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YONKERS, NY, Friday, August 3, 2018--Yonkers Raceway's Sunday matinee this weekend (Aug.5th) shall again offer a first post of 12:30 PM. Races 1 through 6 and 8 through 10 go as those overflow-field, mile-and-a-quarter 'French' trots. Post times for the program are as such... 1st - 12:30 PM 2nd - 1 PM 3rd - 1:30 PM 4th - 2 PM 5th - 2:28 PM 6th - 3:02 PM 7th - 3:25 PM (not a 'French' race) 8th - 3:50 PM 9th - 4:20 PM 10th - 4:52 PM (final race of day) Sunday's 'New York, New York Double' consists of the opener from Saratoga (post time 1 PM) and the third race from Yonkers (post time 1:30 PM). Program pages accompany this release. After this weekend, the next Sunday matinee is August 12th (post time TBA). by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, N.Y. – Paul Kelley will send out the favorite Akhenaton in the second division of the French American Trotting Club first leg Sunday afternoon at Yonkers. The 8-year-old drew post three off a convincing win at Saratoga July 25, making him the 5-2 choice in $35,000 split. Kelley’s stable was well prepared to accept Akhenaton in June. Several of Kelley’s staff and assistants previously worked in Sweden and France and knew what to expect from the French-bred and raced gelding. Kelley also consulted with Alexandre Dessartre, a monte rider in France who worked with Kelley earlier this year before shifting his tack to thoroughbred trainer Jeremiah Englehart’s barn.  “Something that helps me, I have some Scandinavians that work in my stable that have spent time in France racing over there,” Kelley said. “For a while, I had a guy named Alexandre Dessartre. He was able to give us a little insight into what to expect in these French horses in terms of temperament and things like that.” Despite all the homework and foreign influence in Kelley’s stable, when Akhenaton arrived, Kelley found him to be straightforward. Soon, the son of Nice Love out of the Corot mare Iena de Mosta settled into his new home in Kelley’s Vernon Downs barn. “We turn horses out a lot. He’s got a paddock buddy, he’s got a horse he goes out with, so he’s happy about that,” Kelley said. “He’s really made a real easy transition. His appetite’s been great. If you didn’t know he was from France, you might think he just came over from New Jersey or Pennsylvania or something.” Although Akhenaton is new to the American style of racing and training, he has plenty of experience racing in France. He won five races and placed in 13 others from 62 foreign starts, earning 96,300€ in the stable of Colette Chassagne. Forty-eight of his starts, and all of his wins, came in monte, or under saddle, races. “The horses that we’re dealing with now coming from France, they’ve been around a little bit. From my perspective, it’s about trying to figure out what makes that horse happy, find that common ground where we can have the horse so he steers right, he’s comfortable to drive, but at the same time, the horse himself is also comfortable with the equipment that you’re put on him,” Kelley said. “You just have to find that common ground. He’s been racing monte and he’s been pulling a sulky. I don’t believe I can really teach him any new speed, it’s more about finding a happy accord between the two of us and hope by doing that, we can bring out the best in him.” Akhenaton made his debut for Kelley in a qualifier at Vernon Downs July 13. With his trainer in the sulky, Akhenaton took his place behind the starting gate, but soon after the wings folded, the trotter made a break in stride. Far behind the field, he broke again late in the mile and failed to qualify. Kelley made minor adjustments to get the trotter back on track for the start of the series. “I trained him a couple times prior to that unchecked; no overcheck, let him go with his head low and I thought he was really good gaited and pretty comfortable,” Kelley said. “When I qualified him the first time at Vernon, I did have an overcheck on him, but it was flopping pretty good, I let him go with a real low head. He was really good behind the gate, but when the gate released, he took about three steps off the car and he just dropped his head and went into a break. “I knew then that he needed something, that the overcheck was too long because he was a very good-gaited horse, I didn’t think there was any kind of gait issues to be concerned with, just a matter of getting his bridle right,” the trainer continued. “The first qualifier was a little disheartening, but we kind of figured that it was easily rectified because he didn’t seem like a tricky horse at all.” Kelley qualified Akhenaton at Vernon Downs seven days later. With assistant trainer Rene Sejthen in the bike and with his new overcheck in place, Akhenaton completed the mile in 1:57.2 and posted a final quarter of :28.  