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YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, January 30, 2018 — “He helped take me to the next level as a harness racing driver.” Such were the words of Yannick Gingras, who takes a seat behind Foiled Again as the sport’s richest-ever equine is invading Yonkers Raceway in search of his 100th career victory. Foiled Again returns to the Westchester wars Thursday night (Feb. 1st), leaving from post position No. 5 in the $20,000, eighth-race pace. The 14-year-old Dragon Again gelding makes the 306th purse start of his $7.5 million career. “I can’t say enough about him,” Gingras said. “There were seven or eight seasons, starting when he as a 4-year-old, when he was among the best in the sport, which to me is amazing. “He’s not the biggest or the fastest, but I’ve never driven one that had his desire…and the way he wins, it’s usually a rough trip. I don’t think he’s ever been second-over. He’d rather grind his way into it and battle. Not to mention he’s smarter than the average bear. “He never exerts himself until he has to,” Gingras said. “If you’d allow it, he’d go a second quarter in 35 seconds, but right around the five-eighths or three-quarters, when he hears or sees someone coming, he picks up the bit and the switch goes on.” Foiled Again won his 99th race here in his mid-January, final-season debut, but his first crack at Century City did not go well, as in a non-factor sixth. George Brennan was the driver for both efforts.  “That’s another thing about him,” Gingras said. “Some horses, if they race poorly, it seem to affect them for a month. ‘Foiled’…nothing seems to bother him. “It would be fitting to do it here (Yonkers). He’s won the (George Morton) Levy Series twice (2009-10) and he always gets around the track well, probably because he rides the left line just enough”. “I can’t lie, I hope I’m the one who gets him to 100,” Gingras said. “I told (co-owner/trainer) Ronnie (Burke) to try and schedule him when I can drive him. “I’m looking forward to seeing him Thursday. He’s just been such a big part of the my career.” Frank Drucker  

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, January 28, 2018—A start-to-finish NF Happenstance (Jack Parker Jr., $14) just lasted Sunday afternoon (Jan. 28th), winning Yonkers Raceway’s ‘sloppy’ harness racing $50,000 Open Handicap Trot. A field of 11 served as the first of six ‘French’ trots. There were any number of early misbehavers, including 2-1 choice Money Maven (Yannick Gingras), one of the second-tier starters. There was no such happenstance for lone lass NF Happenstance. From post position No. 2, the Delaware invader led at every pylons (:29.2, :59.2, 1:28.4, 1:57.1). She opened 2¾ lengths entering the lane before winning by a neck in 2:28. Eight-holer Melady’s Monet (Jason Bartlett) put forth a solid, two-move effort, charging late to barely miss. Third went to Moneycounts De Vie (Matt Kakaley), with Rubber Duck (Joe Bongiorno) and Lily’s Swan Pond (Brent Holland) settling for the remainder.   It was Parker’s first win here since August, 2002, and the first time he had driven the mare locally since Independence Night of 2014.   For third choice NF Happenstance, an 8-year-old daughter of S J’s Caviar owned by James Moore III and trained by Carol Jamieson-Parker, it was her fourth win in as many seasonal starts. The exacta paid $76, with triple returning $1,111. Sunday’s ‘New York, New York Double’ offered a winning combination of 3-Factoring (Aqueduct’s 3rd race) and 3-Gonna Fly (Yonkers’ 6th race) paid $140.75 for every correct $1 wager. Total pool was $8,302. A friendly reminder from Yonkers Raceway that Monday evening’s (Jan. 29th) Pick 5 wager starts with a carryover of $1,558.62 and a $10,000 guaranteed pool. The Pick 5 is a 50-cent base wager comprising races 6 through 10 (for these 10-race cards, ordinarily it’s races 7 through 11). It has no consolation payoff, meaning if no one selects all five winners (as was the case Sunday afternoon), the entire pool (minus takeout) moves to the next racing program. Monday’s program can be downloaded here. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, January 27, 2018 — Orillia Joe ($17.80) and harness racing driver Brent Holland kept the form spree going Saturday night (Jan. 27th), winning Yonkers Raceway’s $40,000 Open Handicap Pace. In play from outside post position No. 7, Orillia Joe had a first-turn impediment when Delaware invader Cajon Lightning (Jordan Stratton) made a filthy break. That forced Orillia Joe wide, making the lead before a :27.3 opening quarter-mile. Pole-assigned Western Hill (Jason Bartlett) was able to secure the pocket, while 3-2 choice Gokudo Hanover (Matt Kakaley) found a seat third. It was a rated :57.1 intermission before ‘Gokudo’ was out first-up. That one wasn’t making the requisite strides in and out of a 1:25.3 three-quarters, as Orillia Joe owned a length lead into the lane. The closers arrived, but too late. Orillia Joe whipped Take it Back Terry (George Brennan) by a neck in 1:54.2. Dream Out Loud N (Dan Dube), as the 40-1 rank outsider, angled off the cones for a crisp third, while Killer Martini (Eric Goodell) and Western Hill settled for the minors For fourth choice Orillia Joe, an 8-year-old Western Ideal gelding by Joe P Racing and trained by Matias Ruiz, it was his third win in as many seasonal starts. The exacta paid $166.50, with the triple returning $1,895. Sunday’s (Jan. 28th) ‘French’ matinee goes with a first post of High Noon. The 10-race card features six ‘French’ trots (races 5 through 10) and the ‘New York, New York Double’ (Aqueduct’s 3rd race, Yonkers’ 6th race). Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Friday, January 26, 2018 — Slight harness racing favorite Motu Moonbeam N (Matt Kakaley, $7.60) took over early and lasted late Friday night (Jan. 26th), winning Yonkers Raceway’s $40,000 Filly and Mare Open Pace. Away second from post position No. 2, Motu Moonbean N grabbed the lead from pole-assigned All About Madi (George Brennan) before a :27.4 opening quarter-mile. Sell a Bit N (Jordan Stratton) was also put in play, finding a seat third. After a :57.4 intermission, Hidden Land (Eric Goodell) tried it first-up from fifth. That one offered just a mild bid in and out of a 1:26.3 three-quarters, with Mach it a Par (Jason Bartlett) in behind. Motu Moonbeam N owned a length lead into the lane, with All About Madi taking a shot inside and Sell a Bit N needing room that wasn’t there. The leader did held, prevailing by a desperate nose in a season’s-best 1:54.4. All About Madi was second, with Sell a Bit N, Mach it a Par and Annabeth (Brent Holland) settling for the minors.   For Motu Moonbeam N, a 6-year-old Down Under daughter of Bettor’s Delight owned by Friendship Stables and trained by Paul Blumenfeld, it was her second win three seasonal starts. The exacta paid $29, with the triple returning $128. Foiled Again returns Foiled Again’s second crack at his first hundred happens in conjunction with Yonkers Raceway ‘s return to Thursday nights. First post for the 10-race, first-of-the-month card is 6:50 PM. Foiled Again, whose 99 career wins go along with a sport’s-best $7.5 million in earnings, drew post position No. 5 in the $20,000, eighth-race pace. Yannick Gingras is reunited with his long-time ‘date’ for co-owner (as Burke Racing)/trainer Ron Burke. The 14-year-old Dragon Again gelding won his seasonal debut, moving him to the precipice of the milestone. However, he threw in a clunker in his last outing, finishing a non-factor sixth. Thursday night is the 306th lifetime purse try for Foiled Again as he remains at the same (non-winners of $20,000 in last five starts) level of his previous two races. Note that the Raceway shall offers a six-program race week beginning this Sunday (Jan. 28th). The Sunday ‘French’ card goes at High Noon, while the ensuing evenings (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday) all have a first post of 6:50 PM. After this weekend, Sundays take a hiatus until Feb. 25th.     Frank Drucker  

YONKERS, N.Y. – Cajon Lightning looked well-spotted when he drew the inside post position for his Yonkers harness racing debut January 20. Trainer Eric Ell entered the gelding in a $30,000 overnight off a win the Open Handicap at Dover Downs the previous week and hoped Cajon Lightning would show speed and control the race. But while Cajon Lightning was shipping up from Delaware, Ell received a disappointing phone call: the truck had broken down on the highway, putting Cajon Lightning in jeopardy of missing the race. “When he called me and told me he broke down, I got another truck real quick and started up that way, but then I started making phone calls and I tried to find somebody closer that could grab him and get him up there, but I couldn’t get it done as hard as I tried,” Ell said. “It took me an hour-and-a-half to get to him and switch trucks. Then I sat with the broken-down truck and waited for a tow truck and sent him on his way.” Despite Ell’s best efforts, Cajon Lightning arrived at Yonkers 25 minutes late, resulting in a transportation scratch. Although he missed a coveted opportunity to race from the rail on the half-mile track, Cajon Lightning will get another chance to compete at the Hilltop Oval this week when he starts as the 5/2 morning line favorite in the $40,000 Open Handicap Pace Saturday January 27. Cajon Lightning established himself as a force in the winter series at Woodbine in 2015 and 2016 when he swept the Autumn Series and finished