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When writing on any sector in the equine industry - it's a positive sign when the sport in question threw up so many feel good moments and exciting events that the problem is condensing the news into the allotted space. 2019 saw world class harness racing performances on the track and major progress at organisational level in Irish harness racing. Despite huge efforts by the IHRA to entice horsemen to race early in the season the local scene got off to a stuttering start. The April columns in this paper were buoyed by good news from America where Reclamation, still part owned by Donal Murphy (the main owner being Bill Donovan ) and Robyn Camden, owned by Dubliner Jason O'Sullivan, both ran up winning sequences. The latter mare continued her winning ways into ' the fall '. Another feature of 2019 was healthy progress in the career of Jack Killeen of Tallaght as a driver in the USA and Ballydehob born Robbie Cleary, who is building a big reputation as a public trainer in New Jersey. Robbie featured in an October report wherein he signed for the top priced pacing yearling at the Harrisburg sales. Back at home, both Billy Roche and John Richardson took headlines in the pre - Delaney meetings and the two great rivals traded blows all summer. Richardson was to take both the national and Portmarnock drivers titles - a late surge ( a four timer in fact ) at the deciding meeting secured The Irish Field silver salver and a generous cheque. Billy won a separate title for driving the most Trotteurs Francais winners. He has no peers when it comes to freshening up old battle hardened geldings. May saw a feast of nostalgia as the followers celebrated 50 years at Portmarnock. Jack Wilson (86) who won the final at the opening meeting is still alive and well and was guest of honour at a dinner at the track. There was much mention of the visionary Hughie Richardson who teamed up with thoroughbred breeder WJ Mc Enery to open a 400 yard track. The 18th May meeting was full of memories of man and beast : Paddy Kane, Paddy Manning , Walter Cunningham, Ulex, Eastwood Relko and Smoke Away. The summer highlights came and went - racing at ' heaven on earth ' (Inchydoney Strand ), followed a few weeks later by the superbly organised Red John Memorial near Clonakilty. The world renowned Vincent Delaney meeting was graced by a skilful American driver, one Jordan Stratton, and saw a home victory in the fillies (Rainbow Writer) and a British based winner in the colts (Mattuceuous). In September John Richardson and Jonny Cowden brought the house down at Tir Prince, North Wales. Jonny won a graded race with the Coreys' Fairdays Western. JR took Britain's biggest race for French Trotters with Maxie Collins' Besame Mucho and followed up with their biggest race for pacers ' The Crock of Gold ' on his own Gentleman Jim. The Coleraine yard of Walter Stewart hit winning form in the autumn. Porterstown Courage won the Red Mills All Ireland Final and Ladyford Dollar picked up major races for three year olds in Ireland and one across the water. Sean Kane, second on four occasions previously in France shook off his jinx on November 16th when he drove the unfancied Delsa Derangere to win during the France vs. Ireland competition at l' Hippodrome d'Argentan in Normandy. Sean has only 3,999 to go to catch up with Charlie Mills, the Irishman, who dominated European trotting on the post - war years. Late in the season Bobby Barry's Blackwell Ruby, lightly raced in these islands won her first start in the USA. BEST MOMENTS IN 2019 ; To see Jack Wilson sitting alongside John Richardson in a two seater training cart behind Emeric Perreux summed up a lifetime of racegoing for me. Jack actually owned Windys Son, John's first drive in a race in 1981. Windys Son failed to win a race. The driver went on to win 1300 and counting. A few weeks later Jack presented a cup to Stevie Lees who won the Bookmakers Pace with Panam Colt, a catch drive for Billy Roche. The hardened pro, with the scars to prove it and Corinthian Jack, a baker by trade. I was within earshot, and was impressed that little Stevie took so much interest in Jack. PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR : The performance of the year was on Irish soil from a pair of gifted English hands. Stevie Lees' inspired move when he sensed a lull in the pace at the half in the Bookmakers Pace ( Lees was on the aforementioned Panam Colt ). That stuff cannot be taught - you either have it or you don't. The aptly named Miraculous put up the equine performance of the year in breaking the track record in August. The time of 1.54.6 is stunning when we consider that most of the Irish and British horses which have tried their hand in the US have 'found ' six or seven seconds due to climate and tracks. I refuse to say training methods as I would back the best of the Irish and English trainers against all comers. ONE THING WE GOT RIGHT IN 2019 : The introduction of the Tiny Hooves Series of pony racing has been an unqualified success. The joy on the children's faces and also their adult co -drivers was sight to behold. Well done to Nadina, Mary and Leah and any other helpers. Plans and some welcome funding from Horse Sport Ireland are afoot to improve the racing and most importantly the training of the young drivers. ONE THING WE NEED TO IMPROVE : I am mindful that the racing is run by unpaid volunteers, therefore I am loath to criticise any aspect of the sport. I must also confess a vested interest as a working bookie at the track. There is simply too