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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

This Week: Yonkers Trot, Messenger Stakes, Hudson Filly Trot and Lady Maud, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y.; Maple Leaf Trot, Canadian Pacing Derby, Simcoe Stakes, and Champlain Stakes, Woodbine Mohawk Park, Milton, Ontario. Schedule of events: A busy holiday weekend of Grand Circuit action is led by a pair of Triple Crown events at Yonkers Raceway on Saturday (Aug. 31). The Hilltop oval will host the $500,000 Yonkers Trot for 3-year-old trotters and the $500,000 Messenger Stakes for 3-year-old pacers. These races will be the second legs in the Triple Crown for their respective gaits. Also on the Saturday program will be the $124,334 Hudson Filly Trot for 3-year-olds and the $122,224 Lady Maud for 3-year-old filly pacers. Grand Circuit action at Woodbine Mohawk commences on Thursday (Aug. 29) with two divisions in the C$195,597 Champlain Stakes for 2-year-old filly trotters. The Friday (Aug. 30) program is highlighted by a single division in the C$128,876 Champlain Stakes for 2-year-old colt trotters. The Saturday (Aug. 31) program features the C$600,000 Maple Leat Trot for older trotters and the C$525,000 Canadian Pacing Derby for older pacers. Also on the program will be a single division in the C$171,503 Simcoe Stakes for 3-year-old colt pacers. Complete entries for the races at Yonkers are available at this link. Entries for the Woodbine Mohawk races are available at this link. Last time: It was a 'non-Bettor's Wish' Saturday night (Aug. 24) during Yonkers Raceway's eliminations for the 64th Messenger Stakes. Bettor's Wish (Dexter Dunn), the lone $30,000 supplemental entrant into the second jewel of the Pacing Triple Crown, summarily disposed of his five rivals in a non-wagering elimination. A pole-sitting second early in the $40,000 off-the-card elimination, Bettor's Wish took over from American Mercury (Tyler Buter) before a :28 opening quarter-mile. After a pedestrian :58 intermission, Escapetothebeach (Corey Callahan) tried it first-up from fourth. Bettor's Wish led through a 1:26.1 three-quarters, eventually holding off American Mercury by a half-length in 1:53.2. Escapetothebeach backed away but held third, with Branquinho (Jason Bartlett) fourth. That quartet goes into this Saturday night's (Aug. 31) $500,000 finale of the Messenger. Bettor's Wish, a Bettor's Delight colt, has hit the board in 22-of-23 career tries (13 wins, seven seconds, two thirds, $1,131,600). He now has eight wins and three seconds in 11 '19 tries ($859,544). Chris Ryder co-owns (with Bella Racing, Fair Island Farm and Bettors Wish Partners) and trains. "He was just so great, so easy to drive," Dunn said. "I can't wait for next week." The on-the-card, $40,000 elimination saw Aflame Hanover (Callahan, $6) finish what he started. From post position three, he never had an issue (:27.4, :56.3, 1:24, 1:52), beating pocketed pole-sitter U S Captain (Bartlett) by 1-1/2 lengths. Waterway (Joe Bongiorno), paired with the runner-up as the 17-10 wagering choice, was a closing third, while 37-1 rank outsider Reigning Deo (George Brennan) was a ground-saving fourth to advance. For second choice Aflame Hanover, a Russell Hanover gelding co-owned by trainer Linda and Tony Schadel, it was his fourth win in 16 seasonal starts. "He was super," Callahan said. "He did everything I asked. His hobble hanger broke, but that didn't bother him." Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2019, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2019 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following this past weekend: Drivers: 1. Tim Tetrick - 776; 2. Yannick Gingras - 581; 3. David Miller - 486; 4. Dexter Dunn - 419; 5. Brian Sears - 374. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 713; 2. Tony Alagna - 366; 3. Jim King Jr. - 299; 4. Marcus Melander - 279; 5. Ake Svanstedt - 233. Owners: 1. Fashion Farms - 192; 2. Brad Grant - 137.5; 3. Burke Racing Stable - 134.6; 4. Courant Inc. - 122.5; 5. Weaver Bruscemi - 122.1. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next week at Woodbine Mohawk Park, Scioto Downs, and Tioga Downs. Woodbine Mohawk will feature eliminations of the Peaceful Way and William Wellwood Memorial, Simcoe Stakes for 3-year-olds (filly pacers, filly trotters and colt trotters) and Champlain Stakes for 2-year-old pacers; Scioto will host the Jim Ewart Memorial for older pacers and the Charlie Hill for older trotters; and Tioga Downs will feature a leg of the Miss Versatility Series for older trotting mares. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit  

With the Hambletonian Stakes already on his list of accomplishments, Forbidden Trade will try for the second jewel in the Trotting Triple Crown when he faces seven foes in Saturday's (Aug. 31) $500,000 Yonkers Trot at Yonkers Raceway. Nine trotters have captured the harness racing Triple Crown since its inception in 1955, the most recent Marion Marauder three years ago. Forbidden Trade and driver Bob McClure will start the Yonkers Trot from post six. Gimpanzee, the 2018 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male trotter and third-place finisher in the Hambletonian, leaves from post four. Soul Strong, who was a parked-out fourth from post 10 in the Hambletonian, starts from post two. It will be Forbidden Trade's first trip to The Hilltop, but the Luc Blais-trained colt is no stranger to success on half-mile-sized tracks such as Yonkers. Forbidden Trade won at Ontario's Grand River Raceway last season in 1:56.4, the fastest mile by a 2-year-old trotter in Canadian history. It also will be McClure's first visit to Yonkers. The 28-year-old, though, did plenty of driving on Ontario's half-mile ovals before becoming a regular at Woodbine Mohawk Park in 2018. McClure led Canada in wins in 2017 and 2016. He was third last year and in 2015. "At the end