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YONKERS, NY, Monday, June 20, 2016-"Anything you can do, I can do...just as well."  Friday night, harness racing driver Jason Bartlett won six of Yonkers Raceway's 11 races, including that evening's feature with Krispy Apple. Saturday night, Mark MacDonald won six of Yonkers Raceway's 11 races, including both of that evening's co-features with Sunfire Blue Chip and Aggressive. With the six-pack gauntlet having been thrown down-twice-perhaps a third driver can join to form a "devilish" troika. For now, though, Messrs. Bartlett and MacDonald own the bragging rights. The pair entered Monday night ranked first (276 wins) and sixth (83), respectively, in local standings. Frank Drucker

Vernon, N.Y. -- A special Sunday (June 19) night harness racing card at Vernon Downs features over $450,000 in purses for top New York-sired 3-year-old trotters as a pair of Empire Breeders Classic events share top billing on the 10-race program.   Elimination winners Fad Finance and Earn Your Wings both look to upend last year's Sire Stakes superstar Non Stick in the $234,375 Filly Classic, carded as race seven. Fad Finance (post 5, 3-1 part of entry) stayed in close attendance to a strong early pace, pouncing on the then-undefeated Non Stick at the eighth pole and holding off a late charge from Straight A Student in 1:54.1. Trainer Trond Smedshammer also drives the daughter of Credit Winner. Earn Your Wings (post 6, 2-1 part of entry) likewise pounced late off a tracking trip in her elimination, sprinting off to a 1:54.4 victory over Swinging Royalty and Open Access. Jason Bartlett once again drives the Credit Winner filly for trainer Anette Lorentzon.   In the $222,975 Classic for colts and geldings, Sir Royson (post 7) has been installed as the 5-2 morning line favorite. The son of Crazed prevailed in both of his New York Sire Stakes races so far this season, winning from both on the lead and from off the pace. Jim Marohn, Jr. drives the five-time winner for trainer Linda Toscano. Among his eight rivals are Dexter Cup winner Dante (Ãke Svanstedt, post 9) and last year's Sire Stakes runner-up Smalltownthrowdown (Dan Daley, post 3).   Camels and ostriches make their annual stop at the Miracle Mile on Sunday evening as well for a pair of non-wagering exhibition events after the second and fifth races. The camels and ostriches, from Hedrick's Animal Farm in Kansas, will compete in the early part of the card, as they do at many events nationwide. Post time for the Father's Day card is slated for 6:45 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

YONKERS, NY, Friday, June 17, 2016 - A down-the-road Krispy Apple (Jason Bartlett, $6.10) now has 44 career victories, few as handily as Friday night after winning Yonkers Raceway's $45,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. Easily negating her mandated outside post position No.7, the slight favorite looped Mach it a Par (Brian Sears) en route to the lead. She worked around Pasultimatedelite N (George Brennan) before a :28.4 opening quarter-mile. After a rated 58-second intermission, Mach it a Par made her second move, extricating from fourth. That one barely engaged the leader in and out of a 1:25.3 three-quarters. Entering the lane, Krispy Apple opened 2½ lengths, then ran up the margin. She defeated a second-over Hidden Land (Brent Holland) by fourth lengths in 1:52.2. Mach it a Par salvaged the bottom of the ticket, with Pasultimatedelite N and Al Raza N (Mark MacDonald) rounding out the payees. For Krispy Apple, an 8-year-old daughter of Western Ideal co-owned by Bamond Racing and Joseph Davino and trained by Jeff Bamond Jr., it was her fourth win in 10 seasonal starts (career earnings now nearing $1.7 million). The exacta paid $56.50, with the triple returning $280. The win the feature was just one of Bartlett's six-pack during the 11-race program. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Thursday, June 16, 2016 - Yonkers Raceway's team of five premier harness racing drivers, led by points-leader Jordan Stratton, try to say "au revoir" to their French counterparts. The group travels across the Atlantic to Hippodrome de Vincennes in Paris for the second leg of the inaugural Drivers' Cup Challenge. There's one race each next Friday (June 24) and Sunday (June 26). The first leg saw Stratton win both Yonkers' races in late March, one in a dead-heat with YR captain Jason Bartlett. The locals won the opening round, 85 points to 47. (points awarded as 17/12/9/7/6/5/4/3/2/1, with five given in the event of a scratch). In addition to Bartlett and Stratton, Tyler Buter, Dan Dube and Pat Lachance are representing Westchester against a potent French quintet of Pierre Vercruysse (captain), Matthieu Abrivard, Nicolas Ensch, Pierre Levesque and Franck Ouvrie. "I've driven at Vincennes before (in the World Driving Championship), and the track is great, "Bartlett said. "It's an honor to represent both Yonkers and the U.S." As for Stratton, he's keeping his eyes on the prize. "I have to make sure to bring a suitcase big enough to carry home the trophy," he said. Further information about the Vicennes portion of the competition shall be sent when available.  

