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YONKERS, NY, Wednesday, December 20, 2017—The B’s had it in Westchester 2017, with Jason Bartlett and Richard Banca winning Yonkers Raceway’s harness racing driver and trainer titles, respectively. The 235-program season (three postponements), which concluded this past Sunday (Dec. 17th), saw Bartlett roll along to a seventh local title. The 36-year-old Bartlett, originally from Augusta, ME, was both the winningest (542) and busiest (2,635) driver, winning at a 22.9 a percent clip. His $10.4 million in purses also led the list. Jordan Stratton ascended to second with 378 wins and $8.3 million in purses, with the top five win list completed by George Brennan (327), Brent Holland (214) and Dan Dube (182). Banca, a 42-year-old native of Paterson, NJ, sent out 187 winners, 36 more last season’s leading trainer, Rene Allard. Banca also led with 986 starters (19 percent winning percentage) and purses ($4.01 million). Scott DiDomenico (117 wins), Ron Burke (109) and Gilberto Garcia-Herrera (87) completed the first quintet among wins.   The Raceway’s 2018 season is set to begin with a Sunday (Jan. 7th) matinee (post time TBA). A complete schedule accompanies this release, with all dates pending approval of the New York State Gaming Commission. Frank Drucker, Yonkers Raceway Publicity Director

Champion pacing mare Lady Shadow p,5,1:48.1s ($1,905,144), who finished a hard fought third in last week's Breeders Crown at Hoosier Park, sold to harness racing trainer Richard Banca of New Jersey for $310,000 in an hosted auction on Tuesday afternoon (Oct. 31). The 6-year-old daughter of Shadow Play fell just short of defending her Crown title, getting caught right near the wire by Pure Country and Bedroomconfessions. Lady Shadow should be leaving Canada soon and land in the Metropolitan New York area before continuing her brilliant race career. from

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, July 16, 2017 - There was a fair amount of Yonkers Raceway symmetry Sunday afternoon (July 16th), as Hemi Seelster (Jason Bartlett)-at 12-1-won the $68,000 Open Handicap Trot-from post position No. 12. Working out a perfect second-over sojourn from the back of the bus, Hemi Seelster was towed into the race by no less than International Trot world champion Resolve (Ake Svanstedt). The latter, after leaving for a seat, had to rough it first-up against Obrigado (Mark MacDonald). That one, caught three-deep early, led through sensible-enough intervals of 28.1, :58.4, 1:28.4 and 1:57.3. However Obrigado, with a length-and-a-quarter lead entering the lane, was unable to close the sale. Hemi Seelster went by, winning a blanket photo for the mile-and-a-quarter in 2:26.2. The wagering choice in each of his last two starts, Hemi Seelster paid $26.80 this time around. Homicide Hunter (Brian Sears), another dozen-to-one proposition, roared home from third-over to miss a head. Obrigado saved the bottom the ticket, beaten a neck with Maestro Blue Chip (Brent Holland) and Buen Camino (Jordan Stratton) settling for the remainder (the five payees were separated by three-quarters of a length). Resolve, meanwhile, faded to eighth as the 4-5 favorite, the first time he crossed the line worse than fourth since Svanstedt's first start with him (May 15, '15). For sixth choice Hemi Seelster, a 5-year-old Holiday Road gelding co-owned by Howard Taylor & Abraham Basen and trained by Richard Banca, it was his sixth win in 17 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $226.50, with the triple returning $10,686. Hemi Seelster Sunday's latest installment of the 'New York, New York Double' offered a winning combination of 1-Karma Delight (Belmont's 3rd race) and 3-Ultimate Shopper (Yonkers' 7th race) paid $12.40 for every correct $1 wager. Total pool was $5,208. The gimmick wager now shifts to Saratoga as its thoroughbred venue when that meeting begins Friday (July 21st). Note the Raceway's next two Sunday post time are 12:30 PM (July 23rd) and 11:30 AM (July 30th), respectively. New York Sire Stakes return her Tuesday night (July 18th), with the $159,500 Bruce Hamilton Trot for 2-year-old fillies. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, July 2, 2017 - A pair of second-tier harness racing starters decided the issue Sunday afternoon (July 2nd), with Hemi Seelster (Jason Bartlett, $6.20) edging Rubber Duck (Joe Bongiorno) in en route to winning Yonkers Raceway's $68,000 Open Handicap Trot. Hemi Seelster, as the wagering choice, employed the sane out-every-step tact that Rubber Duck used a couple of weeks ago. From post position No. 10, he floated out seventh while Springbank Sam N (Jordan Stratton) and DW's NY Yank (George Brennan) took turns leading the dozen. The latter rated at cheaply (:28, :58, 1:28, 1:57) while 'Hemi' methodically moved up outside. 'DW' owned a half-length lead into the lane, but was about to give way. Hemi Seelster went by, holding off Rubber Duck-who gapped a bit down the backside-by a head in 2:25.4 for the mile-and-a-quarter distance. The smaller envelopes went to DW's NY Yank, Springbank Sam N and Buen Camino (Trond Smedshammer). For Hemi Seelster, a 5-year-old Holiday Road gelding co-owned by Howard Taylor & Abraham Basen and trained by Richard Banca, it was his fifth win in a 16 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $66.50, the triple returned $404.50 and the superfecta paid $4,957. Hemi Seelster Prime Power N impressive in debut Prime Power N was flawless in his North American debut winning easily in 2:27 for the mile and a quarter. Rick Dane Jr trains and Jordan Stratton drove the winner of 16 races Down Under.  Prime Power N The latest installment of the 'New York, New York Double' offered a winning combination of 7-Splash of Sass (Belmont's 3rd race) and 5-Brando's Muscle Man (Yonkers' 7th race) paid $13.20 for every correct $1 wager. Total pool was $3,681. A reminder that live racing returns Friday night (July 7th) at the evening post time of 7:10 PM Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, May 28, 2017-"Hemi Seelster has fled the scene." So said track announcer John Hernan, who did not lie, as 'Hemi' (Brent Holland, $9.90) made quick work of 11 harness racing rivals Sunday afternoon (May 28th), winning Yonkers Raceway's mile-and-a-quarter $68,000 Open Trot. Away alertly from post position No. 3, Hemi Seelster stuffed Red Hot Herbie (Dan Dube) in behind coming toward a :27.4 opening quarter-mile. The remaining eight furlongs (:58, 1:27.2, 1:56.1, 2:24.3) were angst-free, with a final margin of 5¾ lengths. 'Herbie' clearly was second, with Money Maven (Eric Goodell) a three-hole third. Second-tier starters Wing Flash (Tyler Buter) and Homicide Hunter (Anthony Napolitano) rounded out the payees, while 5-2 favorite Tag Up and Go (Joe Bongiorno) was a never-in-it ninth and second choice Wings of Royalty (Brian Sears) couldn't get out his own way. For third choice Hemi Seelster, a 5-year-old Holiday Road gelding co-owned by Howard Taylor & Abe Basen and trained by Rich Banca, it was his fourth win in 13 seasonal starts (now over a half-million dollars for his career). The exacta paid $69, with the triple returning $616. For Holland, it was career driving win No. 4,993. The weekly featured trot was the first of four 'French' races during the dozen-race, all-trot card. Sunday's revival of the 'New York, New York Double' saw a winning combination of 9-(Bustin' It, Belmont's 3rd race) and 4-(Andy Ray, Yonkers' 7th race) paid $13.90 for every correct dollar ticket (total pool $7,361). Live racing (and evening simulcasting) returns Friday, June 16th (post time 7:10 PM). Afternoon simulcasting remains available, including the June 10th Belmont Stakes. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, N.Y. - When harness racing trainer Rich Banca purchased Somewhere In L A at the 2016 Harrisburg Sale, he thought he was getting a solid older gelding with potential to race in the upper-level conditions at Yonkers Raceway. Instead, heading into Saturday (April 22) night’s $529,000 George Morton Levy Series Final, Somewhere In L A tops the leader board with 287 points earned in the series’ five preliminary legs and leads all standardbreds in North America by earnings in the young racing season with $180,750 on his card. “If you told me that in November when I bought him, I would have told you, you were crazy,” Banca joked. “Even if he was just a winners over kind of horse at Yonkers, it would have been good to have him. He ended up better than I thought.” While Somewhere In L A competed on the Grand Circuit at 2 and 3 and earned more than $800,000 before selling last fall, the 6-year-old is in career form at the Hilltop Oval. After finishing third in the first leg of