Convinced the trotter was ready to race, Kelley entered him in a $7,250 overnight at Saratoga July 25. The start would be a test of how well Akhenaton could handle the half-mile racetrack he’ll face at Yonkers. In addition, the Saratoga start meant Kelley could name Wally Hennessey to drive. Kelley craved the Hall of Fame driver’s wisdom. “When you can take a horse to Saratoga and have someone like Wally Hennessey take them, you’re going to learn a lot more because you’re going to get great feedback from Wally,” Kelley said. “There’s not too many guys in the business that can sit behind a horse and give you the real insight you might need to let you know that you’re on the right track.” Bet down to the race’s 7-5 favorite, Hennessey put Akhenaton in the race. He cleared the lead past the opening quarter and extended his advantage to 3 ¼ at the end of the mile, earning his first win in a sulky in 1:57.2. Although Hennessey was pleased overall, the 61-year-old offered plenty of advice to Kelley. Akhenaton drives on the left line, meaning he has a propensity to bear out the whole mile. While Kelley believes this is preferable to a horse who bears in, which makes it harder for the driver to negotiate the horse and to get him out and around the horses that he’s following. Kelley raced Akhenaton with a line pole and Murphy blind to try to keep the trotter straight. Hennessey felt the line pole was enough. “A line pole isn’t very restrictive at all. It allows a horse to still kind of cock his head into that line pole a little bit, but there’s enough there to keep him a little honest so he doesn’t get too crooked,” Kelley said. “Wally thought once the horse trotted off the car, the horse straightened up naturally on his own and he thought the line pole would be enough. With the Murphy blind, he can hear the competition coming, but he can’t really see it. Sometimes, the horses can relax a little more when they can see what’s going on. Wally just thought take the Murphy blind off and he’ll be nice and straight without it.” Hennessey also recommended that Kelley remove Akhenaton’s knee boots. Although knee boots help protect a horse’s legs during a race, they also make the leg thicker and can make it easier for a horse to grab himself, Kelley explains. As Akhenaton also wears wraps, Hennessey felt the boots weren’t needed. “Not that he couldn’t maybe touch a knee, but sometimes the knee boots stick out just enough where they can kind of trip a horse up, too,” Kelley said. “Even though you’re putting them on for protective purposes, they stick out just enough where a horse might touch it and it upsets his gait a little bit. Wally is a big proponent of trying to go with as little equipment as possible, which is something I like.” Off his successful U.S. debut and with the equipment changes made, Akhenaton will take on eight French-bred rivals in his division of the French American Trotting Club first leg in race three Sunday afternoon. Mark MacDonald will drive in the 10-furlong race. Ursis Des Caillons will start from post six for Jenn and Joe Bongiorno off two impressive qualifiers; he won a 1 1/4-mile trial in 2:30.4 at Yonkers July 13 and qualified again at the Meadowlands July 21, finishing second to Hambletonian entrant Fourth Dimension. He was individually timed in 1:53 with a :26.4 final quarter. Very Very Fast drew just inside Akhenaton for Bob Bresnahan and enters of a 2:29.4 qualifying win going 10 furlongs at Yonkers July 13. Ray Schnittker’s Aladin Du Dollar finished second in two qualifiers at Yonkers July 7 and July 20 and drew post one. Chaperon Felin, Vas Y Seul, Verdi D Em, Bamako Du Bocage, and Undici complete the field. Sunday’s card also features a $54,800 Open Handicap Trot in the first race and another division of the French American Trotting Club in race two. First post time for the all-trot card is 12:30 p.m. For entries to the races, click here. The second and third legs of the French American Trotting Club series will be held August 19 and 26, respectively and the $100,000 final is set for September 2. For more information, click here. by Brandon Valvo, for the SOA of NY

YONKERS, NY, Wednesday, August 1, 2018-Yonkers Raceway's all-trot Sunday (Aug. 5th) matinee features a $54,800 Open Handicap Trot and the beginning of the French-American Trotting Club Series. Post time for the 10-race card is 12:30 PM, with all races-save for the seventh-of the 'French' theme, as in overflow fields at the mile-and-a-quarter distance. The weekly trotting feature begins the program, with lass NF Happenstance (Jack Parker Jr., post 5) with as much of a resume as any of her rivals. The 8-year-old S J's Caviar ma'am couldn't hack a second move in her last outing, but otherwise has been a cash cow ($169,225) this season. NF Happenstance, owned by James Moore and trained by Carol-Jamieson-Parker, has eight wins and a half-dozen seconds in 18 '18 tries. She's doing her damage by adroitly leaving the gate, thus won't be hard to find early here. Newly-minted millionaire Dewycolorintheline (Mark MacDonald, post 2) returns to the big table in search of a third consecutive win, while The Last Chapter (Brent Holland, post 3) and Fashion Creditor (Andy Miller, post 4) also whipped lessers in their last tries. Cash Me Out (Jim Marohn Jr., post 1) is just 2-for-20 this season, but threw in six seconds and five thirds, while Mostinterestingman (Jordan Stratton, post 6) was a two-move second in last weekend's trotting feature. Races 2 and 3 comprise the first of three preliminary rounds in the French-American Trotting Club Series, restricted to those French-breds were vetted overseas, then purchased by 'local' interests. Of the 19 horses entered in the two races, 11 have made purse starts since arriving, with five winning at least once. Each of the prelim races (second round is Aug. 19th, third is Aug. 26th) goes for $35,000, with a $120,000 final set for Sunday, Sept. 2nd. Note this Sunday's 'New York, New York Double' consists of Saratoga's first race (post time 1 PM) and the third from Yonkers (post time 1:30 PM). Program pages shall be sent when available. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Monday, July 30, 2018 -- In conjunction with the opening round of Yonkers Raceway's inaugural harness racing French-American Trotting Club Series, the Empire Terrace shall be open for brunch buffet this Sunday (Aug. 5th). The Terrace opens at 11:30 AM in advance of that afternoon's first post of 12:30 PM. The Raceway's French guests, as well as horsemen, owners and fans, can watch the races while enjoying 'themed' delicacies including French toast (what else?), Coq au Vin, Ratatouille, Enchaud Perigourdin pork loins, pasta with lobster meat in a cream sauce, an omelette station and other selections. The cost for the buffet is $24.95 per person (plus tax and gratuities), though there is no charge for participants in the French-American Trotting Club races, courtesy of the Standardbred Owners Association of New York. For reservations, please call (914) 457-2457. Please note that Trotting Club members are also requested to use the number to make their reservations. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Monday, July 29, 2018--One odds-on choice sizzled and one odds-on choice fizzled Monday night (July 30th) during Yonkers Raceway's $172,000 New York Sire Stakes Bruce Hamilton Pace for 3-year-old colts and geldings. The event once again honored the memory one of the state's true get-it-done gentlemen, whose contributions to the industry were way too numerous to mention here. The Monday sizzling was done by Springsteen (Dave Miller, $2.50), who sat a loose, second-over trip before closing ranks and powering away in the $85,250 first division. Away fourth from post position No. 2, Springsteen saw revved up polester Lyons Steel (Scott Zeron) set early fractions of :26.4 and :55.1. Topville Olympian (Brian Sears) then made his second move, prompted in and out of a 1:23.1 three quarters. Meanwhile, Springsteen was meandering behind Topville Olympian, taking his time to tag him before going wide in the final turn. He did take over, opening a length in and out of the final turn before widening to 2¾ lengths at the spiffy 1:51.1 wire. Rootin' Tootin' (Mark MacDonald) was behind the winner and chased him home, with Topville Olympian, Twin B Tuffenuff (George Brennan) and Lyons Steel coming away with the minors. For Springsteen, a Hempt-winning son of Rock N Roll Heaven co-owned (as Allard Racing) by (trainer) Rene Allard, Bruce Soulsby, Alan Weisenberg and Kapildeo Singh, it was his third win in seven seasonal starts. The exacta paid $10.20, the triple returned $19.80 and the superfecta paid $69. "He's at his best in the back end of the race," Miller said. "I really thought they'd go (fractions of) :27 and :57, so when saw the first half, I figured we were in good shape. "I'm just the passenger when he's as good as he was tonight." Monday night's second ($86,750) and final division, alas, didn't charm the chalk players. Art Rooney Pace winner Trump Nation (Jason Bartlett), at 35-cent-on-the-dollar this evening, was ground into in last among the octet. Sitting third early behind My Delight (Brent Holland) and Ghost Dance (Zeron), Trump Nation moved to the lead between a :27.4 opening quarter-mile and :56.3 intermission. That didn't impress Ghost Dance, who took out of third to go after the people's preference. Pole-sitting Heavenly Sound (Jim Marohn Jr.) was able to work from second-over. Ghost Dance draw even at the 1:24.1 three-quarters, sticking his nose out entering the lane. Meanwhile, that duel just empowered Heavenly Sound ($14.80), who whipped a third-over Ostro Hanover (Miller) by a length in 1:52.4. My Delight crossed the line third, but was set down to fifth for lane interference. That lifted Stendahl Hanover (Marcus Miller) and Rockapelo (Sears) to third and fourth, respectively. For third choice Heavenly Sound, a Rock N Roll Heaven colt owned by M&M Harness Racing and trained by Bruce Saunders, it was his fifth win in 15 '18 tries. The exacta paid $92, the triple returned $970 and the superfecta paid $5,380. "He negotiated the turns better here than his last start (Saratoga)," Saunders said. "We made a few equipment changes and the trip certainly didn't hurt." Bruce Hamilton's brothers, Scott (with daughter Faith) and Keith, joined in the winner's circle presentations. New York Sire Stakes continue here Tuesday night (Aug. 7th), with the Mike Cipriani Trot (3-year-old fillies). by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway  

YONKERS, NY, Monday, July 30, 2018-Yonkers Raceway's Sunday matinee this weekend (Aug.5th) shall again offer a first post of 12:30 PM. Races 1 through 9 go as those overflow-field, mile-and-a-quarter 'French' trots, with the final post time as a TBA until the card is drawn Tuesday (July 31st). Post times for the 'French' races are as such... 1st - 12:30 PM 2nd - 1 PM 3rd - 1:30 PM 4th - 2 PM 5th - 2:28 PM 6th - 3:02 PM 7th - 3:50 PM 8th - 4:20 PM 9th - 4:52 PM Sunday's 'New York, New York Double' races (one from Saratoga, one from Yonkers) are also TBA as of this writing. Updates provided when available. After this weekend, the next Sunday matinee is August 12th (post time...TBA). by Frank Druker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, July 29, 2018-Lass Rose Run Sydney (Brian Sears, $6.10) beat the boys (and one other girl), then made 'em cry Sunday afternoon (July 29th), winning Yonkers Raceway's featured $44,000 Open Handicap Trot. The weekly trotting feature was a flat-mile event, contested a handful of races after the day's four, mile-and-a-quarter, bigger-field 'French' forays. Away fourth from assigned post position No. 5, Rose Run Sydney saw eight-baller In Secret (George Brennan) eschew a three-hole. That one made the lead around 