WILKES-BARRE PA - Ideal Cowboy chased hot fractions, then grinded up first-over and drew away in the last quarter to easily win the harness racing $25,000 winners-over featured pace Saturday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono.   Jason Bartlett, the leading moneywinning driver in North America so far in 2016, took a busman's holiday from Yonkers, where he is the leading driver and which is on hiatus for a week, and sat back while half of the six-horse field laid out hot splits of 26.1 and 53.2, with Bartlett and his winning American Ideal gelding beginning their raw move towards the 1:21 3/4s. Ideal Cowboy quickly passed his competition of the turn and drew off to win by five lengths over Jin's Dragon, who's risen from the "nw2800L4" class to featured race status within three months. The other member of "Team JB," trainer Jeffrey Bamond Jr., conditions the winner of $394,655, who lowered his lifetime mark by a tick, for Bamond Racing LLC and J&T Silva Stables LLC.   Bartlett wasn't the only denizen of Gotham City to take the mountain trip and make it profitable; George Brennan also came over and had three winners at press time to Bartlett's two.   Fastest mile of the night as this story went to print came in the $18,000 co-feature, as the McArdle ridgling McArdle's Lightning made every pole a winning one with a 1:49 victory. The winner went in 26.1 in both odd-numbered quarters, with the four-year-old, the youngest horse in the field, 1½ lengths ahead at the wire of the oldest horse in the field, eight-year-old Eighteen. Simon Allard guided the winner, who knocked 2/5 of a second off his personal best in triumphing for trainer Steve Elliott and the Lightning Stable.   PHHA / POCONO

If Sherman and Mr. Peabody dialed up the WABAC Machine to the summer of 1993, they would have found Giant Force winning Yonkers Raceway's harness racing International Trot. As a 4-year-old back then, Giant Force, driven by John Patterson Jr., traversed the mile-and-a-quarter distance in 2:27. That local aged group standard lasted for nearly 23 years....until Tuesday afternoon. Crescent Fashion (co-owner/trainer/driver Ake Svanstedt) turned what appeared to be a mismatch on paper into an unfair fight on the track. As the 2-5 favorite, Crescent Fashion ($2.90) won the day's first "French" trot by 4¾ lengths in 2:25.4. The stakes-winning son of Muscle Hill, who earned more than $300,000 as a sophomore, made his seasonal debut in this non-winners of six parimutuels (or $60,000) lifetime event and made his rivals pay. The new track record was one of the few gauntlets not thrown down by Jason Bartlett, who, from 11 drives, won half of the day's dozen races. Frank Drucker

Pocketed Outrageous Art (Jason Bartlett, $29) and two-move Luminosity (George Brennan, $7.90) shared the Saturday Derby Night glory, winning Yonkers Raceway's co-featured harness racing $40,000 Open Handicaps. The week's marquee pace was a two-speed number, with 6-5 favorite Atta Boy Dan (Brennan) and Outrageous Art leaving from post position Nos. 5 and 4 (each in one after an inside scratch), respectively. The people's preference led through intervals of :28, :56.4 and 1:24.3, negating a second move from outside assignee Lucan Hanover (Brian Sears). Atta Boy Dan owned a length-and-a-half lead into the lane, with Outrageous Art ducking inside. The double-digit number picked off the favorite, winning by a half-length in a season's-best 1:52.1. Stolen Car (Tyler Buter), Jeneral Patton (Pat Lachance) and Texican N (Jordan Stratton) completed the cashers. For fifth choice Outrageous Art, a 9-year-old son of Art Major co-owned (as Allard Racing) by (trainer) Rene Allard and Ameer Najor, it was his sixth win in 13 career starts. The exacta paid $83, the triple returned $619 and the superfecta paid $1,923. The week's trotting feature saw Luminosity get thrown in play early and that tact served him well. From post No. 7, he wedged into a three-hole behind Somebody AS (Stratton) and Monroe County (Bartlett). The former put up early weigh stations of :27.2 of :56.3, while Luminosity was planning his next move. That one engaged the leader through a 1:25.2 three-quarters before wearing him down off the final turn. Luminosity then finished it off, defeating a second-up Major Athens (Sears)-the slight 2-1 choice-by 2¼ lengths in 1:54.1 Homicide Hunter (Mark MacDonald) was an uncovered third in his 4-year-old/local/half-mile track debut, while Monroe County and Newcastle (Buter) settled for the remainder. . For Luminosity, a 6-year-old Cash Hall gelding co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke and Weaver Bruscemi, he's now 3-for-8 this season. The exacta paid $25.80, with the triple returning $132. Frank Drucker

