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YONKERS, NY, Friday, June 29, 2018-Magic Forces (George Brennan, $3.80) quarter-moved to paydirt Friday night (June 29th), winning Yonkers Raceway's featured $44,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. Odds-on from an assigned pole, Magic Forces was away third. She then zipped past Sell a Bit N (Jordan Stratton), taking over just before a 27-secone opening quarter-mile. When Sell a Bit N backing away and only serious challenger Medusa (Brian Sears) having to work from first-over, Magic Forces had few issues finishing it off (:56, 1:23.2, 1:51...smashing the track record for her 4-year-old mare weight class). The previous number in the clubhouse (1:51.3) was shared by Rocklamation (2012), Venus Delight ('14), Cinamony ('15, twice) and Tessa Seelster ('16). Magic Forces whipped Medusa by 2¼ angst-free lengths. Bronze Over N (Brent Holland) closed for third, with Mach it a Par (Jason Bartlett) and Sell a Bit N settling for the minors. The win was one of a Brennan quartet during the 10-race card. For Magic Forces, an aforementioned 4-year-old lass (daughter of Art Major) owned by Frank Poerio Jr. and trained by Ron Burke, it was her fifth win in in 15 seasonal starts. The exacta (inside two assignees) paid $11, the triple returned $43 and the superfecta paid $125.50. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, June 26, 2018-New York Sire Stakes continued downstate Tuesday night (June 26th), with Yonkers Raceway hosting the $158,000 Jim Meagher Pace for 2-year-old colts and geldings. Three consecutive divisions-worth $53,000, $52,000 and $53,000, respectively-comprised the event, which again honored the memory of the Raceway's long-time corporate controller. Tuesday was the first sire stakes event for the frosh, the majority of whom were making their purse debuts. The opening division proved quite formful, as the two choices 'ran' 1-2.. Odds-on World on Edge (Matt Kakaley, $3.80), from post position No. 2, took over passing a :28.4 opening quarter-mile, then finished it off from there (:58.2, 1:28.3, 1:57.1). He defeated KJ Leo (George Brennan) by a length-and-three-quarters, with 36-1 outsider Hurrikane Kingklee (Dan Dube), Covered Bridge (Brian Sears) and Starship Trooper (Tim Tetrick) grabbing the minors. For World on Edge, a son of Roll with Joe co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke, Joe DiScala Jr., J&T Silva-Purnel & Libby and Adriano Sorella, it was his parimutuel debut. The exacta paid $7.60, the triple retuned $68 and the superfecta paid $297. The evening's second grouping was an unfair fight as Melodie's Major (Tyler Buter, $7.60) tickled the teletimer in a event's-fastest 1:55.3. From post No. 5, he two-moved around Bean (Jason Bartlett) before a flat 30-second quarter, then gave nothing else a chance (:59.2, 1:27.3 in between). Melodie's Major widened to four lengths in and out of the final turn, lost Bean-who eventually broke in the lane-then defeated slight 2-1 favorite Bicorne Hanover (Kakaley) by eight lengths. Third went to Jojo's Place (Corey Callahan), recovering from a nasty break at the start, with slow-starting Jet Rock (Brian Sears) and Hestons Blue Chip (Jordan Stratton) settling for the remainder. For third choice Melodie's Major, an Art Major colt owned by Martin Scharf and trained by Mark Ford, he was another making his career purse bow. The exacta paid $19.20, the triple retuned $63 and the superfecta paid $297 (no a typo, same payout as previous race). "I didn't even ask him," Buter said. "I drove him twice in (Pocono) qualifiers and he impressed me. "I think I'm going to stay with him." The evening's final get-together saw Major Blake (Tim Tetrick, $5.90), from post No. 3, complete his appointed rounds (:29, :58.4, 1:27.4, 1:56). The final margin was 2½ lengths. Jack Nation (Mark MacDonald) rallied for second, with Buddy Hill (Scott Zeron) third. Shanghai Bobby (Bartlett), pocketed as the 3-5 choice, but apparently wasn't crazy about it. He vacated passing three-quarters to challenge, was rebuffed and backpedaled to fourth. Blissful Road (Buter) was fifth. For second choice Major Blake, a son Art Major co-owned by (trainer) Sam Schillaci, Matthew Bencic and Howard Berke, he, too, was another first starter. The exacta paid $50.50, the triple retuned $369.50 and the superfecta paid $454. The next New York Sire Stakes visit is Tuesday's (July 3rd) Hugh Grant Trot (2-year-old fillies, purse TBA). by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, June 26, 2018-Yonkers Raceway's Sunday matinee this weekend (July 1st) shall offer a first post of 12:40 PM. Races 1 through 4 (post time 2:10 PM) go as those added-field, added-distance trots, with the finale listed at 4:04 PM, 4:24 PM or 4:44 