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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  

Velocity Vespa (I Scoot Hanover) became the fastest lady pacer in the history of Saratoga Casino Hotel on Friday night as the Rich Banca-trained harness racing mare scored her third consecutive win in the local Fillies and Mares Open. Banca claimed the six year old distaffer last month and the mare who had won 22 times in the last year and a half has added three more to her tally after a few dominant efforts in the $15,000 ladies' Open. Velocity Vespa surged out to the lead from her assigned outside post position on Friday and set brisk fractions while cutting the mile. The standout mare went to the quarter in 27.2 and the half in 55.4. Her sizzling speed display didn't end there as the winning machine paced through three quarters in 1:23.2 before hitting the wire first in 1:51.3. The final time is the fastest for any female pacer in the 75 year history of Saratoga, besting the mark of 1:52 which was owned by Darlin's Delight, a three year old filly when she set the mark, and So Nice, who held the record for aged pacing mares. So Nice was the runner up to Velocity Vespa in the Friday feature to complete an exacta behind the even money favorite that paid $14.20. Happily Ever After (Frank Coppola Jr) earned the show spot to complete the triple that came back $87.50. Jimmy Devaux drove Velocity Vespa to her record setting score on a night in which he piloted three winners. Live racing continues on Saturday night with a 7:05pm first post. Mike Sardella  

Velocity Vespa (I Scoot Hanover) scored her second consecutive win in the Friday feature at Saratoga Casino Hotel as the Rich Banca-trained mare cruised to a wire-to-wire harness racing victory in the $15,000 Fillies and Mares Open. The six year old distaffer was claimed by Banca two weeks ago and went coast to coast in 1:52.1 in her debut for her new connections last week. On Friday night, Velocity Vespa was the race's 1-2 betting favorite and cruised out to the early lead in a first quarter paced in 27.3. Reinsman Jimmy Devaux gave the mare a bit of a second quarter breather before she was met with the challenge of a first over Bazooka Terror (Billy Dobson). Velocity Vespa paced away from her rivals in a 27.3 final quarter and scored a decisive four length victory, stopping the timer in 1:52.2. Bazooka Terror was the runner up in the Friday feature for the seventh time this season while Campanile (Austin Siegelman) earned the show spot. For Velocity Vespa, it was win number 13 on the season in twenty tries following a 2015 campaign in which she won eleven times. Live racing continues on Saturday night at Saratoga with first post time set for 7:05pm. Mike Sardella

Velocity Vespa (I Scoot Hanover) scored impressively in Friday's harness racing feature at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The six year old mare was claimed last week by trainer Rich Banca and debuted in the $15,000 local Fillies and Mares Open on Friday night. Velocity Vespa sped out to the lead in a sizzling opening quarter paced in 26.1 and didn't back things down much cruising through a first half in 55.1. Rival Bazooka Terror (Billy Dobson) moved first over on the leader at the half and those two squared off throughout the final lap before Velocity Vespa hit the wire first in 1:52.1. Bazooka Terror battled gamely to be the runner up in the Friday feature while the race's favorite So Nice (Mark Beckwith) had to settle for minor spoils finishing third. Velocity Vespa, who was piloted on Friday night by Jimmy Devaux, won for the twelfth time this year following a campaign in 2015 in which she scored eleven victories. The winner returned $7.10 to win and led an exacta and triple that paid $53 and $185, respectively. Live racing continues on Saturday night with a first post time of 7:05pm. Mike Sardella

