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

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

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

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, December 3, 2017—Rank outsider Tight Lines (Jeff Gregory, $62.50) was the ground-saving harness racing star Sunday morning (Dec. 3rd), winning Yonkers Raceway’s $40,000 Open Handicap Trot. With just a seven-horse field, the weekly trotting feature went as the late-morning opener, before the seven ‘French’ trots. In play from post position No. 5, Tight Lines actually surrendered an early pocket to lone lass Charmed Life (Yannick Gingras), as both sat behind just-over-even-money favorite Melady’s Monet (Jason Bartlett). Meanwhile, Rubber Duck (Joe Bongiorno) found himself in no man’s land and rushed up to prompt early intervals of :27.3 and :56.4. Going toward the 1:25.4 three-quarters, Rubber Duck was retreating. Melady’s Monet, meanwhile, owned a length lead into the lane before Charmed Life pulled pocket. The lady went past ‘Melady,’ but a cone-skimming Tight Lines went past both of ‘em. Tight Lines defeated Charmed Life by a half-length in 1:55.1. Melady’s Monet faded to third. The minors went to DW’s NY Yank (Jordan Stratton) and Muscles on Fire (Brent Holland). For Tight Lines, a 4-year-old Yankee Glide gelding co-owned by his trainer/driver, Jesmeral Stable and William Richardson, it was his 10th win in 24 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $164.50, with the triple returning $530. Those sagacious handicappers who unearthed Tight Lines and Taco Tuesday (Dan Dube, $41.80) in the $26,000, second-race trot took home a season-high $1,279 daily double (last Sunday’s early double paid $1,162), This ‘New York, New York Double’ saw a winning combination of 4-Dream Pauline (Aqueduct’s 3rd race) and 3-Gruden (Yonkers’ 5th race) returned $13.30 for every correct $1 wager. Total pool was $4,927. Sunday matinees, along with the ‘New York, New York Double,’ conclude Dec. 17th (post time TBA). It’s the final program of the season. A friendly reminder from Yonkers Raceway that Monday evening’s (Dec. 4th) Pick 5 wager starts with a carryover of $2,036.97. The Pick 5 is a 50-cent base wager comprising races 7 through 11 during every racing card. It has no consolation payoff, meaning if no one selects all five winners (as was the case Sunday afternoon), the entire pool (minus takeout) moves to the next racing program. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, December 2, 2017—Pole-assigned Thisjetsabookin’ (Jordan Stratton, $11.60) needed every bit of a perfect pocket trip Saturday night (Dec. 2nd), winning Yonkers Raceway’s harness racing $40,000 Open Handicap Pace. It was 11-10 favorite Caviart Luca (George Brennan) as the only leaver, working around Thisjetsabookin’ before a :27.2 opening quarter-mile. After a :56.1 intermission, The Real One (Pat Lachance) took out of fourth. He engaged the leader in and or of a 1:24.2 three-quarters, actually poking his noggin in front. While Caviart Luca and The Real One were just about in synchronized step entering the lane, Thisjetsabookin’ was patiently awaiting his turn. He ducked inside, making it a three-way scrum. The short route was the best route, as Thisjetsabookin’ won by a neck in 1:52.4…matching his season’s-best effort. The Real One won the battle, but lost the war, with Caviart Luca, Orillia Joe (Brent Holland) and Bakersfield (Greg Merton) rounding out the payees.       For third choice Thisjetsabookin’, 5-year-old Jereme’s Jet gelding owned by William Emmon and trained by William Adamczyk, it was his fifth win in 19 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $61, with the triple returning $177. Sunday matinees continue tomorrow (Dec. 3rd), with first post of 11:45 AM. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Friday, December 1, 2017— It wasn’t terribly attractive, but certainly effective. Odds-on Mackenzie A (Jordan Stratton, $2.90) did her thing from first-up Friday night (Dec. 1st), winning Yonkers Raceway’s $40,000 harness racing filly and mare Open Pace. Away fifth from the pole in the scratch-abbreviated field of seven, the Matchmaker victress saw Call Me Queen Be (Eric Goodell) outleave all of her inside rivals, working around Best of Jenna (Mark MacDonald) with All About Madi (George Brennan) third. After early intervals of :26.4 and :56, Mackenzie A moved. She engaged Call Me Queen Be in and out of a 1:24.3 three-quarters, despite not steering all that well. Call Me Queen Be maintained a short lead off the final turn, but her pursuer was relentless. Mackenzie A forged past in mid-stretch, prevailing in 1:54. Best of Jenna was a pocket second, missing a half-length at 33-1. She did ‘photo’ an angled-out All About Madi, with Call Me Queen Be and Regil Elektra (Joe Bongiorno) coming away with the remainder.   For Mackenzie A, a 5-year-old Down Under daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven co-owned by Ellen Kinser & Harry von Knoblauch Stables and trained by Peter Tritton, it was her fourth win in 13 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $41.60, with the triple returning $84.50. A friendly reminder from Yonkers Raceway that Saturday evening’s (Dec. 2nd) Pick 5 wager starts with a carryover of $2,687.64. The Pick 5 is a 50-cent base wager comprising races 7 through 11 during every racing card. It has no consolation payoff, meaning if no one selects all five winners (as was the case Friday night), the entire pool (minus takeout) moves to the next racing program. Frank Drucker

