of A Legend N (Jordan Stratton, $12.80) winning from an impossible locale and Take It Back Terry (George Brennan, $4.10) going down the road. Bit Of A Legend N found some room between rivals, then whipped Phil Your Boots by a half-length in 1:51.2.  The former, stuck behind the eight-ball, found himself last turning for home in the second division. Instead of fanning widest, Stratton found some room between rivals, then whipped Phil Your Boots by a half-length in 1:51.2. Fourth choice Bit Of A Legend N, a 7-year-old Down Under son of Bettor's Delight owned by Harry von Knoblauch and trained by Peter Tritton, has won five of his six North American starts. As for favored Take It Back Terry, he did his damage from post position No. 4 in the final division, holding off pocket-prowling Mach It So by a half-length in 1:51.4. Take It Back Terry, a 7-year-old Western Terror gelding co-owned as Burke Racing by trainer Ron Burke, Weaver Bruscemi, Larry Karr and Phil Collura, won his third race in four seasonal starts. Burke's first win of the Levy evening came when All Bets Off (Matt Kakaley, $17.60) bottomed out his foes in 1:51.3. From post No. 6, he gave himself enough separation to whip a storming home Wiggle It Jiggleit (Montrell Teague) by a length. Wiggle It Jiggleit, stuck seventh (from post No. 7) until the backside the second time, unleashed a torrid wide move but couldn't get to the winner in a very good local debut. Fourth choice All Bets Off, a 5-year-old son of Bettor's Delight co-owned as Burke Racing by trainer Burke, Weaver Bruscemi, Frank Baldachino and Panhellenic Stable, is now two-for-five this season. The evening's first division found Santa Fe Beachboy (Jason Bartlett, $15.20) go up and over pole-sitting, pace-setting Bettorever, then whip him by 3-1/2 lengths in 1:50.2, fastest eight furlongs of the local season. Fourth choice Santa Fe Beachboy, a 6-year-old son of Somebeachsomewhere owned by Santa Fe Stable and trained by Richard Banca, is now two-for-seven this season. Yonkers Raceway's Blue Chip Matchmaker continued Friday night (April 1). Three compacted, $40,000 legions of lasses comprised a 'sloppy' third of five preliminary rounds and driver Jordan Stratton found his way to the winner's circle in each of the divisions. For The Ladies N ($40.40) won the first division in 1:53.1. The longest shot on the board -- from post position No. 5 -- won by a neck over Regil Elektra. For The Ladies N, a 7-year-old Down Under daughter of Jereme's Jet owned by Harry von Knoblauch and trained by Peter Tritton, is now one-for-five this season. Friday's second Matchmaker event had owner, trainer and driver double-up with Sell A Bit N ($7.10), who herself made it a series two-fer. Negating her outside six-hole, the second choice worked around Skippin By, then laid down the law in 1:53. Sell A Bit N won by 1-1/4 lengths, with Venus Delight second and Skippin By third. Sell A Bit N, a 6-year-old Down Under daughter of Julius Caesar, is now two-for-six this season. The evening's final series soiree saw Stratton and just-over-even-money Al Raza N ($4.10) complete an evening/series hat trick, respectively. Al Raza N moved widest in the lane and defeated the lass on her back, Mach It A Par, by a half-length in 1:53. For Al Raza N, a 6-year-old Down Under daughter of Gotta Go Cullect owned by Durazzano Stable and trained by Agostino Abbatiello, it was her fourth win in five starts. Complete recaps of the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2016, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farm is the sponsor for the 2016 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend at Yonkers: Drivers: 1. Jordan Stratton - 102; 2. George Brennan - 79; 3. Jason Bartlett - 51; 4 Matt Kakaley - 36; 5t. Daniel Dube - 34; 5t. Tim Tetrick - 34. Trainers: 1. Peter Tritton - 70; 2. Ron Burke - 66; 3. Jeff Bamond Jr. - 61; 4. Andrew Harris - 37; 5. Agostino Abbatiello - 30. Owners: 1. Harry von Knoblauch - 70: 2. Bamond Racing - 35.5; 3. Durazzano Stable - 30; 4. West Wins Stable - 20; 5t. Burke Racing Stable - 18.20; 5t. Weaver Bruscemi - 18.20. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will continue with the final preliminary leg of the Blue Chip Matchmaker and George Morton Levy next weekend. The finals and consolations for both events will be held on April 23. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit  