much confusion in communicating driver changes and handicap marks over the PA system. I have lost count of the number of horses which went behind the car with a driver in the bike different to the card and/or the announcement. Scottish and Welsh harness racing and also point to points are also run by volunteers and in my experience have an almost 100% accuracy in this aspect. If we wish to sell the product to betting chains this has to be ' regimental ' AN UNSUNG HERO : Ivan Swindle of Fermanagh has done sterling work in building a glass fronted bar and canteen at Annaghmore Raceway. Hopefully the little facility will be open in 2020. Another of our unsung heroes, a giant in the sport, is currently on a sabbatical from fence painting, track grading, battery charging, and number cloth repairing. I appeal to this individual to come back to the fold, the racing is poorer without your input. Come back, and then we can sing about you ! PREDICTION FOR 2020 - 2019 will be a hard act to follow. My gut feeling is that with so much knowledge and effort amongst Irish horsemen that something is going to break ( not that type of break ! ) that puts Ireland on a world stage. It could be a horse ( Blackwell Ruby, Reclamation or Gentleman Jim ) or a horseman ( Sean Kane, Alan Richardson or Robbie Cleary ) or a major race in Ireland. I put in my letter to Santa that it would be great if a US based trainer would buy a colt or filly (he / she wouldn't need to be a sales topper ) for the VDM and then get the horse ready for the big race in North America before flying the animal here for the big weekend. The venture won't break even but what a story that would make ! by Dan Carlin, for the Irish Field    

YONKERS, NY, Thursday, December 12, 2019— Harness racing trainer Peter Tritton, that fairly competent Down Under imported trainer, was asked about Bit of a Legend N, that fairly competent Down Under imported pacer. “We were coming off after a race one night and Jordan (Stratton) said to me, ‘Every driver should have a chance to sit behind a horse like this.’ ” Bit of a Legend N, who rarely ran out of real estate on the racetrack, has nonetheless run out of daylight as a racehorse. The 10-year-old double-millionaire is set to retire after a Yonkers Raceway winner’s circle send-off Saturday night (Dec. 14th). The son of Bettor’s Delight is off to Midland Acres in Bloomingburg, OH, to begin a stallion career. “I’m going to have to plan a road trip to go see him,” Stratton said. Bit of a Legend N and Stratton have gone down the road together, the number of memorable miles too numerous to mention. “He’s my favorite horse. No question,” Stratton said. Bit of a Legend N came over as advertised, having won Australian Breeders Crowns at ages 3 and 4. “Peter (Tritton) told me he was a getting a pretty nice horse,” Stratton said of the then 7-year-old who the late Harry Von Knoblauch purchased for $103,000. “I went to the farm to see him. He just looked good running in the paddock and in his first qualifier (Yonkers, January of 2016), I knew. “He didn’t go much (third, timed in 1:57.1), but the way he drove, the way he carried himself.” Rising through the overnight ranks with two wins and two seconds in four tries, it was time to wear the big-boy pants and the ’16 George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series. Sweep. Bit of a Legend N won all five of his preliminary legs starts, including a stirring, track-record 1:51.2 dead-heat with Wiggle It Jiggleit. In the $609,000 final a week later, he drew well, took control early and won in a facile 1:51 (see accompanying photo). He was (and remains) the only Free-For-Aller to run the Levy table. The 2016 season saw Bit of a Legend N win 13-of-28 starts (with six seconds and one third), socking away $723,850. Proving he was no one-hit wonder, Bit of a Legend N threw down consecutive half-million-dollar seasons in 2017 and ’18. The 2017 Levy saw Bit of a Legend N win twice (with two seconds) during preliminary-round competition before a no-chance-trip fourth (to Keystone Velocity) in the final. He then hit the road, winning the $109,600 Molson (Western Fair, 1:51.3), $260,000 Gerrity Memorial (Saratoga, 1:50.3…at 15-1) and Quillen Memorial (Harrington, 1:52.1).  The next season saw another standout Levy-leg log (two wins, two seconds, one third) and yet another less-than-no-shot trip in the final. From post position No. 7, Bit of a Legend N charged home for second, again to Keystone Velocity. Bit of a Legend N eventually returned to Londontown, looking to defend his Molson (renamed to Camluck Classic) title. He wound up a flat, never-in-it fifth and “the only time he ever disappointed me,” Stratton said. “He’s had some EPM (parasite) issues throughout his career,” Tritton said. “We’ve been able to stay on top of it, usually, but I think that, and the ship up to Canada, was too much for him. His blood was no good, but he bounced back.” Indeed. A week later at Northfield, it was a first-up, life-best 1:49.4 effort in the $200,000 Battle of Lake Erie, putting away the same horse—Rockin’ Ron—who had dusted his rivals in the Camluck. “Everyone was excited for him,” Stratton said. “There were people, wherever we went, who said he was their favorite horse.” Bit of a Legend N’s 2019 season was hampered by some poorly-timed quarter cracks, essentially costing him any shot of doing damage in the Levy. “It’s never a good time to get them, but this was a bad time for him, and us,” Tritton said. “It took about six or seven weeks to completely heal and the series doesn’t allow for any time off.”  “It not that he’s even slowed down that much, but the competition is just better,” Stratton said. “Before, you could win a race in 1:52. Now, it’s no better than third.” Stratton offered some of the same platitudes about Bit of a Legend N that were bestowed upon Foiled Again by his primary driver, Yannick Gingras. “He can relax and go a quarter in 30 (seconds), then sprint in :27. He won’t do more than what’s necessary. It’s just his way of taking care of himself. Look at his races. The margins are never that much. He knows what he has to do. That’s why he’s lasted so long.” The plan was for Bit of a Legend N to be racing Saturday nights through the end of the season, but after a second-place finish in late November, Tritton detected a bit of a problem with an ankle (“There was nothing to gain by having him go a couple of more weeks”), so the North American racing career ended with 33 wins in 99 starts and earnings of $1,909,935 (more than $2.5 million including foreign take-home). “I’ve had good horses before,” Tritton said, “but he’s different. To have the longevity he’s had and to produce in the big races the way he did, that’s what stands out.” …and they named him right, too. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Saturday December 7, 2019-- Harness racing driver Jordan Stratton took down both halves of Yonkers Raceway's co-featured $42,000 Open Handicaps Saturday night (Dec. 7th), doing so with Will Take Charge and big-table-debuting Raukapuka Ruler N. It was odds-on Will Take Charge ($2.90) who killed 'em softly--fractions-wise--in the week's marque trot. Winning the post positions 5-thru-7 draw, he left, working around Winning Shadow (George Brennan) right around the 28-second opening quarter-mile. After a :57.2 intermission, the returning Obrigado (Dan Dube) surprised by moving first-up from fourth. A 30-second third quarter (1:27.2) allowed Obrigado to hang around before slowing backing way. Meanwhile, Will Take Charge, who had faltered late in his past two tries, owned a length-and-a-half lead into the lane. He defeated a Lean Hanover (Jim Marohn Jr.) by that exact margin in 1:56.1 with a closing Swansea (Austin Siegelman), Winning Shadow and Sumatra (Jason Bartlett) settling for the remainder. For millionaire Will Take Charge, a 6-year-old Kadabra gelding co-owned by (trainer) Jeff Gillis, Mac Nichol and Gerald Stay, it was his sixth win in 23 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $40, the triple returned $217 and the superfecta paid $704. The weekly adult pace saw Raukapuka Ruler N ($6.80)--from post No. 3--finish what he started (:28.1, :56.3, 1:23.2, life-best-matching 1:52.3). He repelled first-up Heaven's Gait (Brennan) down the backside, then owned a length-and-a-half lead in and out of the final turn. Saying Grace N (Marohn Jr.), the 17-10 fave who had angled out of the pocket, made up some ground but missed a length A late-arriving The Real One (Pat Lachance) was third, with Mac's Jackpot (Brent Holland) and Sunfire Blue Chip (Siegelman) grabbing the minors. For second choice Raukapuka Ruler N, a 6-year-old Down Under Bettor's Delight gelding owned by (trainer) Peter Tritton, it was his fifth win in 11 '19 tries. The exacta paid $23.60, the triple returned $253.50 and the superfecta paid $1,106 by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Friday, September 27, 2019- Odds-on harness racing favorite Betterb Chevron N (Jordan Stratton, $3.20) could not have gone any slower in the early going Friday night (Sept. 27th), winning Yonkers Raceway's $42,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. The lone leaver from post position No. 5, Betterb Chevron N slogged through early intervals of :28 and :57, with those nice round numbers giving her way too much of an advantage. It was Liberty Rose N (Eric Goodell) trying it first-up from fourth as Betterb Chevron N maintaining her lead in and out of a 1:25.2 three-quarters. Betterb Chevron N owned a three-quarter length lead off the final turn, then held pocket-sitting Lispatty (Austin Siegelman) at bay by that same margin in 1:53.2. Third went to Liberty Rose N, with Quite a Sight (Brent Holland) and Alexa's Power (Jim Marohn Jr.) rounding out the remainder. For Betterb Chevron N, a 6-year-old Down Under daughter of Bettor's Delight owned by William Hartt and trained by Lance Hudson, it was her eighth win in 24 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $13, the triple returned $108.50 and the superfecta paid $297. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway  

YONKERS, NY, Friday, September 6, 2019 - A from-last, favored Betterb Chevron N (Jordan Stratton, $4.80) prevailed in the late going Friday night (Sept, 6th), winning Yonkers Raceway's soggy harness racing $46,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. Away last-from post position No. 5-among the half-dozen (reduced after a defection), Betterb Chevron N saw Wisdom Tree (Jason Bartlett) and Reclamation alternate up front, the latter grabbing the lead before a :26.3 opening quarter-mile. It was a :55.3 intermission before D G's Elsa (Joe Bongiorno) make a weak bid from fourth. That forced Betterb Chevron N wide early before a 1:23.4 three-quarters. Reclamation owned a length lead in and out of the final turn. Wisdom Tree edged off the cones, about to win the battle but lose the war. Wisdom Tree picked off Reclamation, but could not stall the people's preference. Betterb Chevron N prevailed by a length in 1:53.2. Wisdom Tree did snatch second, with Reclamation, Lispatty (Austin Siegelman) and Angel's Pride (Brian Sears) settling the remainder. For Betterb Chevron N, a 6-year-old Down Under daughter of Bettor's Delight owned by William Hartt and trained by Lance Hudson, it was her eighth win in 21 seasonal starts The exacta paid $47, the triple returned $121 and the superfecta paid $347.50. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