Yonkers, NY--When harness racing amatuer Alan Schwartz claimed Ladys Big Stormont for $12,500 in early July of last season he knew he was purchasing a quality trotter and after owning the Earl of Stormont gelding for over a year and a half the trotter has returned his purchase price 'four fold'. Tonight (December 1) at Yonkers Raceway, in the $15,000 NAADA Trotting Series Final, Schwartz and his trusty steed kept all comers at bay and went on to score a neck triumph over Wygant Prince and driver Paul Minore in 2:00. Another neck behind the leaders in third place was Peter Kleinhans and Toss Cartwright After starting from the five-hole Schwartz sent Ladys Big Stormont toward the front as the wings of the mobile gate folded but Dave Yarock had the same idea with Mr Ridgetaker and they gained command midway around the first turn. Schwartz and Ladys Big Stormont then settled in along the pylons in third position directly behind Pail Minore's Wygant Prince and the three trotters raced in file order past the first stanza in :28.4 Yarock then led the field by the halfway point in :59.4 and although Schwartz was anxious he waited until they straightened up the backside to move Ladys Big Stormont. "When I pulled him he shot up alongside Yarock's trotter and we raced head to head to the three quarters and around the final turn and we finally cleared to the lead as we headed down the homestretch," Schwartz related. But trouble was coming when Minore moved Wygant Prince to the passing lane and Peter Kleinhans rallied Toss Cartwright on the outside and the three trotters charged side by side for paydirt "My horse was real gritty and he turned back the challengers and we held on for a neck victory over Paul's trotter. Peter's horse finished third ," Schwartz said. To say that Ladys Big Stormont is currently at the top of his game would be an understatement. In his last eight races the venerable trotter has five wins and three seconds and for the season Ladys Big Stormont reached the winners circle 11 times. Add that to 10 seconds and four thirds and the 6-year-old Earl of Stormont gelding raised his seasonal earnings to over $55,000. by John Manzi for NAADA

