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YONKERS, NY, Saturday, September 21, 2019- Favored Darling Mearas S (Ake Svanstedt, $4.60) threw down the gauntlet Saturday night (Sept. 21st), winning Yonkers Raceway's $42,000 Open Handicap Trot. Despite no previous small-track experience and having to requalify after two Tioga breaks, Darling Mearas S beat the boys and made them cry. Offering high speed from post position No. 4, Darling Mearas S was gingerly-handled early after making the lead. She was apparently emboldened soon thereafter, stuffing Eye ofa Tiger AS (Jason Bartlett) in behind. A :27.1 opening quarter-mile gave way to a rated :57.4 intermission, and the lass was gone. She widened passing a 1:26.4 three-quarters, taking 2½ lengths into the lane. The margin was 4¼ lengths by the time she hit the wire in 1:54.4. There'sademonimme (George Brennan) lasted for second after trying it first-up, with Will Take Charge (Jordan Stratton) third. Eye ofa Tiger AS and a returning Melady's Monet (Eric Goodell) rounded out the payees. For Darling Mearas S, a 6-year-old Swedish homebred daughter of Cantab Hall trained by her driver for owner Snogarps Gard, it was her second win in 10 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $18.80, the triple returned $170 and the superfecta paid $493. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Friday, September 20, 2019-- Sometimes, there's an unexpected daily double, as in a harness racing track record that went unoticed and glorious photographic evidence to accentuate it. Thursday night (Sept. 19th), the 3-year-old trotting gelding Sheena's Boy (George Brennan, $2.50) trotted away in 1:54.4, setting a Yonkers Raceway track standard for the weight class. The five-length romp in the $16,000, fourth race so inspired 'Sheena' that the hairs on the back of his neck stood up, as the Mike Lizzi photo attests. Sheena's Boy, a gelded son of Trixton, is trained by Ake Svanstedt for co-owners S R F Stable and Knuttson Trotting. The win was his fourth in a dozen seasonal starts. In his previous start, Sheena's Boy was sitting a loose Yonkers Trot pocket to runaway Gimpanzee before breaking, crossing the line fourth but placed sixth while race-timed in 1:54.4. The previous local standard for 3-year-old trotting geldings was 1:55, set by Crazy About Pat (Eric Goodell) in September of 2013. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Friday, September 20, 2019- Feelin' Red Hot (George Brennan, $7.80) held off Alexa's Power (Jason Bartlett) in a two-speed number Friday night (Sept. 20th), winning Yonkers Raceway's $42,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. The assigned eight-hole was again not an impost for Feelin' Red Hot, who made the lead well before a :27.2 opening quarter-mile. She rated a :56.2 intermission before Lispatty (Austin Siegelman) tried it first-up from fourth. It was a weak bid, doing no favors for 7-5 favorite Betterb Chevron N (Jordan Stratton) in behind. Of course, a :27.2 third quarter (1:23.4) made it more difficult. Feelin' Red Hot owned a length-and-a-half into the lane before whipping Alexa's Power by a neck in 1:52.1. A ground-saving Angel's Pride (Joe Bongiorno) was a non-threatening third, with Betterb Chevron N and Lady Dela Renta A (Jim Marohn Jr.) settling for the small change. For second choice Feelin' Red Hot, a 6-year-old daughter of Feelin' Friskie co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke and Weaver Bruscemi, it was her 13th win in 29 seasonal starts (28-for-58 over past two seasons). The exacta paid $30.80, the triple returned $176.50 and the superfecta paid $879. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Friday, September 20, 2019- Yonkers Raceway has announced its field of 10 world-class harness racing entrants for the $1 million Yonkers International Trot, set for Saturday afternoon, Oct. 12th. The 'as of now' list, alphabetically and with country of representation... Atlanta (USA) Bahia Quesnot (France) Cruzado Dela Noche (Sweden) Guardian Angel AS (USA) Lionel (Norway) Marion Marauder (Canada) Norton Commander (Germany) Slide So Easy (Denmark) Uza Josellyn (Switzerland) Zacon Gio (Italy). A year ago, it was 30-1 shot Cruzado Dela Noche who snapped Lionel at the wire in the mile-and-a-quarter event, prevailing in 2:24.3. Marion Marauder finished fifth, with Slide So Easy eighth. This is the 41st International Trot and fifth since it returned after a two-decade hiatus. The special matinee program-first post 1 PM-also features a pair of $250,000 Invitationals, the Harry Harvey Trot (also at 1¼ miles) and Dan Rooney Pace. As in the past, International Trot Day features giveaways, themed food and drink specials, music and more. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

