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YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, December 3, 2019-- Every racetrack has them, folks whose names don't appear in the program, but without whom the harness racing program doesn't come close to getting off the ground. Yonkers Raceway is no exception. The joint doesn't conduct 230-odd cards a year with very few hitches without them. Do not refer to them as innominate. Do refer to them as invaluable. Arthur Webb is one such person. To friends, of which he counts many, he's just 'Zeke,' and Zeke the caretaker is retiring after 50 years when Yonkers' 2019 season ends Tuesday night, Dec. 17th. "It's time," Zeke said. "At least that what my wife (Mary) told me." It seems Zeke, a 67-year-old native North Carolinian ('Running Rapids, near the Virginia line'), had no choice but to end up with horses. His grandparents worked with them, while his two sisters and seven brothers--all older--were part of the Roosevelt and Yonkers Raceways circuit. As for Zeke, who still resides in dearly-departed Roosevelt's Long Island locale of Westbury, his half-century of keeping the trotters and pacers healthy and racing began with Frank Popfinger. After Popfinger ("I took care of his first 2:00 pacer, Goodnuff"), it was John Paton ("26-27 years"), then Mike Sorentino Jr. and, eventually, Don Sider. Ask Zeke what's changed in the industry and he mentions the sort of horses now filling the entry box. "It's a lot of claimers now," he said. "When I first started, there were the ('letter-classified') horses. Trainers had them longer. Now, so many more claimers and we don't have a bonding with them the way we used to. It's lost some of the sport." Then, there's the equipment. "Everything was so much heavier then," he said. "The hopples, the bike, everything. Now, with the quick hitch and the other improvements, it's so much easier for the horse, especially young ones. "They're able to be 'broken' quicker so they don't have to think as much. They get more confident, and I really think they sense if you like them." It's the affection that Zeke made a point of reinforcing to his inquisitor. "You have to love the animal," he said. "I didn't choose to do this for the money. For me, happiness is more important than money." (For his part, Zeke, along with late brother, Van (Sylvanious), enjoyed modest ownership success with the pacer Redd Fox during the last half of the pacer's decade-long [1997-2007] career.) "He even won a (Yonkers) race on my 50th birthday, Sept. 26, 2002. Ask Zeke what he's going to miss and "It just being here. We're going to the Carolinas to be with our daughter, Yolanda, but when the weather warms up, I'm going to come back Ask Zeke if he'd choose this work all over again, he politely offers a correction. "I haven't been working," Arthur Webb said, "I've been enjoying myself." One last question before we go..."Zeke?" "I was growing up and there was an older guy, Zeke Butler, who ran a tobacco tractor. He didn't move too fast and everyone said I was as slow as old Zeke Butler. "I didn't much care for the nickname at first, but since everyone starting calling me Zeke, I sort of went along with it." Alrighty then. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway  

YONKERS, NY, Monday, December 2, 2019--With inclement weather around the New York metropolitan area, Yonkers Raceway has cancelled its live harness racing program for Monday evening (Dec. 2nd). It's the fifth cancellation of 2019. Evening simulcasting has also been scrapped (afternoon simulcasting was not scheduled). Live racing is set to resume Tuesday evening (Dec. 3rd), with the usual first post of 6:50 PM. Horsemen note that the double-draw for Friday and Saturday (Dec. 6th and 7th) continues as scheduled, with the entry box closing at 3:30 PM. With Monday evening’s (Dec. 2nd) card a casualty of the weather, Yonkers Raceway’s Tuesday night (Dec. 3rd) Pick 5 wager now starts with a carryover of $3,942.61 and a $15,000 guaranteed pool. The guarantee has been approved by the New York State Gaming Commission and is in conjunction with the U.S. Trotting Association’s Strategic Wagering Program. The Pick 5 is a 50-cent base wager comprising races 7 through 11 Tuesday night. It has no consolation payoff, meaning if no one selects all five winners (as was the case Saturday evening), the entire pool (minus takeout) moves to the next racing program. For more information, please contact the race office at (914) 457-2627. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway    