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, November 28, 2017—Yonkers Raceway turned into Monti-cello Tuesday night (Nov. 28th), as western New York harness racing driving standout Drew Monti won his first local race. Monti, who has been making sporadic sojourns downstate, went up and over with Classy Lane Rose ($10.80) in the $15,000, seventh-race pace. The 7-year-old daughter of Jereme’s Jet crossed the line in a comfortable 1:54.4. It was Monti’s first Westchester victory in his fifth try this season. The winner is owned by Monti‘s grandfather, Carl, and trained by Steven Weaver. “We originally claimed (Classy Lane Rose) here from Yonkers for $20,000 (base price) and gave her some time off. She’s raced well for us in the top class back home (eight wins and more than $84,000 overall this season). Shaw was back in for the same price again tonight. “It’s just the next level,” Monti said of his Yonkers experience. “The money is certainly better, the horses are smoother and the drivers rarely make mistakes, so I really have to be on my toes.” Monti, who had success at the Meadowlands last winter, said he’d consider trying the tri-state area more once the current Batavia season ends in mid-December.         “I know Yonkers closes around then (Dec. 17th) also, but when you guys start back up in January, I may come down early in the week and see what happens.” The 23-year-old Monti has compiled personal best in wins (281) and purses ($1.7 million) this season.   Frank Drucker

YONKERS,NY - "Yankee Joe" Lee is celebrating today. And why shouldn't he? After all, he just scored the biggest triumph of his amateur harness racing career when he guided Dizzy Rizzy to a 2:34 victory over the 1-1/4 mile distance in the $25,000 CKG Billings Gold Cup Final this morning (Nov. 26) at Yonkers Raceway. Second place went to Wygant Prince and driver "Coach Paul" Minore while "Tough Tony" Ciuffettelli garnered the show dough with Aventure. A true amateur driver Lee has no race horses of his own and no specific trainer who he drives for and although he always gets first call on horses trained by Bruce Aldrich Sr. Lee travels the amateur circuit seeking drives wherever he can. Driving today for trainer Nick Surick, whose trotter won the Billings Gold Cup last year at Harrah's Chester with "Hurricane Hannah " Miller at the controls, victory didn't come easy for Lee who has plenty of supporters at Yankee Stadium where he serves as the assistant locker room attendant for the New York Yankees. "We had tough trip today but we got the job done," Lee related. "I tried leaving but Steve Oldford (with Gonna Fly) was giving Paul Minore and Wygant Prince a tough time. I then tried to slip down on the pylons to no avail but got lucky when Bob Krivelin's horse made a break. "Sitting third I thought I had a good spot. Then Oldford pulled the pocket with over a half mile to go so I got to slip into the two hole. At the top of the stretch I rolled out of the pocket grunted at her (Dizzy Lizzy) a little and she rolled right past the leader and got there in time. I'm real honored to win the Billings Gold Cup for her connections." It was the 11th victory this year for Dizzy Rizzy, a 7 year old Ken Warkentin mare. She is owned by the Nick Surick Stables, J L Benson Stables and Hannah Miller. A rising star in the amateur ranks Lee's victory was his 15th this season after garnering 10 last year. His career began in 2010 but earnestly in just the past three seasons. The $15,000 Billings Silver Cup Final was also a big thrill for driver Bobby "Rapid Robert" Ciavardini who also scored the biggest victory of his career when he guided Baltimor AS to a 2:32.2 triumph As a youngster Ciavardini dabbled in harness racing but upon retirement from a professional career he got back into harness racing and his victory today was paramount to him, especially driving the family horse. Now with a new trainer Ciavardini and Baltimor AS started from the two hole and enjoyed a two-hole journey. Following the lead set by Fox Valley Steffen and driver by "Doctor John" Kokinos Ciavardini got lucky when Kokinos carried them all the way to the top of the stretch. At that point Ciavardini moved off the pylons and rallied his veteran trotter to a head triumph over Fox Valley Steffen. Peter "Enough Talk" Kleinhans finished third with Toss Cartwright. Baltimor AS is an 8-year-old Credit Winner gelding owned by Richard, Diane and Robert Ciavardini and trained by Tom Milici. Both races went as non-wagering events. by John Manzi for the Billings Series

