The SOA of NY recognized the 2016 achievement of top harness racing driver Jason Bartlett recently with a plaque presented by SOA President Joe Faraldo. Bartlett will be the first to tell you how much he owes his grandfather for the exceptional talent being recognized once again as the HIlltop Oval's leading driver. In a very talented field of drivers competing at Yonkers, including many who have found their way to the winner's circle in the sport's most prestigious events, Bartlett didn't rest on his laurels of 2015. Jason notched 616 victories, over one hundred more than 2015's 514 triumphs. He also added 405 second place finishes and 362 third place finishes. His numbers were virtually untouchable within the talent laden Yonkers driving colony once again earning him the driving title in 2016.
YONKERS, N.Y. - Harness racing driver Jason Bartlett has topped the drivers’ standings at Yonkers Raceway each year since 2014 and last year, recorded his best season yet. At Yonkers alone, the 35-year-old reinsman drove 576 winners - twice as many as the next-winningest driver Dan Dube - and his starters earned $8,412,709. Making his season more impressive, Bartlett logged these milestones with fewer starters than in his prior two years as the Yonkers’ dash leader. Despite his success, Bartlett remains humble. “Last year I was very fortunate with the trainers allowing me to pick the best horse. Trainers put me back on. Trainers have their horses in the right classes, which makes my job a lot easier. I’ve got to thank the trainers and owners, definitely,” he said. Showing no signs of slowing down, Bartlett has already made 98 trips to the winner’s circle in the first few months of competition at Yonkers this year. His drives have earned $1,796,831. “This year started off good. For me, staying healthy and being able to drive every night is the goal for me and that’s the same every year,” he explained. “Everything else plays itself out. As long as you’re there and able to compete every night, that’s all you can ask for.” Contributing to that goal, Bartlett will drive in 10 of the 11 races on Tuesday night’s (March 14) program, including all five divisions of the Sagamore Hill Pacing Series second leg. In the night’s second division, he takes the lines of Never Say Never, a New Zealand import trained by Heidi Rohr who is 3-for-3 since coming to New York. Bartlett first drove him in a qualifier at Yonkers Jan. 27 and has been on board for all three wins, two in overnight competition and the most recent last week when he captured his division of the series’ first leg by a neck in 1:55.2. “He was really good in the qualifier, he was just a little steppy so I had to be a little bit careful with him,” Bartlett explained. “But, we tightened the hopples up and he was good his first week. We really didn’t know what we had because we couldn’t get him in every week. Every time we put him behind the gate, he was really, really good.” So far, the 4-year-old horse by Bettor’s Delight has won on the lead and from off the pace, including a victory from post position eight. He drew post two this week, giving Bartlett the opportunity to judge the pace before committing to a strategy. “I’m just going to see what plays out in the first turn because I know he can do it either way. I’ve got a great spot to see how it plays out early and go from there,” he said. In the night’s fifth race, the second division of the Sagamore Series second leg, Bartlett will drive Breaktime Hanover. The 4-year-old by Somebeachsomewhere is trained by Mark Ford and finished second to division three morning line favorite Artmagic last week. Breaktime Hanover is a 9/2 morning line chance from post position five and Bartlett is being realistic about his chances. “He’s a nice little horse; handy for Yonkers,” he said. “I think he’s got a bad spot this week, but he has enough gate speed. He’s a nice little horse that you can kind of play the gate with him.” Breaktime Hanover will face first-leg winner Awesomeness for the first time Tuesday. The son of Mach Three sports a five-race win streak and captured the Snowshoe Series Final at Woodbine Feb. 3. Bartlett drove against him last week and respects the competition. “He gets around the track pretty well. He’s kind of lazy until a horse comes up to his bridle, then he just takes off,” Bartlett