The phrases 'Jason Bartlett' and '80-1' aren't usually uttered together, but those harness racing folks who successfully connected the dots were handsomely rewarded Monday evening. Yonkers Raceway's leading driver and Hearts Wild blew up the tote board (figuratively, since it didn't actually go anywhere), rallying from sixth entering the lane for a $163 upset in the $14,000, second-race pace. From post position No. 4, she defeated Mother of Art (George Brennan) by a nose, with 60-1 Lilmisstalksalot (Dan Dube) third. Hearts Wild, a 3-year-old daughter of Western Ideal co-owned by William & Barbara Ethier and trained by Scott Blackler, had make an early break in last week's local debut. Her second win in a dozen seasonal/career starts matched her previous life-best effort. She led a $514 exacta and $2,845 triple, enhanced when 1-5 favorite Soulmate Hanover (Scott Zeron) caved and wound up sixth. Frank Drucker

Season-debuting Artistic Major (Brent Holland, $15.40) and odds-on Melady's Monet (Jason Bartlett, $3.30) shared the Saturday night harness racing glory, winning Yonkers Raceway's co-featured $40,000 Open Handicaps. The week's marquee pace had a different look, with many of the just-concluded G-M Levy Series participants getting some well-deserved R&R. At the outset, Mister Bling A (Jordan Stratton) was put in play, as was outside assignee Atta Boy Dan (George Brennan). The latter, as the slight 3-1 choice, broke, leaving "Bling" to his own devices (:27.4, :56.3, 1:24.4). Fiery Lustre N (Bartlett) was pocketed, while Artistic Major--from post position No. 2--was taking out of third. That one, opposing all elders, engaged a tiring leader in and out of the final turn, then put him away. Once in front, Artistic Major held off the foe on his back, Jeneral Patton (Pat Lachance) by a half-length in 1:52.1. Fiery Lustre N, Mister Bing A and Domethatgain (Dan Dube) rounded out the payees. For fifth choice Artistic Major, a 4-year-old son of Art Major co-owned by (trainer) Steve Elliott, Michael Cimiglio, David Van Dusen and Gunjan Patel, his fresh parimutuel Lasix win was his 11th in 26 career starts. The exacta paid $177, with the triple returning $983. The week's trotting feature was simple as simple of simple could be for "Melady," who--from post No. 7--stole away (:28.3, :58.2, 1:27.2, 1:55.1). His two-length lead entering the lane was 2¼ lengths at the wire. Luminosity (Brennan) was a two-move second, with a pocket-sitting Somebody AS (Stratton) fading to third. Home'n Dry (Dube) and Dewycolorintheline (Tyler Buter) settled for the remainder. For Melady's Monet, a 7-year-old s Revenue S gelding owned Melady Enterprises and trained by Kevin McDermott, he's now 3-for-4 this season (lifetime loot up over $800,000). The exacta (two wagering favorites) paid $14.80, with the triple returning $53. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Friday, March 11, 2016-Bettor N Better N (Jason Bartlett, $9.30) tripped out from the pocket Friday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $30,000 Filly and Mare Preferred Handicap Pace. In play early from her assigned post position No. 3, Bettor N Better made the first lead before handing off to 4-5 favorite Sassa Hanover (George Brennan). "Sassa," looking to regain past glory (who among us isn't?), led through intervals of :27.2, :56.1 and 1:24.1, taking a length lead into the lane. Despite getting comfy fractions and the fact none of her five rivals moved until McCovey Cove N (Jordan Stratton) did so from fifth nearing the three-quarters, Sassa Hanover was done. Bettor N Better edged out of the pocket, went by the leader and held off a twisting-and-turning, knifing-through 'McCovey" by a neck in a season's-best 1:52.3. Alhambra (Tyler Buter) angled from the three-hole and was third, while Sassa Hanover faded to fifth. For second choice Bettor N Better, a 4-year-ol daughter of Bettor's Delight owned by Bamond Racing and trained by Jeffrey Bamond Jr., it was her second win in five seasonal starts. The exacta paid $34.40, with the triple returning $1116.50. The Raceway's live season continues Saturday night with a $1.3 million 13-race card (first post 7:10 PM), highlighted by the sport's two richest races of the season to date, the $609,000 final of the George Morton Levy Memorial (9th race) and $309,800 final of the Blue Chip Matchmaker (7th race). by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

