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YONKERS, NY, Saturday, April 7, 2018 - Yonkers Raceway Saturday night (Apr. 7th) hosted a formful fourth of five harness racing preliminary rounds in the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series. A trio $50,000 events comprised the Free-for-All foray, which was guaranteed a different look as series (3-for-3 leader) Dr. J Hanover 'stole' a week off. First Division - It was nary more than a qualifier for money for people's puny parimutuel preference Bit of a Legend N (Jordan Stratton, $2.30). From post position No. 2, he worked around pole-sitting Chumlee A (Larry Stalbaum), then waltzed though a flat, 28-second opening quarter-mile and :57.2 intermission. Long Live Rock (Dan Dube) tried it first-up from third, but even that didn't sufficiently up the tempo (1:25.3 three-quarters). Bit of a Legend N opened a couple of lengths in and out of the final turn, winning by a length-and-a-quarter in a season's-best 1:53.2. Chumlee A saved second, with Killer Martini (Jason Bartlett) third. For 2016 series champ Bit of a Legend N, a 9-year-old Down Under son of Bettor's Delight owned by Von Knoblauch Stable and trained by Peter Tritton, it was his second win in four seasonal / series starts (career earnings more than $1.97 million). The exacta (two wagering choices) paid $4.10, with the triple returning $18.60. Second Division - Pole-sitting favorite Somewhere in L A (Bartlett, $4.40) retook from 96-1 rank outsider Evenin' of Pleasure (Joe Bongiorno) right at a :26.4 opening quarter-mile, then held that one at bay (:56.3, 1:25, 1:53). Christen Me N (Stratton) was a ground-saving third. Second- and third-choices Rockin' Ron (Yannick Gingras) and Missile J (Tim Tetrick) were non-factors from first- and second-over, respectively. For Somewhere in L A, a 7-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding co-owned by D'Elegance Stable IX, Carmen Iannacone and T L P & Gandolfo Stables and trained by Richard Banca, it was his fourth win in six seasonal starts (2-for-4 in series). The exacta paid $216, the triple returned $2,105 and the superfecta (Rodeo Rock [Eric Goodell]) paid $4,585. Third Division - Odds-on Mach it So (Dave Miller, $3.80) rebounded from a failed retake a week ago. From the pole, he played early leapfrog with defending Levy champ Keystone Velocity (Dube) before finishing his appointed rounds (:56.4, 1:24.3, season's-best 1:53.1). Mach it So held off the pocket pursuer by a length, with Bettor Memories (Tetrick) third. For Mach it So, a 9-year-old Mach Three gelding owned by Bamond Racing and trained by Jeffrey Bamond Jr., he's 2-for-4 this season/series. The exacta paid $13.60, with the triple returning $35. Saturday night's $40,000 Open Handicap Trot was won by a down-the-road fave Melady's Monet (Bartlett, $3) in 1:55.3 for a 50th career victory. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Friday, April 6, 2018 -- With series starlets Shartin N, Twinkle and defending harness racing champ Mackenzie A getting the week off, Yonkers Raceway Friday night (Apr. 6th) presented the fourth round of the Blue Chip Matchmaker. Three, $40,000 events again brought together many of the best pacing mares, all of whom were thrilled the three queens abdicated this time around. Thus, some previous understudies stepped to the fore. First Division--A compact quintet (after a defection) saw a last-to-first late lunge by Scandalicious (Tim Tetrick, $16.80) in 1:53.4. From post position No. 4 (in one notch), Scandalicious was content to watch Eclipse Me N (Dan Dube) throw it down (:26.4, :56). Miss Irish Rose A (Larry Stalbaum) left into the pocket, while 9-10 favorite Lady Shadow (Jason Bartlett) was away fourth. That one was out toward the 1:24.3 three-quarters, needing some first-up reminders. Eclipse Me N maintained a length-and-a-half lead into the lane, but her rivals were about to conduct an intervention. Scandalicious, who didn't leave the cones until past the three-quarters, paced over her four foes, snapping Miss Irish Rose A by a nose. Lady Shadow, though never a threat to win, did continue to grab third, beaten a length-and-a-quarter. Eclipse Me N faded to fourth. For third choice Scandalicious, a 7-year-old daughter of American Ideal owned by JFE Enterprises and trained by Scott DiDomenico, it was her first win in 11 seasonal starts (1-for-4 in series). The exacta paid $87.50, with triple wagering cancelled due to the short field. Second Division--Medusa (Yannick Gingras, $12.40) was hard-used to make the lead, then just lasted (:27, :56.4, 1:25.2, 1:54) over a surging Clear Idea (Mark MacDonald). From post No. 5, Medusa found herself shut out of an early seat by polester Dewar N Soda (Tetrick). She then drove past 11-10 fave Call Me Queen Be (Scott Zeron), stealing a self-serving soft second quarter. Call Me Queen Be pulled pocket before the three-quarters, but was repelled. Medusa had a length-and-a-half advantage in and out of the final turn, and she'd need it. Clear Idea closed quickly from second-over, missing a head. Call Me Queen Be did save the bottom of the ticket. For third choice Medusa, a 7-year-old daughter of Bettor's Delight co-owned by Keystoners Randy Bendis & Tom Pollack and trained by Ed Hart, it was her first win in six '18 tries (1-for-4 in series). The exacta paid $53, with the triple returning $132.50. Third Division---Lakeisha Hall (George Brennan, $5.60) doubled her series pleasure, going the distance (:27.2, :57, 1:25.3, 1:54.1). From post No. 2, Lakeisha Hall went up and over pole-sitting Motu Moonbeam N (Brent Holland). Safe from Terror (Jordan Stratton), as the 8-5 choice, tried to leave, but was forced to slip in fourth. Safe from Terror moved again down the backside, only pacing in place before tiring. Meanwhile, Lakeisha Hall opened to a length-and-a-half entering the lane. Motu Moonbeam N edged from the pocket, from never came close to reaching. The margin was a length in a tick faster than the winner's effort a week ago. with Dude'salady (Tetrick) third. For second choice Lakeisha Hall, a 5-year-old daughter of Three Straight co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke, Weaver Bruscemi and Jack Piatt II, she's 2-for-4 this season (and series). The exacta paid $10.80, with the triple returning $65. Saturday night (Apr.7th) offers a trio of $50,000 divisions of Free-for-Allers in the fourth round of the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series. Frank Drucker

Doctor John the Medicine Man strikes again.... And as in his first driving victory in the NAADA Trotting Series two weeks ago the veterinarian - harness racing horseman and his trusty charge, Here Comes Numbers, were back in the winners circle at Yonkers Raceway after copping the fourth leg of the series for amateur drivers. Two weeks ago Kokinos set sails with his veteran trotter at the Hilltop oval and made every pole a winning one en route to a 1:59.3 triumph. Using similar tactics again tonight the good doctor sent Here Comes Numbers again to the lead and allowed the veteran trotter to do his thing and the 10 year old altered son of Here Comes Herbie proved once again too much for his competition winning by a solid length in a time of 1:59.1 over Traverse Seelster, driven by Tony Ciuffetelli. The victory tonight was two-fifths of a second faster than the horse's triumph on March 22nd ,also at Yonkers Raceway. Last weeks winner in this NAADA Series, Wygant Prince, was driven to a third place finish by Paul Minore, a retired high school track coach whose most prominent student was the Olympic champion, Carl Lewis. But once again tonight belonged to Doctor John who notched his 28th career driving victory. "It's not that hard when you have the best horse in the field," Kokinos said. "You just go down the road, which I did for the second consecutive time with 'Numbers'". The winning horse is co-owned by Patrick Laiso and Jennifer Lappe and trained by Ms Lappe. The non-wagering event went for a purse of $6000 and was presented prior to the betting card getting underway. Next Thursday the NAADA Series returns for another leg at Monticello Raceway. by John Manzi for NAADA    