of the day they're all still going in a circle," McClure said about racing at Yonkers for the first time. "I know it's a tight half, but I've driven on a lot of (half-mile tracks) here too. "Good horses, they get around pretty well anything," he added. "(Forbidden Trade) is just a complete professional. That's why he was so successful at 2; he was like a 4-year-old to drive. He never made any mistakes; he was just perfect." Forbidden Trade, owned by Serge Godin's Determination stable, won seven of 11 races last year and received the O'Brien Award as Canada's best 2-year-old male trotter. This year, Forbidden Trade has won six of nine starts and finished no worse than third in any race. He has won five of his past six races, with his only setback being a third-place finish in his Hambletonian elimination. He won the same-day final by a neck over favorite Greenshoe. "He came back this year and he's faster, he's stronger, he's always been great gaited, and he's just as smart," McClure said. "You look at all the races he's won, you can leave with him and go out of there in :26 (seconds) or you can take him back and come home in :26. He just does whatever he has to do. "He's just a really good horse." Forbidden Trade has raced once since the Hambletonian, winning a division of the Ontario Sire Stakes Gold on Aug. 12 at Woodbine Mohawk Park. "He was really good that day," McClure said. "I'm sure he's in top form. He was feeling so good, Luc decided to go (to the Yonkers Trot)." Forbidden Trade, who has earned $907,728 in his career, will start the Yonkers Trot from one of the least advantageous post positions from a statistical standpoint. Posts one through five at Yonkers produce winners at a minimum of 14.3 percent, led by post one at 18 percent, while post six is at 8.5 percent. "It's just a starting spot," McClure said. "We'll probably just get off the gate and see how things turn out. You never know what's going to happen. Gimpanzee is probably the horse to beat, so we'll go from there." The three legs of the Trotting Triple Crown are the Hambletonian, Yonkers Trot and Kentucky Futurity. The Futurity, held at Lexington's Red Mile, is Oct. 6. Racing begins at 6:50 p.m. (EDT) Saturday at Yonkers. The Yonkers Trot is race six on the card and will be followed by the $500,000 Messenger Stakes for 3-year-old pacers. Bettor's Wish, the sport's top money-earner this season with $859,544, leads the field of eight in the Messenger, which is the second jewel in the Pacing Triple Crown. Captain Crunch, who won the first jewel, the Cane Pace, did not enter the Messenger. The card also includes the Hudson Filly Trot and Lady Maud. For complete entries, click here. Below is the field for the 65th Yonkers Trot. PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer 1-Osterc-Dexter Dunn-Per Engblom 2-Soul Strong-Dexter Dunn-Ake Svanstedt 3-Sheena's Boy-Andy Miller-Ake Svanstedt 4-Gimpanzee-Brian Sears-Marcus Melander 5-Livinonthedash-Marcus Miller-Erv Miller 6-Forbidden Trade-Bob McClure-Luc Blais 7-HL Revadon-Jim Marohn Jr.-Harry Landy 8-No Drama Please-Jason Bartlett-Tom Fanning by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA   

YONKERS, NY, Monday, August 26, 2019- Post positions have been drawn for Yonkers Raceway's pair of $500,000 Triple Crown harness racing events, set for the Saturday night (Aug. 31st). The 65th Yonkers Trot required no eliminations, as just eight 3-year-olds entered. Hambletonian winner Forbidden Trade drew post position No. 6 in what was carded as the sixth race. "It wasn't in our original plan, but plans change," trainer Luc Blais said. "We let him tell us what to do and he's been training so well." Forbidden Trade, a son of Kadabra, supplemented to the Trot after his 2-year-old season. He has won six of his nine starts at 3 ($671,484), the latest an Ontario Sire Stakes Gold event at Mohawk. The colt, has who made two half-mile-track OSS starts in his career, is owned by Serge Godin's Determination and driven by Bob McClure. "Always such a professional," McClure said in advance of his-and his date's-first trip to Westchester. "Just from Day One, he was mentally ahead of the other trotters.": Defending the honor of the Empire State is Gimpanzee (Brian Sears, post 4), a perfect 4-for-4 here including last season's $225,000 New York Sire Stakes title. The Chapter Seven colt, trained Marcus Melander for co-owners Courant Inc. and S R F Stable, has won 13 of his 15 career starts ($895,996). He enters off a paid sire stakes workout last weekend at Batavia where every other horse in the field went off at triple-figures-to-one. The draw for Trot entrants, with declared drivers... 1- Osterc (Dexter Dunn) 2-Soul Strong (g) (Dunn also listed) 3- Sheena's Boy (g) (Andy Miller) 4-Gimpanzee (Brian Sears) 5- Livinonthedash (Marcus Miller) 6-Forbidden Trade (Bob McClure) 7-HL Revadon (g) (Jim Marohn Jr.) 8-No Drama Please (Jason Bartlett) Messenger Stakes No. 64, which began with soph pacers, found elim winners Bettor's Wish (Dunn, post 1) and Aflame Hanover (Corey Callahan, post 8) starting from the pole and the polar opposite, respectively. Bettor's Wish, a Bettor's Delight colt-the lone $30,000 supplement into this race-has hit the board in 22-of-23 career tries (13 wins, 7 seconds, 2 thirds, $1,131,600). He has eight wins and three seconds) in 11 '19 tries ($859,544). Chris Ryder co-owns (with Bella Racing, Fair Island Farm & Bettor's Wish Partners) and trains. The field for the Messenger (7th race)... 1-Bettor's Wish (Dunn) 2-Branquinho (Bartlett) 3-American Mercury (g) (Tyler Buter) 4-U S Captain (Bartlett also listed) 5-Reigning Deo (George Brennan) 6-Waterway (Joe Bongiorno) 7-Escapetothebeach (g) (Callahan) 8-Aflame Hanover (g) (Callahan also listed). Saturday night's dozen-race card also includes companion events, the $124,334 Hudson Filly Trot (4th race) and $122,224 Lady Maud (5th race). First post is the usual 6:50 PM. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, August 20, 2019--Sometimes, we realize communication ain't all it's cracked up to be. That's our story and we're sticking with it. When the list of Yonkers Trot entrants was sent out Monday (Aug. 19th), it numbered seven. Well, make it eight. A bad game of telephone omitted one...a Hambletonian-winning one. Forbidden Trade was indeed put in the box Monday for the 65th Trot, and for that omission in print, it's a mea culpa. "It wasn't in our original plan, but plans change," trainer Luc Blais said. "We let him tell us what to do and he's been training so well." Forbidden Trade, a son of Kadabra, was among the list of Yonkers Trot eligibles, supplemented after his 2-year-old season. He has won six of his nine starts at 3 ($671,484), the latest an Ontario Sire Stakes Gold event at Mohawk. The colt, has who made two half-mile-track OSS starts in his career, is owned by Serge Godin's Determination and driven by Bob McClure. Even with the 'addition' of Forbidden Trade, the limited number of entrants makes this season's race a one-dash-for-the-(half-million-dollar)-cash event, set for Saturday night, Aug. 31st. The new-and-improved alphabetical list of Yonkers Trot entrants, with declared drivers, are... Forbidden Trade (Bob McClure) Gimpanzee (Brian Sears) HL Revadon (g) (Jim Marohn Jr.) Livinonthedash (Marcus Miller) No Drama Please (Tim Tetrick) Osterc (Dexter Dunn) Sheena's Boy (g) (Dunn also listed) Soul Strong (g) (Dunn also listed) by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

Stay Hungry has now won two of the three jewels of harness racing’s Triple Crown for pacers and Six Pack won the Triple Crown jewel, the Yonkers Trot, to headline an actioned packed card at Yonkers Raceway. In the seventh race $500,000 Messenger Stakes for three-year-old pacers it was Babes Dig Me and driver George Brennan getting the early lead, but driver Doug McNair had Stay Hungry on the move and they took command by the opening quarter mile in :27.1. Coming around the second turn, driver Louis Philippe Roy came first-over from fourth place with Jimmy Freight and took off after Stay Hungry and that became a dogfight going to the half mile in :55.3 as McNair would not let Roy get by him. Those two continued their battle down the backstretch to the three-quarters in 1:23 and in the stretch Jimmy Freight tried but could not catch Stay Hungry who went on to win by a neck over Jimmy Freight in 1:52.1. Topville Olympian (Jim Morrill, Jr.) was third. It was the fourth win in ten starts for Stay Hungry, a son of Somebeachsomewhere, trained by Tony Alagna and owned by Bradly Grant of Milton, ON and the Estate of Irwin Samelman of Las Vegas, NV. He paid $7.80 to win. “The front end is usually not his forte,” Doug McNair said of Stay Hungry. “But he did it tonight. He’s very relaxed, you can drive him with two fingers. Tony (Alagna) does such a great job training him. “The last 16th we were both tired,” McNair said. “We had gone head and head for a half mile or so and in that last 16th my horse was lucky to hold on.” “It may not be his forte to go on the front end,” Alagna said. “But I knew he (Stay Hungry) could handle a half mile.  After he won the Cane Pace it was a no-brainer that we were going after the Triple Crown, that’s why we brought him here tonight. “Cat Manzi, who works for me,” Alagna explained,” brought him here a week before the eliminations and trained him so we had his gear set to go. He did a great job helping me get him ready.” Alagna said they would discuss whether to take Stay Hungry up north to Toronto for the Simcoe Stake next week or just give him a rest before going for the final jewel of the pacing triple crown, the Little Brown Jug in Delaware, Ohio on Thursday, September 20. Stay Hungry Stay Hungry Interview Six Pack easy winner in $500,000 Yonkers Trot Six Pack and trainer/driver Ake Svanstedt were able to score a seven and three-quarters length romp in capturing the 64th edition of the Yonkers Trot, the second leg of harness racing’s Trotting Triple Crown, Saturday at Yonkers Raceway. The purse was $500,000. It was Lindsey’s Pride and driver Marcus Miller who shot out to the early lead and parked out Six Pack and Svanstedt to the opening quarter mile in :28.4. Once on the lead, Six Pack was on cruise control for Svanstedt, holding the field at bay past the half mile in :58.1. Heading to the backstretch, Helpisontheway (Jim Morrill, Jr.) came first-over with Maxus (Mark MacDonald) second over. In the backstretch, Svanstedt opened up on the field with Six Pack at the three-quarters in 1:26.3 and they went on to win with ease in 1:54. Helpisontheway was second with Lindsey’s Pride third. The time of the race was the fastest Yonkers Trot ever at the track. It was the sixth win in nine starts this year for Six Pack, who paid just $2.50 to win. The son of Muscle Mass is co-owned by Ake Svanstedt with Little E LLC of NY, Stall Kalmar of Sweden and Lars Berg of DE. “The good horses (Six Pack) are good at age 2 and get better at age 3.” Svanstedt said. “The horse to beat was #1 (Helpisontheway). I was not worried about the horse in front of me early. “Now we (Six Pack) have two New York Sire Stakes to race in to make the final,” Svanstedt said. “Then we will supplement to the Kentucky Futurity at the Red Mile.” Six Pack World Record tied in $129,014 Hudson Filly Trot   The fourth race Hudson Filly Trot Final for three-year-old’s saw Plunge Blue Chip, the 1/5 betting favorite and trainer/driver Ake Svanstedt barely hold off Supergirl Riley (Marcus Miller) by a long nose in 1:53.1. The clocking was not only the all age track record at Yonkers, but it also tied the world record set in 2013 by Frau Blucher. The previous all age track record at Yonkers was set by Quick Deal at 1:53.2 in 2013. Svanstedt left quickly from post one with Plunge Blue Chip and held the field at bay through quarters of :27.3; :55.3 and 1:23.2 before Miller was