Yonkers, NY-- In what turned out to be an adjustment in the first leg of the third NAADA Trotting Series at Yonkers Raceway tonight, the first harness racing horse under the wire, Ladys Big Stormont driven by Alan Schwartz, was disqualified and placed second which opened the door for Soul Train and driver Joe Lee to walked away with the lions share of the $8000 purse. "Because of tight racing on the final turn I was forced by Soul Train to go over the pylons on the final turn and when I did the judges deemed it was a Euro-rail violation and my horse should not have gotten any advantage, " Schwartz related after the race. " And I didn't, because the judges disqualified my horse and placed Joe's ( Soul Train) first, even though I beat him by a head at the wire." When the wings of the mobile starting gate folded Schwartz gunned his veteran trotter to the lead and they had command in a :28.4 first quarter with Uriel and Tony Ciuffetelli, Jr. pressing hard on the outside. But after the .59.3 half Uriel began to fade and when he did Joe Lee moved Soul Train off the pylons and rallied up alongside Ladys Big Stomont. However, around the final turn with the leaders tightly side by side the infraction occurred which caused Schwartz's trotter to receive a disqualification which allowed Lee's horse to be placed first. Wygant Prince and driver Paul Minore finished third, just one length behind the top two. Next Thursday the NAADA Trotting Series moves on to Monticello Raceway. by John Manzi, for NAADA  

The Standardbred Owners Association of New York’s Executive Director, Alex Dadoyan, will be leaving his harness racing position at the SOA of NY to take a position with MGM Resorts Yonkers Raceway as Director of Racing. “MGM having someone with his knowledge of the racing game will be beneficial in both the short and long term for the racing product at Yonkers, our horsemen and the industry,” said SOA of NY President Joe Faraldo. “The SOA of NY has benefited from having Alex these last six years to help us fulfill long term goals that many said were merely pipe dreams, including the initiation of the only regularly scheduled simulcast of American harness racing which took place from Yonkers Raceway to the French PMU,” Faraldo continued.    “Alex helped the SOA of NY to promote and tighten the global bonds that unite horsemen from North America to Europe to our down under partners in Australia and New Zealand.  Alex’s departure from the SOA leaves big shoes to fill, but we wish Alex well in his transition to MGM, and we look forward to a long and productive relationship with Alex and his colleagues at MGM as we build upon our successes of recent years,” Faraldo concluded. Sometime after the International Trot on October 12th the SOA of NY will be canvassing for a new Executive Director whose duties will include general Administration and handling our Welfare and Retirement Funds in conjunction with the officers, directors and trustees of the Association . From the SOA of NY

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, September 14, 2019- Rock Diamonds N (Ron Cushing, $17.20) and Benhope Rulz N (Shaun Vallee) were a two-speed dance number Saturday night (Sept. 14th), the former winning Yonkers Raceway's $42,000 Open Handicap Pace. Rock Diamonds N, the Master of the Maritimes by virtue of his win in last month's Gold Cup & Saucer, had no issues in his first appearance since early summer. From post position No. 5, he cleared his four inside foes well before a 27-second opening quarter-mile. It was a rated :56.4 intermission, with Benhope Rulz N pocketed and San Domino A (catch-driver Dan Dube) offered a weak, first-up bid from third. Rock Diamonds N threw down a 27-second third quarter (1:23.4) to keep the wolves at bay, taking a length-and-quarter lead into the lane. He then held his pocket pursuer by that same margin in 1:51.3, with The Real One (Pat Lachance), 19-10 fave Micky Gee N (Jordan Stratton) and San Domino A settling for the minors. For fifth choice Rock Diamonds N, a 6-year-old Down Under Rocknroll Hanover gelding co-owned by his escort, Kevin Sywyk and Frank Ranaldi & trained by Heidi Gibbs, it was his eighth win in 18 seasonal starts The exacta paid $90, the triple returned $337.50 and the superfecta paid $1,237. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway  