YONKERS, N.Y. – Harness racing trainer Paul Blumenfeld will start two horses in the fourth leg of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series at Yonker's Raceway Friday night (April 6). Vintage Babe and Motu Moonbeam, who both started from post eight last week, each drew the rail in their respective divisions this week. Blumenfeld sees the draw as an opportunity to win key points toward in the final when series leaders Shartin, Twinkle, and Mackenzie took the week off. “They’re just really nice horses and it’s a great race. The Matchmaker and the Levy, it’s just exciting,” Blumenfeld said. “I think they fit good. Obviously, you have those horses that are winning who are impressive, like Mackenzie and Shartin, that have been racing super. But everybody’s trying to get their horse into the final. It’s a hard series because you’re racing a lot. But say you’re in the final, everybody goes. I don’t think there’s going to be a standout.” Blumenfeld acquired Vintage Babe last fall after longtime friend, trainer and owner Jim Ellison passed away. Vintage Babe had been racing at the Open level at Hawthorne and Hoosier Park and Blumenfeld saw the opportunity to bring her back to Yonkers. “I was friends with Jimmy for years, I knew him for a long time when I raced in Illinois and he passed on and his wife sold all the horses and she was one of them,” Blumenfeld said. “A guy called me and said she was for sale and asked if I’d be interested in looking at her. So I flew to Illinois and looker her over and bought her. She’s got some sentimental value in her for that aspect.” Vintage Babe previously raced at Yonkers in her 4-year-old season. She made the final of last year’s Petticoat Series after overcoming early breaks in stride in both of her starts in the Petticoat preliminary legs for trainer Ed Gannon. Maturity and some equipment changes on Blumenfeld’s part have helped the 5-year-old daughter of Vintage Master stay flat on the half-mile track since returning to Yonkers last October. “When she raced here last year, she raced for another trainer and she used to make breaks. She made breaks, but she still raced fantastic,” Blumenfeld said. “She had done a great job for Jimmy on the bigger track. When I brought her to Yonkers, it was a little touch-and-go if she would get around it and she did well. She did mature. Made some changes, made a few rigging changes, shoeing changes.” Although she won a $22,500 overnight wire-to-wire in 1:53.1 in her first start for Blumenfeld October 20 and took a $20,000 overnight in 1:55.4 in similar fashion January 19, Vintage Babe hadn’t competed at the Open level at Yonkers when Blumenfeld decided to nominate her to the Matchmaker Series. The talent he saw in those wins gave him the confidence to pay her in. “She did a good job when she won, she showed a lot of ability,” Blumenfeld said. “She won here one night on the front end really impressively and then she raced a couple times from off the pace and she just keeps coming. She’s been very unlucky in the legs so far because she’s been coming, but she hasn’t been drawing good or hasn’t had good racing luck.” Vintage Babe is ranked 22nd by points heading into leg four after finishing fourth and third in weeks one and two, respectively. The outside draw last week hindered her chances, but Blumenfeld expects driver Brent Hollard to race her aggressively this week. Vintage Babe is a 6-1 morning line in the first $40,000 Matchmaker split of the night, a field that includes Lady Shadow as the 8-5 favorite. “I’m hoping she’s close to the front the whole mile,” he said. “With any racing luck, I’m expecting her to race good.” While Vintage Babe was a relatively new acquisition for Blumenfeld, Motu Moonbeam is a stable stalwart. The New Zealand-bred daughter of Bettor’s Delight came to Blumenfeld at the end of her 4-year-old season in 2016. Unlike in Vintage Babe’s case, when he made the trip to inspect his prospect in person, Blumenfeld relies on his own research and a handful of close advisors when making a purchase from Down Under. “When I buy horses Down Under, I have an agent that calls me on a bunch and I watch the one he calls on, plus I look at the other ones in the race and I kind of weed through a lot and I found that I liked Motu Moonbeam because she was a green horse and she went through the ranks for us and has done a good job.” Motu Moonbeam has raced exclusively at Yonkers since arriving stateside. When she began her U.S. career in June 2016, she was still eligible for the non-winners of four pari-mutuel races lifetime condition. She won her way out of the conditions and worked her way to the Filly and Mare Open Handicap by November 2016. Vintage Babe earned her first win in Yonkers’ top class for distaffers with a pace-setting 1:54.4 score January 26, 2018. “It’s very satisfying. It’s like getting a baby and bringing it to the races. It’s really gratifying breaking a baby and watching him or her go through the ranks and develop. It was the same thing with her,” Blumenfeld said. Although bettors dismissed Motu Moonbeam as a 47-1 outsider in the Matchmaker first leg March 16, she overcame post six to finish second to Shartin. Despite her good showing week one, another outside draw made her a 36-1 chance in week two. Motu Moonbeam rallied from 9 ¼ lengths behind into a slow :57.1 half to win leg two in 1:54.3. Her placings earned her 155 points for a fifth-place ranking in the series standings coming into leg four. “I actually loved her, I just didn’t like the draw. I just knew if they mixed it up or made a mistake, sometimes, if you go too slow, a horse like her can pick up the pieces too,” Blumenfeld explained. “They bunch up on the last turn and she can just swoop them. I told the owners in every leg, I think she’s good.” After finishing fifth from post eight last week, Motu Moonbeam is a 7-1 morning line in leg four. The division’s 9-5 favorite Lakeisha Hall, a winner in the series last week, will start to Motu Moonbeam’s immediate outside. Although Motu Moonbeam has mainly been a closer since she began racing at Yonkers, Blumenfeld expects her to be a factor early in this spot. As with Vintage Babe, Brent Holland will drive. “She has tremendous gate speed. She has done the work on the front end, she can leave fast, she’s quick out of the gate,” he said. “She can do it both ways, but to keep longevity on horses, you can’t zing them every week. “All I can say is I’d like to see her race good. I really don’t tell the drivers what to do because anything can happen when the gate springs,” he continued. “I’m assuming he’s going to leave to either be on the front or get good position. If I were driving her, that’s what I would be doing.” First post time Friday night is 6:50 p.m. For entries for the card, click here. To view the Matchmaker Series point standings, click here. By Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY

Harness Racing 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 6) in the fourth round of the Blue Chip Matchmaker series for open pacing mares. The Saturday (April 7) card at Yonkers will see three $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 deferred to the ladies on Friday (March 30), offering the third round of the Blue Chip Matchmaker. Four $40,000 events again brought together many of the best pacing mares. If Tim Tetrick has asked series leader Shartin N at any point during the first three weeks, he did it in private, as the femme fatale made it look simple again. Chilly early from post four she watched pole-sitting Lady Shadow (Jason Bartlett) take over from Scandalicious (Yannick Gingras). The intervals were soft enough (:28, :57.4) when Shartin N moved from third. She used a :27.2 third quarter (1:25.1) to dispose of Lady Shadow, taking a 1-1/2 length lead in and out of the final turn. Shartin N finished it off by a length in 1:53.3, remaining the Matchmaker's lone unbeaten mare. Safe From Terror (Jordan Stratton) lost her tow when the winner cleared, but continued well to be second. Eclipse Me N (Dan Dube) was third. For Shartin N, a 5-year-old Down Under daughter of Tintin In America co-owned by Richard Poillucci and Jo Ann Looney-King and trained by Jim King Jr., it was her seventh win, fourth consecutive, in eight 2018 tries. Yonkers Raceway used the last day of March, Saturday (March 31), to feature the third round of the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series. Four $50,000 events comprised the free-for-all foray. Odds-on from post four, Dr J Hanover (Brett Miller) did what he did in the first two legs. He made an immediate -- and 'cheap' -- lead, then again made his rivals pay (:28.3, :58, 1:26; 1:53.3). Bit Of A Legend N (Jordan Stratton) fought the good fight with a two-move second, but missed by a half-length. Another Daily Copy (Jason Bartlett) was a pylon-pocket third. For Dr J Hanover, a 5-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding co-owned by Brad Grant, Robert Leblanc, Steven Wienick and Irwin Samelman and trained by Tony Alagna, it was his third win in four seasonal starts (3-for-3 in series). Complete recaps of the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2018, 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 Farms is the sponsor for the 2018 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend at Yonkers: Drivers: 1. Tim Tetrick - 73; 2. Jordan Stratton - 62; 3. Jason Bartlett - 58; 4. Yannick Gingras - 47; 5. Brett Miller - 30. