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YONKERS, N.Y. – Champion trotter Gimpanzee will bring his undefeated record to Yonkers Raceway Tuesday evening (June 25) in a division of the New York Sire Stakes for harness racing 3-year-old trotting colts and geldings. The Dan Patch Award winning 2-year-old of 2018 will take to the track in a non-wagering split of the NYSS at approximately 6:10 p.m. Gimpanzee went 9-for-9 as a freshman, capturing victories in NYSS at Monticello, Tioga, Saratoga, Vernon, and two legs at Yonkers before scoring a 1:56.3 win in the $225,000 NYSS Final at the Hilltop September 22. The Chapter Seven son then posted consecutive 1:54.4 victories in the Breeders’ Crown Elimination and $600,000 Final at Pocono Downs October 19 and 27, respectively, to take divisional honors and give trainer Marcus Melander his first Breeders’ Crown win. “We turned him out after the Breeders’ Crown for a month, roughly. We brought him in early December and started training him,” Melander said. “He filled out very, very good. He didn’t grow so much, he’s not the biggest horse, but he filled out really nice. He definitely showed some speed now this year as well. He’s been having a lot of qualifiers and just one start so far, but I think he’s developed good.” Despite his impressive record on the racetrack and his Champion title, Gimpanzee keeps a low profile at Melander’s farm. However, one of Gimpanzee’s greatest assets is understanding when it’s time to race. “He’s very lazy. He’s like a 10-year-old gelding, he’s been like that his whole life,” Melander said. “He has no hurry at all. He’s a very nice horse to be around, but when he trains, you don’t think that he’s undefeated in 10 starts and made almost $700,000. You don’t feel that when you train him at home, but then he’s a totally different horse when he goes to the track. “When we train him down, he always feels good, he’s just lazy. But as soon as you bring him to the Meadowlands to train or qualify, he really knows what’s going on,” Melander continued. “I think that’s a good personality to have. He doesn’t get too excited at home, he does his work and he knows when it’s time to race.” Gimpanzee returned to the track April 27 in a Meadowlands trial, finishing fifth while individually timed in 1:58.3. He returned May 4 to win a qualifier in 1:55 and Melander pointed Gimpanzee to his first target, the Empire Breeders’ Classic eliminations at Vernon Downs. However, after only nine trotters declared for the $215,200 stakes, the race went straight to the final and Melander was forced to qualify Gimpanzee again May 18. “I just want to race him, but when he went to the Empire Breeders’ Classic, there was no eliminations needed for that race,” Melander said. “I didn’t plan that; I planned that he was going to race in there, so I maybe should have raced him at Vernon the week before in the Sire Stakes. Then the Sire Stakes went to Monticello and Buffalo and I didn’t want to bring him there.”  After tuning up in another qualifier in 1:53.0 with a :27.1 final quarter, Gimpanzee traveled to Vernon for the Empire Breeders’ Classic. He relaxed in third 3 ¾ lengths behind Mt Viktor early before driver Brian Sears mounted a first-over challenge nearing the half. Gimpanzee inched closer to Mr Viktor around the final turn and took the lead straightening away. With Sears motionless in the bike, Gimpanzee extended his advantage to 3 ¼ lengths to win in 1:54.0 at odds of 1-20. “It was good. He had qualified good going into that race, but you don’t know; it’s horse racing,” Melander said. “He was very good that day. He raced off the pace and he won easily. Brian was happy with him and it was a good first start. “For him, (the trip) doesn’t matter, honestly,” Melander continued. “He loves his work, it doesn’t matter where he comes from. Of course, on those bigger tracks, it doesn’t matter where you come from, but those half-miles, it’s easier if you go to the lead.” Gimpanzee’s Empire Breeders’ Classic win extended the colt’s undefeated streak to 10 and boosted his earnings to $695,730 for Courant Inc. and S R F Stable. With Courant owning Melander’s other two top Hambletonian hopefuls, Greenshoe and Green Manalishi, who each won eliminations of the Beal at Pocono Downs June 22, Melander doesn’t feel extra pressure to keep Gimpanzee’s record perfect. “My other horses are really good. Greenshoe is super-fast, he’s maybe a better horse, or at least faster than (Gimpanzee),” Melander said. “We try to keep them apart as much as we can here in the beginning. They’ll race each other in a lot of races later in the fall, but if we can keep them separated in the beginning, that’s great. “If I raced (Gimpanzee) in New York all year, he’d probably stay undefeated, but I’m not going to do that because he is more than just a New York Sire Stakes horse,” Melander continued. “But we wanted to start him out there in the New York circuit and we’re going to race him against those other colts late summer. Maybe start with one race before the ‘Hambo’ and then we have all of those other races all fall.” The deciding factor in Melander’s choice to bring Gimpanzee to Yonkers Tuesday was NYSS points. The colt hasn’t started in any NYSS events yet this year after bypassing legs at Vernon, Monticello, and Buffalo and needs victories in the series to get into the rich Sire Stakes final this fall.  “It’s really important for Gimpanzee to get some points for the New York final in September,” Melander said. “They go for a lot of money and we haven’t raced in any Sire Stakes so far, so we need some points. Yonkers is a track he goes around very good, so that’s why we’re racing him there.” Gimpanzee tuned up with a 1:53.4 qualifier at the Meadowlands June 15. He will start from post six with Brian Sears in the bike and will face five rivals in his $54,833 spit of the NYSS Tuesday evening: Chip Chip Conway, Cavill Hanover, Kredit Karma, Big Money Honey, and Lucky Weekend. Melander is confident. “I don’t see why I shouldn’t be,” he said. “It’s horses that he beat before and should beat again. Of course, he got the six hole all the way out, but for him, it’s a field he should beat. I’m confident. He’s been training good since the qualifier. If everything is right and he doesn’t make a break or anything, he should have a good start in there.” Tuesday’s 12-race wagering card includes two other divisions of the NYSS. First post time is 6:50 p.m. Yonkers Raceway features live harness racing Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. For entries to the races, click here. By Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, June 22, 2019-Hard-knocking Will Take Charge (Jordan Stratton, $3.20) did not have to work that hard Saturday night (June 22st), winning Yonkers Raceway's $44,000 co-featured Open Handicap Trot...becoming a harness racing career millionaire along the way. Winning the 3-thru-6 draw among the half-dozen, the odds-on number strolled around the surroundings (:28, 57.3, 1:26, 1:54), the mile matching a season's-best effort. Pole-assigned In Secret (George Brennan) could not match strides from the pocket, beaten a length-and-a-quarter. A ground-saving Smalltownthrowdown (Jim Marohn Jr.) was third, with a returning Melady's Monet (Eric Goodell) and Chasin' Dreams (Jason Bartlett) picking off the lesser loot. Trotting Grace (Brent Holland) was outrun. For Will Take Charge, a 6-year-old Kadabra gelding co-owned by (trainer) Jeff Gillis and Mac Nichol, it was his third win in nine seasonal starts (life 24-for-85, $1,006,228). The exacta (two wagering choices) paid $6.70, the triple returned $33.80 and the superfecta paid $91.50. Stratton then doubled his pleasure in the $44,000 Open Handicap Pace, overcoming losing the 4-thru-8 getaway with a third-up Micky Gee N ($20). With no choice but to spectate early, Micky Gee N saw 3-2 choice Rock Diamonds N (Ron Cushing) lead through spiffy intervals of :25.4, 55 seconds flat and 1:22.2. Getting numbers to 'run at,' Micky Gee N closed crisply, getting the better of Classy Dragon (Joe Bongiorno) late. That one attacked the favorite, eventually winning the battle but losing the war. Micky Gee N prevailed by three-quarters of a length in 1:50.4, with 45-1 rank outsider Proven Desire (Marohn Jr.) third. Dr. J Hanover (Brent Holland) and Toatsmygoats (Brennan) came away with the remainder, while Rock Diamonds N tired to seventh among the octet. Micky Gee N                                           -- Katy Gazzini photo For fifth choice Micky Gee N, a 6-year-old Down Under Bettor's Delight gelding owned by William Hartt and trained Lance Hudson, it was his fifth win in a dozen '19 tries. The exacta paid $159.50, the triple returned $1,153 and the superfecta paid $5,546.   Frank Drucker Manager of Publicity Yonkers, NY 10704

YONKERS, N.Y. – Since Trotting Grace arrived on the east coast this spring, she’s quickly made a name for herself harness racing in the top conditions at Yonkers Raceway. The 4-year-old is 2-for-5 at the Hilltop and has a pair of runner-up finishes. Her last outing resulted in a victory in her Open Handicap debut, but trainer Travis Alexander thinks the mare is still improving. “I think her best races are yet to come,” the trainer said. “I don’t think we’ve seen the bottom yet.” Trotting Grace spent the first two years of her career racing in the barn of Steven Searle in Illinois and Indiana. She won five races and finished second in the $135,000 Fox Valley Flan Series Final at 2. At 3, Trotting Grace earned another seven victories, including five straight in stakes company.  Trotting Grace moved to the barn of Walter Haynes early in 2019 before shipping east for her first start with Alexander May 3. The Cassis daughter’s ownership group, comprised of Brian Carsey, John McGill, and Adam Friedland, sent the mare to Alexander with their eyes on the lucrative purses at Yonkers. “She was a very good-looking mare and she was clean-gaited,” Alexander recalled of Trotting Grace’s arrival in the barn. “That’s the first thing I noticed; she’s very good-gaited. She can get around the turns so well. That’s what helps her so much, she handles those turns beautifully. That just goes along with her good gait.” Although Trotting Grace finished sixth in her Yonkers debut in a $23,000 overnight, Alexander was encouraged. The start proved to be a learning experience for both the mare and her new trainer. “I was very happy to have a chance to see what she could do. As soon as they sent her out, we actually put her in the box before she arrived in the barn. She raced OK, she came first-over, needed a headpole, little things. We got to know her a little better,” Alexander said. Trotting Grace finished second in the same class the following week after riding the pocket. She was the runner up again May 24 after pouncing on longshot leader Warrawee Shipshape on the third turn and getting caught late by 1-2 favorite Winning Shadow in the stretch of the 1 1/16-mile race.   