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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

On Monday May 13, the New York Sire Stakes made their first stop of the year at Monticello Raceway for 3 Year Old Pacing Colts, the conditions were less than ideal as it was a cold, rainy raw day that was reminiscent of a fall day and certainly not the middle of May. Hickfromfrenchlick, the Ray Schnittker trained harness racing son of So Surreal started from post position 4 and went off the 1/5 odds on favorite in the 6 - horse field. Hickfromfrenchlick (Mark Macdonald) lead the pack every step of the way, reeling off even rated fractions of 28.2, 58.1 1:28.1, American Mercury (Tim Tetrick) were the first to move down the backside as the outer flow developed with Stone Hanover right behind him. It looked like Hickfromfrenchlick was going in for an easy layup but American Mecury was not done yet as the duo paced home strong, but Hickfromfrenchlick rebuffed American Mercury by a scant neck to score in 1:55, pacing his last ¼ in 27 in the fastest mile of the afternoon. Stone Hanover finished 3rd, coming home in 26.4. Hickfromfrenchlick is owned by Ray Schnittker, Nolamaura Racing LLC and TC Spatorico. In the second heat of Sire Stakes, it was a race of the Major's, Major Blake left fast from post 4 from the gate but decided to take the 2- hole tuck as Major March from the rail cut the steady fractions of 28.2,58.1 1:26.4, Respect The Flag and Astarie angled out past the ¾ maker in an effort to start tracking down Major Blake, but their efforts were thwarted as he coasted to a 2 length victory in 1:55. Major March is trained by soon to be Hall of Famer Linda Toscano, the Art Major - Mach You And Me colt is owned by Bay Pond Racing Stable of Malvern, PA. Major Blake was 2nd and Astaire finished 3rd Major March                    --Geri  Schwarz photo The highly touted Reigning Deo highlighted the last heat of Sire Stakes in the 6th race, the Rock N Roll Heaven colt started from the rail and was the 3/5 favorite going to post. Dealer's Table (PP4) and Jason Bartlett cut the soft fractions to the ¾ pole 29.3, 59.3 1:28.1. Rollwithpapajoe (T. Buter) was the first to come off the rail approaching the half, he continued the overland route with no cover. Heading for home he rolled to an easy 3 length win over Reigning Deo held on for 2nd place followed by Covered Bridge. Rollwithpapajoe is trained Jenn Bongiorno, The Roll With Joe colt is owned by Barbara Bongiorno, BK Lambos and D. Libertos. The Excelsior A contest's saw Shim (American ideal - Feel Life) leave the gate unhurried to rally over Caviart Cale in 1:58.3 for Trainer - Driver and part owner Pat Lachance, in the second A class Surreal Art (So Surreal - Artcotic) was content to sit the pocket while Shanghai Bobby cut the mile. It was a good battle down the lane between the two but Surreal Art hung on for a neck victory over Shanhai Phil in 1:55.1 Sire Stats for the afternoon showed American Ideal and So Surreal both had 2 winners, Jason Bartlett and Patrick LaChance each had a driving double on the chilly afternoon. $461,000 was wagered on the 8- race card for a per race average of $57,625.   By: Shawn Wiles

YONKERS, NY, Friday, May 3, 2019 - It was Lispatty and harness racing driver Mark MacDonald finishing what she started Friday night (May 3rd), winning Yonkers Raceway's $44,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. Taking it the distance from post position No. 5 (:27.1, :57.1, 1:25.1, season's-best 1:53.3), Lispatty opened to three lengths off the final turn, then held off late arrivals Glenferrie Blade A (Jordan Stratton) and Magic Forces (George Brennan). The former did get second, beaten a half-length, while Rockstar Angel A (Jason Bartlett) and a pocket-tiring Lovineveryminute (Dan Dube) settled for the minors. Made of Jewels AS (Austin Siegelman) tried it first-up and tired to last among the half-dozen. For the favored (by $81) Lispatty, a 6-year-old daughter of McArdle owned by Gilbert Garcia-Owen and trained by Gilberto Garcia-Herrera, it was her fifth win in 11 seasonal starts. The exacta (two wagering choices) paid $17.80, the triple returned $63 and the superfecta paid $198. Mutuel windows open at 10 AM for tomorrow's (Saturday, May 4th) Derby Day card from Churchill Downs. First post is 10:30 AM, with the 145th Kentucky Derby set for 6:50 PM. Frank Drucker