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, November 30, 2019--Mac's Jackpot (Brent Holland, $20), despite four weeks off, a scratched-sick line in between and a first-over trip Saturday night (Nov. 30th), annexed Yonkers Raceway's $42,000 Open Handicap Pace. Away fourth from assigned post position No. 2, Mac's Jackpot found himself in behind Havefaithinme N (Jason Bartlett), Bettor's Fire N (Ron Cushing) and Fine Diamond (Jordan Stratton). Havefaithinme N led through intervals of :27.1 and a flat 56 seconds before Mac's Jackpot moved. He led the conga line which included The Real One (Pat Lachance) and 17-10 choice Saying Grace N (Jim Marohn Jr.). Havefaithinme N found a 1:24 three-quarters, but was about to get collared. Mac's Jackpot took over soon thereafter, with The Real One in pursuit. Mac's Jackpot did close the sale from early in the lane, holding off The Real One by a length in 1:51.3 while matching a season's-best effort. Saying Grace N was a non-threatening third, with Havefaithinme N and The Wall (Joe Bongiorno) picking off the remainder. For fifth choice Mac's Jackpot, a 5-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding co-owned by Howard & Michael Ouriel and trained by Jeff Smith, it was her ninth win (third consecutive) in 26 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $97.50, the triple returned $426 and the superfecta paid $1,171.   Frank Drucker Yonkers

YONKERS, NY, Wednesday, November 27, 2019-- With Aqueduct having scrapped its holiday card due to anticipated inclement weather (wind), Yonkers Raceway has cancelled its Thanksgiving Day (Thursday, Nov. 28th) simulcasting. Del Mar had previously cancelled its Thursday program. Daytime simulcasting is scheduled to resume Friday (Nov 29th), with live racing set to return Saturday evening (Nov. 30th). by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway    

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, November 23, 2019--'Twas a pair of Yonkers Raceway $35,000 Preferred Handicaps highlighting the Saturday harness racing night (Nov. 23rd) soiree. Stormy Kromer (Brent Holland, $36.80) edged past Will Take Charge (Jordan Stratton) in the week's marquee trot, snapping that one in a season's-best 1:54. The latter retook from the eventual winner, throwing down subsections of :27.3, :57 and 1:25.2 while Top Flight Angel (Eric Goodell) offered a weak, first-up bid. Will Take Charge owned a length-and-a-half lead into the lane, but was unable to close the sale for the second week in a row. Stormy Kromer--from post position No. 5--eased out and by, the margin a neck. Lean Hanover (Jim Marohn Jr.) was a best-of-the-rest third, with Swansea (Austin Siegelman) and 17-10 choice Melady's Monet (George Brennan) settling for the small change. For sixth choice Stormy Kromer, a 5-year-old Dejarmbro gelding owned by Tom Ceraso Jr. and trained by Paul Stafford, it was his eighth win in 35 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $123.50, the triple returned $1,193 and the superfecta paid $13,076 (base $2 payout). The weekly adult-table pace saw odds-on fave Jack's Legend N (Jason Bartlett, $3) get the memo just in time. Assigned outside his five rivals, he floated from the gate, but landed only fifth as The Wall (Brennan) rolled intervals of :27.4; :56.3 and 1:24. The one had a length-and-a-half lead in and out of the final turn, with San Domino A (Holland) pocketed and The Real One (Pat Lachance) pacing in place first-up from third. All the while, Jack's Legend N was lagging to catch his tow, then went wide. The Wall fought the good fight, but the people's preference did get there, winning by a half-length in a life-best 1:51.2. The Real One, San Domino A and invading Tookadiveoffdipper (Stratton) picked off the remainder,                                                                                       --Mike Lizzi photo For Jack's Legend N, a 5-year-old Down Under Bettor's Delight gelding co-owned by (trainer) Richard Banca, Barbara & James Boese, it was his sixth win in 10 '19 tries. The exacta paid $11.60, the triple returned $31.40 and the superfecta paid $51. Special Saturday props to venerable vets Somewhere in L A (Bartlett, $16) and Bit of a Legend N (Stratton, ), who were a nose apart in the $22,000, 11th-race pace (1:52.1). That was a now 44-time winner ($1,799,046) just holding off a 53-time winner ($2,562,871) with a combined 328 career starts.   Frank Drucker Manager of Publicity Yonkers