Elkton, MD -- Post Time with Mike and Mike presented by the USTA/BetAmerica, is excited to announce the line-up for Thursday morning (Aug. 14) at 10:30 a.m. They will be joined by Gabe Prewitt, Anthony MacDonald, Joe Zambito, and Jordan Stratton. Prewitt joins the program this week to talk about the happening at The Red Mile. The Kentucky Sire Stakes kicked off this past week in Lexington with some big names taking center stage. The pair will discuss some of the performances he has witnessed and how it may translate to Grand Circuit week. MacDonald will discuss TheStable.ca and their PEI initiative that has taken place over the past couple of weeks where they enter a horse into the Gold Cup & Saucer. He will discuss what goes into that promotion and talk about Brave World who will be in the Gold Cup consolation on Saturday night. Zambito, the track announcer at Batavia Downs Gaming, makes his debut on Thursday to talk about the 2019 Night of Champions at Batavia. Zambito has been a race caller at the storied track for several years, and he will discuss some of his experiences through the years. Stratton joins the program to discuss his recent trip to Ireland where he was for the Vincent Delaney Memorial weekend. Stratton will discuss some of the experiences he had during the event and what it felt like to win a race in Ireland. Post Time with Mike and Mike presented by USTA/BetAmerica can be heard live every Thursday at 10:30 a.m. via their website www.posttimewithmikeandmike.com or on the archive at www.betamerica.com/BARN. by Michael Carter, for Post Time  

YONKERS, NY, Friday, June 7, 2019--With no distaff derby on the social schedule, other high-condition contests for the ladies led Yonkers Raceway's Friday night (June 7th) festivities. A $23,000 event saw a pocketed--from post position No. 2--Shezza GNP N (Jordan Stratton, $5.90) just prevail over a hard-charging, 71-1 I Wish You Well (Pat Lachance) in 1:54.4. The margin was a head. It was 41-1 Blush Hanover (George Brennan) rallying for third, while pace-setting (:26.2, :55.2, 1:24.2) Bellatricks (Brent Holland) faded to fourth...though beaten just three-quarters of a length. Betabcool N (Jason Bartlett) picked off the final pay envelope, while 6-5 choice American Empress N (Mark MacDonald) was hung for her troubles and backpedaled to last. For second choice Shezza GNP N, a 6-year-old Down Under daughter of Art Major owned (as Tritton Inc.) and trained by Peter Tritton, it was her third win 13 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $368.50, the triple returned $2,681 and the superfecta paid $22,930 (base $2 payout, 10-cent ticket worth $1,146.50). Yonkers' mutuel windows open at 11 AM Saturday (June 8th) in advance of the 151st Belmont Stakes and Belmont Park's first post of 11:35 AM.   Frank Drucker Manager of Publicity

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, May 25, 2019-Bestseller Hanover (Jason Bartlett, $14.20) finished what she started Saturday night (May 25th), winning Yonkers Raceway's $109,234 Lismore for 3-year-old pacing fillies. From position No. 5, she led through intervals of :28.2, :58, 1:25.3 and 1:54.4, choosing a correct evening for first seasonal victory. En route, she hooked 1-10 favorite Queen of the Pride (Jordan Stratton), before that one made a filthy break in the final turn. As Time Goes By (George Brennan) was second at 41-1, with Rockn' Philly (Tim Tetrick) third. Annie Hill (Brian Sears) and Mi Nina Bonita (Brent Holland) came away with the minors, while Privacy Hanover (Dave Miller)-uncoupled stablemate of the winner-Rock N McRoll (Dan Dube) and the dance-of-the-danmed Queen of the Pride rounded out the order. For second choice Bestseller Hanover, a $130,000 daughter of Somebeachsomewhere owned by Millar Farms and trained by Scott Blackler, it was that first win in three '19 tries. The exacta paid $198.50, the triple returned $705 and the superfecta paid $4,333. Potential bridge jumpers were spared with no show wagering. "I raced against Queen of the Pride the last two weeks and noticed Jordan (Stratton) had to hold her together to get her over the turns," Bartlett said. "That's kind of the reason I left. "I said, 'Well, if he wants to go out of there fast, we will go fast and see what happens in the first turn.' "I didn't realize she was that quick off the gate," Bartlett said. "I scored her down, spoke to her a little bit, and she was right there on her toes. If I took back, they're going to go to the half slow, we're going to be in a bad spot, so we took our shot." Bestseller Hanover was a first-up second to Queen of the Pride in their elimination race a week ago. As for Queen of the Pride, who was wide early before settling fourth, "She threw a shoe coming by the stands and started running in on the turns," Stratton said. "She wasn't getting over the track."   Frank Drucker Director of Publicity

