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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

If harness racing owner Robert DiNozzi could change one thing about his pacer Bank Shot Hanover it simply would be the gelding’s luck. DiNozzi had high hopes for Bank Shot Hanover last year, but good fortune never seemed to be on their side. Bank Shot Hanover won two of eight races last season at age 2 and earned $39,372. He won his debut, a division of the Pennsylvania All-Stars, in 1:53 at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono in early July, but raced only once more prior to late August because of a shin splint. He returned to compete in the Metro Pace eliminations, but failed to advance to the final. He finished fifth in the consolation race a week later, beaten by two lengths. His next three starts produced a win in a conditioned race, a third in a Liberty Bell Series division, and a second in a Keystone Classic division. DiNozzi thought the horse was ready for a top effort in his Breeders Crown elimination, but Bank Shot Hanover finished seventh and after the race was found to have bled. “He’s a really good horse, we’ve just had a little bit of bad luck with him,” DiNozzi said. “His first start went in (1):53 and he looked like he was going to beat the world. It’s hard not to like a horse like that. He definitely trained down fantastically, which is why I staked him to everything I staked him to. He was training like he could be a really good one. We’ll see if that comes back or not.” Bank Shot Hanover is getting ready for his 2016 debut and is being pointed to the Sagamore Hill Pacing Series at Yonkers Raceway. The series, restricted to 3- and 4-year-olds who were non-winners of four races and/or $40,000 lifetime through Dec. 1, begins March 8. “Hopefully it’s just a stepping stone and he’ll end up racing in the Breeders Crown again,” DiNozzi said. “We need to get him back in shape and see where he’ll go. He’s eligible to a lot of things. We’ll see. It’s all a crapshoot.” DiNozzi bought Bank Shot Hanover, a son of The Panderosa out of the mare Braggin’ Yankee, privately last May. The horse is trained by Daniel Renaud. “Danny and I looked at some video of him and he was a nice, good-looking horse,” DiNozzi said. “He was a good-looking 2-year-old; he looked like he was 3. Sitting behind him, he’s like driving an aged horse. I mean literally he’s like driving a 9-year-old gelding.” Bank Shot Hanover, who was shut down following the Breeders Crown last October, qualified at Yonkers on Saturday, timed in 1:57. It was his first time on a half-mile track. He was driven by Yonkers’ leading driver, Jason Bartlett, and is expected to qualify again this week. “He got around the half pretty well,” DiNozzi said. “I mean (1):57 is nothing to brag about, but it’s his first qualifier back. The next qualifier, he’ll chase him out of the gate. Hopefully he’ll come down to (1):54 or (1):53 and be competitive. “And hopefully he’ll get a little bit of good luck.” by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications 

Harness racing driver Jason Bartlett put some more distance between himself and rest of Yonkers Raceway's chauffeurs Monday evening, winning eight of the program's dozen races. Bartlett, who didn't miss an assignment, wasted no time. He guided the undefeated Bea's Ideal ($3.50) to an eased-up, 1:56.3 win in the $12,500 pacing opener. The 4-year-old daughter of American Ideal, unraced prior to this season, is 4-for-4 ($25,000) to begin her career for co-owners (trainer) Heidi Rohr, Marc Reynolds and David Glazer. The lass has been nominated to the upcoming Petticoat Pacing Series, which begins Tuesday afternoon, March 7. Five of Bartlett's Monday winners were trained by Richard Banca, beginning with Wayne the Lefty ($4) in the $6,500 third-race pace (1:55.3). After that, it was Brown Brinny ($6.50) in the $15,000 seventh-race pace, Mybrothergeorge ($3) in the $6,500 eighth-race pace (1:55.4), OK Heartbeat ($6.20) in the $18,000 ninth-race pace (1:55) and A Plus Hanover ($5.10) in the $12,500 pacing finale (1:55.2). Bartlett's other victories came behind a pair of trotters, Dominus Hanover ($3.20) in the $12,500 second race (1:58.3) and Get to Doin' It ($21) in the $18,000 11th race (1:59.2). He now has 213 local wins this season. The Raceway's live season continues with a Tuesday matinee, first post at 1 PM. Frank Drucker