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 54; 2. Richard Banca - 51; 3. Peter Tritton - 47; 4. Jim King Jr. - 37; 5. Tony Alagna - 30. Owners: 1. Vonknoblauch Stable - 37; 2. Brittany Farms - 20; 3. Jo Ann Looney-King - 17.5; 4. Richard Poillucci - 17; 5t. Burke Racing Stable - 15; 5t. Diamond Creek Racing - 15; 5t. Friendship Stables - 15; 5t. Gestion J Y Blais Inc. - 15; 5t. Weaver Bruscemi - 15. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will continue with the final leg of the Blue Chip Matchmaker and George Morton Levy next weekend. The finals and consolations for both events will be held on April 21. Paul Ramlow

YONKERS, NY, Monday, April 2, 2018 -- Yonkers Raceway's first 'all -superfecta harness racing Monday' (Apr. 2nd) found an audience. A total, 12-race handle of $996,050 included superfecta pools that were consistently in five figures. The evening's equine star was Beyond Delight (Jim Marohn Jr., $4.30), who went first-up and over in the $22,000, 11th-race pace. The 1:51.4 mile is now the fastest local effort of 2018. The 4-year-old Bettor's Delight gelding, co-owned by Jeff & Michael Snyder and Four Friends Racing Stable, has won half of his six seasonal starts. A reminder that for early handicapping, Yonkers' Monday programs are available for download here. (finalized no later than Friday afternoon). Frank Drucker

Yonkers, NY --- Harness racing trainer Jenny Melander started two horses in the $100,000 Yonkers Raceway/SOA of NY Bonus Trotting Series last year, Golden Son and Ameliosi, who finished third and fifth, respectively. In addition, Ontheroad De Vie claimed the runner-up spot in the $25,000 consolation for series eligibles on the same card. When the four-week series starts anew Tuesday (April 3), Melander will send out a formidable foursome. For her, the series has become a prime target for talented trotters to jump start their 4-year-old seasons. “We’re not as big as the biggest stables, but we try to get the best value out of the horses for our owners and with that, it seems to work out that we keep the 3-year-olds that haven’t made enough money so they still fit the series, and they can have a good and healthy 4-year-old season. And if we can buy a horse who fits the series, that’s great as well,” Melander said. “I think that series is one of the best series there is for the amount of money you spend to be in it and the number of starts you can get in for that kind of money,” she continued. “It’s a good series and we’ve had good luck in it in the past, so I don’t see why we shouldn’t keep aiming for it.” Melander’s stable is now 35 strong in total. She prides herself on showing continuous improvement in each of her six years since she went out on her own as a trainer, both in quality and in quantity. In 2017, her horses earned $1,266,587, a personal best. “I’m very happy with the progress we’ve made over the last few years and where we’re at now, I think we have better quality each year and I think this year we have a little better quality than last year,” she said. Melander commented on each of the four horses she will start in the $25,000 divisions of the series’ first leg: Race 2 – Division One #1 Frankie Mullins 5-2 (Jason Bartlett) Belmar Racing’s 4-year-old son of Muscle Massive is 4-for-27 with $94,092 earned. The gelding earned multiple placings in the Pennsylvania Stallion Series last year before ending the season with a string of off-the-board finishes at Yonkers and Harrah's Philadelphia. After a winter break, Frankie Mullins qualified back March 6 and finished third and fifth in two starts at Pocono on March 17 and 23, respectively. “We’ve had him since halfway through his 2-year-old year. He’s a good horse, he tries, he always gives it what he can, he gets around the half good. Not a top-of-the-line horse, but he’s a grinder and he always does well, he always tries. He’s improved a bit, he’s filled out a bit, gotten a little bigger. I give pretty much all my horses a winter break, I think they deserve it. He’s come back good. He had a good first start at Pocono when he finished third and then last week he got locked in on the rail, but he should be ready on Tuesday.” Race 6 – Division Four #3 Meadowbrook Glider 9-5 (Jason Bartlett) A $25,000 buy for John Devito from the Ohio Blooded Horse Sale last May, Meadowbrook Glider has proved a challenge for Melander. Although he’s shown talent, trotting to a 1:54.4 victory at Pocono last season, the 5-year-old son of Justice Hall makes frequent breaks in stride. After a change in equipment following his latest break March 9 led to two strong races -- a third from post seven at Yonkers March 18 and a win at Pocono March 24 -- Melander feels more confident in the gelding coming into the series. “He’s a little bit trickier. He’s really fast, he showed his speed last year. He’s had a little tougher time coming back this year and getting gaited. He still sits on a ton of speed, it’s just a matter of keeping him sound and focused enough. He’s switched to the pace a couple times and his mind wanders off and you have to get him focused. We just put the racer pads on him up front. That’s what he had last year and I think he just needs them. He loves the racer pads and they seem to work for him. “You have to drive him up in the bit, keep his attention. I was very happy with his last start at Pocono where he showed he’s still got it. The talent is there, but you have to drive him and hold him together at the same time. He raced good at Yonkers when he finished third and he came flying late from the back of the pack and was four-wide on the last turn, so that was a good effort as well. He’s had two solid races now after a few miscues early on.” Race 7 – Division Five #5 Chapter Too 2-1 (Andy Miller) Belmar Racing paid $70,000 at Harrisburg last fall to acquire New York Sire Stakes finalist Chapter Too, a daughter of Chapter Seven out of the Kadabra mare Wood Blue Chip. She won her debut for Melander off the winter layoff at the Meadowlands March 9 before finishing second by a nose after sustaining a long first-over charge in her next outing March 17. In her most recent start, Chapter Too earned her fifth career win and pushed her earnings to $159,908 when she won a Meadowlands overnight in 1:54.1. “From the second she came into our barn, I really liked her. She is a lovely, lovely horse. The owner is planning to breed her eventually, she’s pretty well-bred and we’re hoping to make some money with her during her 4-year-old year. She sits on a ton of speed, she’s a very classy mare. We already know she can get around a half-mile track, we just wanted to get a few starts into her before going to Yonkers. “She’s an all-around mare. She can leave, she can sit back, she can pretty much do whatever you want her to do. The first week, obviously after just one qualifier, she needed to be raced following something. She got a beautiful trip and everything was good. The following week, she had to race a little tougher than what we initially hoped for, but she’s a tough mare, it didn’t do anything bad to her. I thought she fought it out all the way and after a tough race, only lost by a small bit. Then, just showing how good a mare she is, she just got better after that. In her last start at the Meadowlands, (Andy Miller) never even pulled the plugs. She kind of has a little funky way of going at times, her action isn’t 100 percent clear, but I think that’s just the way she goes.” Race 9 – Division Six #6 Ontheroad De Vie 5-1 (Jim Marohn Jr.) Immediately after Ontheroad De Vie finished second in a series consolation last year, it was obvious something