YONKERS, NY, Friday, May 24, 2019-An off-the-pace Glenferrie Blade A (Jordan Stratton, $14.60) prevailed in a blanket photo Friday night (May 24th), winning Yonkers Raceway's $44,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. Away fifth from assigned post position No. 2, Glenferrie Blade A watched as Angel's Pride (Joe Bongiorno), Rockstar Angel A (Eric Goodell) and 7-5 choice Feelin' Red Hot (George Brennan) all tried it up front. It was Feelin' Red Hot seizing the scepter before a :26.4 opening quarter-mile. She then found a :56.1 intermission before Angel's Pride was back at it, engaging Feelin' Red Hot through a :27.1 third quarter (1:23.4). The two choices continued their battle in and out of the final turn, with Sandy's Beach (Jim Marohn Jr.) second-over and Glenferrie Blade A behind her. Feelin' Red Hot was losing the scrum to Angel's Pride, but that one was about to lose the war. Glenferrie Blade A closed widest and fastest, whipping Angel's Pride by a nose in 1:52.4 while taking advantage of a soft (29-second) final quarter. A ground-saving Queen Lostris N (Mark MacDonald), Feelin' Red Hot and Made of Jewels AS (Dan Dube) picked off the remainder. For third choice Glenferrie Blade A, an 8-year-old Down Under daughter of Mach Three owned by William Hartt and trained by Lance Hudson, it was her first win in seven seasonal starts. The exacta paid $52.50, the triple returned $205.50 and the superfecta paid $853. Saturday night (May 25th), the Raceway offers both the $300,000 At Rooney Pace and $109,234 Lismore. The 29th Rooney, for 3-year-old colts and geldings, goes as the 10th race...1-Captain Malicious (MacDonald), 2-Rollwithpapajoe (Bongiorno), 3-Branquinho (Tyler Buter), 4-Buddy Hill (Brian Sears), 5-Price Hanover (Dube), 6-Bettor's Wish (Dexter Dunn), 7-Blood Money (Scott Zeron), 8-Air Force Hanover (Dave Miller). The 15th Lismore, for the soph pacing ladies, is right before as race No. 9...1-Mi Nina Bonita (Brent Holland), 2-Rock N McRoll (Dube), 3-Queen of the Pride (Stratton), 4-As Time Goes By (Brennan), 5-Bestseller Hanover (Jason Bartlett), 6-Privacy Hanover (Miller), 7-Rockn' Philly (Tim Tetrick), 8-Annie Hill (Sears). Post time for the dozen-race card is 6:50 PM, after the completion of which Yonkers begins a hiatus until Friday night, June 7th.   Frank Drucker Director of Publicity

YONKERS, NY, Friday, May 10, 2019--Alexa's Power (Jason Bartlett, $6.10) retook from Lispatty (Mark MacDonald), then held that one off Friday night (May 10th), winning Yonkers Raceway's $44,000 Filly and Mare Open harness racing Handicap Pace. Making the first lead from assigned post position No. 2, Alexa's Power gave it up to Lispatty before playing leapfrog on the lead. 'Alexa' controlled the race (:27.3, :57.1, 1:25.1, 1:53.2), taking minimal first-up pressure from Queen Josephine (Troy Beyer), while 13-10 favorite Glenferrie Blade A (Jordan Stratton) went wide to nowhere around that one. Alexa's Power owned a length-and-a-quarter lead into the lane, then outgamed Lispatty by a half-length. Twinkle (Brent Holland) offered decent foot at both ends for third, while Glenferrie Blade A and Oceania (Eric Goodell) settled for the remainder. For second choice Alexa's Power, a 4-year-old daughter of Somebeachsomewhere co-owned by Jeff & Michael Snyder and trained by Jim Campbell, it was her first win in six seasonal starts (career earnings over $600,000). The exacta paid $51, the triple returned $172.50 and the superfecta paid $488.   Frank Drucke Yonkers Raceway Publicity Director

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, May 7, 2019-New York Sire Stakes season began Tuesday night (May 7th), with Yonkers Raceway hosting the $163,499 Joe Goldstein Trot for 3-year-old fillies. The lasses went as three harness racing divisions, two six-horse fields--purses $54,833 each-and a five-horse event at $1,000 less. The opening quintet saw Hanna Dreamgirl (Brian Sears, $13) waltz around the oval (:29.3, 1:00.1, 1:29.3, 1:59) as the only leaver. From post position No. 3, she never had any grief, disposing of first-up, 2-5 choice Stella Jane (Jason Bartlett), then hold pocket-sitting Sweet Chapter (Dave Miller) at bay. The final margin was three-quarters of a length, with Stella Jane settling for the bottom of the ticket. For third choice Hanna Dreamgirl, a daughter of Chapter Seven owned by Ken Jacobs and trained by George Ducharme, it was her seasonal debut (2-for-15, $115,204 as 2-year-old). The exacta paid $29.20, with neither triple nor superfecta wagering offered. The first of two happy half-dozen sire stakes events was won by With Out a Doubt (Andy Miller, $10.20). Making the first lead from post No 5, she gave it up to Sensibility (Scott Zeron) That lass worked through intervals of :28.2, :58.3 and 1:27, with minimal annoyance from Thanks for Leaving (Jordan Stratton) and even less from 17-10 favorite Conway Kellyanne (Charlie Norris). Sensibility owned a length-and-a-quarter lead into the lane, but With Out a Doubt edged by with purpose. She drew out, winning by a length-and-three-quarters in a life-best 1:56.2...by far the night's fastest effort. Sensibility was a safe second, with 'Kellyanne' and Thanks for Leaving completing the gimmicks. With Out a Doubt                  -Mike Lizzi photo For fourth choice Without a Doubt, a daughter of Conway Hall co-owned by (breeder) Ross Bonafield, Robert McCarthy & James Moran and trained by Erv Miller, it was also her '19 purse bow (1-for-9, $51,536 as 2-year-old). The exacta paid $27, the triple returned $107 and the superfecta paid $199.50. "She's quick off the car and very handy," Andy Miller said. ...and down came the rain before the final statebred event, reclassifying the track as 'sloppy'. It was done in time defending sire stakes champion Winndevie (Trond Smedshammer, $4.60) to prevail-barley-snapping he nearly 39-1 rank outsider Pilgrim Lass (Mike Simons) by a head in 1:59.1. 