17-10 favorite Mostinterestingman (Jordan Stratton) after a :27.2 opening quarter-mile. It was a :56.4 intermission before 'Sydney' was and out and moving in the third turn. She engaged In Secret in an out of the 1:25.1 three-quarters, disposing of that one soon thereafter. The lass opened a 2½-length lead in the lane, then whipped a pocket-extricating Mostinterestingman by three-quarters of a length in 1:54.2...a tick off her season and life-best effort. In Secret was a stubborn third, with Madhatter Bluechip (Brent Holland) and the other lady, Weslynn Dancer (Jason Bartlett), coming away with the remainder. It was one of Sears' four wins during the dozen-race card. For second choice Rose Run Sydney, a 4-year-old daughter of Triumphant Caviar co-owned by Steve Carter, Adam Friedland and RBR Racing and trained by Scott DiDomenico, it was his fourth win in 13 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $17.40, the triple returned $70 and the superfecta paid $168. Sunday's go-round of the 'New York, New York Double' featured a winning combination of 7-Glossy (Saratoga's 3rd race) and 4-Casa Palmera (Yonkers' 5th race), returning $7.60 for every correct $1 ticket. Total pool was $4,970. The next Sunday matinee is Aug. 5th (post time TBA). by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, July 28, 2018--Yonkers Raceway Monday night (July 30th) hosts the $172,000 New York Sire Stakes Bruce Hamilton Pace for 3-year-old harness racing colts and geldings. Post time for the dozen-race card is 6:50 PM, with the sire stakes event going as races 7 (purse $85,250) and 8 (purse $86,750), respectively. The event again honors the memory of one of the true movers and shakers (not to mention a damn fine fellow) in the state's harness program. The opening event for the big boys offers some solid resumes, the haughtiest of which belongs to Springsteen (Dave Miller, post 2). The season has been highlighted by a win in the half-million-dollar final of Pocono's Max Hempt Memorial (life-best 1:48.3). He hits town, though, after faltering first-up in the his elim of the Adios. The son of Rock N Roll Heaven, co-owned (as Allard Racing) by (trainer) Rene Allard, Bruce Soulsby, Alan Weisenberg and Kapildeo Singh. has two wins in six starts ($286,500). Rootin' Tootin' (Mark MacDonald, post 6) has plied his craft versus statebreds, with sire stakes wins at Saratoga (life-best 1:52.1). The Roll with Joe colt is co-owned by (trainer) Blake MacIntosh, Stuart McIntosh, Robert MacNeil and Fred Brayford. Topville Olympian (Brian Sears, post 5) and Twin B Tuffenuff (George Brennan, post 7) have both been bridesmaids in their last two statebred sojourns. Monday night's second and final division finds the return of Art Rooney Pace winner Trump Nation (Jason Bartlett, post 2). The son of Betterthancheddar, who wired that $300,000 event in a life-best 1:51.3, comes back after sire stakes wins at Buffalo and Saratoga. For the season, he's 5-for-8 with $238,896 in the till for co-owners Evan Katz and Crawford Racing. My Delight (Brent Holland, post 5) authored a 34-1 upset in a $23,066 division of the Reynolds here in mid-May, then won (at 14-1) a sire stakes event at Vernon (life-best 1:49.4). Ostro Hanover (Miller, post 7) tries it after a 10-1 statebred win at Saratoga. Rockapelo (Sears, post 8) has hit the board in six of his eight '18 tries, including a win (life-best 1:50.2) in his $24,000 division of Tioga's Geers. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, July 28, 2018 - "Everywhere I drive people say to me, 'This is my favorite horse.' " Such was Jordan Stratton's post-race assessment after slight choice Bit of Legend N ($7) went last-to-first Saturday night (July 28th), winning Yonkers Raceway's featured $44,00 Open Handicap Pace. Unsurprisingly away last from his eight-hole confinement, Bit of a Legend N watched the sort of scrum he needed develop. Caviart Luca (George Brennan) made the first lead, looping Americanprimetime (Greg Merton). The latter then made the lead right at a :26.2 opening quarter-mile, then found a :55.1 intermission. Doctor Butch (Jason Bartlett) was situated third, while Barimah A (Brent Holland) moved first-up from fourth. Givenupdreaming (Eric Goodell) chased from second-over, with Robbie Burns N (Joe Bongiorno) behind that one and Bit of a Legend N working from fourth-over. The octet tightened up in and out of a 1:23.3 three-quarters, with Robbie Burns N wide and Bit of a Legend N widest. Americanprimetime owned a length lead into the lane, but company was coming. Robbie Burns N disposed of Americanprimetime, but Bit of a Legend N dispatched all of 'em. He whipped 'Robbie' by a widening length-and-a-quarter in 1:51.4. Americanprimetime held third, with a rallying Capozzo (Mark MacDonald) and Caviart Luca settling for the minors. For Bit of a Legend N, a 9-year-old double-millionaire Down Under son of Bettor's Delight owned by Von Knoblauch Stable and trained by Peter Tritton, it was his fourth win (45th career) in 13 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $53.50, the triple returned $258.50 and the superfecta paid $2,254. Sunday afternoon's (July 29th) first post is 12:30 PM, with four 'French' trots beginning the dozen-race card. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