second in the Valedictory Final, the Ontario Boys Final, and the WEGZ Final for Richard Moreau. Cajon Lightning came to Ell’s stable that spring, but found it difficult to adjust to the warmer climate. “He’s just not a real good horse in the summer time, he likes cold weather,” Ell said. “When I brought him down from Canada, it was starting to get hot here. He was ok, but wasn’t what we thought he would be. When it started cooling off at Dover, he got really good as a 4-year-old and a 5-year-old and this year, even better. He’s just a killer this year. He’s got some allergy trouble and stuff that bothers him in the summer, but he’s a much better horse in the winter months.” Now 6 years old, Cajon Lightning is sharper than ever. He’s posted four wins at the Open level at Dover since November 16, including a lifetime best 1:49.4 victory in a dead heat with Sicily December 7. In addition to his speed, Cajon Lightning has also shown versatility in his recent wins, scoring on the lead and from well off the pace. The son of Mach Three is 20-for-80 in his career with $265,570 in earnings. “He’s rounded into a real, real nice racehorse now and you can do anything with him,” Ell said. “He’s a pleasure. There’s not one thing he does bad. Perfect gentlemen, working around him in the barn, he ships good. He’s lazy warming up, he’s not a grabby horse. You put him behind the gate and you can sprint of the gate a quarter in 26 or you can take off the gate with two fingers. He’s just an all-around perfect racehorse. Nice horse to have around.” Although Ell says Cajon Lightning may be better on a big track, he decided to take his chances at Yonkers when the top classes at Dover struggled to fill consistently. He already ships barn standout Soto to Yonkers to race, so adding Cajon Lightning to the trailer was a no-brainer. “He’s a great big horse, better on a big track, but I raced him at Harrington some and he was good there and that’s a tight half-mile too, so I think he’ll be ok at Yonkers. We’re going to hope anyway,” he explained. Although a winter storm altered Cajon Lightning’s training schedule ahead of his first race at Yonkers, Ell thinks he will be ready for his test against rivals Orillia Joe, who rides a two-race win streak into this week’s Open Handicap, but starts from post seven, and Gokudo Hanover, who won three straight at Yonkers before finishing second as the favorite in last week’s pacing feature. “I train on a half-mile farm track and the day I really wanted to train him, I got him out and jogged, but that’s about all I could do,” Ell explained. “I got him trained the following day and I couldn’t go a real big mile, but he trained good and he was very eager, wanted to do it, and felt good. I just couldn’t give him as much as I wanted to. It doesn’t take him a lot. I think he’ll be ok.” If Cajon Lightning handles the competition and takes to the racetrack, he could prove to be peaking at the right time as the George Morton Levy Series is quickly approaching. “I’m curious to see how he’s going to fair up there. We’re going to put Soto back in the Levy if he gets a little sharper. He’s not at the top of his game right now. I’d like to see how this horse gets around the half. He’s sharper than Soto right now, but we’ve got to see how he handles the half. He’s an all-around nice horse and I can’t wait to get him up there and see what happens.” First post time Saturday is 6:50 p.m. Click here to view entries for the card. By Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY  

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, January 21, 2018 — Harness racing favored Melady’s Monet (Jason Bartlett, $4.60) was just barely good enough Sunday morning (Jan. 21th), winning Yonkers Raceway’s $50,000 Open Handicap Trot. The field of seven (down from nine after a couple of defections) went as the opener and the first of seven ‘French’ trots. His eight-hole now a six-hole after those scratches, Melady’s Monet made the first lead, unimpeded by a breaking Tight Lines (Jeff Gregory). ‘Melady’ found a :29.4 opening quarter-mile before briefly giving it up to Super Manning (Jordan Stratton), The fave wanted no part of the pocket, so he retook prior to the :59.1 half.  Cash Me Out (Eric Goodell) then moved from fifth, just about getting even with Melady’s Monet by the 1:30.1 three-quarters. Disposing of that rival around the 1:58.4 milepost, Melady’s Monet opened a length-and-three quarters into the lane, and needed all out it.   A ground-saving Moneycounts De Vie (Matt Kakaley) found room up the cones, surged, but the 18-1 rank outsider missed a nose. Melady’s Monet found paydirt in time, getting the mile-and-a-quarter in 2:27.4. Third went to Rock of Cashel (Brent Holland), with Dog Gone Lucky (catch-driver Dan Dube) and Cash Me Out settling for the remainder. For Melady’s Monet, a 9-year-old Revenue S gelding owned by Melady Enterprises and trained by Kevin McDermott, it was his first win in a pair of seasonal starts. The exacta paid $43.20, with triple returning $229.50. Sunday’s ‘New York, New York Double’ offered a winning combination of 5-Control Group (Aqueduct’s 3rd race) and 3-Royal Bachelor (Yonkers’ 5th race) paid $11.80 for every correct $1 wager. Total pool was $5,942.   Frank Drucker  