WILKES-BARRE PA – Tag Up And Go was in control throughout the $17,500 trotting feature on a less-than-optimum Sunday night (41 degrees, “sloppy +2” surface) at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, winning by himself in 1:56.4. Marcus Miller left in controlling fashion with the Angus Hall gelding, set a very moderate pace even in the bad conditions, and still had plenty late to raise his earnings to $569,216. Rob Harmon conditions the harness racing veteran for Lester Gelardi Jr. and Anthony Passafaro. There were a pair of $17,000 contests for developing horses on both gaits. In the pace, the Rollwithjoe gelding Youcaniknow is 2-for-2 in 2019 after a hard two-move victory from post nine in 1:53.4, holding off Grantmeawish by a neck for driver Matt Kakaley, who had three winners on the night. This is a rare Åke Svanstedt-trained pacer, owned by Åke Svanstedt Inc. In the subfeature trot, the Lucky Chucky gelding Chuckabuck, who was claimed for $12,500 on April 5, handled the rise from that level quite easy on the Pocono red muck, going gate-to-wire in 1:56.3 for driver Matt Kakaley, trainer James Guagliardo, and owner William Sartin. In the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail, standing in a village’s muck and mire, one peasant remarks to the other that the passing horseback rider must be the King, and is asked how he knows that. “He hasn’t got (slop) all over him,” says the first peasant. Such was the case with driver Mark MacDonald, who came to Pocono and got easy front-end victories, staying “clean,” with two sophomores making their seasonal bows for trainer/co-owner Ray Schnittker. The winning duo were Captain Malicious, a Captaintreacherous – Silky colt who won in 1:53.4 - :27.3 for Schnittker and partners Dr. John Egloff, John Frisch, and Max J. Hempt, and Hickfromfrenchlick, the So Surreal – My Girl’s A Star colt whose named was influenced by basketball star Larry Bird, who won in 1:53.3 – :27.3 for the trainer and partners Nolamaura Racing LLC and Thomas Spatorico. Both three-year-olds were stakes winners at two, and their 2019 bows point towards another good campaign ahead of them. Hickfromfrenchlick                                                       -Curtis Salonick photo                                            Finally, the “Fast Comeback of the Night” award goes to driver Eric Carlson, who was dumped to the track in a mixup in race 13, then came right back in the 14th race finale to guide Derecho to a wire-to-wire victory – and pay $46.00 to win. PHHA / Pocono Jerry Connors

HARRINGTON, DE  - Sunfire Blue Chip ($17.20, Mark Macdonald) was a 1:51.1 winner in the 12th Annual $150,000 Bobby Quillen Memorial at Harrington Raceway Monday. The race annually spotlights many of the sport's top older pacers and honors former long-time Delaware legislator Bobby Quillen, who passed away in 2004. Quillen was a regular at the racetrack, who enjoyed live harness racing and was endeared by many in the community. Owned by Christina Takter, John and Jim Fielding, Brixton Medical and R A W Equine, Sunfire Blue Chip, a Jimmy Takter-trainee, notched his 32nd career win off a pocket trip. Scott Rocks closed ground for second with Evenin of Pleasure third. Rockin Ron set the fractions and faded to fourth. An 8-year-old American Ideal stallion, "Sunfire" scored his second straight win in his 108th career start. "My horse was really good last start at Yonkers," said Macdonald. "I kind of had an all-or-nothing approach behind the gate tonight and was able to get a great trip and it worked out. You can do anything you want with him. He's a lot of fun to drive. " It was a productive first visit to Harrington for driver Macdonald, whose a regular at Yonkers Raceway (Ny). Five Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund (DSBF) $20,000 elimination events for 2-year-old pacers were on the undercard with Team Teague stealing the show with three wins. George Teague and K&R