explained. “He drew another good spot, so he’s going to be tough to beat I would say.” In the third division of the Sagamore Series second leg, Bartlett drives Rock Power, a horse co-owned by his wife, Kristen. Jason and Kristen only own three horses in training and a fourth, a favorite of Jason’s who the couple bought and retired in Maine; Rock Power caught their eye as a young horse with potential. “He fit the non-winners of two. For the amount of money they go for and he showed a bit of talent. Basically because he fit those classes at first and we could get our money back quickly,” Bartlett said of the reason for the purchase. Rock Power’s ideal trip is to sit the pocket and it’s a move he’s grown accustomed too. He’s ridden the catbird seat in five of his last seven starts and earned two victories and three more seconds and thirds. This week, he drew post five and is 4-1 on the morning line. “I think he’s better with a target. He’s a lazy horse. I try to keep him in the pocket as long as I can and hope he finishes up,” Bartlett explained. “He’s not quick off the gate at all. It’s going to be try to find a helmet and race him off the pace this week.” In race seven, the final division of the Sagamore Series second leg, Bartlett picked up the drive on Machiavelli, a horse he’s never driven before. Although the Joe Holloway trainee finished sixth the opening leg of the series, Machiavelli is 3-for-6 this year and is the 5/2 morning line choice from post four. Although he’s never driven Machiavelli, Bartlett has been keeping an eye on him. “I try to pay attention to the horses I’m driving against so I can put them in a spot they don’t want to be or know their tendencies to try to put my horse in the right spot. For me, I study that a lot,” he explained. “I try to worry about other people’s horses: where they are, how to beat them, how to not put them in a good spot. That’s what I concentrate on. It’s made me a lot better as a driver over the years.” Bartlett doesn’t only look for weaknesses in the competition. Before he drives a horse like Machiavelli for the first time, he looks for that horse’s weaknesses too. “I really don’t like watching the winning (replays),” he said. “I like to look at the replays where they show a circle and didn’t finish up great, or they were used too hard early. You try to find the weaknesses of your own horses too so you don’t put them in that spot. It works both ways.” The complete fields for the Sagamore Hill Pacing Series second leg are available @ https://racing.ustrotting.com/goto.aspx?target=12,63530. First post time is 7:10 p.m.
YONKERS, NY, Friday, March 10, 2017 - Odds-on Regil Elektra (Jason Bartlett, $3.20) held off Change the Rulz N (George Brennan) in a two-speed, inside number Friday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $50,000 harness racing filly and mare Open Handicap Pace. Winning the post positions 2-through-6 draw, Regil Elektra was stung a bit by the lass to her left, making the lead before a :27.4 opening quarter-mile After a :57.3 intermission, 39-1 outsider Sail to the Beach (Dan Dube) tried it first-up from fourth. That move did nothing to advance the cause of those behind her as Regil Elektra led in and out of a 1:26 three-quarters. The fave owned a length-and-a-quarter lead entering the lane, then held off an edging-out Change the Rulz N by a neck in 1:54.4. Third went to a ground-saving Know It All (Eric Abbatiello), with Empress Deo (Matt Kakaley) and locally-debuting American Girl (Scott Zeron) settling for the minors. For Regil Elektra, a 7-year-old daughter of Mach Three owned by Fred Monteleone Stable and trained by Keith Armer, it was her second win in five seasonal starts. The exacta paid $17.80, with the triple returning $207.50. YONKERS' SATURDAY PICK 5 FEATURES $1,600 CARRYOVER A friendly reminder from Yonkers Raceway that Saturday evening's (March 11) Pick 5 wager starts with a carryover of $1,676.81. The Pick 5 is a 50-cent base wager comprising races 7 through 11 (for programs with at least 11 races...if not, then it goes as races 6 through 10). It has no consolation payoff, meaning if no one selects all five winners (as was the case Friday night), the entire pool (minus takeout) moves to the next racing program. Frank Drucker