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, January 20, 2018 — Foiled Again has enjoyed any number of spectacular nights throughout his prolific, record-setting harness racing career. But at Yonkers Raceway Saturday (Jan. 20th) was not one of them. In his first attempt at a 100th career victory, Foiled Again threw in a dud. Harness racing richest-ever equine did not fire during Yonkers Raceway’s $20,000 first-race pace. Leaving from outside his six rivals, Foiled Again (George Brennan) found a seat fourth. The 14-year-old gelding then took out to race second-over behind Lachie Maguire N (Jason Bartlett). The tow didn’t help, but Foiled Again gapped it, anyway. He wound up sixth, beaten 7¼ lengths to winning favorite Quick Asa Trick N (Matt Kakaley, $5.10). Foiled Again, as the 2-1 third choice, was making his 305th career purse start, remaining in the same class a week after winning his 99th career race. His bankroll remains at $7,568,478. “Try it again next time,”  Brennan said.   Saturday night’s $30,000 winners-over pace was a down-the-road effort by odds-on Missile J (Dan Dube, $3.70). From post position No. 3 (in one notch after the pole-sitter scratched), Missile J stuffed Thisjetsabookin’ (Jordan Stratton) in behind, then rolled through intervals of :27.1, :56.1, 1:24.1 and 1:52.2…fastest local mile thus far this season. Thisjetsabookin’ chased, beaten a length-and-a-quarter, with Take it Back Terry (Brennan) third.   For Missile J, a 5-year-old American Ideal Hoosier co-owned by John McGill & Brian Carsey and trained by Scott DiDomenico, it was his first win two seasonal starts. The exacta paid $16.20, with the triple returning $38.20. Special Saturday props to trainer Darren Cassar, who sent out three winners during the dozen-race card.   Sunday’s (Jan. 21st) ‘French’ matinee offers both a ‘New York, New York Double’ (Aqueduct’s 3rd race, Yonkers 5th race) as well as a Pick 5 with a $2,986.47 carryover and a $10,000 guaranteed pool (50-cent base wager, races 7 through 11). The ‘instant’ guarantee took effect after no one hit Saturday’s gimmick wager. First post Sunday is 11:30 AM. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, N.Y. – Although he’s established himself as one of the top open trotters in New York over the past few years, 7-year-old trotter Cash Me Out is still in search of an elusive harness racing victory in the Open Trot at Yonkers Raceway. He connected in a local Preferred May 28, 2017 and has finished second in the local Open five times, including losses by a neck, head, and nose. “He’s won the Open at the Meadowlands a couple times, a bunch of Opens at Saratoga. I’ve had a bunch of seconds, but just haven’t got it done yet at Yonkers,” trainer Kyle Spagnola said. “It just hasn’t worked out yet. There’s always been one that’s either gotten a good trip or one that’s just laid over the field, a lot of excuses, but hopefully it happens one of these days.” Cash Me Out will get another chance to post his first Yonkers Open win Sunday (January 21) when he faces eight rivals in the $50,000 feature. Carded as race 1 on the program, the 1¼ mile trot also features Dog Gone Lucky, Tight Lines, and Melady’s Monet. First post time on the French Sunday is 11:30 a.m. Owner Traylor Racing sent Cash Me Out to Spagnola in July 2015. By then, the son of Cash Hall had already established himself as a top horse in New York. He won or placed in four New York Sire Stakes legs as a 2-year-old and finished third in the final and at 3, he won or placed in another five Sire Stakes divisions for Mickey and Cheryl McGivern. “The McGivern’s did very well with him as a 2- and 3-year-old in the Sire Stakes program. That definitely got him started up the ladder with the money and he turned out to be a good racehorse,” Spagnola said. “He was one of the first horses I got for (Traylor Racing). That was definitely an exciting phone call to get. He was kind of off his game, he wasn’t really sharp when I got him, I don’t know why. He came back around.” Although he is an easy horse to drive, Spagnola admits Cash Me Out isn’t one to turn your back on in the barn. “He’s actually kind of a bully in the barn, thinks he’s tough. You’ve got to be a little careful around him,” he said. “He just tries to kick and bite you. I don’t think