Racing's The Lady Sheriff ($8, Montrell Teague) was the first filly winner in 1:57.2 for trainer Clyde Francis. The Southwind Lynx filly registered her first career win off a ground saving trip. The first division for colt and gelding pacers would soon ensue with The Lady Sheriff's stablemate, Dashiki ($3) scoring a 1:54.1 score for the Teague and Francis combo. Dashiki held off a fierce late rally from Chillaxin Away to achieve his first career win in his third lifetime starts. Dashiki is a son of Barber Pole. The second filly division went to The Wiz Kids Stable's Golden Wigglet ($7, Bart Dalious) in 1:57.1. The Mr. Wiggles filly notched her second career win for trainer/driver Dalious with a late rally that reeled in pacesetter Vistamista late. The third filly division saw Edward Walls' Lily's Puddle Jumper ($4.80, David Rearic) score in 1:59.1. The Gamblers Dream filly outkicked pacesetter Miss Giggles to the wire for a one length win. Trained by Walls, it was her second career win. The final colt division to another Teague-tied horse, George Teague Jr.'s Keepmywiglegametyt ($6.40, Montrell Teague) who surged clear of leader Son Of A Lynx in deep stretch for his first career win. The Francis-trainee is a son of Mr. Wiggles. In the $15,000 Open overnight feature, Richard Lombardo, Charles Cochran III and Josh Green's JJ Flynn ($7, Yannick Gingras) was a 1:51.2 winner over Q's Cruise and Options Are A Dream. by Matt Sparacino, for Harrington Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, September 15, 2018-Trainer Jeff Gillis made no secret about why he hijacked Will Take Charge from the stakes schedule and into Yonkers Raceway for Saturday night's (Sept. 15th) co-featured $44,000 Open Handicap Trot. "There's no reason other than we want an invitation to the International Trot," Gills said. "He didn't race well in his last start (final of the Maple Leaf Trot) for whatever reason. We wanted to prove he belongs, and it would be an honor for me." The issue of whether or not Will Take Charge gets to represent the Great White North (either by himself or with some company) in the million-dollar, Saturday, Oct. 13th, event wasn't going to be settled this night, though the road test supplied by odds-on Will Take Charge (Mark MacDonald, $3.20) had to impress. Two-moving to the lead from post position No. 7 (everyone in a notch after a pole defection), Will Take Charge was third early behind Gruden (Brian Sears) and Fashion Creditor (Brent Holland). He then made the lead between a :27.1 opening quarter-mile and :55.3 intermission. Not surprisingly, the teletimer gapped out the field as Will Take Charge and Gruden offered an unscheduled match race. After a 1:24.3 three-quarters, Will Take Charge owned a length-and-a-half lead into the lane. Gruden was resurgent, however, taking another 'run' at the leader before missing a nose in 1:53.2. Fashion Creditor held off Lord Cromwell (Jordan Stratton) for third, with Barry Black (Austin Siegelman) getting the final pay envelope. The mile matched the local aged gelding standard set by former all-age track record-holder Quick Deal in 2013, while also equaling the second-fastest Westchester trot mile, a tick behind the 1:53.1 of filly Plunge Blue Chip two weeks ago. "Jeff told me not to lose, so I guess I'm good with orders," MacDonald said after his date hit town for the first time since late April. "There aren't too many trotters who can get down to the half that fast here and hang on, so I was impressed.." For Will Take Charge, a 5-year-old Kadabra gelding owned by Mac Nichol, it was his ninth win in 19 seasonal starts (earnings at $409,965). The exacta paid $9.40, the triple (three wagering choices in order) returned $23.80 and the superfecta paid $111.50. Saturday night's co-featured $44,000 Open Handicap Pace was won by a pole-assigned, pocketed Chantepleure (Stratton, $23.20) in 1:51.3. By Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

