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YONKERS, NY, Thursday, January 11, 2018 -- Yonkers Raceway's Friday evening (Jan. 12th) Pick 5 harness racing wager starts with a double carryover of $15,113.25 as well as a $40,000 guaranteed pool. The 'instant' guarantee is in conjunction with the U-S Trotting Association's Strategic Wagering Program. The Pick 5 is a 50-cent base wager comprising races 7 through 11 during every racing card. It has no consolation payoff, meaning if no one selects all five winners (as was the case Monday and Tuesday nights), the entire pool (minus takeout) moves to the next racing program. Friday's full-card program is available through Empire City's entries/results page at, while Pick 5 program pages are available at For further information, visit A reminder that first post for all evening programs is now 6:50 PM. Frank Drucker

Yonkers Raceway began its 2018 harness racing season with a bang Sunday afternoon, with more than $2.1 million in all sources wagering on the 12 race card. The North American common pool wagering was $1,398,314 and additionally, in excess of $700,000 was wagered in separate exotic pools in France. “We haven’t seen wagering totals like that at Yonkers Raceway for  many many years,” remarked SOA of NY President Joe Faraldo. When Yonkers is racing on Sunday afternoons, normally seven trotting races are simulcast to Europe where the French PMU conducts wagering. The French commingle into the North American win and show pools and also have separate pool wagering on each race. “Yonkers Raceway in cooperation with the SOA of New York is happy to seed new markets and cultivate them,” Faraldo continued.  “Innovating globally wherever possible to grow the business domestically and abroad. It is hard work done cooperatively with Yonkers management and our trainers, drivers, owners and caretakers who all sacrifice.” The 2018 Yonkers Raceway meet continues Monday with a more traditional nighttime card of 12 races. New for 2018 is a 6:50pm first post for all evening cards. Yonkers races Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday nights in January before also adding Thursday night racing in February. The “French Sundays” continue each Sunday afternoon in January.  

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, January 7, 2018 — Today’s tome is entitled ‘Passing Thoughts About No Passing Lane.’ Yonkers Raceway began its 2018 harness racing season Sunday (Jan. 7th) by closing down the open stretch. A nippy, see-their-breath, late-morning pacing opener served as the guinea pig for the new layout.   Precursor to the seven ‘French’ trots, it was a tight-photo win by a first-up Union Man Hanover (Matt Kakaley, $14.20) in 1:57.3.  Thus, Kakaley became the perfect initial candidate to discuss the new layout. “I probably would have waited a bit longer (moving from third) with the passing lane,” he said. “I wanted to make sure I was out there. I think first-over is going to be more advantageous now, but it was just one race.” Kakaley ended up with four winners during the 12-race card. One obvious observation was the pocket-sitting Scarlet Chaser (Jordan Stratton) extricating himself from the cones, slipping out to race second-over early in the final turn. “(Scarlet Chaser) won in the passing lane his last start, but that wasn’t an option here,” Stratton said. “I was able to move him outside and he raced well. The new rules are in place, and we’ll figure it out. “It is what it is.”  “There are going to be some strategy changes, that’s for sure,” Brent Holland said. “Sitting the two-hole may not always be a good spot,” he said after getting shuffled out when the leader tired in day’s trotting feature. “It didn’t work out for me.” The last word for the first day went to six-time local driving champ Jason Bartlett. “It certainly makes things different,” Bartlett said. “It’s hard to say how much, because you have to see how each race unfolds. We just have to try to put the horse in the best position.” Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, January 7, 2018 — Yonkers Raceway took the bow off its 2018 harness racing season Sunday (Jan. 7th), with lone lass Consolidator (catch-driver Jim Marohn Jr., $16.60) winning a chilly $50,000 Open Handicap Trot. Originally drawn with nine entrants, the field was pared to seven after the eight-hole (Melady’s Monet, sick) and nine-hole (Tight Lines, weather) assignees were scratched. Consolidator, from post position No. 4, worked out a third-over trip.  