YONKERS, NY, Friday, July 8, 2016 - From last, harness racing favorite Mach it a Par (Brian Sears, $5) made it three wins in succession Friday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $45,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. Watching the floor show early from what turned into an outside post position No. 7 (8-holer Krispy Apple was again scratched-sick), Mach it a Par saw Loveineveryminute (Dan Dube) and Al Raza N (Mark MacDonald) alternate (:27.3, :56.1) leading the way. The latter continued through a 1:25.1 three-quarters, not overly fast for these ladies. Mach it a Par found herself chasing those pokey fractions, operating from third-over and sixth into the lane. She closed widest and fastest, whipping an off-the-layoff Sell a Bit N (Jordan Stratton) by a hard-charging head in 1:53.1. Hidden Land (Brent Holland) was a good, first-up third, with Al Raza N and Lispatty (Steve Smith) rounding out the payees. For Mach it a Par, a 6-year-old daughter of Mach Three co-owned by D'Elegance Stable IX, Carmen Iannacone, T L P and the Gandolfo Stables and trained by Richard Banca, it was her sixth win in 19 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $40.20, with the triple returning $142.50. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Friday, July 1, 2016 -- Harness racing favored Mach it a Par (Brian Sears, $4.70) read the memo just in time Friday night. winning Yonkers Raceway's $45,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. Operating second-over from post position No. 5, Mach it a Par watched as pole-assigned Hidden Land (Brent Holland) stuffed Regil Elekrtra (Mark Macdonald) in behind, while second choice Secrets Out N (George Brennan) was away third. Hidden Land (:28, :56.2) was unchallenged until Secrets Out N moved in Turn Three. However, she couldn't get close in and out of a 1:24.1 three-quarters, with Mach it a Par gapping that one. Hidden Land owned a length-and-a-quarter lead into the lane, but started to weaken. Mach it a Par, though drifting, found her best stride. She rolled past a tiring leader, then whipped Regil Elektra by a length in 1:52.1. Hidden Land, a ground-saving Anndrovette (Jason Bartlett) and Sheeza Shark N (Tyler Buter) settled for the remainder. For Mach it a Par, a 6-year-old daughter of Mach Three co-owned by D'Elegance Stable IX, Carmen Iannacone, T L P and the Gandolfo Stables and trained by Richard Banca, it was her fifth win in 18 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $45.80, with the triple returning $195. Frank Drucker

Favored Mach it a Par (Brian Sears, $4.40) saved her best for last Friday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's harness racing $45,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. Unhurried from post position No.3, Mach it a Par watched as outside numbers Anndrovette (Jason Bartlett) and Tessa Seelster (George Brennan) lined 'em up early. The former led through early substations of :27.4 and :56.2. It was Know it All (Eric Abbatiello) moving from fourth, with the people's choice behind the one. Anndrovette continued to lead in and out of a 1:24 three-quarters, with a length-and-a-half margin entering the lane. However, she was done soon after, with Mach it a Par-fifth turning for home-going fastest when it counted. She rolled home by a length-and-a-quarter in a season's-best 1:52. Second went to Tessa Seelster, who offered good pace at both ends, with a belated Al Raza N (Jordan Stratton), Lookout Stokk Zone (Tyler Buter) and Anndrovette settling for the remainder. For Mach it a Par, a 6-year-old daughter of Mach Three co-owned by D'Elegance Stable IX, Carmen Iannacone, T L P and the Gandolfo Stables and trained by Richard Banca, it was her third win in 15 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $16.80, with the triple returning $65. Saturday night's card finds the Raceway hosting a pair of premier stakes events for 3-year-olds in the $300,000 Art Rooney Pace (sixth race) and its companion event for the lasses, the $100,000 Lismore (fourth race). The 12-race program begins at the usual 7:10 PM . YONKERS’ SATURDAY PICK 5 FEATURES $3,500 CARRYOVER A friendly reminder from Yonkers Raceway that Saturday evening’s (May 28) Pick 5 wager begins with a carryover of $3,525.24. The Pick 5 is a 50-cent base wager comprising races 7 through 11 during every racing program. It has no consolation payoff, meaning if no one selects all five winners (as was the case Friday evening), the entire pool (minus takeout) moves to the next program. Frank Drucker