PM, depending upon number (10, 11 or 12) of races when the card is drawn later this afternoon. Sunday's 'New York, New York Double' consists of the third race from Belmont (post time 2:37 PM) and the seventh from Yonkers (post time 3:04 PM). Program pages for this wager ($1 minimum, 18½ percent takeout) to be sent when available. After this weekend, the next Sunday matinee is July 15th (post time TBA). Yonkers Raceway shall now offer free, downloadable programs for its Sunday matinee and Monday evening cards from July through September. There are nine 'French' summer Sundays, beginning this weekend (July 1st). This Sunday goes at 12:40 PM, with the remaining ones TBA. Mondays, of course, are constant (all evening first posts at 6:50 PM), save for a dark Labor Day (Sept. 3rd). Just visit www.empirecitycasino.com, find the racing section (under 'Entries and Results') and get an early handicapping start. This Sunday's program should be finalized by midday Thursday (June 28th), with subsequent Sundays done by midday the previous Wednesday. Monday programs are usually available no later than mid-afternoon the previous Friday. by Frank Drucker, for Harnesslink  

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, June 23, 2018-Marion Marauder (Jordan Stratton, $3.40) returned to Westchester Saturday night (June 23rd), winning Yonkers Raceway's co-featured $44,000 Open Handicap Trot. The 2016 Trotting Triple Crown winner, in his first local visit since finishing second in last fall's million-dollar Yonkers International Trot, was unsurprisingly better than his seven inside foes. Marion Marauder just sat out there, moving from seventh to fifth at the half (:27, :57). He advanced down the backside the second time, making up ground even though they weren't going that much up front. Marion Marauder went three-wide around Madhatter Bluechip (Joe Bongiorno), setting his sights on leading Bluebird Jesse (Brent Holland) passing a 1:25.3 three-quarters. The odds-on choice took over soon after, opening a length-and-a-half into the lane. He then held off Smalltownthrowdown (Dan Dube) by a half-length in 1:55.1. It was the 2016 Yonkers Trot all over again, except Stratton (six winners during Saturday's dozen-race card) was cast in the role of Scott Zeron and Dube subbing for Dan Daley behind the runnerup. Daley had Smalltownthrowdown at 2 and 3. Third went to DW's NY Yank (George Brennan), with Bluebird Jesse and Madhatter Bluechip rounding out the payees. For Marion Marauder, a 5-year-old son of Muscle Hill co-owned by Marion Wellwood and Devin Keeling & trained by the tandem of Paula Wellwood and Mike Keeling (Ms. Wellwood is listed stateside), it was his second win in four seasonal starts (career earnings up over $2.6 million). The exacta paid $37.60, the triple returned $169 and the superfecta paid $371.50. Saturday night's co-featured $44,000 Open Handicap Pace was won by Always at May Place (Brennan, $12) in 1:51.1, a 40th career victory by far a season's-best effort. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Friday, June 22, 2018 - It was nary more than a qualifier for money for odds-on Lispatty (George Brennan, $3.40), winning Yonkers Raceway's featured $44,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. The lone leaver from assigned post position No. 4, Lispatty worked around pole-sitting Medusa (Brian Sears). She then effectively ended the suspense (:28, :57.2) at the intermission. Delightful Dragon (Brent Holland) tried it first-up from fifth, but a :27.1 third quarter (1:24.3) made sure the outer tier did not figure. Lispatty owned a length-and-three-quarter lead in and out of the final turn, then easily held her pocketed pursuer at bay. She defeat Medusa by a length-and-a-half in 1:52. The ground-saving trio of Lovineveryminute (Mark MacDonald), Freakonomics (Eric Goodell) and Mach it a Par (Jason Bartlett) settled for the remainder. For Lispatty, a 5-year-old daughter of McArdle owned by Gilbert Garcia-Owen and trained by Gilberto Garcia-Herrera, it was her fifth win (third consecutive) in 17 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $12.60, the triple returned $55 and the superfecta paid $267. Saturday night's (June 23rd) dozen-race program features the return of 2016's Trotting Triple Crown champ, Marion Marauder. Second in last fall's million-dollar Yonkers International Trot, Marion Marauder was banished behind the eight-ball in the $44,000, seventh-race co-featured Open Handicap Trot. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, N.Y. – Driver George Brennan will take the lines behind Lispatty, Always At My Place, and DW’s NY Yank in this weekend’s $44,000 features for distaff pacers, open pacers, and trotters. Brennan shared his thoughts on his horses and their chances this weekend: Friday, Race 7 - $44,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace Lispatty – Post 4 – 2-1  Lispatty finished third in a leg of the Matchmaker Series earlier this year before trying the competition in the Pennsylvania Open Series in May. She earned a fourth-place check in three of five starts in that series before shipping back to Yonkers June 8. Since her return to the half-mile track, Lispatty dominated competition in two straight $22,000 overnights; she won wire-to-wire by 4 ½ lengths in 1:52.0 June 8 and stopped the clock in a blistering 1:51.1 last time out June 15 in an effort that surprised even Brennan. Lispatty, a 5-year-old daughter of McCardle who’s won 20 races and $524,445, won the local distaff feature four times last year.  “She’s got a good spot, she’s got the four hole. She’s been good. I’ve driven her for a couple years now and at Yonkers, she’s never been better. She went in 1:51.1 last week and at Yonkers she’s never been better. She gets around that track really good. I mean, 1:51.1, that’s a big mile that she did last week. She’s been very good and she’s actually getting better with the warmer weather. "She wasn’t at her best in the colder weather in the Matchmaker. She’s going to fair good. She’s inside her competition, she’s got the four hole, she can leave really well and she fits real well in there. I’m not saying she’s the best in there, but she’s got a good spot.”  Saturday, Race 6 - $44,000 Open Handicap Pace Always At My Place – Post 4 – 3-1  After going 10-for-31 last year good for $188,963, Always At My Place is just 2-for-12 halfway through the 2018 season; he captured a leg of the George Morton Levy Series March 17 and upset the $100,000 Levy Consolation at odds of 22-1 April 21. Always At My Place enters this week’s pacing feature off a string of narrow defeats. He was second to Heaven Rocks in a 1:50.0 mile in the Open Series at Pocono June 3, was beaten a head by Somewhere In LA in the local Open June 9 while pacing 1:52.0 and suffered a nose defeat to Western Dynasty after setting the fractions in a $27,500 overnight last Saturday.  “His last two races at Yonkers have been the best two races he’s had at Yonkers in the past two years. He gets around the track a lot better than he used to. He’s inside and he’s got a good chance. He struggles around that track a little bit, but he has an inside advantage and he’s good, he’s a good horse. He’s a solid horse, he knows how to win a horse race. "Last week he got beat a lip on the wire in 1:51.1 and came home in :27.1. There’s not many horses that do that at Yonkers, come home in :27.1 and get beat on the wire. No horses come home at Yonkers in :27.1 with a mile in 1:51.1.” Saturday, Race 7 - $44,000 Open Handicap Trot DW’s NY Yank – Post 6 – 6-1  The 9-year-old trotter proved he’s just as good as ever when winning the local Open Handicap Trot in 1:54.3 May 26. The speedy mile saw DW’s NY Yank assigned the outside post last out June 9, which he was unable to overcome as he finished fifth beaten 7 ¾ lengths behind Tight Lines. The earner of $1.2 million seeks his 50th victory Saturday night, but will have to do so from post six. “That’s going to be a tough spot, he’s got the six hole and that’s a tough spot. There’s speed inside and it’s hard. He’s a good horse, he’s a 9-year-old. "He’s got a track record he set as a 4-year-old of 1:54.2 and then as a 9-year-old he just won in 1:54.3. He’s still just as good, but he’s got a real hard spot. On that track, I just have to pick his spots a little bit. He is such a great horse, he’s a terrific horse, one of my favorites.” First post time Friday and Saturday is 6:50 p.m. For entries to Friday’s races, click here. For entries to Saturday’s races, click here. by Brandon Valvo, for the SOA of NY

YONKERS, NY, Thursday, June 21, 2018-New York Sire Stakes returned downstate Thursday night (June 21st), with Yonkers Raceway hosting the $172,499 Art Watson Pace for 3-year-old fillies. There are three consecutive divisions-worth $56,833, $57,833 and $57,833, respectively-comprised the event. The opening event saw favored Newsday (Jim Marohn Jr., $4.50) do her damage from off the pace in 1:55. Unhurried from post position No. 5, she advanced from third-over behind Betterthangraduate (Matt Kakaley) and Painted Lady (Eric Goodell). The outer tier inhaled early leader Tell Me a Joke after that one's road work of :27.1, :56.3 and 1:24.4. Newsday closed widest and fastest, measuring off Painted Lady by a neck. Third went to Kimberlee (Jason Bartlett) in a good effort, with Betterthangraduate and Better Than Happy (Jordan Stratton) rounding out the payees. Tell Me a Joke faded to sixth. For Newsday, a daughter of Art Major co-owned by (trainer) Richie Silverman, Michael