able to catch up with Supergirl Riley in the two-hole. Supergirl Riley made it a horse race down the stretch but Plunge Blue Chip had just enough left to win it at the wire. Lucky Ave (Daniel Dube) was third. It was the fourth win in nine starts this year for Plunge Blue Chip, a daughter of Muscle Mass. She is co-owned by Svanstedt of Wrightowns, NJ, Blue Chip Bloodstock, NY, Tomas Anderson, Sweden and Rick Zeron of ON. She paid $2.50 to win. “She had been pulling too much the first half,” Svanstedt said. “So, we made some changes. She is very well gaited so that is why she does so well on smaller tracks. She is very good now.” Favorite wins $112,904 Lady Maud Pace The fifth race Lady Maud Final for three-year-old pacing fillies started out with Better Than Happy and driver Joe Bongiorno taking the early lead from the rail with 1/5 favorite Alexis Faith (Jim Morrill, Jr,) sitting right on their backs to the opening quarter mile in :27.4. They raced Indian-style to the half mile in :57.1 when Jewels Forreal and driver George Brennan started up first-over with Majorette Angie (Brian Sears) following second-over. Once in the backstretch, Morrill pulled from the pocket and barely got out in front of Jewels Forreal and Alexis Faith cleared to the lead past the three-quarters in 1:25.3. Opening up two lengths on the field, Alexis Faith and Morrill cruised to the wire, holding off a late charge by Solitary (Jim Marohn, Jr.) to win by a half length in 1:53.4. Jewels Forreal was third. Sired by American Ideal, Alexis Faith is trained by Casie Coleman and owned by the West Wins Stable and Jim Fielding of ON, J Robert Darrow of OH and Kevin McKinlay of ON. She paid $2.60 to win. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink

YONKERS, NY, Wednesday, August 29, 2018-With Yonkers Raceway's featured half-million-dollar stakes races contested consecutively this Saturday night (Sept. 1st), handicappers having to chance to combine the pair. Yonkers is offering a special 'Triple Crown Daily Double,' comprised of Yonkers Trot No. 64 (6th race) and the 63rd Messenger Stakes (7th race). The final program pages for all four Saturday stakes (adding Lady Maud and Hudson Filly Trot) accompanies this release. First post for the dozen-race card is the evening norm of 6:50 PM. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway  

YONKERS, NY, Wednesday, August 29, 2018--In conjunction with the finals of the two Triple Crown race, the Yonkers Trot and the Messenger Stakes on Saturday and the Yonkers Raceway's inaugural French-American Trotting Club Series, the Empire Terrace shall be open on Saturday night and will offer a brunch buffet this Sunday (Sept. 2nd). The Terrace opens at 11:30 AM Sunday in advance of that afternoon's first post of 12:15 PM. The Raceway's French guests, as well as horsemen, owners and fans, can watch the races while enjoying 'themed' delicacies including French toast, Coq au Vin, Ratatouille, Enchaud Perigourdin pork loins, pasta with lobster meat in a cream sauce, an omelette station and other selections. The cost for the buffet is $24.95 per person (plus tax and gratuities), though there is no charge for participants in the French-American Trotting Club, courtesy of the Standardbred Owners Association of New York. For reservations, please call (914) 457-2457. Please note that Trotting Club members are also requested to use the number to make their reservations. As a reminder, the Terrace is also open Saturday night (Sept. 1st) for the Raceway's pair of half-million-dollar Triple Crown events, the 64th Yonkers Trot and 63rd Messenger Stakes. Use the above number for reservations. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway  

This Week: Yonkers Trot, Messenger Stakes, Hudson Filly Trot and Lady Maud, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y.; and Maple Leaf Trot, Canadian Pacing Derby, Simcoe Stakes, and Champlain Stakes, Woodbine Mohawk Park, Milton, Ontario. Schedule of events: A busy holiday weekend of Grand Circuit action is led by a pair of Triple Crown events at Yonkers Raceway on Saturday (Sept. 1). The Hilltop oval will host the $500,000 Yonkers Trot for 3-year-old trotters and the $500,000 Messenger Stakes for 3-year-old pacers. These races will be the second legs in the Triple Crown for their respective gaits. Also on the Saturday program will be the $129,014 Hudson Filly Trot for 3-year-olds and the $112,904 Lady Maud for 3-year-old filly pacers. Grand Circuit action at Woodbine Mohawk commences on Thursday (Aug. 30) with three divisions in the C$202,476 Champlain Stakes for 2-year-old filly trotters. The Friday (Aug. 31) program is highlighted by three divisions in the C$209,321 Champlain Stakes for 2-year-old colt trotters and a single $153,996 division in the Simcoe Stakes for 3-year-old filly trotters. The Saturday (Sept. 1) program features the C$651,000 Maple Leaf Trot for older trotters and the C$600,000 Canadian Pacing Derby for older pacers. Also on the program will be a single division in the C$169,183 Simcoe Stakes for 3-year-old colt trotters. Complete entries for the races at Yonkers are available at this link. Entries for the Woodbine Mohawk races are available at this link. Last time: Hambletonian Oaks champion Manchego delivered a stunning 1:51.4 stakes record performance to defeat Hambletonian champion Atlanta in Friday's (Aug. 24) $103,360 Casual Breeze at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The superstar fillies were squaring off for the first time in 2018 and went off as co-favorites at odds of 4-5 in a field of 10. Manchego delivered a stunning 1:51.4 stakes record performance to defeat Atlanta in the Casual Breeze at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Manchego and driver Yannick Gingras left strong from post eight, while Atlanta and driver Scott Zeron showed their usual early speed from post three. Driver Trevor Henry decided to mix things up by firing