MILTON, ON - September 13, 2018 - Owning a racehorse has never been easier and Woodbine Entertainment will continue to hold the door open by offering a New Owners Seminar this Saturday at Mohawk Park. The second annual New Owners Seminar starts at 6 p.m. in the North America Cup Room and is open to the public. Those in attendance at the seminar will enjoy presentations from Landmark Racing Stable and TheStable.ca. Each group offers affordable and easy options for becoming involved in racehorse ownership. Landmark Racing Stable and TheStable.ca operate differently, but both remove the potential intimidation factor for a person making the leap into the sport. Mark McDonald of Kingston, Ontario joined the Landmark Racing Stable last fall after being out of harness racing for many years. He attended the yearling sale in London and has since taken advantage of the access provided to the group by visiting the horses and even jogging a few. "It was a golden opportunity to get back in at a reasonable cost for the amount of enjoyment you could get out of it," said McDonald, who trained horses more than 20 years ago at Kingston Park. "Anybody that's been to the racetrack that wants to get into the game other than being a spectator or bettor, that's the best way to do it." Pep Moretti of Illinois joined TheStable.ca after dreaming for many years of owning a racehorse. "This has allowed me to achieve a lifetime dream I thought I would never be able to afford," said Moretti. "Getting into ownership was confusing and intimidating. The Stable made things easy." Attendees at Saturday's seminar will be able to ask any questions to the presenting groups. Representatives will also stick around following to answer questions one-on-one. Anyone attending Saturday's seminar will be eligible to enter a draw to win a share of a racehorse courtesy of Ontario Racing and in conjunction with Standardbred Canada. Ballots will be available upon arrival. The New Owners Seminar begins at 6 p.m. and will lead into Saturday's $2 million card, which begins at 7:25 p.m. by Mark McKelvie, for- Woodbine Communications

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, August 19, 2018-Favored Obrigado (Mark MacDonald, $4.20) pounced from the pocket Sunday afternoon (Aug. 19th), winning Yonkers Raceway's featured $44,000 off-going Open Handicap Trot. The weekly trotting feature went at the flat mile, the 11th of 12 races and well after the four added-distance 'French' races. Generously assigned post position No. 2, Obrigado worked around polester Dewycolorintheline (Ray Schnittker) as outside number In Secret (George Brennan) hurdled his six foes and made the lead. After early intervals of :27.1 and :56.1, Such an Angel (Brent Holland) tried it first-up from fourth. The bid was both brief and poor with In Secret finding a 1:24.3 three-quarters. He took a length-and-a-half lead into the lane, but Obrigado was lurking. That one edged out and edged away, prevailing by three-quarters of a length in 1:55. Charmed Life (Steve Smith) overcame a weak tow to grab second, with In Secret, Andy Ray (Jason Bartlett) and Dewycolorintheline rounding out the payees. For Obrigado, an 8-year-old Boy Band gelding co-owned by (trainer) Paul Kelley, Linwood Higgins, S R F Stable & Stable 45, it was his second win in five seasonal starts (career 44-for-90, earnings over $1.76 million). The exacta paid $38, the triple returned $244 and the superfecta paid $542. Sunday's verse of the 'New York, New York Double' featured a winning combination of 1-Glory to Kitten (part of entry, Saratoga's 1st race) and 7-Deo (Yonkers' 3rd race), returning $7.70 for every correct $1 ticket. Total pool was $6,992. The next Sunday matinee is Aug. 26th (post time TBA). by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, August 11, 2018-Veteran Great Vintage (Mark MacDonald, $9) finished what he started Saturday night (Aug. 11th), winning Yonkers Raceway's $44,000 Open Handicap Pace. Using his usual gate speed, Great Vintage-from post position No. 5-threw down intervals of :27.1, :56.4, 1:24.2 and 1:52.2. He held off a first-up McErlean (Brent Holland) by a head, with 3-2 favorite Always at My Place (George Brennan a second-over third. Pacing Major N (Austin Siegelman) and Doctor Butch (Jason Bartlett) came away with the minors, while logical would-be favorite Evenin 'of Pleasure was scratched-sick. For third choice Great