Yonkers Raceway's pair of Friday night, $35,000 co-featured harness racing 'Open Handicaps'--for trotters and prom-worthy pacers--were won by a season-debuting Brando's Muscle Man (George Brennan, $17.60) and Hot List (Matt Kakaley, $15.40).
Assigned outside his seven rivals for his first purse try in nearly two months, "Brando" made the lead around Affirmed Action (Jason Bartlett) before a :28.3 opening quarter-mile. Affirmed Action then retook the lead as lone lass Sugar Queen Gabby (Mark MacDonald), out since the outset, kept advancing.
It was "Gabby" finally going to the lead before a :57.4 intermission. "Brando" took out of third going toward the 1:26.4 three-quarters, with Celebrity Bluechip (Kakaley) now in pursuit. Brando's Muscle Man owned a half-length lead into the lane, while Celebrity Bluechip was sizing his up. The leader dug in and the chaser hung, with "Brando" winning by a nose in 1:55.3.
Enrico AS (Jordan Stratton), Affirmed Action and Sugar Queen Gabby rounded out the payees. Looking Hanover (Brian Sears) offered less than nothing as the 17-10 choice, finishing last among the octet.
For Brando's Muscle Man, a 5-year-oldgelding owned and trained by Gilberto Garcia-Herrera, he won as the fifth wagering choice. The exacta paid $188.50, with the triple returning $1,506.
The distaff dance saw Hot List tuck in fourth from her outside eight-hole venue. She watched while 2-1 favorite Mystical Diva (Sears) pocketed Don't Point At (Jeff Gregory), with Warrawee Koine (Bartlett) sequestered third.
After early intervals of :27.2 and :57.1, Hot List was back at it, engaging the leader down the backside while Chief Karen (Larry Stalbaum) was gapping second-over. After a 1:25.2 three-quarters, Mystical Diva maintained a short lead in and out of the final turn, but was getting pummeled from all precincts.
Hot List continued her grind, getting the jump on a pylon-skimming Warrawee Koine and beating that one by three-quarters of a length in 1:53.3. Third went to Don't Point, who left the cones, with Mystical Diva and Frontierpan (Dan Dube) grabbing the remainder.
For Hot List, a 5-year-old daughter oftrained by Ron Burke for co-owners himself (as Burke Racing), Joe DiScala Jr. and Cynthia Lynn Massari, it was her second win (as the fifth choice) in four '13 tries. The exacta paid $69.50, the triple returned $497.50 and the superfecta paid $1,338
The Raceway's five-night-per-week live schedule continues, with first post every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:10 PM. Evening simulcasting accompanies all live programs, with afternoon simulcasting available around the NYRA schedule.
by Frank DRUCKER