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YONKERS, NY, Friday, February 16, 2018—Tepid choice Safe from Terror (Eric Goodell, $5.80) was safe from her seven harness racing rivals Friday night (Feb. 16th), winning Yonkers Raceway’s $40,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. Wanting no part of an early pocket, Safe from Terror—from assigned post position No. 2—took over from pole-given Juxta Cowgirl (Mark MacDonald) in what turned out to a paceless race. Early intervals of :28 and :57.3 gave Safe from Terror the hammer, and she not above using it. Jewel Lehigh A tried it first-up from third, offering a mild bid in and out of a 1:26.1 three-quarters. Motu Moonbeam N (George Brennan) was behind that one, not getting close to the leader, either. Safe from Terror, with a length-and-a-half lead into the lane, never saw a serious threat. She won by a length in 1:55.2. Juxta Cowgirl did grab second as the 34-1 rank outsider, with a ground-saving All About Madi (Dan Dube), Jewel Lehigh A and Sell a Bit N (Jordan Stratton) settling for the balance.     For Safe from Terror, a 6-year-old daughter of Western Terror owned by Big Bad DT Racing and trained by Rob Harmon, it was her second win in five seasonal starts. The exacta paid $98.50, the triple returned $898 and the superfecta paid $4,314. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Monday, February 12, 2018—He came. He saw. He conquered. Thrice. Harness racing driver Billy Dobson celebrated Abe Lincoln’s 209th birthday Monday night (Feb. 12th) with a honest-to-goodness memorable Yonkers Raceway performance. The Saratoga standout came downstate for three drives, resulting in three off-the-pace wins…even if one was behind a trotter. Said trotter was Western Credit ($14.60), who reeled in a stubborn fave Aruba Vacation late in the $7,500 second race. The margin as neck in 1:58.1. Next, a last-to-first Stonedust ($41.60), overcoming the eight-hole in the $10,000, third-race pace (1:56.2). The 4-year-old Sagebrush gelding was making just a seventh career start. Dobson’s three-fer was completed in the $17,000, seventh-race pace, pouncing after a contested battle to prevail with Gussy’s Dragon ($10.20) in 1:55.3. ‘Gussy’ held off 8-5 choice Queen Josephine by a scant nose. Donald Billings trained Western Credit, who turned out to be a one start rent-a-trotter, while Monica Krist trained both Stonedust and Gussy’s Dragon.       Frank Drucker  

YONKERS, NY, Friday, February 9, 2018—A repeating Sell a Bit N (Jordan Stratton, $10.80) finished what she started—barely—Friday night (Feb. 9th), winning Yonkers Raceway’s $40,000 harness racing filly and mare Open Handicap Pace. The first turn was not for the squeamish, with all three inside assignees—Juxta Cowgirl (Dan Dube), Jag Out (Joe Bongiorno) and Betabcool N (Jason Bartlett)—making breaks to one degree or another.   Sell a Bit N, remanded to outside post position No. 7,  left the gate. She was forced wider around Jag Out’s misdeeds, eventually making the lead before a :28.4 opening quarter-mile. A recovering Betabcool N was away second, with Motu Moonbeam N (George Brennan) third. After a :58.2 intermission, Motu Moonbeam N moved to challenge, hooking Sell a Bit N in an out of a 1:26.1 three-quarters. Annabeth (Brent Holland), as the 19-10 favorite, lined it up from second over. Sell a Bit N and Motu Moonbeam N remained well within the statistical margin of error off the final turn, while their closest foes could not reach. The former, who looked beaten, would not let the latter by, Sell a Bit N stuck her tongue out at the wire in a season’s-best 1:54.2. A no-excuse Annabeth, Betabcool N and Cousin Mary (Matt Kakaley) settled for the minors. For fourth choice Sell a Bit N, an 8-year-old Down Under daughter of Julius Caesar owned by Von Knoblauch Stables and trained by Peter Tritton, it was her second win in four seasonal starts. The exacta paid $89, with the triple returning $240. Frank Drucker