Trotting Grace broke through in her next start with Brent Holland in the bike, scoring a dominating 4-length victory on the front end at the $29,000 level June 8. She took advantage of an inside draw last week (June 15) to post a front-stepping win in the $44,000 Open Handicap Trot over Smalltownthrowdown in a lifetime mark of 1:54.1. The victories improved Trotting Grace’s record to 15-for-43 with $249,591 earned.  “I think that first start, she had to figure out the half and from there, she got it down,” Alexander said. “After that, she really started to click in our program. Getting better, and better, and better. Her last two starts, she was good. I feel that she’s improving. “With the rail last week, I knew we’d be up close. I didn’t know we’d be on the front, but it just worked out,” he continued. “Brent did a great job rating a nice mile and it couldn’t have worked out any better. She responded and that’s what good horses do, they respond when you give them the trip.” Trotting Grace will start from post five in the $44,000 Open Handicap Trot Saturday night (June 22). Brent Holland will be back in the bike and the pair are 9-2 on the morning line. Alexander feels Trotting Grace is continuing to improve and thinks Holland has played a key role in managing her energy on the track. “She trained very well (Wednesday). So, we’re taking it a race at a time,” he said. “She jogs and we train her a mile-and-a-half Wednesday for Saturday. She’s actually pretty calm and relaxed at the farm, not overly aggressive. At Yonkers, she gets pretty keyed-up. In the post parade, she can get pretty warm. Brent has done a great job getting her to relax in the race and it’s worked out pretty well.” The field for this week’s trotting feature also includes In Secret, who returns to the Open after a runner-up finish in the Preferred trot last out June 15 and is the 5-2 morning line favorite from an assigned post one. Smalltownthrowdown drew post four for Jim Marohn, Jr. and Rene Allard while Will Take Charge, the Open victor two weeks ago who was handicapped by post seven last week, moves inside to post three; the pair are each 3-1 on the morning line.  Ten-year-old Melady’s Monet returns off about a month’s freshening and will start from post two. Chasin’ Dreams, third in last week’s feature, completes the field from post six. “It’s post five in a six-horse field, so it’s not as bad. It’s going to be very interesting to see because I don’t know how Brent is going to approach it,” Alexander said. “There’s a lot of speed on the inside of her, but she can race off the pace, she can race off a helmet. I wouldn’t be surprised if he tried that this week.  “I’m not going to tell him what to do,” Alexander continued. “The owners, they like to go forward, they like to race and be aggressive. Sometimes you think everybody’s leaving and nobody leaves. It’s so hard to know how it’s all going to play out.” Saturday night’s card also features the weekly $44,000 Open Handicap Pace. First post time is 6:50 p.m. Yonkers Raceway features live harness racing Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. For entries to the races, click here. By Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY  

YONKERS, NY, Friday, June 21, 2019-Glenferrie Blade A (Jordan Stratton, $17.20) picked off odds-on Twinkle (Brent Holland) nearing the line Friday night (June 21st), winning Yonkers Raceway's $44,000 harness racing Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. Glenferrie Blade A, from post position No. 4, was away fourth as Twinkle was the lone leaver. The people's preference, who went down the road a week ago, led her through intervals of :27.3, :56.4 and 1:24.4. It was Lispatty (Mark MacDonald) trying it first-up, with Glenferrie Blade A behind the one. Twinkle maintained a short lead and in and out of the final turn, about to win the battle but lose the war. Twinkle put away a stubborn Lispatty, but Glenferrie Blade A was off her back and moving. She prevailed by a half-length in 1:53.1. Twinkle did hold second, with Alexa's Power (Jason Bartlett), Lispatty and a from-last Gold Orchid N (Jim Marohn Jr.) relegated to the minors. For third choice Glenferrie Blade A, an 8-year-old Down Under daughter of Mach Three owned by William Hartt and trained by Lance Hudson, it was her second win in nine seasonal starts. The exacta paid $53, the triple returned $113 and the superfecta paid $320.50.   BY FRANK DRUCKER Publicity Director, Empire City @ Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, N.Y. – Twenty-nine two-year-old pacing colts and geldings will make their harness racing pari-mutuel debuts in four divisions of the New York Sire Stakes Thursday night (June 20) at Yonkers Raceway. Among the roster of freshman is Oreo Dream Extreme, an American Ideal son bred by Michelle and Al Crawford. Seeing the babies finally hit the track is thrilling, Michelle said. “It’s exhilarating. You have a checklist,” she said. “They sold, they sold well – check. They got into the right hands and are going to have a real shot – check. They made it all the way to qualifiers – check – and they made the races. You want the owners and the trainers to have a good experience so they come back to the well.” The Crawfords have invested heavily into the breeding side of the game in recent years; they bred 47 mares last year, 65 this year, and have 71 back in foal for 2020. It is a calculated move to fill a void in the spot. “When you look at the business as a whole, you really have a shortage of good horses. We felt that we would step up and be one of those breeders that would provide the market with quality horses that would go to the sales,” Crawford said. “The numbers have been historically down; however, when you have the mares that we have acquired at this point, it’s very, very exciting to see them go to the market.” Oreo Dream Xtreme’s dam is Spotlight On, a Western Terror daughter out of Southwind Laurel. After winning seven races and earning $83,967 on the track for John Butenschoen and John MacDonald, Spotlight On joined the growing broodmare band at Crawford Farms. The Crawfords were attracted to her family, which produced one of the sport’s recent stars.  