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, November 26, 2017— Last season’s New York Sire Stakes champ (and Yonkers Trot runner-up) Smalltownthrowdown (Yannick Gingras, $6.40) maintained this seasons harness racing form spree Sunday afternoon (Nov. 26th), winning Yonkers Raceway’s $40,000 Open Handicap Trot. With just a happy half-dozen, the weekly trotting feature went at the flat mile, after the first seven ‘French’ trots. Smalltownthrowdown, having won his last six races out of town, made short work of his inside five rivals in his local return.   As the only leaver, he toured the terrain (:27.3, :59, 1:28, 1:56.4), taking no pressure whatsoever. Smalltownthrowdown lead by a length-and-a-quarter in and out of the final turn, with the final margin a length. Pole-assigned Buen Camino (Brian Sears) chased from the pocket and saved second over Melady’s Monet (Jason Bartlett). ‘Melady,’ as the 2-5 favorite, was content to sit third until the three-quarters, when he left the cones but never seriously threatened. Wings of Royalty (Steve Smith) crossed the line fourth, but was set down to fifth (behind DW’s NY Yank [George Brennan]) for picking off a pylon early in the lane. Home’n Dray (Matt Kakaley) brought up the rear.      For second choice ‘Smalltown,’ a 4-year-old Cash Hall gelding co-owned (as Allard Racing) by (trainer) Rene Allard, Yves Sarazin, VIP Internet Stable and Bruce Soulsby, it was his eighth win in 14 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $50, the triple returned $100 and the superfeata paid $508. If you were a shrewd, late-morning handicapper, you made some holiday coin and then some. Time Outa Jail (Bartlett, $67) and Dressed to Impress (Gingras, $29.80) combined for a $1,162 early double, while the winners led respective fat exotics…$600 exacta/$2,210 triple (first race) & $633 exacta/$6,495 triple (second race).   This ‘New York, New York Double’ saw a winning combination of 4-Archival (Aqueduct’s 3rd race) and  5-I  C Caviar (Yonkers’ 6th race) returned $8.20 for every correct $1 wager. Total pool was $3,073. Sunday matinees, along with the ‘New York, New York Double,’ return Dec. 3rd (post time TBA). Frank Drucker, Yonkers Raceway Publicity Director

YONKERS, NY - The 36th season of the granddaddy of all harness racing amateur series, the CKG Billings Harness Driving Series will culminate with Gold and Silver Cup Championship Finals at Yonkers Raceway on Sunday morning, November 26. The Gold Cup finale will be raced for a purse of $25,000 while the Silver Cup final will go for $15,000 prior to the betting card getting underway. The planned post time for the Silver Cup Final will be at 10:00AM followed immediately by the Gold Cup Final. Both races will have 10-horse fields and be contested over the distance of 1-1/4 miles. The Billings races on Sunday will mark a change from recent years in that they will be contested over a half-mile track when many previous finales were raced on bigger ovals. Contesting over a half-mile track and at a distance of 1-1/4 miles the driving strategies will certainly differ than those over a five eighths or mile ovals. Last year's defending Gold Cup Final winner, Hannah Miller, is not competing this season. Various rules determined the fields of the finales. The $15,000 Silver Cup Final ,with drivers in post -position order lines up below followed by the entries and drivers in the $25,000 Gold Cup Final $15,000 CKG BILLINGS SILVER CUP FINAL---post time 10:00AM 1-Fox Valley Steffen - John Kokinos 2-Baltimor AS - Bob Ciaverdini 3-Six Bax - Scott Woogen 4-Fiji - Dave Offenberg 5- Pine Tab - Dien Spiggs 6-Dial A Chic - Robert Kenney 7-Soul Train - Dave Drew 8-Toss Cartwright - Peter Kleinhans 9-Summit City Frank - Matt Zuccarello 10-Tough Get Going - Joe Faraldo $25,000 CKG BILLINGS GOLD CUP FINAL--post time 10:10AM 1-Gonna Fly - Steve Oldford 2-Permanent Joy - Robert Krivelin 3-War Cry Hall - Robert Hechkoff 4-Wygant Prince - Paul Minore 5-Dizzy Rizzy - Joe Lee 6-Jelectric - Bob Davis 7-Flirting Duesy - Tony Verruso 8-Celebrity Stimulus - David Glasser 9-Landonfitz - Davis Yarock 10-Aventure - Tony Ciuffettelli by John Manzi for the CKG Billings Amateur Driving Series  