YONKERS, NY, Friday, February 24, 2017 - Mach it a Par (Jason Bartlett, $6) was the third and last leader Friday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's harness racing $50,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. Into the game early from assigned post position No. 7, Mach it a Par waited her turn as Empress Deo (Matt Kakaley) and Lispatty (Mark MacDonald) took turns with the lead. Mach it a Par grabbed her chance just after a :27.2 opening quarter-mile. After a 29-secone next substation (:56.2 half), it was 48-1 rank outsider For the Ladies N (Dan Dube) taking out of fourth. Regil Elektra (Brent Holland) was second-up, while 19-10 choice Mackenzie A (Jordan Stratton), in her U-S parimutuel debut, was behind that one Mach it a Par continued her work night in and out of a 1:25 three-quarters, taking a length-and-a-quarter lead into the lane. Despite drifting a bit, she held sway, negating the sharp close of Mackenzie A to win by a head in 1:52.4. Third went to Lispatty, with Empress Deo and Regil Elektra rounding out the payees. The five cashers were separated by just 1¾ lengths at the line. For second choice Mach it a Par, a 7-year-old daughter of Mach Three co-owned by D'Elegance Stable IX, Carmen Iannacone, Gandolfo & T L P Stables and trained by Richard Banca, it was her first win in two seasonal starts. The exacta paid $28, with the triple returning $75.50. Frank Drucker
YONKERS, NY, Thursday, January 26, 2017--Jason Bartlett won seven of Yonkers Raceway's 10 social events Thursday evening. Bartlett's half-dozen began with a $12.60 early double, comprised of Hooves on First ($3.80) in the $8,500, first-race pace (1:57) and Windsong Jack ($5.60) in the $8,500, second-race pace (1:54.4). Grounded ($10) won the $10,500, fourth-race pace (1:56.4), while Mike's Powerhouse ($4.90) won the $10,500, fifth-race pace (1:54.2). Wins five and six came in races seven ($14,000 pace) and eight ($16,000 pace), with Pam's Legacy (1:54.4) and Spinarama ($6.10), respectively. Bartlett's seventh win of the evening came behind rank outsider Canaco Star ($61), who skimmed the cones from well back in the $14,000 pacing finale (1:56.1) Bartlett, who drove in all 10 races, owns the early-season local lead with 31 victories. That last-race longshot produced a Pick 5 carryover of $1,272.65 into Friday's card (50-cent base wager, races 6 through 10). by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway
YONKERS, NY, Friday, January 20, 2017 - Slight harness racing favorite Bettor N Better (Jason Bartlett, $7.20) lasted-barely-Friday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $45,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. In play from post position No. 4 (a one-notch improvement after an inside scratch), Bettor N Better was able to get around pole-assigned Set Me Up (George Brennan) before a moist :28.2 opening quarter-mile. After a rated :57.3 intermission, Hidden Land (Brent Holland) tried it from fourth. That did not go well down the backside and in and out of a 1:25.2 three-quarters. Bettor N Better owned a length-and-a-three-quarter lead off the final turn then held sway, whipping Set Me Up by a nostril in 1:54.2. Delightful Dragon (Dan Dube) was a three-hole third, with a rallying Empress Deo (Scott Zeron) and Hidden Land settling for the minor moolah. For Bettor N Better, a now-5-year-old daughter of Bettor's Delight owned by Bamond Racing and trained by Jeffrey Bamond Jr., it was her first win in a pair of a seasonal starts. The exacta paid $97, with the triple returning $161.50. Frank Drucker
YONKERS, NY, Sunday, January 8, 2017- Red Hot Herbie (Jason Bartlett, $10.80) sat an antsy pocket Sunday afternoon, winning Yonkers Raceway's harness racing season-opening, mile-and-a-quarter, $75,000 Open Handicap Trot. The added-distance feature was the first of seven 'French' forays during the 11-race card, going with a field of nine after an early defection. Put in play from post position No. 4, Red Hot Herbie made the first lead before yielding to the lass Tweet Me (Pat Lachance). That one did her business through modest early intervals of :29.4 and :59.1. After a soft 1:29.1 three-quarters, 'Herbie' wanted out. He extricated himself from the pocket, going by the leader right around the 1:57.3 mile marker and taking a length-and-a-half lead into the lane. Red Hot Herbie held off Springbank Sam N (Jordan Stratton) by a