was amiss. Melander soon discovered the gelded son of Holiday Road fractured a bone in his hoof and spent the rest of the year nurturing him back to health. The 6-year-old won for the first time since his injury when he captured a $3,100 overnight from post eight at Monticello March 26. “We wanted to sell him in the January sale last year. He was racing really well for us in the fall and into the winter, but nobody really wanted to pay any money for him, so we ended up buying him back. From the sale until the end of the series, he had a great time and was making great money every start and really consistent. He’s not a top-of-the-line horse, but he shows up and he tries and he’s consistent. He makes good money doing that. “Then unfortunately he broke his coffin bone in the consolation. When he came off the track, he was limping and before we left the paddock, he was crippled. We spent all summer just getting him back. It was a pretty bad break, so we didn’t know how good of a horse he was going to be coming back, but he’s come back sound and good and I think he’s just about the same horse he was when he broke down. He’s been good to us and I’m glad we could be good to him and get him back to where he’s doing good. We’re lucky that we can stay eligible to the series again.” by Brandon Valvo, for the SOA of NY 

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, March 31, 2018 - Yonkers Raceway used the last day of March to feature the fourth round of the harness racing George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series. Four, $50,000 events comprised the Free-for-All foray. First Division - After a pair of less-than-stellar series trips, Missile J (Tim Tetrick, $7.30) came to play. From post position No. 3, he threw down the gauntlet (:27.3, :56 1:24.1, 1:52) en route to the fastest local mile of the season. Missile J rebuffed an attempted early hostile takeover from 1-2 favorite Mach it So (Dave Miller), the defeated a good, first-up Bettor Memories (Kyle Husted) by a length. Caviart Luca was third, while Mach it So went the wrong way late, fading to sixth. For second choice Missile J, a 5-year-old American Ideal gelding co-owned by Brian Carsey & John McGill and trained by Scott DiDomenico, it was his fourth win in seven seasonal starts (1-for-3 in series). The exacta paid $40.60, with the triple returning $123. Second Division - Odds-on from post No. 4, Dr. J Hanover (Brett Miller, $3.90) did what he did in the first two legs. He made an immediate-and 'cheap'-lead, then again made his rivals pay (:28.3, :58, 1:26.0; 1:53.3). Bit of a Legend N (Jordan Stratton) fought the good fight with a two-move second, but missed a half-length. Another Daily Copy (Jason Bartlett) was a pylon pocket third. For Dr. J Hanover, a 5-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding co-owned by Brad Grant, Robert Leblanc, Steven Wienick & Irwin Samelman and trained by Tony Alagna, it was his third win in four seasonal starts (3-for-3 in series). The exacta (two wagering choices) paid $8.30, the triple returned $29 and the superfecta (Mister Daytona N [Scott Zeron]) paid $134. Third Division --- Pole-sitting Western Fame (Mark MacDonald) snapped 4-5 fave Rockin' Ron (Yannick Gingras) at the (1:52.4) wire. The latter led through intervals of :27.3, :56.4 and 1:25, taking a couple of lengths into the lane. However, he could not join Dr. J Hanover as a three-peater, faltering in a photo. Third went to Killer Martini (Bartlett), beaten four lengths. Meanwhile, last season's series winner, Keystone Velocity (Dan Dube) did not distinguished himself this night. The second choice was away a loose third, then backpedaled first-up as a never-factoring sixth. For third choice Western Fame, a 5-year-old homebred son of Western Ideal owned by Brittany Farms and trained by Jimmy Takter, he's 2-for-4 this season (2-for-3 in series) . The exacta paid $23.20, the triple returned $124 and the superfecta (89-1 outsider Rodeo Rock [Eric Goodell]) paid $806. Fourth Division - Somewhere in L A (Stratton, $6.30) needed two moves to prevail. Away fourth from post No. 6, he saw Franco Rayner N (Joe Bongiorno) give his backers an early (:27.3, :56.1) thrill. Somewhere in L A went past that one before the 1:23.4 three-quarters, opening 2½ lengths in in and out of the final turn. He whipped a troubled-trip Long Live Rock (Dube) by a length in 1:53, with Luciano N (Brent Holland) third. Long Live Rock's angst was caused in large part by 3-2 choice All Bets Off (Yannick Gingras). After getting away from the pole, he was in disarray second-over, forcing pursuer Long Live Rock wide very early. All Bets Off wound up seventh, beaten 10 lengths. For second choice Somewhere in L A, a 7-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding co-owned by D'Elegance Stable IX, Carmen Iannacone and T L P & Gandolfo Stables and trained by Richard Banca, it was his third win in five seasonal starts (1-for-3 in series). The exacta paid $28, with triple returning $137. Saturday night's $40,000 Open Handicap Trot was won by a first-up Rubber Duck (Bongiorno, $12.40) in 1:56.1. A reminder that there is no horse race wagering permitted in New York State Easter Sunday (Apr. 1st), including the Raceway and Empire City Bets. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Friday, March 30, 2018 - Yonkers Raceway deferred to the harness racing ladies for Good Friday and Passover (March 30rd), offering the non-denominational third round of the Blue Chip Matchmaker. Four, $40,000 events again brought together many of the best pacing mares. First Division - A perfectly-pocketed Lakeisha Hall (George Brennan, $14.60) measured it off against 1-4 favorite L A Delight (Yannick Gingras). The latter, away third from the pole, moved to the lead right at a 27-second opening quarter-mile. She then had a no-excuse middle half (:56.4, 1:25.4). Meanwhile, Lakeisha Hall, from post position No. 4, made a quick lead before finding her sequestered in the two-hole. L A Delight owned a length-and-a-quarter lead into the lane. However, former Kentucky Sire Stakes champ Lakeisha Hall edged out and edged past, winning by a half-length in 1:54.2. Medusa (Scott Zeron) was a best-of-the-rest, three-hole third. For second choice Lakeisha Hall, a 5-year-old daughter of Third Straight co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke, Weaver Bruscemi and Jack Piatt II, it was her first win in three seasonal starts. The exacta paid $28.20, with the triple returning $88.50. "Once I made the lead, I wanted to make (L A Delight) work," Brennan said. "She had to go some in the first quarter, then not much, but my mare was sharp. "I was kicking myself last week. It was one of the few times I picked off Ronnie (Burke) and she was very good. She was good again." Second Division - If Tim Tetrick has asked series leader Shartin N ($2.90) at any point during the first three weeks, he did it in private, as the femme fatale made it look simple again. Chilly early from post No. 2, she watched pole-sitting Lady Shadow (Jason Bartlett) take over from Scandalicious (Gingras). The intervals was soft enough (:28, :57.4) when Shartin N moved from fourth. She used a :27.2 third quarter (1:25.1) to dispose of Lady Shadow, taking a length-and-a-half lead in and out of the final turn. Shartin N finished it off by a length in 1:53.3, remaining the Matchmaker's lone meticulous mare. Safe from Terror (Jordan Stratton) lost her tow when the winner cleared, but continued well to be second. Eclipse Me N (Dan Dube) was third. For Shartin N, a 5-year-old Down Under daughter of Tintin in America co-owned by Richard Poillucci & Jo Anne Looney-King and trained by Jim King Jr., it was her seventh win (fourth consecutive) in eight '18 tries. The exacta paid $10.60, with triple returning $47.20. "She's really versatile and learning to become an Americanized horse," Tetrick said. Apparently, she's going to turn into a 'slacker' as well, as Mrs. King indicated Shartin N is getting next week's fourth round off for good behavior. Third Division --- Second-choice Twinkle (Eric Goodell, $4.80) played leapfrog with 13-10 fave Sell a Bit N (Stratton). Good thing, too, as the latter tired and the leader held sway. Twinkle, from post No. 4, made the first lead, looping Sell a Bit N. The latter did take over before the :27.3 opening two furlongs. Twinkle left the cones to seize the initiative going into the second