he means it, but he can intimidate you, anyway. Jogging him, he’s the nicest horse to jog. He’s very easy on the track, he’s pretty easy to drive. Cash Hall’s all kind of have a little attitude. Unless you have a carrot, he’s got his ears back.” Cash Me Out won 11 of 37 races for Spagnola in 2016 and 10 of 30 in 2017, earning $196,850 and $196,840 in each year, respectively. Although he narrowly missed achieving his goal of $200,000 in earnings in a single season, Cash Me Out has become one of Spagnola’s best horses to date, sporting career earnings of $851,839. “My goal the last two years was to get him over $200,000. I’ve come up short by a few thousand bucks the last two years. The Yonkers money definitely helps,” Spagnola said. “He means a lot to me. It was a privilege to get him and if everybody had one of him in the barn, it makes it a lot easier.” Cash Me Out brought Spagnola to the biggest race of the young trainer’s career last fall. After finishing second beaten a nose in the Open Trot October 7, he received an invitation to the $250,000 Harry Harvey Trot on the International Trot undercard. Although bettors dismissed him at odds of 33/1, Cash Me Out still earned a fourth-place check. “I kind of had a feeling, just going by the money and the horses who were still racing that time of year who could get around a half. I kind of had a feeling he might get invited,” Spagnola said. “They actually called me the night before the draw and they invited me. He finished second and before they even showed the replay, Steve Starr called and asked if I wanted to race him there. Of course, I said yes.” Since the Harry Harvey Trot, Cash Me Out has put together an impressive string of top-three finishes, only missing the board once in his last nine starts. He enters this week’s Open Trot off a runner up finish in last week’s trotting feature, where Money Maven beat him a neck. Cash Me Out drew post nine and is 5/1 on the morning line. “I have a good post because he doesn’t need to be on the lead. Now, not having the passing lane, the two-hole really isn’t that good. I think he’ll get away probably fifth in there and try to be first- or second-over,” Spagnola said. “The passing lane definitely changes his racing style. Usually he can just leave and sit the two-hole. He really likes that trip. Now, with no passing lane, you either have to get lucky or be out real early. “I think you’re better off getting away fourth or fifth now with that racing style and the mile-and-a-quarter definitely makes it interesting,” he continued. “I think he likes the mile better, but he doesn’t seem to have too much trouble with the mile-and-a-quarter. It’s tougher on him, I think. I think it’s tougher on any horse, but I think he prefers a mile.” In addition to the Open Trot, Sunday’s card features six other French trots with overflow fields at the 1 ¼-mile distance. Click here for entries. By Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY

YONKERS, NY, Friday, January 19, 2018—A well-out-of-it Annabeth (Brent Holland, $57) was fastest through the lane Friday night (Jan. 19th), winning Yonkers Raceway’s high-condition harness racing $25,000 pacing feature for the ladies. Sitting chilly early from post position No. 7, Annabeth saw Best of Jenna (Dan Dube) make the first lead before yielding to just-over-even-money fave All About Madi (Jason Bartlett) ‘Madi’ led through intervals of :27.4 and :57.1 before Truth and Liberty (Greg Merton) was out and moving. The one towed 40-1 proposition Pretty Image (Eric Goodell) second-over and Annabeth (Brent Holland) third-over. All About Madi was a determined leader in and out of a 1:25.4 three-quarters, opening to a length entering the lane. However, she couldn’t stall the fresher femmes. Pretty Image went wider, Annabeth wider and a buried-to-fourth-over Motu Moonbeam N (Matt Kakaley) widest. Annabeth prevailed, whipping Pretty Image by three-quarters of a length in a season’s-best 1:55. Motu Moonbeam N was third, with All About Madi and Truth and Liberty settling for the remainder. Holland won three of the evening’s dozen races. For sixth choice Annabeth, a 7-year-old daughter of Shadow Play owned by Joseph Pisarski and trained by William Adamczyk, she’s won both of her seasonal starts. The exacta paid $909, the triple returned $2,280 and the superfecta paid $20,354 (base $2 payout). Frank Drucker

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