longshot Smoke And Mirrors towards the lead and kept Manchego out going around the first turn, as Zeron took back to settle third. The Jimmy Takter trained Manchego cleared to the top just strides after leading by three-quarters of a length at the opening quarter in :27.3. The Hambletonian Oaks champion continued to trot strong for the next eighth of a mile before Gingras tapped the breaks to grab a comfortable :28.4 second quarter. Atlanta was angled from the three-hole heading into the far turn, while Gingras and Manchego began to ramp up the tempo. Smoke And Mirrors gapped in the two-hole, which allowed Zeron to drop in with Atlanta and power up for the stretch battle. Manchego reached three-quarters in 1:24.1 with a 1-1/2 length lead on Atlanta. In the stretch, Manchego continued her powerful ways and didn't allow Atlanta to get any closer than her wheel. The Takter trainee trotted a :27.3 final quarter to defeat Atlanta by 1-3/4 lengths in a Canadian record equaling 1:51.4. Sorceress Seelster, who sat fourth most of the mile, finished 11 lengths back in third, while Blonde Magic was 12 lengths behind the winner in fourth. Friday's matchup between Manchego and Atlanta was months in the making. Manchego entered the season as the top filly after an undefeated rookie campaign. Atlanta made an immediate impact to start her sophomore season and eventually successfully took on the boys in the Hambletonian, while Manchego beat the fillies in the Oaks. "Everybody was talking about Atlanta and rightfully so, she's a great filly too, but I never lost confidence in mine and all along I thought I had the best filly," said Gingras following the victory. "It's just one matchup; they'll meet up again many times, but my filly was super strong tonight." A daughter of Muscle Hill, Manchego improved to 18 wins and nearly $1.4 million earned in 21 career starts for owners Black Horse Racing, John Fielding and Herb Liverman. She has now won six of nine this season and remains undefeated in three starts at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Rick Zeron trainee Atlanta suffered just her second loss in eight starts this season. The Chapter Seven filly's only prior defeat was a second in the first heat of the Hambletonian, which she followed up with an impressive victory in the final. Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2018, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2018 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend. Drivers: 1. Tim Tetrick - 748.5; 2. Yannick Gingras - 730.5; 3. David Miller - 429.5; 4. Scott Zeron - 315; 5. Jordan Stratton - 288. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 672.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 554; 3. Tony Alagna - 358; 4. Jim Campbell - 226; 5. Erv Miller - 220. Owners: 1. Burke Racing Stable - 148; 2. Weaver Bruscemi - 143; 3. Fashion Farms - 139; 4. Brittany Farms - 122.4; 5. Robert Key - 120. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next week at Woodbine Mohawk Park, Scioto Downs, and Tioga Downs. Woodbine Mohawk will feature eliminations of the Canadian Trotting Classic, Elegantimage, Peaceful Way and William Wellwood Memorial, as well as Simcoe Stakes for 3-year-old pacers and Champlain Stakes for 2-year-old pacers; Scioto will host the Jim Ewart Memorial for older pacers and the Jug Preview for 3-year-old pacers; and Tioga Downs will feature a leg of the Miss Versatility Series for older trotting mares. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit  

Linda Toscano felt as though she had her wings clipped when at the age of 13 her family moved from Brooklyn to Long Island. But the teenager soon fell in love with horses, which led her soaring to historic heights in harness racing, topped most recently by her election to the sport's Hall of Fame. Toscano, though, is not finished flying. The trainer will be looking to add to her résumé when she sends Helpisontheway to Saturday's $500,000 Yonkers Trot for 3-year-olds, the second jewel in the Trotting Triple Crown, at Yonkers Raceway. Toscano has started only one horse previously in the Yonkers Trot, Market Share, who finished third in 2012. Helpisontheway was not staked to the event, but was entered for a $30,000 supplemental payment. Toscano's Camelot Stable co-owns the colt with Andrew Cohen's The Bay's Stable and Jeff Gural's Little E LLC. "It's exciting," Toscano said. "It's even more exciting to own part of one (in the race). He has been the biggest and most pleasant surprise we've had in a long time." Helpisontheway won one of eight races last year, when he was more likely to gallop behind the starting gate (three times) than hit the board (twice). His victory, a 1:55.4 score at Vernon Downs in the New York Excelsior Series, and a third-place finish in the Kindergarten Classic championship were enough to maintain Toscano's hope for the future. The future arrived this year, with Helpisontheway winning six of 10 races and finishing second twice. He brings a four-race win streak to the Yonkers Trot, including a career-best 1:51.4 triumph from post 12 in the Dennis Drazin Trot on Hambletonian Day, Aug. 4, at The Meadowlands. "He had tons of ability, but mentally he was just not there," Toscano said. "When he came back this year, right off the bat his qualifiers were good, he behaved himself every start. He just basically grew up. That's all. He mentally matured. And he's been a pleasure through the whole year. He's done everything I could ask of him, and then some." Among Helpisontheway's victories this season is a 1:55.3 win in a division of the New York Sire Stakes at Yonkers. In the Yonkers Trot, he will face a field that includes Empire Breeders Classic winner Six Pack, NYSS stalwart The Veteran, and last year's Kindergarten Classic champ Tito. "Because we're playing with house money at this point, (the Yonkers Trot) was a reasonable supplement for the amount of money you get to race