turn, finishing it off from there (:57.3, 1:25.2, season's-best 1:54.1). Shesjustadelight N (Ron Cushing), away third from the pole, came first-up and was a very good second, missing by three-quarters of length. Third went to Miss Irish Rose A (Larry Stalbaum), with Sell a Bit N fading to fourth For Twinkle, a 5-year-old daughter of Bettor's Delight co-owned by Dana Parham & Let it Ride Stables and trained by Ross Croghan, she's 2-for-3 this season (and series) and won 13-of-15 career starts. The exacta paid $22.80, the triple returned $318.50 and the superfecta paid $1,035. Fourth Division - For a second consecutive week, defending series victress Mackenzie A (Stratton, $3.10) was an off-the-pace beast. Away sixth from post No. 6, she watched Newborn Sassy (Tetrick) leave around Call Me Queen Be (Zeron). Again, there's wasn't much early excitement (:27.4, :57.4), but no matter. Mackenzie A was moving, and she nearly had an unwanted deterrent for yet another week. This time however, All About Madi (Bartlett), slipped back in after briefly coming out from third. That left Mackenzie A to engage Newborn Sassy in and out of a 1:26 three-quarters. The leader was tough, but the challenger was tougher. Just about synchronized turning for home, Mackenzie A wore down Newborn Sassy by a half-length in 1:54.1. Call Me Queen Be wound up third. For Mackenzie A, a 6-year-old Down Under Rock N Roll Heaven lass trained by Peter Tritton for co-owners Von Knoblauch Stables and Ellen Kinser, it was her second win in three seasonal/series efforts. The exacta (two wagering choices) paid $13, with triple returning $65.50. “She never disappoints me because she always shows up,” Stratton said. Saturday night (March 31st) offers a quartet of $50,000 divisions of Free-for-Allers in the third round of the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series. A reminder that there is no horse race wagering permitted in New York State Easter Sunday (Apr. 1st), including the Raceway and Empire City Bets. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, N.Y. – As the leading driver at Yonkers Raceway in each of the past four seasons, including last year when horses he drove earned $10.4 million, harness racing driver Jason Bartlett finds himself in an unusual position three months into the 2018 season: in second place. Although his 104 victories at the meet are 36 more than George Brennan’s 68 wins, Bartlett trails Jordan Stratton by nine wins with a quarter of the season in the books. Although he calls it a slow start by his standards, Bartlett’s competitive mindset looks forward, not back. “I had a real slow winter meet, but everything is picking up now,” Bartlett said. “My main barns weren’t racing a lot of horses. It happens, I guess. There’s some things you can’t control and that’s one of them. I guess it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.” One of the main trainers Bartlett drives for, Rich Banca, went 6-for-61 in January, the stable heated up as the Matchmaker and Levy series approached, going 25 for its next 135 through March 28. Bartlett will drive in all eight of this weekend’s Blue Chip Matchmaker and George Morton Levy series divisions and he drives for Banca in six of them. As the Blue Chip Matchmaker and George Morton Levy Series continues into their third legs this weekend, Bartlett continues to be impressed by the competitiveness of each series. Six different horses have won the first seven division of the Matchmaker while seven unique horses captured the first nine Levy splits. “The great thing about it this year is you have your top-level horses in there, but some of the horses who are maybe not as talented can beat the better horses because of the post positions, the bad draws, bad spots,” he explained. “I think both the Matchmaker and the Levy are great this year because right now it’s been post position draws that have won the races. It’s going to be interesting. Now more so than most years, because there’s so many different horses winning, the wins really matter. Coming down to the wire, it’s going to be very interesting.” Bartlett gave his thoughts on each horse he will drive in the series. Friday March 30, 2018: Blue Chip Matchmaker Series Third Leg Race 6 – Division One #5 Mach It A Par 7-2 (Tr. Rich Banca) A 39-time winner and earner of $783,847, Mach It A Par is a two-time finalist of the Matchmaker Series. She was unplaced in her first three starts of the year, but strung together consecutive wins in a $25,000 overnight and a $30,000 Filly and Mare Preferred entering the series. After finishing fourth from post seven in leg one, Mach It A Par finished second to L A Delight in leg two. She will get a rematch with that rival tonight. “She’s been good. All year she’s been pretty consistent. In the right spots, she’s done her job. She’s the best she’s been in a long time. I was very happy the way she finished up last week. We’re in kind of a tough spot on the outside of the gate, so if we can work out a trip with her, second- or third-over, she could be pretty good. Last week was very good seeing her like that again.” Race 7 – Division Two #1 Lady Shadow 5-2 (Tr. Rich Banca) Champion mare Lady Shadow joined the Banca ranks last fall and made her seasonal debut a winning one when she captured leg one of the Matchmaker wire-to-wire in 1:53.4. Although $1.9 million earner finished fourth as the odds-on favorite last week, Bartlett believes the trip got the better of her after he brushed her to the lead in a :55.4 half. Lady Shadow will face Shartin N this week, who is 2-for-2 in the Matchmaker. “Last week I used her a little bit too hard. We were going a pretty quick clip and then it slowed down real fast and I heard a little commotion behind me, so I had to move there or come first-over a little bit later. I decided just to move her to the front and she got a little tired there. If they would have gone a little bit faster to the half, I would have never moved her. They forced my hand. They went :26.1 and we were going really slow into the paddock turn and I didn’t want to shut her off, so I had to move her. We got the rail this week and it doesn’t look like we’re going to have to go :26.0, that’s for sure.” Race 8 – Division Three #6 Wishy Washy Girl 3-1 (Tr. Rich Banca) Five-year-old daughter of Roll With Joe returned with a lackluster sixth March 9, just a week before the series began. She skipped leg one of the series in favor of a $20,000 overnight March 16 and won by 6 ¾ lengths in 1:54.2. Last week, Bartlett drove her to a wire-to-wire score in the Matchmaker second leg, where she beat first leg winner Twinkle. “If you’re going into that series, you’re going to want to be kind of sharp. It was a step up for her anyways. For her to jump right in there not off a great race the week before, that would be asking a lot of her. We threw her in an overnight to see if she was going to be able to go with them and she proved that she could. Last week, she drew the rail and the good thing about her is she can leave the car really fast and then she’s really handy afterwards. Last week, we had the horse to beat on our back and was able to not let them out. That’s what she can do; she’s able to put better horses in bad spots because she’s so handy. Do I think I would I have been able to beat that hose if I hadn’t been in front of her? Probably not. She’s just handy on the half-mile track, she can do anything you want her to do. It looks like a tough spot this week. We have some horses inside that can leave. I’m just going to read the gate and go from there.” Race 9 – Division Four #2 All About Madi 9-2 (Tr. Brittany Robertson) Daughter of Brandon’s Cowboy was unplaced in the first two legs of the series after putting together a string of on the board finishes in open company earlier this season. Bartlett will drive her for the first time since January 19 when she faded to finish fourth as the even-money favorite in a $25,000 overnight. “I think she’s been pretty good. I haven’t driven her since the beginning of the year, went off favored, put her on the front, she was no good. That’s really not her gig, racing her on the front probably wasn’t the best idea. She’s got a good spot. I’ve seen her a couple times, she’s been coming up the rail near the wire, she’s had a lot of pace. She’s one of those horses that you need a helmet and she’ll give you a good kick home, so that’s probably what I’ll try to