ONKERS, N.Y. – Blindswitch Racing Stable and harness racing trainer Al Annunziata will start a formidable pair in this week’s pacing features at Yonkers Raceway. Betabcool is the 7-2 co-second choice on the morning line in Friday’s $40,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap while Don’tcallmefrancis is the 3-1 early favorite in Saturday’s $40,000 Open Handicap. Created by David Litvinsky six years ago, Blindswitch Racing Stable boasts a roster of about 30 horses, the most recent to join the ranks being Have Faith In Me, a champion pacer in Australia and New Zealand Blindswitch owns in partnership with VIP Stable, Robert Cooper, and Gary Axelrod. To reach the point of racing competitively in the Opens at Yonkers and importing the some of the Southern Hemisphere’s top horses, Blindswitch built success on the backs of its “core” four horses. “The first horse we claimed was Pan From Nantucket,” Litvinsky said. “He was so good. From there, it was BJ’s Guy. It was just lucky claims one after the other. Then RU Ready to Rock and Rock To Glory. Those were the core that kind of grew the stable. They were super horses. We’ve just been lucky with the claims and the right horses.” After achieving success in the claiming game, Litvinsky turned his attention to importing horses from Australia and New Zealand. He realized an average horse Down Under could be a good horse in the United States and a top horse from the Southern Hemisphere could be superior when brought stateside. “I think we started maybe three years ago with the Australian horses. I deal with an agent that kept calling us and saying, ‘hey, you’ve got to get this horse.’ They were cheaper back then. They were cheaper than they are now because now everybody’s doing it,” Litvinsky explained. “The horses that came over here, they were just average horses there, average to below average. Some of these horses are bleeders and a little bit of Lasix really freshens them up and obviously, they can breathe. We said, ‘let’s get some of the better horses there and they can be something really special here.’ ” Betabcool was one of those top horses Blindswitch imported. Purchased last year, the daughter of Bettor’s Delight was a 19-time winner from 84 starts in Australia, including wins in two Group 3 stakes, the Cinderella Stakes and the Norms Daughter Stakes. She began racing in North America last February and has posted seven victories and earned $221,500 since. Despite her success, Betabcool was originally overshadowed by stablemate Quick Draft. “We got her around the same time as Quick Draft,” Litvinsky said. “Quick Draft was actually the more classy horse coming over here; she was supposed to be the real deal, but as soon as we trained them together the first time, we just all knew that Betabcool was going to be the tougher horse, the better horse. She’s a really gutsy horse.” To start her 2018 campaign, Betabcool posted a neck victory in a $20,000 overnight at Yonkers January 12 with Jason Bartlett in the sulky. She finished third in her next start January 26 before scoring a nose win over Regil Elektra at the same level February 2 after starting from post seven and racing 8 ¾-lengths behind early. “Betabcool, we gave a month off to freshen up. She had a big season, so we turned her out a little early and she’s come back really, really strong. She’s super sharp right now,” Litvinsky said. Betabcool’s impressive races justified moving up to the Filly and Mare Open this week, where she’ll meet last week’s winner Sell A Bit, Motu Moonbeam, who won at this level two weeks ago, and fellow class-jumper Cousin Mary. Juxta Cowgirl, Jag Out, and Annabeth complete the field. Betabcool will start from post three. “She got Bartlett, which is obviously a big bonus,” Litvinsky said. “She’s definitely better from off the pace. I’m hoping there’s little action up front and she gets away third and comes first-over, comes home late. She’s a different horse up front. She likes to chase for sure.” While Betabcool came from overseas, Blindswitch obtained Don’tcallmefrancis by more tradition means. Litvinsky acquired the Rocknroll Hanover gelding for $55,000 at the 2017 Meadowlands Winter Sale, seeing potential in the 2016 Anthony Abbatiello Classic winner to become a talented older horse. “He had an amazing 3-year-old season, made $150,000, beat some nice horses,” he said. “When we first got him, he was really good, then he started tailing off a little bit, he was tying up, so it took a little while to get him back to where he was at 3.” Don’tcallmefrancis won six of 37 starts last year, good for $74,770, but the 5-year-old is off to a faster start this year. He won four races in a row, including two for a $50,000 tag at Yonkers in January, before taking on Open company last week. Much to Litvinsky’s surprise, Don’tcallmerancis finished second by a nose. “I didn’t expect him to finish first or second last weekend,” he admitted. “There are some nice horses in the Open, it’s a big step up from a 50 claimer. When the horse is sharp, I guess he can beat anybody.” Saturday night, Don’tcallmefrancis will start from post three with Greg Merton in the bike and will face seven rivals, including Killer Martini, a 7-1 winner of the Open last week, Orillia Joe, who strung together three straight wins in January, and Dream Out Loud, who finished third in his last two Open tries. All Down The Line, Gokudo Hanover, Thisjetsabookin, and Soto complete the lineup. “If he gets a good trip, he can definitely win. I don’t think he’s going to win first-over, but if he gets the right trip, he can definitely catch them. It’s a very classy field.” First post time Friday and Saturday night at Yonkers is 6:50 p.m.  For entries to Friday’s races, click here.  Saturday’s fields can be found here. By Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY

YONKERS, NY, Friday, February 2, 2018 — Slight harness racing favorite Sell a Bit N (Jordan Stratton, $5.80) was wide early and sharp late Friday night (Feb. 2nd), winning Yonkers Raceway’s $40,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. In play from post position No. 5, Sell a Bit N was four-deep at the outset, remaining out there into the first turn. She made the lead around All About Madi (George Brennan) before a :27.4 opening quarter-mile. A pokey :30.1 second quarter (58-second intermission) would serve Sell a Bit N well in the chilly air. That, and a very weak, first-up effort by Sally Fletcher N (Greg Merton) going toward the 1:26.2 three-quarters. It was pace-sitter versus pocket-sitter for the marbles, with Sell a Bit N owning a  length-and-a-half lead into the lane. All About Madi edged out, took her shot, was somewhat difficult to straighten and missed three-quarters of a length 1:55.4. Annabeth (Brent Holland) was a rallying third, with Juxta Cowgirl (Dan Dube) and Mach it a Par (Jason Bartlett) settling for the minors.  For Sell a Bit N, an 8-year-old Down Under daughter of Julius Caesar owned by Von Knoblauch Stables and trained by Peter Tritton, it was her first win three seasonal starts. The exacta (two wagering choices) paid $21.40, with the triple returning $162.50. Frank Drucker  

YONKERS, NY, Thursday, February 1, 2018 — Foiled Again’s second attempt at his 100th harness racing career win came up a nose and a head short Thursday night (Feb. 1st), cutting the mile and just missing in a Yonkers Raceway blanket photo. Leaving from post position No. 5 beneath a light drizzle in the $20,000, eighth-race pace, the sport’s richest-ever equine needed a fair amount of driver Yannick Gingras’ urging early. The 6-5 favorite did get over pole-sitting second choice Lord of Misrule (George Brennan), making the lead just before a :27.3 opening quarter-mile. It was a rated 58-second intermission over a ‘good’ oval when Machtu N (Brent Holland) tried it first-up from fourth. That interloper found himself in a statistical dead-heat with Foiled Again in and out of a 1:26.1 three-quarters, with Foiled Again clinging to a short schnoz entering the lane. Gingras was all over Foiled Again in the lane, and it appeared that the horse who made his reputation fighting off all comers could do it again. The field closed ranks into a slow final quarter, with Foiled Again tiring just enough to afford Lord of Misrule a non-passing lane passing lane. That one barely edged a seam-splitting, 43-1 outsider Macintosh N (Jordan Stratton) by a desperate nose in 1:56.4. Foiled Again wound up third, beaten a head as the five payees were separated by three-quarters of a length. The entire octet was head-to-toe two lengths apart.   “I came here to win with him,” Gingras said. “I wanted to leave. I wasn’t going to race him from third–over.”   Thursday night’s $2,400 payday in Foiled Again’s 306th lifetime purse try increased the 14-year-old gelding’s retirement account to $7,570,878. The evening’s Pick 5 began with a carryover of $4,787.19 and attracted $20,614 of new coin…easily leapfrogging the $15,000 guarantee. After takeout, that left an approximate pool of $20,247. The winning combination of 1/3/1/6/1 returned $232 for every correct half-a-buck wager. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, January 30, 2018 — “He helped take me to the next level as a harness racing driver.” Such were the words of Yannick Gingras, who takes a seat behind Foiled Again as the sport’s richest-ever equine is invading Yonkers Raceway in search of his 100th career victory. Foiled Again returns to the Westchester wars Thursday night (Feb. 1st), leaving from post position No. 5 in the $20,000, eighth-race pace. The 14-year-old Dragon Again gelding makes the 306th purse start of his $7.5 million career. “I can’t say enough about him,” Gingras said. “There were seven or eight seasons, starting when he as a 4-year-old, when he was among the best in the sport, which to me is amazing. “He’s not the biggest or the fastest, but I’ve never driven one that had his desire…and the way he wins, it’s usually a rough trip. I don’t think he’s ever been second-over. He’d rather grind his way into it and battle. Not to mention he’s smarter than the average bear. “He never exerts himself until he has to,” Gingras said. “If you’d allow it, he’d go a second quarter in 35 seconds, but right around the five-eighths or three-quarters, when he hears or sees someone coming, he picks up the bit and the switch goes on.” Foiled Again won his 99th race here in his mid-January, final-season debut, but his first crack at Century City did not go well, as in a non-factor sixth. George Brennan was the driver for both efforts.  “That’s another thing about him,” Gingras said. “Some horses, if they race poorly, it seem to affect them for a month. ‘Foiled’…nothing seems to bother him. “It would be fitting to do it here (Yonkers). He’s won the (George Morton) Levy Series twice (2009-10) and he always gets around the track well, probably because he rides the left line just enough”. “I can’t lie, I hope I’m the one who gets him to 100,” Gingras said. “I told (co-owner/trainer) Ronnie (Burke) to try and schedule him when I can drive him. “I’m looking forward to seeing him Thursday. He’s just been such a big part of the my career.” Frank Drucker  

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, January 28, 2018—A start-to-finish NF Happenstance (Jack Parker Jr., $14) just lasted Sunday afternoon (Jan. 28th), winning Yonkers Raceway’s ‘sloppy’ harness racing $50,000 Open Handicap Trot. A field of 11 served as the first of six ‘French’ trots. There were any number of early misbehavers, including 2-1 choice Money Maven (Yannick Gingras), one of the second-tier starters. There was no such happenstance for lone lass NF Happenstance. From post position No. 2, the Delaware invader led at every pylons (:29.2, :59.2, 1:28.4, 1:57.1). She opened 2¾ lengths entering the lane before winning by a neck in 2:28. Eight-holer Melady’s Monet (Jason Bartlett) put forth a solid, two-move effort, charging late to barely miss. Third went to Moneycounts De Vie (Matt Kakaley), with Rubber Duck (Joe Bongiorno) and Lily’s Swan Pond (Brent Holland) settling for the remainder.   It was Parker’s first win here since August, 2002, and the first time he had driven the mare locally since Independence Night of 2014.   For third choice NF Happenstance, an 8-year-old daughter of S J’s Caviar owned by James Moore III and trained by Carol Jamieson-Parker, it was her fourth win in as many seasonal starts. The exacta paid $76, with triple returning $1,111. Sunday’s ‘New York, New York Double’ offered a winning combination of 3-Factoring (Aqueduct’s 3rd race) and 3-Gonna Fly (Yonkers’ 6th race) paid $140.75 for every correct $1 wager. Total pool was $8,302. A friendly reminder from Yonkers Raceway that Monday evening’s (Jan. 29th) Pick 5 wager starts with a carryover of $1,558.62 and a $10,000 guaranteed pool. The Pick 5 is a 50-cent base wager comprising races 6 through 10 (for these 10-race cards, ordinarily it’s races 7 through 11). 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. Monday’s program can be downloaded here. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, January 27, 2018 — Orillia Joe ($17.80) and harness racing driver Brent Holland kept the form spree going Saturday night (Jan. 27th), winning Yonkers Raceway’s $40,000 Open Handicap Pace. In play from outside post position No. 7, Orillia Joe had a first-turn impediment when Delaware invader Cajon Lightning (Jordan Stratton) made a filthy break. That forced Orillia Joe wide, making the lead before a :27.3 opening quarter-mile. Pole-assigned Western Hill (Jason Bartlett) was able to secure the pocket, while 3-2 choice Gokudo Hanover (Matt Kakaley) found a seat third. It was a rated :57.1 intermission before ‘Gokudo’ was out first-up. That one wasn’t making the requisite strides in and out of a 1:25.3 three-quarters, as Orillia Joe owned a length lead into the lane. The closers arrived, but too late. Orillia Joe whipped Take it Back Terry (George Brennan) by a neck in 1:54.2. Dream Out Loud N (Dan Dube), as the 40-1 rank outsider, angled off the cones for a crisp third, while Killer Martini (Eric Goodell) and Western Hill settled for the minors For fourth choice Orillia Joe, an 8-year-old Western Ideal gelding by Joe P Racing and trained by Matias Ruiz, it was his third win in as many seasonal starts. The exacta paid $166.50, with the triple returning $1,895. Sunday’s (Jan. 28th) ‘French’ matinee goes with a first post of High Noon. The 10-race card features six ‘French’ trots (races 5 through 10) and the ‘New York, New York Double’ (Aqueduct’s 3rd race, Yonkers’ 6th race). Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Friday, January 26, 2018 — Slight harness racing favorite Motu Moonbeam N (Matt Kakaley, $7.60) took over early and lasted late Friday night (Jan. 26th), winning Yonkers Raceway’s $40,000 Filly and Mare Open Pace. Away second from post position No. 2, Motu Moonbean N grabbed the lead from pole-assigned All About Madi (George Brennan) before a :27.4 opening quarter-mile. Sell a Bit N (Jordan Stratton) was also put in play, finding a seat third. After a :57.4 intermission, Hidden Land (Eric Goodell) tried it first-up from fifth. That one offered just a mild bid in and out of a 1:26.3 three-quarters, with Mach it a Par (Jason Bartlett) in behind. Motu Moonbeam N owned a length lead into the lane, with All About Madi taking a shot inside and Sell a Bit N needing room that wasn’t there. The leader did held, prevailing by a desperate nose in a season’s-best 1:54.4. All About Madi was second, with Sell a Bit N, Mach it a Par and Annabeth (Brent Holland) settling for the minors.   For Motu Moonbeam N, a 6-year-old Down Under daughter of Bettor’s Delight owned by Friendship Stables and trained by Paul Blumenfeld, it was her second win three seasonal starts. The exacta paid $29, with the triple returning $128. Foiled Again returns Foiled Again’s second crack at his first hundred happens in conjunction with Yonkers Raceway ‘s return to Thursday nights. First post for the 10-race, first-of-the-month card is 6:50 PM. Foiled Again, whose 99 career wins go along with a sport’s-best $7.5 million in earnings, drew post position No. 5 in the $20,000, eighth-race pace. Yannick Gingras is reunited with his long-time ‘date’ for co-owner (as Burke Racing)/trainer Ron Burke. The 14-year-old Dragon Again gelding won his seasonal debut, moving him to the precipice of the milestone. However, he threw in a clunker in his last outing, finishing a non-factor sixth. Thursday night is the 306th lifetime purse try for Foiled Again as he remains at the same (non-winners of $20,000 in last five starts) level of his previous two races. Note that the Raceway shall offers a six-program race week beginning this Sunday (Jan. 28th). The Sunday ‘French’ card goes at High Noon, while the ensuing evenings (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday) all have a first post of 6:50 PM. After this weekend, Sundays take a hiatus until Feb. 25th.     Frank Drucker  

YONKERS, N.Y. – Cajon Lightning looked well-spotted when he drew the inside post position for his Yonkers harness racing debut January 20. Trainer Eric Ell entered the gelding in a $30,000 overnight off a win the Open Handicap at Dover Downs the previous week and hoped Cajon Lightning would show speed and control the race. But while Cajon Lightning was shipping up from Delaware, Ell received a disappointing phone call: the truck had broken down on the highway, putting Cajon Lightning in jeopardy of missing the race. “When he called me and told me he broke down, I got another truck real quick and started up that way, but then I started making phone calls and I tried to find somebody closer that could grab him and get him up there, but I couldn’t get it done as hard as I tried,” Ell said. “It took me an hour-and-a-half to get to him and switch trucks. Then I sat with the broken-down truck and waited for a tow truck and sent him on his way.” Despite Ell’s best efforts, Cajon Lightning arrived at Yonkers 25 minutes late, resulting in a transportation scratch. Although he missed a coveted opportunity to race from the rail on the half-mile track, Cajon Lightning will get another chance to compete at the Hilltop Oval this week when he starts as the 5/2 morning line favorite in the $40,000 Open Handicap Pace Saturday January 27. Cajon Lightning established himself as a force in the winter series at Woodbine in 2015 and 2016 when he swept the Autumn Series and finished second in the Valedictory Final, the Ontario Boys Final, and the WEGZ Final for Richard Moreau. Cajon Lightning came to Ell’s stable that spring, but found it difficult to adjust to the warmer climate. “He’s just not a real good horse in the summer time, he likes cold weather,” Ell said. “When I brought him down from Canada, it was starting to get hot here. He was ok, but wasn’t what we thought he would be. When it started cooling off at Dover, he got really good as a 4-year-old and a 5-year-old and this year, even better. He’s just a killer this year. He’s got some allergy trouble and stuff that bothers him in the summer, but he’s a much better horse in the winter months.” Now 6 years old, Cajon Lightning is sharper than ever. He’s posted four wins at the Open level at Dover