It is a darn good thing horses do not read the papers or browse the Internet, otherwise Krispy Apple may have developed a huge complex. She has earned more than $1.6 million in her career, amassed $60,000 from this year's campaign alone and established a track standard of 1:51 for older mares in 2015 at Yonkers Raceway, yet the 8-year-old mare never receives the press other female residents of her shed row continuously attract. This situation, however, could drastically change if the daughter of Western Ideal captures the $309,800 Blue Chip Matchmaker final on Saturday (April 23) at Yonkers Raceway for at long last her name may finally dominate the headlines. "She has always been overlooked and that's just kind of been her luck," said Jeff Bamond Jr., her conditioner and co-owner. "As a 3-year-old she earned more than $500,000 and had to take on the likes of a super filly in See You At Peelers. There are not many that come along like that one and then after her it was Anndrovette. Her record stands for itself obviously and then there was Shelliscape. Next was Venus Delight. Those three were all in the same barn with this mare, but all she has done is win. "I thought she had one of the best seasons of her career last year because we just kept her in the Opens at Yonkers and she made more than $350,000. She seems to get over that track very well and those conditions seemed to suit her." Out of the Life Sign mare Apple Krisp, Krispy Apple, who is also owned by Bamond's father, Jeff and Joe Davino, will seek to add career victory 43 to her resume when she leaves from post position eight with Jason Bartlett holding the reins in the seventh race on the card. The mare is the 2-1 top selection on the morning line in conjunction with her stablemate and 2015 Dan Patch award winner Venus Delight , who commences her journey from the slot right inside of her. Krispy Apple earned favoritism by finishing second in the first two legs of the series, then coming home sixth in the third leg and rebounding with a pair of triumphs in the final two preliminary contests. Despite being pleased with her performances so far this season, Bamond acknowledges Krispy Apple has her work cut out for her. The competition does not only come from Venus Delight, who has yet to hit the winner's circle in 2016, but has raced admirably in defeat. Her other rivals include O'Brien Award winner Lady Shadow (7-2), the always formidable Yagonnakissmeornot (5-1) and the talented import Sell A Bit N (5-1). All of these gifted ladies start their miles from inside the Bamond duo. "It is going to be very difficult for her to overcome that outside post position," he said. "All of these mares are very talented and evenly matched. Something like that can make the difference in losing by a head. They are all going to be right there when the wire comes and if they get away from you, they are not coming back. We will definitely need some racing luck, but this is what this sport is all about. Everyone that entered has a shot to win it." In order to pose in the winner's circle after her 126th career start, Krispy Apple must finish in front of champion Venus Delight. The 6-year-old daughter of Bettor's Delight and the Run The Table mare Venus Killean has not hit millionaire status at this stage of her career with $872,033 in the bank, but she possesses the shiny hardware to reward her outstanding 2015 campaign. The mare collected just over $600,000 in purse money last year with triumphs in the $200,000 TVG Mares Open, the $225,000 Milton, and the $194,000 Artiscape, and is also the defending Blue Chip Matchmaker champion. Venus Delight's appearance this weekend will be only her 68th lifetime and if she captures two consecutive Matchmaker finals it will be the 26th occasion she will have her picture taken. It will also be her first win of the season from six trips to the gate. In the five legs of the series, the mare has hit the wire in second twice, third and fourth once apiece and was sixth in her most recent outing. "She has not had the best of racing luck," Bamond said. "Krispy Apple has that spurt to her at an end of a race, but Venus Delight is the horse that grinds you down. She just keeps coming. When she is far back on a track like this it is very tough for her to catch up and pass everyone. Especially with the quality group that is in the series. "I also do not think a half-mile track is her best game. She needs a longer stretch. I think that suits the way she races the best. She is the kind of horse that will only do what she needs to and is not hard on herself. For example, you cannot train her by herself because you will get nothing from her. You can literally run next to her while she's on the track. It is just her personality and we accept her for who she is." Over the last five years the Bamonds have enjoyed a wealth of riches when it comes to older pacing mares. There is Anndrovette, who needs no introduction