YONKERS, NY, Friday, November 22, 2019-- Yonkers Raceway graded the distaff derby on a curve Friday night (Nov. 22nd), going with a brisk $35,000 Preferred Handicap Pace for the harness racing ladies. It was Robyn Camden (Jim Marohn Jr., $16.20) getting the better of Lady Dela Renta A (Jordan Stratton) and 25-1 Cabowabocuttie (Eric Goodell) in a cavalcade of closers, the teletimer doing its thing in 1:55.4 At the outset, 4-5 fave Write Me a Song (George Brennan) found the lead, working around Sudden Change N (Austin Siegelman) before a :26.4 opening quarter mile. Then, Kaitlyn N (Jason Bartlett) grabbed the baton, parked into the second turn for the privilege. It was a :55.3 intermission before Shady Caroline (Matt Kakaley) took out of fourth, challenging in and out of the 1:25.3 three-quarters. She towed in Cabowabocutie while our heroine, Robyn Camden, was third-over from assigned post position No. 4. They had to get to Kaitlyn N and her length-and-a-quarter leader into the lane. They did. Cabowabocuttie grabbed the first lead, but Robyn Camden was about to go by. 'Robyn' then held the late threat of a cone-extricating Lady Dela Renta A at bay, the final margin three-quarters of a length. A last-to-fourth Clear Idea (Joe Bongiorno) and a tiring Kaitlyn N settled for the minors. For third choice Robyn Camden, a 4-year-old daughter of Art Professor owned by Jason O'Sullivan and trained by Rene Allard, it was her 12th win in 27 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $103, the triple returned $783 and the superfecta paid $3,717. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, November 16, 2019--Swansea (Austin Siegelman, $19.20) and Jack's Legend N (Jason Bartlett, $3.90) proved to be the best Saturday night (Nov. 16th), winning Yonkers Raceway's pair of $42,000 Open Handicaps. Swansea rolled from second-over in the week's marquee harness racing trot, picking off a stubborn Will Take Charge (Jordan Stratton). From post position No. 5, he prevailed by a length in 1:55.1. Will Take Charge won the scrum for the lead, an early battle which included Emoticon Hanover (Dan Dube) jumping it off and 13-10 favorite Tight Lines (Bartlett) getting stuffed back into a three-hole after he tried quarter-moving. It was Will Take Charge laying down the law (:27.4, :57) before Pat Matters (Eric Goodell) took out of fourth. That one gave way grudgingly after a 1:25.4 three-quarters as the leader opened to a length-and-a-half entering the lane. Swansea then closed widest and fastest, edging away late. Will Take Charge held second over a closing Melady's Monet (George Brennan), with longshots Stormy Kromer (Brent Holland) and Arabella's Cadet (Jim Marohn Jr.) settling for the remainder. Tight Lines tired to seventh. For fifth choice Swansea, a 4-year-old Swan for All gelding co-owned by Dana Parham & Triples D Stables and trained by Scott DiDomenico, it was his 13th win in 26 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $195, the triple returned $1,332 and the superfecta paid $6,729. After pacing over and through adult-table rivals in his North American purse bow, Jack's Legend N--from post No. 5--was pocketed to Hoosierland invader Saying Grace N (Holland) . That locally-debut lad threw the gauntlet (:27.1, :55.4, 1:24.2) as the pair separated themselves from the rest of the gang. Jack's Legend N pulled early against his foe, who would not cooperate. The pursuer eventually did go by, the final margin a length-and-a-quarter in 1:52. Saying Grace N was more than four lengths in front of Runrunjimmydunn N (Stratton), with The Real One (Pat Lachance) and Western Joe (Goodell) along for the rest. For Jack's Legend N, a 5-year-old Down Under Bettor's Delight gelding co-owned by (trainer) Richard Banca, Barbara & James Boese, it was his fifth win in nine '19 tries. The exacta (two wagering favorites) paid $11.80, the triple returned $39.20 and the superfecta paid $256.50. Special Saturday props to the soon-to-be-retiring Bit of a Legend N (Stratton, $3.30), who won the $20,000, ninth-race pace going away (1:54.3) for a 53rd career victory by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway  