'Pilgrim,' one of three that didn't jump it off early, led the remaining trio (:30.3, 1:01.1, 1:30.2). Winndevie, pocketed from post No. 5, took out early but found the leader quite stubborn. Winndevie did get past very late, with Amal Hall (Andy Miller) third. Quincy Blue Chip (Jim Morrill Jr.), the 7-10 choice, did beat the other breakers. For second choice Winndevie, a Credit Winner miss trained by her driver for owner Purple Haze Stables, she began her sophomore season after going 6-for-7 ($227,878) as a frosh. The exacta paid $102, the triple returned $286 and the superfecta paid $771. New York Sire Stakes returns downstate Tuesday night (May 14th), with the Art Watson Pace for 3-year-old fillies. Total purses for the 2019 New York-bred program are estimated at $14 million. For more information, please visit www.nysirestakes.com.   by Frank Drucker Director of Publicity 810 Yonkers Avenue Yonkers, NY 10704

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, March 30, 2019 - Seriously, who saw this coming? Harness racing driver Jordan Stratton's Saturday night (March 30th) began with a bummer, as former George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series winner Bit of a Legend N was scratched with what trainer Peter Tritton described as "a serious quarter crack. It's going to take some time." Undaunted, Stratton won two of the evening's five, $50,000 third-round events, both with certified Free-For-All bombardiers at Yonkers Raceway. Here's what happened in not quite real-time, with none of the names redacted... First division - A second-over, 67-1 Pacing Major N (Stratton, $136.50)-from post position No. 3-held off a third-over, 58-1 The Wall (by Joe Bongiorno) by a half-length in 1:52.3. The race unfolded with The Downtown Bus (Scott Zeron), a winner from fourth-over a week ago, leaping over his six inside rivals to make the first lead. He looped 3-5 favorite Endeavor (Tim Tetrick), the latter eventually moving past right at the :27.1 opening quarter-mile. It was a speedy :55.3 intermission before Beckham's Z Tam (Jim Marohn Jr.) moved from third. Pacing Major N latched on to that tow, getting in range by the 1:24.2 three-quarters as Endeavor was being chased along. Endeavor owned a diminishing length lead of the final turn, but company was coming. After the rank outsiders finished 1-2. Major Crocker A (Dan Dube), Endeavor and a shuffled 'Bus' rounded out the payees. For seventh choice Pacing Major N, a 6-year-old son of Art Major owned by Von Knoblauch Stables and trained by Tritton, it was his first board finish in six seasonal starts/three Levy tries. The exacta paid $1,630, the triple returned $15,607 (both local exotic highs) and the superfecta paid $16,299 (base $2 ticket, 10-cent ticket worth $814.95). Second division - Western Fame (Dube, $4.20), from post No, 5, went around Dr. J Hanover (Tetrick), then went the distance (:27.1, :56.2, 1:24.2, 1:51.4). He whipped that pursuer by a comfortable couple of lengths, with Rodeo Rock (Andrew McCarthy) a first-up third. Nocturnal Bluechip (Zeron) and Luciano N (Brent Holland) completed the cashers. For tepid (by $27) second choice, a 6-year-old son of Western Ideal owned by Go Fast and B&I Stables, Stephen Klunowski & Gilbert Short and trained by Rene Allard, it was his second win in four seasonal tries (2-for-3 in Levy). The exacta paid $28.20, the triple returned $50 and the superfecta paid $142.50. Third division - What goes around comes around. Last week, JJ Flynn (George Brennan) was 20-1 went he went up and over an odds-on Western Fame. This time, around 10-1 Lyons Steel (Stratton, $22.40)-from post No. 4-went up and over 1-4 JJ Flynn (Tetrick this week) after that one's early intervals of :27 and :55.3. Lyons Steel then threw down a :26.4 third quarter (1:22.4), opening 4½ lengths in and out of the final turn. The final margin, over JJ Flynn, was the same 4½ lengths in 1:50.4...fastest local mile of the season and matching his 2019 and life-best effort. Control Tower (Austin Siegelman), Always at My Place (Brennan) and Bellow's Binge (Jason Bartlett) settled for the remainder. For third choice Lyons Steel, a 4-year-old Rock N Roll Heaven gelding owned by Bryan Dzugan and trained by Dennis Watson, he's now 2-for-9 this season (1-for-3 in Levy). The exacta paid $76, the triple returned $246.50 and the superfecta paid $572. "I've always thought (Pacing Major N) had the ability, but he tends to crossfire (hit right rear and left front legs) on the last turn," Stratton said. "He didn't have any problem tonight and the trip couldn't have been better. "I didn't know anything about (Lyons Steel), other than he's beaten my horses a few times here some non-winners races. I just asked him down the back and he put them away." Lyons Steel Fourth division - Pocketed from post No. 2, tepid choice More the Better N (Zeron, $6.30) stalked pole-sitting leader Anythingforlove A (Bongiorno) through subsections of :27.4, :56.2 and 1:23.4. The leader was tiring as More the Better N edged out and went by. He defeated a second-over I'm Some Graduate (Matt Kakaley) by a half-length in a season's-best 1:52.1. Anythingforlove A, Bettor's Fire (Ron Cushing) and Duplicated N (Tetrick) were relegated to the minor moolah. For More the Better N, a 6-year-old son of Bettor's Delight owned by Robert Cooper Stables and trained by Ross Croghan, it was his second win in a pair of seasonal starts (2-for-3 in Levy). The exacta paid $24.40, the triple returned $149.50 and the superfecta paid $530. Fifth division - Pole-sitting Mac's Jackpot (Kakaley, $7.30) went first-up from third, disposing of early (:26.3, :56.1) leader Windsong Leo (Brennan) before that one subsequently stopped. 