YONKERS, NY, Harness Racing - It was a grinding Lispatty (Austin Siegelman, $33.80) who prevailed Friday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $42,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. Away an early fourth from post position No. 2, Lispatty improved one place when the 4-5 pole-sitting fave Kaitlyn N (Jason Bartlett) jumped it off. Alexa's Power (Jim Marohn Jr.) and Dibaba N (Eric Goodell) fronted the fray early, with the former leading through subsections of a 27-second flat opening quarter-mile and a :55.4 intermission. Lispatty was out and moving toward a 1:23.4 three-quarters, hooking Alexa's Power in and out of the final turn before putting that one away. Lispatty then held off the lass she towed into it, Angel's Pride (George Brennan), by three-quarters of a length in 1:52.3. Betterb Chevron N (Jordan Stratton), Dibaba N and 'Alexa' settled for the small change. For sixth choice Lispatty, a 6-year-old daughter of McArdle owned by Gilberto Garcia-Owen and trained by Gilberto Garcia-Herrera, it was her eighth win in 27 seasonal starts The exacta paid $156, the triple returned $1,125 and the superfecta paid $3,174. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, September 7, 2019- Favorites Eye ofa Tiger AS (Jason Bartlett, $3.90) and Theartofconfusion A (Austin Siegelman, $4.60) both prevailed Saturday night (Sept. 7th), winning Yonkers Raceway's $46,000 co-featured harness racing Open Handicaps. Eye ofa Tiger AS, assigned outside his seven rivals in the week's marquee trot, made the first lead. He then played leapfrog with Dayson (George Brennan) by a :28.1 opening quarter-mile. Eye ofa Tiger AS found a comfy :57.3 intermission and was moving toward a 1:26.1 three-quarters when Dayson jumped it off in the pocket, leaving the course. Eye ofa Tiger AS owned a length lead into the lane before holding off a ground-saving There'sademoninme (Eric Goodell) by three-quarters of a length in 1:55.1. New Heaven (Jim Marohn Jr.), Barry Black (Troy Beyer) and Fashion Creditor (Siegelman) settled for the minors. For Eye ofa Tiger AS, a 5-year-old statebred Chapter Seven gelding co-owned by ACL Stuteri AB & Kjell Johansson and trained by Anette Lorentzon, it was ninth win in 24 seasonal starts The exacta paid $17.40, the triple returned $57 and the superfecta paid $347.50. The weekly adult pace saw Theartofconfusion A, just removed from his all-age track record, dispose of five foes. From post position No. 4, he led through intervals of :28.2, :56.4, 1:23.4 and 1:51. Pole-assigned Benhope Rulz N (Shaun Vallee) completed a two-speed number at 47-1, with The Real One (Pat Lachance), San Domino A (Bartlett) and I'm Some Graduate (Brennan) picking off the remainder. Micky Gee N (Stratton) did not fire. For Theartofconfusion A, a 9-year-old Down Under Riverboat King gelding co-owned by (trainer) Gilberto Garcia-Herrera and Barbara & Donald Arnstine, it was his seventh win in 25 '19 tries. The exacta paid $61, the triple returned $165 and the superfecta paid $554. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway  

YONKERS, N.Y. – San Domino’s United States harness racing debut went according to plan for trainer Andrew Harris. The Australian import started in a $17,500 overnight at Pocono Downs Aug. 17 and with George Napolitano Jr. in the sulky, tracked from fourth until the field reached the backstretch the final time. Napolitano picked up cover nearing the final turn and San Domino hit his best stride. With his driver horizontal in the bike and with a good hold of the lines, San Domino advanced into a 1:21.4 three-quarter split set by Rebellious. Turning into the stretch, Napolitano kicked out the plugs, angled three-wide, and went to a right-handed whip. San Domino pinned his ears back, extended, and glided past the pacesetter to score by a half-length in 1:49.1. “He was pretty impressive,” Harris said. “He got a perfect drive, George ‘Nap’ did an awesome job, got him a second-over trip. You know because it’s Pocono that you’re going to go fast. You can only put so much stock into a fast mile at Pocono on a nice, sunny day, but it was a good mile to see what he had, and he exploded home. “When he tipped him, he really did have a nice turn of foot, so he did everything that he was supposed to do and he looked great doing it and he came out of the race great,” Harris continued. “There wasn’t anything more to dwell on, it was just, OK, now where’s the limit, where’s the bottom on this horse and where are we going to find that?” By Somebeachsomewhere out of the Maple Lanes Strike mare Reggae Miss, San Domino went 14-for-51 in Australia from