and clearly is one of the greatest of all time for her gender as well as gait. The 9-year-old mare captured four consecutive Dan Patch trophies (2011-'14), also owns four O'Brien awards, is the only horse to win three Roses Are Red finals in a row and has annexed two Breeders Crowns. Only Eternal Camnation has placed more cash in the bank all time when it comes to pacing females. There is also world champion and 2013 and 2014 Breeders Crown victress Shelliscape. The daughter of Artiscape and the Direct Scooter mare Shell I Scoot compiled more than $1.1 million in her days on the race track. Retired due to injury, the mare recently gave birth to her first foal which is a colt by Somebeachsomewhere. So is there a secret to the Bamonds' success? Particularly with the ladies? Father and son purchased all four of these mares as they were embarking on their careers as older horses after scrutinizing not only their lines, but how they looked while compiling them. "The key to our program is buying horses we think are on the upswing and only have room to improve," Bamond said. "We keep an eye on them for awhile before we make a move and feel confident they have much more to give. "Although we did breed Shelliscape, we are not in the breeding business. That only happened because she was injured at the time and it just made sense to go that route. We are in the racing end of the sport and despite how successful all these mares could be in the breeding shed, we prefer to let the experts do that part. "What we do is treat all these mares as individuals, which they are, and provide them with their own programs. We are consistent with their routines -- whether they are in training, racing or on vacation. We also do not believe in over racing them and are very conservative as to how many times we start them. We feel this helps preserve them for a longer career." Even if Venus Delight or Krispy Apple happen to capture the lucrative Matchmaker final this weekend, their paths will not deviate from what was mapped out for them for the rest of the year. "Venus will appear in all the big stakes just like last year," Bamond said. "Krispy will also follow the same schedule. We'll keep her here at Yonkers and maybe take her a couple other places, but those are the schedules that seem to fit each mare the best. "We are looking forward to the year, not only with them, but with all our horses and maybe this will be the time Krispy gets the attention that she is due. She has not had it easy, that is for sure, but she does deserve some credit for what she has accomplished. Who wouldn't want one in their barn like her?" by Kim French, USTA Internet News Editor

YONKERS, NY, Friday, April 15, 2016-Yonkers Raceway's Blue Chip Matchmaker continued Friday night, with a pair $40,000 divisions comprising the fifth and final preliminary round. The evening began with Krispy Apple (Jason Bartlett, $7), eschewing an early pocket, then lasting on the lead. From post position No. 2, she was immediately seated early by Cinamony (Yannick Gingras), but wanted nothing to do with that. She then took over before completed her rounds (:27.4, :56.3, 1:24.2, 1:52.2) for a second consecutive series Sell a Bit N (Jordan Stratton), as the 3-2 favorite, had left into a three-hole. She elected not to move first-up, then found herself wedged behind a tiring Cinamony. Sell a Bit N did get the passing lane, but not nearly in time to track down Krispy Apple, who-as the second choice-prevailed by three-quarters of a length. Carolsideal (Dan Dube), a uncovered winner a week ago, was an uncovered third here. For Krispy Apple, an 8-year-old Western Ideal ma'am co-owned by Bamond Racing and Joseph Davino and trained by Jeffrey Bamond Jr., she's now 2-for-6 this season (2-for-5 in series) after her 42st career victory. The exacta paid $20.80, with the triple returning $62.50. The second event saw a repeating Yagonnakissmeornot (Dube, $5.20) pick off a badly-drifting Mach it a Par (George Brennan). The latter, victimized by a horrid shuffle-out last week, had no one to blame but herself in this one. From post No. 2, the 13-10 fave worked around "Yagonnakissme" and set tepid intervals (:28.1, :58, 1:26). Mach it a Par opened a couple of lengths entering the lane, but her desire to meet the crowd was about to cost her. Yagonnakissmeornot, as the second choice, stayed on the straight and narrow to win by a length in 1:53.2. Skippin' By (Gingras) was a three-hole third. For Yagonnakissmeornot, a 7-year-old daughter of The Panderosa co-owned (as Allard Racing) by (trainer) Rene Allard, Yves Sarazain and Kapildeo Singh, she's now 3-for-6 this season (3-for-5 in series) The exacta paid $10.80, with the triple returning $57.50. Note that series points leader (entering this round) Al Raza N was AWOL for the last leg. Saturday night's card brings the fifth (final) round of the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series. Three, $50,000 divisions (races 5 through 7) comprise this last incarnation. Both series finals (and their respective consolations) are set for next Saturday night, Apr. 23. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway  