Pocketed Mach it a Par (Brian Sears, $7) edged past pace-setting Tessa Seelster (George Brennan) in mid-stretch Friday (the 13th) night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $40,000 harness racing filly and mare Open Handicap Pace. The field, pared to a half-dozen after outside assignee Krispy Apple came up injured, saw "Tessa"-last week's victress-once again do her damage on the lead. The 3-4 choice worked around pole-sitting Mach it a Par, then led through moist intervals of :28.1 and :57.1. Down the backside, Mosquito Blue Chip (Dan Dube) made a brief move from third, then ducked back in, leaving those honors to Pasultimatedelite N (Jordan Stratton). That one challenged "Tessa" in and out of a 1:25 three-quarters, with the leader owning a length-and-a-half advantage into the lane. However, Mach it a Par was sizing her up and picking her off, slipping out and winning by that same length-and-a-half in a season's-best 1:52.2. Mosquito Blue Chip was third, with Pasultimatedelite N and Know it All (Eric Abbatiello) earning the final two envelopes. Regil Elektra (Tyler Buter) brought up the rear. When the dust settled, the six lasses finished in post position order. 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 & The Ganfolfo Stables and trained by Rich Banca, it was her second win in 13 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $11.40, with the triple returning $29.60. Friday evening's $30,000 Filly and Mare Preferred Handicap Pace was won by favored Rock N Roll Xample (Sears, $4.40) in 1:53.4. Frank Drucker  

Yonkers Raceway's harness racing Blue Chip Matchmaker series began Friday night, with the sport's best pacing mares embarking upon a six-week odyssey. Three consecutive, $40,000 events comprised the opening round. The series starter saw Al Raza N (Jordan Stratton, $15.20) snap 9-10 fave Krispy Apple (Jason Bartlett) right nearing the wire in a season's-best 1:52.3. Hazmatt (Brian Sears) was third, with Delightful Dragon (Brent Holland) and Skippin' By (Yannick Gingras) settling for the remainder. It was a certified scrum early with Krispy Apple making the lead by looping Regil Elektra (Tim Tetrick). Regil Elektra was out again, winning the :27.1 opening quarter-mile. Soon after, Sandbetweenurtoes (Jody Jamieson), having dropped in third, made her second move, leading at a :55.4 intermission. Down the backside, Krispy Apple took out and third and went by a defenseless Sandbetweenurtoes with the greatest of ease. The people's preference opened 3¼ lengths by the 1:23.4 three-quarters and had a couple of lengths entering the lane. However, she couldn't close the sale. Al Raza N, unhurried from post position No. 2, moved from third-over (second-up after Krispy Apple cleared the lead), continuing to make up ground. Advancing to third in and out of the final turn, she wore down her target by a half-length. The roster was rounded out by a shuffled-out Regil Elektra and a dropping-anchor Sandbetweenurtoes. For fifth choice Al Raza N, a 6-year-old Down Under daughter of Gotta Go Cullect owned by Durazzano Stable and trained by Agostino Abbatiello, it was her second win in three seasonal starts. The exacta paid $44, with the triple returning $316. Friday's second Matchmaker event saw rank outsider Mach it a Par (George Brennan, $81) do her best Middle Tennessee State impression, picking off defending series champion Venus Delight by a nose in 1:53.2. Venus Delight had engaged, then overhauled, 4-5 fave Secrets Out N (Sears). That one, after getting away third, controlled the crowd (:27.4, :57, 1:25.2) until early in the lane before faltering. Mach it a Par, from post No. 6, operated from second-over. She and Venus Delight battled for the tiara, with the former just getting to the latter. Yagonnakissmeornot (Dan Dube) lost some contact in the pocket but managed third, with Sell a Bit N (Stratton) and Cheyenne Robin (Corey Callahan) settling for the minor moolah. Secrets Out N faded to sixth. For Mach it a Par, a 6-year-old daughter of Mach Three co-owned by D'Elegance Stable IX, Carmine Iannacone, T L P & Gandolfo Stables and trained by Richard Banca, it was her first win in six seasonal starts. The exacta paid $721, with the triple returning $1,699. Mach it a Par, off a sale/barn change, had been off nearly four weeks (with a "sick line" in between). The evening final series event was won by a down-the-road Lady Shadow (Callahan, $7), who overcame an outside post No. 7 and widened late. Lady Shadow had to wait her turn, finally getting around 7-5 favorite Gallie Bythe Beach (Matt Kakaley). From there, she had little issues (:27.4, :56.3, 1:25, 1:53.4), prevailing by 2¼ lengths. "Gallie" chased from the pocket and saved second, with Jungle Genie N (Bartlett), first leader Inittowinafortune (Tyler Buter) and For the Ladies N (Stratton) grabbing the smaller envelopes. For second choice Lady Shadow, a 5-year-old daughter of Shadow Play co-owned by David Kryway, Carl Atley, Edwin Gold & BFJ Stable and trained by Josh Green, it was a season-debuting victory.. The exacta paid $17, the triple returned $74.50 and the superfecta paid $568. Saturday night's card brings the opening round of the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series. Six, $50,000 divisions (races 4,5,6,7, 9 and 10) each feature seven Free-For-Allers. YONKERS’ SATURDAY PICK 5 FEATURES $3,500 CARRYOVER A friendly reminder from Yonkers Raceway that Saturday night’s (March 19) Pick 5 wager begins with a tidy carryover of $3,500.50. The Pick 5 is a 50-cent base wager comprising races 7 through 11 during every racing program (or earlier if less than 11 races). It has no consolation payoff, meaning if no one selects all five winners (as was the case Friday evening), the entire pool (minus takeout) moves to the next program.  Saturday’s gimmick includes the last three divisions in the opening round of the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series (races 7,9 and 10). Frank Drucker