since November 16, including a lifetime best 1:49.4 victory in a dead heat with Sicily December 7. In addition to his speed, Cajon Lightning has also shown versatility in his recent wins, scoring on the lead and from well off the pace. The son of Mach Three is 20-for-80 in his career with $265,570 in earnings. “He’s rounded into a real, real nice racehorse now and you can do anything with him,” Ell said. “He’s a pleasure. There’s not one thing he does bad. Perfect gentlemen, working around him in the barn, he ships good. He’s lazy warming up, he’s not a grabby horse. You put him behind the gate and you can sprint of the gate a quarter in 26 or you can take off the gate with two fingers. He’s just an all-around perfect racehorse. Nice horse to have around.” Although Ell says Cajon Lightning may be better on a big track, he decided to take his chances at Yonkers when the top classes at Dover struggled to fill consistently. He already ships barn standout Soto to Yonkers to race, so adding Cajon Lightning to the trailer was a no-brainer. “He’s a great big horse, better on a big track, but I raced him at Harrington some and he was good there and that’s a tight half-mile too, so I think he’ll be ok at Yonkers. We’re going to hope anyway,” he explained. Although a winter storm altered Cajon Lightning’s training schedule ahead of his first race at Yonkers, Ell thinks he will be ready for his test against rivals Orillia Joe, who rides a two-race win streak into this week’s Open Handicap, but starts from post seven, and Gokudo Hanover, who won three straight at Yonkers before finishing second as the favorite in last week’s pacing feature. “I train on a half-mile farm track and the day I really wanted to train him, I got him out and jogged, but that’s about all I could do,” Ell explained. “I got him trained the following day and I couldn’t go a real big mile, but he trained good and he was very eager, wanted to do it, and felt good. I just couldn’t give him as much as I wanted to. It doesn’t take him a lot. I think he’ll be ok.” If Cajon Lightning handles the competition and takes to the racetrack, he could prove to be peaking at the right time as the George Morton Levy Series is quickly approaching. “I’m curious to see how he’s going to fair up there. We’re going to put Soto back in the Levy if he gets a little sharper. He’s not at the top of his game right now. I’d like to see how this horse gets around the half. He’s sharper than Soto right now, but we’ve got to see how he handles the half. He’s an all-around nice horse and I can’t wait to get him up there and see what happens.” First post time Saturday is 6:50 p.m. Click here to view entries for the card. By Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY  

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, January 21, 2018 — Harness racing favored Melady’s Monet (Jason Bartlett, $4.60) was just barely good enough Sunday morning (Jan. 21th), winning Yonkers Raceway’s $50,000 Open Handicap Trot. The field of seven (down from nine after a couple of defections) went as the opener and the first of seven ‘French’ trots. His eight-hole now a six-hole after those scratches, Melady’s Monet made the first lead, unimpeded by a breaking Tight Lines (Jeff Gregory). ‘Melady’ found a :29.4 opening quarter-mile before briefly giving it up to Super Manning (Jordan Stratton), The fave wanted no part of the pocket, so he retook prior to the :59.1 half.  Cash Me Out (Eric Goodell) then moved from fifth, just about getting even with Melady’s Monet by the 1:30.1 three-quarters. Disposing of that rival around the 1:58.4 milepost, Melady’s Monet opened a length-and-three quarters into the lane, and needed all out it.   A ground-saving Moneycounts De Vie (Matt Kakaley) found room up the cones, surged, but the 18-1 rank outsider missed a nose. Melady’s Monet found paydirt in time, getting the mile-and-a-quarter in 2:27.4. Third went to Rock of Cashel (Brent Holland), with Dog Gone Lucky (catch-driver Dan Dube) and Cash Me Out settling for the remainder. For Melady’s Monet, a 9-year-old Revenue S gelding owned by Melady Enterprises and trained by Kevin McDermott, it was his first win in a pair of seasonal starts. The exacta paid $43.20, with triple returning $229.50. Sunday’s ‘New York, New York Double’ offered a winning combination of 5-Control Group (Aqueduct’s 3rd race) and 3-Royal Bachelor (Yonkers’ 5th race) paid $11.80 for every correct $1 wager. Total pool was $5,942.   Frank Drucker  