Yonkers, NY--"Smokin' Joe" Faraldo is a happy man. And why shouldn't he be? After all, the Queens, NY attorney just won the $15,000 CKG Billings Eastern Region Mid-Season Final tonight (July 28)at Yonkers Raceway when he guided Tough Get Going to a gate-to-wire triumph in a 1:58.4 clocking. "A win tonight and a catch drive on Thursday at Monticello (Raceway) where I finished second, heck, things are really looking up," chuckled the Queens, NY attorney who has been a premier supporter of amateur racing since its resurgence in the early 1980's. Faraldo, a Billings member from its inception and founder of the North American Amateur Drivers Association, is getting to show that he really knows his way around the racetrack. It's true, he was the National Amateur Driver of the Year in 2000 and a winner of 144 pari-mutuel races (2 this year in Europe, also), but the move he put on Wygant Prince's and "Coach Paul" Minore tonight which kept them locked-in until mid-stretch was almost professional and saved the victory for Tough Get Going. "We were on the engine all the way and Paul had Wygant Prnce on my back from the start," Faraldo said. "When we rounded the final turn Annie ("Get Your Gun"Stoebe--with Uriel) was on the outside and I kept backing into her trying to keep Paul's horse from seeing daylight. But finally, in mid-stretch, Wygant Prince shook loose and came charging but my horse hung tough and we won it by neck." Winwood Scout garnered the show dough for David "Poppa" Glasser in the non-wagering contest Faraldo co-owns the Tough Get Going with the horse's trainer, Richie Banca. Meanwhile, later in the evening at Northfield Park in Ohio, a 9-horse field in the mid-west region of the Billings Series went to post and when the judges hung the official sign the odds-on favorite Utopia and driver Steve Oldford rallied late to overtake the pacesetter, Winback Charles M ("Lawbook Larry" Farley) and go on to a 1-1/2 length victory in a 1:57 clocking. In that contest Farley sent Winback Chales M to the lead from the pole position and they rumbled by the first quarter in 28 seconds flat and were still two lengths to the good as they passed the halfway point in :57.2. At that point Oldford got Utopia in high gear and with a three-deep move up the backside they were two lengths off Winback Charles M as the field passed the third stanza in 1:27.2. As they rounded the final turn Farley's trotter braced for Oldford's charge but Utopia was too much to contend with and he went on to victory. Winback Charkes M held on for second money while Michelle"the Belle" Ruvola finished third with Better Call Saul. Unlike the Yonkers Billings the Northfield Park Billings was a wagering affair and Utopia paid $2.60 for win. The 7-year-old Mutineer gelding is owned by Oldford Racing LLC and trained by Terry Deters. For Oldford it was his 5th seasonal driving victory and 135th of his amateur career. by John Manzi, for the CKG Billings Series    

YONKERS, N.Y. – Deo already has one win under his belt since arriving in the United States as part of the Standardbred Owners Association of New York’s French American Trotting Club. Sunday afternoon, the trotter will seek a second local score for trainer Scott Di Domenico ahead of the series first leg August 5. Deo announced his presence with a victory in a $13,000 overnight for non-winners of two races lifetime July 20. With George Brennan in the sulky, Deo came away evenly from the gate and settled into sixth racing 10 lengths off the lead. Brennan angled the son of Repeat Love off the pylons with five-eighths to trot and picked up the race’s 4-5 favorite Grammy Winner.  With the whip on his tail and with his nose to the helmet of Grammy Winner’s driver Tyler Buter, Deo advanced to just 3 lengths from the lead with a quarter-mile to race. Brennan tipped three-wide around the final turn and with the lines in his lap and Deo under a hold, the trotter breezed by his rivals. In the final strides, Deo extended, streaking away from the field to win by 3 ¼ lengths in 1:57.3. “I was really happy with him. I liked the fact that he raced from off the pace, closed good and was wide off the turn,” Di Domenico said. “He did everything very professionally to say the least. I’ve been happy with him right along from the day we qualified him. He left the gate good and to see a horse in his first start in this country, first start over the half win from off the pace, it was impressive. We’re pretty well tickled with him.” The French American Trotting Club intrigued Di Domenico from its announcement this spring. It didn’t take much convincing for the trainer, who is second in the local standings with 98 victories and $1.69 million earned this year, to take the plunge. “Any time that there’s something new at Yonkers or a series of some sort, I always try to be a part of it,” he said. “Yonkers is my home track and when this was mentioned, I spoke with Alex (Dadoyan) and Joe (Faraldo) and I certainly was pretty eager to be involved in it. Thankfully to the process, how everything shook out getting the horses, the guys going over there to look at the horses, I feel like I’m pretty lucky to this point and I’m pretty optimistic for the future of this horse.” Through the luck of the draw, Di Domenico was assigned Deo, a 5-year-old trotter with one win in 32 starts overseas for Romuald Mourice. The youngest of the French trotters imported, Deo is eligible to the conditions at Yonkers in addition to the rich series. “To this point, I like the horse, I like the fact that he’s five years old. I like the fact that he fits the conditions at Yonkers if the series doesn’t quite fit his style of racing,” Di Domenico said. When Deo arrived in Di Domenico’s stable in June, he proved a straightforward addition to the barn. Di Domenico approached the gelding as he would any horse from overseas and gave the horse time to adapt to his new surroundings. Deo impressed his new trainer with how quickly he took to the American style of training. “We gave him a week where we didn’t do anything with him, we just put him out in the pasture and let him put his head down and collect his wits,” the trainer explained. “When we started actually working him, he went out jogged like any horse, he trained like a horse who’s trained here a hundred times and he was not a horse that took a lot of guessing with.” Deo’s simple manner took his trainer by surprise. After watching replays of the horse’s French form, which included four breaks in stride in his last six starts, Di Domenico didn’t know what to expect.  “I’m not smart enough to understand how those races go or understand how to speak French and try to decipher what happened and the kind of sulky he wore and if they pulled his shoes off,” Di Domenico said. “It certainly gets you thinking about how you want to handle it and what you want to do. “He’s not had a bad day and he hasn’t been a bad actor. He hasn’t done anything that wasn’t expected of him. I think I was most impressed by that. Any time you get a horse from another country, it’s a new system, new people, different track surfaces, putting them on an airplane, you always have a concern of a lot of different things,” he continued. “To finally meet the horse and get him here and see how he’s acting and for him to be as simple and straightforward as he’s been, it says a lot about the horse and the people in France who had him before me.” Deo will make his second start for Di Domenico in Sunday’s fourth race at Yonkers, a $21,200 trot for non-winners of four races. He’ll start from post three as the 3-1 second choice on the morning line. Unlike in his first race, which was at a mile, Deo will stretch out to the 1 ¼-mile distance Sunday, the same distance he’ll face in the first leg of the series next week. “We’ll see how he handles it. It’s all new to the horse and to me,” Di Domenico said. “Watching the replays and going back and looking at some of his stuff in France, he didn’t always excel going long distances, but maybe the different track surface and the different training, maybe he’ll adapt to it and really like it. At this point, I’m really optimistic in that it’s something new and I’m really just excited and happy with him.” In addition to Deo, Sunday’s card at Yonkers features French trotters Barry Black in race two and Undici in race three. Sunday’s card also features a $44,000 Open Handicap Trot going one mile in race nine. First post time is 12:30 p.m. The French American Trotting Club Series begins with a $35,000 first leg August 5. The second and third legs of the series will be held August 19 and 26, respectively and the $120,000 final is set for September 2. For more information, click here. by Brandon Valvo, for the SOA of NY

YONKERS, NY, Friday, July 27, 2018--It was a dark and stormy Friday night (July 27th), under which Yonkers Raceway hosted the $173,500 New York Sire Stakes Dick McGuire Trot for 3-year-old colts and geldings. The pair of $86,750 events were named for the late New York Knickerbocker standout, Hall of Famer and avid horseplayer. The opening division saw Helpisontheway (Brian Sears, $2.60) do his bidding from second-over. From post position No. 3, he chased Winning Shadow (Mike Simons) as that one chased Chasin' Dreams (Jason Bartlett). Chasin' Dreams had taken over from Purpose Blue Chip (Dan Daley), all this through early intervals of :28.3 and :57.4. A 30-1, two-move Cruising in Style (George Brennan) then grabbed the lead at the 1:26.2 three-quarters, widening to 2¼ lengths entering the lane. However, Helpisontheway wound up widest and closed fastest, edging by the longshot late. The margin was three-quarters of a length in 1:55.3. Wining Shadow held third, with Purpose Blue Chip and Clive Bigsby (Mark MacDonald) coming away with the remainder. For Helpisontheway, a son of Chapter Seven trained by Linda Toscano for Camelot and Bays Stables & Little E LLC, it was his fourth win in eight seasonal starts. The exacta paid $41.80, the triple returned $211.50 and the superfecta paid a grand. "He was just green last season," Toscano said. "Now, he's figured it out." Friday night's second and final division was Veterans Night, as The Veteran (Jordan Stratton, $3.50) proved best in a race with four breakers and arguably his own late exodus. Away third from post No. 2, he improved early position when Fashion Forever (Dan Dube) and Yuge (Breannan) both misbehaved in from of him. That left the lead to Troller (Sears) through soggy subsections of :29 and :58.4. Nearing the intermission, On the Ropes (Ake Svanstedt) was moving from fifth, doing so in a hurry. The Veteran then left the cones, forcing On the Ropes three-wide. Meanwhile, Troller maintained his advantage in and out of a 1:27.4 three-quarters, though The Veteran was coming. The people's preference soon displaced the leader--who eventually jumped it off--and opened a 2¼-length lead in and out of the final turn. The Veteran defeated Perlucky (Trond Smedshammer) by a length-and-a-quarter in 1:56.3, with a compromised On the Ropes, Don (Bartlett) and Yuge settling for the minors. For The Veteran, a Muscle Mass colt co-owned by (trainer) George Ducharme, Steven Michaels, W J Donovan and Jim Winske, it was his fifth win in eight seasonal starts. The exacta paid $23, the triple returned $96 and the superfecta paid $392.50. The winner has been an odds-on choice in his last five tries. Friday night's $44,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace was won by Made of Jewels AS (Stratton, $21.20) in a life-best 1:51.4. New York Sire Stakes continue here Monday night (July 30th) with the $172,000 Bruce Hamilton Pace (3-year-old colts/geldings). by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Communications

