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YONKERS, NY, Sunday, July 23, 2017 - Yonkers Raceway's perennial leading harness racing driver, Jason Bartlett, reached the next plateau Sunday afternoon (July 23rd) with the 7,000th victory of his career. The milestone number came behind favored I C Caviar ($4.40) in the $11,000, seventh-race trot. The 6-year-old Malabar Millennium gelding, making his first start for trainer Richard Banca, went up and over Me the Boss (Dan Dube) down the backside, then defeated 65-1 rank outsider Mr. Protab by a couple of lengths in 1:58.2. The winner is co-owned by Joseph & Vincent Barbera, Allan Alkes and Richard Facciola. But back to the man of hour, who suffered through an un-Bartlett-esque dry spell (3-for-35) before earning his requisite congratulatory sign. "Longest three days of my life," Bartlett said, "I'm so happy it's over, and the kids are, too. "They were asking me, 'Daddy, do we have to go to the track again?' " "I was talking with my wife (Kristen) the other day," Bartlett said. "We're been down here (Yonkers) close to 10 years now, and when I first came, I was around 2,000 wins. "It's been a helluva ride." The 36-year-old Bartlett, native of Augusta, ME, has $87.7 million in career purses. He began Sunday leading the locals in wins (297) and purses ($6.1 million). Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, July 23, 2017 - Homicide Hunter (Brian Sears, $6.10) who missed a hard-charging head a week ago, had no such angst this time around, winning Sunday afternoon's (July 23rd), Yonkers Raceway's $68,000 Open Handicap Trot. The last of three early leaders, Homicide Hunter-from assigned post position No. 7 among the dozen--took over after Bueno Camino (Scott Zeron) and Springbank Sam N (Jordan Stratton) each had a spin in the big chair. Homicide Hunter, as the 2-1 wagering choice, made the lead in the second turn, between a :28.3 opening quarter-mile and :57.2 half. His ascension to the throne left Hemi Seelster (Jason Bartlett) first-up, sitting outside. Homicide Hunter (1:28.3 three-quarters, mile in 1:55.4) hade few issues thereafter, widening to 2½ lengths in the lane before 'running' away by four lengths. The mile-and-a-quarter went in a spiffy 2:24.3. Buen Camino edged Springbank Sam N for second, with Fashion Creditor (Eric Goodell) and Awsome Valley (Greg Merton) settling for the minors. Hemi Seelster, who has had success in races where he's been out every step, couldn't replicate it here, winding up last among the dozen. For Homicide Hunter, a 5-year-old Mr. Cantab gelding owned by Crawford Farms Racing and trained by Chris Oakes, it was his fourth win in seven seasonal starts. The exacta paid $25.20, with the triple returning $94. Sunday's installment of the 'New York, New York Double' offered a winning combination of 5-Uncle Mojo (Saratoga's 3rd race) and 2-I C Caviar (Yonkers' 7th race) paid $10.70 for every correct $1 wager. Total pool was $4,231. Note the Raceway's post time next Sunday (July 30th) is 11:30 AM. (Author's aside...I C Caviar was Bartlett's 7,000th career win. Separate story/pix shortly). Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, July 22, 2017-- Evenin' of Pleasure (George Brennan, $6.40), despite being three-deep early, was comfy late, winning Yonkers Raceway's $55,000 harness racing Open Handicap Pace. In play from post position No. 6, Evenin' of Pleasure head to wait his turn until Bakersfield (Brent Holland) stuffed Great Vintage (Eric Goodell) in behind. 'Pleasure' paid a :26.4 opening quarter-mile privilege, but rated a :30.1 next quadrant (57-second intermission), It would serve him well. It was :27.3 down the backside as The Rev (Brian Sears) tried it first-up from fourth. However, the 1:24.3 quarters found that one backing away as Evenin' of Pleasure owned a couple of lengths in the lane. He easily held Bakersfield at bay, winning by a length-and-a-quarter in 1:52. Great Vintage, Somesizesomestyle (Dan Dube) and The Rev settled for the minors. For second choice Evenin' of Pleaaure, a 7-year-old son if Dragon Again owned by Gestion J Y Blais and trained by Ron Burke, it was his second win in eight '17 tries. The exacta paid $22.20, the triple returned $81.50 and the superfecta paid $405. Yonkers offers up the second of eight consecutive Sunday matinees (July 23rd), with a first post of 12:30 PM. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Friday, July 21, 2017 - You didn't have to be a Yonkers Raceway "sissy" Friday night (July 21st), but it didn't hurt. HP Sissy (Daniel Dube, $9.90) picked off pace-setting Sell a Bit N (Jordan Stratton) late in the lane, winning the harness racing weekly $55,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. The race became a glorified two-speed number, with Sell a Bit N, from post position No. 2, leaving around the pole-dancing HP Sissy. Regil Elektra (Jason Bartlett) landed in a three-hole through early intervals of :27.1 and :56.1. Regil Elektra made a second move toward the 1:24 three-quarters, but Sell a Bit N owned a length-and-a-half lead into the lane. Despite getting away rather cheaply, she could not stall the lass directly behind her. "Sissy" was anything but, ducked inside and winning by a half-length in a life-best 1:52.1. Sell a Bit N easily held second, with Lispatty (George Brennan) third. Regil Elektra and tepid 5-2 choice I Said Diamonds (Matt Kakaley) settled for the smaller envelopes. For fourth choice HP Sissy, a 4-year-old daughter of Up the Credit owned by Claude Hamel and trained by Rene Allard, it was her seventh win in 14 seasonal starts (2-for-2 since hitting town). The exacta paid $46, with the triple returned $119.50. Bartlett, who began the night with 6,997 career victories, went 1-for-11 Friday, so the quest for the next milestone continues upstate at Saratoga Saturday night (July 22nd). YONKERS’ SATURDAY PICK 5 FEATURES $2,100 CARRYOVER A friendly reminder from Yonkers Raceway that Saturday evening’s (July 22nd) Pick 5 wager starts with a carryover of $2,137.14.   The Pick 5 is a 50-cent base wager comprising races 7 through 11 during every racing card. It has no consolation payoff, meaning if no one selects all five winners (as was the case Friday night), the entire pool (minus takeout) moves to the next racing program. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, July 18, 2017 - Yonkers Raceway Tuesday night (July 18th) played host to the $159,500 New York Sire Stakes Bruce Hamilton Trot for harness racing 2-year-fillies. Six divisions, ranging in value from $26,000-$27,000, went postward. The results were quite formful, as in five favorites (four at odds-on) and one second choice. The evening fastest femme was 'Super,' as in Supergirl Riley (Scott Zeron, $3), who took the final ($27,000) event in 1:57.3...a tick off Barn Bella's local track record for this sorority. From the pole, she led through intervals of :30.1, 1:00.1 and 1:28.4. Supergirl Riley defeated Fury Road (Ake Svanstedt) by two lengths, with Eunice (Jason Bartlett) third. For Supergirl Riley, a daughter of Muscle Mass trained by Erv Miller for co-owners Paymaq Racing, George Coleman and Harvey Eisman, she's won both of her career starts. The exacta paid $6, the triple (three wagering choices in order) returned $29 and the superfecta (Big Checkmate [Donald Dupont]) paid $254. "She trained down really good and has done all we've asked," Miller said. "She's always been very quiet, but Scott (Zeron) said she seemed a bit keyed up tonight." Svanstedt, as trainer/driver, won consecutive ($26,000 and $27,000) sire stakes divisions with Lucky Ava ($5) in 2:00 and Plunge Blue Chip ($2.50) by 8¾ lengths in 1:59. Both lasses made it two wins in as many statebred starts. "Ava," a daughter of Lucky Chucky, co-owned by Svanstedt (with Little E LLC and Van Camp Trotting), won her two-move effort by 4¼ lengths. Ooteeny (Mark MacDonald) was second, with Ithinkthat'smine (Chris Lems) third. The exacta paid $18.20, with the triple returning $49. Plunge Blue Chip, a Muscle Mass miss, is co-owned by his trainer/driver and (breeder). Blue Chip Bloodstock). White Cheetah (MacDonald), Money Dew (Mark Whitcroft) and purse-debuting Michando (Brent Holland) chased home the winner for gimmick purses. The exacta paid $32, the triple returned $187.50 and the superfecta paid $856. The evening's other Hamilton events, each worth $26,500, were taken by... --Electro Pump (by Muscles Yankee); co-owners West Wins Stables,McKinlay Fielding/trainer Casie Coleman/driver MacDonald; (first-start) 2:00.4/$7.50; --Lucky Rainbow (by Credit Winner); owner Pinske Stables/trainer Nifty Norman/driver Jeff Gregory; (maiden-breaking) 2:01/$2.30; --Lima Novelty (by Chapter Seven); owner Ken Jacobs/trainer Linda Toscano/driver Bartlett; (life-best 1:59.2)/$2.90. The event again honored the memory of the longtime Executive Secretary of the Harness Horse Breeders of New York, one of the Empire State's true movers and shakers who also happened to be one of its finest people. Bruce's brothers, Scott and Keith, joined friends and other family to make winner's circle presentations. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Monday, July 17, 2017 - Yonkers Raceway Tuesday night (July 18th) plays host to a bevy of young harness racing ladies, comprising the $159,500 New York Sire Stakes Bruce Hamilton Trot for 2-year-fillies. The event again honors the memory of the longtime Executive Secretary of the Harness Horse Breeders of New York, one of the Empire State's true movers and shakers who also happened to be one of its finest people. There are no shortage of first-season females hitting town, as in six divisions (races 5 through 10) during the dozen-race card. First post is the usual 7:10 PM. The groupings go for anywhere from $26,000-$27,000, depending upon number of starters. The road to the winner's circle in a fair amount of these divisions seemingly goes though co-owner/trainer/driver Ã…ke Svanstedt. Lucky Ava drew outside her six rivals in the third division. The daughter of Lucky Chucky, co-owned by Svanstedt (with Little E LLC and Van Camp Trotting), went the distance (2:01.3) in her Buffalo bow. Svanstedt and Plunge Blue Chip (post 5) loom a short price in the fourth event. The Muscle Mass miss, co-owned (with breeder Blue Chip Bloodstock), threw down a two-minute gauntlet in her purse debut, also in a New York Sire Stakes event at Hamburg. Svanstedt teams with Natalie Hanover (post 7) from the outside venue in the penultimate Hamilton event. As with her stablemates, 'Natalie' shuffled off to Buffalo and won (2:04) at first (NYSS) asking. The Chapter Seven miss is co-owned by Svanstedt-Nasstrom Stable, Van Camp Trotting, Anders Olsson and Lars Berg. The stable's lone first-out non-winner, Fury Road, starts from post No..2 in the evening's final statebred event. The daughter of Muscle Mass, owned by Knuttson Trotting, finished a solid second in her debut. Not every early-season standout is sent out by Svanstedt. Ooteeny (Mark MacDonald, post 3) landed in the third NYSS event fresh off a 31-1 Buffalo bedazzler (2:03.4). The daughter of Credit Winner is trained by Jim Campbell for owner Runthetable Stables. Lima Novelty (Jason Bartlett, post 3), the lass who picked off Fury Road in western New York (2:01.3), found her way into the evening's fifth foray. This Chapter Seven lass is owned by Ken Jacobs and trained by Linda Toscano. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, July 16, 2017 - There was a fair amount of Yonkers Raceway symmetry Sunday afternoon (July 16th), as Hemi Seelster (Jason Bartlett)-at 12-1-won the $68,000 Open Handicap Trot-from post position No. 12. Working out a perfect second-over sojourn from the back of the bus, Hemi Seelster was towed into the race by no less than International Trot world champion Resolve (Ake Svanstedt). The latter, after leaving for a seat, had to rough it first-up against Obrigado (Mark MacDonald). That one, caught three-deep early, led through sensible-enough intervals of 28.1, :58.4, 1:28.4 and 1:57.3. However Obrigado, with a length-and-a-quarter lead entering the lane, was unable to close the sale. Hemi Seelster went by, winning a blanket photo for the mile-and-a-quarter in 2:26.2. The wagering choice in each of his last two starts, Hemi Seelster paid $26.80 this time around. Homicide Hunter (Brian Sears), another dozen-to-one proposition, roared home from third-over to miss a head. Obrigado saved the bottom the ticket, beaten a neck with Maestro Blue Chip (Brent Holland) and Buen Camino (Jordan Stratton) settling for the remainder (the five payees were separated by three-quarters of a length). Resolve, meanwhile, faded to eighth as the 4-5 favorite, the first time he crossed the line worse than fourth since Svanstedt's first start with him (May 15, '15). For sixth choice Hemi Seelster, a 5-year-old Holiday Road gelding co-owned by Howard Taylor & Abraham Basen and trained by Richard Banca, it was his sixth win in 17 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $226.50, with the triple returning $10,686. Hemi Seelster Sunday's latest installment of the 'New York, New York Double' offered a winning combination of 1-Karma Delight (Belmont's 3rd race) and 3-Ultimate Shopper (Yonkers' 7th race) paid $12.40 for every correct $1 wager. Total pool was $5,208. The gimmick wager now shifts to Saratoga as its thoroughbred venue when that meeting begins Friday (July 21st). Note the Raceway's next two Sunday post time are 12:30 PM (July 23rd) and 11:30 AM (July 30th), respectively. New York Sire Stakes return her Tuesday night (July 18th), with the $159,500 Bruce Hamilton Trot for 2-year-old fillies. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, July 15, 2017 -  Harness racing driver Jordan Stratton actually beat Jordan Stratton Saturday night (July 15th). Stratton and Kwik Talkin' ($5.60) held off odds-on Springsteen (Jason Bartlett) in a glorified match race, winning Yonkers Raceway's $110,500 final of the Lawrence B. Sheppard Pace for 2-year-old colts and geldings. The mile tickled the teletimer in 1:53.4, two-fifths of a second faster than the previous stakes record of Hail the Taxi (2012)...also driven by Stratton. At the outset, Kwik Talkin'-from post position No. 7-was thrown in the fray, along with pole-sitting Springsteen, Real Rayenbow (Chuck Connor Jr.) and Hora Star (Greg Merton). 'Rayenbow' was the first leader, before the 3-4 choice Springsteen played leapfrog. Hora Star was seated as Kwik Talkin' drove on, making the lead just after a spiffy :27.4 opening quarter-mile. After a 56-second intermission and moving toward a 1:25.2 three-quarters, the 48-1 Hora Star made a second move, but never came near the leaders. The pair of people's preferences, who finished 1-2 in last week's fastest of three (1:54.4) elims, were about to have the final to themselves. It was Kwik Talkin', as the second choice, opening a couple of lengths in and out of the final turn before defeating Springsteen by a length-and-a-quarter. It was seven lengths back to Trump Nation (Eric Goodell), who photoed Phat Blue Chip (Brent Holland) for third. Persist Blue Chip (George Brennan) earned the final pay envelope, while Real Rayenbow, Hora Star and Damion Diesel Hahn (Ray Schnittker) completed the order. Trump Nation and Persist Blue Chip was last week's other elimination winners. For Kwik Talkin', an $18,000 (Harrisburg) a perfect (4-for-4) son of Well Said trained by Rob Harmon for Ontario co-owners Robert Robinson, Jacqueline Dinelle and Scott & Lisa Henry, the mile was a life-best effort. The exacta paid $9.20, with the triple returning $22.60. "He doesn't race as a 2-year-old," Stratton said. "He doesn't act as a 2-year-old," Harmon said of the winner, indoctrinated at Ottawa's Rideau Carleton Raceway. "I knew I've have to use him early, but once I made the lead, he rated the way an older horse would," Stratton said. Kwik Talkin Saturday night's $55,000 Open Handicap Pace was won by a pole-sitting, pocket-protecting Bakersfield (Holland, $21.80) in 1:51.3, the highlight of his chauffeur's five-win night. Bakersfield Frank Drucker  

YONKERS, NY, Friday, July 14, 2017 - Yonkers Raceway Friday night's (July 14th) hosted the $170,499 New York Sire Stakes Art Watson Pace for the harness racing 3-year-old fillies. The lasses were condensed into a trio of moist $56,833 divisions. Fresh-Lasix, fooled-very-few Tequila Monday (Brian Sears, $2.50) handily won the first get-together. In play from post position No. 6, last season's statebred frosh champ and this season's Lismore champ threw down the fastest gauntlet (:28., 56.4, 1:25, 1:53.4) of the sire stakes evening. Tequila Monday defeated her pocket shadow, World Apart (Jason Bartlett) by 2¾ lengths, with Carly Girl (George Brennan) third. For Tequila Monday, a daughter of American Ideal trained by Chris Oakes for co-owners Susan Oakes and Chuck Pompey, it was her fifth win in nine seasonal starts. The exacta paid $5.80, with the triple returning $18.40. Tequila Monday Sears doubled-up his sire stakes pleasure a race later. He and Ann Hill ($25.40) were the beneficiaries when 1-4 choice Obvious Blue Chip (Bartlett) 'fell down' on an open, but ultimately too quick (:26.4, :56.4, 1:25.2) lead. Ann Hill, from No. 4, slid out to race second-over, then rallied through the lane. She defeated Queen Josephine (Matt Kakaley) by a length in 1:55.4, a tick off her life best. Planet Rock (Dan Dube) third. 