YONKERS, NY, Friday, April 8, 2016-Yonkers Raceway's Blue Chip Matchmaker continued Friday night, with what has become commonplace...three, $40,000 divisions. The fourth of five preliminary rounds began with a first-up Carolsideal (Dan Dube, $19.80) saved by the wire to barely beat a very unlucky Mach it a Par (George (Brennan). Venus Delight (Jason Bartlett), as the 3-2 favorite, was third Pole-sitting Request for Parole (Yannick Gingras) seated everyone early, using a :26.4 opening quarter-mile to do just that. She then rebuffed an advance from pocket-sitting Mach it a Par, stuffing that one back in behind and getting a :55.4 intermission. However, "Parole"" was denied going down the backside the second time, with Carolisdeal-away third from post position No. 3-easily going up and over. Request for Parole offered less than no resistance right at the 1:23.4 three-quarters, trapping Mach it a Par like a Chilean miner. Venus Delight, towed into contention, didn't match strides with "Carol," who opened three lengths in and out of the final turn. Mach it a Par eventually extricated herself and flew home, only to miss a head in 1:51.3...fastest Matchmaker mile of the season. Venus Delight was beaten three-quarters of a length, last season's champ failing to win in four legs thus far this time around. Request for Parole wound up last among the half-dozen, beaten 9Dan½ lengths. Fourth choice Carolsideal, a 7-year-old Western Ideal miss co-owned (as Allard Racing) by (trainer) Rene Allard, Yves Sarazain and Kapildeo Singh, is now 1-for-3 in her seasonal/series resume. The exacta paid $60.50, with the triple returning $132. Dube's strategy worked so well in the first series division, he employed it again in the second. This time, he and Yagonnakissmeornot ($37.80) sat off the early scrum and went from first-up to first home. At the outset, Skippin' By (Gingras), Anndrovette (Tim Tetrick) and 3-10 favorite Sell a Bit N (Jordan Stratton) were all put in play, with the people's choice hung three-wide. Sell a Bit N looped Anndrovette for the lead before the latter drove on (:26.4, 56.3). Yagonnakissmeornot, from post No. 2, moved from fourth right around the intermission and disposed of Anndrovette well before a 1:24.1 three-quarters. That left Sell a Bit N joining Mach it a Par as a trapped miner while "Yagonnakissme" widened to three lengths off the final turn. She won by four lengths in a season's-best 1:52. Regil Elektra (Bartlett) gapped the winner but grabbed second, with Sell a Bit N settling for third. Anndrovette wound up fifth. Fifth choice Yagonnakissmeornot a 7-year-old daughter of The Panderosa who shares same trainer and ownership consortium as Carolsideal, is now 2-for-5 this season (2-for-4 in series) The exacta paid $212, with the triple returning $715. The evening's final series soiree saw Krispy Apple (Bartlett, $10.20) get off the '16 schneid. From post No. 2, she stalked Lady Shadow (Corey Callahan) as the pole-sitting, 4-5 choice led through intervals of :27.1, :55.4 and 1:23.3. Al Raza N (Dave Miller) put in a valiant, two-move effort, but gave way grudgingly as Lady Shadow owned a length-and-a-three-quarter lead into the lane. However, Krispy Apple, as the third choice, ducked in and went by, the final margin a neck in 1:51.4. Cinamony (Gingras) offered decent ground-saving pace to wind up third, while Al Raza N faded to fifth in her first series defeat. Krispy Apple, an 8-year-old Western Ideal ma'am co-owned by Bamond Racing and Joseph Davino and trained by Jeffrey Bamond Jr., is now 1-for-5 this season (1-for-4 in series) after her 41st career victory. The exacta paid $17.80, with the triple returning $57. Saturday night's card brings the fourth round of the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series. Four, $50,000 divisions (races 6 through 9) comprise this go-round. After the ladies left, the longshots picked up the gauntlet. White Mountain Top (Matt Kakaley), at an even 119-1, snapped 26-1 Stay Up Late (Stratton) on the money in the $18,000, ninth-race pace. The $240 win mutuel is thus the new local standard of the season, as are the $4,438 exacta and $19,365 triple (Masterson [Bartlett], the 7-10 favorite, faded to third). by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway    