do is get her on the right helmet and go from there.” Saturday March 31, 2018: George Morton Levy Series Third Leg Race 7 – Division One #5 Blood Brother 6-1 (Tr. Rich Banca) The 6-year-old son of Somebeachsomewhere is a 23-time winner, a $739,380-earner, and made the final of the series last year. Bartlett drove him to consecutive wins at the $20,000 level in the weeks leading up to the series, one in wire-to-wire fashion in 1:53.1 and one from off the pace in 1:54.2. Blood Brother finished a disappointing seventh beaten 11 lengths in the first leg of the series and skipped last week. Series standouts Mach It So and Missile J drew to his inside. “He’s just been ok this year so far. He was sick last week, so we gave him the week off. I really don’t know what to expect from him. He’s a nice little horse, he’s handy. I’ll just have to trip him out. It’s a pretty tough field of horses, it’s a pretty tough group.” Race 8 – Division Two #1 Another Daily Copy 4-1 (Tr. Rich Banca) Dismissed at odds of 25-1 last week, the 5-year-old son of Somebeachsomewhere rallied up the inside to finish third to Evenin Of Pleasure by 2 ¼ lengths in 1:53.3. He draws favorably this week and Bartlett looks to get an ideal trip behind Dr J Hanover, who won the first two legs of the series after setting slow half-mile fractions of :58.1 and :57.3, respectively. “Finished really well last week. I never left the rail with him, he kind of battled on. He came up the inside and actually had a lot of pace at the wire. Looks like hopefully we’ll get a decent trip again this week and he can be right there. He’s another horse that can beat some nice horses with a decent trip. I’ll probably push the rail and try and sit behind ‘Dr J.’ Dr J Hanover is a great horse obviously, but he hasn’t had to work for anything yet. We’ll see what happens when he has to work a little bit. The horse can leave with the car, sometimes the car can’t get out of the way fast enough, so that’s part of his game, leaving fast, shutting it down, and sprinting home. Looks like a good horse to follow.” Race 10 – Division Three #5 Killer Martini 6-1 (Tr. Ricky Bucci) Teamed with Bartlett to score two upset victories in the Open Handicap Pace in February before posting a string of four straight losses, including in leg one of the series March 17. The 6-year-old son of Camluck was scratched sick in leg two. He draws outside Western Fame, a winner in the series last week, Keystone Velocity, the series’ defending champion, and Rockin Ron, who is 2-for-2 to start the series. “We got a couple good races there in the Open two weeks in a row. We got fast halves, great trips, so that was good. He’s a nice little Yonkers horse, makes a lot of money. No gate speed, so we’re just going to be dependent on how the race develops and take it from there.” Race 11 – Division Four #5 Somewhere In L A 3-1 (Tr. Rich Banca) Finished second beaten a head by Keystone Velocity in the $529,000 final of the Levy Series last year, Somewhere In L A is a $1.4 million earning son of Somebeachsomewhere. Although his form tailed off at the end of 2017, Somewhere In L A returned a wire-to-wire winner in a $20,000 overnight March 3 and posted another pace-setting win the following week in a sharp 1:52.4. He finished second to Dr J Hanover in week one of the series and second to Western Fame last week. Bartlett was happy with the former effort, but blames himself for the most recent loss. “He qualified great, he raced great. The first race with ‘Dr J,’ I just didn’t want to get into a speed duel with that horse, so I elected to come first-over. I knew it was going to be a slow half, but he still grinded out a second, which is great. Last week, I think I lost the race. I shouldn’t have raced the horse on the backside as much as I did. I felt I had him beat. I think it was my fault, but he raced really well. He is a tough horse and he just doesn’t quit. He might not be the most talented, but he has a big heart and he’s pretty versatile. He’s just a nice horse all around. I think he might have caught one of the cheaper groups this week. All Bets Off had the outside the first week and we beat him. I’m not sure, he can go both ways, but he likes to be placed forward, so we’ll see.” By Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY

Harness racing this Week: Blue Chip Matchmaker and George Morton Levy series third legs, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit at Yonkers this week features four $40,000 divisions on Friday (March 30) in the third round of the Blue Chip Matchmaker series for open pacing mares. The Saturday (March 31) card at Yonkers will see four $50,000 divisions in the third 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 this past Saturday night (March 24) offered the second round of the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series. A quartet of $50,000 events again brought together many of the marquee Free-For-Allers. The result was three, down-the-road winners, including two series repeaters. The encore performers were faves Dr J Hanover (Brett Miller, $4.10) and Rockin Ron (Yannick Gingras, $2.30) in the bookend divisions. Dr J Hanover won the draw for the second consecutive start and put his rivals to sleep for the second consecutive start. A cheapy (:27.4, :57.3) half served him well after another first-leg winner, Always At My Place (George Brennan), offered a hard, first-up challenge. That one was disposed after a :27 third quarter (1:24.3), while Dr J Hanover swelled up to two lengths entering the lane. The final margin was 2-1/2 lengths in 1:52.4. Chumlee A (Larry Stalbaum) lost touch in the pocket, crossed the line second but was set down to fourth for cutting some cones. That placed Keystone Velocity (Dan Dube) second and Bit Of A Legend N (Jordan Stratton) third. For Dr J Hanover, a 5-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding co-owned by Brad Grant, Robert Leblanc, Steven Wienick and Irwin Samelman and trained by Tony Alagna, it was his second win in three seasonal starts. Rockin Ron, from post position two, wanted no part of an early pocket. He took over from pole-sitting Luciano N (Brent Holland), then -- with another pedestrian early portion -- held that rival at bay (:26.3, :57, 1:24.4, 1:53.2). The margin was three-quarters of a length. Mach It So (Tim Tetrick), after last week's win, turned in a solid, two-move effort for third from behind the eight-ball. For Rockin Ron, a 6-year-old Real Desire gelding co-owned as Burke Racing by trainer Ron Burke, Weaver Bruscemi, RTC Stables and J&T Silva Stables, it was his second win in four seasonal starts. Complete recaps of the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2018, 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 Farms is the sponsor for the 2018 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following this past weekend at Yonkers: Drivers: 1. Tim Tetrick - 48; 2. Jason Bartlett - 44; 3. Jordan Stratton - 42; 4. Yannick Gingras - 37; 5. Brent Holland - 26. Trainers: 1. Richard Banca - 39; 2. Ron Burke - 37; 3. Peter Tritton - 32; 4t. Paul Blumenfeld - 22; 4t. Jim King Jr. - 22. Owners: 1. Vonknoblauch Stable - 27; 2t. Friendship Stables - 15; 2t. Gestion J Y Blais Inc. - 15; 4t. Bamond Racing - 12; 4t. Richard Poillucci - 12. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will continue with legs of the Blue Chip Matchmaker and George Morton Levy over the next two weekends. The finals and consolations for both events will be held on April 21. Paul Ramlow Grand Circuit Publicity Director

The Standardbred Owners Association of New York is pleased to announce that the French American Trotting Club has reached capacity and will move forward with the acquisition of French trotters to race at Yonkers Raceway. The French American Trotting Club will move forward with 23 or 24 participants, each acquiring a French trotter for $28,000 which includes shipping costs. The horses will be eligible to race without any further entry fee in a series at Yonkers Raceway exclusively for horses brought over in this program with legs carrying a $30,000 purse and a final for $100,000. We would like to thank all horsemen for their tremendous support and enthusiasm expressed for the program. Further information will be provided to the participants shortly. Tentative plans call for horses to be selected in France the week of May 28 and shipped back to New York in mid-June.  