February 2016 to May 2019. Although he failed to make an impression in nine tries in grouped stakes company, San Domino earned $140,187 Australian and took a mark of 1:52.2 at Melton April 12, 2019. San Domino attracted the attention of Joe Pennacchio and Steve Oldford, who bought the 6-year-old gelding, imported him to the United States, and sent him to Jenn Bongiorno. After one qualifier for that stable July 30, the owners transferred San Domino to Harris and the new conditioner started dreaming. “It was the question of whether or not he was as good as None Bettor, or better,” Harris said. “It was that kind of mentality with him. I don’t know that they can compare them, but he is definitely a very nice horse, that’s for sure.” When he arrived in the barn, San Domino proved to have a big personality. “He goes out in the field with the Kiwi horses, loves his field time. He’s got a little quirk to him, he’s got a little bit of sass to him, but nothing serious,” Harris said. “In the barn, he’s great. His caretaker, Jamie, takes great care of him and loves him and he clearly loves her. He plays around a lot, but he lets you know he’s got a little attitude. He’s not all just friendly. If you get too close, he’ll let you pet him for about five seconds then all the sudden, he lets you know that’s enough.” On the track, San Domino takes his time, but Harris obliges the talented pacer’s laid-back training style. “On the track, it takes an extra 10 minutes to jog him than any other horse in the barn. Very lazy horse, just does everything at his own pace,” Harris said. “We let him get away with that, it keeps him happy. Training, he picks up the bit a little bit. He’s still not super aggressive, but he lets you know he’s got a little bit of a hold of you.” After his sparkling debut at Pocono, Harris brought San Domino to a $30,000 Yonkers overnight August 24. Starting from post three, Jason Bartlett put the gelding on the lead. Although he went gate-to-wire, he won by a neck in 1:52.2 as Rodeo Rock appeared to give San Domino all he could handle in the stretch. However, Harris thinks there is more in the tank. “He was actually a little bit sick and I don’t think his game is front-end. He’s just not used to being on the front-end. Most of his races down under were coming from off the pace,” Harris said. “I had an open bridle on him and Jason said his ears were going back and forth because he was looking at everything. I think it would have been more impressive last week if he wasn’t on the front because he would have been concentrating.” Harris added a hood with eye cups and San Domino responded well to them in training. He will start with the change of equipment in Saturday night’s $46,000 Open Handicap Pace. “It will be different this week because we’re adding a hood with eye cups to him so he can focus a little bit more on what’s in front of him and not what’s beside him,” Harris said. “Jason said even finishing, he wasn’t done at all, he was just looking at everything and he didn’t know what he was doing. It was almost like he was green up front. When you’ve got him on a helmet, he’s got a nice hold at the end and he lets you know he’s ready to explode whenever you want it. On the front was a totally different animal, and I wasn’t expecting that.” San Domino will start from post five in his first local Open try, just outside of Theartofconfusion, who established a new standard at Yonkers last week. The fellow Australian-bred pacer went to the front in race 11 on the Yonkers Trot and Messenger undercard, a $30,000 overnight. With Austin Siegelman in the bike for trainer Gilbert Garcia-Herrera, Theartofconfusion streaked through fractions of :26.2, :54.2, and 1:21.3 before kicking away in the stretch to win by 10 lengths in 1:49.3, logging the first sub-1:50 mile in the history of the Hilltop oval. “I think the way the Yonkers track is, it was going to break 1:50 sooner or later. The track is so good right now, I knew that kind of speed would be coming, didn’t know when, but it sure came the other night,” Harris said. “I’m surprised it came in a late race, not in the early races. That horse is a good horse, Gilbert does a fantastic job his with horses. Nothing surprises me with speed at Yonkers. When you shake a loose lead and you can keep carrying your speed. The horse obviously finished up strong. Those type of horses love to do that when they can shake loose.” The six-pack of pacers in the Saturday co-feature also include last week’s Preferred Pace winner Mickey Gee, who will start from the outside for Lance Hudson, last week’s