Regil Elektra and harness racing driver Jason Bartlett won the draw, the hearts and minds of the electorate and the race Friday night, annexing Yonkers Raceway's $32,000 Filly and Mare Open Pace. From the pole, Regil Elektra saw Inittowinafortune (Jordan Stratton) take the first ballot. The people's preference then reclaimed the lead before a :27.4 opening quarter-mile. From there, it was very simple (:57.2, 1:25.4, 1:54), with Massive Attack A (George Brennan) trying it weak first-over. The end result was a handy, three-length victory. Dune in Red (Mark MacDonald) was a three-hole second, with Inittowinafortune, Elisaveta N (Eric Carlson) and Bazooka Terror (Tyler Buter) rounding out the payees. For Regil Elektra, a 6-year-old daughter of Mach Three owned by Fred Monteleone and trained by Keith Armer, she's now 3-for-5 this season. The exacta paid $10.80, with the triple returning $25.20. The Raceway's live season continues Saturday night, with a dozen races and a first post of 7:10 PM. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Friday, January 22, 2016 - Regil Elektra with harness racing driver Jason Bartlett in the bike, was encouraged early and in hand late Friday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $24,000 Filly and Mare Preferred Handicap Pace. Getting some gate reminders from post position No. 4, Regil Elektra made the lead before a :28.1 quarter-mile. From there, no sweat (:57.3, 1:26, 1:53.4), with that :27.4 kicker denying anyone else a shot. Pole-assigned Jungle Genie N (Matt Kakaley) chased from the pocket while beaten a length-and-three-quarters, with Massive Attack N (George Brennan), tepid 9-5 choice Rockn' Ruby N (Dan Dube) a trailing-throughout Jonsie Jones (Tyler Buter) completing the payees/finishers. For second choice Regil Elektra, a 6-year-old daughter of Mach Three owned by Fred Monteleone and trained by Keith Armer, it was her second win in three seasonal starts. The exacta paid $20.60, with triple wagering cancelled due to limited entrants. A reminder that in advance of the northeast's snowstorm, live racing (and all simulcasting) has been scrapped for Saturday (Jan. 23). Live racing is scheduled to resume Monday, Jan., 25, with a first post of 7:10 PM. As of this writing, with NYRA not having made a decision regarding Aqueduct's Sunday (Jan. 24) program, Yonkers' status for Sunday simulcasting is TBA. Frank Drucker

On Sunday, January 17, the Standardbred Owners Association of New York lauded Yonkers Raceway's top harness racing driver and trainer of 2015.   Maine native Jason Bartlett, perennially at or near the top of the Yonkers leader board, notched his fifth driving title at the Hilltop Oval. Winning at a nearly 20% clip, Bartlett finished an astounding 89 wins over his nearest competitor in the deeply talented Yonkers driving colony. The 2009 and 2013 United States representative to the World Driving Championship, Bartlett recently achieved the career 6,000 win plateau. Only in his mid-30s, Jason has achieved the status of consummate veteran horseman by regularly plying his trade at one of the sport's most competitive venues.   Though only in his late 20s, Quebec native Rene Allard has already distinguished himself as one of the country's top conditioners. Allard eked out his leading trainer title with a winning dash total just slightly above the second place finisher Ron Burke. He achieved this result by winning with roughly 26% of his starters. Recently, Allard pledged his support for his fellow Canadian horsemen in need by pledging a percentage of his national training earnings to those victimized by the Classy Lane Farm fire earlier this month.   "The renaissance of New York harness racing has served to attract some of the continent's top young talent to our Westchester Oval," said SOA of NY President Joseph Faraldo. "Both Jason and Rene are on the type of superior career paths we witnessed during the Roosevelt-Yonkers heydays. Their achievements are to be commended, and it is with great pride that we called both of them Yonkers horsemen."   Standardbred Owners Association of New York

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, December 15, 2015-- Jason Bartlett and Rene Allard were Westchester's big cheeses, winning Yonkers Raceway's 2015 harness racing driver and trainer titles, respectively. The 230-program season (eight postponements due to weather), which concluded this past Sunday (Dec. 13), saw Bartlett roll along to a fifth Yonkers title. The 34-year-old, originally from Augusta, ME, easily outdistanced George Brennan, 466 wins to 377. Bartlett was also the busiest of the colony, leasing with 2,405 drivers (19.4 percent winning percentage) and more than $8.8 million in purses. Brian Sears (345 wins), Dan Dube (320) and Tyler Buter (234) rounded out the top five in victories. Allard, a 28-year-old native of Quebec, won a hard-fought battle with two-time defending champ Ron Burke, taking the trainer title, 181 wins (26.2 percent winning percentage) to 173. Burke did lead in starters (815) and purses ($4.8 million), a solid $1.7 million more than Allard. Numbers three-through-five were Richard Banca (160 wins), Jeffrey Bamond Jr. (108) and Gilberto Garcia-Herrera (91). The Raceway's 2016 season (with accompanying schedule) is set to begin Thursday, Jan. 7, pending approval of the New York State Gaming Commission. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, November 28, 2015-Odds-on favorite Ideal Cowboy (Jason Bartlett, $3.60) held off a two-pronged challenge Saturday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $40,000 Open Handicap Pace. Remanded outside his seven foes, Ideal Cowboy had a reasonably-simple path to the lead. He worked around Texican N (Eric Carlson) and Bigtown Hero (Dan Dube) just before a 27-second opening quarter-mile. From there, a somnambulant :56.2 half before the leader upped the tempo. A 1:24.1 three-quarters with Aslan (Brian Sears) taking his shot first-ever and Ideal Cowboy owning a length-and-a-half lead into the lane. However, with Bigtown Hero edging from the pocket and Texican N darting inside, Ideal Cowboy needed some reminders. He did get the line when in time, a 1:52.1 nose in front of Bigtown Hero and a head ahead of Texican N. Aslan and The Real One (Pat Lachance) completed the cashers. For Ideal Cowboy, a 4-year-old American Ideal gelding trained by Jeffrey Bamond Jr. for co-owners Bamond Racing and J&T Silva Stables, it was his ninth win in 24 seasonal tries. The exacta paid $17.60, the triple paid $160.50 and the superfecta paid $530. Frank Drucker

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