Day At The Track
Search Results
1 to 16 of 65
1 2 3 4 5 Next »

Long before New Zealand-bred Lazarus arrived in the U.S. and was pointed toward Hoosier Park Racing & Casino for his North American debut, another Down Under import found his way to the central Indiana harness racing oval to start his stateside career. Peter Tritton. Tritton, a native of Australia, began his U.S. training career at Hoosier Park in May 2002. He remained there through the summer before heading to Delaware, where he became a regular on the Mid-Atlantic circuit. On Friday, Tritton, who now resides in upstate New York, will return to Hoosier Park for the first time since those early days in the States. He will bring with him New Zealand-bred Bit Of A Legend for the $325,000 Dan Patch Stakes and in the process get a firsthand look at Lazarus in his anticipated debut for trainer Jimmy Takter. Lazarus, known as the Wonder from Down Under, has won 35 of 45 career races, missed the board only once, and earned the equivalent of $2.66 million. "I'm sort of looking forward to seeing him," Tritton said, adding with a laugh, "I just didn't want to be racing him." The Dan Patch Stakes features a nine-horse field of older male pacers. The race, the 11th on the 14-race card, is scheduled for approximately 9:30 p.m. (EDT). First post is 6:30 p.m. In addition to Lazarus and Bit Of A Legend, the field includes former Dan Patch Award winner and division leader McWicked, two Breeders Crown champions in Beckhams Z Tam and Split The House, a $3-million-earner in All Bets Off, two multiple-stakes-winners in Rockin Ron and Dealt A Winner, and Hoosier Park-based New Talent from the stable of the track's leading trainer, Jeff Cullipher. Bit Of A Legend has enjoyed a successful career in the U.S., with 25 wins in 69 races and $1.67 million since arriving in 2016. Overall, the 9-year-old stallion has 45 victories in 132 starts and $2.33 million. This season, Bit Of A Legend's wins include the Battle of Lake Erie, in a career-best 1:49.4 around Northfield Park's half-mile oval, and two preliminary divisions of the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series at Yonkers. He finished second in the Levy final and also was second in the Joe Gerrity Jr. Memorial at Saratoga. Bit Of A Legend enters the Dan Patch with regular driver Jordan Stratton off a 1:51.4 win in the open handicap at Yonkers on July 28. "He's as good as he's ever been," said Tritton, who trains Bit Of A Legend for the Vonknoblauch Stable. "As long as you keep him happy he'll just go out and try for you. You've got to let him be the boss a little bit. He's likes to think he's getting away with stuff. We treat him like that and it makes him feel good. "I've had horses with more ability than him, but he just keeps turning it up. He's got a good heart to win. He's just the complete little horse. He wears an open bridle, no steering gear; he goes straight wherever you put him. He doesn't wear any boots. He's just easy on himself. He enjoys being out there and he always shows up. Jordan really suits him because he knows him like a book and looks after him. He's just a lovely horse." Bit Of A Legend has raced only once on a track larger than five-eighths of a mile, finishing second in an open at the Meadowlands in 2016. He lost by a head in 1:48.3 after setting fractions of :27.1, :54.4 and 1:21.4. "He did all the work in that race and he just got beat," Tritton said. "The big tracks don't bother him. He's definitely strong enough and he's brave. I'm not worried." Tritton is looking forward to returning to Hoosier Park. "The main reason I dropped in, because I don't like to go far from home, but the last few years (Bit Of A Legend) seemed to have success against the horses that were going in," Tritton said. "I've always been looking to go back to Hoosier Park because that's the first place I went when I came to America in 2002. It will be good to go back." McWicked, who won this year's William R. Haughton Memorial and Ben Franklin Pace, finished second in last week's Sam McKee Memorial, raced at 1-1/8 miles, at the Meadowlands. All Bets Off, Dealt A Winner, and Rockin Ron also were in the McKee. "That's why I gave my horse last week off; I'm sure my horse will be fresher," Tritton said. "I don't know if they'll beat them, but he'll be fresher." Bit Of A Legend will start the Dan Patch Stakes from post five. Lazarus will leave from post nine with driver Yannick Gingras in his U.S. debut. Lazarus arrived at Takter's farm in late May following his purchase by Taylor Made Stallions. During his career Down Under, Lazarus won two editions of the prestigious New Zealand Cup and 15 Group One events overall. He earned NZ$3.8 million. "He's probably the best horse to come out of New Zealand," said Tritton, who has trained a number of Down Under horses in the U.S. during his career. "He's very strong, very gutsy, so that big track will suit him. It's his first run and he's probably not completely acclimated, so he's got a few things against him. It will be interesting to see the transition, but I know he's a great horse." Following is the field for the Dan Patch Stakes. PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Morning Line 1-Dealt A Winner-Brett Miller-Mark Silva-8/1 2-Beckhams Z Tam-Ricky Macomber Jr.-Jamie Macomber-20/1 3-Split The House-Trace Tetrick-Chris Oakes-20/1 4-Rockin Ron-Trace Tetrick-Ron Burke-10/1 5-Bit Of A Legend N-Jordan Stratton-Peter Tritton-12/1 6-McWicked-Brian Sears-Casie Coleman-2/1 7-All Bets Off-Matt Kakaley-Ron Burke-10/1 8-New Talent-Sam Widger-Jeff Cullipher-20/1 9-Lazarus N-Yannick Gingras-Jimmy Takter-6/5 by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA  