Dublin, Ireland - The Ladbrokes Vincent Delaney Memorial Committee is proud to announce today that North America's leading dash winning driver in 2015, Aaron Merriman, is committed to coming to Ireland for the Delaney Memorial Weekend, August 13 and 14, 2016. "I was shocked when I got the invite," Merriman said. "I have read about the race, knew that George Brennan went last year and had a great time and now I am getting to come over this year, what a great honor this is." The 37-year-old Ohio native is coming off a career-best harness racing season in 2015, capturing his first North American driving title and earning a personal-high $7.40 million in purses. His 873 victories last year were the most for a dash-winning champion since Tony Morgan's 959 triumphs in 2008. Merriman is one of only three drivers --- joining Morgan and Tim Tetrick --- to win at least 800 races in back to back years. In 2014, Merriman won 841 times, but finished six victories behind Ronnie Wrenn Jr. for the No. 1 spot. Over the past 10 years, Merriman has won an average of 618 races per season. "Our committee board was ecstatic that Aaron agreed without even flinching to come over for the VDM this year." Said Derek Delaney, who along with his brother James, developed the Vincent Delaney Memorial in honor of their younger brother who tragically passed away in 2011. "Aaron is a world-class driver," Delaney added, "And we are sure to show him a great time here both on and off the track. He will be sure to have some good drives at Portmarnock Raceway both on Saturday and Sunday." The Ladbrokes Vincent Delaney Memorial is for two-year-old pacers with elimination divisions on Saturday and the finals on Sunday. For the first time this season there will be a separate filly division, sponsored by Diamond Creek Farm in the USA. Also on the program that weekend is the Oakwood Stud Derby, the Paul Murtagh, Sr. Memorial, The RocknRoll Heaven/Pet Rock Irish-American FFA sponsored by Joe Bellino and the Bellino Stable plus other big stakes events. When it comes to his heritage, Aaron says he will fit in just fine. "My father's family is British and my mother is Swedish and Irish," Aaron said. "I think I will fit in perfectly. "I'm VERY eager to experience another continent with harness racing," Aaron said. "I've never left North America before. I've checked out some of the history of this race and have read about the great enthusiasm and real love for our sport that they have and it is so heartwarming. "Harness racing is definitely a sport where people are joined together all around the world," Aaron said. "To be offered this opportunity to represent America and show my patronage to Ireland and the UK horsemen and fans is once in a lifetime and I was not going to pass it by. I'll thoroughly embrace my days there." Merriman is already on a roll in 2016. He has a commanding lead in the driving standings in North America with 214 wins, 54 ahead of his nearest rival, Jason Bartlett. And Merriman has $1.5 million in purses won already with a Universal Driving Rating at an impressive .356, second only to Bartlett. "Missing a week of racing back home is nothing compared to the adventure that awaits me in Ireland," Aaron said. "I can't wait for the second week of August to come. And I will not be homesick because Roger Huston will be there calling the races!" For more information visit www.vincentdelaneymemorial.com. By Steve Wolf, for the Vincent Delaney Memorial  

Second choices Major Athens (George Brennan, $6.50) and Polak A (Brian Sears, $7.30) were second to none Saturday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's pair of harness racing $32,000 Open Handicaps. Major Athens won the week's featured trot after being pocketed from assigned post position No. 6. He watched as Red Hot Herbie (Dan Dube) led through intervals of :28.3, :58.4 and 1:28. It was "Herbie" taking a length-and-a-half lead into the lane while being pestered by 13-10 choice Money Maven (Sears). That one slipped off the cones from third, engaging in and out of the final turn. Money Maven continued well and fought the good fight, but was tripped up by a cone-skimming Major Athens. The latter whipped the former by a nose in 1:56, with Home'n Dry (Jordan Stratton), Dot Dot Dot Dash (Matt Kakaley) and Crazshana (Jason Bartlett) settling for the remainder. For Major Athens, a 6-year-old son of Andover Hall owned by Howard Taylor and trained by Tom Milici, it was his second win in four seasonal starts. The exacta paid $21, with the triple returning $144.50. The week's marquee pace had a three-move effort from Polak A. Away third from his ordered post No. 5 venue, he trailed both 4-5 fave Roland N Rock (Dube) and Hugh Hefner N (Stratton) in a gapping octet. "Roland" sped away (:27.4, :56.3, 1:24.3) while "Hugh" lost touch in the pocket. That allowed Polak A a rest stop when he moved toward the leader. Roland N Rock had a couple of lengths turning for home, but Polak A was sizing him up and easing past. He won by a length in a season's-best 1:53. Third went to Atta Boy Dan (Brennan), with Phil Your Boots (Tyler Buter) and Bad Boy Matt (Mack MacDonald) grabbing the minor moolah. For Polak A, a 7-year-old Down Under Pacific Fella gelding co-owned by many Bellinos and trained by Tony O'Sullivan, he's now 3-for-5 this season. The exacta paid $10.60, the triple returned $94.50 and the superfecta paid $646. Saturday's Pick 5, buoyed by a double-carryover of just over $9,400, attracted $24,891 of new money. The winning combination of 6-5-3-6-8 returned $2,552 for every correct half-a-buck ticket. The Raceway's season continues Monday night (post time 7:10 PM), with a dozen races and a $10,000 guaranteed Pick 5 pool (50-cent base wager, races 7 through 11). Frank Drucker

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