for," Toscano said. "We tested him around Yonkers and he seemed to get around the track real well. The group decided to give it a shot. "He's got some real competition. We know what we're up against, but at the same time, he deserves the chance." Toscano is no stranger to success with trotters, conditioning four Dan Patch Award-winners including 2012 Horse of the Year Chapter Seven and 2012 Hambletonian winner Market Share. Her other trotting honorees were Walner in 2016 and Giant Mermaid in 1995. She also won an award with pacer Heston Blue Chip in 2012. She was the first female trainer to win the Hambletonian, first to be honored as Trainer of the Year (in 2012) and now first to be elected to the Hall of Fame. "I don't think any of us do this with any intentions of ever thinking toward Hall of Fame," Toscano said. "I think we start because we love what we do. You can't dream this big. I don't know how to explain how much it means to me. "While it's a single honor, it's a collaborative effort that gets you here. I thank all my owners, and the people who have been behind me, and Brad (husband Brad McNinch), who works side-by-side with me and gets no recognition or accolades while I get it all." Toscano was introduced to racing through trips to Aqueduct, Belmont and Saratoga with her father. After the family moved to Long Island, her mother suggested riding lessons and several years later Toscano got a job at Roosevelt Raceway. She worked for trainer Buddy Regan before starting her own stable in 1984. "I was 13 years old when we moved to Long Island," Toscano said. "My wings were clipped. I basically had freedom in Brooklyn. I had a bus pass. I traveled. I could get anywhere I needed to go. I couldn't get a thing (on Long Island) without a ride from my parents. I was not a happy kid. I was just miserable. "My mom asked if I would like to take horseback riding lessons. I thought I would try it, and I was immediately bitten by the bug. I had a friend who started working (at Roosevelt) in 1975 and she said she knew I was thinking of becoming a vet, but why not go to the racetrack for a different type of experience. I went down to the racetrack and the rest is history. I just fell in love with the Standardbreds." Saturday's card at Yonkers also includes the $500,000 Messenger Stakes, where Stay Hungry will try to add the second jewel in the Pacing Triple Crown to his collection, as well as the $129,014 Hudson Filly Trot and $112,904 Lady Maud. Following is the field for the Yonkers Trot in post-position order. PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer 1-Helpisontheway-Jim Morrill Jr.-Linda Toscano 2-Lindsey's Pride-Marcus Miller-Erv Miller 3-Lindy's Big Bang-Dexter Dunn-R. Nifty Norman 4-Six Pack-Ake Svanstedt-Ake Svanstedt 5-Maxus-Mark MacDonald-Jimmy Takter 6-Mississippi Storm-Jason Bartlett-Tom Fanning 7-Tito-Jason Bartlett-Erv Miller 8-The Veteran-Jordan Stratton-George Ducharme by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA 

YONKERS, NY, Monday, August 27, 2018-Post positions have been drawn for Yonkers Raceway's two, half-million-dollar Triple Crown events, Saturday night's (Sept. 1st) 64th Yonkers Trot and Messenger Stakes No. 63. The Trot, which required no elimination races, goes as the sixth of a dozen races (first post 6:50 PM). The draw yielded a nearly-complete alphabetical order...1-Helpisontheway (s, Jim Morrill Jr.), 2-Lindsey's Pride (g, Marcus Miller), 3-Lindy's Big Bang (g, Dexter Dunn), 4- Six Pack (Ake Svanstedt), 5-Maxus (Mark MacDonald), 6-Mississippi Storm (g, Jason Bartlett), 7- Tito (Bartlett also listed), 8-The Veteran (Jordan Stratton). [g- gelding. s-$30,000 supplemental entrant] The Messenger saw an original list of 11 entrants whittled down to the finale octet. The open draw turned Jimmy Freight (Louis-Philippe Roy)-he of the scorched-earth 1:50.3 romp in the second of last Saturday night (Aug. 25th) two $40,000 eliminations-into Jimmy (Fr)eight-hole, starting outside his seven rivals. Owner Adriano Sorella's $30,000 supplemental entrant (the only buy-in this season) set a track record for his age group and went faster than any final of this race held here. The other elim winner, Babe Dig Me (George Brennan), did so in a life-hest 1:52.2. He drew post No. 5 for the final (7th race), which autodrew as such... 1-Springsteen (Brian Sears), 2-Winston (g, Corey Callahan), 3-Topville Olympian (g, Sears also listed), 4-JK Wildfire (g, Jason Bartlett), 5-Babes Dig Me (George Brennan), 6-Stay Hungry (Doug McNair), 7-Nutcracker Sweet (Jordan Stratton), 8-Jimmy Freight (s, Louis-Philippe Roy). [g- gelding. s-$30,000 supplemental entrant] Saturday night's card also includes the $129,014 Hudson Filly Trot (4th race) & $112,904 Lady Maud Pace (5th race) , both for 3-year-old ladies. (this story shall be updated) by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway  

YONKERS, NY, Monday, August 20, 2018-Yonkers Raceway's entry box Monday afternoon (Aug. 20th) offered up 3-year-olds-four colts and four geldings-for the 64th Yonkers Trot. The entry box also found 11 3-year-olds-eight colts and three-geldings-for Messenger Stakes No. 63. Thus, the second jewels of their respective Triple Crown find the Trot as a 'one-dash-for-the-cash' event, while the Messenger has a pair of $40,000 eliminations races this Saturday night (Aug. 25th). Alphabetically, here are the entrants for Yonkers Trot No. 64... Helpisontheway (s) Lindsey's Pride (g) Lindy's Big Bang (g) Maxus Mississippi Storm (g) Six Pack The Veteran Tito The Messenger's elims go as the fifth and sixth races Saturday night, having drawn as such... First elim-1-Babes Dig Me (Jordan Stratton), 2-Wild Bill (Ray Schnittker), 3-JK Wildfire (g, Stratton also listed), 4-Topville Olympian (g, Brian Sears), 5-Nutcracker Sweet (Stratton also listed). Second elim-1-Springsteen (Dave Miller), 2- Winston (g, Corey Callahan), 3-Decoy (Mark MacDonald), 4-Jimmy Freight (s, Louis-Philippe Roy), 5-Stay Hungry (Doug McNair), 6-Kwik Talkin' (Stratton). Note 'g' signifies gelding, while 's' is a $30,000 supplemental entrant. Both finals--$500,000 each-are scheduled for a week from Saturday night, Sept. 1st. They are accompanied by the companion events, the $129,014 Hudson Filly Trot (six entrants) and the $112,904 Lady Maud Pace (eight entrants). By Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