She set it up after Mostinterestingman  (Brent Holland) stuffed Money Maven (Yannick Gingras) into the pocket before eventually yielding to  9-10 choice Cash Me Out (Eric Goodell). All this took place through early intervals of :29.4, 1:00 and 1:30.2. Money Maven then made his second move, going right at Cash Me Out at the 1:59.3 milepost. A second-up Luminosity (George Brennan) wasn’t the  problem, but Consolidator was. She closed fastest, picking off Money Maven by a head while getting the mile-and-a-quarter in 2:29. Cash Me Out faded to third, with Home’n Dry (Matt Kakaley) and Luminosity settling for the remainder. A casualty of the demise of the passing lane was Mostinterestingman, pocketed behind a tiring leader and ending up sixth (sidebar story a bit later). For fourth choice Consolidator, a now-5-year-old daughter of Triumphant Caviar co-owned (as Allard Racing) by (trainer) Rene Allard, Bruce Soulsby, Laura Baker and Alan Weisenberg, the winning ’18 debut pushed her career earnings over $488,000. The exacta paid $79.50, with triple returned $256.50. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, N.Y. – Millionaire trotter Melady’s Monet seeks to start the 2018 season of live harness racing at Yonkers Raceway the way he ended 2017’s, with a win in the featured Open Handicap. After a summer break, Melady’s Monet returned to the races in November and made short work of a pair of $25,000 overnights at Yonkers before finishing third in consecutive Open Handicaps. He captured the final feature of the year December 17 and trainer Kevin McDermott expects the 9-year-old to improve on the Opening Day card January 7. “He’s been ok, he hasn’t been as good as he was last year. He was 100 percent better in his last start,” McDermott said. “He always goes good fresh, a couple weeks off doesn’t hurt him, so actually I think he’ll come in better than his last race.” Despite a limited racing schedule last year than saw him compete from March to July and then again from November through the end of the season, Melady’s Monet still posted seven victories and another five placings, good for $159,600. The homebred gelding’s owners, Luca and Ester Balenzano of Melady Enterprises LLC, only like to see him race about 20 times per year. The Balenzano’s horse-first approach to racing makes training rewarding for McDermott. “When we gave him time off, we just gave him time off. Nothing ever happened to him,” McDermott explained. “He was getting assigned the eight hole in 12-horse fields and they just didn’t want to do that. They’re great owners. They’re so loyal to the horse and they want what’s good for the horse. That’s what you want, you want people that love horses.” McDermott kept Melady’s Monet on schedule during live racing’s holiday hiatus despite the frigid temperatures afflicting the northeast United States. “He doesn’t miss any days, he has to jog or train every day,” he explained. “The weather has been really tough down here lately, but he trained (Wednesday), he trained very good, so I don’t expect him to be short this week.” Although he is a quiet horse in the barn, Melady’s Monet can get hot on the racetrack. Through trial and error, McDermott has tailored the son of Revenue and Keystone Melady’s training regime. “He goes in the field every day before he jogs, even in the snow because he has to get out,” McDermott explained. “We don’t jog him in the jog cart, he ponies all week, tows alongside another horse. That keeps him quiet because he’s a very high-strung horse, so we just try to keep him relaxed. Most of the time at Yonkers, I don’t even warm him up because he gets so wound up before the race. I just let Jason (Bartlett) warm him up in the post parade.” Melady’s Monet will start from an assigned post eight as the 3-1 morning line favorite in Sunday’s $50,000 Open Handicap Trot. Regular reinsman Bartlett will drive. Carded as part of the French simulcast, eight other rivals will contest the 1 ¼-mile feature, including Cash Me Out and Tight Lines. “The eight hole is going to be a tough spot, but we’ll try our hardest,” McDermott said. “You hope Jason can somehow work himself into a four or five hole and perfect scenario come second- or third-up and hope he goes by them. “One thing about Melady’s Monet, he is 100 percent better from behind,” McDermott continued. “When he’s on the lead, he waits on other horses. He loves chasing horses. When he’s first-up, second-up, third-up, when he’s going past other horses late, he’s a lot better that way.” Although Melady’s Monet has never won at the 10-furlong distance in four tries, he has finished second twice, including as the runner-up to Bee A Magician in the $250,000 Invitational Trot on the 2016 International Trot undercard. McDermott thinks the added distance will play to the gelding’s strengths. “I think the more distance the better for that horse because he’s always coming at the wire,” he said. The 2018 season of live racing at Yonkers begins Sunday, January 7 with a first post time of 11:30 a.m. Bettors should note the half-mile racetrack no longer features a passing lane. For entries for Sunday’s races, click here. By Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY

YONKERS, NY, Friday, January 5, 2018—Yonkers Raceway’s 2018 live harness racing season begins Sunday (Jan. 7th), doing so without the passing lane. With approval of the New York State Gaming Commission, track superintendent Ed Ryan and his crew did the job of moving the homestretch pylons back to whence they came many moons ago. “We did this to produce earlier movement and make the races more exciting,” Raceway COO Bob Galterio said. “It should eliminate horses sitting in and change the strategy for both drivers and handicappers.  “This is something our fans have requested, and we appreciate the cooperation of the horsemen and the Gaming Commission in allowing this to happen. We encourage everyone to take a look at our product, and feedback is always welcome.” A reminder that Sunday’s live card begins at 11:30 AM, with Monday (Jan. 8th) ushering in an earlier evening first post of 6:50 PM. That earlier first post goes for all night programs, which in January are Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday. Post times for the remaining Sundays are TBA. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Thursday, January 4, 2018—Yonkers Raceway begins its 238 harness racing program, 2018 live season this Sunday (Jan. 7th) at 11:30 AM, but Monday (Jan. 8th) starts a new evening post time. First nighttime post for the outset of the season shall now be 6:50 PM, 20 minutes earlier than the previous norm. January finds four evenings (Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday) affected by the change, which was approved by the New York State Gaming Commission. Live racing continues Sundays throughout the month, with those remaining post times all TBA.  A couple of other notes… 1-With Aqueduct having cancelled its racing through Sunday (Jan 7th), the first scheduled 2018 installment of the ‘New York, New York Double’ has been nixed. We shall give it a shot a week from Sunday (Jan. 14th), with the comprised races obviously TBA as of now. 2-Yonkers has scrapped its Friday (Jan. 5th) simulcasting, due to any number of weather-related cancellations. Daytime simulcasting is scheduled to resume Saturday (Jan. 6th), with updates as needed.  Note that evening simulcasting returns during Yonkers’ first night program of the season (Monday, Jan. 8th).   Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Wednesday, December 20, 2017—Newly-appointed Yonkers Raceway director of racing Cammie Haughton met with the Raceway’s drivers prior to last Saturday’s (Dec. 16th) harness racing program. The hour-long meeting included many subjects, all designed to improve the product and thus, increase handle. “I spoke with the drivers about making the racing more exciting and competitive,” Haughton said. “More movement and no more holes, which should eliminate slow quarters. That’s the first thing I want to see.” Other areas addressed including having Yonkers’ off times away from other tracks, improving the track’s video and graphics presentation. Also, perhaps changing to staggered starting gate with more of a ‘slant’ than the one currently in use, giving outside-drawing horses a better chance. There are also plans to improve Empire City Bets, the Raceway’s ADW portal.     “Everyone I’ve spoken with is on the same page,” Haughton said. “They understand Yonkers has the best harness product, and they want to put out of the best possible presentation.” The 2018 season, which is scheduled to begin with a Sunday, Jan. 7th matinee (post time TBA, dates pending approval the New York State Gaming Commission), may also find Yonkers doing away with the passing lane (requested and pending NYSGC approval). “The elimination of the passing lane and more aggressive driving are going to make racing better,” Haughton said. “The purse money is too good for the racing not to be contested at the highest level. Management expects it and our fans expect it.” “We appreciate the continued support of our racing patrons, both on- and off-track, and Yonkers welcomes their feedback as we get ready for 2018,” Raceway COO Bob Galterio said.   Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Wednesday, December 20, 2017—The B’s had it in Westchester 2017, with Jason Bartlett and Richard Banca winning Yonkers Raceway’s harness racing driver and trainer titles, respectively. The 235-program season (three postponements), which concluded this past Sunday (Dec. 17th), saw Bartlett roll along to a seventh local title. The 36-year-old Bartlett, originally from Augusta, ME, was both the winningest (542) and busiest (2,635) driver, winning at a 22.9 a percent clip. His $10.4 million in purses also led the list. Jordan Stratton ascended to second with 378 wins and $8.3 million in purses, with the top five win list completed by George Brennan (327), Brent Holland (214) and Dan Dube (182). Banca, a 42-year-old native of Paterson, NJ, sent out 187 winners, 36 more last season’s leading trainer, Rene Allard. Banca also led with 986 starters (19 percent winning percentage) and purses ($4.01 million). Scott DiDomenico (117 wins), Ron Burke (109) and Gilberto Garcia-Herrera (87) completed the first quintet among wins.   The Raceway’s 2018 season is set to begin with a Sunday (Jan. 7th) matinee (post time TBA). A complete schedule accompanies this release, with all dates pending approval of the New York State Gaming Commission. Frank Drucker, Yonkers Raceway Publicity Director

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, December 17, 2017—Yonkers Raceway concluded its 2017 harness racing season Sunday   (Dec. 17th), with Melady’s Monet (Jason Bartlett, $16.60) winning a certifiably-strange $40,000 Open Handicap Trot. The happy half-dozen went as the late-morning opener, which may have proven a bit too early for the two favorites. It was Gural Hanover (George Brennan), as the 4-5 choice, breaking in the first turn, Meanwhile, 9-5 second choice Smalltownthrowdown (Yannick Gingras), after assuming a quick open-length lead, jumped it off down the backside.  That left B Yoyo (Joe Bongiorno) as the default leader, with Tight Lines (Jeff Gregory) pocketed and slow-starting polester Muscles on Fire (Brent Holland) third. After early intervals of :29.1 of :59.2, Melady’s Monet took out of fifth. That one, who had disappointed as the people’s preference the past two starts, advanced toward the leader at the 1:28.1 three-quarters. Melady’s Monet took over early in the lane, getting just enough of a ‘running start’ before Tight Lines found the passing lane. The latter beat the former by a neck in 1:56.4. Gural Hanover, recovering to race second-over,  wound up third, with B Yoyo and Muscles on Fire settling for the minors.   For third choice Melady’s Monet, an 8-year-old Revenue S gelding owned by Melady Enterprises and trained by Kevin McDermott, it was his seventh win in 17 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $109, with the triple returning $388.50. Sunday’s ‘New York, New York Double’ saw a combination of 5-Storm Prophet (Aqueduct’s 3rd race) and 4-Cash Me Out (Yonkers’ 6th race), the pair of favorites returning $8.30 for every correct dollar ticket. Total pool was $5,709.  The mandatory Pick 5 payout took in the last five races of the 11-race card, with a winning combination of 2/6/8/3/5 paying $337.75 for the requisite 50-cent wager. Total pool was $3,855. The Raceway’s 2018 season is scheduled to begin Sunday, Jan. 7th, the way it ended, with a ‘French’ matinee. Post time is TBA, with all ’18 dates pending approval of the New York State Gaming Commission.    Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, December 16, 2017—Gokudo Hanover (Matt Kakaley, $9.80) inherited the pocket, then inhaled the leader Saturday night (Dec. 16th), winning Yonkers Raceway’s last-of-the-harness racing season $40,000 Open Handicap Pace. Sitting chilly early from an assigned post position No. 2, Gokudo Hanover watched from third as Bakersfield (Greg Merton) made the first lead. That one gave it up to Thisjetsabookin’ (Jordan Stratton) before a snappy :26.4 opening quarter-mile. Thisjetsabookin’ then hung Caviart Luca (George Brennan) for the holidays, prompting a :55.1 intermission. Shane Adam (Jason Bartlett) moved off the cones from fifth, going around a fading Caviart Luca and taking his shot at the lead in and out of a 1:23.4 three-quarters. Bakersfield, surmising the leader was done, extricated himself off the cones to get behind Shane Adam. Wrong move, as Gokudo Hanover took this