Open runner up I’m Some Graduate, who will start from an assigned post two for George Brennan and Ron Burke, and The Real One, winner of the Open in two of his last five tries. Benhope Rulz completes the lineup. “I hope that we’re not on the front,” Harris said of San Domino. “I don’t ever tell Jason how to drive, but I can’t see Austin taking back. I have to think off that mile, that Austin will be going forward. I think we’ll be off the pace, but who knows once the gate folds. “I definitely think if we manage him properly, he’ll be a Levy horse next year,” Harris said. “He’s going to be a fun horse. We just have to keep him healthy, happy, and sound and he’ll do the rest.” Saturday night’s card also features the weekly $46,000 Open Handicap Trot and the $37,000 4-Year-Old Open Handicap Pace. By Brandon Valvo, for the SOA of NY

YONKERS, NY, Friday, September 6, 2019 - A from-last, favored Betterb Chevron N (Jordan Stratton, $4.80) prevailed in the late going Friday night (Sept, 6th), winning Yonkers Raceway's soggy harness racing $46,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. Away last-from post position No. 5-among the half-dozen (reduced after a defection), Betterb Chevron N saw Wisdom Tree (Jason Bartlett) and Reclamation alternate up front, the latter grabbing the lead before a :26.3 opening quarter-mile. It was a :55.3 intermission before D G's Elsa (Joe Bongiorno) make a weak bid from fourth. That forced Betterb Chevron N wide early before a 1:23.4 three-quarters. Reclamation owned a length lead in and out of the final turn. Wisdom Tree edged off the cones, about to win the battle but lose the war. Wisdom Tree picked off Reclamation, but could not stall the people's preference. Betterb Chevron N prevailed by a length in 1:53.2. Wisdom Tree did snatch second, with Reclamation, Lispatty (Austin Siegelman) and Angel's Pride (Brian Sears) settling the remainder. For Betterb Chevron N, a 6-year-old Down Under daughter of Bettor's Delight owned by William Hartt and trained by Lance Hudson, it was her eighth win in 21 seasonal starts The exacta paid $47, the triple returned $121 and the superfecta paid $347.50. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Thursday, September 5, 2019 - It was the Sweet 16th and final downstate Empire visit of the season Thursday night (Sept. 5th), with Yonkers Raceway hosting the $161,500 New York Sire Stakes Mike Cipriani Trot for harness racing 3-year-old fillies. All of 10 lasses entered, so a pair of $80,750 quintets comprised the event. The opener immediately had a different look when 1-10 favorite Quincy Blue Chip (Jim Morrill Jr.) jumped it off. That left pole-sitting Sensibility (Scott Zeron, $11.60) to her own devices, and she finished what she started (:28.4, :58.2, 1:27.2, 1:56.2). Stella Jane (Jason Bartlett) chased around the oval, missing a neck, with Pilgrim's Lass (Jim Marohn Jr.) third. For Sensibility, a daughter of Muscle Mass co-owned by (trainer) George Ducharme, W J Donovan, Joe Sbrocco and Jim Winske, it was his second win in 11 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $54.50, with neither triple nor superfecta wagering offered to the abbreviated number of starters. The second sire stakes event saw Winndevie (Bartlett, $2.30) get stung early by Sweet Chapter (Matt Kakaley) before making the lead and drawing out. From post position No. 5, she had no issues (:28.1, :58, 1:26.2, 1:55), the final margin 4½ length. Sweet Chapter finished more than seven lengths ahead of Gobi Princess (Jordan Stratton). For Winndevie, a Credit Winner miss owned by Purple Haze Stables and trained by Trond Smedshammer, it was her fourth win in 10 '19 tries. The exacta (two wagering choices) paid $4.40, again with neither triple nor superfecta wagering offered due to insufficient participants. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, September 3, 2019-Yonkers Raceway Tuesday night (Sept. 3rd) offered the $150,400 New York Sire Stakes Lew Barasch Trot for harness racing 2-year-old colts and geldings. Tuesday's event once again honored the memory of 'Tootie,' whose unmatched PR savvy in the golden age of the game helped make the nascent Roosevelt International Trot a happening. There were two divisions, including one off the card. Berkery J (Dave Miller), from the outside post position No. 5, sat pocketed to Barn Holden (Andy Miller) in the $74,500 non-bettor. Barn Holden led through intervals of :29, :59.2 and 1:28.3, taking a length-and-a-quarter lead into the lane. He couldn't stall his stalker, as Berkery J went right by, widening to a