Outstanding news from Yonkers Raceway today. Word came down this afternoon that Robert (Cammie) Haughton has been appointed to the newly-created position of Director of Racing at the historic Westchester half-mile harness oval. Cammie is an astute harness racing executive, former horseman, stout advocate of the game, and a good guy. In a phrase: highly qualified.   Haughton, 57, had been serving as the Raceway’s racing consultant, and is a former presiding judge at both the Meadowlands and Yonkers.   The son of Hall of Famer Billy Haughton, thus has been part of the fabric of the harness game since boyhood. The apple didn’t fall far from the tree.   He also worked as assistant race secretary at Saratoga Raceway following his career as a trainer-driver, and we remember it well during the heyday of Yonkers and Roosevelt. It’s always a joy to reminsce with Cammie about his legendary dad, his late great brother Peter, and check in to see how his mother Dorothy is doing.   JC and Cammie on this year’s Yonkers International Trot cruise “Cammie’s job is to improve our handle,” Yonkers COO Bob Galterio said. “We value his experience, and I would expect him to work in tandem with race secretary Steve Starr, presiding judge Nick Ferriero and the horsemen to do just that.”   “I’m looking forward to starting my new position,” Haughton said. “I definitely believe Yonkers’ product is as good as any in the sport, and all of us are committed to getting the racing fans to take notice.”   Cammie led the world class trotters onto the track for this year’s Yonkers International

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, November 19, 2017—Odds-on Charmed Life (Yannick Gingras, $3.50) slapped the harness racing boys silly again Sunday afternoon (Nov. 19th), winning Yonkers Raceway’s windy $40,000 Open Trot. With ‘only’ a seven-horse field, the weekly trotting feature went at the flat mile, the late-morning opener First-up a week ago, Charmed Life was in play early here. From post position No. 5, she found front well before a :27.2 opening quarter-mile. Lookslikeachpndale (Dan Dube), who left directly outside of the lass, was hard-used just to cram into the pocket. Once Charmed Life made the lead, there wasn’t a whole lot of suspense. She finished off her pre-noon rounds (:58.2, 1:27.3, 1:56.3), with only minimal outside grief from Home’n Dry (Jason Bartlett).  That one moved from fifth and challenged to the final turn before backing away. The margin was a couple of lengths in and out of the final turn and three-quarters of a length at the wire. ‘Chpndale’ easily saved second, while DW’s NY Yank (George Brennan) Buen Camino (Brian Sears) and Tight Lines (Jeff Gregory) were relegated to the minors.   For Charmed Life, a 7-year-old millionairess daughter of Majestic Son co-owned (as Allard Racing) by (trainer) Rene Allard, Yves Sarazin and VIP Internet Stable, it was her eighth win in 23 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $17, with the triple returning $81.50. The scheduled ‘New York, New York Double’ was cancelled after Aqueduct scrapped its card. Sunday matinees, along with the weather-permitting ‘New York, New York Double,’ return Nov. 26th (post time TBA). Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Friday, November 17, 2017—Call Me Queen Be (Eric Goodell, $8.20) retook the lead early and grudgingly held it late Friday night (Nov. 17th), winning Yonkers Raceway’s blindly-drawn (by modern technology) $40,000 harness racing filly and mare Open Pace. Away second from post potion No. 2, ‘Queen Be’ at first was pocketed to HP Sissy (Dan Dube) then retook before a :27.2 opening quarter-mile. It was a :56.1 intermission when Regil Elektra (Joe Bongiorno) offered a fruitless, first-up bid from fifth. Meanwhile, Call Me Queen Be maintained her social status in and out of a 1:24.3 three-quarters, taking a length-and-a-half lead into the lane. She would need just about all of it. Slight 5-2 favorite All About Madi (Brian Sears), who won the draw but sat a loose three-hole, stormed home inside. ‘Madi’s’ memo arrived a tad late as she missed a scant nose in 1:53.3. Mach it a Par (Jason Bartlett) left the cones to snatch third, beaten a half-length. HP Sissy and She’sjustadelight N (Ron Cushing) settled for the pre-turkey leftovers. For tepid second choice Call Me Queen Be, a 4-year-old millionairess daughter of Somebeachsomewhere co-owned by Let it Ride Stables & Dana Parham and trained by Ross Croghan, it was her fourth win in 19 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $21.40, with the triple returning $63.50. A friendly reminder from Yonkers Raceway that Saturday evening’s (Nov. 18th) Pick 5 wager starts with a carryover of $3,867.20. The Pick 5 is a 50-cent base wager comprising races 7 through 11 during every racing card. It has no consolation payoff, meaning if no one selects all five winners (as was the case Friday night), the entire pool (minus takeout) moves to the next racing program. Frank Drucker  