length-and-three-quarters in 2:27.3. Tweet Me stayed for third, with Money Maven (Andy Miller) and Kelsey's Keepsake (Joe Bongiorno) rounding out the payees. Not Afraid (Dan Dube) was a non-factor sixth as the 2-1 choice. For third choice Red Hot Herbie, a now-7-year-old Here Comes Herbie gelding co-owned (as Allard Racing) by (trainer) Rene Allard, Bruce Soulsby and Edward Reppucci, it was a winning 2017 debut off a $160,000 season a year ago. The exacta paid $24.80, with the triple returning $129.50. Note that the return of the "New York, New York Double' was a scratch after Aqueduct cancelled its card. The wager is scheduled to make a '17 debut next Sunday (Jan. 15th). Also be advised Yonkers' early-season schedule is comprised of five nights (Mon/Tue/Thu/Fri/Sat) with a first post of 7:10 PM. The remaining January Sunday matinees (15th and 29th) are TBA as of this writing. Frank Drucker
Jason Bartlett and Rene Allard were once again Westchester's big cheeses, winning Yonkers Raceway's 2016 harness racing driver and trainer titles, respectively. The 235-program season (three postponements), which concluded this past Sunday (Dec. 18), saw Bartlett roll along to a sixth Yonkers title. The 35-year-old, originally from Augusta, ME, more than doubled Dan Dube, 576 wins to 287. Bartlett was also the busiest of the colony, leading with 2,336 drives (24.7 percent winning percentage) and more than $8.4 million in purses. George Brennan and Brian Sears wound up in a dead-heat for third with 284 wins each, though Sears did it with 583 fewer drivers. Jordan Stratton (247) rounded out the top five. Allard, a 29-year-old native of Quebec, sent out 233 winners, a dozen more than Tom Milici. Allard also led with 1,008 starters (23.1 percent winning percentage) and purses ($3.4 million). Richard Banca (180 wins), Jeffrey Bamond Jr. (98) and Ron Burke (90) completed the first quintet. The Raceway's 2017 season is set to begin with a Sunday (Jan. 8) matinee (post time TBA), pending approval of the New York State Gaming Commission. Frank Drucker
Mach it So with usual harness racing driver Jason Bartlett in the bike picked off pace-setting First Class Horse (Matt Kakaley) nearing the wire Saturday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $45,000 Open Handicap Pace. As was the case a week, ago, the two lads led the way, with First Class Horse working around Mach it So-from outside post positions 7 and 6, respectively-right at the :27.3 opening quarter-mile. By a :56.4 intermission, pole-sitting Melmerby Beach (Brent Holland) tried it first-up from fifth, with minimal movement. First Class Horse continued to lead in and out of a 1:24.2 three-quarters, with a length-and-a-half advantage into the lane. It took a while, but Mach it So did get to the leader, prevailing by a neck in 1:52.3. First leader Limelight Beach (George Brennan) closed well up the cones by miss a half-length, with Blood Brother (Scott Zeron) and 7-5 fave The Real One (Pat Lachance) settling for the minors after both had way too much work to do. For second choice Mach it So, a 6-year-old Mach Three gelding owned by Bamond Racing and trained by Jeffrey Bamond Jr., it was his ninth win in 29 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $34.20, with the triple returning $199.50. The win in the feature was one of five for Bartlett in the 11-race program. The Raceway wraps up its 2016 live racing Sunday afternoon, with a 1 PM first post and a mandatory payout for the Pick 5 wager. Frank Drucker
YONKERS, NY, Sunday, November 27, 2016 - Favored Hemi Seelster (Jason Bartlett, $6.20) atoned for last week's behave Sunday morning, winning Yonkers Raceway's harness racing mile-and-a-quarter, $56,000 Open Handicap Trot. In play early (actually, everyone was, since post time was 11:12 AM) from post position No. 7, 'Hemi' had to wait before making the lead. He did so around Centurion ATM (Mark MacDonald) just after a :28.1 opening quarter-mile. Tweet Me (Pat Lachance) was a loose third, while Classical Annie (George Brennan) broke after leaving. Hemi Seelster then rated a :57.4 half-mile and 1:27.2 three-quarters as last week's upsetter, Not Afraid (Dan Dube), moved from fourth. That one couldn't get close, while a second-up Tornado Tim (catch-driver Jeff Gregory) jumped it off. Hemi Seelster picked it up, getting the mile in 1:55.4 and widening to 2¼ lengths in and out of the final turn. He held Centurion ATM at bay, winning by a neck in 2:24.2..a tick faster than his two-week-old local record for this division/distance. Tweet Me was a non-threatening third, easily holding off minor payees Wind of the North (Brian Sears) and Not Afraid. For Hemi Seelster, a 4-year-old Holiday Road gelding co-owned by Richard Lombardo, Carl Atley & Robert LeBlanc and trained by Tom Milici, it was his ninth win in 21 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $24.20, with the triple (three wagering choices in order) returning $76. Frank Drucker