YONKERS, NY, Friday, November 15, 2019 -- With not a distaff derby in sight a harness racing Friday night (Nov. 15th), Yonkers Raceway offered $22,000 tri-features. Using some editorial discretion, we went with the trotters. Odds-on favorite Icanflylikeanangel (Jason Bartlett, $3.30) has no issues whatsoever. From post position No. 5, he worked around Majestic Brayden (Joe Bongiorno), making the lead before a :28.1 opening quarter-mile. From, there, it was a :58.2 intermission and 1:27 three-quarters, with pole-sitting Lord Cromwell (Matt Kakaley) not getting close first-up from third. Icanflylikeanangel owned a length-and-three-quarter lead into the lane, needing only to hold off his immediate stalker. He did, defeating Majestic Brayden by a couple of lengths in 1:55.2. Third went to Lord Cromwell, sharing the minors with Sumatra (George Brennan) and I'm the Muscle (Dan Dube). For Icanflylikeanangel, a 5-year-old Archangel gelding co-owned by Pollack Racing & Randy Bendis and trained by Scott DiDomenico, it was his fifth win in 21 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $31, the triple returned $90 and the superfecta paid $332. A friendly reminder from Yonkers Raceway that Saturday evening’s (Nov. 16th) Pick 5 wager starts with a carryover of $3,858.09 and a $15,000 guaranteed pool. The guarantee is in conjunction with the U.S. Trotting Association’s Strategic Wagering Program. The Pick 5 is a 50-cent base wager comprising races 7 through 11 Saturday night. 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. Saturday’s Pick 5 program pages accompany this release.       YR Sat., 11-16-19 P5 program pages.pdf 212K View as HTML Download BY FRANK DRUCKER Publicity Director, Empire City @ Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Wednesday, November 13, 2019--Yonkers Raceway has added Saturday night, Nov. 30th, to its live harness racing calendar, with the usual first post of 6:50 PM. This schedule addition, approved by the New York State Gaming Commission, replaces an earlier program which had been cancelled. The Raceway's Thanksgiving week schedule now reads Monday and Tuesday (Nov. 25th and 26th), along with the aforementioned Saturday. Evening simulcasting continues around the live schedule, while afternoon simulcasting is offered Wednesday through Sunday (altered for NYRA race days). A friendly reminder from Yonkers Raceway that Thursday evening's (Nov. 14th) Pick 5 wager starts with a carryover of $5,379.14 and a $15,000 guaranteed pool. The guarantee is in conjunction with the U.S. Trotting Association's Strategic Wagering Program. The Pick 5 is a 50-cent base wager comprising races 6 through 10 Thursday night. It has no consolation payoff, meaning if no one selects all five winners (as was the case Tuesday night), the entire pool (minus takeout) moves to the next racing program. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, November 9, 2019--Former all-age harness racing track record-holder The Real One (Pat Lachance, $13.40) stuck his tongue out at the wire Saturday night (Nov. 9th), winning Yonkers Raceway's $42,000 Open Handicap Pace. Third-over from assigned post position No. 4, The Real One was sixth--then fifth--when he bid in earnest. He snapped a first-over Dancin' Dragon (George Brennan) in 1:53, with Runrunjimmydunn N (Jordan Stratton) tiring to third after intervals of :26.4, :55.2 and 1:24. It was Theartofconfusion A (Dan Dube) and 8-5 choice Jack's Legend N (Jason Bartlett) settling for the minors. The latter, making a North American purse debut after four qualifiers, was caught third in turning for home before knifing through while pacing over rivals. For fourth choice The Real One, a 9-year-old Mach Three gelding trained by his chauffeur for owner Helene Filion, it was his fifth win in 23 seasonal starts (career 52-for-205, $1,229,688). The exacta paid $54.50, the triple returned $129.50 and the superfecta paid $470.50.   By FRANK DRUCKER, Publicity Director