length-and-a-half in a life-best 1:57.3. Sky Castles (Charlie Norris) was a best-of-the-rest third, beating a pair of breakers. For Berkery J, a son of Chapter Seven owned by Ken Jacobs and trained by George Ducharme, it was his third win in eight seasonal starts. "He was a lot of fun," Dave Miller said. "He did it on his own." The $75,900 wagering division wound up quite formful as odds-on Chaptiama (Trond Smedshammer, $3.20) made the pole work for him (:29.2, :59.4, 1:29.1, 1:57). Bourbon Express (Jason Bartlett) chased the winner around the oval, beaten a length-and-a-quarter. Hobbs (Greg Merton) and Altus Hanover (Mike Simons) rounded out the gimmick finishers. For Chaptiama, a homebred Chapter Seven gelding trained by his driver for owner Purple Haze Stables, it was his second (consecutive) win in seven '19 tries. The exacta paid $6, the triple (three wagering favorites in order) paid $11 and the superfecta paid $49. "We train him with shoes, then take them of when he races, except for Monticello," Smedshammer said. "He's the shoeless wonder." New York Sire Stakes wrap for the downstate season Thursday night (Sept. 5th), with the $161,500 Mike Cipriani Trot for 3-year-old fillies. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway  

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, September 1, 2019--Yonkers Raceway's Saturday night (Aug. 31st) four-stakes program, which offered nearly $1.25 million in stakes purses alone, was well-received at the windows...real or electronic. The dozen-race Yonkers Trot/Messenger Stakes/Hudson Filly Trot/Lady Maud card had a total handle of $1,037,833. Note once again the Raceway is dark for the live racing Labor Day (Monday, Sept., 2nd), returning Tuesday night (Sept. 3rd) with the $150,400 New York Sire Stakes Lew Barasch Trot for the 2-year-old colts and geldings (one division off the card, one included in wagering card). Tuesday's program also includes a $10,000 guaranteed pool Pick 5 (50-cent base wager, races 7 through 11). Program pages accompany this release. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, August 31, 2019-It there was a better harness racing advertisement for New York-breds than the one Yonkers Raceway displayed Saturday night (Aug. 31st), one would be hard-pressed to find it. Odds-on favorite Gimpanzee (Brian Sears, $2.60) gave nothing else a chance in the 65th Yonkers Trot, dusting his seven foes in a track-record performance. From post position No. 4 in the $500,000 foray, Gimpanzee took the lead from 127-1 number Sheena's Boy before a 28-second opening quarter-mile. The early portion of the race included a pair of jumpers in Osterc (George Brennan) and Livinonthedash (Marcus Miller). While those two miscreants were leaving the course, Hambletonian winner Forbidden Trade (Bob McClure) was easing into a four-hole. That four-hole became a three-hole after Soul Strong (Dexter Dunn) broke. Meanwhile, Gimpanzee was all by his lonesome at the :56.4 half. Then, for good measure, he threw down a :56.4 back half, the result a 1:53.3, 4¼-length win in the second jewel of the Trotting Triple Crown. The mile was a track record for 3-year-old cots and the fastest Trot held here (Windsong's Legacy won the 2004 edition at Hawthorne in a stakes-record 1:53.1). Forbidden Trade, though no threat to the winner, was a credible, two-move second (in horse's and driver's first local appearance). A recovering Soul Strong was third, with 199-1 rank outsider No Drama Please (Jason Bartlett) and HL Revadon (Jim Marohn Jr.) moved up to fourth and fifth, respectively, after Sheena's Boy broke in a tiring pocket, disqualified from fourth to sixth. Osterc and Livinonthedash rounded out the order. For newly-minted millionaire Gimpanzee, a statebred son of Chapter Seven co-owned by Courant Inc. and S R F Stable, it was his fifth win in seven seasonal starts (career 14-for-26, $1,145,996) The exacta paid $8.50, the triple returned $18 and the superfecta paid $269. Gimpanzee has won all five of his Westchester starts, while Sears won his fourth Yonkers Trot. "All the credit to Marcus (Melander) and his outfit," Sears said. "He's been a total pro from the first time I sat behind him, just so mature and he was ready tonight. It's just a pleasure to be a part of it." "When the draw came out, I knew it was his race to lose," Melander said of the defending statebred and overall divisional champion. He's been great on a half (-mile track). "He lays down in the turns over like a motorcycle. "This is an amazing race to win and I don't think there is a better 3-year-old on a half-mile track