YONKERS, NY --The final preliminary contests prior to the series finale in the NAADA Fall Trotting Series were staged before the harness racing betting card at Yonkers Raceway on Friday night(Nov. 17) and when the judges hung the official signs Paul Minore and Joe Faraldo emerge victorious in their respective divisions. Minore won with his old warhorse Wygant Prince in 2:01 while Faraldo scored behind Tough Get Going in 2:00.1. In his contest Minore worked out a perfect two-hole journey behind Bobby Krivelin's Connie Keeper. "Krivelin had to pole position and he raced to the lead and since I had the two hole I fell in behind him on the first turn," Minore explained. Once the field settled Minore just played follow the leader which he did until the homestretch. "When we rounded the final turn I eyed the passing lane and then angled Wygant there and he trotted on to one length victory over Krivelin's horse.," Minore added. Peter Kleinhans and Toss Cartwright finished second with the pacesetter Connie Keeper third. Minore owns the 10-year-old altered son of SJ's Photo who's trained by Taylor Gower. It was Wygant Prince's second consecutive victory and fifth this season." It was also the 93rd lifetime driving victory for Minore, a retired New Jersey high school track and field coach whose most famous pupil was world champion Carl Lewis. In the other split NAADA president Joe Faraldo smoked 'em with a solid 2:00.1 wire to wire triumph with Tough Get Going, a 4-year-old Kadabra gelding he co-owns with trainer Richie Banca. The hardworking barrister sent his charge to the lead from the three-hole and despite the short field they were constantly challenged. But Tough Get Going lived up to his name and turned back all challengers despite being looked in the eye from the half to the finish. "We made some equipment changes", Faraldo said referring to his trotter. "He was breathing funny, making noises like he was gasping for air at the end of the mile the last few times I drove him so we put on a throat plate and tied his tongue and it seemed to do the job " At the wire Tough Get Going was a neck better than runner-up Mr. Ridgetaker ,d driven by Dave Yarock. Tim Lizzie and driver Joe Lee were three lengths back in third. by John Manzi for NAADA

