Yonkers Raceway's Saturday (July 21) harness racing card is highlighted by the $119,000 final of the Lawrence B. Sheppard Pace for 2-year-old colts and geldings. Post time for the baker's dozen bonanza is 7:10 PM, with the feature going as the sixth race (approximate post 9 PM).
The Sheppard--a Raceway stakes staple for decades which was named for the man who helped make Hanover Shoe Farms a giant in the breeding business--returns after a nine-year hiatus.
In the interest of full disclosure, the Sheppard actually returned last Saturday night, with a trio of $25,000 eliminations.
Those elims produced these eight finalists, with the open draw producing the requisite intrigue.
Doctor Butch (Jason Bartlett) turned in the fastest effort a week ago, strolling home by four lengths in 1:55.2. However, the ($55,000)colt, owned by Ken Jacobs and trained by Linda Toscano, needed better friends in the race office after landing the always-coveted eight-hole for the final.
"Butch" began his career with a second-place effort in a Monticello New York Sire Stakes event.
Scalped (Cat Manzi, post 4) and OK Fame (Brent Holland, post 6) won the other elims, in 1:56.1 and 1:56.3, respectively.
The former, a ($4,000) son of Bettor's Delight owned by Brenda Teague and trained by George Teague Jr., also won a sire stakes event (Monti), while the latter, a (homebred) son of, was up a by nose in a race with final-yards tight quarters. Mark Ford co-owns (with breeder) Oak Knoll Stables and trains.
The author's choice for early favoritism went to Rocnrolwilneverdie (George Brennan, post 2), who, as the 3-5 choice to Scalped a week ago, threw down a big, back-half challenge before ending up third. The ($55,000) son ofis trained by Chris Ryder for co-owners Frederick Schwartz, Shirley Schwartz and ONDA Racing Stable.
The field for the final of the Sheppard, with drivers and morning-line odds...1-Dealmaker (Larry Stalbaum, 6-1), 2-Rocnrolwilneverdie (George Brennan, 8-5), 3-A Bettor World (Jim Pantaleano, 10-1), 4-Scalped (Cat Manzi, 5-1), 5-Americasgottalent (Eric Goodell, 5-1), 6-OK Fame (Brent Holland, 8-1), 7-Hail the Taxi (Jordan Stratton, 12-1), 8-Doctor Butch (Jason Bartlett, 4-1).
Bartlett also drove Scalped to his elim win, but chose Doctor Butch--despite the impost--for the final. Dealmaker is the lone gelding in the field.
The Raceway continues its normal five-night-per-week live schedule, 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