the series, Somewhere In L A posted consecutive second place efforts in weeks two and three before getting his first series victory in leg four. Last week, Somewhere In L A doubled up, winning the final preliminary in wire-to-wire fashion in 1:51.3. The victory pushed his earnings over the million dollar mark. “He’s been good the whole time,” Banca said. “That’s a tough series because it’s hard to make the final. He pretty much had to race every leg, but he has been good. He’s just a nice horse, he’s just consistent.” While Somewhere in L A is a star on the track, he’s unassuming in the barn. In contrast to his flashy gate speed on race day, his laid-back training style makes his easy to work with. Five consecutive weeks of tough racing in the series means the son of Somebeachsomewhere had a relaxed week ahead of the biggest race of his career. “He’s just a quiet horse. He really doesn’t do anything wrong,” Banca explained. “We definitely didn’t work him that hard. He just had a normal week because he’s been racing hard every week. Hopefully he’s got one more week in him before he gets a little break.” While Somewhere In L A and regular driver Jason Bartlett are the 2-1 morning line favorites from post position five in the Levy Final, he isn’t Banca’s only chance. Yonkers’ leading trainer in 2017 will also send out Blood Brother, a 12-1 shot who drew comfortably in post two and picks up the services of Brian Sears. Despite finishing second to rival Missile J in week one and winning his division in week four, Blood Brother’s ability to make the Levy Final remained in doubt until last Saturday due to the 5-year-old gelding’s bad luck in legs two and three. Back-to-back bouts with post seven resulted in off the board finishes. In his final chance to earn points last Saturday, Blood Brother again faced Missile J and the series’ defending champion Bit Of A Legend. “I really wasn’t sure if he would make the final,” Banca admitted. “I thought he was in by far the toughest division and I didn’t know how it was going to work out. I was hoping he would, but I thought there was a good chance he wouldn’t.” While Bit Of A Legend wired the field, Blood Brother worked first-over and charged his final quarter in :26.3. At odds of 30-1, he finished third beaten just 1 1/4 lengths and secured his spot in the final with 217 points. “I thought he raced as good as any horse last week. He’s a very fast horse, but he’s not as tough as Somewhere In L A,” Banca explained. “If you race him hard early, he’s not going to have as much late; he’s got to get his trip.” While Banca is confident in the ability of his finalists, the depth of this year’s Levy Final means no result would surprise him. “I don’t know if there’s a horse in there that if he won, I’d be surprised,” he said. “Somewhere In L A, I’m sure he’s going to leave. I don’t know if he’s going to end up on the front or not. These finals end up being crazy races and you never know what’s going to happen. “Blood Brother, I think Sears will give him the best trip he can. He’ll finish with any of them if he’s anywhere close. I think he’s very fast, but he’s got to get things his way.” Two races before Somewhere In L A and Blood Brother race in the Levy, Banca’s star mare, Mach It A Par, will go postward as the 2-1 morning line choice in the $310,600 Blue Chip Matchmaker Series Final. For the 7-year-old daughter of Mach Three, it’s a chance at redemption after she finished eighth in last year’s Matchmaker Final. “Last year, she wasn’t good. It was one of a few weeks last year that she wasn’t really any good, for whatever reason, but she wasn’t really good in the final last year,” Banca said. Like her stablemates in the Levy, Mach It A Par raced in all five preliminary legs of the Matchmaker Series. She defeated Bedroomconfessions by a nose in leg one and hit the board in weeks three and four. Her most impressive performance, however, came last week when she willingly tracked the cover of rival Hidden Land before tipping wide in the stretch and powering home with a :27.0 final panel to a 2 1/2-length victory in 1:53.2. While some horses require a week off in the middle of the grueling series, Mach It A Par thrives on racing. Last week’s effort shows just that, Banca explained. “I think she was a lot more of her old self last week. She really hadn’t been as good and last week she looked like her old