Spotlight On is a half sister to The Art Museum, the dam of 2014 Champion 2-year-old Artspeak.  “Somebody tipped me off on that breeding,” Crawford said. “I thought she could have thrown anything.” The Crawfords matched Spotlight On with American Ideal, the sire who produced one of their most successful New York breds to date, Funknwaffles. Crawford loved the match and as a result, had a penchant for Oreo Dream Xtreme from the beginning. Crawford even let her son Max name the colt after his favorite ice cream flavor. “I liked him because I am a huge fan of American Ideal. I have an affection for American Ideal,” Crawford said. “(Oreo Dream Xtreme) just really had a good personality all the way around. Nothing was crazy or different about him, he was just one that I really wanted to see. He wasn’t huge and I don’t like huge for New York. Funknwaffles, by American Ideal, is lightly-built. He’s not necessarily the same build, but he’s a medium-sized horse.” The Crawfords offered Oreo Dream Xtreme at the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale and were thrilled when the colt hammered down for $60,000 to John Butenschoen. The trainer put an ownership group together, which included offering a piece back to Crawford Farms Racing. The partnership also includes James Crawford, Happy Hour Racing, and Richard Preziotti. “John is great. John supports our farm quite a bit. He really, really liked this colt; we loved the colt and we’ve always said we would support a trainer who supports us by taking a piece of the horses that go through the sale,” Crawford said. “I think it’s good business. They take the time to look at our horses and bid on our horses. We really believe in what we take to the market, so we’re always happy to stay in on them. “It was exciting because I really hate to see my babies go,” she continued. “Sometimes, I get ‘no, you can’t stay in’ and that’s tough, but it’s just the way it goes.”  About nine months after the sale, Oreo Dream Xtreme will make his debut in a $38,650 division of the New York Sire Stakes Thursday night. The colt drew post two and is a 9-2 morning line chance with Corey Callahan programmed to drive.  Oreo Dream Xtreme enters off a pair of third place finishes in qualifiers at Pocono Downs and Harrah’s Philadelphia in which he paced 2:01.0 and 1:56.3, respectively. Oreo Dream Xtreme posted a final quarter of :27.4 in both trials. “He seems to be doing everything right, and that’s all you can ask for. You start to hear more and more and he’s promising; he’s a nice little colt,” Crawford said. “I don’t think anyone can tell you what their bottom is until they hit the track. And you have to hope that the horse is going to get around a half. He did well on a five-eighths when he qualified, but at the end of the day, you don’t really know what their bottom is until they’re out there competing. “I think in the first few Sire Stakes you start to figure out who is going to stand out, if they’re going to stay in the Sire Stakes, what the competition is like,” she continued. “You just hope that based on the qualifying miles they’ve put in already that they’re going to be competitive. So, fingers crossed.” First post time is 6:50 p.m. Yonkers Raceway features live harness racing Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. For entries to the races, click here. By Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY

YONKERS, NY, Monday, June 17, 2019-Jason Bartlett, perennially Yonkers Raceway's leading harness racing driver, used his home away from home for his latest milestone. Bartlett racked up career win No. 8,000 Monday night (June 17th), easily knocking off the four victories needed to reach the plateau. He won the $15,000 pacing opener with favored Lounatic ($4.40) in a life-best 1:55, then the $18,000, third-race pace with odds-on Topville Angelina ($2.30) in 1:54.1. That matched the ma'am's life-best effort. Bartlett was making short work of the $15,000, seventh-race pace as odds-on Passa-Grille Beach ($3.30) widened to 8¾ lengths in a life-best 1:53.1. He had to wait all of two races before turning over the odometer, getting No. 8,000 in the $25,000, ninth-race pace with Charm's Lil Sis ($9.30) in another life-best effort, this one in 1:54.1. The milestone miss is a homebred 4-year-old daughter of Mach Three owned and Millar Farms and trained by Scott Blackler. Charm’s Lil Sis and Jason Bartlett                             --Katy Gazzini photo The same owner/driver/trainer troika combined to win last month's Lismore here with the 3-year-old pacing filly Bestseller Hanover. "It's nice to do it here (Yonkers), with my family able to join me," Bartlett said. "I want to race here as often as I can, especially Fridays and Saturdays, since the money is so good." Bartlett isn't an every-night local fixture, as he makes the rounds for New York Sire Stakes and some open-stakes engagements. "I went to Northfield a couple of Saturdays