Gluckman, Mary Arnold and Edward McEnery, it was her second win in six seasonal starts. The exacta paid $27.80, the triple retuned $135 and the superfecta paid $523. Thursday's second NYSS division had another wagering choice, Pueblo Blue Chip (George Brennan, $5.20), outgame Ms. Cheesman (Jimmy Whittemore) in 1:54, matching her life-best effort. Away a loose third from post No. 6, Pueblo Blue Chip watched as Hurrikane Shorty (Marohn Jr.) led through intervals of :27.4, :56.4 and 1:25.2. About the time Pueblo Blue Chip was approaching the leader, Ms. Cheesman bulled her way out of the pocket, forced the eventual winner three-wide. Both lasses eventually went by Hurrikane Shorty, with Pueblo Blue Chip whipping Ms. Cheesman by a half-length. Hurrikane Shorty saved the bottom of the ticket, Silk Reed (Morrill Jr.) and Azreal As it Gets (Brian Sears) came away with the minors. For Pueblo Blue Chip, an American Ideal miss trained by Ron Burke for co-owners Blue Chip Bloodstock, Michael Guerrero and Menary Racing, it was her second (NYSS) win in three '18 tries. The exacta paid $16.80, the triple (three wagering choices in order) retuned $63.50 and the superfecta paid $473.50. The evening final's statebred grouping was another formful result, as odds-on Wisdom Tree (Scott Zeron, $3.40) went down the road (:27.2, :56.2, 1:24.1, night's-fastest 1:52.1). From post No. 5, Wisdom Tree gave nothing else a chance, opening down the backside and giving last season's frosh divisional champ, Alexis Faith (Morrill Jr.), too much work to do. Wisdom Tree had three lengths off the final turn, then defeated a two-move Alexis Faith by a length-and-a-quarter. Presto Blue Chip (Stratton), Apothic (Brennan) and Believe in Me (Sears) picked off the minor moolah. For Wisdom Tree, a Betterthancheddar lass co-owned by Thomas Pollack and Jeffrey Cullipher & trained by Ed Hart, it was her sixth win in eight seasonal efforts. The exacta (two wagering choices in order) paid $8.30, the triple retuned $47.40 and the superfecta paid $400.50 The next New York Sire Stakes visit is Tuesday's (June 26th) $158,000 Jim Meagher Pace (2-year-old colts/geldings). by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, N.Y. – Since making her 3-year-old debut at Hoosier Park this spring, Wisdom Tree has been nearly unstoppable. The daughter of Betterthancheddar out of the Artsplace mare Wisdom posted three straight wins in overnight competition in Indiana and at Saratoga before jumping into New York Sire Stakes. In three legs so far, she’s 2-for-3 with another runner-up finish. The only blemish on Wisdom Tree’s 2018 campaign came in her first start of the year when she made an early miscue and finished seventh. “She’s a really nice filly. She’s a doll, I love her,” trainer Ed Hart said. “I think she was a little immature last year. She made the odd mistake. You could never move her too fast, you always had to be a little careful with her. She definitely matured. She’s a sweetheart in the stall, does everything right, just a classy horse.” Jeff Cullipher co owns Wisdom Tree with Tom Pollack and prepared the filly for her 3-year-old campaign before sending her east to Hart. Over the years, the relationship between Hart, Pollack, and Cullipher has proven fruitful. “I started training horses for Tom Pollack. He was also an owner with Randy Bendis and Randy sent me horses from The Meadows when they came out East to race, especially for New York Sire Stakes,” Hart said. “And then Tom branched out to Indiana with Jeff Cullipher and they race together. They do the same thing, when they come out east, they send them to me. “They always send me good horses and they’re good people to deal with. Jeff Cullipher developed this filly and trained her down. I just manage her out here and race her. It’s really nice,” Hart continued. “Jeff has a big stable out in Indiana, he’s a good guy to work with. It really is nice, it works out real well for me.” In her first start in Sire Stakes competition this year May 27 at Saratoga, Wisdom Tree raced from off the pace as the race’s 2-5 favorite Youaremycandygirl cut blistering fractions of :26.3 and :53.3. As the leader’s strides began to shorten nearling three-quarters, Wisdom Tree mounted a first-over bid. She struck the lead at the top of the stretch and powered away with a :28.2 final quarter to beat Alexis Faith by a length in 1:52.2 at odds of 8-1. “That was a pretty wild race,” Hart said. “My filly did it right, she pulled going to the half and she was coming first-over and ground that one down. She raced tough as nails, you can’t take anything away from her.” Wisdom Tree’s victory at Saratoga showed the filly has developed a new dimension this year. In 11 starts at 2, Wisdom Tree won three races, all of which came on the