self, so I was really happy to see that,” he said. “She’s not that hard on herself. I probably could have given her a week off if I wanted to, but I just think she’s better when she’s racing every week. It just seems like she’s better when she has the same routine every week.” While Banca thinks the results of the Matchmaker will largely depend on trips, he is optimistic that Mach It A Par will prove best. While raising the trophy would be nice, Banca mainly wants to see Mach It A Par’s toughness and heart rewarded with a Grand Circuit win. “I’d love to win it, more because she deserves it than anything else. She races so hard and you really appreciate it because she’s just a tiny little thing and she just tries as hard as she can,” he admired. “There’s a lot of horses who are fast, but a lot of times, they don’t give you all they’ve got. She does. She’s got a big heart, that’s for sure.” First post time at Yonkers is 7:10 p.m. Click here for entries for Saturday’s card. Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY

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, N.Y. - When harness racing trainer Rich Banca purchased Mach It A Par sight unseen last winter, he thought he was getting a mare who knew how to win and who could be effective in the mid-level conditions at Yonkers. When she showed up to the barn, her appearance didn’t instill confidence, but Banca was undeterred. “If you looked at her and didn’t know who she was, you wouldn’t want to give $20,000 for her,” Banca said. “She’s just a tiny little thing. She’s very plain, small. I thought she was a non-winners of 15, 20, 25 (thousand dollars last in her last five starts-caliber horse). But you see a lot of horses that don’t look like anything special that are.” Mach It A Par’s debut for Banca came in last year’s first leg of the Bluechip Matchmaker Series at Yonkers March 18. To Banca’s surprise, she upset the field, paying $81 to win, and set the tone for the rest of the year. At the end of her 39-race campaign, she amassed 13 wins and another 17 seconds and thirds good for $404,200. In winning Yonkers’ Filly and Mare Open Handicap in 1:50.3 September 18, she set a world record for an aged pacing mare on a half-mile track. “It was just unbelievable from start to finish,” Banca recalled. “She was good just about every single start of the year. The only start that she wasn’t 100 percent was the final of the Matchmaker, but she was good all year long. What she’s accomplished is really amazing. I could have never imagined it.” Compounding Mach It A Par’s success is the thrilling way in which she races. She frequently comes from well off the pace and sometimes circles the field to win, a rarity at Yonkers. “I’ve seen her go races that I didn’t know she’d get a check and she ended up winning,” Banca admired. “She could be sitting eighth at the top of the stretch and still win. I don’t know if you could ever see another horse at Yonkers do that as often as she does. It happens every once in a while, but she did it a lot of times.” As the 7-year-old by Mach Three out of the Village Jiffy mare Taylorlane Action gears up for her 2017 campaign, Banca is setting his sights on redemption in the Matchmaker Series. The only black mark on her record last year, she finished last of eight in the series final in 2016. “There’d been other races last year that she was just too far back and had no chance, but she was still good. But the final of the Matchmaker, she just wasn’t good that night,” Banca explained. “I think I know her better now. She ended the year last year very strong. She wasn’t tired and she got a little break. I think she’s the best horse in there.” Mach It A Par appeared on the racetrack for the first time since winning a Filly and Mare Open Handicap at Yonkers December 16 when she went behind the gate for a qualifier Saturday, February 11. With the earplugs still in, she finished second, pacing her mile in 1:55 and posting a final quarter of :27.2. Driver Jason Bartlett was satisfied with the effort. “Going into the qualifier, obviously you just want to qualify, get a good run in her, make the last quarter her best quarter,” he explained. “Everything worked out pretty well. Just trying to get a good line, not overdoing it, and just having her hit their best stride at the wire; I think that’s the main goal.” Although he’s grown accustomed to her and paired