LONDON...May 22 - When the field of eight line up for the inaugural Camluck Classic this Saturday, May 26 at The Raceway, trainer Peter Tritton is hoping a new tradition kicks off right where it ended. His star studded pacer Bit Of A Legend captured the final edition of the Molson Pace last season before the signature event being renamed the Camluck Classic. Tritton, who resides in Pine Bush NY, will once again make the trip north of the border with the classy nine-year-old. "He's coming into the race really well. We'll keep the same routine as we did last year, because it worked out so well. Canada has been good to use and we're happy to return. The plan is to stay for the week then head to Northfield for the Battle Of Lake Erie." The son of Bettors Delight is no stranger to half-mile track racing. In fact, from 65 starts on North American soil, the nine-year-old has raced six times outside a half-mile oval. The winner of over $2.1 million has been a regular fixture at Yonkers Raceway over the past few seasons. Last year alone, Bit Of A Legend captured signature half-mile track events such as the Molson Pace, Gerrity and Bobby Quillen with $547,070 in seasonal earnings. "I would say pound-for-pound he's the best half-mile track horse in North America. I think we have the best horse in the race and Jordan (Stratton) thinks he's better right now than last year, which is quite amazing, really." Tritton admits post position plays a major role in the outcome of the race on the half and is satisfied with beginning from the trailing tier. "I'm happy with the draw. Obviously you don't want the outside on a half and I'm content starting from the second tier. I could be an interesting start into the first turn with a lot of speed so I'm happy to be inside. "He's a special horse, that's for sure," Tritton continued. "He paces the turns so well and doesn't lose any ground. Jordan (Stratton) has done a great job looking after him and we've been rewarded." Driver Jordan Stratton will once again make the trip to Canada. The young reinsman has driven the superstar pacer in all but one pari-mutual start on North American soil. "Jordan is his regular pilot and drives all of my horses," Tritton said. "We have a great relationship and he looks after my horses very well. You have to pick your spots at the top level especially at Yonkers and he's done a great job of doing that. We're very fortunate." Below is the complete field in post position order: 1 Sunfire Blue Chip - Trevor Henry 2 Isitfridayyet - Alfie Carroll 3 Killer Martini - Scott Coulter 4 Rockin Ron - Louis Roy 5 Easy Lover Hanover - Doug McNair 6 Evenin Of Pleasure - Joe Bongiorno 7 Dr J Hanover - James MacDonald 8 Bit Of A Legend - Jordan Stratton More than $500,000 in purses will be offered up on the 12-race program which will get underway at 6:55 p.m. A powerful undercard which includes a pair of Ontario Sires Stakes Gold divisions for three-year-old pacing fillies along with a quartet of City of London Series finals will also be contested that night. For more information visit CamluckClassic.com by Greg Gangle, for Western Fair  

YONKERS, NY, Friday, December 15, 2017— Nothing, not even an outside assignment can stay Mackenzie A (Jordan Stratton, $10) from the swift completion of her harness racing appointed rounds. She did it again Friday night (Dec. 15th), winning Yonkers Raceway’s $40,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. With the seven lasses all moving inside one notch after a pole-sitter defection, Mackenzie A floated away from the gate, nestled fifth from her mandated impost. She watched as 3-10 fave Lady Shadow (Jason Bartlett) went over Lovineveryminute (Dan Dube) before a :27.2 opening quarter-mile. It was a 57-second intermission before the Matchmaker conquering heroine did her usual first-up routine.   Mackenzie A hooked Lady Shadow in and out of the 1:25.1 three-quarters, poking her schnoz in front entering the lane. She drew out by a couple of lengths in a cold and snowy 1:54 (full disclosure that the snow had stopped a few races earlier). Lady Shadow did save second, failing at odds-on in both starts since her local return. Pretty Image (Matt Kakaley), Annabeth (Greg Merton) & Truth and Liberty (Eric Goodell) settled for the remainder.    For second choice Mackenzie A, a 5-year-old Down Under daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven co-owned by Ellen Kinser & Harry von Knoblauch Stables and trained by Peter Tritton, it was her sixth win in 15 seasonal starts (third consecutive, fourth in last five tries). The exacta paid $24.60, with the triple returning $110.50. As part of Yonkers Raceway’s season-ending program Sunday afternoon (Dec. 17th), the Pick 5 has a mandatory payout. The 50-cent base wager gimmick (races 7 through 11) normally requires all five winners to get paid, with no consolation. However, since state law prohibits pools from being carried over into a new year, Sunday’s Pick 5 becomes a ‘must pay’ proposition. First post Sunday is 11:30 AM, with the Pick 5 wager set to begin at 2 PM. Yonkers’ 2018 live season is scheduled to get underway with a matinee Sunday, Jan. 7th (post time TBA), pending approval of the New York State Gaming Commission.   YONKERS WRAPS 2017 SEASON WITH ‘FRENCH’ SUNDAY, ‘NEW YORK, NEW YORK DOUBLE’     Yonkers Raceway wraps its 2017 live season this Sunday (Dec. 17th), with an 11-race matinee and a first post of 11:30 AM. Races 5 (post time 1 PM) through 11 (post time 4 PM) go as overflow-field, added-distance ‘French’ trots. Note that Sunday’s ‘New York, New York Double’ features Aqueduct’s third race (post time 1:18 PM) and Yonkers’ sixth race (post time 1:30 PM), with program pages accompanying this release.   