Vintage, a 10-year-old son of American Ideal owned by Christina Takter, John Fielding, Goran Anderberg & Goran Falk and trained by Jimmy Takter, it was his fifth win in 13 seasonal starts (career 45-for-161, earnings over $1.26 million). The exacta paid $102.50, the triple returned $402 and the superfecta paid $636. It was one of MacDonald's four wins during the 11-race card. Sunday's (Aug. 12th) matinee has a first post of 12:40 PM, with races 1 through 4 of the overflow-field, mile-and-a-quarter 'French' theme. The 'New York, New York Double' is comprised of Saratoga's first race and Yonkers' third. Post times are 1 PM and 1:40 PM, respectively. A friendly reminder from Yonkers Raceway that Sunday afternoon’s (Aug. 12th) Pick 5 wager starts with a carryover of $4,979.96 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 (if 11 or less races, the gimmick is the last five races on the card). It has no consolation payoff, meaning if no one selects all five winners (as was the case Saturday night), the entire pool (minus takeout) moves to the next racing program. Sunday‘s program may be downloaded at http://www.empirecitycasino.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/sun_program.pdf First post Sunday is 12:40 PM. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway  

Monticello, NY - The last leg of the 2018 Sire Stakes took place at Monticello Raceway on Monday afternoon August 6 as 3 Year Old Pacing Fillies closed out the season with a bang. The first heat of Sire Stakes was worth $61,300, Apothic and Mark Macdonald started from post 3 and took the field to the fastest opening ¼ of the year, hitting that station in 26.2. The duo still set the pace to the ½ in 55.2, as the outer follow developed with 4 in and 4 out. Apothic started to tire down the back side as Solitary was the new leader as the field past the ¾ in 1:24.1. As they turned for home Newsday ranged into contention after enduring a brutal trip on the outside, Better Than Happy who benefitted from a perfect 2 hole trip the entire mile took advantage of the passing lane. The pair paced stride for stride down the lane and hit the wire in a dead heat in 1:53.3. Better Than Happy is owned by Joe P Racing LLC of Delray Beach Florida and is trained by Jennifer Bongiorno and was driven by Joe Bongiorno. Newsday a bay filly by Art Major is trained by co-owner Richard Silverman, Scot Zeron was the driver. In the second division of Sire Stakes, also racing for a purse of $61,300, divisional point leader Wisdom Tree started from post position 8, Scott Zeron rushed the Betterthancheddar filly away from the gate, she made the front just past the ¼ in 27.4. Once on the front end, she controlled the fractions 56.1, 1:24.4 to win in 1:52.4 by 2 lengths, just a tick off the track record of 1:52.3. Wisdom Tree is owned by Thomas Pollack and Jeffrey Cullipher, she picked up her 9 win of the year for trainer Ed Hart. Bullvillekarla (Jim Marohn Jr.) scored a wire to wire win in her Excelsior A heat in in 1:55.3 -$7.20, the Bullville Powerful filly is owned and trained by Steve Crevani. Mink Pink was second followed by So Long Darling. Psychic Bluechip (Scott Zeron) overtook the early pace setters to win her division in 1:55.1, over the heavy favorite KJ's Justine. The Art Major filly is trained by Joseph Skowyra and earned her 5 win of the year. Escape Again went wire to wire in her race to win by a length in 1:54.3 for owner - trainer Troyce Thomas, the daughter of Artiscape was driven by Jim Marohn Jr. The first heat of the Excelsior B class in race 1 was a 4 horse field, Lady Orb extended her win streak to 3 and picked up her 4th seasonal win for trainer Erv Miller, the daughter of Art Major scored in 1:57.3 and returned $3.10 to win for driver Marcus Miller. Reflexionofroyalty notched her first win of the season in 157.3. the American Ideal lass is trained by Allen Sisco and was driven by Kyle Dibenedetto. On the afternoon Scott Zeron drove 3 winners and Jim Marohn Jr had 2, Art Major led all sires with 3 winning daughters on the afternoon. by Shawn Wiles, for Monticello Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, July 21, 2018-Veteran Great Vintage (Mark MacDonald, $6.60) had to work for the lead and that worked for him Saturday night (July 21st), winning Yonkers Raceway's $44,000 Open Handicap Pace. Using his usual gate speed, Great Vintage-from post position No. 5-had an early impediment in Barimah A (Brent Holland). Forced wide around that one, Great Vintage then continued to the lead, taking over from Robbie Burns N (Greg Merton) before a 27-second opening quarter-mile. Once he fronted the fray, Great Vintage finished it off (:56.4, 1:24.4, 1:52.4). Second went to a stubborn 17-10 fave Always at My Place (George Brennan), who was also compromised when an out-again Barimah A moved first-up and was his obligatory hard-to-steer self. Barimah A eventually went back in-again-leaving Always at My Place to take up the chase. Great Vintage, with a length-and-a-half lead entering the lane, defeated Always at My Place by three-quarters of a length in 1:52. Robbie Burns N was a pocket third, with Run Oneover N (Jim Marohn Jr.) and that Barimah A rounding out the payees. For second choice Great Vintage, a 10-year-old son of American Ideal owned by Christina Takter, John Fielding, Goran Anderberg & Goran Falk and trained by Jimmy Takter, it was his fourth win in 11 seasonal starts (career 44-for-159, earnings over $1.24 million). The exacta paid $22, the triple returned $68.50 and the superfecta paid $281. Sunday's (July 22nd) matinee has a first post of 12:30 PM, with races 1 through 4 of the overflow-field, mile-and-a-quarter 'French' theme. The 'New York, New York Double' is comprised of Saratoga's third race and Yonkers' fifth. Post times are 2:07 PM and 2:20 PM, respectively. . by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, July 14, 2018-They're 2-year-olds. Things happen. Such was the case in Saturday night's (July 14th) $100,000 Lawrence B. Sheppard Pace, Yonkers Raceway's premier event for 'open' frosh colts and geldings honoring the Hall of Fame founder of Hanover Shoe Farms. When the stone dust settled, Hickfromfrenchlick (Mark MacDonald, $5.30) emerged an open-length winner in a six-horse race that was not for the squeamish. At the outset, the eventual winner-from post position No. 2-was off the gate. His next-door neighbor to the outside, Just Plain Loco (Jim Marohn Jr.), tried to leave but threw in steps. He eventually righted the ship, but was wide into the first turn. Meanwhile, 4-5 choice World on Edge (George Brennan) led into the first turn, only to jump it off That left first starter and 58-1 rank outsider Can We Dance (Greg Merton) as sort of a default leader from his outside post. The bombardier put up intervals of :28 and :57, the latter as pole-sitting Hurrikane Kingklee (Dan Dube) tried to pull pocket, only to reconsider. Nearing the 1:26.1 three-quarters, the field truncated...even World on Edge, who then misbehaved again. Hurrikane Kingklee finally did dispose of the longshot leader, while Hickfromfrenchlick was right behind. The 'Hick' inhaled the tiring front-enders in the final turn, opening to two lengths into the lane. Hickfromfrenchlick then rolled home in his parimutuel debut, the final margin 3¼ lengths in 1:55.4. Just Plain Loco, who angled widest into the final turn, survived his race race-and-a-half to finish second, with another first-starter Treasure Tom (Jason Bartlett) third. Hurrikane Kingklee and Can We Dance settled for the minors, while World on Edge needs to think about what he did. For second choice Hickfromfrenchlick, a $47,000 (Goshen NY) plebe son of Larry Bird, er, So Surreal, co-owned by (trainer) Ray Schnittker, Nolamaura Racing and Thomas Spatorico, he's won both of his purse tries (Landmark at Goshen). The exacta paid $20, the triple paid $155 and the superfecta paid $367. "He shied from the car at the start," MacDonald said. "I was fortunate with the breakers to get away where I did and just sort of sit there. "When Danny (Dube, Hurrikane Kingklee) pulled, I was right behind him and he just sort of paced away. Ray (Schnittker) told me not to screw it up. A strange race. Glad we won." Saturday's $44,000 Open Handicap Pace was won by odds-on Always at My Place (Brennan, $3.10) in a season's-best 1:50.3. Sunday's (July 15th) matinee goes at 11:28 AM, with the first four 'French' trots going as both overflow-field and added-distance (mile-and-a-quarter) by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Thursday, May 24, 2018--Yonkers Raceway's Thursday night (May 24th) saw the highest local exacta of the season. When 22-1 Ransom Demand (Mark MacDonald, $47.80) edged past cone-skimming 62-1 Ziggy Sky (catch-driver Jim Marohn Jr.) late in the $9,000, fourth-race pace, the 4-7 gimmick returned $1,899 for a two-buck wager. The first two finishers had been boardless in eight and four '18 starts, respectively. With 3-10 favorite Soho Jackman A (Jordan Stratton) faltering in the final strides and settling for a blanket-finish third, the 4-7-1 triple paid $5,047 for a $2 wager. Beast Mode (Brian Sears) was fourth, thus the 4-7-1-5 superfecta returned $27,106 (base $2 payout, 10-cent ticket $1,355.30). Yonkers' previous high 2018 exacta this season was $1,411, occurring late last month. by Frank Drucker, for Empire City @ Yonkers

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, May 5, 2018 - The fifth night of the fifth month found harness racing driver Mark MacDonald putting forth his own the Cinco de Mayo festivities, with five winners during Yonkers Raceway's dozen races. Cinco de MacDonald, indeed. MacDonald's Saturday (May 5th) quintet was highlighted by Western Fame ($14) in the co-featured $40,000 Open Handicap Pace. After backpedaling out of the pocket in the final of the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series a fortnight ago, the homebred showed no ill-effects here. Caught three-wide early from post position No. 4, Western Fame made the lead after a contentious :26.2 opening quarter-mile. He then rated a :29.2 next subsection (:55.4 intermission), which ended up serving him well as 11-10 choice Somewhere in L A (Jason Bartlett) came to visit. That one moved from fourth, but only into a 28-second third quarter (1:23.4). Western Fame opened a length into the lane, then held sway in 1:52.2, his fastest purse win time of the season. Second went to a second-up Gratian Hanover (Joe Bongiorno), who closed resolutely but missed a neck. Somewhere in L A, Windsong Leo (George Brennan) and Roland N Rock (Brent Holland) came away with the small envelopes. For third choice Western Fame, a 5-year-old son of Western Ideal owned by Brittany Farms and trained by Jimmy Takter, it was his third win in seven seasonal starts. The exacta paid $92.50, with the triple returning $358.50. MacDonald's five-bagger began as favored We Think Alike ($4.10) won the $20,000 fourth-race pace (1:53). Sunfire Blue Chip ($4) handily went the distance in the $25,000, ninth-race pace (1:52.4), then odds-on fave Artful Way did the same in the $20,000, 10th-race pace (1:53). The subject then won the $20,000 pacing finale with an off-the-pace Swing City ($9.40) in a season's-best 1:52.2 One race that eluded MacDonald was the co-featured $40,000 Open Handicap Trot, where odds-on Fearless Man ($3.70) repeated in facile fashion. From post No. 6, he finished what he started (:28.3, 58.4, 1:27, season's-best 1:56). For Fearless Man, an 8-year-old Elegant Man gelding trained by Andrew Harris for co-owners Rick Zeron Stables, Murray Greenfield, Noblock and Cool Cat Racing, it was his fifth win in 13 seasonal efforts. Frank Drucker

If Western Fame were human, harness racing driver Mark MacDonald could envision him fidgeting with his necktie while bemoaning a lack of respect. A multiple-stakes-winning pacer, Western Fame has not been the favorite in his most recent six victories (five at odds of 9-2 or higher) and has been the betting public's top choice only five times in his past 39 races. When he was the favorite during that span, he produced three wins and missed a fourth by a nose. In his past three starts, all in preliminary rounds of the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series at Yonkers Raceway, Western Fame won twice and finished second by a half-length. On Saturday, the 5-year-old stallion competes in the $532,000 Levy championship, leaving from post No. 1 with MacDonald driving for trainer Jimmy Takter. Western Fame