front end. She frequently made breaks in stride when forced to sit in a hole. Now more mentally and physically mature, Hart thinks Wisdom Tree has outgrown her breaking issues and is much more versatile. “Last year, when she was on the lead where you could steady her and keep her on her own pace, she was really good,” Hart explained. “She was never quick to come out of the hole, you could never force her into anything. This year, you can. She can leave, she can sit, she can do it all.” Wisdom Tree proved her efforts at Saratoga were no fluke as she finished second next out, pacing a 1:50.3 mile from post eight at Tioga Downs June 3. In her most recent start, Wisdom Tree posted a 4 ¼-length victory after sitting the pocket trip at Buffalo June 13. “I know Buffalo, I’ve raced there all my life and you’ve got to be really careful up there,” Hart said. “I was happy to see her get around that track and she handled it perfectly. Kevin Cummings said she never took a bad step. And there again, she left pretty quick and sat the hole and sat there nice. That was a nice trip up there for her.” Wisdom Tree will try to score her third NYSS victory of the year Thursday night at Yonkers when she starts in the third and final division of the state bred stakes in race 11. Wisdom Tree will start from post five as the 2-1 morning line favorite and will once again face Alexis Faith, the Casie Coleman trainee who finished second in a Fan Hanover elimination at Mohawk June 9. For complete entries, click here.  “I know Casie Coleman’s horse on the outside of us is a tough horse, I know she’s raced good in Canada. At that level, they’re all good, anything can happen. Hopefully we’ll get a good trip and we’ll see what happens,” Hart said. “I think Wisdom Tree is sharp. That Buffalo trip is tough. It’s a 6-hour trip each way, it’s a 2-day thing, but I think she’s sharp. She feels good.” Hart will also start Medusa in Friday night’s featured $44,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. A 6-1 chance from an assigned inside post, Medusa will face the likes of Lispatty, Sell A Bit, Newborn Sassy, and Mach It A Par.  Hart broke Medusa as a yearling, but she campaigned with a host of stables including Paul Kelley, Ron Burke, and Randy Bendis before finally coming to Hart this spring for the Matchmaker Series. She was victorious in one leg and hit the board in three others to make the final, where she finished sixth. I her last start, the 7-year-old finished second beaten a nose in the Filly and Mare Open June 15. In her career, Medusa is 32-for-109 with $732,753 earned. “I had her a long time ago as a baby and she came back to me this year,” Hart said. “She raced tough in that series. Five, six weeks in a row is a tough series. Last week, she was super, but the fractions were a little slower up front, kind of played into her a little bit. That’s a really nice mare. Big, beautiful, sound mare. Pretty much tries every week and just another good horse.” First post time Thursday and Friday at Yonkers is 6:50 p.m. For Friday’s entries, click here. by Brandon Valvo, for the SOA of NY

YONKERS, NY, Thursday, June 21, 2018-For those of who may have missed the first go-round, Yonkers Raceway is offering a redux of the 2016 Yonkers Trot...in 2018. Hey, you buy the premise, you buy the bit. Saturday night's (June 23rd) co-featured $44,000 Open Handicap Trot is highlighted by the return of one Marion Marauder. The Trotting Triple Crown winner and career $2.5 million earner invades Westchester for the first time since a second-place effort in Twister Bi's world-record Yonkers International Trot romp last October. Marion Marauder was remanded behind the eight-ball Saturday night, complete with new escort. Jordan Stratton gets the assignment as regular date Scott Zeron is off to Pocono and eliminations for the Sun Stakes. When Marion Marauder looks to his immediate left, he shall see his nemesis from that Tour de Trot, one Smalltownthrowdown. According to the U.S. Trotting Association's Anne Chunko, the pair only opposed one another in the elim and final of the '16 Trot, with Smalltownthrowdown the bridesmaid in both. Marion Marauder won the half-million-dollar finale by a hard-fought head in 1:56.1 (photo accompanies) after winning by a length-and-a-quarter the week before. The third round was supposed to be at Scioto's Charlie Hill Memorial earlier this month, but Marion Marauder came up ill. This season, the now 5-year-old son of Muscle Hill has a win (Philly, 1:52.1) and pair of seconds in three starts. He's 15-for-41 lifetime, hitting the board 33 times. Marion Marauder is co-owned by Marion Wellwood and Devin Keeling & trained by the tandem of Paula Wellwood and Mike Keeling (Ms. Wellwood is listed stateside). Smalltownthrowdown, no