YONKERS, NY, Monday, March 26, 2018 - She beat the gate, then beat her harness racing foes, both with the greatest of ease. Caviart Cherie (Jordan Stratton, $20.20) offered an eight-hole tour de force Monday night (March 26th), winning Yonkers Raceway's $62,000 final of the Petticoat Pacing Series. There wasn't much to the finale, which wrapped a four-week series for 3- and 4-year-old lasses who are/were non-winners of four races and/or $40,000 through last Dec. 1st. All finalists were 4-year-olds. Caviart Cherie, one of four ladies who had won twice in the prelims, quickly negated the ill-effects of an open-draw impost. Leaving with the speed of a runner, Caviart Cherie hurdled the field early in the first turn. While doing so, she looped 4-5 favorite Diamondtoothgertie (George Brennan), that one eventually finding a seat fourth. Caviart Cherie threw it down, as a :26.4 opening quarter-mile and :55.2 intermission. Chasing from a loose pocket was Jk Jazzitup (Mark MacDonald), with Gotthisone Hanover (Yannick Gingras) away third. Diamondtoothegertie moved from fourth, but never came within shouting distance of Caviart Cherie. After a 1:23.3 three-quarters, the lead was three lengths entering the lane. The final margin was a length-and-a-half in a season's-best 1:54. Second went to Jk Jazzitup, with Diamondtoothgertie salvaging the bottom of the ticket. Dali Delight (Dan Dube), coupled with Jk Jazzitup, and Absolutely Best (Jason Bartlett) settled for the minors. D G's Elsa (Eric Goodell), Gotthisone Hanover and Lusty Delight (Greg Merton) completed the order. For third choice Caviart Cherie, a 4-year-old daughter of Well Said owed by Joe P Racing and trained by Matias Ruiz, it was her seventh win (with three seconds) in 11 seasonal starts. The exacta $69, with the triple returning $129. "She overcame the eight-hole," was Stratton's succinct post-mortem. "A shout-out to Matt Kakaley, who drove her very well," Scott Pennacchio, son of Joe P Racing principal Joseph Pennacchio, said. "He gets a lot of the credit, and we hope he's back soon." A $30,000 series consolation was won by favored Pull the Shade (Scott Zeron, $5.70) in 1:55.3, matching her week-old, life-best effort. Tuesday night's (March 27th), it's the Raceway's annual Teddy Roosevelt testimonial, the Sagamore Hill concludes with a final worth $63,400. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, March 24, 2018 -- Yonkers Raceway Saturday night (March 24th) offered the second round of the harness racing George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series. A quartet of $50,000 events again brought together many of the marquee Free-For-Allers. The result was three, down-the-road winners, including two series repeaters. The encore performers were faves Dr. J Hanover (Brett Miller. $4.10) and Rockin' Ron (Yannick Gingras, $2.30) in the bookend divisions. Dr. J Hanover won the draw for the second consecutive start and put his rivals to sleep for the second consecutive start. A cheapy (:27.4, :57.3) half served him well after another first-leg winner, Always at My Place (George Brennan), offered a hard, first-up challenge. That one was disposed after a 27-secomd third quarter (1:24.3), while Dr. J Hanover swelled up to two lengths entering the lane. The final margin was 2½ lengths a season's-best (purse start) 1:52.4. Chumlee A (Larry Stalbaum) lost touch in the pocket, crossed the line second but was set down to fourth for cutting some cones. That placed Keystone Velocity (Dan Dube) second and Bit of a Legend N (Jordan Stratton) third. "He surprised me," Miller said. "After that third quarter, he just opened up." For Dr. J Hanover, a 5-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding co-owned by Brad Grant, Robert Leblanc, Steven Wienick & Irwin Samelman and trained by Tony Alagna, it was his second win in three seasonal starts. The exacta paid $21, with the triple returning $91.50. Rockin' Ron, from post position No. 2, wanted no part of an early pocket. He took over from pole-sitting Luciano N (Brent Holland), then--with another pedestrian early portion--held that rival at bay (:26.3, :57, 1:24.4, 1:53.2). The margin was three-quarters of a length. Mach it So (Tim Tetrick), after last week's win, turned in a solid, two-move effort for third from behind the eight-ball. For Rockin' Ron, a 6-year-old Real Desire co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Burke, Weaver Bruscemi, RTC and J&T Silva Stables, it was his second win in four seasonal starts. The exacta paid $4.60, with the triple returning $19.20. Saturday night's third down-the-pike series winner was another wagering choice in Evenin' of Pleasure (Joe Bongiorno, $3.20). From post No. 3, he took no prisoners (:26.2, :56.1, 1:24, 1:53.1). A wide-closing Bettor Memories (Kyle Husted) was second, with Another Daily Copy (Jason Bartlett) third and an out-the-mile Orillia Joe (Stratton) fourth. For Evenin' of Pleasure, a 8-year-old son of Dragon Again owned by Gestion J Y Blais and trained by Jennifer Bongiorno, it was her first win in a pair of seasonal starts. The exacta paid $31.40, triple returned $173 and the superfecta paid $558. The night's only off-the-pace series winner, a second-over Western Fame (Mark MacDonald, $11), was also the only non-winning second-round favorite. From post No. 5, he parlayed a perfect tow behind Somewhere in L A (Bartlett), to whip that one by a length in 1:53.1. Missile J (Tetrick), the 9-10 choice, did not retake from polester Caviart Luca (Brennan) after that one led through intervals of :27, 57.1 and 1:24.3. For this race, the soft fractions caved, effectively burying Missile J. He did end up a non-threatening third, beaten two lengths. For third choice Western Fame, a 5-year-old homebred son of Western Ideal owned by Brittany Farms and trained by Jimmy Takter, he's now 1-for-3 this season. The exacta paid $40.20, the triple returned $85.50 and the superfecta (Franco Rayner [Bongiorno]) paid $275.50. Saturday's $40,000 Open Handicap Trot was won by Mostinterestingman (Bartlett, $6) in 1:56.2 The 12-race handle was $1,007,866, the Raceway's first 'non-French' seven-figure wagering card of the season. Monday night (March 26th) offers the $62,000 final of the Petticoat Pacing Series for 3- and 4-year-old fillies and mares. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, N.Y. – After finishing second to Rockin Ron in leg one of the George Morton Levy Pacing Series at Yonkers Raceway in his seasonal debut March 17, hasrness racing trainer Jenn Bongiorno is expecting Evenin of Pleasure to be even sharper in week two of the series. The 8-year-old will start from post three in the eighth race tonight (March 24), the second of four divisions of the Levy series on the 12-race Yonker's program. “Last week, I was so pleased. I thought it was a great start. Rockin Ron is probably one of the best horses in the series, we were not going to go by him that night, but I was really happy. I felt Evenin of Pleasure finished up well to stay that close to Rockin Ron,” Bongiorno said. “Rockin Ron already had a start, that was our first start. Second start this week, I think he’s in such a good spot. I’d like to see him control the race for sure.” Evenin of Pleasure came to Bongiorno’s barn in late February with his connections, owner Gestion Blais and trainer Travis Cullen, targeting the Levy Series. They initially intended to send Evenin of Pleasure to Ron Burke, who conditioned the horse during a stint of racing in the Yonkers Open Pace last summer. However, with Burke’s series entries maxed out, Bongiorno got the call. “Ron Burke couldn’t take the horse for the series because he has horses he owns himself, so he can’t put a horse he doesn’t own ahead of one that he does, so luckily the owner was pointed in our direction,” Bongiorno said. “You have that kind of a classy horse, the day he got to the barn, I just ran to his stall and gave him a hug. It’s such an honor to even be able to sit behind a horse like that and have the opportunity to race him in such a great series.” A 27-time winner from 126 starts, Evenin of Pleasure is a multiple stakes winner with $811,524 in earnings. Bongiorno says his class shows in the morning. “One thing I’ve definitely learned is better horses are better on the track. They aren’t the ones that grab on so much. They’re so smart and just perfect gentlemen basically,” she explained. “I can’t really say enough good things about him. Perfect in the barn, great attitude, turn him out every day. He seems to be really adjusting well to our program.” Although Evenin of Pleasure