YONKERS, NY, Monday, January 15, 2018 — Already with seven figures in earnings, Foiled Again goes for  triple figures in wins. Harness racing’s richest-ever horse eyes a 100th career victory Saturday night (Jan. 20th), starting from outside post position No. 7 in Yonkers Raceway’s $20,000 first-race pace. Win No. 99 came this past Saturday night (Jan. 13th), a season-debuting half-length victory (1:55) at the same level (non-winners $20,000 in last five starts) he sees this time around.   “What can I say?,” was driver George Brennan post mortem. “He knows exactly what he’s doing. I moved him to the lead and he gets lazy, which he does. Then, when he was challenged, he dug in.” Brennan once again takes a seat behind the 14-year-old Dragon Again gelding, co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke, Weaver Bruscemi and JJK Stables. With that 99th win in his 304th purse try (in addition to 65 seconds and 43 thirds), he improved the retirement fund to $7,568,478. Foiled Again, who’s been winning races here since 2006, includes a pair of George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series titles (2009-10) in his robust resume.  Post time (which in this case is also Foiled Again time) for the dozen–race card is 6:50 PM. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, January 14, 2018 — Harness racing favored Money Maven (Yannick Gingras, $5.40) held sway after a long grind Sunday afternoon (Jan. 14th), winning Yonkers Raceway’s $50,000 Open Handicap Trot. The field of nine went as the first of seven ‘French’ trots, with Money Maven away from third from post position No. 3. Last week’s off-the-pace winner, Consolidator (Jim Marohn Jr.), left hard here. The lass worked around pole-sitting Cash Me Out (Eric Goodell), laying down early intervals of :28.4 and :57.4. Money Maven, snapped in a very good effort a week ago, edged from third, with second-tier Tight Lines (Jeff Gregory) second-over. The fave engaged a stubborn Consolidator through a 1:28.2 three-quarters and a 1:57.2 milepost, finally putting the ma’am away early in the lane. Cash Me Out then slid out after Tight Lines retreated, having dead aim but seemingly hanging late. Money Maven held sway by a neck, getting the mile-and-quarter in 2:28.3. Deep closer Home’n Dry (Matt Kakaley) and Melady’s Monet arrived late for third and fourth, respectively, with Luminosity (George Brennan) settling for the final pay envelope.    For Money Maven, a 9-year-old Revenue S gelding owned by Kapildeo Singh and trained by Rene Allard, it was his first win in a pair of seasonal starts. The exacta paid $18, with triple returning $66.50. The season’s first ‘New York, New York Double’ offered a winning combination of 4-Lezendary (Aqueduct’s 3rd race) and 1-Inukchuk Chuck (Yonkers’ 5th race) paid $55 for every correct $1 wager. Total pool was $6,236.   Frank Drucker

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

YONKERS, N.Y. – Last summer, talented harness racing pacer Western Hill showed promise of becoming a top stakes 3-year-old. The Tony Alagna trainee finished second in his North American Cup elimination June 10 and fifth in the final the following week. After failing to make the Meadowlands Pace Final, the son of Western Ideal again finished second in an elimination of the Adios and earned a fourth-place check in the final. Despite the potential he showed, Western Hill fell out of form in the fall and began to toil in the conditions at Yonkers. After two seventh-place finishes at the non-winners of 8 level in November, owner and breeder Tom Hill called trainer Andrew Harris. “When I worked for Casie Coleman back in the day, Tom had a lot of horses with Casie and so obviously I had known him well through them because I took care of Western Silk on and off when she had her,” Harris said. “Over the years, we’ve talked on many occasions and it seemed like they were going to give me an opportunity here or there, but nothing ever came to fruition until all the sudden this horse. They said, ‘we want to continue on as a 4-year-old with him, we just want to give him a shot.’ Who’s going to turn down a shot on a horse like that?” When Western Hill arrived, Harris saw a sharp-looking, speedy individual. However, it soon became clear the gelding had lost his confidence amid the string of losses and tough trips, which saw him try to close from well off the pace on Yonkers’ half-mile oval. “When I first got him, the first thing I noticed was, even though he was in a brand-new barn that he had never seen before, he got in the stall and put his head in the corner,” Harris recalled. “He was a little pouty and he just wasn’t happy. “We turned him out in the field every day with other horses and let him go out and be a horse a little bit,” he continued. “I know that Alagna likes to train a little bit harder than some, so I backed off on his training and didn’t train him as hard and just tried to freshen him up that way. Not that that would work on every horse, but it seemed to happen to work on this horse.” In his first start for Harris November 27, Western Hill drew post three and picked up top