YONKERS, NY, Friday, November 8, 2019--A pocketed Kaitlyn N (Jason Bartlett, $10.60) picked off Write Me a Song (George Brennan) nearing the wire Friday night (Nov. 8th), winning Yonkers Raceway's $42,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. In play from assigned post position No. 4, Kaitlyn N stung Write Me a Song, releasing that one before a chilly, 26-second opening quarter-mile. Odds-on pole-sitter Lady Dela Renta A (Matt Kakaley) was cutting her own mile in third. It was after a :55.1 intermission and 1:23.1 three-quarters when Kaitlyn N edged from the pocket, Lady Dela Renta A in behind. Write Me a Song had a diminishing three-quarter-length lead off the final turn, with Kaitlyn N closing. The former whipped the latter by a length in 1:53.3. Third went to Sudden Change N (Austin Siegelman), ahead of an empty, 4-5 fave Lady Dela Renta A. Robyn Camden (Jim Marohn Jr.) was fifth, while returning Wisdom Tree (Jordan Stratton) trailed. For Kaitlyn N, a 6-year-old Down Under daughter of American Ideal co-owned by (trainer) Richard Banca, Barbara & James Boese, it was the third choice's fifth win in 21 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $57, the triple returned $383 and the superfecta paid $934. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, November 2, 2019--A pocketed Havefaithinme N (Jason Bartlett, $10) slipped up the inside, picking off 2-5 favorite Rodeo Rock (Eric Goodell) Saturday night (Nov. 2nd), winning Yonkers Raceway's $35,000 Preferred Pace. The feature, pared down to a half-dozen after a pair of defections, saw Havefaithinme N--in one notch to post position No. 3--make the first lead. He was then leapfrogged by polester Rodeo Rock. The people's preference then led through early intervals of :27.1 and a flat 56 seconds. Runrunjimmydunn N (Jordan Stratton) tried it first-up from third, prompting through a :27.3 third quarter (1:23.3). Rodeo Rock did own a length-and-a-half lead off the final turn, but drifted, leaving the back door unguarded. Havefaithinme N was more than obliging, scooting through to whip the fave by a length in 1:51.4. Third went to 'Jimmydunn,' with Western Joe (Austin Siegelman) and Turbo Hill (Jim Marohn Jr.) settling for the minors. Dancin' Dragon (George Brennan) received lovely parting gifts. For second choice Havefaithinme N, an 8-year-old millionaire Down Under Bettor's Delight gelding co-owned by Blindswitch and Good Friends Racing Stables, Gary Axelrod & Santo Farina and trained by Jose Godinez, it was his ninth win in 27 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $18.80, the triple returned $39.60 and the superfecta paid $150. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Friday, November 1, 2019-- A pocketed Write Me a Song (George Brennan, $6.10) picked off harness racing favored I'mprincessgemma A (Joe Bongiorno) nearing the wire Friday night (Nov. 1st), winning Yonkers Raceway's $42,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. Making the first lead from post position No. 5, Write Me a Song stuffed Tequila Monday (Eric Goodell) in behind before yielding to 7-5 choice I'mprincessgemma A. All that transpired before a 27-second flat opening quarter-mile. It was a rated :56.1 intermission when Tequila Monday made her second move, advancing from third toward a 1:24.3 three-quarters. That lass stalled soon after, with I'mprincessgemma A taking a length-and-a-half lead in and out of the final turn. Write Me a Song edged by, however, the final margin three-quarters of a length in 1:52.4. 