'Mac' then found a 1:24.1 three-quarters, opened a pair of lengths in the lane, then off a fast-closing Ideal Jimmy (Holland) by a neck in 1:52.4. Rodeo Romeo (Bartlett), Rockathon (Marohn Jr.) and Lockton Luck A (Tetrick) picked off the remainder. For second choice Mac's Jackpot, a 5-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding co-owned by Howard & Michael Ouriel and trained by Jeff Smith. he's now 1-for-4 this season (1-for-3 in Levy). The exacta paid $33, the triple returned $99 and the superfecta paid $388. The series standings, as dutifully compiled by Bob (OUTP) Miecuna, accompany this release. Saturday night's $44,000 Open Handicap Trot was won by a repeating New Heaven (Stratton, $16.80) in a season's-best 1:55.1. "I hope (trainer) Eric (Abbatiello) stays at the Meadowlands," Stratton said a week after he won this race at 31-1. Yonkers Raceway George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series 2019           March 31, 2019                      Name 1st Leg 2nd Leg 3rd Leg 4th Leg 5th Leg 25 pts/start Total    Western Fame 50 25 50     75 200.0 Ideal Jimmy 50 50 25     75 200.0 Rodeo Rock 50 50 12     75 187.0 More The Better N 50 8 50     75 183.0 The Wall 50 8 25     75 158.0 JJ Flynn 8 50 25     75 158.0 Mac's Jackpot 25 0 50     75 150.0 Somewhere In L A 25 50 0     75 150.0 Anythingforlove A 50 5 12     75 142.0 Endeavor 8 50 8     75 141.0 Lyons Steel 8 5 50     75 138.0 Pacing Major N 5 0 50     75 130.0 The Downtown Bus 0 50 5     75 130.0 Imarocnrollegend N 25 25 0     75 125.0 Duplicated N 25 12 5     75 117.0 I'm Some Graduate 5 8 25     75 113.0 Dr J Hanover 0 12 25     75 112.0 Control Tower 0 25 12     75 112.0 Gokudo Hanover 12 25 0     75 112.0 Rodeo Romeo 12 12 12     75 111.0 Beckhams Z Tam 8 25 0     75 108.0 Lockton Luck A 0 25 5     75 105.0 Bellows Binge 8 12 5     75 100.0 Mach Doro A 25 0 0     75 100.0 Bettors Fire N 12 0 8     75 95.0 Luciano N 12 0 5     75 92.0 Don Domingo N 5 12 0     75 92.0 Always At My Place 0 8 8     75 91.0 Rockathon 5 0 8     75 88.0 Ballerat Boomerang 5 8 0     75 88.0 Rock The Nite 0 12 0     75 87.0 Mach It So 12 0 0     75 87.0 Sams A Champ A 5 0 0     75 80.0 Whittaker N 0 5 0     75 80.0 Somebaddude 25 0       50 75.0 Major Crocker A   5 12     50 67.0 Nocturnal Bluechip   8 8     50 66.0 Micky Gee N 12 0       50 62.0 Bettor Memories 0 5       50 55.0 Mar Nien A 0 5       50 55.0 Windsong Leo 0   0     50 50.0 Bit Of A Legend N 0 0       50 50.0 Rockin Ron 8         25 33.0 Billy Badger N     0     25 25.0 Christen Me N 0         25 25.0 Cruise Patrol 0         25 25.0 Military Master A 0         25 25.0 Weona Sizzler A 0         25 25.0 Funknwaffles           0 0.0 ADDED MONEY 1st Leg 2nd Leg 3rd Leg 4th Leg 5th Leg Nom. Fees Total      $45,000 $41,000 $38,000 $0 $0 $280,000 $404,000               $200,000             Total $604,000 Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, February 23, 2019 -- Harness racing driver Jordan Stratton was seen in the presence of some pretty haughty company Saturday night (Feb. 23rd), taking both halves of Yonkers Raceway's $44,000 co-features with favored millionaire (Melady's Monet, $4.70) and favored double-millionaire (Bit of a Legend N, $3.80). The weekly marquee trot--handicapped--was not a fair fight, with Melady's Monet moving first-up early and striding out late. Away fifth from post position No. 5 (in one notch after a defection), 'Melady' was out and moving in the second turn to go after Fearless Man (Jason Bartlett). The one led through quickie early intervals of :27.1 and :56.4, but ws heading the wrong way by the 1:26.1 three-quarters. Melady's Monet took over soon thereafter, opening 2½ lengths entering the lane. He finished it off by 2¼ lengths in a season's=best 1:55.3. Smalltownthrowdown (Dan Dube) couldn't match strides with the winner but did get into second, with Mostinterestingman (Austin Siegelman), DW's NY Yank (George Brennan) and Lily's Swan Pond (Joe Bongiorno) settling for the minors. For Melady's Monet, a 10-year-old Revenue S gelding owned by Melady Enterprises and trained by Hermann Heitmann, it was his second win (54th career) in five seasonal starts. The exacta paid $28.40, with triple returned $115.50 and the superfecta paid $369.50. Meladys Monet in his 54th career victory There weren't many styles points for Bit of a Legend N in the week's blind-draw adult pace. From post position No. 2, he went the distance (:28, :57.2, 1:25.1; 1:53.1), holding sway over a stubborn Don Domingo N (Matt Kakaley). The latter tried it first-up from third. The margin was a short head in 1:53.1. Imarocnrollegend N (George Brennan) was a pocket third, with Bettor Memories (Bartlett) and Shneonucrzydiamnd A (Jim Marohn Jr.) rounding out the payees. For Bit of a Legend N, a 10-year-old Down Under son of Bettor's Delight owned by Von Knoblauch Stables and trained by Peter Tritton, it was his first win (47th career) in a pair of '19 tries. The exacta paid $13.80, the triple returned $44.80 and the superfecta paid $182.50. Frank Drucker