is 7-1 on the morning line. "He's always been a little bit of a Rodney Dangerfield; no one gives him a whole lot of respect," MacDonald said. "I don't think people realize what a nice horse he is. He's always been a little under the radar." Western Fame has won 12 of 46 career races and earned $750,618 for breeder/owner Brittany Farms. Last year, he won the Prix d'Ete and Confederation Cup, and in 2016 he won a heat of the Little Brown Jug (where he was second to Betting Line in the final), a division of the Bluegrass Stakes, and an elimination of the Breeders Crown. In addition to his runner-up Jug finish in 2016, he was second in the Matron Stakes (at 23-1), Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship (from post seven at 29-1) and a division of the Tattersalls Pace (by a neck at 9-2). "He's been a lot of fun," MacDonald said. "He didn't race much at 2 and didn't really start coming into his own until September of his 3-year-old year. He's a lightly raced horse and he's really turned into a nice racehorse." Prior to this year, Western Fame was a horse that needed to be raced aggressively from the start. Half of his wins were gate-to-wire and only twice was he worse than second at the race's midpoint. This season, he has not led prior to the stretch and only once was he better than third after three-quarters. "I found that as a 3- and 4-year-old he was kind of a one-trick pony; he really liked to be on the front," MacDonald said. "He's matured and is more versatile now. He seems to really have the will to go forward and likes a target. He's won all different kinds of ways. I really like the way he's coming into the race." The Levy brings together a number of harness racing's top older male pacers. Last year's divisional Dan Patch Award winner and defending series champion Keystone Velocity is the race's 5-2 morning-line favorite, followed by Mach It So at 4-1, Dr J Hanover at 9-2, and Somewhere In L A at 5-1. Evenin Of Pleasure follows Western Fame, at 8-1. New Zealand-bred Bit Of A Legend, who won the 2016 Levy championship, topped the points at the end of the five preliminary rounds. He drew post seven for the final and is 9-1. Rockin Ron -- who joined Bit Of A Legend, Somewhere In L A, Dr J Hanover, Mach It So, and Western Fame as multiple winners in the prelims -- will start from post eight. "It's wide open," MacDonald said. "There are not too many horses in that race that you could say would be a total head-scratcher if they won. If any horse can win from the outside, it would be Bit Of A Legend. Rockin Ron got the eight hole, but he's a good horse too. That race is so competitive. "At the end of the day it's going to come down to whoever gets the best trip or a lucky break. That's it. Whoever can work out the best trip is going to win." Also on Saturday's card is the $373,000 Blue Chip Matchmaker Series championship for older female pacers. New Zealand-bred Shartin, who posted a series-best three wins in the preliminary rounds, is the 8-5 morning-line favorite from post No. 1 with Tim Tetrick driving for trainer Jim King Jr. Racing begins at 6:50 p.m. (EDT) with the Matchmaker championship carded as race nine and the Levy as race 10 on the night's 12-race card. For complete entries, click here. Ken Weingartner

When harness racing driver Mark MacDonald reached his lofty 5,000 victory milestone at Yonkers Raceway he did so with the pacing mare Midnight Mass. The 33-year-old MacDonald, a native of Charlottetown, PEI, was a Toronto circuit standout for years. He migrated stateside, making Yonkers his base of operation since 2012. MacDonald's resume, which began with a win behind Make it Music in a "quarter claimer" at Rideau Carleton Raceway in June of 1997, includes personal bests in 2006 of wins (745) and purses (more than $10.1 million). He won the Little Brown Jug with Mr. Feelgood, added a pair of Breeders Crowns (2007 Mare Pace-Moving Pictures and 2011 3-Year-Old Colt/Gelding Pace-Betterthancheddar) a North America Cup (2010-Sportswriter) and a pair of O'Brien Awards as Canada's leading driver. His career purse earnings exceed $60.6 million.    

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