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, January 20, 2018 — Foiled Again has enjoyed any number of spectacular nights throughout his prolific, record-setting harness racing career. But at Yonkers Raceway Saturday (Jan. 20th) was not one of them. In his first attempt at a 100th career victory, Foiled Again threw in a dud. Harness racing richest-ever equine did not fire during Yonkers Raceway’s $20,000 first-race pace. Leaving from outside his six rivals, Foiled Again (George Brennan) found a seat fourth. The 14-year-old gelding then took out to race second-over behind Lachie Maguire N (Jason Bartlett). The tow didn’t help, but Foiled Again gapped it, anyway. He wound up sixth, beaten 7¼ lengths to winning favorite Quick Asa Trick N (Matt Kakaley, $5.10). Foiled Again, as the 2-1 third choice, was making his 305th career purse start, remaining in the same class a week after winning his 99th career race. His bankroll remains at $7,568,478. “Try it again next time,”  Brennan said.   Saturday night’s $30,000 winners-over pace was a down-the-road effort by odds-on Missile J (Dan Dube, $3.70). From post position No. 3 (in one notch after the pole-sitter scratched), Missile J stuffed Thisjetsabookin’ (Jordan Stratton) in behind, then rolled through intervals of :27.1, :56.1, 1:24.1 and 1:52.2…fastest local mile thus far this season. Thisjetsabookin’ chased, beaten a length-and-a-quarter, with Take it Back Terry (Brennan) third.   For Missile J, a 5-year-old American Ideal Hoosier co-owned by John McGill & Brian Carsey and trained by Scott DiDomenico, it was his first win two seasonal starts. The exacta paid $16.20, with the triple returning $38.20. Special Saturday props to trainer Darren Cassar, who sent out three winners during the dozen-race card.   Sunday’s (Jan. 21st) ‘French’ matinee offers both a ‘New York, New York Double’ (Aqueduct’s 3rd race, Yonkers 5th race) as well as a Pick 5 with a $2,986.47 carryover and a $10,000 guaranteed pool (50-cent base wager, races 7 through 11). The ‘instant’ guarantee took effect after no one hit Saturday’s gimmick wager. First post Sunday is 11:30 AM. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, N.Y. – Although he’s established himself as one of the top open trotters in New York over the past few years, 7-year-old trotter Cash Me Out is still in search of an elusive harness racing victory in the Open Trot at Yonkers Raceway. He connected in a local Preferred May 28, 2017 and has finished second in the local Open five times, including losses by a neck, head, and nose. “He’s won the Open at the Meadowlands a couple times, a bunch of Opens at Saratoga. I’ve had a bunch of seconds, but just haven’t got it done yet at Yonkers,” trainer Kyle Spagnola said. “It just hasn’t worked out yet. There’s always been one that’s either gotten a good trip or one that’s just laid over the field, a lot of excuses, but hopefully it happens one of these days.” Cash Me Out will get another chance to post his first Yonkers Open win Sunday (January 21) when he faces eight rivals in the $50,000 feature. Carded as race 1 on the program, the 1¼ mile trot also features Dog Gone Lucky, Tight Lines, and Melady’s Monet. First post time on the French Sunday is 11:30 a.m. Owner Traylor Racing sent Cash Me Out to Spagnola in July 2015. By then, the son of Cash Hall had already established himself as a top horse in New York. He won or placed in four New York Sire Stakes legs as a 2-year-old and finished third in the final and at 3, he won or placed in another five Sire Stakes divisions for Mickey and Cheryl McGivern. “The McGivern’s did very well with him as a 2- and 3-year-old in the Sire Stakes program. That definitely got him started up the ladder with the money and he turned out to be a good racehorse,” Spagnola said. “He was one of the first horses I got for (Traylor Racing). That was definitely an exciting phone call to get. He was kind of off his game, he wasn’t really sharp when I got him, I don’t know why. He came back around.” Although he is an easy horse to drive, Spagnola admits Cash Me Out isn’t one to turn your back on in the barn. “He’s actually kind of a bully in the barn, thinks he’s tough. You’ve got to be a little careful around him,” he said. “He just tries to kick and bite you. I don’t think he means it, but he can intimidate you, anyway. Jogging him, he’s the nicest horse to jog. He’s very easy on the track, he’s pretty easy to drive. Cash Hall’s all kind of have a little attitude. Unless you have a carrot, he’s got his ears back.” Cash Me Out won 11 of 37 races for Spagnola in 2016 and 10 of 30 in 2017, earning $196,850 and $196,840 in each year, respectively. Although he narrowly missed achieving his goal of $200,000 in earnings in a single season, Cash Me Out has become one of Spagnola’s best horses to date, sporting