Yonkers’ 2018 live season is scheduled to begin with a matinee Sunday, Jan. 7th (post time TBA), pending approval of the New York State Gaming Commission.   Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Friday, December 8, 2017— Stop us if you’ve read this missive before. Mackenzie A (Jordan Stratton, $8.40) did her thing from first-up Friday night (Dec. 8th), winning Yonkers Raceway’s harness racing $40,000 Filly and Mare Open Pace. Away fourth from the pole, the Matchmaker victress watched Best of Jenna (Mark MacDonald), Newborn Sassy (Brent Holland) and 3-5 choice Lady Shadow (Jason Bartlett) all take early shots. Lady Shadow, back here first the first time since the 2016 Matchmaker, had to work for it, racing wide to  make the lead. The $1.9 million lass, now racing for her fourth trainer in the last three months, did get around Newborn Sassy after a 27-second opening quarter-mile. It was a rated :56.1 intermission when Mackenzie A moved to engage. She did so passing a 1:24.4 three-quarters, her gait better than it was off the same trip a week ago. Mackenzie A collared Lady Shadow in the final turn, closing the repeat sale by a length-and-a-half in a life-best 1:52.4. Newborn Sassy ducked inside to grab second, with Lady Shadow tiring to third. Lakeisha Hall (Joe Bongiorno) and Pretty Image (Matt Kakaley) settled for the remainder.   For third choice Mackenzie A, a 5-year-old Down Under daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven co-owned by Ellen Kinser & Harry von Knoblauch Stables and trained by Peter Tritton, it was her fifth win in 14 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $22.60, with the triple returning $63. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Friday, November 3, 2017 - A sluggish-early Mackenzie A (Jordan Stratton $5.70) was in hand late Friday night (Nov. 3rd), winning Yonkers Raceway's harness racing $50,000 filly and mare Open Handicap Pace. Away slowly from post position No. 4, the Matchmaker champ saw Call Me Queen Be (Mark MacDonald) make the lead around Betabcool N (Eric Goodell) before a 27-second opening quarter-mile. The latter then took over from the former, getting a :56.4 intermission and 1:25.3 three-quarters as She'sjustadelight N (Ron Cushing) tried it first-up from fifth. That move gave 'Mackenzie' a tow, though she was gapping it for much of the backside. Betabcool N maintained a short lead into the lane, but she was about done. Mackenzie A finally received the memo, edging past to win in 1:54.3. Mach it a Par (Jason Bartlett) raced behind the eventual winner from third-up, chasing her home to miss by three-quarters of a length. She'sjustadelight N, Call Me Queen Be and Lispatty (George Brennan) settled for the remainder, For Mackenzie A, a 5-year-old Down Under daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven co-owned by Harry Von Knoblauch Stables & Ellen Kinser and trained by Peter Tritton, it was her third win in 11 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $17.60, with the triple (three wagering choices in order) returning $55. Frank Drucker

HARRINGTON, Del. - Harry Von Knoblauch Stable's Bit Of A Legend N and harness racing driver Jordan Stratton won the 11th Annual Bobby Quillen Memorial in 1:52.1 Monday at Harrington Raceway. Trained by Peter Tritton, the 8-year-old Bettor's Delight stallion never had an anxious moment in his wire-to-wire win over pocket-sitting Mach It So and All Bets Off, who rallied well for third. It was his seventh win of the year and 40th of his career. It was a bit of a homecoming for Tritton, who was stabled at Harrington Raceway for nearly a decade before moving to the New York circuit in 2015. The annual event celebrated the memory of former long time Delaware legislator Bobby Quillen, who was a regular at the racetrack and was a member of the Board of Directors at Harrington Raceway and the Delaware State Fair. Quillen passed away 13 years ago to the day of this year's event. Knoblauch, passed away earlier this summer and was a long time supporter of harness racing. Two $20,000 Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund events for 2-year-old pacing colts and geldings were contested in their first leg of stakes action. Heavily favored Transitioning Joy ($2.40, Montrell Teague), a Barber Pole colt, did not disappoint his backers in the first division. Owned by Joy and George Teague Jr., "Joy" set all the fractions in his 1:54.3 narrow win for trainer Clyde Francis over Slick Tony, who was a game second, and Friendsrforever. A photograph was needed to separate the top two. Transitioning Joy is a son of Barber Pole. Jim King Jr.'s Evolution Tour ($3.80, Victor Kirby) won the second division in 1:55.3 over America First and Fulla Nitro. The Roddy's Bags Again gelding set all the fractions in his decisive win for his owner/trainer. Richard Pollucci's Christen Me ($6, Jordan Stratton) won the overnight feature, a $17,500 Open event for trainer King Jr. in 1:53. Matthew Sparacino      