A banner day for the sport of amateur harness racing climaxed when "Lady Monica" Banca and Bob "the Headhunter" Hechkoff each won their respective $6000 divisions of the CKG Billings Amateur Driving Series at Yonkers Raceway on Thursday night (May 28). Banca won on the betting card while Hechkoff's triumph came in a non-wagering trot. Earlier in the day at, Monticello Raceway, "Hot-Handed Hannah" Miller won two amateur events, a NAADA trot and a Catskill Amateur Series pace, marking the first time that amateur drivers--and there were four-- did double duty racing at one track in the afternoon and at another in the evening. Once again Banca's victory was on the betting card at Yonkers Raceway and it came with the same horse (Meadowview Arny) that she used to defeat a team of visiting French amateurs in an international competition a month ago. As she did against the visiting French, Banca wasn't content to follow anyone and moved her horse to the lead after getting looped on the first turn. Once on the engine she kept up the strong pace and she and Meadowview Arny trotted through fractions of :29, :58.4 and 1:28.2 before going on to a length victory over Wygant Prince and driver "Coach Paul" Minore. Third place went to Rev It Now driven by Hannah Miller who was looking for a perfect day of three wins in three drives that day. Banca, Norwegian by birth, notched her second driving victory in five seasonal starts. The winner is owned by Joe Faraldo and Chris Wittstruck and trained by Richard Banca. He paid $3.40 for win. In the non-wagering split Hechkoff, as he usually does, sent his trotter, No Recess, to the lead from the seven hole and they had two lengths on the field as they passed the first stanza. Hechkoff seemed comfortable on the lead but as the field headed to the halfway point David "Proud Poppa" Glasser pulled the three hole with Csi What's My Name when he heard Dave "Steady As" Yarock coming with Rompaway Alvin. Glasser's trotter and No Recess and side by side around the paddock turn and up the backside and they were still one-two heading for home. But No Recess proved stronger and turned back Csi What's My Name for a one length victory in a 2:01.1 clocking. Mark "Shoprite" Schullstrom picked up the show dough with Catalyst. Hechkoff's RBH Veentures owns the winner whose trained by Kyle Spagnola.For Hechkoff it marked his seventh winning drive of the season and 61st of his 15 year amateur driving career. by John Manzi for the Billings Series  

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