and I think he showed it tonight." A race later, the half-million-dollar 64th Messenger Stakes found American Mercury (Tyler Buter, $16.20) finding room inside and picking off 1-20 favorite Bettor's Wish (Dexter Dunn) in 1:51.3. Pole-sitting Bettor's Wish, as expected, left the gate, while American Mercury-from post No. 3-stepped around Branquinho (Ray Schnittker) and into an early pocket. They weren't going that much (:27., :55.3), not even when U S Captain (Bartlett) moved from fourth. That one did draw alongside Bettor's Wish, however, in a modest 28-second (1:23.3) third quarter. That left Buter with a decision...swing off the cones or hope to find room inside. Bettor's Wish-the lone $30,000 supplemental entrant into the race-owned a length lead into the lane, gradually disposing of U S Captain. A patient American Mercury was loaded, though, needing a path to ply his craft. He was obliged when Bettor's Wish bore out and the pursuer took down the prohibitive fave, winning the second jewel of the Pacing Triple Crown by a head. U S Captain was third, with Branquinho and Escapetothebeach (Corey Callahan) grabbing the minors. Waterway (Joe Bongiorno), Aflame Hanover (Sears) and Reigning Deo (George Brennan) brought up the rear. American Mercury (No.3) picking off 1-20 favorite Bettor’s Wish (Dexter Dunn)   --Mike Lizzi photo It was the first Triple Crown win of Buter's career. For second choice American Mercury, a soph Empire-bred American Ideal gelding co-owned by Crawford Racing, Northfork Racing, Chuck Pompey & Scott Bice and trained by Chris Oakes, it was his seventh win in 10 '19 tries. The exacta paid $22, the triple returned $57.50 and the superfecta paid $308.50. "He was super-sharp coming into the race," Buter said. "First and foremost, I owe [trainer] Chris [Oakes] a big thank you for giving me a shot on this horse. It's been a fun ride all summer, driving him and traveling New York. He definitely came through tonight and showed everybody what he can do. "I came off Dexter (Dunn)'s helmet there and he kicked on the gas. I think that might have been the winning move, because if I stayed there, Dexter was probably going to back into me as much as he could. So then, as soon as I was off his helmet, Dexter stepped on the gas, and I was able to get back down the inside and find a little room late, and it worked out" Asked when the 'switch went on' for American Mercury, Oakes offered, "When I gelded him. He was kind of a big, growthy 2-year-old. He had a lot of ability; we loved him training down, and quite honestly wasn't quite as good as I thought he would be at 2, even though he raced some pretty good miles. Bringing him back at three, he was training good, but I just thought he'd probably be more focused, mentally, for racing, as a gelding. We made that decision and I honestly believe it helped him a lot. "He means business now."   by Frank Drucker for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, August 31, 2019--It was an loud Saturday night (Aug. 31st) exclamation point after the stakes portion of Yonkers Raceway Triple Crown harness racing program. Theartofconfusion A (Austin Siegelman, $8.30) rewrote the local track record books to the tune of 1:49.3, Yonkers Raceway's first-ever sub-1:50 mile. From post position No. 4 in the $30,000, 11th-race pace, Theartofconfusion A ('I just let him roll,' Siegelman said) gave nothing else a shot. The confirmed off-the-pace number this night plowed through intervals of :26.2, :54.2 and 1:21.3. His lead increased from 2½ lengths at the half to five lengths at the three-quarters to six lengths in and out of the final turn. The final margin was an obscene 10 lengths, taking two-fifths of a second off the previous Westchester record held in thirds by The Real One (Pat Lachance, 2016). Tequila Monday (Matt Kakaley, this past June) and American History (Joe Bongiorno, a week ago Saturday). Mach N Cheese (Eric Goodell) was a more-than-distant second as the 4-5 favorite, while Fine Diamond (George Brennan) and Elwell (Jim Marohn Jr.) rounded out the gimmick finishers.                                                                                            --Mike Lizzi photo For second choice Theartofconfusion A, a 9-year-old Down Under Riverboat King gelding co-owned by (trainer) Gilberto Garcia-Herrera and Barbara & Donald Arnstine, it was his sixth win in 25 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $18.60, the triple returned $297 and the superfecta paid $1,279.   by Frank Drucker for Yonkers Raceway

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