New Zealand-bred star Bit Of A Legend is ready to make his 2019 debut in Saturday's (Feb. 16) $44,000 Open Handicap at Yonkers Raceway and trainer Peter Tritton says the 10-year-old stallion looks as good as ever. Last year, Bit Of A Legend won five of 21 races, finished second seven times, and earned $549,315. His victories included the Battle of Lake Erie in a career-best 1:49.4 around Northfield Park's half-mile oval and he was runner-up in the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series championship, Joe Gerrity Jr. Memorial, and Dan Rooney Invitational. Since arriving in the U.S. in 2016, Bit Of A Legend has won 26 of 77 races and earned $1.79 million. Other top wins include the Gerrity, Bobby Quillen Memorial, and Molson Pace in 2017 and the 2016 Levy championship. "To me, he seems to be coming up every bit as good as he did last year and the year before," said Tritton, who trains Bit Of A Legend for Vonknoblauch Stable LLC. "He's probably a little more forward this year than he was last year. We gave him a month off, but we couldn't give him much more because he got too full of himself. But he had a really good break. I'm very happy with where he is at the moment." Bit Of A Legend, driven regularly by Jordan Stratton, is a son of Bettor's Delight out of Soky's Legend. He was a two-time Australasian Breeders Crown champion Down Under, where he won 20 times and earned $659,686, giving him lifetime earnings of $2.45 million. Tritton will use the next month to prep Bit Of A Legend for the Levy Series, which begins March 16 at Yonkers. The series consists of five preliminary rounds followed by a $200,000-added final on April 20. "With any luck through the series he should be right there," Tritton said. "We'll give him one or two more runs before the (preliminary rounds). The beauty of him is that he can go right through without a break. He enjoys his work and Jordan looks after him pretty good. "I just hope we can get through the series and get to the final and draw good. I thought he could have won the last couple if he had drawn better, but he drew the outside both times. It's hard to win those finals from the outside." Tritton is planning to keep Bit Of A Legend on a schedule similar to previous years, although he might not stake the stallion to events on bigger tracks. Bit Of A Legend is winless in eight starts on tracks larger than a half, with two on-the-board finishes. "He can go around the big tracks, but he's so slick on a half and can get around those corners so quick," Tritton said. "I think he loses his advantage on the big tracks, where some of them gain an advantage." Bit Of A Legend is one of 10 horses in Tritton's stable. Three other New Zealand-breds could compete in series action at Yonkers, with Pacing Major pointed toward the Levy and mares Sell A Bit and Shezza GNP penciled in for the Blue Chip Matchmaker. "Pacing Major is not as good as Legend, but he's a good racehorse," Tritton said. "With the right trip he can go (1):51 around Yonkers. He's done it a couple of times. I think he'll acquit himself quite well. "In the Matchmaker, I'll run Shezza GNP. She's probably not good enough to win, but she'll be right there. She can go with those mares. I may run Sell A Bit. She's qualifying on Friday. She's getting close to a million dollars. I'd love to get her to a million dollars. I think I might give her another shot at it. "We'll keep our fingers crossed. We just need a bit of luck." For Saturday's complete Yonkers entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA 

YONKERS, NY, Friday, February 8, 2019-In a race where half the field was comprised of New Zealand-breds, Shezza GNP N (Jordan Stratton, $42.40) led a 1-2-3 Kiwi harness racing finish Friday night (Feb. 8th), winning Yonkers Raceway's $44,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. The start of the feature was delayed as pole-given Amateur Hour (George Brennan) essentially refused. The seven other lasses left without her, with a three-wide Nerida Franco N (Dan Dube) getting around 3-10 choice Delishka N (Brent Holland) just after a :27.3 opening quarter-mile. After a :56.4 intermission and going toward a 1:26 three-quarters, it was an antsy Delishka N extricating herself from the pocket, though not without having to work for it. She took a length-and-a-half lead into the lane, but company was coming. From assigned post position No. 4, Shezza GNP N, working from third-over, closed to outgame Kaitlyn N (Matt Kakaley) by a nose in 1:56. Delishka N tired to the bottom of the ticket, with Ella Michelle A (Joe Bongiorno) and a recovering Amateur Hour completing the cashers. For seventh choice Shezza GNP N, a 6-year-old Down Under daughter of Art Major owned (as Tritton Inc.) and trained by Peter Tritton, it was a winning seasonal debut. The exacta paid $344, the triple returned $1,626 and the superfecta paid $4,760. A friendly reminder from Yonkers Raceway that Saturday evening’s (Feb. 9th) Pick 5 wager starts with a carryover of $4,225.93 and a $15,000 guaranteed pool. The guarantee is in conjunction with the U.S. Trotting Association’s Strategic Wagering Program. The Pick 5 is a 50-cent base wager comprising races 7 through 11 Saturday night. It has no consolation payoff, meaning if no one selects all five winners (as was the Friday night), the entire pool (minus takeout) moves to the next racing program. by Frank Drucker, Yonkers Raceway  

YONKERS, NY,-  Monday, February 4, 2019--Yonkers Raceway posted its largest harness racing handle of the new season Monday night (Feb. 4th), with a total of $1,072,833 wagered during the dozen-race card. Jordan Stratton won four races, the last of which was an un-Stratton-esque 21-1, last-to-first Captain Deo ($45.20) in the $20,000, 10th-race pace. That bombardier enhanced the evening's Pick 5 wager, which returned $1,167.25 for every correct (4/3/1/7/4) half-a-buck ticket by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

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