up with her for several of her victories last year, like Banca, Bartlett’s first impression of Mach It A Par was lackluster. “To watch her score down and even sitting behind her, you would never think she does what she does,” Bartlett said. “She’s small, she’s going slow, she’s half -galloping, half-pacing. When you turn her in front of the gate, her attitude changes and she’s very willing. She loves her job.” Mach It A Par’s 2017 campaign will mirror last year’s: She’ll contest the Bluechip Matchmaker Series and the Filly and Mare Opens at Yonkers, but won’t travel for other stakes due to her tendency to tie up. Although Banca isn’t one to push a horse in their first start, he is optimistic about Mach It A Par’s chances in her seasonal debut in Friday’s Filly and Mare Open Handicap at Yonkers. “Usually they need a start or two before they’re at their best. I don’t like to train them very hard before they qualify. It’s a long year,” he said. “I know it’s her first start of the year, but she’s a good horse. I expect her to race well.” Mach It A Par will face seven rivals Friday and landed the unusually comfortable post position five. It’s one of the rare occasions she won’t be handicapped by the seven or eight hole. “I don’t know what she’s going to think about having the five hole,” Bartlett joked. “It’s her first start of the year, so obviously I want to give her the best trip I can possibly give her and be as easy as I can on her, but at the same time, put her in a spot to win the race. With the five hole, take off the gate and try to find a helmet to the top of the lane.” Mach It A Par is the 3-1 second choice on the morning line for Friday’s $50,000 sixth race at Yonkers Raceway, trailing 5-2 favorite Bedroomconfessions. Regil Elektra, Arielle Lynn, Empress Deo, Bettor N Better, Wrangler Magic, and Set Me Up complete the field. First post is 7:10pm. by Brandon Valvo for SOA of NY

A shrewdly-driven Mach it a Par (Jordan Stratton, $6.90) prevailed from the pocket Friday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $45,000 harness racing filly and mare Open Handicap Pace. Usually a authentic closer, Mach it a Par-from mandated post position No. 7-was put in play here, and it obviously served her well. She and eight-hole assignee Krispy Apple (Jason Bartlett) both cleared the inside half-dozen ladies, with a three-wide latter making the lead just after a :27.3 opening quarter-mile. Longshot So Nice (Tyler Buter) left into a three-hole, which didn't do much for the cause of pole-sitting Regil Elektra (Dan Dube). The song remained the same at the :57.1 intermission, before Hidden Land (Brent Holland) moved...from seventh. Bedroomconfessions (Scott Zeron), as the tepid 2-1 fave, was away last and chased that one toward a 1:25.1 three-quarters. Mach it a Par was fidgety in the pocket, extricating it to grab a short lead in and out of the final turn. She then finished is off, winning by 2 lengths in 1:52.3. Hidden Land put in a fine effort, continuing first-up for second, with a needing-room Regil Elektra, Krispy Apple and Moto Moonbeam N (Matt Kakaley) rounding out the payees. Bedroomconfessions was devoid of pace and backpedaled to last. For second choice Mach it a Par, a 6-year-old daughter of Mach Three co-owned by D'Elegance Stable IX, Carmen Iannacone, T L P & Gandolfo Stables and trained by Rich Banca, it was her 13th win in 31 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $64, the triple returned $250 and the superfecta paid $1,143. Yonkers' 2016 live season concludes with cards Saturday (first post 7:10 PM) and Sunday (first post 1 PM). A reminder that there's no simulcasting Dec. 19th through 28th, inclusive and the '17 season begins Sunday (post time TBA, dates pending approval of New York State Gaming Commission). Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Friday, December 2, 2016 - Mach it a Par (Jordan Stratton, $11.40) uncoiled her usual late rush Friday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $45,000 harness racing filly and mare Open Handicap Pace. Beating only a breaker for much of the mile, Mach it a Par - from post position No. 7 stormed home when it counted. She whipped a lane-finding, 17-10 fave Bedroomconfessions (Scott Zeron) by three-quarters of a length in 1:53.2, with pace-setting Krispy Apple (Jason Bartlett) faltering late to third. It was Krispy Apple leaving from outside her seven rivals, having to go wide around that early misbehave of Moma's Got a Gun (Brent Holland) before securing the throne. After intervals of :27.4, :57.1 and 1:25, Krispy Apple had a couple of lengths into the lane, but tired in search of a fifth consecutive victory. A first-up Regil Elektra (George Brennan) and Village Jessica (Dan Dube) rounded out the payees. For third choice Mach it a Pair, a 6-year-old daughter of Mach Three co-owned by D'Elegance Stable IX, Carmen Iannacone, T L P & Gandolfo Stables and trained by Rich Banca, it was her 12th win in 37 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $33, the triple returned $124 and the superfecta paid $414. Frank Drucker

On Friday night, Velocity Vespa (I Scoot Hanover) did what Velocity Vespa does. The six year old harness racing standout scored a front-running win in the $16,000 Fillies and Mares Open at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The Rich Banca trainee loves the lead and driver Jimmy Devaux worked hard to get her there on a rainy night in the Spa City. Velocity Vespa was parked out early before Devaux went pedal to the metal going to the quarter before the distaffer cleared the lead in a 27.2 opening panel. So Nice (Mark Beckwith) has been getting pocket rides behind Velocity Vespa seemingly for months and once again got the two hole trip in Friday's feature. After a breather in the second quarter, the race's 3-2 betting favorite was put to the test and fought gamely before hanging on to win by the slimmest of margins in 1:54.3. Truth And Liberty (Stephane Bouchard) flew home and came up just shy of the victory as the runner up while So Nice earned the show spot. For Velocity Vespa, it was her incredible 18th win in 28 seasonal tries. The exacta and triple paid pretty well considering it was just a six horse field as the exotics returned $23.60 (exacta) and $41.40 (triple). Velocity Vespa is well on her way to being named Filly and Mare Pacer of the Year at Saratoga as the winning machine has now tallied six victories in the local Open despite not making her seasonal debut until July. Live racing continues on Saturday night at Saratoga with a first post time set for 6:45pm. Mike Sardella

YONKERS, NY, Friday, October 21, 2016 - A from-last Mach it a Par and harness racing driver Brian Sears swept away her sorority sisters Friday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $45,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. It was a repeat performance for Mach it a Par, who cut the mile a week ago. Here, remanded behind the eight-ball (though in one notch after a inside defection), she saw polester Southwind Roulette (George Brennan) either seat 'em or park 'em. Hung for their troubles were Lispatty (Mark MacDonald) and Purrfect Bags (Jordan Stratton), while Jungle Genie N (Brent Holland) was pocketed. After early intervals of :26.2 and :55.4, 13-10 choice Krispy Apple (Jason Bartlett) launched a wide bid going toward a 1:24 three-quarters. She couldn't sustain it, however, as 'Roulette' maintained a tenuous lead into the lane. Enter Mach it a Par, who was last at three-quarters and fifth in and out of the final turn. She rallied widest and fastest, going away by 2½ lengths in 1:52.3. Jungle Genie N closed inside for second, with Moma's Got a Gun (Tyler Buter), Southwind Roulette and Krispy Apple settled for the remainder. For second choice Mach it a Par, a 6-year-old daughter of Mach Three co-owned by D'Elegance Stable IX, Carmen Iannacone, T L P & Gandolfo Stables and trained by Rich Banca, it was her 11th win in 33 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $94, with the triple returning $667. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Friday, October 14, 2016 - Odds-on harness racing favorite Mach it a Par (Brian Sears, $2.80) took advantage of a generous getaway locale Friday night, easily winning Yonkers Raceway's $45,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. In play from post position No. 5 (after winning the 5-through-8 draw), she wasted no time claiming her territory. Mach it a Par worked around Regil Elektra (Joe Bongiorno), then started what became a two-speed number (:27.4, :57.2, 1:25.1, 1:52.2). The final margin was a handy length-and-a-quarter, with Jungle Genie N (Brent Holland) a best-of-rest third. Al Raza N (Mark MacDonald) and Jonsie Jones (Tyler Buter) rounded