'Gemma' held second, with ground-savers Robyn Camden (Jim Marohn Jr.) and Angel's Pride (Brent Holland), along with Glenferrie Blade A (Jordan Stratton) coming away with the small change. For second choice Write Me a Song, a 4-year-old daughter of Sportsmaster co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke, Weaver Bruscemi and Phil Collura, it was her ninth win in 23 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $22.40, the triple returned $121 and the superfecta paid $694. Note the Raceway shall open for simulcasting Saturday (Nov. 2nd) at 11:30 AM in advance of Aqueduct's first post of 12 Noon as well as Day Two of Breeders' Cup from Santa Anita (first post 1 PM ET). A friendly reminder from Yonkers Raceway that Saturday evening’s (Nov. 2nd) Pick 5 wager starts with a carryover of $2,961.94 and a $10,000 guaranteed pool. The guarantee is in conjunction with the U.S. Trotting Association’s Strategic Wagering Program. The Pick 5 is a 50-cent base wager comprising races 7 through 11 Saturday night. 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. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, October 26, 2019--A second-over Melady's Monet (Eric Goodell, $10.40) and a grinding harness racing favorite Micky Gee N (Jordan Stratton, $4.50) delivered the goods Saturday night (Oct. 26th), winning Yonkers Raceway's pair of $42,000 Open Handicaps. It was a 61st career victory for Melady's Monet in the week's marquee trot. From post position No. 6, he stalked 19-10 choice Tight Lines (Jeff Gregory) as that one disposed of The Veteran (Brent Holland) early in the lane. The Veteran had laid down intervals of :27; :57.1 and 1:25.3, before weakening to fourth. Melady's Monet prevailed by a half-length over Tight Lines in 1:54.1, with There'sademoninme (Stratton) third. Icanflylikeanangel (George Brennan) picked off the remainder. For fourth choice Melady's Monet, a 10-year-old homebred Revenue S gelding owned by Melady Enterprises and trained by Hermann Heitmann, it was hisninth win (third consecutive) in 23 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $31, the triple returned $146.50 and the superfecta paid $524. The week's adult-table pace saw Micky Gee N--from post No. 5 (in one notch after a defection)--settle fourth. Alluneedisfaith N (Jim Marohn Jr.) fronted the fray (:28.2; :57; 1:24.4), but could not stall Micky Gee N.  Micky Gee N                                                                                             --Mike Lizzi photo The one moved toward the lead in earnest down the backside, taking over in and out of the final turn. Micky Gee N whipped Havefaithinme N (Goodell) by a length, with Alluneedisfaith N, Dancin' Dragon (Brennan) and The Real One (Pat Lachance) settling for the small change. For Micky Gee N, a 6-year-old Down Under Bettor's Delight gelding owned by William Hartt and trained by Lance Hudson, it was hisninth win in 27 '19 tries. The exacta paid $19.60, the triple returned $38.20 and the superfecta paid $192.   by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY -- I'mprincessgemma A (Joe Bongiorno, $5.10) rated and sprinted to harness racing victory Friday night (Oct. 25th), winning Yonkers Raceway's $42,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. Sent to an immediate lead from assigned post position No. 5, 'Gemma' left around Write Me a Song (George Brennan) before a :27.4 opening quarter-mile. A pokey :57.1 intermission would serve her well with 9-10 favorite Tequila Monday (Eric Goodell) advanced from last. A :27.1 third quarter (1:24.2) dispatched Tequila Monday, with I'mprincessgemma A opening a length-and-three-quarter lead into the lane. She held Write Me a Song at bay, winning by a length in 1:51.3...another :27.1 substation to match a season/life-best effort. Glenferrie Blade A (Jordan Stratton) was a third-hole third, with Mach it a Par (Jason Bartlett) and Robyn Camden (Jim Marohn Jr.) settling for the minors. Tequila Monday backed away, winding up last among the half-dozen. For second choice I'mprincessgemma A, a 5-year-old Down Under daughter of Village Jolt trained by Jennifer Bongiorno for co-owners driver, trainer, Steve Manzi and Wish Me Luck Stable, it was hereighth win in 13 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $32.20, the triple returned and the superfecta paid $426. A friendly reminder from Yonkers Raceway that Saturday evening’s (Oct. 25th) Pick 5 wager starts with a carryover of $3,944.05 and a $15,000 guaranteed pool. The guarantee is in conjunction with the U.S. Trotting Association’s Strategic Wagering Program. The Pick 5 is a 50-cent base wager comprising races 7 through 11 Saturday night. 