YONKERS, NY, Friday, July 27, 2018--Yonkers Raceway's Sunday matinee this weekend (July 29th) shall again offer a first post of 12:30 PM. Races 1 through 4 go as those overflow-field, mile-and-a-quarter 'French' trots, with the 12th- race finale listed at 4:40 PM. Post times for the four 'French' races are at the top and bottom of the hours (12:30 PM, 1 PM, 1:30 PM and 2 PM), respectively. Sunday's 'New York, New York Double' is comprised as the third race from Saratoga (post time 2:07 PM) and the fifth race from Yonkers (post time 2:20 PM). Program pages accompany this release. After this weekend, the next Sunday matinee is August 5th (post time TBA). by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Thursday, July 26, 2018-Not every good 3-year-old trotter finds his (or her) way into the Hambletonian. There's a pretty fair Yonkers Raceway group gathering Friday night (July 27th) in the $173,500 New York Sire Stakes Dick McGuire Trot for the sophomore colts and geldings. Post time for the dozen-race card s 6:50 PM, with the pair of $86,750 sire stakes events-named for the former New York Knickerbocker standout, Hall of Famer and avid horseplayer-going as races 7 and 8. The opening division includes Helpisontheway (Brian Sears, post 3), who held sway in last weekend's $61,900 boys' division of the Tompkins Memorial at the Meadowlands. The son of Chapter Seven is thrice a winner in seven seasonal starts, including a statebred win at Tioga (life-best 1:52.2. Linda Toscano trains for Camelot and Bays Stables & Little E LLC. Winning Shadows (Mike Simons, post 2) was a fresh-Lasix, 12-1 upsetter at Monticello in his last start. The Credit Winner gelding, trained by Jake Huff for co-owners Our Horse Cents and J&T Silva Stables, has won three of his eight seasonal starts. Clive Bigsby (Mark MacDonald, post 7) was runner-up (to Six Pack) in last season's $225,000 frosh final, while Tito (Brent Holland, post 5) is trying to regain some of 2017's nearly-$240,000 form. Purpose Blue Chip (Dan Daley, post 8) has a resume highlighted by sire stakes wins at Monticello and Buffalo. Friday night's second and final division sees The Veteran (Jordan Stratton, post 2) as arguably the horse to beat. The Muscle Mass colt, co-owned by (trainer) George Ducharme, Steven Michaels, W J Donovan and Jim Winske, has been the odds-on choice in his last four tries (two sires, two overnights). He settled for second (to Winning Shadows) at Monti in his latest and is 4-for-7 this season. Perlucky (Trond Smedshammer, post 5) enters off a 15-1 Catskills NYSS win, his first of in a half-dozen '18i tries. Smedshammer also trains the son of Lucky Chuck for Purple Haze Stables. Don (Jason Bartlett, post 7) has sire stakes wins at Vernon (life-best 1:54.3) and Buffalo. New York Sire Stakes continue here Monday night (July 30th) with the $172,000 Bruce Hamilton Pace (3-year-old colts/geldings). by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

When a plane full of French trotters flew across the Atlantic in early June with the destination New York, there was a great deal of uncertainty as to how these foreign horses would look, adapt and fare in their new surroundings. Early returns for the French American Trotting Club Trotteur Français horses have been extremely encouraging. “We really didn’t know what to expect going over to France to look at these trotters,” said Standardbred Owners Association of New York Executive Director Alex Dadoyan. “I was very confident in the horsemen we were bringing with us – Ron Burke, Mike Lachance and Ray Schnittker - you had extremely talented guys with tons of experience working with some of the best trotters ever here in the US and also many many years of racing at Yonkers at all levels. But still, we didn’t know if the horses in France would be fast enough, could they trot around a small track like Yonkers, would they handle the travel and the new environment?” Those questions have been answered with a resounding yes thus far. 21 of the 22 French horses have already qualified since their June 16 exit from the Ark Federal quarantine facility at JFK airport and eight different French trotters have already been victorious, five in pari-mutuel races and three more in qualifiers.  The trotters are all gearing up for the first leg of the French American Trotting Club series at Yonkers Raceway on Sunday August 5. The series will have three rounds of $35,000 legs on Sundays in August and then a $120,000 Final on Sunday September 2. All races will be simulcast to France as part of the SOA of NY and Yonkers Raceway simulcasting partnership with Le Trot and PMU. The French American Trotting Club is a program developed by the Standardbred Owners Association of New York where an American contingent traveled to France to select two dozen French trotters to bring back to the United States for their new American owners who each paid $28,000 for the purchase and shipping of their new horses. The horses were randomly assigned to their new owners to prevent anybody from having an unfair advantage in the series. “This whole project was a huge gamble,” Dadoyan said. “It was a gamble for all the willing owners to each put up $28,000 and basically get a random horse, sight unseen. It was a gamble for the SOA of NY too. Would we get enough support from the industry and when we did, would we find enough horses to bring back and make the whole series go? “I can’t say enough about all the owners that took a shot and put up their money for this project,” continued Dadoyan. “It was a great showing of confidence and support for something new in the game. But equally important was the backing from SOA of NY President Joe Faraldo and the entire SOA of NY Board of Directors. When I first tossed the idea out to Joe about a year and a half ago his exact response was ‘are you crazy?’ But we kept kicking it around, going over ways it could work and slowly but surely put all the pieces in place to bring the project to fruition.” “The selection process needed many parts,” added SOA of NY President Joe Faraldo. “We needed knowledgeable horsemen willing to volunteer and go to France, the cooperation of Le Trot, full participation to purchase up to 24 head as equal in ability as possible, a totally transparent random draw and a lucrative series of races here at Yonkers solely for the horses purchased in the program.” Five of the French trotters are already well on their way to earning back their purchase price. Deo won at Yonkers on July 20 in 1:57.3. Bioness won at Pocono on July 23 in 1:54.3. Ubanji won at Harrah’s Philadelphia on July 25 in 1:55.1. Akhenaton won at Saratoga on July 25 in 1:57.2. Alpha d’Urzy has two wins already, scoring at Saratoga and Pocono. Deo is trained by Scott Di Domenico and owned by John McGill, Brian Carsey, Adam Friedland and Triple D Stables. Bioness is trained by Chris Oakes and owned by Northfork Racing Stable. Ubanji is trained by Ed Gannon Jr. and owned by Frank Canzone. Akhenaton is trained by Paul Kelley and owned by La Victoire Stable, Joe Sbrocco and Horseplay Racing Stable. Alpha d’Urzy is trained by Rene Allard and owned by Allard Racing, Kapildeo Singh, Earl Hill and VIP Internet Stable. As impressive as those five pari-mutuel winners have been, perhaps the most eye-catching trotter has been in qualifiers. Ursis des Caillons won his debut in a Yonkers qualifier winning by three lengths on July 13 trotting the mile and a quarter in 2:30.4 with a 27.3 final quarter. He followed that up with a qualifier at the Meadowlands on July 21 where he was second to Hambletonian hopeful and last year’s two-year-old divisional champion Fourth Dimension trotting in 1:53 beaten only three-quarters of a length. Ursis des Caillons is trained by Jennifer Bongiorno and owned by Howard Taylor and Thomas Lazzaro. Barry Black and Very Very Fast are the two other French trotters that have been victorious in qualifiers. To help celebrate the start of the French American Trotting Club series Sunday August 5, Yonkers Raceway will open the Empire Terrace Dining Room for a special Sunday brunch with French and American cuisine. More dining details will be released by Yonkers Raceway shortly but all French American Trotting Club participants are invited to brunch that afternoon as guests of the SOA of NY. From the SOA Of NY

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, July 24, 2018-Yonkers Raceway Tuesday night (July 24th) hosted the $159,000 New York Sire Stakes Frank Becerra Pace for 2-year-old fillies, the division's second local go-round in 18 nights. A pair of divisions-worth $78,800 and $80,200, respectively-comprised the event, which offered minimal suspense. The opening group saw So Awesome (Tim Tetrick, $2.70) make the lead from post position No. 4 (in one notch after a program scratch) and never, ever have a thought of giving it up (:28.4, :58.3, 1:27.2, 1:55.3). The lead was 2¾ lengths off the final turn, widening to 3¾ lengths at the wire. American Marilyn (Jason Bartlett) chased from a loose pocket, with JK American Beauty (Brian Sears), Topville Angelina (Marcus Miller) and Crazy Cute (Jordan Stratton) coming away the remainder. For So Awesome, a daughter of So Surreal owned by William Hartt and trained by Scott DiDomenico, it was her second win in four seasonal starts...both here in statebreds and both in the identical (1:55.3) time. The exacta paid $6.80, the triple returned $31.80 and the superfecta (four wagering choices in order) paid $83. "She's fast and she just gets over this track so well," Tetrick said. Tuesday night's second and final division had the death-and-taxes St. Somewhere (Yannick Gingras, $2.10) withstand a spirited challenge from 27-1 shot Hurrikane Norakane (Dan Dube) before opening up late. All told, she went the distance from post No. 5 (:28.2, :57.3; 1:26.1; 1:53.4), the final time just three ticks off the local division record (Tequila Monday's 1:53.1 in 2016). Hurrikane Norakane was a solid second, beaten three lengths, with Gia's Surreal (Bartlett), Money Shot Hanover (Tyler Buter) and Ladybeluckytonite (Tetrick) completing the payees. For St. Somewhere, an American Ideal miss co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke, Phil Collura, J&T Silva-Purnel & Libby and Weaver Bruscemi, it was her third (consecutive NYSS) win in four '18 tries. The exacta paid $14.80, the triple returned $34 and the superfecta paid $75.50. St. Somewhere, as with So Awesome, won both of her local Empire tries. "I just let her take me around the track," Gingras said. "There wasn't much to it." New York Sire Stakes return here Friday night (July 27th) in the $173,500 Dick McGuire Trot for 3-year-old colts and geldings. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

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