out the payees. For Mach it a Pair, a 6-year-old daughter of Mach Three co-owned by D'Elegance Stable IX, Carmen Iannacone, T L P & Gandolfo Stables and trained by Rich Banca, it was her 10th win (29th lifetime) in 32 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $10.90, with the triple returning $61.50. Saturday's rare day card (first post 1:10 PM) is highlighted by the million-dollar International Trot. Ten of the world's best trotters test the mile-and-a-quarter distance. U-S representatives Hannelore Hanover (Yannick Gingras), Resolve (Ake Svanstedt) and Obrigado (MacDonald) start from post position Nos.1, 2 and 6, respectively. The International goes as race six as part of the 13-race card, which also features a pair of $250,000 Invitationals, led by Bit of a Legend N and Wiggle It Jiggleit (posts 1 and 8 in the flat-mile Pace) and Barn Doll and a returning Bee a Magician (posts 1 and 2) in the 1¼-mile Trot). Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Friday, September 30, 2016 - Harness racing favored Mach it a Par (Jason Bartlett, $4.60) was hard-used early and hardly-used late Friday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's soggy $45,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. In play from her assigned post position No. 6, Mach it a Par was out into the second turn before finally making the lead. She did so from Secret's Out N (Tyler Buter) after that one threw down a 27-second opening quarter-mile. From there, it turned into a two-speed number (:55.4, 1:24.3, 1:52.3), with Mach it a Par easily prevailing by 3¾ lengths. Sell a Bit N (Jordan Stratton) was a first-up third, with Devil Child (Dan Dube) and Al Raza N (Eric Abbatiello) grabbing the minors. For Mach it a Pair, a 6-year-old daughter of Mach Three co-owned by D'Elegance Stable IX, Carmen Iannacone, T L P & Gandolfo Stables and trained by Rich Banca, it was her ninth win in 30 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $17.40, with the triple returning $63. Frank Drucker

Velocity Vespa (I Scoot Hanover) continued her sensational 2016 harness racing campaign on Friday night at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The Richard Banca-trained mare recorded win number 17 on the season as she went coast to coast in the $16,000 Fillies and Mares Open. Velocity Vespa is a dominant force when she makes the lead but has been a non-factor when having to come from off the pace. That trend continued on Friday night when the six year old mare marched out to the early lead in a first quarter of 27.1 and never looked back. Facing a bid from the first over favorite Mosquito Blue Chip (Bruce Aldrich Jr), Velocity Vespa dug in and put that one away turning for home. So Nice (Austin Siegelman), maybe the most consistent force in the Friday feature this year, closed sharply up the inside and finished second. She has now been the runner up in four consecutive tries in the local Open. Velocity Vespa's 17th seasonal score came in 1:53.1. The race's second choice in the wagering at odds of 8-5, Velocity Vespa led an exacta that paid $26.40 and a triple that returned $69.50 in the six horse feature. The standout distaffer was piloted to the win by Jimmy Devaux. Live racing continues on Saturday night with a first post time set for 6:45pm. Mike Sardella

Velocity Vespa (I Scoot Hanover) went coast to coast to capture the Friday feature at Saratoga Casino Hotel. After being claimed in July by trainer Rich Banca, Velocity Vespa rattled off three consecutive wins in the Fillies and Mares Open at the Spa. The last of those victories came in a dazzling 1:51.3, a track record for a pacing mare at the Spa. The six year old distaffer didn't factor in last week's Open despite being the odds-on favorite but returned to the winner's circle after wiring the field in Friday's $16,000 feature. So Nice (Mark Beckwith) sat the pocket and finished second while Super Soph (Frank Coppola Jr) earned the show spot. Velocity Vespa's 16th win of the season came over a sloppy track in 1:53.4 on Friday night. Returning $4.90 to win, Velocity Vespa, who was driven to victory by Jimmy Devaux, led an exacta and triple that came back $15.20 and $77.50, respectively. Live racing continues on Saturday night at Saratoga with a 6:45pm first post. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

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