YONKERS, N.Y. - As the longtime trainer and driver of $904,593-earner The Real One, Pat Lachance could easily take credit for much of the Mach Three gelding’s success. Instead, the harness racing horseman defers praise to owner Helene Fillion, who is understanding of The Real One’s off-the-pace style and doesn’t pressure Lachance to take the horse out of his comfort zone. “I think the key is the owner. We’re on the same page, we understand how he races and we understand that sometimes you’re at the mercy of the pace and it’s not going to work out, but you also know that if you fire him up and send him out of there, it’s not going to work either, so you try to race him the way he likes to race and try to win the race,” Lachance said. “That’s the biggest asset. I give her a lot of credit because she never puts pressure on him. He’s the kind of horse that if you had put pressure on him, he never would have been The Real One, he’d never be what he is, no question in my mind,” Lachance continued. “He’s the type of horse that if you put pressure on him, it’s not good. He wouldn’t be racing right now if that wasn’t the case.” Fillion bought then 3-year-old The Real One online for $10,000 in 2014 and initially trained him herself. After a slow start at Rideau Carlton, where The Real One failed to finish in the trifecta, Fillion campaigned her budding star to a win and three more placings at Hippodrome 3R. Recognizing his talent, Fillion sent The Real One to Lachance to compete for the rich purses at Yonkers Raceway. “She lives maybe 10 minutes from where I was raised as a kid until I was 10 on the farm in Montreal,” Lachance said. “I never knew her until this horse and she was looking for somebody who’s French-Canadian who she can communicate with and she knows I take care of my horses and I have a good reputation for taking care of them and she wanted to send them to somebody that she trusts. “It means a lot to me because you don’t see that as much anymore and obviously there’s not a lot of trainer-drivers around, I’m one of the few and people still like that,” he continued. “People still come to me because of that, so it makes me feel great, no question.” The Real One blossomed under Lachance’s tutelage. He’s won 41 of 150 races with another 50 placings. Last year, he took a lifetime mark of 1:50.0 when setting an all-age track record in the Open Handicap at Yonkers November 19. With six wins, including a 1:50.3 score in the Yonkers Open September 23 and $179,350 in earnings this year, The Real One isn’t showing any signs of slowing down nearing the end of his 7-year-old season. The Real One’s class and closing style help keep him in top form, Lachance explained. “It’s very rare that you see horses stay at this level for four years in a row. It’s amazing,” he said. “He’s just so consistent and just a nice horse, a top horse, and he just does his job. He loves to race, he stays sound. We’re very fortunate to have him. “He’s a closer, he likes to chase, he has one big run. He’s not a front-runner, he’s not a horse that you want to send out of there. He likes to finish up at the end and pick off horses. That style of racing, it just gives him a chance to stay good,” Lachance explained. As a trainer-driver, Lachance gets the opportunity to know his horses habits on the racetrack better than most. The Real One is no exception and Lachance understands exactly what he can and can’t do in the driver’s seat. “He can get a little grabby, he can get a little anxious. That’s the only thing he does wrong,” he said. “When he follows cover sometimes you’ve got to be a little careful with him that way. Besides that, he’s pretty much ok. You just can’t fire him up too much.” Despite posting a neck victory in last week’s pacing feature, an open draw in Saturday’s (Nov. 19) $40,000 Open Pace afforded The Real One the rare luxury of starting along the pylons. The Real One has started from posts seven or eight in three of his last five starts and hasn’t drawn inside post four since winning a $35,000 overnight from post two August 19. Lachance plans to be more aggressive as a result. “I definitely want to protect the rail a little bit, no question,” Lachance said. “I’ll try and get away as close as I can without firing him up to where he’s out of control. If I fire him up, he’s going to want to go a thousand out of there and that’s not good for him. I’ll try to keep him as relaxed as I can and try to keep him as close as I can and we’ll take it from there. “If we end up in the two-hole, great. If not, I can come first-up with him and he likes that, he doesn’t mind that,” he continued. “Hopefully things work out for us, but there’s definitely a lot worse spots than the rail.” The Real One is the 3-1 morning line choice in Saturday’s Open Pace, but isn’t the only local standout moving inside. Bit Of A Legend drew post four and off a third place finish last week, is the 7-2 second choice on the line. Caviart Luca, last week’s runner up, will start from post seven while Dr. J Hanover, a wire to wire Open Handicap winner Oct. 28, drew post eight. Orillia Joe, Maxdaddy Blue Chip, Scott Rocks, and Blood Brother complete the field. “Bit Of A Legend is probably the horse to beat in there, there’s a few other ones. They’re in the open for a reason, they can all win with a trip, so hopefully it all works out,” Lachance said. “We’ve been assigned the seven and eight hole quite a bit, so we have the rail now, so we’ll take advantage of it.” First post time Saturday at Yonkers Raceway is 7:10 p.m. For entries for the races, click here. By Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY

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