vacated space. A resurgent Thisjetsabookin’ retained his stubborn lead off the final turn, but was about to get swallowed up by a pair to his inside. Gokudo Hanover rolled by, as did Killer Martini (Brent Holland), the latter whipping the former by a couple of lengths in 1:52.4. Thisjetsabookin’, Shane Adam and a belated 5-2 choice The Real One (Pat Lachance) picked off the minor awards. For third choice Gokudo Hanover, a 5-year-old Cam’s Card Shark gelding co-owned by James Craparotta, Pat Berry Racing & Triple D Stables and trained by Scott DiDomenico, it was his 10th win in 34 seasonal starts (four wins, a second and a third in last six tries). The inside-number exacta paid $80.50, with the triple returning $294. The Raceway’s 2017 season concludes late Sunday morning (Dec. 17th), with first post at 11:30 AM. The 11-race card features seven ‘French’ trots (races 5 through 11), the ‘New York, New York Double’ (Aqueduct’s 3rd race, Yonkers’ 6th race) and a mandatory Pick 5 payout (50-cent base wager, races 7 through 11). Frank Drucker

ALBANY - The owners of Yonkers Raceway are considering various options as they look to develop the 100-acre site that's home to Empire City Casino — including possibly moving the 118-year-old harness racing track to another location. In recent months, there has been increased discussions about moving the harness track to Belmont Park on Long Island as part of a plan to eliminate horse racing at Yonkers and Aqueduct in Queens as a way for more amenities tied to their casino operations. "We have discussed it at some length, and we’re actually advocating such a maneuver because it would free up the land for Yonkers. It would free up Aqueduct for a convention center that the governor has been advocating for for some time," said Joe Faraldo, president of the state's Standardbred Owners Association, which represents the harness horsemen at Yonkers. "Both of these properties would be shovel ready for expansion, and our concept was that the revenue stream that comes from the casinos that go to racing would follow us over to Belmont Park." Yonkers Raceway eyes adding to casino, track How VLTs saved NY horse racing Racinos seek better tax deals from NY   Options underway The talks coincide with Yonkers Raceway's announcement last month that it hired J.P. Morgan Securities to explore ways to bolster the sprawling property, possibly either with new investors or a sale by the Rooney family, which has owned the facility since 1972. The discussions also come amid a turbulent time in the Northeast gambling market -- with the possibility of casinos in northern New Jersey always looming and with the state's plans to offer three downstate casino licenses as soon as 2021. Empire City runs a massive video-lottery terminal facility with 5,222 machines and is the largest private employer and taxpayer in the city. It is an enticing spot, just 15 miles from midtown Manhattan. Tim Rooney Jr., general counsel at Empire City, told the USA Today Network's Albany Bureau that any number of options will be considered -- though he would expect the casino operation to continue under any expansion or partnership. "Their role is to evaluate the interest from outside in the property and in the business," Rooney said of J.P. Morgan. "We, over the years, have fielded interest from numerous parties about the property and the business, and this is just an effort on our part to formalize the process. We’ve told them: Their instructions are to see what the interest is in our site." Rooney recognized that moving the track for other development is a possibility. The grand vision for the property could include a hotel, parking garage, more restaurants and event space -- and even a sports franchise. Rooney didn't mention the Belmont talks, but said, "We’ve been kicking around the notion of maintaining the racing, but seeking approval to offer it somewhere else. And this is all very preliminary, and we haven’t gotten beyond the drawing board phase with this, but conceivably you could move racing to another site in the state." He added, "The vast majority of people watching and betting on the races here are doing so via the internet or OTBs or off track. As long as you have a facility where you can race and you can broadcast the signal, conceivably you could do it anywhere." Resolve, at left, driven by Ake Svanstedt. , won the 2016 $1,000,000 International Trot at Yonkers Raceway Oct. 15, 2016. (Photo: Seth Harrison/The Journal News)   Track move The idea of putting harness and thoroughbred racing at