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, August 19, 2017 - Odds-on Bit of a Legend N (Jordan Stratton, $3.30) paid a price for the lead, then made his harness racing opponents pay the price for giving it to him Saturday night (Aug. 19th), winning Yonkers Raceway's $55,000 Open Handicap Pace. In the hunt early from assigned post position No. 6, the 2016 George Levy Series winner took over from 21-1 shot Caviart Luca (George Brennan) just after a zippy :26.3 opening quarter-mile. A rated, :29.1 next substation (:55.4 half) was going to make the people's preference tough to catch. Melmerby Beach (Greg Merton) and Mach it So (Brent Holland) tried it from first- and second-over, respectively, as Bit of a Legend N found a 1:24.2 three-quarters. He widened to 2¼ lengths in and out of the final turn, then held Caviart Luca at bay. The margin was measured three-quarters of a length in 1:51.3. Bakersfield (Mark MacDonald) and Melmerby Beach hit the line together for third, with Mach it So settling for the final pay envelope. For Bit of a Legend N, an 8-year-old Down Under son of Bettor's Delight owned by Harry von Knoblauch Stable and trained by Peter Tritton, it was his fifth win in 17 '17 tries. The exacta paid $33.50, with the triple returning $89.50 (Bakersfield third) and $92 (Melmerby Beach third). Prior to the race, Tritton spoke of von Knoblauch, who passed away early this month at age 90. "Harry was a gentleman who enjoyed racing and not afraid to spend money to get good horses. His daughters want to keep the stable going, and I'm fortunate to train for them." Bit Of A Legend's official lifetime record is as follows; Down Under - 63 starts for 20 wins, 15 seconds and 4 thirds for $810,101 North America - 45 starts for 17 wins 10 seconds and 4 thirds for $1,101,920 Total - 108 starts for 37 wins, 25 seconds and 8 thirds for $1,939,521 Bit Of A Legend Yonkers offers up the sixth of eight consecutive Sunday matinees (Aug. 13th), with a first post of 12:30 PM. Frank Drucker

Bit Of A Legend N (Bettor's Delight) was the runner-up in the 2016 Joe Gerrity Jr. Memorial Pace contested at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The Peter Tritton-trained standout wound up second best to former harness racing Horse of the Year Wiggle It Jiggleit. On Saturday night, Bit Of A Legend N was dismissed at odds of 15-1 as he took part in his second consecutive $260,000 Gerrity Pace. Driver Jordan Stratton sat patiently with the talented eight year old as a grueling pace was being set. There wasn't a dull moment throughout as top rivals were slugging it out from the word "go." The opening quarter went in 26.4 before the first half was clocked in 54.3. The field bunched up after three quarters in 1:21.2 and longshot Bit Of A Legend N powered up three wide around the final turn. From fifth at the head of the stretch to first at the wire, Bit Of A Legend stopped the timer in 1:50.3 exacting his revenge from last year's defeat in the Gerrity with an impressive win in the ninth annual installment of the race in honor of the former Chairman of the Board at Saratoga who passed away in 2005. 36-1 shot Mach It So (Dave Miller) came on for second while Boston Red Rocks (Brett Miller) earned the show spot. Bit Of A Legend N returned $32.10 to win and led an exacta and triple that came back $1,037 and $5,295, respectively. Bit Of A Legend N The fourteen race program featured a track record performance by Funknwaffles (American Ideal) in the NY Sire Stakes as he became the fastest three year old pacer in track history by prevailing in 1:50.4. Funknwaffles Also, the fastest trotting time and pacing time of the year were set on Saturday as Gural Hanover (Matt Kakaley) trotted to victory in 1:54 and Luck Be Withyou (Brett Miller) scored in 1:49.2, the third fastest time in track history on what was a sensational night of racing at Saratoga. Luck Be Withyou Heaven's Gait - New York Sire Stakes Live racing continues on Tuesday evening featuring NY Sire Stakes action with first post time set for 7:05pm. Mike Sardella

The Peter Tritton-trainee Bit Of A Legend N took no prisoners en route to capturing the harness racing 2017 edition of the $150,000 Molson Pace. The son of Bettor's Delight used rail advantage into the opening turn before releasing defending champ Evenin Of Pleasure and driver Sylvain Filion, before the quarter pole. Driver Jordan Stratton quickly marched the 36-time winner back to the lead before the opening panel in :26.3. Stratton and Bit Of A Legend N then led the field of eight past the half in :55.3 and three-quarters in 1:23.2. Evenin Of Pleasure was stalking in the pocket as Night Pro (Bob McClure) began to fade allowing Clear Vision to make a three-wide bid for the lead. Down the stretch, Bit Of A Legend N was still in control and was able to fend off a last minute rally from Evenin Of Pleasure to secure the win in 1:51.3. Evenin Of Pleasure stayed for second, over Sunfire Blue Chip (Mark MacDonald). "I knew the post one was the best spot to start from tonight and I wanted to take advantage of that," Stratton said in the winners circle. "I wanted to control the pace and I was happy to see Clear Vision not coming first-over at me. Down the stretch I felt pretty comfortable and we were rewarded. This is my first Molson Pace and hopefully it won't be the last. It was a great evening and a thrill to be here." Bit Of A Legend has banked $1,600,001 in his career for owner Harry Von Knoblauch. He paid $3.80 to win. Bit Of A Legend Greg Gangle  