slouch he, tries to exact some revenge, albeit with somewhat less riding on this outcome. The 5-year-old statebred Cash Hall gelding has won 19 career races (2-for-6 this season) and more than $700,000. Trained and driven by Dan Daley at 2 and 3, he's now co-owned and trained by Rene Allard. Dan Dube takes a seat. Smalltownthrowdown, the New York Sire Stakes champ as a sophomore, won a local Open Handicap in late May. The weekly trotting features goes as the seventh of a dozen races. First post is the usual 6:50 PM. Oh, and so as not to short shrift the other gait, Saturday night's $44,000 Open Handicap Pace finds Bit of a Legend N back at it for the first time since his win (life-best 1:49.4) in Northfield's $200,000 Battle of Lake Erie three weeks ago. If you're keeping score at home, this is another outside getaway for Stratton, as in post No. 7. The Open 'Cap Pace goes as the sixth race. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Wednesday, June 20, 2018-Consider this a friendly reminder from friendly Yonkers Raceway regarding its upcoming live schedule. After next Thursday evening (June 28th), Thursdays bolt until Aug. 30th, replaced by Sunday matinees through Sept. 2nd (exceptions being this weekend [June 24th]and July 8th). Post times for all remaining Sundays are TBA as of this writing. The other live nights (Monday Tuesday, Friday and Saturday) remain, with the usual first post of 6:50 PM. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway      

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, June 19, 2018-New York Sire Stakes return downstate Thursday night (June 21st), with Yonkers Raceway hosting the $172,499 Art Watson Pace for 3-year-old fillies. There are three consecutive divisions-worth $56,833, $57,833 and $57,833, respectively-going as races nine through 11. First post for the dozen-race card is 6:50 PM. The first NYSS ensemble finds Tell Me a Joke (Jim Morrill Jr., post 2) eying a second statebred win. The daughter of Art Major went down-the-road at Tioga (1:53.2) and enters having won half of her six seasonal starts. Hopefully, Tell Me a Joke has a short memory, since the last time she was here, she stopped to a walk on the lead as the odds-on favorite in her division of the Reynolds Memorial. The lass is co-owned by Howard and Judith Taylor & Blue Chip Bloodstock and trained by Gareth Dowse. Betterthangraduate (Matt Kakaley, post 1) is trying to regain her six-figure frosh form. The Betterthancheddar miss is winless in a half-dozen tries this season. The second NYSS division sees Pueblo Blue Chip (George Brennan, post 6) going after another statebred win. After wiring her foes at Saratoga (1:53.3), she tried open company in WEG's Fan Hanover, but was outrun. The American Ideal miss is trained by Ron Burke for co-owners Blue Chip Bloodstock, Michael Guerrero and Menary Racing. Azreal As it Gets (Brian Sears, post 7) was the bridesmaid in last season's $225,000 final of the NYSS here. Speaking of last season's statebred finale (note the professional segue), the victress has returned. Alexi's Faith (Morrill Jr., post 7) is back stateside after two weeks in WEG's Fan Hanover, tiring to fourth in last weekend's final. The daughter of American Ideal is trained by Casie Coleman for co-owners West Wins Stable, Kevin McKinlay, Jim Fielding and J. Robert Darrow. Wisdom Tree (Scott Zeron, post 5) was a blowout sire stakes winner at Buffalo (1:54) in her latest outing. The next New York Sire Stakes visit is Tuesday's (June 26th) Jim Meagher Pace (2-year-old colts/geldings, purse TBA). by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

Nearly two dozen French trotters were safely released from their New York Federal quarantine facility Saturday morning and are now in the hands of their new American harness racing owners. These Trotteur Francais horses will race for their new owners as part of the French American Trotting Club, a series of races this summer at Yonkers Raceway exclusively for the French horses acquired in the beginning of June. The first leg of the French American Trotting Club series will be held Sunday, August 5 at Yonkers Raceway. The second leg will be Sunday August 19 and the third leg will be Sunday August 26. Each of the legs will carry a $30,000 purse. The top finishers in the legs will return for a $100,000 final on September 2. The races in the series will all be varied distances ranging from a mile and a quarter to a mile and nine-sixteenths. Yonkers will hold qualifiers for these French trotters for several weeks leading up to the first leg of the series. Each of the trotters must qualify before being eligible to race. Qualifiers will be held on July 6, 14 and 21 and will be at a mile and a quarter distance exclusively for these French trotters.  