career earnings of $851,839. “My goal the last two years was to get him over $200,000. I’ve come up short by a few thousand bucks the last two years. The Yonkers money definitely helps,” Spagnola said. “He means a lot to me. It was a privilege to get him and if everybody had one of him in the barn, it makes it a lot easier.” Cash Me Out brought Spagnola to the biggest race of the young trainer’s career last fall. After finishing second beaten a nose in the Open Trot October 7, he received an invitation to the $250,000 Harry Harvey Trot on the International Trot undercard. Although bettors dismissed him at odds of 33/1, Cash Me Out still earned a fourth-place check. “I kind of had a feeling, just going by the money and the horses who were still racing that time of year who could get around a half. I kind of had a feeling he might get invited,” Spagnola said. “They actually called me the night before the draw and they invited me. He finished second and before they even showed the replay, Steve Starr called and asked if I wanted to race him there. Of course, I said yes.” Since the Harry Harvey Trot, Cash Me Out has put together an impressive string of top-three finishes, only missing the board once in his last nine starts. He enters this week’s Open Trot off a runner up finish in last week’s trotting feature, where Money Maven beat him a neck. Cash Me Out drew post nine and is 5/1 on the morning line. “I have a good post because he doesn’t need to be on the lead. Now, not having the passing lane, the two-hole really isn’t that good. I think he’ll get away probably fifth in there and try to be first- or second-over,” Spagnola said. “The passing lane definitely changes his racing style. Usually he can just leave and sit the two-hole. He really likes that trip. Now, with no passing lane, you either have to get lucky or be out real early. “I think you’re better off getting away fourth or fifth now with that racing style and the mile-and-a-quarter definitely makes it interesting,” he continued. “I think he likes the mile better, but he doesn’t seem to have too much trouble with the mile-and-a-quarter. It’s tougher on him, I think. I think it’s tougher on any horse, but I think he prefers a mile.” In addition to the Open Trot, Sunday’s card features six other French trots with overflow fields at the 1 ¼-mile distance. Click here for entries. By Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY

YONKERS, NY, Friday, January 19, 2018—A well-out-of-it Annabeth (Brent Holland, $57) was fastest through the lane Friday night (Jan. 19th), winning Yonkers Raceway’s high-condition harness racing $25,000 pacing feature for the ladies. Sitting chilly early from post position No. 7, Annabeth saw Best of Jenna (Dan Dube) make the first lead before yielding to just-over-even-money fave All About Madi (Jason Bartlett) ‘Madi’ led through intervals of :27.4 and :57.1 before Truth and Liberty (Greg Merton) was out and moving. The one towed 40-1 proposition Pretty Image (Eric Goodell) second-over and Annabeth (Brent Holland) third-over. All About Madi was a determined leader in and out of a 1:25.4 three-quarters, opening to a length entering the lane. However, she couldn’t stall the fresher femmes. Pretty Image went wider, Annabeth wider and a buried-to-fourth-over Motu Moonbeam N (Matt Kakaley) widest. Annabeth prevailed, whipping Pretty Image by three-quarters of a length in a season’s-best 1:55. Motu Moonbeam N was third, with All About Madi and Truth and Liberty settling for the remainder. Holland won three of the evening’s dozen races. For sixth choice Annabeth, a 7-year-old daughter of Shadow Play owned by Joseph Pisarski and trained by William Adamczyk, she’s won both of her seasonal starts. The exacta paid $909, the triple returned $2,280 and the superfecta paid $20,354 (base $2 payout). Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Wednesday, January 17, 2018 — Yonkers Raceway ‘s Sunday (Jan. 21st) harness racing shall offer a first post of 11:30 AM. Races 1 through 7 (post time 2:30 PM) go as overflow-field, added-distance ‘French’ trots. Final post time for the 12-race card is 4:10 PM. Note that the sequence for Sunday’s ‘New York, New York Double’ is again Aqueduct’s third race (post time 1:20 PM) and Yonkers’ fifth race (post time 1:30 PM). Program pages sent when available.    Yonkers’ January schedule includes all Sundays (remaining one post time TBA), along with Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday evenings (post time 6:50 PM). Again, all dates are pending approval of the New York State Gaming Commission.  Frank Drucker

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