Belmont -- something that is done at some tracks around the globe -- also comes as the state is considering competitive proposals from the New York Islanders hockey team and New York City FC soccer team to make Belmont Park in Elmont, Nassau County, their future home. Faraldo said moving Yonkers racing to Belmont, which along with Aqueduct is owned by the New York Racing Association, could help bolster the redevelopment at Belmont. Resorts Worlds, owned by the gambling giant Genting based in Malaysia, runs the huge racino at Aqueduct in Queens and could be interested in buying the track land if racing ended there to expand its gambling operation, Faraldo suggested. Indeed, Resorts World and Gov. Andrew Cuomo once had a grand plan for a $4 billion convention center at the property, but the deal fell apart. Both Resorts World and Yonkers would still provide their share of gaming revenue to the track operations if the tracks moved, said Faraldo, who said he has talked to state officials about the idea. Also, Yonkers would have a more lucrative one-mile track inside the main track at Belmont instead of its current half-mile track, which would boost racing, Faraldo said. Already, horses ship in and out of Yonkers between races rather being housed there. So it would be the same at Belmont, he said. "We would hope that Genting would be interested in purchasing that extra property to make this grand thing work," Faraldo said. "That would put money in the coffers of the state, and it would also, as we see it, help refurbish and build the additional facility expansion that is needed at Belmont’s main track."  (Photo: Mark Vergari/The Journal News)   Genting declined to discuss any private discussions, but noted that it is planning to expand its operation. Both Resorts World and Yonkers are hopeful to get full gaming licenses when a moratorium on the licenses expires in 2021 -- a move that the Legislature made in 2013 to let four upstate casinos gain their footing before New York City-area casinos are brought on board. “Genting has always looked at the current Resorts World NYC facility as just the first phase of a multi-faceted, integrated resort destination," Michael Levoff, a spokesman for Genting Americas, said in a statement. "That vision is now slowly taking shape with the start of construction on a 400-room hotel and additional non-gaming amenities -- with hopefully more to follow in the future as the market demands.” Lee Park, a spokesman for the state Gaming Commission, said the agency had "no position on the matter." NYRA, meanwhile, suggested it wasn't interested in a new racing partner, saying it supports 17,000 jobs and has $2 billion in annual economic impact in part through its year-round stables and training at Belmont. "We are focused on ways to enhance and improve our thoroughbred racing and training facilities, not replace them," NYRA said in a statement. Help from Albany Not having horse racing on site at the state's eight video-lottery facilities would be a major shift from the state's initial objective in 2001 to save horse racing by letting the tracks add the slot-machine-like devices. The law, passed in the wake of the 9/11 attacks to boost state revenue, allowed for VLTs only at racetracks -- and it worked. The New York purses -- the amount paid out to winners in the races -- are among the highest in the nation, and revenue at the so-called racinos has soared. So whether state lawmakers would let the racinos operate without racetracks on the premises is uncertain. And they would clearly have to pass a new law for any of these ideas to move forward. Assembly Racing Committee chairman Gary Pretlow, D-Mount Vernon, said he was unaware that Yonkers may consider moving the track, and he questioned whether it would gain support in Albany. "The VLTs and the track go together," Pretlow said. "So that I don’t know about. I don’t think that would work." Yonkers has had mixed results at the state Capitol in recent years. It avoided having the state picking a new casino in Orange County, which would have been a direct competitor, and instead the state choose Sullivan County farther north. The track, though, has been unable to get tax parity with Resorts World for capital improvements, which has slowed its plans to build a hotel and parking garage. Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano raised concerns about moving the track, saying it is part of the city's history. "I certainly don’t want to see the track go anywhere. I think the track is a very important part of the fabric of our city," Spano said. But he recognized the Rooneys have long sought to keep the facility alive. "I think that if Yonkers Raceway is hopefully able to develop a partnership or a sale that it is done with an eye toward expanding and putting in place full gaming, which I think has limitless possibilities for the city – in terms of tax dollars, thousands of new jobs, a convention center, a hotel. That’s what comes with full gaming," Spano said. The Empire City Casino in Yonkers. (Photo: Ricky Flores/The Journal News)   The future ahead The track, which first opened in 1899, has had a tumultuous history: Attendance would sometimes hit 40,000 people in the grandstand in racing's heyday 60 or 70 years ago. But as interest in the sport waned, so do did the fortunes at Yonkers. The Rooneys put it up for sale in the late 1990s -- and there was a glimmer of hope that once it could lure the New York Jets or another sports franchise to build a new stadium there. The law to allow for video-lottery terminals transformed the facility. Last year, it had revenue of $590 million, a 6 percent increase from the previous year. Rooney said the family-owned track now sees a next phase for the track and casino. He said the state might be interested in moving if the roughly 15-acre track if it means growth at the Yonkers site because the state gets a cut of the racino's revenue. "We would need legislation, but I don’t think it would be controversial," Rooney said. "I think we could get the support of the horsemen, and I think the state is basically our partner in this facility with the taxes that we pay, so I think the state would look at it as an opportunity for us to do something at the property that would likely make it a more attractive site for people to come and visit and perhaps gamble here." But ultimately, the owners are looking to pair up with a major developer who has a vision -- and a bankroll -- for the site. As for possibly selling the whole property, Rooney said, "We’re not looking at it exclusively that way. I mean I think that it could be a possibility. "We’ve been here for 45 years, and we’re a big believer in this facility and we’re not looking to get out, but I guess we’re going to have to wait and see what people’s interest is in terms of if they want to partner, or if they want to go their own." By Joseph Spector, Albany Bureau Chief Reprinted with permission of the Iohud site

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

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

YONKERS, NY, Monday, December 4, 2017— When five wagering harness racing favorites in a Pick 5 sequence all go down, one of two things happen… It’s going to carry over, or It’s going to pay very well. It was the latter for one lucky bettor, taking down a five-figure Yonkers Raceway payday Monday night (Dec. 4th). Buoyed by a carryover of a bit more than $2,000, there was just over $11,000 of fresh money sent through the windows. Thus, after new-coin takeout, the races 7 through 11 winning combination of 2 - Bold and Brassy (Jordan Stratton, $5.60) 2 - Twin B Speedo (Stratton, $23.60) 4 - Warrawee Sunshine (Brian Sears, $5.10)   3 - Lindythefourteenth (Jason Bartlett, $20.20) 6 - Hail Damage Blues (Bartlett, $24) returned $10,341.25 for that lone correct half-a-buck wager. Ironically, in the last leg, 13-10 choice Juxta Cowgirl (Dan Dube) was snapped at the wire. Had she won, it would have resulted in a double carryover, though we’re guessing the lady/gentleman who cashed would not have seen the irony.   Frank Drucker

Australian Pacing Gold purchase Mackenzie was too strong when first-up at Yonkers Raceway during the weekend. Given time to settle early, mare was sent forward by harness racing driver Jordan Stratton, who was prepared to pressure the leader, Call Me Queen Be, from the breeze. Forging her way to the front halfway along the home stretch, Mackenzie scored from Best Of Jenna and All About Madi. The daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven stopped the clock in 1:54 to register her 13th win of the season. Last April the Peter Tritton trained five-year-old captured the $310,000 Matchmaker Final. Mackenzie is a daughter of former star mare Kept For Pleasure, which was triumphant in the 2007 Australian Pacing Gold. Kept For Pleasure also won the 2008 Three-Year-Old APG Final. Boasting three winners from four starters, Kept For Pleasure is also the dam of multiple Group One winner and APG graduate, Vincent. APG Media  

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