arrived with his own rigging, Bongiorno made some adjustments that she feels will help the son of Dragon Again stay sharp as the series goes on, such as a shoeing change that will help to combat Evenin of Pleasure’s habit of running down, or hitting his heels on the surface of the track when he races. “Right now, we have him completely off his rundown, so I think that could definitely be something in the series that will help him because that can definitely hurt a horse,” she said. “When horses run down, the back of their heels hit the ground. With his shoeing and changes we made with that, we were able to get him off that, so that’s a plus.” Evenin of Pleasure arrived at Bongiorno’s stable in New Jersey nearly ready to qualify. She trained him the week he arrived and planned to qualify him at Freehold the following week, with the aim of qualifying him a second time before starting him in the series. However, a winter storm threatened to derail Evenin of Pleasure’s schedule. “That first qualifier was actually supposed to be at Freehold and it was the day of the snowstorm. I was like, ‘oh my gosh, we have to get this horse qualified,’ because he needed two qualifiers and that first start was going to be the Levy. I was in pure panic mode, I really was,” Bongiorno said. Bongiorno reached out to the Meadowlands race office and got Evenin of Pleasure in to qualify there after Freehold canceled. He won that March 3 trial in 1:53.1, beating Sunfire Blue Chip and Always at My Place. Six days later, Evenin of Pleasure posted a 6-length score in a qualifier at Freehold. “I thought that was a really nice qualifier over some nice horses: Sunfire Blue Chip, Always at My Place, who won a leg of the series, so I knew that we were in the right direction,” Bongiorno commented. “Freehold that day, the track was so dead, it was just a dead track. He paced in 1:54.2. We were happy, but we thought he might need another start before he was in tip-top shape. I think second start he’ll definitely be tighter and better.” Evenin of Pleasure’s leg two rivals include Christen Me and All Bets Off, who each finished third in leg one of the series. Bongiorno is confident given her horse’s favorable draw as Christen Me and All Bets Off will start from posts six and seven, respectively. “When I saw the draw this week, I couldn’t have been happier,” Bongiorno said. “Christen Me is a nice horse, but I thought he had time last week to shake free and win, and he didn’t. All Bets Off is probably one of the top two in the series, but he didn’t look that good last week either and drawing post seven isn’t the easiest way of doing things. I think having the inside is definitely going to be to our advantage.” In addition to Evenin of Pleasure, Bongiorno will start longshot Franco Rayner in race 10, the third division of the Levy Series. After finishing fourth in leg one, the Australian import drew post seven tonight and is a 20-1 morning line. Although she believes he has talent, Bongiorno has yet to unlock his full potential. “I’ve been saying since we first bought him, I think he’s the real deal,” Bongiorno said. “Foreign horses, it takes time to get them to adapt to life here. It’s been a little bit of a battle with him. Last week, he did race well, he left great. He doesn’t have the respect yet because he’s not proven. Foreign horses have their little issues, we’ll work on it, like keeping him better hydrated. He’s going to need a little more attention because it seems like he can have issues.” First post time tonight is 6:50 p.m. For entries for the card, click here. By Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY

YONKERS, NY, Friday, March 23, 2018 - Yonkers Raceway Friday night (March 23rd) offered the second round of the harness racing Blue Chip Matchmaker. A quintet of $40,000 events again brought together many of the best pacing mares. 'Quintet' was the watchword in the first division, with the field pared to five after a defection. Pole-sitting, series-debuting Wishy Washy Girl (Jason Bartlett, $4.80) kept pocket-sitting, even-money fave Twinkle (Eric Goodell) trapped in behind, then took it the distance (:27.1, :57.1, 1:25.3, 1:54.2, matching her previous season's win effort). The margin was a neck. Scandalicious (Tim Tetrick) moved from last down the backside, flattened but held third For Wishy Washy Girl, a 5-year-old daughter of Roll with Joe co-owned by Michael Cimiglio, Glenn Goler & Stephen Demeter by Richard Banca, it was her second win in three seasonal starts. The exacta paid $11.40, with triple wagering refunded due to an insufficient number of starters. The second division was a second handy Matchmaker win for Shartin N (Tetrick, $2.30). From post No. 4, she worked around polester Clear Idea (Mark MacDonald), then had no grief whatsoever (:27.1, :57.1, 1:25.3, 1:53.2). Throwing down an early gauntlet in this series, Shartin N won by a facile length-and-three-quarters. Clear Idea saved second, with 69-1 rank outsider Vintage Babe (Brent Holland) a ground-saving third. She gained the bottom of the ticket after Au D Lox Bluegrass (Yannick Gingras) took out of third, tried to test the winner and faded to fourth. For Shartin N, a 5-year-old Down Under daughter of Tintin in America co-owned by Richard Poillucci & Jo Anne Looney-King and trained by Jim King Jr., it was her sixth win in seven '18 tries. The exacta paid $13.40, with triple returning $97. Friday evening's third series event found another series newbie, L A Delight (Gingras, $5.70), eschew an early three-hole, then hold sway (:27.3, :56.3, 1:25.1, 1:53.2). From post No. 3 after last week's scratch-sick, L A Delight took over from pole-sitting Mach it a Par (Bartlett). That one, and a first-up Wrangler Magic (Dan Dube) were quite credible, but not quite good enough. L A Delight disposed of Mach it a Par by a length-and-a-quarter, with Wrangler Magic third. For timid choice L A Delight, a 5-year-old daughter of Bettor's Delight owned by Diamond Creek Racing and trained by Nancy Johansson, it was her first win in a pair of seasonal starts. The exacta paid $18.20, with the triple returning $93. Friday's fourth division saw logic take a holiday in the form of 36-1 bombardier Motu Moonbeam N (Holland, $74.50). From outside post No. 7, she watched from the back as 'Sissy and Sassy' show, with HP Sissy (Dube) and tepid 2-1 favorite Newborn Sassy (Tetrick) leading the ladies (:27.2, :57.1, 1:25). Jag Out (Gingras) pulled from third with a hard challenge, only to eventually break stride. However, the front end was more than vulnerable, with Motu Moonbeam closing crisply to win by a length-and-a-quarter in a season's-best 1:54.3. Safe from Terror (Jordan Stratton), who misstepped in the third turn allowing the eventual winner to improve position, made up much ground to end up second. Gina Grace N (Larry Stalbaum), second-over and gapping the misbehaving Jag Out, did get third. For Motu Moonbeam N, a 6-year-old Down Under daughter of Bettor's Delight owned by Friendship Stables and trained by Paul Blumenfeld, she's now 3-for-10 this season. The exacta paid $459, with the triple returning $4,101. The evening's final series get-together found last season's series victress, Mackenzie A (Stratton, $16.20), make her first statement this season. Working off the pace after starting outside her six foes, Mackenzie A did have some numbers to chase as Lakeisha Hall (Gingras), Call Me Queen Be (Scott Zeron) and 2-5 choice Lady Shadow (Bartlett) were all in play. Before the dust settled (:26.1, :55.4) and Lady Shadow had two-moved to the lead, Mackenzie A was out and moving. She was done no favors-and forced three-wide briefly-when Lispatty (Brennan) came out directly in front of her. That one threw down another roadblock, tiring by the 1:24.1 three-quarters and forcing Mackenzie A wide again. No problem, as she just rolled over a tiring Lady Shadow in the lane. Mackenzie A drew out, winning by a length-and-a-half in 1:53.1. Lakeisha Hall raced well at both ends of the mile to finish second, with Dudesalady (Holland) and Lady Shadow retreating to fourth. For third choice (barely) Mackenzie A, a 6-year-old Down Under Rock N Roll Heaven lass trained by Peter Tritton for co-owners Von Knoblauch Stables and Ellen Kinser, it was her first win in a pair of seasonal efforts. The exacta paid $131.50, with the triple worth $1,008. Saturday night (March 24th) offers a quartet of $50,000 divisions of Free-for-Allers in the second round of the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series. Frank Drucker

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