YONKERS, NY - Favored In Secret (George Brennan, $6.60) did it in style Sunday afternoon (June 17th), fashioning a Father's Day track record in Yonkers Raceway's $54,800 Open Handicap Trot The overflow field of 10—including two in the back of the bus—went as the opener and the first of four, mile-and-a-quarter ‘French’ trots. Quite eager from assigned post position No. 7, In Secret worked around Fearless Man (Jason Bartlett) before a :27.3 opening quarter-mile. From there, he let the good times roll (:56.1, 1:25), widening his lead while losing Fearless Man down the backside the final time. Dewycolorintheline (Mark MacDonald) took up the chase nearing the 1:53.3 milepost (note the all-age, flat-mile trot record is 1:53.2), as did a handful of other closers. Meanwhile, In Secret had a 2½-length lead off the final turn. He'd need a fair amount of that, holding off Tight Lines (Jeff Gregory) by a neck in 2:23.2...track record for aged geldings at the distance. Back markers Bluebird Jesse (Brent Holland) and Buen Camino (Jim Marohn Jr.) were third and fourth, respectively, with Dewycolorintheline salvaging the final pay envelope. For In Secret, a 6-year-old Dewycheatumnhowe gelding co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke, Weaver Bruscemi, J&T Silva Stables and Larry Karr, it was his fourth win in 13 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $34.60, the triple returned $134 and the superfecta paid $889. It was one of Brennan’s four wins during the 10-race card. Sunday's return of the 'New York, New York Double' offered a winning combination of 6-Tombelaine (Belmont's 3rd race) and 2-Windsong Leo (Yonkers' 7th race) paid $11.90 for every correct $1 wager. Total pool was $4,651. The next Sunday matinee is July 1st (post time TBA). by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, June 16, 2018--Evenin' of Pleasure (Joe Bongiorno, $5.20) was a two-move sharpie Saturday night  winning Yonkers Raceway's $44,000 Open Handicap Pace. Leaving the gate from assigned (and penultimate) post position No. 6, Evenin' of Pleasure found a three-hole behind 13-10 favorite Missile J (Brian Sears) and Artful Way (Mark MacDonald). The former led through early intervals of :27.4 and :56.3. Evenin' of Pleasure then went after the leader, engaging Missile J in and out of a 1:23.4 three-quarters. With urging from his chauffeur, Evenin' of Pleasure grabbed a short lead entering the lane. He couldn't open any nighttime daylight, though, as Missile J hung around. Evenin' of Pleasure did prevail, however, the margin three-quarters of a length in a season-best 1:51...matching (Bettor Memories) the fastest local mile of the season. Missile J settled for second, with Pacing Major N (Jordan Stratton), Theartofconfusion A (George Brennan) and Somewhere Fancy (Dan Dube) rounding out the payees. For second choice Evenin' of Pleasure, an 8-year-old son of Dragon Again owned by Gestion J Y Blais and trained by Jennifer Bongiorno, it was his fourth win in 10 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $14.60, the triple returned $43.50 and the superfecta paid $214. The first of nine Sunday matinees in an 11-week span offers a Father's Day (June 17th) first post of 12:35 PM. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, N.Y. – The last time Fearless Man tried the 1 ¼-mile Open Handicap Trot at Yonkers Raceway on February 25, the result wasn’t inspiring. After getting away third, Fearless Man became hot and aggressive as horses passed him on the outside. He faded from the scene and finished eighth beaten 22 ½ lengths.  Since then, harness racing trainer Andrew Harris says the Fearless Man has become more manageable on the track and in the morning. He’s won two local Open Handicaps this year and Harris believes the 8-year-old gelding has earned another chance at the 10-furlong distance. Fearless Man will start from post six in the $54,800 trotting feature Sunday (June 17). “It seems like he’s learned. We can back down the half and Jason (Bartlett) sat him in a two-hole and said he can absolutely relax in the two-hole, so now I’m very confident he can handle the mile-and-a-quarter,” Harris said. “I avoided a couple of them; when there was a mile-and-a-quarter race I just didn’t race him that week. We’ve got a summer full of them coming up, so we’re going try him again and see what happens.” Fearless Man, owned by Rick Zeron Stable, Noblock Racing Stable, Murray Greenfield, and Cool Cat Racing, came to Harris this winter. As Zeron headed to Florida to train babies, he approached Harris with the unexpected offer. “Rick Zeron called me earlier in the year and just said, ‘hey, I got a trotter with a lot of back class. Would you mind taking him and trying him at Yonkers? I think he’d be a real good fit over there.’ So obviously you don’t turn down a horse like that,” Harris said. Fearless Man was a stakes-winning 2- and 3-year-old in Indiana for Bobby Brower before posting a lifetime mark of 1:52.1 for Monte Gelrod at Harrah’s Philadelphia in 2014. In his career, Fearless Man has won 37 races and earned $618,249. Although the son of Elegant Man had been racing in the conditions on the Woodbine Circuit the last couple years, Harris saw the potential for Fearless Man to become an open-type at Yonkers. “I had seen before Rick had even gotten him that he’d gone a 52-mile at Chester. I knew there was definitely some real talent there, but he is 8 years old and coming off a couple seasons when he wasn’t at the open level, I didn’t know which way he’d go,” Harris said. “For him, that shorter stretch is a benefit to him where at Woodbine, that long stretch, he’d be real dominant that first eighth of the stretch, but the last eighth, he got a little weary. I think the half-mile track has really picked him up.” When Fearless Man first came to Harris’ stable, he was overly aggressive and behaved more like a high-strung thoroughbred than a standardbred gelding. Harris took advantage of the facilities at White Birch Farm to help manage the trotter’s excitable attitude on the track. “He was actually a very aggressive horse, so the first time I sat behind him, I was like, ‘woah.’ He was really grabby,” Harris said. “His gate speed is unbelievable, that’s why he’s so good at Yonkers. It’s just so easy for him. By nature, he’s an aggressive horse. “We do approach him a little differently because we don’t train him as much as the other ones,” Harris continued. “When I first got him, I trained him a little bit more just trying to get some spit and vinegar out of him, but I realized that wasn’t going to be the key for him. We’re lucky we’re at White Birch and we have a big, huge sand track. They just don’t seem to pull on that. After about a lap, they realize that’s work and they back off a lot. He really calmed down a lot jogging that sand track.” Training in the deep sand track at White Birch hasn’t just settled Fearless Man’s demeanor, it’s also meant the trotter is much more fit. He has bulked up and put on weight since he’s came to Harris. “Obviously the sand track has just put a massive amount of muscle on him,” the trainer said. Fearless Man has won five of 14 starts since coming to Harris’ stable and Jason Bartlett has been in the sulky for four or those wins. Harris says the unlikely pairing between the horse and driver has played a key role in the trotter’s local success.  “Jason just gets along with him unbelievable,” Harris said. “Jason is kind of an aggressive driver and this is an aggressive horse. Nine times out of 10, that doesn’t work, but Jason gets along with him really well. He just has him figured out. Sometimes horses just fit certain drivers and he just fits Jason.” Bartlett will drive Fearless Man as a 7-1 shot in Sunday’s Open Handicap Trot, his first time sitting behind the trotter since May 5, when Fearless Man last won. He’ll face nine rivals, including 3-1 favorite In Secret, who finished second in the Charlie Hill Memorial at Scioto last out, and 7-2 second choice Tight Lines, who won last week’s local trotting feature in 1:54.0. For complete entries, click here. “It’s a mile-and-a-quarter race which is always a question with a hot horse, but for whatever reason in these mile-and-a-quarter races they don’t seem to go to the quarter as fast,” Harris said. “I don’t know what Jason will do, but he might be able to secure the front easy. He’ll definitely get to dictate what he wants to do because that’s just how this horse is. I’m sure Jason will put him in contention, that’s for sure.” Sunday’s 10-race card at Yonkers features four French trots with the Open Handicap slated at race one. First post time is 12:35 p.m. by Brandon Valvo, for the SOA of NY

YONKERS, NY,- Mach it Par (Jason Bartlett, $4.60) repeated-barely-Friday night (June 15th), winning Yonkers Raceway's featured $44,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. Forwardly-placed from post position No. 5 (in one notch after a defection), Mach it a Par easily worked around Medusa (George Brennan). There were cheapy fractions (:28.4, :58.1) before Motu Moonbeam N (Mark MacDonald) tried it first-up from fourth. The one never came close in and out of a 1:25.3 three-quarters, with Mach it a Par owning a length-and-three-quarter lead off the final turn. Medusa edged out and closed resolutely, but missed a nose in 1:53.2. Dude'salady (Brent Holland), just-over-even-money fave Newborn Sassy (Dan Dube) and Sell a Bit N (Jordan Stratton) came away with the minors. Someone, somewhere jumped over some bridge, as the show prices returned $8.30, $17.20 and $18.80, respectively. For second choice Mach it a Par, an 8-year-old daughter of Mach Three co-owned by D'Elegance Stable IX, Carmen Iannacone, T L P & Gandolfo Stables and trained by Rich Banca, it was her sixth win in 17 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $27.60, the triple returned $100 and the superfecta paid $217. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

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