ago (for the Battle of Lake Erie)," he said. "I had the chance to drive Jimmy Freight. He's a special horse and I enjoyed it, but I prefer Yonkers as often as possible. "When I first came down here for good, I had maybe 2,000 wins, so to win as many as I have driving against the best there is, I appreciate that. The 38-year-old Bartlett, a native of Augusta, ME, is trying for a ninth local driving title. "Just thanking all the owners and trainers that have supported me and keep going." Yonkers' Monday Pick 5 wager, which began with a carryover in excess of $4,100 and a $15,000 guaranteed pool, enticed $35,108 of new coin. A combination in the gimmick of 5/3/2/6/2 returned $1,966.75 for every correct half-dollar ticket. Tuesday's (June 18th) Pick 5 offers with a $10,000 guaranteed pool (50-cent base wager, races 7 through 11).   Frank Drucker Manager of Publicity Yonkers

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, June 16, 2019 -- A friendly reminder from Yonkers Raceway that Monday evening's (June 17th) harness racing Pick 5 wager starts with a carryover of $4,154.49 and a $15,000 guaranteed pool. The 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 Monday night. It has no consolation payoff, meaning if no one selects all five winners (as was the case Saturday evening), the entire pool (minus takeout) moves to the next racing program. Program pages for the Monday Pick 5 accompany this release. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Friday, June 14, 2019 - Yonkers Raceway's Friday evening (June 14th) harness racing Pick 5, buoyed by a carryover of $9,416.12 and a $25,000 guaranteed pool, found some eyeballs. Some $34,367 of fresh money poured in, easily leapfrogging the minimum and leading to a total pool of $35,191...after takeout and give or take a few pennies. The combination of 5/2,9/4/8/1 returned $1,050.25 for each correct half-a-buck ticket (in second leg, No. 2 was winning favorite while No. 9 was scratched, with ticket defaulting to favorite). The Pick 5 is a 50-cent base wager comprising eithers races 6 through 10 or 7 through 11, depending upon number of race drawn. It has no consolation payoff, meaning if no one selects all five winners (as was the case Thursday night), the entire pool (minus takeout) moves to the next racing program. There's a built-in $10,000 Pick 5 guarantee every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday evening. Friday night's $44,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace, which was not part of the Pick 5 sequence, turned into a Tour de Twinkle. Fourth choice Twinkle (Brent Holland, $14) gave nothing else a shot. Winning the 3-thru-8 post-position draw after about a month of R&R, she blitzed 'em (:27.1, :56.3, 1:25, 1:53.1) for a first win in nine seasonal starts. Even-money favorite Alexa's Power (Jason Bartlett) chased from a loose pocket and saved second-beaten a length-and-three-quarters-with a first-up Rockstar Angel A (Eric Goodell) third. Gold Orchid N (Austin Siegelman) and Lispatty (Mark MacDonald) picked off the minors. Twinkle, a 6-year-old daughter of Bettor's Delight trained by Ross Croghan for co-owners Let it Ride Stables and Dana Parham, led exotics of $33 (exacta), $169.50 (triple) and $543 (superfecta), respectively. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, N.Y. – When Al-Mar-Got A Fever came to Scott Di Domenico’s barn, the harness racing trainer was skeptical. Although the 5-year-old mare built an impressive resume in the Midwest, winning 12 of 48 starts and earning $226,231 while racing primarily in the barn of Steven Carter, Di Domenico knows doing it against top competition in New York is a tougher task.  Despite his early reservations, Al-Mar-Got A Fever is 4-for-4 since entering Di Domenico’s barn and will take on open company for the first time since shipping east Friday night (June 14) in the $44,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace at Yonkers Raceway. “She’s been a really pleasant surprise,” Di Domenico said. “Sometimes, it seems like Ohio is a little bit cheaper than what New York is. To think she was going to come out here and win four in a row and go in 52 a couple of times, I’d be lying if I said that was how I forecasted it.” By Kentucky stallion Third Straight, Al-Mar-Got A Fever began her career in Kentucky Sire Stakes and finished second in the $175,000 KYSS Final as a freshman. At 3, Al-Mar-Got A Fever made the Fan Hanover Final with a second-place finish in her elimination and again was the runner up in the KYSS Final.  Last year at 4, Al-Mar-Got A Fever competed regularly in the distaff open ranks at Northfield Park. Although she didn’t win any of those features, she finished second or third in seven tries and was four times beaten by Feelin Red Hot, a standout of the Burke stable who made the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series Final in April. As Al-Mar-Got A Fever grappled with Feelin Red Hot, she caught the attention of Foulk Stable. “A buddy of mine bought her from Ohio and he had been telling me about her,” Di Domenico said. “He was watching her last fall, she raced a bunch against Feelin Red Hot; raced her tooth-and-nail a lot of times out in Ohio. Feelin Red Hot came out here and did really well. He mentioned that he was looking to buy her, he ended up getting her bought, and he sent her over. Since she arrived in Di Domenico’s barn, Al-Mar-Got A Fever has been perfect in four races, leading at every call while continuously stepping up in class. Her streak began in a $7,000 overnight at Harrah’s Philadelphia May 4, when she cruised in 1:53.0 as the 1-10 favorite with Trace Tetrick in the sulky. “I liked her. The first time I trained her, she trained well. The first start, I got her in a cheap race at Chester and Tim wasn’t around, so Trace came over. She won pretty handy,” Di Domenico commented. Di Domenico then brought Al-Mar-Got A Fever to Yonkers, where she wired the field at the non-winners of $10,000-, $20,000-, and $30,000-last five levels with George Brennan in tow. Her last two victories came in 1:52.4 and 1:52.3, respectively and she recorded a 4-length score last out June 7. “That’s hard to do. They were terrific,” Di Domenico said. “She beat some really quality mares. She set the tempo and you can’t say enough about her. She’s really done a good job. She’s adapted to the Yonkers racing, she’s adapted to the track and she handles it very well and that’s reassuring.” For her efforts, Al-Mar-Got A Fever added $38,700 to her bankroll this season and will face her toughest test yet Friday night when she takes on open competition. She will start from post six as a 6-1 morning line chance. However, she will get a new driver in Joe Bongiorno as Brennan opted to drive her old rival, Feelin Red Hot, who won the $44,000 feature May 17 and will start from post seven at 5-1. The field also includes Alex’s Power, who won the local feature May 10 and was fourth last out in the Great Northeast Open Series at Pocono Downs and starts from post four. Lispatty won the distaff feature May 3 and was sixth last out in the Betsy Ross Invitational at Harrah’s Philadelphia and drew post five Friday night while Golden Orchid drew the inside off a fifth-place effort in the Rainbow Blue at the Meadowlands last out. Matchmaker competitor Twinkle tuned up with a qualifier at Yonkers June 7 and landed post three. Lance Hudson’s Glenferrie Blade won her first local feature May 24, but drew post eight Friday night. Rockstar Angel completes the lineup from post two. Although all four of Al-Mar-Got A Fever’s wins this season have come on the front end, Di Domenico doesn’t think she’s a one-dimensional horse. With plenty of early speed in the field, the trainer isn’t sure how her trip will set up. “She doesn’t need to be (on the lead). She can win any way,” he said. “Just those races set up to where it looked like the front end was her best option, and that’s what George did. It paid off. “If you do leave, how hard will it be to get to the front and if you take her off, who’s going to leave to make the race for you? It’s certainly a little bit tougher than what it’s been,” the trainer continued. “It’s her fourth jump up in a row. You’ve just got to play it by ear and see how it goes. It doesn’t look like there’s a shortage of early speed in there, so we’ll see.” First post time is 6:50 p.m. Yonkers Raceway features live harness racing Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. For entries to the races, click here. Twenty-five large, people. A friendly reminder from Yonkers Raceway that Friday evening's (June 14th) Pick 5 wager starts with a carryover of $9,416.12 and a $25,000 guaranteed pool. The guarantee, approved by the New York State Gaming Commission, 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 Friday night. It has no consolation payoff, meaning if no one selects all five winners (as was the case Thursday night), the entire pool (minus takeout) moves to the next racing program. By Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY  

Yonkers, NY-- Occasionally a harness racing driver fits well behind a certain horse, and that could be said about the special relationship between Joe Faraldo and his trotter Tough Get Going. Tonight at Yonkers Raceway the driving barrister hustled his charge to the front and then made every pole a winning one en route to a 1:59 victory, in the second leg of the NAADA Summer Series. It was their second victory in their last three times together behind a starting gate. After starting from the seven-hole Faraldo hustled Tough Get Going to the lead and they had command when the quarter pole timer flashed :28.1."When he's right he can leave with the car.," Faraldo said. "And tonight he did just that," Together they showed the way by the half in :58.3 as young Brett Beckwith got Dark Poole in high gear and they ranged alongside Tough Get Going as they trotted toward the third quarter. Although Dark Poole didn't clear Tough Get Going it worked out well for Faraldo because with Dark Poole on the limb that kept Tony Ciuffetelli's Someway Same Hall boxed in along the pylons and prevented him from getting a early shot at the leader. However when they headed for paydirt Ciuffetelli's trotter was charging down the passing lane but he ran out of racetrack and had to settle for second money in a tight photo. Dark Pool was just a length behind the top two in third place. Next Thursday the series moves back to Monticello Raceway.   by John Manzi for NAADA

YONKERS, NY, Monday, June 10, 2019--Yonkers Raceway' Pick 5 guarantee went into effect Monday night (June 10th). As part of the U.S. Trotting Association's Strategic Wagering Program and with the approval of the New York State Gaming Commission, a minimum $10,000 pot is available every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday evening. The pool total--$13,685--easily eclipsed that number, despite the races contested with limited visibility due to persistent wind, rain and fog. The phrase that pays was 5/4/6/7/8, returning $446,25 for every correct half-a-buck wager. The Pick 5 is a 50-cent base wager comprising either races 6 through 10 (10-race card) or 7 through 11 (more than 10-race card). It has no consolation payoff. Monday was also a season-high superfecta in the overflow-field eighth race, with a combination of 4/5/10/7 paying $62,450 (base $2 payout, 10-cent ticket worth $3,122.50).   Tuesday's (June 11th) Pick 5 program pages accompany this release.   Frank Drucker Manager of Publicity Yonkers