Harness racing trainer Richard “Nifty” Norman thought he came away with a nice little horse when he purchased Don’tcallmefrancis for $25,000 at the 2014 Standardbred Horse Sale. He now thinks he came away with a little bit more. Named after a popular South Jersey cover band, Don’tcallmefrancis has won five of 11 lifetime starts and hit the board a total of 10 times, earning $64,058 for Norman’s Enzed Racing Stable. On Tuesday, he will be the lone 3-year-old taking on a group of 4-year-olds in the $63,000 Sagamore Hill Pacing Series championship at Yonkers Raceway. Don’tcallmefrancis had two wins and a second-place finish in the event’s three preliminary rounds, which put him in a tie with Rodeo Romeo for the top spot in the series standings. Don’tcallmefrancis will start the final from post six with Jason Bartlett in the sulky. He is the second choice (7-2) on the morning line, behind Chris Ryder’s Rodeo Romeo (2-1), who starts from post two with Brian Sears. “He’s had some decent draws and decent trips and it’s worked out nicely for him,” Norman said. “I didn’t expect him to do that well because it’s mostly 4-year-olds, but he’s done a good job. He’s picked up $25,000 in three weeks, so I’m over the moon. He’s drawn poorly for the final, but he’s honest and he’ll get a piece of it.” Don’tcallmefrancis raced primarily at Freehold Raceway last season, where he won the New Jersey Sire Stakes Green Acres championship. He finished third behind Ideal Rocky and Boston Red Rocks in the Lou Babic and also was third, behind Katies Rocker and Ideal Rocky, in the New Jersey Futurity. Boston Red Rocks was the 2015 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male pacer and Ideal Rocky and Katies Rocker were open stakes winners. “He kind of surprised me,” Norman said. “He went some good miles. He was a little bit of a sleeper because he never does anything flashy, but he’s very consistent and very solid and he’s always got pace. “I was really happy with him. We didn’t stake him a lot; I wasn’t really trying to accomplish anything other than get him some experience. I didn’t think he would be a stakes horse, but now it’s looking like he might be. Not a big-level stakes horse, but he’s turned out to be a handy little horse.” Although the majority of Don’tcallmefrancis’ races have been on half-mile ovals, Norman says the horse is not merely a small-track specialist. “I just raced him at Freehold because of the Green Acres and because it was close to home,” Norman said. “I think he’ll be good on a big track, really, because he’s not a speed horse; he’s more of a grinder type of horse. I think a big track won’t bother him.” Don’tcallmefrancis is a gelded son of stallion Rocknroll Hanover out of the mare Nanny Withafanny, who was an Open-level competitor on the East Coast and earned $424,323 lifetime. “I just liked the look of him at the sale,” Norman said. “I always try to buy a cheaper horse for myself and he had a real good head on him; he’s got a real Rocknroll head. He’s just a nice tidy little type of horse. His mother was a good mare. And he wasn’t a lot of money, so he was a good little horse for me to buy. “Usually I buy a horse like that as a baby and look to get them going a bit and sell them. I’ll probably do the same with him if I get the right offer. He’s a real sound horse and a real easy horse to train. He’s worked out really good.” by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications

Harness racing driver Jason Bartlett might not have been thrilled when George Brennan and Brian Sears decided to call Yonkers Raceway their home track several years ago, but it seems to have worked out all right for Bartlett in the long run. The 34-year-old Bartlett is the leading driver at Yonkers this year, with 152 victories and a 28.4 win percentage. He has been The Hilltop's winningest driver each of the past two seasons --- just as he was for the three years prior to seeing Brennan take the title in 2011 and 2012 and Sears in 2013. Nationally this year, Bartlett ranks No. 2 in wins, trailing only Aaron Merriman's 206 victories, and is No. 1 in purses, with $1.64 million. "I'm off to a good start," Bartlett said. "I'm driving for the right people and their horses are in the right classes. It's a trainer's game, so it makes my job a lot easier." And the Maine native also credits getting to watch Brennan, who was the sport's Driver of the Year in 2010 and 2011, and Sears, who was Driver of the Year in 2009, as having been a benefit. "Driving against George and Brian has helped me out," Bartlett said, adding with a laugh, "which in the beginning I didn't think was going to help me out. But it