On Sunday afternoon at Yonkers, Dewycolorintheline became harness racing's newest millionaire with an overnight win giving him a career total of $1,000,481 from 31 wins in 147 career starts.   Now 8 years of age, Dewycolorintheline was bred by Jeff Gural as Little E, LLC, came from the first crop of Hambletonian winner Deweycheatumnhowe out of his stakes winning mare Magenta Hall 2, 1:55.2m and was sold to Ray Schnittker for $110,000 with Gural remaining a partner in the Deweycolorintheline Stable.   A precocious freshman, Dewycolorintheline won his Peter Haughton Memorial elimination and was fifth in the final. A win in the Yonkers Trot highlighted a sophomore season that saw him earn over $400,000 for the year. From there it's come the hard way, grinding out more than $100,000 each season at ages 4, 5, 6 & 7 and the old boy is now halfway there again in 2018.   Allerage Farms will sell a Cantab Hall half sister to Dewycolorintheline by the name of Plum Rose in the Lexington Selected Yearling sale this October.   From Allerage Farms  

YONKERS, NY, Thursday, June 21, 2018-For those of who may have missed the first go-round, Yonkers Raceway is offering a redux of the 2016 Yonkers Trot...in 2018. Hey, you buy the premise, you buy the bit. Saturday night's (June 23rd) co-featured $44,000 Open Handicap Trot is highlighted by the return of one Marion Marauder. The Trotting Triple Crown winner and career $2.5 million earner invades Westchester for the first time since a second-place effort in Twister Bi's world-record Yonkers International Trot romp last October. Marion Marauder was remanded behind the eight-ball Saturday night, complete with new escort. Jordan Stratton gets the assignment as regular date Scott Zeron is off to Pocono and eliminations for the Sun Stakes. When Marion Marauder looks to his immediate left, he shall see his nemesis from that Tour de Trot, one Smalltownthrowdown. According to the U.S. Trotting Association's Anne Chunko, the pair only opposed one another in the elim and final of the '16 Trot, with Smalltownthrowdown the bridesmaid in both. Marion Marauder won the half-million-dollar finale by a hard-fought head in 1:56.1 (photo accompanies) after winning by a length-and-a-quarter the week before. The third round was supposed to be at Scioto's Charlie Hill Memorial earlier this month, but Marion Marauder came up ill. This season, the now 5-year-old son of Muscle Hill has a win (Philly, 1:52.1) and pair of seconds in three starts. He's 15-for-41 lifetime, hitting the board 33 times. Marion Marauder is co-owned by Marion Wellwood and Devin Keeling & trained by the tandem of Paula Wellwood and Mike Keeling (Ms. Wellwood is listed stateside). Smalltownthrowdown, no slouch he, tries to exact some revenge, albeit with somewhat less riding on this outcome. The 5-year-old statebred Cash Hall gelding has won 19 career races (2-for-6 this season) and more than $700,000. Trained and driven by Dan Daley at 2 and 3, he's now co-owned and trained by Rene Allard. Dan Dube takes a seat. Smalltownthrowdown, the New York Sire Stakes champ as a sophomore, won a local Open Handicap in late May. The weekly trotting features goes as the seventh of a dozen races. First post is the usual 6:50 PM. Oh, and so as not to short shrift the other gait, Saturday night's $44,000 Open Handicap Pace finds Bit of a Legend N back at it for the first time since his win (life-best 1:49.4) in Northfield's $200,000 Battle of Lake Erie three weeks ago. If you're keeping score at home, this is another outside getaway for Stratton, as in post No. 7. The Open 'Cap Pace goes as the sixth race. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Monday, August 28, 2017 -- Faced with a scenario for which there was no rule in place, Saturday night's $500,000 final (Sept. 2nd) of Yonkers Raceway's 63rd Yonkers Trot shall go postward with a field of nine harness racing 3-year-olds. The odd circumstance came about after Di Oggi and Southwind Hydro finished in a dead-heat for fourth in the second of last weekend's two elimination races. Since the first four trotters in each earn berths into the final and Yonkers Trot conditions did not allow for 'heaters' to determine finalists, Raceway management decided to permit both horses into the race. (Author's aside...provisions for such future instances shall be addressed when the race conditions are amended to separate 'by lot' when necessary.) That said, elimination (purse $40,000 each) winners Guardian Angel AS (Jason Bartlett) and Yes Mickey (Ake Svanstedt) drew post position Nos. 4 and 6, respectively. The Trot, second jewel of the Trotting Triple Crown, goes as the fifth race (approx.. post time 8:35 PM). The draw, with each horse racing independently, is as such... 1-Devious Man (Andy Miller), 2-Di Oggi (Montrell Teague), 3-Southwind Cobra (Matt Kakaley), 4-Guardian Angel AS (Jason Bartlett), 5-Southwind Hydro (Marcus Johansson), 6-Yes Mickey (lone gelding, Ake Svanstedt), 7-Money Macintosh (Jordan Stratton), 8-Another Chapter (Dan Dube), 9-Top Flight Angel (Brian Sears, second tier). Yes Mickey was/is the lone supplemental entrant (in this case $30,000) in any of these stakes. The 62nd Messenger (race No. 4, approx.. post 8:15 PM) had not such "sponsor's exception" issues after Art Rooney Pace winner Downbytheseaside matched the fastest local pacing mile of the season (1:51). He won last Saturday's (Aug. 26th) lone $40,000 elim by 8½ unasked lengths. He does, however, have to negotiate post No. 7 in this Saturday night's half-million-dollar second jewel of the Pacing Crown, also for 3-year-olds. That eight-on-the-gate draw played out this way... 1-Mac's Jackpot (g) (Bartlett), 2-Summer Side (Tim Tetrick), 3-Miso Fast (Kakaley), 4-Art Scene (Stratton), 5-Funknwaffles (g) (Corey Callahan), 6-Blood Line (Mark MacDonald), 7-Downbytheseaside (Sears), 8--Henry the Dragon (Teague). As with the Trot, all entrants race uncoupled. The ladies' companion events, for soph lasses, are the one-dash-for-the-cash $119,010 Hudson Filly Trot and $113,880 Lady Maud Pace The Hudson goes as the third race (approx. post 7:55 PM)... 