driver Yannick Gingras. After a pocket trip, Western Hill finished second by a nose in the $22,000 overnight. The following week, Gingras put Western Hill on the lead and the gelding scored a 1-length win in 1:53.2. “I think Yannick was a huge factor in bringing that confidence back because he put him onto the lead and he liked it,” Harris explained. “When you lose form, drivers don’t put them in play.” With his confidence and attitude improving off two good races, Harris took Western Hill to Harrah’s Philadelphia December 17, and the gelding posted a blowout win. He again set the pace and opened a 6¼-length advantage in the stretch in a 1:51.3 mile. “When he went to Chester he was just in total command and looked like his old self where he was wanting to be a big horse. He’s not a big horse, but he wants to be a big horse,” Harris said. Off his impressive performances, Western Hill will get a shot against Open pacers tonight at Yonkers Raceway. An 8-1 longshot in the field of six, Western Hill will make his 4-year-old debut against the likes of 2-1 favorite Gokudo Hanover, who ended his 2017 season with a win in the local Open, as well as the runner-up and third-place finishers from that race, Killer Martini and Thisjetsabookin. Take It Back Terry, who won the Preferred Pace to close the season, returns in the Open as the 3-1 second choice and Shane Adam completes the lineup. The $40,000 feature is slated as race 6 on the 12-race program. “The group that he’s in with, I actually like this spot,” Harris said of the step up. “The horse on the rail of Scotty Di’s is a really nice horse (Gokudo Hanover). Hopefully we’ll sit close to that one and hopefully get a shot at him down the lane. He fits with that group.” Despite fitting the non-winners of $30,000 condition, Harris entered the Open ranks in hopes of facing his age group. With the 4-year-old Open failing to fill at this early point in the season, Harris was happy to take a shot in the aged ranks. “I did enter for the 4-year-old Open because I was hoping he could race against horses his own age. I thought that I’d have a clear advantage over them with how sharp he is right now,” Harris said. “The non-winners of 30, I think that’s as tough as the Open anyway. I knew he probably wouldn’t get handicapped the outside in the Open, he’d probably have a better shot at the inside where the non-winners of 30 is an open draw and he could have gotten the eight-hole.” Like his five rivals, Western Hill enters tonight’s Open Pace off a month layoff. Harris feels the time away from racing helped Western Hill’s soundness. “I didn’t really let him down. We jogged him all the way through and trained him up all the way through,” Harris said. “He’s fairly sound right now, so I think that way it helped him out a lot.” First post time at Yonkers is 6:50 p.m. To view entries for the races, click here. By Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY

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

YONKERS, N.Y. – The harness racing Pick 5 at Yonkers Raceway features a $15,113.25 carryover and $40,000 guaranteed pool Friday night. The bet, which offers no consolation payout, covers races 7 through 11 and offers a 50-cent base wager. Free past performances for the card are available here. Two of the track’s leading drivers, Jason Bartlett and George Brennan, discussed their drives in the sequence and their approach to racing without a passing lane on the half-mile oval: Race 7 Bartlett - #4 American Island (5-2): Ended the 2017 season at Yonkers winning or placing in six of his last seven races. In his last three starts, the Rich Banca trainee scored a victory from post seven for a $15,000 tag and posted two seconds, each by a nose, at this level December 8 and 15. “He’s been racing good and he’s had some tough post positions. He’s drawing inside, he’s got gate speed if need be. He’s not in a bad spot.” Brennan - #3 Blade Seelster (2-1): Class dropping Robertson pupil won 11 of 35 starts and earned $183,535 last year, but faded on the lead in his last two outings to close 2017. Brennan takes the lines for the first time since October 27. “He’s ok, he’s alright. Three hole, he’s got a good spot. He’s got a good record, a lot of wins last year. They used his early speed the last two starts and it didn’t do him anything and now he’s been off for almost a month going in. Is he up to it? You don’t know. It’s difficult, it’s really hard.” Race 8 Bartlett - #2 Big City Jewel (8-5): Won six of his last seven to close his 2017 campaign and makes his 7-year-old debut at the level of the claim for Robertson. Shows success on the lead and from off the pace. “I’ve driven this horse twice, I won with him both times. He’s a really nice little horse. He’s been racing really well, draws