YONKERS, NY, Friday, November 18, 2016--A 'four-peating' Krispy Apple (Jason Bartlett, $4.10) just lasted Friday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $45,000 harness racing filly and mare Open Handicap Pace. The eight-hole-assigned favorite left around second choice Mach it a Par (Brian Sears), then negotiated her eight furlongs in :27, :56.2, 1:24.4 and 1:52.4. Drifting a bit through the lane, she did hold off a pair to her inside, Mach it a Par and lone filly Lispatty (Mark MacDonald). The margin over the former was scant nose, while the latter missed by three-quarters of a length. Two Kiwis--Glenferie Bronte N (Jordan Stratton) and Jungle Genie N (Brent Holland)--settled for the remainder. For Krispy Apple, an 8-year-old daughter of Western Ideal co-owned by Bamond Racing and Joseph Davino and trained by Jeffrey Bamond Jr., it was her 10th win in 23 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $12.60, the triple (three wagering choices in order) returned $32 and the superfecta paid $230. Special props for this win, the 50th of Krispy Apple's $1.8 million career. "She had some health issues toward the middle of the season and she wasn't herself, but she's had her legs back under her lately and she's been the Krispy Apple of old," Bartlett said. Frank Drucker
YONKERS, NY, Sunday, November 13, 2016 - Harness racing favored Hemi Seelster (Jason Bartlett, $4) finished what he started Sunday morning, winning Yonkers Raceway's mile-and-a-quarter, $56,000 Open Handicap Trot. Away alertly from post position No. 5 for his 11:25 AM local time audition, Hemi Seelster had to wait his turn before making the lead. He took over from Luminosity (George Brennan) before a :28.2 opening quarter-mile, then rated a :58.4 next half-mile (:58.1, 1:27.1). Tornado Tim (Dan Dube) was the first to move-from sixth-flushing Springbank Sam N (Jordan Stratton) out of fourth. Hemi Seelster found a 1:55.4 mile post, taking a length-and-a-half lead into the lane. He then widened to 3¼ lengths at the wire in 2:24.3...a track record for his weight class. Luminosity crossed the line second, with Tornado Tim third, However, those positions were flipped after the former slalomed inside any number of pylons. Dot Dot Dot Dash (Steve Smith) and 'Sam' rounded out the payees. For Hemi Seelster, a 4-year-old Holiday Road gelding co-owned by Richard Lombardo, Carl Atley & Robert LeBlanc and trained by Tom Milici, it was his eighth win (fourth consecutive off barn change) in 20 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $21, with the triple returning $64. Sunday also featured the second installment of the 'New York, New York Double,' a joint venture with the New York Racing Association. The winning combination of 2 (Pretty Enuff-Aqueduct 3rd race) and 1 (Movement-Yonkers' 5th race) returned $34.25 for each $1 wager. The 'New York, New York Double' continues each Yonkers live Sunday through Dec. 18th. Frank Drucker
YONKERS, NY, Friday, November 11, 2016 - A three-peating Krispy Apple (Jason Bartlett, $5.20) easily disposed of her harness racing rivals Friday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $45,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. In play from behind the eight-ball, the 8-5 favorite worked around Tessa Seelster (George Brennan), making the lead just before a :27.3 opening quarter-mile. Then, she just toyed with 'em (:57, 1:25, 1:52.4), a 2½-length lead into the lane becoming three lengths at the wire. Lispatty (Mark MacDonald) snuck inside to grab second over 'Tessa,' with Regil Elektra (Brian Sears) and 41-1 rank outsider Motu Moonbeam N (Tyler Buter) coming away with the remainder. For Krispy Apple, an 8-year-old, $1.8 million daughter of Western Ideal co-owned by Bamond Racing and Joseph Davino and trained by Jeffrey Bamond Jr., it was her ninth win in 22 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $29.60, the triple returned $127 and the superfecta paid $404.50. Frank Drucker