1-Dangle Then Deke (Eric Goodell), 2-Chapter Too (Jeff Gregory), 3-Lexie Marie (George Brennan), 4-Celebrity Ruth (Bartlett), 5-Mamora Bay (Sam Schillaci), 6-Sunshine Delight (Brettt Miller), 7-Evelyn (Andy Miller), 8-Ice Attraction (Svanstedt). The Maud wraps the stakes portion as the sixth race (approx.. post 8:55 PM)... 1-Angel's Pride (Kakaley), 2-Tori Hanover (MacDonald), 3-Awash (Stratton), 4-Gurl Band K (Yannick Gingras), 6- Ella Christina (Tetrick), 6-Robin J (Bartlett), 7-World Apart (Bartlett also listed). Program changes shall be made Tuesday afternoon (Aug. 29th). Post time for the dozen-race card is the usual 7:10 PM.   Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, August 26, 2017-- Yonkers Raceway Saturday night (Aug. 26th) hosted a trio of harness racing $40,000 stakes eliminations, two for Yonkers Trot No. 63 and one for the 62nd Messenger Stakes. The opening elim for Yonkers Trot had a different feel before the outset when pole-sitting, third choice Enterprise (Tim Tetrick) broke behind the gate and effectively was eliminated from the elimination. That faux pas left the race as a two-choice, two-speed number, with even-money Devious Man (Andy Miller) waltzing around Westchester (:28, 59, 1:28.1). He was chased by the $30,000 buy-in, Yes Mickey (Ake Svanstedt). Devious Man, last season's New York Sire Stakes champ, had a couple of lengths in and out of the final before 'Mickey,' after leaving from post position No.4, received the memo. He dove inside, whipping Devious Man by a neck in 1:56.1. Another Chapter (Dan Dube) was a distant, three-hole third, with 49-1 outsider Southwind Cobra (Matt Kakaley) a 'distanter,' four-hole fourth. As for Enterprise, he did catch the field but could not sustain a first-up offering. For Yes Mickey, a Muscle Hill gelding trained by his driver for owner Mellby Gard Inc., it was his third win in 10 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $10, with the triple returning $43.20. What's been the difference for this season's version of Yes Mickey after a one-start, $600 frosh season? "He doesn't break," Svanstedt said, succinctly. Yes Mickey The second elim for the Trot wound up with much more intrigue at the bottom than at the top, where a first-up (from post No. 4), odds-on Guardian Angel AS (Jason Bartlett, $3.10) was grinding by Money Macintosh (Miller). The margin was a half-length in 1:56.2. Money Macintosh led through intervals of :28.4, 58.1 and 1:27.1, holding second from entrymate Top flight Angel (Brian Sears) as that one rallied from last among the six-pack. Di Oggi (Montrell Teague) and Southwind Hydro (Marcus Johansson) wound up in a dead-heat for fourth, which led to an unanswered question. As of this writing (just past midnight Sunday morning), the author was unable to get a definitive answer regarding the field for next Saturday's half-million final of the second jewel of the Trotting Triple Crown. The top four finishers in each get invites, but how this 'heater' issue gets adjudicated is unknown...as of now. Updates when available. For Guardian Angel AS, a statebred son of 2012 Yonkers Trot winner Archangel co-owned by ACL Stuteri AB & Kjell Johansson and trained by Anette Lorentzon, he's now 7-for-12 this season. The exacta (two wagering choices) paid $4.40, with no triple wagering offered to a limited number (five) of wagering interests. "I didn't care where I was going to get away (fourth), and I didn't care if I was going to be first-over," Bartlett said. "I just didn't want to tip him on his head leaving. He always gets over Yonkers very well." Guardian Angel AS The Messenger's game of 'musical chairs'--nine 3-year-old colt/gelding pacers to eliminate one--wasn't close to being a fair fight. Art Rooney Pace winner Downbytheseaside (Brian Sears, $2.10, part of entry) made the lead before the half, then rolled home by 8½ lengths in 1:51. Art Scene (Jordan Stratton) won the scrum for second, whipping the winner's entrymate Blood Line (Mark Macdonald). The latter made the lead passing a 27-second opening quarter-mile, before 'Seaside', away third from post position No. 3, found front nearing the 56-second intermission. He began losing his rivals in and out of a 1:23.3 three-quarters, taking six lengths into the lane. Mac's Jackpot (Bartlett) and first leader Summer Side (Ray Schnittker) earned the minors, while Funknwaffles (Corey Callahan), Henry the Dragon (Teague) and Miso Fast (Kakaley) also made next week's $500,000 second jewel of the Pacing Triple Crown. Beyond Delight (Dan Dube) was the odd horse out. For Downbytheseaside, a son of Somebeachsomewhere trained by Brian Brown for co-owners Country Club Acres, Joe Sbrocco, Richard Lombardo and Diamond Creek Racing, it was his seventh win in 11 seasonal starts ($706,216). The exacta paid $9.10, with the triple (Mac's Jackpot 'thir' for this wager) returning $21.20. "You never take anything for granted, especially in a nine-horse field," Sears said. "He just has a tremendous turn of speed," Sears said. "I was so glad he won at Northfield (Milstein Memorial), because he deserved it after some tough luck and tough trips." Downbytheseaside Saturday night's $50,000 Open Handicap Pace was won by a pocketed Caviart Luca (George Brennan, $17.20) in 1:52.2, a tick off his seasonal best. Frank Drucker

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