inside, so he looks pretty good. He’s just a handy little horse. The one horse (Bettor Reason N) is probably one of the horses to beat, I would say.” Brennan - #4 Northern Virgin (12-1): Burke trainee is a consistent check-getter, but hasn’t won since November 5 while down in class at Harrah’s. “Decent spot, ok. He’s a piece-getter. I’m not really sold on him to be a top one-two in there. He’s just kind of a big horse. He’s the kind of horse I’d like to be first-over with and just grind my way into it if I could. We’ll see how that works. (With the passing lane), if you’re sitting fourth, it’s most likely you were going to be first-over. Now that guy in the three-hole, he’s got to come out. Tuesday, a guy pulled out of the two-hole at the half, a couple guys pulled the two-hole down the backside early. A lot of these guys have never driven without a passing lane. I started driving with a hub rail and no passing lane; it doesn’t really matter to me because I’ve figured it out before. It’s interesting, now, you get away fourth and there’s a good chance you’re getting a second-over trip. It’s definitely changed it up, shuffled the cards a little bit and I think for the better, for sure. “There’s definitely a lot more action. I’ve found horses are coming from behind, some of the favorites are getting beat up early and used early where they generally wouldn’t before. They’re getting pressured and there’s more of a live flow because the horses are pulling earlier and they’re trying to get there from behind. There have been quite a few longshots in the first three days.” Race 9 Bartlett - #2 War Daddy (3-1): Won out of his last condition here by a nose November 27 before finishing fifth for a $40,000 tag December 16. Five-year-old gelding by Quik Pulse Mindale drops to the $30,000 level tonight and draws inside again. “He’s racing good. Looks like I’ll be following the one (Midnight Dylan N). He’ll be up close, with no passing lane, who knows, but he figures in there. It’s hard to say right now because none of the horses have been racing consistently. Everybody’s been coming off a break, so it’s hard to say. I think everybody’s been trying to get the learning curve with it right now. You are seeing people pop the deuce a lot more. I just think it’s going to hinder the horses sitting sixth, seventh, and eighth even more. I think you really have to be sitting up close. I’ve been going with the flow; the horses haven’t been racing, so it’s hard to try different things with them. A couple times I knew I would have gone back to the rail if there was a passing lane and I stayed out. Instead of leaving to get the two-hole, now you’re taking back to be first- or second-over, but you also see horses coming first-over who aren’t making up any ground either.” Brennan - #3 Go Collect N (9-2): Ended 2017 with an upset 2-length win at the non-winners of $10,000 condition with Brennan in the sulky. Races for a tag for the first time since joining the Di Domenico ranks last fall. “He’s ok, he’s moving up a bit, but he comes from a good barn. I’ve raced him from behind before, I’ve raced him on the lead before. He can do either or and he fits in there. He’s ok.” Race 10 Bartlett - #1 SOS Justified (3-1): Finished fourth at this level from post seven to close the 2017 season. Returned Opening Day with another fourth-place effort from the six post, beaten 2 ¼ lengths. “Drawn inside and I don’t think that’s a real tough race. He looks pretty good in there. He does well when he draws inside and that’s not a real tough group I don’t think. Most of the horses in there have raced (off the break). He should be better, he should be good in that spot. Raced good last week.” Brennan - #4 Adonis Bay (10-1): After posting a dozen wins season last year, the 6-year-old gelding opened 2017 with a fifth behind SOS Justified January 7. “I raced him last week, he was a little short. Looking to be a little tighter. He’s ok. He’s a piece-getter, but he’s not bad. He did win 12 races last year, so he knows how to win.” Race 11 Bartlett - #6 Pembroke Wildcat (5-1): Won an Open in Maine and placed in two local contests at the non-winners of $10,000 level last fall. Closed 2017 with a sixth-place finish for a $30,000 tag. Makes his debut off the claim for Robertson. “Don’t know much about this horse. Hasn’t raced, but the whole field hasn’t raced, so you can’t go by that. Looks like there’s a bit of speed in there, probably have to take back and be second- or third-over and see what happens.” Brennan – N/A (No Drive) In addition to the Pick 5 carryover, Friday’s card also features a $40,000 Filly and Mare Open Pace in race six. First post time is 6:50 p.m. by Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY

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