WILKES-BARRE PA - Hemi Seelster trotted to a new mark of 1:52.2 in taking his third straight race, the $20,000 trotting feature at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on Sunday night, his third straight harness racing tally since joining the barn of Tom Milici. The Holiday Road gelding, handled by Jason Bartlett in an infrequent Pocono appearance, brushed to the front past the quarter and won by 4½ lengths for owners Richard Lombardo, Carl Atley, and Robert Leblanc. Hemi Seelster certainly doesn't need to carry his racetrack with him - his top five lines show Harrington, Monticello (a scratch), Saratoga, Yonkers, and now Pocono. Two driving streaks continued during the card, but one ended. The leading local horsemen, driver George Napolitano Jr. and trainer Chris Oakes, won the first race on Saturday and then Sunday for the second straight weekend combination - the two have had 11 wins together in Pocono's last six cards. ("George Nap" had five in total on Sunday at Pocono.) And Eric Carlson, who guided Windsun Steson to a $72.20 victory last week, continued his membership in the Bomber Squad with a $50.80 tally behind Yankeroo on Sunday. On the other side, Jim Marohn Jr. has nothing to feel bad about although losing a string of nine straight Pocono cards where he's had multiple winners - after all, he's only had his picture taken after 63 races since October 1, 41 times at Pocono! PHHA / Pocono
YONKERS, NY, Friday, November 4, 2016 - A repeating Krispy Apple (Jason Bartlett, $14.80) was up late Friday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's harness racing $45,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. :27.3, :56.3, 1:24.4, 1:53. A bit wide early from post position No. 7, the millionairess settled sixth as Moma's Got a Gun (Tyler Buter) worked around Lispatty (Mark MacDonald) to make the lead before a :27.3 opening quarter-mile. From there, it was a :56.3 intermission as Devil Child (Jordan Stratton)-who had floated for a seat-moved from fourth. She went after the leader in and out of a 1:24.4 three-quarters. 'Moma' may have had the gun, but Devil Child had the ammo. The latter disposed of the former early in the lane, but could not stall Krispy Apple. Towed into it by Devil Child, Krispy Apple edged past, winning by a neck in 1:53. Third went to Lispatty, with Cheyenne Robin (Dan Dube) and Jungle Genie N (Brent Holland) rounding out the payees. Moma's Got a Gun tired to sixth, while eight-hole assignee Mach it a Par (Brian Sears), as the 4-5 favorite, never fired and finished seventh. For Krispy Apple, an 8-year-old, $1.8 million daughter of Western Ideal co-owned by Bamond Racing and Joseph Davino and trained by Jeffrey Bamond Jr., it was her eighth win (as the fourth choice) in 21 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $58, the triple returned $360.50 and the superfecta paid $2,197. Frank Drucker
YONKERS, NY, Friday, October 28, 2016 - Favored Krispy Apple and harness racing driver Jason Bartlett lasted on the lead Friday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $45,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. Away quickly from post position No. 5, Krispy Apple was strung out by Moma's Got a Gun (Tyler Buter), then made the lead before a :27.2 opening quarter-mile. From there, she finished it off (:56.4, 1:24.3, 1:52.4), getting the line a nose before 'Moma' and a head before a stretch-smokin' Mach it a Par (Jordan Stratton). Diva's Image (Mark MacDonald) and a first-up Devil Child (Dan Dube) rounded out the payees. For Krispy Apple, a 8-year-old, $1.7 million daughter of Western Ideal co-owned by Bamond Racing and Joseph Davino and trained by Jeffrey Bamond Jr., it was her seventh win in 20 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $24.80, with the triple returning $158.50. A friendly reminder from Yonkers Raceway that Saturday evening’s (Oct. 29) Pick 5 wager begins with a carryover of $2,744.27. The Pick 5 is a 50-cent base wager comprising races 7 through 11 during every racing program. 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 program. Frank Drucker