has helped my career tremendously, just watching them and what they do on the track. I had to take a couple steps back to take a few more steps forward. "Brian is patient, George can make a lot of speed, so I kind of put the two together and I'm doing my own thing. But you know what, Brian can make serious speed when he wants to and George knows the horses. They're both very smart. George is the 'Minister of Speed,' but he knows his competition. I think that's half the battle." Bartlett, who has won 6,205 races in his career and ranked among the Top 10 drivers nationally in five of the past eight years, is getting ready for the second rounds of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series for older female pacers and the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series for older male pacers. He will be sitting behind two morning-line favorites in Friday's Matchmaker divisions; Venus Delight in the first of the three splits and Krispy Apple in the third. Jeff Bamond Jr. trains both mares. Venus Delight was the 2015 Dan Patch Award winner for best older female pacer. Bartlett drove her in 14 of her 19 races last year, winning the Matchmaker championship and the Artiscape Stakes, and finishing third in the Breeders Crown and Lady Liberty. "I'd never driven (a Dan Patch Award winner) on a regular basis," Bartlett said. "The Bamonds gave me that opportunity after they bought her (in August 2014) and we've pretty much stayed together. I'm grateful for the opportunity. It's a pretty nice accomplishment." The 6-year-old Venus Delight made her seasonal debut in last week's opening round of the six-week Matchmaker Series and finished second by a nose to Mach It A Par in 1:53.2. "She came first over to a horse (Secrets Out N) that had just won the Open the week before and I think the first start caught up with her about halfway down the stretch and she got a little tired," Bartlett said. "But I thought she was really good. She's always going to be a good horse because she takes care of herself. There's pretty much no end to her, she's just got to get her trip. She's got a great attitude. She likes her job." Eight-year-old Krispy Apple also finished second in her first-round division of the Matchmaker. She was beaten by a half-length by Al Raza N. Krispy Apple has earned $1.60 million in her career and is the fastest female pacer in Yonkers history thanks to her 1:51 win there last September. "She's very versatile," Bartlett said. "She is quick as a cat off the gate and she can come right back to you. She can race any way --- off cover, on the front, two hole --- it doesn't matter. She's a really good horse herself." In Saturday's Levy, Bartlett has morning-line favorite P H Supercam in the fourth of five divisions, and second choice Ideal Cowboy in the fifth. Other morning-line favorites in the second round are Lucan Hanover, Foiled Again, Mach It So, and Take It Back Terry. "The series is really good this year," Bartlett said. "There doesn't seem like there is one horse that lays over (the rest). It's great for Yonkers because it's going to be a very competitive series. It's going to come down to racing luck and post draws for the five weeks heading to the final." Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications

Regil Elektra and harness racing driver Jason Bartlett was able to get to Sell a Bit N (Jordan Stratton) in a battle of two "figure" horses Friday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $32,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. In play early from penultimate post position No. 5, second choice Regil Elektra made the first lead. She then saw 3-5 fave Sell a Bit N, from her ordered outside venue, move past. Sell a Bit N led the way through a :27.1 opening quarter-mile and :56.3 half, seeing no pressure until Jungle Genie N (Brian Sears) came out from fourth down the backside. That one never reached the leading lass in and out a 1:26 three-quarters. Sell a Bit N owned a length-and-a-half lead into the lane before Regil Elektra ducked inside. The latter won an elongated battle by a nose in 1:54. Pole-assigned Daut Full (Tyler Buter) was a best-of-the-rest third as the 57-1 rank outsider, with Request for Parole (George Brennan) and Rockn Ruby N (Dan Dube) settling for the remainder. Jungle Genie N wound up last among the half-dozen. For Regil Elektra, a 6-year-old daughter of Mach Three owned by Fred Monteleone and trained by Keith Armer, it was her fourth win in eight seasonal starts. The exacta paid $9.10, with the triple returning $99. The Raceway's live season continues Saturday night (first post 7:10 PM). Frank Drucker

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