London, May 23, 2017 -- The 2017 edition of the Molson Pace, slated for this Friday May 26 at The Raceway at Western Fair District, will feature some of the harness racing sport's top free-for-all pacers. One of the new faces joining this year's field is Bit Of A Legend N, who will make his first trek to Canada for trainer Peter Tritton. The New Zealand-born son of Bettor's Delight will line up from the coveted rail with regular pilot Jordan Stratton in the bike. "The draw couldn't have worked out any better," Tritton said from his home base in Pine Bush, New York. "I think most trainers would want the rail and now it's up to the horse to deliver." Tritton, a native of Australia, has spent more than 15 years in the US and will also be making his first trip to Canada. "It's something I'm definitely looking forward to it," he said. "There have been a few times in the past I've meant to come, but it never worked out. My family and I are looking forward to the trip." The veteran conditioner, who races primarily at Yonkers, has found a strong niche for recruiting horses from Down Under (Australia & New Zealand) that fits his program in New York. Standout horses that have found their way in the Tritton barn include Moss Dale Connor N, Mackenzie N, Texican N and Sell A Bit N, just to name a few. "I've been very fortunate to have a great relationship with agent Peter Larkin for the past 35 years," Tritton said. "He recruits the horses and I'll go ahead and look them up with owner Harry Von Knoblauch. He knows the horses have to fit my program at Yonkers and we've had quite a bit of success over the years." Bit Of A Legend N is one horse that Tritton has become very fond of since arriving on North American soil a few seasons ago. The 35-time winner has more than $1.5 million earned lifetime and captured the 2016 final of the Levy against the best free-for-all pacers in North America on a half-mile track. He capped off last season with more than $723,000 earned. "I shouldn't say he was a pleasant surprise how good he turned out, because I knew he was very talented," he said. "I just didn't think he'd be this good. "He's so professional and very easy to drive," Tritton continued. "He's has just a pleasant horse and his manners are perfect. I can't fault him in any way." Tritton will once again be handing the driving assignment to young driver Jordan Stratton. The young reinsman will also be making his debut in the Molson Pace. "Jordan use to drive for me a little a few years ago and we had some luck," said Tritton. "I wanted a driver that would commit to driving all my horses, because I didn't like using different drivers every week. Jordan agreed and I think it has worked out well for everyone." Tritton admits it won't be an easy task on Friday. "I think it's an excellent looking field," he said. "I wouldn't say there is a standout and that should mean a great finish. We're looking forward to the experience in Canada." The field for this years Molson Pace will line up as follows: 1. Bit Of A Legend N ($1,525,011) - Jordan Stratton 2. Rockin In Heaven ($548,971) - Trevor Henry 3. Clear Vision ($2,703,859) - Brett Miller 4. Fool Me Once ($963,778) - Doug McNair 5. Evenin Of Pleasure ($773,857) - Sylvain Filion 6. Sunfire Blue Chip ($1,181,939) - Mark MacDonald 7. Rockin Ron ($665,988) - Matt Kakaley 8. Night Pro ($738,432) - Bob McClure Greg Blanchard

YONKERS, NY, Friday, May 5, 2017 - Harness racing favored Sell a Bit N (Jordan Stratton, $4.70) lasted on the lead Friday night (May 5th) , winning Yonkers Raceway's Cinco de Mayo $55,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace In play from post position No. 4, Sell a Bit N worked around Delightful Dragon (catch-driver Eric Goodell), then finished (:27.4, :57.2, 1:25.3, 1:54.1) what she started. Sell a Bit N defeated the 'Dragon' by a neck, with a two-move Dublin Rose (George Brennan) third. Caviart Cari Ann (Dan Dube) and Certified Ideal (Brian Sears) settled for the remainder. For Sell a Bit N, a 7-year-old Down Under daughter of Julius Caesar owned by Harry von Knoblauch and trained by Peter Tritton, it was her fifth win in nine seasonal starts. The exacta (two wagering choices) paid $17.40, the triple returned $82 and the superfecta paid $357. Sell a Bit N It turned out that fives were indeed wild for the fifth day of the fifth month. In addition to the ol' double-nickel purse for the feature, March Awareness (Mark MacDonald, $6.60)-horse No. 5 in race No. 5-rolled home by seven lengths in a $27,000 trot (1:56). Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, April 22, 2017 - When the 92-year-old boss flies in from San Diego, you don't want to disappoint him. Good thing Mackenzie A (Jordan Stratton, $12.80) held up her end of the bargain Saturday night (Apr. 22nd), winning Yonkers Raceway's $310,600 harness racing final of the Blue Chip Matchmaker. Sitting chilly from post position No. 4, Mackenzie A watched as Lispatty (Brian Sears) leave hard from the pylons, with Shesjustadelight N (Ron Cushing) second and 9-10 choice Mach it a Par (Jason Bartlett) third...all three away in post position order. Meanwhile, Regil Elektra (Yannick Gingras) and Bedroomconfessions (Scott Zeron) tried to leave, only to get parked for their troubles (the latter badly compromised by the former). It was Lispatty leading at the :26.4 opening quarter-mile before Mach it a Par move to take the baton approaching the :55.1 intermission. Down the backside, Shesjustadelight N took out of third, with Mackenzie A third and Medusa (Matt Kakaley) staying in. Mach it a Par was seemingly in control in and out of a 1:23.4 three-quarters, with the uncovered rival pacing in place, forcing Mackenzie A wide. It was Mach it a Par owning a length-and-half lead into the lane, but company was coming. Mackenzie A blew on by, widening to win the ninth Matchmaker by 2¾ lengths in in life-best 1:53.1. Medusa, who had left the cones, failed to match strides with the winner but was a rallying second, with 81-1 rank outsider Diva's Image (Joe Bongiorno) a closing third. That one found her way into the final after original eight-holer Empress Deo came up ill. Mach it a Par faded to fourth, with Shesjustadelight N fifth and Lispatty, Regil Elektra and Bedroomconfessions bringing up the rear. For co-second choice Mackenzie A, a 5-year-old Down Under daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven co-owned by the nonagenarian Harry von Knoblauch (a fine TV interview) and his daughter, Ellen Kinser and trained by Peter Tritton, it was her second win in eight seasonal starts. The exacta paid $167, the triple returned $6,251 the superfecta paid $19,960 (base $2 payout). "I thought I have to race her from off the pace," Stratton said. "The trip worked out perfect for us. I knew there were horses behind and I wanted to move." Stratton won the inaugural edition of the race in 2009 with Pancleefandarpels. Mackenzie A A $75,000 series consolation was won by Hidden Land (Bartlett, $9.50) in 1:54.1. Hidden Land Saturday night's $55,000 Open Handicap Trot was won by Barn Doll (Jeff Gregory, $4.70) in 1:56.4. Barn Doll Frank Drucker

YONKERS, N.Y. - The final of the 2016 George Morton Levy Series was special for harness racing trainer Peter Tritton. He watched as Bit Of A Legend, the race’s 1/5 favorite, swept to the lead after the opening quarter of the rich Grand Circuit stakes before holding off all challengers in the stretch, powering to a length victory in 1:51.0. One year removed from that win, Tritton thinks his star is primed for a series repeat. “He is as good as he’s ever been,” he said. “We were hoping for a better draw this year, that’s all. But he’s as good as he was last year. He’s ready for a big race, I’d say.” While Bit Of A Legend enjoyed post position two one year ago, he and driver Jordan Stratton will start from post six in this year’s $529,000 Levy Final. “He had a good draw last year, I think he was the best horse in the race, but he had a good draw,” Tritton said. “To win it twice, and this time with a bad draw, it would make a statement that he’s the best horse because that’s not easy to do.” Bit Of A Legend enters Saturday’s race off his most impressive victory of the season. After earning second place checks in the first two legs of the series and winning in week three in off the pace fashion, Stratton sent Bit Of A Legend to the front in the final preliminary and led at every call. With a :26.3 final quarter, Bit Of A Legend stopped the clock in 1:51.3. Tritton thinks those aggressive tactics could be put to good use again this week. “Jordan said if something came along side of him, he was going to fight. He’s ready,” Tritton said. “He’s very, very strong. It’s up to Jordan, but he may try to use his strengths on Saturday night. We can’t drive him like that much because we want to maintain him, but for this sort of money, it might be what’s required.” An 8-year-old New Zealand-bred son of Bettor’s Delight, Bit Of A Legend sports earnings of $1,473,036. Racing at this level comes almost naturally to him, making Tritton’s job as trainer easier. “We don’t do much with him, we just keep him happy,” he explained. “He just canters and plays about, really. No pressure on him whatsoever. That’s why when he races, he comes into his own. He’s easy to train, really; just don’t be too hard on him.”  Although Bit Of A Legend faces a tougher assignment in this year’s Levy Final, Tritton is hopeful for a series repeat. To do so would follow in the hoofprints of Foiled Again, the only horse to win the Levy Final twice, in 2009 and 2010. “It would be great to. I love the little horse. He’s probably eventually going to go to stud, maybe at the end of the year, but it would be an accomplishment for him. He’s just a great little horse, especially on the half-mile,” Tritton admired. One of Tritton’s other standouts, Provocativeprincen, will start directly to Bit Of A Legend’s outside Saturday night. After earning 210 points throughout the series, Provocativeprincen was ranked eighth in the standings and made the final with two points to spare. “I’ve been very impressed with the horse. I didn’t think he’d be this good,” Tritton admitted. “He was only a middle of the road horse; we didn’t pay a lot of money for him, but he’s been very impressive.” Provocativeprincen won his first-week Levy division and finished second in week three. His fifth place effort last Saturday, however, left Tritton puzzled. Although he paced home in :27.0, Provocativeprincen lost ground late and finished fifth beaten 3 1/2 lengths. “Even though he came home in :27.0, I thought he was a little bit lackluster last week,” Tritton said. “I think he’ll be alright, it’s just I’d rather see him come off a better run last week. But he’s in it, and if he goes as good as he can, he will be running home.” In addition to his two-pronged Levy bid, Tritton will send out Mackenzie in the $310,600 Final of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series. Although the 5-year-old Rock N Roll Heaven mare is a 20-1 morning line, her trainer is undaunted. “I think she has a great chance in the final. I wouldn’t swap her for any other mare in the race,” he said. Sixth in the Matchmaker standings after racing in all five legs, Mackenzie earned a spot in the final by winning her division in week two and finishing third and second in legs three and four, respectively. Last week, Mackenzie looked ready to charge off cover in the stretch when she suddenly rolled off stride. Her break came just as the whip of the driver in front of her waved past her nose. “She shied away from the whip of the horse in front of her and she galloped into the straight,” Tritton explained. “If she had won that race last week, she would have been one of the favorites. I think she’s got a great chance. She’ll be as good as she can be.” First post time at Yonkers is 7:10 p.m. Click here for entries for Saturday’s card. Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY

Yonkers, NY --- Typically calm and level-headed, harness racing driver Jordan Stratton isn't one to exaggerate or dramatize either a horse’s performance or his own. Instead, the 29-year-old reinsman is quick to deliver matter-of-fact outlooks on any situation. But ask about New Zealand import Bit Of A Legend, and he lights up. The winner of the 2016 George Morton Levy Series final, Bit Of A Legend made his first start of 2017 at Yonkers Raceway Feb. 18. Handicapped by post position eight, the son of Bettor's Delight trailed the field by 11 lengths after the quarter. Sticking to the pylons, Bit Of A Legend willingly advanced within 5-3/4 lengths of the lead at the three-quarters, but soon found himself jailed at the inside. A tug on the right line to navigate to clear-sailing with just a sixteenth to pace helped facilitate a :27 final panel. Bit Of A Legend, individually timed in 1:53.3, finished third, beaten 3-3/4 lengths. Man, he was awesome,” Stratton said, his voice possessing all of the excitement and satisfaction of a kid unwrapping his favorite gift on Christmas morning. “It's tough from Yonkers from the eight hole. I really never expected him to be third from there. He was way better than I expected.” Bit Of A Legend’s 2016 season, which saw him win 13 of 28 races and nearly double his career earnings to $1,389,536, concluded Nov. 11. To bridge the gap between seasons, trainer Peter Tritton prepped Bit Of A Legend for his seasonal debut with just one qualifier at Yonkers Feb. 11. “His qualifier was good, but Pete didn't really do much with him,” Stratton explained. “He's aiming for the Levy again. I thought he'd be a little short, but wow, the good horse just came out I guess.” Tritton expects Bit Of A Legend’s 2017 season to mirror last year’s campaign. The 8-year-old’s primary engagements will include the Levy Series and the Invitational Pace on International Trot Day while starts in Yonkers’ rich Open Handicaps will substitute other Grand Circuit events. “I haven't staked him again. I'm not a big fan of traveling everywhere. I'll race him here, probably race him very similarly to last year and he might go to stud at the end of the year,” Tritton explained. Last year Bit Of A Legend captured all five preliminary legs of the Levy Series, including a dead-heat victory with 2015 Horse of the Year Wiggle It Jiggleit in the fifth leg. Tritton is confident as the first leg of this year’s series, set for March 18, nears. “I don't think Bit Of A Legend has lost any step and I hear Wiggle It Jiggleit isn't coming up, so I think he's got a great chance of winning the Levy again,” Tritton reasoned. “He's got a lot of toughness about him and keeps racing good every week. I'm just hoping to have luck in the series and that he stays healthy.” Bit Of A Legend won't be Tritton and Stratton’s only chance in the Levy Series. Another New Zealand import, Provocativeprince, has blossomed since arriving in the U.S. last fall. The 7-year-old by Grinfromeartoear out of the Village Jasper mare Catherine Zeta is three-for-four for Tritton as he continues to climb the class ladder. This week, he’ll tackle the $39,000 Preferred Handicap Pace from post seven, his toughest assignment yet. “He's a pretty nice horse,” Tritton remarked of Provocativeprince. “He's not supposed to be this good. Bit Of A Legend had a lot more credentials when he came, but we can only go on what he's doing.” Provocativeprince won six of 44 races in New Zealand and banked $55,382. After a winless final season in the Southern Hemisphere, the gelding has found his best stride at Yonkers. Most recently, he thrived while first-over as the 4-5 favorite in a $30,000 overnight, cruising to an easy win in 1:52.3 after trailing by 3-3/4 lengths past a :57.1 half. Stratton describes Provocativeprince’s closing kick as, “the only one that's come close so far (to Bit Of A Legend).” “I'm hoping he can make a little money and possibly get through to the final. I'm sure he's a better horse than Texican and he ran third in the final last year, so I've got high hopes for him,” Tritton said. “It’s just a matter of whether he can keep it up through a grueling series, but he's definitely got the ability, no doubt about that.” Provocativeprince is a 5-1 morning line chance in Saturday's Preferred Handicap while Blood Brother is the 2-1 favorite. Bit Of A Legend will start from post six in the $50,000 Open Handicap Pace as a 6-1 morning line. Caviar Luca and Somewhere In L A will start to Bit Of A Legend’s outside at odds of 9-2 and 2-1, respectively. First Class Horse, Lucan Hanover, Make Some Luck, Sports Bettor, and Roland N Rock complete the field. Saturday's 11-race card also features a $50,000 Open Handicap Trot and a $39,000 Preferred Handicap Trot. First post time is 7:10 p.m. Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY

YONKERS, N.Y. - Harness racing driver Jordan Stratton sat behind 5-year-old mare Mackenzie for the first time last Friday (Feb. 17) as she faced the starting gate for a qualifier at Yonkers Raceway. Starting from post position six, she paced evenly in the early stages before sprinting home late. She posted her final quarter in :27.1 and finished fourth. Although it was her first outing since finishing second in the Breeders Crown for 3-Year-Old fillies at Australia’s Tabcorp Park Melton August 28, the effort pleased Stratton. “I was happy with it. Pete just wanted to run her home a little bit. She did it pretty easily,” he said. “She seems like the real deal to me. It’s tough to tell off one qualifier, but she seems good.” The latest import to join to ranks of trainer Peter Tritton, Mackenzie is already an accomplished mare. She won eight of 19 starts Down Under, including the Group 2 Alabar NSW Breeders Challenge Blue Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, and placed in another seven races en route to A$121,861 in earnings. The November 18, 2012 foal by Rock N Roll Heaven out of Kept For Pleasure took her mark of 1:52.4 at Tabcorp Park Menagle last May. Now, her connections are eager to launch her North American campaign in Friday’s sixth race $50,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace at Yonkers. “She’s probably not 100 percent, but Jordan said to put her in,” Tritton said. “He was very excited about (the qualifier) and said she’s a real good mare. That was pleasing. I haven’t done a lot with her, but she does feel very impressive driving her.” Mackenzie first caught Tritton’s eye when he noticed her in a replay. Soon, he got a call from a friend tipping him off that she was for sale. Tritton purchased Mackenzie and shipped her to the United States just before Christmas. Two months later, she will make her stateside debut. “She looked like a nice horse and looked like she could go around Yonkers, which is the main criteria,” Tritton explained. “She’s a big mare, but she seems to get around the tracks good. She’s got plenty of class. She’s fairly young. It’s a shame she’s got to start up in the top class, but she’s won so much money that she has to start up there for a while.” Preparing a horse for her first races in such short order after crossing the Equator is challenging, but Tritton’s experience training in both Australia and the United States gives him an advantage. He understands horses must cope with drastic changes in seasons and differences in training methodologies. Above all, the process takes patience. “The seasons are exactly the opposite. When we get one in the middle of winter here like we did with her, it was completely in summer there, so it was pretty hard,” Tritton explained. “I just let the horse tell me. You just have to do the best with them that you can during that time and be prepared to back off of them and not work them too hard. “I’m a little bit fortunate because I know how they’re trained there and I know how they’re trained here, so I can sort of put them together a bit,” Tritton continued. “Whereas some guys who haven’t trained over there just train them the way they know here and it’s not really the same.” While Tritton says it takes a horse a full year to fully acclimatize after changing hemispheres, the experience they gain in their first few starts is pivotal to ensuring a smooth transition. In this way, patience in the sulky pays off as well. Stratton will employ a proven strategy in handling Australian horses for the first time: take them off the gate and let them finish strongly. As he puts it, “get the most money the easiest I can do it. “It’s all new to them. New country, new weather in the different hemisphere,” Stratton said. “One or two bad experiences in their first start and it kind of screws them for the rest of their career, but once you get past the first few starts, they’re usually ok.” Tritton is eager to see how Mackenzie fares in Friday’s Filly and Mare Open Handicap, where she’ll start from post position four as a 15-1 outsider on the morning line. A good effort could land her a chance in the upcoming Bluechip Matchmaker Series alongside stablemate Sell A Bit. “I think I’ll put her in the Bluechip,” he said. “I think she has the ability to go in it no problems at all, I just hope that I don’t tap her out the first season because she’s a young mare, but we’ll see how it goes.” While last week’s Filly and Make Open Handicap winner Bedroomconfessions is absent this week, Mackenzie will still face a full field in the distaff feature. Mach It A Par, the 3-1 morning line choice, will make her second start of the year after finishing third in last week’s feature. Last week’s preferred winner Tessa Seelster will start from post eight and is 7-2. Filly and Mare Open runner up last out, Empress Deo is 4-1 and starts from post five. Lispatty, For The Ladies, Regil Elektra, and Shesjustadelight complete the field. First post is 7:10 p.m. by Brandon Valvo for SOA of NY

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, February 11, 2017 - Bit of a Legend N, last season's winner of Yonkers Raceway's George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series, returned to the scene of his greatest harness racing triumph for a first 2017 sighting. The now-8-year-old was an even third in the fastest of four qualifiers Saturday night, pacing his mile in 1:55.4 (last quarter :27.2). "I was very pleased," regular driver Jordan Stratton said after his first appearance since last November. "I really didn't want to go that fast, but he seemed fine." Trainer Peter Tritton said he expected to have Bit of a Legend N in the parimutuel entry box next week "event though he's probably going to be assigned an outside post position." A season ago, the Down Under son of Bettor's Delight win 13 of his 28 starts with earnings of $723,850. The 2017 Levy Series begins here Saturday night, March 18th. Frank Drucker

1 to 16 of 65
1 2 3 4 5 Next »