'Obvious' faded to fifth. For Ann Hill, a daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven co-owned by (trainer) Richie Silverman and Neal Oksenberg, it was her second win in seven seasonal starts. The exacta paid $151.50, with the triple returning $2,218 "We purchased her after last season and pointed her for the sire stakes," Silverman said. "She's a beautiful filly, not a killer but very handy. I'm lucky to have her." Ann Hill Friday night's statebred finale saw second choice Clear Idea (Mark MacDonald, $5.80) finish what she started (:28, :58, 1:26.2, 1:54.4), winning by a half-length. From post No. 6, she fought off a prolonged bid of even-money Roaring to Go (Brett Miller) for a fourth consecutive victory. Touchamatic (Brennan) was a wide-off-the-final-turn third. For Clear Idea, an American Ideal miss co-owned by (trainer) Blake MacIntosh and Hutt Racing, it was her sixth win in a dozen '17 tries. The exacta paid $12.40, with the triple returning $42.60. "She's just been getting better and better with each start," MacDonald said. "She went a big mile at Vernon (NYSS, 1:52) last month and hasn't turned in a bad race since." Clear Idea New York Sire Stakes continue here Tuesday night (July 18th), with the $160,000 Bruce Hamilton Trot for 2-year-old fillies. Friday night's $55,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace was won by favored Medusa (Kakaley, $5.90) in 1:53.1. A reminder A reminder regarding Yonkers Raceway’s matinee soiree this Sunday (July 16th), with a 12:30 PM first post. It’s the first of eight consecutive Sundays. It’s another 12-race, all-trot extravaganza, with races 2 (post time 12:55 PM) through 5 (2:25 PM) of the ‘French’ theme, as in overflow fields at the mile-and-one-quarter distance. The $68,000 Open Handicap goes as the second race with a robust dozen, featuring world champion Resolve (Ake Svanstedt, post 8).    The remaining July Sundays (23rd & 30th) are set for 12:30 PM and 11:30 AM, respectively. August Sunday post times are TBA. The ‘New York, New York Double’ is also back this Sunday, including Belmont’s 3rd race (post time 2:37 PM) and Yonkers’ 7th race (post time 3:05 PM). Program pages accompany this release. Final post for Sunday is scheduled for 4:45 PM. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Thursday, July 13, 2017 -- Persist Blue Chip may have impressed his harness racing connections last week, but the gods of the open draw openly mocked him. One of three winners of their respective $25,000 elimination races, Persist Blue Chip was 'rewarded' with a trip behind Yonkers Raceway's eight-ball for Saturday night's (July 15th) $110,500 final of the Lawrence B. Sheppard Pace. Yonkers' premier open stakes event for 2-year-old pacing colts and colts goes as the sixth race (approx. post time 9 PM) during the dozen-race card. First post is the usual 7:10 PM. The eight-hole getaway probably means a come-from-behind try from Persist Blue Chip, not a new experience. In his maiden-breaking (1:58.3) elim, he was last among the six-pack early before rallying up the cones to defeat Damian Diesel Hahn by a head. The son of Roll with Joe, a $57,000 Harrisburg purchase, goes out for co-owners (as Burke Racing)/trainer Ron Burke, Weaver Bruscemi, James Martin and William Switala. "I thought I could leave (in the elimination), but there was a lot of inside speed," driver George Brennan said. "He came home well, a good back half (sitting sixth, nine lengths from the lead) and that's what's going have to happen again in the final. "Chris (Ryder, owner/trainer of Springsteen) and Rob's (Harmon, trainer of Kwik Talkin') horses are both very talented and raced very well (finished 1-2 in the fastest elim). You play hand you're dealt. "He's a nice colt and Ronnie (Burke) said he's does everything right, so we just have to see how it develops." ...and continue Persist-ing. The Sheppard, which began in 1964 (a split stake for any number of years and unraced from 2004-11), once again honors the founder of Hanover Show Farms. The field for the finale, with drivers and early odds...1-Springsteen (Jason Bartlett, 3-1), 2-Trump Nation (Eric Goodell, 4-1) 3-Damion Diesel Hahn (Ray Schnittker, 20-1), 4-Phat Blue Chip (Brent Holland, 8-1), 5-Real Rayenbow (Chuck Connor Jr., 15-1) 6-Hora Star (Greg Merton, 12-1), 7-Kwik Talkin' (Jordan Stratton, 2-1), 8-Persist Blue Chip (George Brennan, 6-1). Trump Nation (first-start 1:57.1) and Kwik Talkin' (life-best 1:54.4) were last week's other elimination winners. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Wednesday, July 12, 2017 - It's not exactly chivalrous, but it is 'Ladies Second'. After the state's harness racing 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings went at it earlier in the week, Yonkers Raceway hosts Friday night's (July 14th) $140,799 New York Sire Stakes Art Watson Pace for the divas. The lasses dealt themselves blackjack, with 21 of 'em neatly organized into a trio of $56,833 divisions. They go as races 5,6 and 7 during the dozen-race card, with the usual first post of 7:10 PM. Friday night's opening sire stakes event highlights the return of Lismore champ Tequila Monday (Brian Sears, post 6). Last season's 'put up' (after a disqualification) NYSS frosh filly champ is 4-for-8 thus far this season ($159,337), including wins in elims for both the Fan Hanover (Mohawk) and James Lynch Memorial (Pocono). She does enter here off a rare poor effort, backpedaling to eighth (as the 6-5 choice) in the $300,000 final of the Lynch. The daughter of American Ideal is trained by Chris Oakes for co-owners Susan Oakes and Chuck Pompey. World Apart (Jason Bartlett, post 4) is back with statebreds after winning her division of the Geers at Tioga, while Artrageous (Brett Miller, post 7) owns a NYSS win at Saratoga. The second Watson event obviously goes through pole-sitting Obvious Blue Chip (Bartlett) as she goes for a third consecutive sire stakes victory. The Roll with Joe lass, co-owned by NLG Racing & Stephen Klunowski and trained by Mark Steacy, has won three of her four '17 tries. Playing Favorites (Brett Miller, post 6) can't be glossed over since she, too, has a pair of NYSS wins. Meanwhile, Planet Rock (Dan Dube, post 7), twice second in sire stakes competition this season, is looking to regain some of her $200,000 frosh form. Friday night's statebred finale finds Roaring to Go (Miller, post 3) in essentially the same boat as Planet Rock, as in trying to recapture her youth. The Art Major ma'am, who crossed the line first in last season's divisional title but was set down (to second) for a pylon violation, is winless in seven starts this season. She chased home Tequila Monday is her lone 2017 NYSS appearance to date. New York Sire Stakes continue here Tuesday night (July 18th), with the $160,000 Bruce Hamilton Trot for 2-year-old fillies. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Monday, July 10, 2017 - The downstate denizens took their turn Monday night (July 10th), with Yonkers Raceway hosting the $169,500 New York Sire Stakes Hugh Grant Pace for harness racing 3-year-old colts and geldings. A quartet of divisions began the local statebred season, with a first-division ($42,975), first-up America's Fleet (Jason Bartlett, $29) holding off What's Goin' On (Jim Morrill Jr.) in 1:55. Barry Hanover (Brian Sears) was third. The winner, from post position No. 5, put away a folding 7-10 Art Scene (Scott Zeron) after that one put up intervals of :27.3, :57.2, 1:26.1. He eventually faded to sixth. For America's Fleet, an American Ideal gelding trained by Ed Hart for co-owners Randy Bendis and Tom Pollack, it was his third win in 13 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $97, with the triple returning $519. The second ($42,175) sire stakes event saw death-and-taxes Funknwaffles (Corey Callahan, $2.10) prevail. Away third from post No. 5, he improved into a pocket after a rival broke, last season's frosh Empire champion tracked Outkast Blue Chip (Bartlett) through sub-sections of :27.1, :56.1 and 1:24.3. Funknwaffles then disposed of that foe, winning by 2½ lengths in a night's-fastest 1:52. Second went to Pointomygranson (Brian Sears), with 'Outkast' third. For Funknwaffles, an American Ideal gelding owned by Crawford Farms Racing and trained by John Butenschoen, it was his second win in six seasonal starts. The exacta paid $8, with the triple returning $19.60. "You can do anything you want with him and he gets around this track very well," Callahan said. Monday night's third ($42,175) sire stakes gathering was not quite the same puny proposition as pole-sitting Heaven's Gait (Dave Miller, $2.70) eased past leading (:27.2, :56.3, 1:24.1) and stubborn Cultural Paradise (Brian Sears) late. The margin was a neck and the mile went in 1:52.2. Twin B Cowboy (Mark MacDonald) wound up third. For Heaven's Gait, a Rock N Roll Heaven colt owned by John Cummins and trained by Nicholas Devita, he's now 5-for-10 this season. The exacta (two wagering choices by a wide margin) paid $5, with the triple returning $37. "It was tough coming first-up, but he hung in there," Miller said. The night's final ($42,175) sire stakes excursion saw the third of four odds-on numbers, In a Single Bound (Billy Dobson, $2.70) deliver the goods. Two-moving from post No. 3, he held sway (:27.1, :55.4, 1:24.1, 1:52.3), holding off a slow-starting Uffizi (Miller) by a length. Ideal Wheel (Sears) was a pocket third, while second choice Music is Art (Brennan) jumped it off early. For In a Single Bound, a Roll with Joe gelding co-owned by Dennis & Simone Noud and trained by Monica Krist, it was his sixth win in eight seasonal starts (five consecutive wins, 3-for-3 in NYSS). The exacts paid $11.80, with the triple returning $34.40. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Monday, July 10, 2017--Yonkers Raceway's $110,500 final of the Lawrence B. Sheppard Pace for harness racing 2-year-old colts and geldings goes Saturday night (July 15th), with an annual six-figure look at the stars of tomorrow. The Sheppard is carded as the sixth race (approximate post time 9 PM) of the dozen-race dossier, with the usual first post of 7:10 PM. The open draw came out in favor of Springsteen (Jason Bartlett, post 1), a solid second in last week's fastest (of three) $25,000 elimination races. Chris Ryder owns, trains (and last week drove) the son of Rock N Roll Heaven, an $18,000 Lexington purchase. The open draw did not come out in favor of Ottawa import Kwik Talkin' (Jordan Stratton, post 7), who defeated Springsteen by a length a week ago in that zippy 1:54.4 elim. The Well Said colt, trained by Rob Harmon for Canadian co-owners Robert Robinson, Jacqueline Dinelle and Scott & Lisa Henry, is 3-for-3 after that life-best work here last Saturday night. Trump Nation (Eric Goodell, post 2) and Persist Blue Chip (George Brennan, post 8) won last week's other elims in maiden-breaking miles of 1:57.1 and 1:58.3, respectively, both from off the pace. The remainder of the finale field includes Damion Diesel Hahn (Ray Schnittker, post 3), Phat Blue Chip (Bartlett also listed, post 4), Real Rayenbow (Bartlett listed again, post 5) and Hora Star (Brennan also listed, post 6) Program changes for the Sheppard, named for the founder of Hanover Shoe Farms, shall be made Tuesday night (July 11th). The evening before the Sheppard (that would be Friday, July 14th), the Raceway hosts the $170,499 New York Sire Stakes Art Watson Pace for 3-year-old fillies. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, July 8, 2017-Yonkers Raceway's premier open event for 2-year-olds colts and geldings, the Lawrence B. Sheppard Pace, offered a trio of $25,000 elimination races Saturday night (July 8th). The first and third elims were prim and proper, but the middle one was dynamite. Ottawa invader Kwik Talkin' (Jordan Stratton, $3.40) proved he was kwik walkin' as well. From post position No. 2, he prevailed in a mile with much movement, whipping a stubborn Springsteen (Chris Ryder) by a length in a snappy 1:54.4. 'Phat' was third, beaten 4½ lengths. Those two, plus pole-sitting Phat Blue Chip (Jason Bartlett), mixed it up two- and three-wide through intervals of :27.4, 57.4 and 1:27.1. It was Springsteen getting first 'run,' ripping out of a three-hole and leading into the lane. He could not stall the winner, now 3-for-3 in his career after cutting his teeth at Rideau Carleton. For Kwik Talkin', an $18,000 (Harrisburg) son of Well Said trained by Rob Harmon for Ontario co-owners Robert Robinson, Jacqueline Dinelle and Scott & Lisa Henry, the mile was a life-best effort. The exact paid $17.20, with the triple returning $31.80. "Nice horse," Stratton said. "Hopefully, we draw well in the final." Harmon offered a bit more insight. "The owners called and asked if I'd take the horse," he said. "I didn't know anything about him. I trained him here (Yonkers) last Friday in 1:58 and he was getting around the track well. I just added a line pole outside, since he's sort of green and doesn't know a whole lot." Another example of why ignorance is bliss. Those three frosh are to be joined in next week's $110,500 finale of the Sheppard by the other elimination winners-maiden-breakers Persist Blue Chip (George Brennan, $10.20) in 1:58.3 and Trump Nation (catch-driver Eric Goodell, $23.40) in 1:57.1-as well as second-place finishers Damion Diesel Hahn (Ray Schnitttker) and Hora Star (Brennan) and Real Rayenbow (Jason Bartlett). Real Rayenbow cut the mile as the 13-10 fave in the final elim before fading to third. Persist Blue Chip ($57,000 Harrisburg) is a Roll with Joe colt, while Trump Nation, a son of Betterthancheddar, did not sell at auction. The Sheppard is, of course, named for the man behind breeding behemoth Hanover Shoe Farms. The open draw takes place Monday afternoon (July 10th), Saturday night's pair of $55,000 Open Handicaps were annexed (big word) by... --(Pace) Somewhere in L A (Bartlett, $4.70) in 1:51, matching fastest local mile of season; --(Trot) Homicide Hunter (Brian Sears, $10) in 1:55.4. Special Saturday props to Brennan for his five-win night, including the first four races during the dozen-race card. New York Sire Stakes hit town for the first time this season Monday night, with the $169,500 Hugh Grant Pace for 3-year-old colts and geldings. by Frank Druker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Friday, July 7, 2017 - Regil Elektra (Jason Bartlett, $6.20) plotzed into an early pocket and it served her well Friday night (July 7th), winning Yonkers Raceway's $55,000 harness racing filly and mare Open Pace. In play from post position No. 3, Regil Elektra was able to get in behind pole-sitting Frost Damage Blues (Brian Sears), then stalk the 11-10 favorite around a moist oval (:27.3, :56.2, 1:24, season's-best 1:52.2). Frost Damage Blues, off three weeks after her Canadian stakes engagement, seated everyone early before getting grief from a first-up Mach it a Par (Brent Holland). She put away that stubborn lass, taking a length lead into the lane. However, she wilted late, as Regil Elektra edged inside to win by three-quarters of a length. Frost Damage Blues saved second, third went to a second-up Lispatty (George Brennan), while Betabcool N (Steve Smith) and Mach it a Par settled for the remainder. For second choice Regil Elektra, a 7-year-old daughter of Mach Three owned by Fred Monteleone Stable and trained by Keith Armer, it was her eighth win in 17 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $15.80, the triple returned $39.20 and the superfecta paid an even $200. Regil Elektra Saturday night (July 8th), the Raceway offers three, $25,000 eliminations for the Lawrence B. Sheppard Pace (2-year-old colts/geldings). The leading frosh (first two in each elim, plus two fastest third-placers) return for the $110,500 finale next Saturday (July 15th). Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Wednesday, July 5, 2017-- Not wasting any time, Empire State's glamour boys begin the downstate New York Sire Stakes season Monday night (July 10th), with Yonkers Raceway hosting the $169,500 Hugh Grant Pace for harness racing 3-year-old colts and geldings A quartet of divisions--going as races 2,4,5 and 6--highlight the dozen-race card, with the usual evening first post of 7:10 PM. The opening ($42,975) event appears up for grabs, with Manattack (Chris Lems, post 4) and America's Fleet (Jason Bartlett, post 5) each owning second-place finishes in sire stakes competition. What's Going On (Scott Zeron, post 6) is trying to regain some of the $172,000 freshman form. The second ($42,175) grouping figures to go through Funknwaffles (Corey Callahan, post 3), looming the shortest price of the state races. The American Ideal gelding, trained by John Butenschoen for owner Crawford Racing, chased home division-dominating Fear the Dragon in last Saturday's half-million-dollar Hempt Memorial (Pocono). Funknwaffles was a handy NYSS winner at Vernon after finishing third locally in late May's $300,000 Art Rooney Pace. Statebred division three ($42,175) sees Heaven's Gait (Dave Miller, post 1) hit town off his win in the $75,000 consolation of the Hempt. The Rock N Roll Heaven colt, owned by John Cummins and trained by Nicholas Devita, has a spiffy 1:49 NYSS win (Vernon) to his credit. American Wiggle (Zeron, post 2) threw down a 36-1 NYSS upset (Vernon, life-best 1:51) two starts ago, while Serious Major (Jim Morrill Jr., post 6) has a win and a second (both at odds-on) in his two sire stakes tries. He goes out for his third different trainer (Brian Brown, Chris Ryder, Ron Burke) in as many starts. Twin B Cowboy (Mark MacDonald, post 4) owns a pair of thirds in sire stakes competition this season. Monday night's final ($42,175) Empire excursion features In a Single Bound (Billy Dobson, post 3), the Roll with Joe gelding eyeing a third consecutive (NYSS) victory and a sixth win in eight seasonal starts. YONKERS SETS REMAINING JULY SUNDAY MATINEE POST TIMES Yonkers Raceway has set post times for its three remaining Sunday July matinees. After taking this week off, post times are 12:30 PM for both July 16th and 23rd, then 11:30 AM for July 30th. ‘French’ trots go as races 2 through 5 for the 16th and 23rd and races 5 through 8 the last Sunday of the month. The ‘New York, New York Double’ also remains in play, with races TBA as of now. Note the wager includes Belmont July 16th, then Saratoga, which opens Friday, July 21st. Frank Drucker

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