YONKERS, NY, Friday, June 7, 2019--With no distaff derby on the social schedule, other high-condition contests for the ladies led Yonkers Raceway's Friday night (June 7th) festivities. A $23,000 event saw a pocketed--from post position No. 2--Shezza GNP N (Jordan Stratton, $5.90) just prevail over a hard-charging, 71-1 I Wish You Well (Pat Lachance) in 1:54.4. The margin was a head. It was 41-1 Blush Hanover (George Brennan) rallying for third, while pace-setting (:26.2, :55.2, 1:24.2) Bellatricks (Brent Holland) faded to fourth...though beaten just three-quarters of a length. Betabcool N (Jason Bartlett) picked off the final pay envelope, while 6-5 choice American Empress N (Mark MacDonald) was hung for her troubles and backpedaled to last. For second choice Shezza GNP N, a 6-year-old Down Under daughter of Art Major owned (as Tritton Inc.) and trained by Peter Tritton, it was her third win 13 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $368.50, the triple returned $2,681 and the superfecta paid $22,930 (base $2 payout, 10-cent ticket worth $1,146.50). Yonkers' mutuel windows open at 11 AM Saturday (June 8th) in advance of the 151st Belmont Stakes and Belmont Park's first post of 11:35 AM.   Frank Drucker Manager of Publicity

Trenton, NJ — On June 28, 2011, popular horse owner and breeder Mike Sorentino Sr. — whose good friends included former Yonkers Raceway General Manager Bob Galterio and Yonkers Racing Secretary Steve Starr — passed away at age 74. His spirit, though, lives on in the winner’s circle to this day. Miss U Big Mike, a horse bred and owned by Irwin “Cookie” Kaplan, a close friend of Sorentino, has picked up 17 victories in 59 career races since making his debut at the Indiana fairs in 2017. The 4-year-old pacer’s most recent triumph came May 26 at Harrah’s Philadelphia. He races again Sunday (June 9) at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Cookie, who was tagged with that nickname because he weighed just two pounds at birth, is also an owner who sends his quality retired racehorses to Indiana for Alvin Schwartz to breed. He has been in the Standardbred business for 40 years, starting with Rolls Royce Stables, a successful operation at Yonkers. The name had to be changed when the auto company sued him, and evolved into Cookie N Mo Stables, and is now Mo Coo Inc. Stables. Mo is his wife Ellie, who picked up her nickname from a cousin who used to call her Elmo. Kaplan began shipping horses from New York to Indiana for breeding purposes several years ago. When the first foal arrived in 2014, he was stuck for a name. His daughter inspired the South Bronx, N.Y., native to call it Pops Pool Room, a popular hangout in his hometown. When Sorentino died, Cookie paid tribute to his friend with the moniker Miss U Big Mike, a 2015 foal by He’s Gorgeous out of Ready To Rumba. “We met at Yonkers,” said Kaplan, who will turn 80 in October. “His son (Michael Jr.) trained for me and drove for me at the time and we became friends. We still stay in contact with his wife Sadie. I talk to Michael every few months. Little Mike is like my own son. He and his dad were very close and we became like family. “Mike Sorentino was old school. We are the same way. We’ll give you the shirt off our back — just don’t take it.” Kaplan illustrated just what he meant by that when he would visit Yonkers with his wife. “He was a real big shot at Yonkers,” Cookie said. “He would send someone over with a bottle of Dom Perignon, and I would send it back. He was like that; and people took advantage of him because of his good nature. I can’t do that. I can’t sponge off anybody. So, whatever he did, I did. If he gave me something, I gave it back.” Those were the days when Cookie went to the track. He has given that up, however, preferring to watch races from home. For him, it is basically about the bottom line. “I don’t make too much of this,” he said. “To me, it’s a job, that’s how I look at it. I don’t want to socialize. It’s a business, I just want to do my job to the best of my ability. “I don’t even know how I got to know what I know. Growing up in the South Bronx there wasn’t a horse in sight. I just did a lot of research through trainers.” And he leaves the betting window for others to use. Miss U Big Mike paid $44.80 in his first pari-mutuel win at Hoosier Park. Asked if he bet on him, Cookie said, “I don’t gamble. All I want to do is win and get purse money.” Asked what Big Mike would have thought of the horse, Kaplan laughed and said, “He might bet on him.” While Kaplan did not collect any wagering winnings from that victory, he does have the win photo on his wall. Miss U Big Mike’s career wins include last season’s Indiana Sired Fair Circuit Championship. The horse shipped east following that victory last August. “He’s just a horse that wants to win,” Kaplan said about the gelding, who has earned $97,582. “He’s like his mother. They’re athletes, they’re racehorses, they just want to win. He’s up in class now, he paced the fastest of his whole life the past two starts; he paced in 1:51.2. He’s a special horse to me because I bred him and because he’s named after our close friend.” A friend with which he accumulated plenty of memories with over the years. But don’t get too curious, as they will remain private recollections. “There’s a lot of stories,” Kaplan said. “But I couldn’t tell you them because if you put them in print, forget about it.”   by Rich Fisher USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent

YONKERS, NY, Friday, June 7, 2019--Yonkers Raceway' Pick 5 guarantee goes into effect Monday night (June 10th). As part of the U.S. Trotting Association's Strategic Wagering Program and with the approval of the New York State Gaming Commission, a minimum $10,000 pot is available every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday evening. Should the sequence go unhit, the current 'instant guarantee' remains leading to the next racing program. The Pick 5 is a 50-cent base wager comprising either races 6 through 10 (10-race card) or 7 through 11 (more than 10-race card). It has no consolation payoff, hence the shot at an 'instant guarantee". Monday's Pick 5 program pages accompany this release.   Frank Drucker Manager of Publicity 810 Yonkers Avenue Yonkers

June 5, 2019 -- John Grasso credits divine intervention for his presence at the harness racing racetrack these days. The longtime owner and trainer was ready to call it a career after his wife, Janine, passed away on Christmas Eve last year. The two had been high school sweethearts and spent 48 years of life together. Before her passing, Grasso recalls telling Janine that he thought he had a couple of good horses that would be ready to race in 2019. By the time January arrived, Grasso wasn't sure his heart was in racing anymore. Grasso owns and trains 3-year-old pacer Fromthestartagain and sophomore trotter Experienced Action, both homebreds and stabled at Yonkers Raceway this season. Fromthestartagain is named for his dam, NYSS winner From The Start, which comes from Grasso's belief that the talent comes from the mare, more so than the stallion. "Fromthestartagain looks just like his mother and is about the same size," said Grasso of the So Surreal gelding. "Last year as a two-year-old, he was still a little too small so we trained him down to 2:10, then turned him out to let him develop." It was during this time that Grasso says he received a sign. "I have a travel bag that I always carry with me when I go to the track. One night, it came flying off of the shelf at home. It was like my wife was telling me to keep going. 'You told me they were going to be good, so let's see' she said. That keeps me going every morning." Grasso had kept Fromthestartagain eligible for the New York Sire Stakes and the three-year-old made his stakes debut at Monticello on May 13. He faded to a fifth-place finish in a race won by 2018 Sheppard Pace winner Hickfromfrenchlick. But Grasso didn't have to wait long to confirm his instincts about the horse. Two weeks later at Saratoga, in his second NYSS start, Fromthestartagain set a lifetime mark of 1:53 with Jason Bartlett driving to edge out returning NYSS Champion Reigning Deo by a neck. The field also included 2018 standout Melodies Major. For Grasso, this was his first NYSS win since 2014, when he won with Expressive Action. That homebred trotter earned just shy of $250,000 in his 3-year-old year, helped by a win in the Empire Breeders Classic. Now, through two legs, Fromthestartagain, is the third NYSS highest earner in his division ($30,960). He races next in Buffalo on Wednesday in the third leg of the NYSS, again taking on Melodies Major and Reigning Deo in the $118,800 sixth race. Grasso hopes the pacer can continue to follow in his mother's tracks and record multiple NYSS wins. "He's got a lot of speed and he's learning on the fly. Just like his mother, he likes to win. They like to beat other horses and that's instinctive. You can't teach that," said Grasso. "If he has half the ability she has, he's going to be a great racehorse." Jason Politi    

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, June 3, 2019-After its annual R&R, Yonkers Raceway returns this weekend. A pair of 10-race cards were drawn for Friday and Saturday evenings (June 7th and 8th), with first post the usual 6:50 PM. Twin $44,000 Open Handicaps, for trotters (6th race) and pacers (8th race), highlight the Saturday harness racing program A couple of reminders... --there are morning draws for the cards of Monday, June 10th (box closes Tuesday, June 4th) and Tuesday, June 11th (box closes Thursday, June 6th), before the regular late afternoon draw schedule returns Friday, June 7th (card of Thursday, June 13th). The morning box closes promptly at 9 AM. --when racing resumes, there's a Pick 5 guarantee going into effect. As part of the U.S. Trotting Association's Strategic Wagering Program and with the approval of the New York State Gaming Commission, a $10,000 guarantee is available every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday evening, the first night being Monday, June 10th. Should the sequence go unhit, the current 'instant guarantee' remains leading to the next racing program. The Pick 5 is a 50-cent base wager comprising either races 6 through 10 (10-race card) or 7 through 11 (more than 10-race card). It has no consolation payoff, hence the shot at an 'instant guarantee". More information shall be sent after the June 10th card is drawn.   Frank Drucker Director of Publicity  

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