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. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, October 20, 2019--It wasn't harness racing parimutuel, but rather political bragging rights that were up for grabs Saturday night (Oct. 19th), with Yonkers Raceway hosting the Legislators' Challenge. The 'Challenge' was comprised of four before-the-card races, featuring 17 New York State elected officials competing in double-seated jog carts...with sporadic assistance from the Raceway's leading drivers. The opening division saw Bronx Democrat State Senator Jamaal Bailey carry both Pembroke Joey and Jim Marohn Jr. across the line. From post position No. 2, the trio went the distance in 2:11.1. Assembly Member Andy Raia (R-Suffolk) was second, with Assembly Member Steve Stern (D-Suffolk) third and Assembly Member Stacy Pheffer-Amato (D-Queens) fourth. "This was wonderful, a great opportunity to see what the harness drivers really do, and how important their job is," State Senator Bailey said. "Jim (Marohn Jr.) was excellent, a great steward, and I helped him out a little bit as well. It worked out pretty well. "These are real athletes and it's a real skill set. You can't just wake up, roll out of bed, and think you're going to hop in a harness and do it, right? We have to respect these athletes and what they do. I have a greater appreciation today than I did yesterday, and even before that when I did the training. Phenomenal day." Bronx Democrats found themselves at it again in the second Challenge event as Assembly Member Marcos Crespo--from post No. 3 with Shaun Vallee and Galactic Galleon N--edged past State Senator Shelley Mayer (D-Westchester) late to win in 2:10.1. The lone five-participant field was completed by Assembly Member Andrew Garbarino (R-Suffolk), Assembly Member Michael DenDekker (D-Queens) and Assembly Member Taylor Darling (D-Nassau). "I've missed some of the previous events due to scheduling conflicts, but that won't happen again," Assembly Member Crespo said. "I'm grateful to Yonkers and MGM for this opportunity, and really, a great experience to see the joy and the respect that people have for these racehorses and just the entire function of these races. It's a great experience. "I think the plans (for MGM here) are exciting, and certainly the Bronx is one of the great beneficiaries. So many people call this place home, and this is their workplace. This is how they provide for their families, and also Bronxities who love to come here and enjoy their time. It's a great opportunity, and hopefully we'll see how things play out." A Bronx Democrat hat trick was finalized in the third event as Grand Master and pole-sitting Assembly Member Michael Benedetto (with Jordan Stratton) led from start to finish in 2:10.2. It was a match race to the wire, as multiple-season Challenge champion, Assembly Member Gary Pretlow (D-Westchester) took his shot from the pocket but missed. The quartet was completed by Assembly Member Anthony Palumbo (R-Suffolk) and Assembly Member Michaelle Solanges (D-Nassau). "It was exhilarating," Assembly Member Benedetto said, joking that "I was able to break the Pretlow Curse. "We're looking forward to working with MGM in its effort to do more at Empire City Casino." The fourth and final Legislators' Challenge event gave the Democrats a clean sweep as Queens made the tally sheet. State Senator Joe Addabbo Jr., with Vallee and Vanquished N, circled their rivals from last to win in a night's-fastest 2:09.1. From post No. 3, the trio defeated Assembly Member Steven Cymbrowitz (D-Brooklyn), Assembly Member Joe DeStefano (R-Suffolk) and Assembly Member Nathalia Fernandez (D-Bronx). "It's about time Queens came in first in something," State Senator Addabbo said. "We had a good strategy and I had a great time." All four winners have committed to defending their titles at the next Legislators' Challenge. The event was a joint effort of the Raceway, its race office and horsemen along with the Standardbred Owners Association of New York. Upon conclusion, many of the participants and their guests stayed to enjoy the evening's 'other' races. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway  

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