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YONKERS, NY, Saturday, February 15, 2020 -- Favored Swansea (Austin Siegelman, $3.70) and Ostro Hanover (Dan Dube, $7.50) both lasted on the lead Saturday night (Feb. 15th), winning Yonkers Raceway's pair of $40,000 Open Handicaps. Swansea, without a sub-par performance in forever, won the post position Nos.6-thru-8 draw in the week's marquee trot. He didn't squander it, working around Now's the Moment (Jason Bartlett) and leading through early intervals of 28 seconds and a :58.2 intermission. It was Melady's Monet (George Brennan), who had found a four-hole seat, then moving again. 'Melady' engaged Swansea toward a 1:26.1 three-quarters, but in all fairness did not get that close at first. Hill of a Horse (Brent Holland) was lurking wide from second-over when he misbehaved. Meanwhile, Swansea opened a pair of lengths in and out of the turn...and would need it. Swansea was tested late by a resurgent Melady's Monet before holding sway by a head in 1:54.4. Arabella's Cadet (Jordan Stratton) closed for third, with Barry Black (Joe Bongiorno) and Lean Hanover (Jim Marohn Jr.) settling for the minors. For Swansea, a 5-year-old Swan for All gelding co-owned (as Triple D Stables) by (trainer) Scott DiDomenico and Dana Parham, it was his third win in five seasonal starts (career 23-for-50). The exacta paid $17, with the triple (three wagering favorites in order) returned $57.50. Swansea Ostro Hanover disposed of his rivals in the weekly adult-table pace. From post No. 5, he vaulted over Tookadiveoffdipper (Stratton) and finished what he started (:27.2; :56.3; 1:24, season's-best 1:51.4). Jack's Legend N (Jason Bartlett) saved to the lane, then closed well for second. Ostro Hanover, who owned a length-and-three-quarter lead into the lane, prevailed by a diminishing half-length. Tookadiveoffdipper, wide-down-the-backside Trump Nation (Brennan) and a returning-to-town Harambe Deo (Marohn Jr.) came away with the small envelopes, while 17-10 choice Italian Delight N (Holland) came first-up and faded to sixth. For third choice Ostro Hanover, a 5-year-old Betterthancheddar gelding co-owned by Go Fast, B&I and VIP Internet Stables & Kapildeo Singh and trained by Rene Allard, it was his second win in three '20 tries. The exacta paid $21.80, with the triple returned $111.50 and the superfecta paid $433. Ostro Hanover Frank Drucker

YONKERS, N.Y. – When it comes to the success of New Zealand-bred Italian Delight in the U.S., Darran Cassar says there are no secrets. Italian Delight is 3-for-4 since making his American debut in mid-January and the harness racing trainer says the addition of Lasix has been a key in the horse living up to his potential. “Lasix helps him a lot and he’s just a professional horse,” Cassar said. “Nothing bothers him. He makes my life, everyone’s life a lot easier. He’s good-gaited. He just does everything right. No headpoles and he wants to do it. I have to give credit to the horse, really. He’s made my job easy because he really doesn’t take a lot of work. It’s just a matter of keeping him happy.” Cassar began watching Italian Delight in 2018 when an agent informed Cassar the Bettor’s Delight gelding was for sale. Cassar’s interest piqued after seeing Italian Delight beat Seaswift Joy in Auckland April 6, 2018. However, at that time Cassar felt the price was too high and Italian Delight was sold to Australia. “The first thing is he’s a Bettor’s Delight. Usually I’m a big fan. They usually make good racehorses once they’re over here,” Cassar said. “If you go back through his form in New Zealand, he actually beat a horse called Seaswift Joy. She’s a good Open mare over here for Tony Alagna. He sat on her back and beat her fair and square and that was when I started paying attention.” Italian Delight’s Australian performances lacked luster. He only won two races in 26 starts Down Under between Oct. 20, 2018 and Nov. 23, 2019. Cassar again had the opportunity to purchase Italian Delight, and this time he and owner Windermere Stable took the chance, despite a late modification to the deal. “When you’re buying them for the right price, you can always take a chance on a horse like that,” Cassar said. “He was up in the classes, in the Opens or just below it, and he was still functioning without being as good as he probably could have been. If he was more money, maybe I wouldn’t have taken a chance, but I’ve bought a few horses off the same trainer before and he’s usually steered me in the right direction.” Italian Delight arrived in Cassar’s barn in early December. He looked the perfect size for a Bettor’s Delight, but was just OK in his first training trip. Cassar’s experience told him the horse had a bleeding problem. “The second time (training), I gave him Lasix and he was a totally different horse. Ever since then, we really haven’t trained him too hard because of the bleeding situation. It just seems to be working,” Cassar said. “We took care of the bleeding and got him on a program where we don’t stress him, he doesn’t injure himself during the week and we just race him from there.” After that second training trip, Cassar knew the deal they had struck to buy Italian Delight would pay off. “We had him bought and then they came back and said, ‘no, we want (more),” Cassar recalled. “Usually, I walk away from things like that, but I told the owner, you know what, let’s just buy him. I texted him a week before the qualifier and said, ‘that $5,000 you just spent is the best $5,000 you will spend for a long time.’ ” Italian Delight qualified Jan. 4 at the Meadowlands, a couple weeks ahead of schedule. With Dexter Dunn driving, Italian Delight finished fourth and qualified in 1:55.4 with a :27.0 final quarter. One week later, Italian Delight made his pari-mutuel debut in a $16,000 overnight at the Swamp and kicked home in :25.4 to score an off-the-pace 1:50.1 victory. “He never kicked the earplugs. I think it was a bit of a drop in competition from what he was racing, but he was a pretty good closer back in Australia and the race setup right for him,” Cassar said. “I give credit to the horse because he’s so professional. There’s no fancy equipment, no headpoles, he just goes on the track and wants to do it. When they don’t stress themselves, it makes a big difference.” Italian Delight stepped up in class Jan. 18 and doubled up when making another late move, but was only third Feb. 1 in a $37,500 Meadowlands overnight when he raced on the lead. “He’s definitely better closing. I think we saw that at the Meadowlands when he had to cut that mile,” Cassar said. “Saying that, I don’t think he was quite 100 percent that night. He was sick after that second win and I just don’t think was quite right for that Meadowlands start when he ran third.” Last week (Feb. 8), Italian Delight made his Yonkers Raceway debut in a $27,000 overnight. After warming Italian Delight up, Cassar felt confident when handing the lines to Brent Holland. “I spoke to Brent before the race and said, ‘listen, nothing fancy, just take him off the gate, first-over and he’ll win,’ and I was pretty confident when I told him that.” Everything went according to plan as Holland watched from 5 lengths behind as Anythingforlove set the tempo in :27.4 and :56.4. Holland tipped Italian Delight first-over as the field straightened away into the stretch the first time around. Italian Delight advanced willingly and drew even with Anythingforlove through three-quarters in 1:24.1. Racing around the final turn, Holland sat statuesque as Italian Delight headed Anythingforlove. In the lane, Holland put the whip on Italian Delight’s tail and the horse took off, leaving his competition 2 1/2 lengths behind in a 1:52.4 mile. “He got around Yonkers perfect,” Cassar said. “He just did it pretty easy in the end. It was a perfect situation where he just got the job done. There was no traffic, he just got to do his own thing and he was good enough to do it. It was a stress-free race considering he had to go first-over in 52.” Although the MGM Borgata Pacing Series, formerly the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series at Yonkers Raceway, wasn’t initially on Cassar’s radar, the trainer and owner made the decision this week to nominate Italian Delight. “It’s a tough series for a horse that just came over considering he’s only had four or five starts since he’s been here and there’s good horses in there,” Cassar said. “But after we spoke about it, there may not be another place to race. The other tracks aren’t all open, plus they’re not really going to fill Opens, so if you don’t go to the Levy, you really don’t have any other places to race. Is he good enough? I think so, but we’re just going to have to manage him the right way. It’s a tough series. But as of now, he’s going to be in there.” Italian Delight will face his toughest test to date Saturday night (Feb. 15) in the $40,000 Open Handicap Pace. He and Holland will start from post three in the pacing feature and are 7-1 on the morning line. The competition includes Trump Nation, who exits a 1:49.4 victory in the Meadowlands Preferred Feb. 8. George Brennan will drive the 5-year-old from post seven for Ron Burke. Jack’s Legend won last week’s local pacing feature at odds-on and will look to repeat from post six for Jason Bartlett and Rich Banca. Ostro Hanover’s win 4-race streak snapped with last week’s runner up finish to Jack’s Legend; the Rene Allard trainee will look to start a new streak from post five. Joesstar Of Mia, Harambe Deo, and Tookadiveoffdipper complete the lineup. If Cassar has his way, Italian Delight will make a first-over move again and try to duplicate last week’s win. “I’ll leave it up to Brent now that he’s driven the horse once. He knows the competition,” Cassar said. “Personally, I’d like to see the same thing. It’s tougher competition, it’s probably going to be the toughest he’s faced. Whatever Brent does, he does. I’m sure the horse can be used a little bit early, but after last week, if it ain’t broke, I wouldn’t fix it. “Every week you just don’t know who’s going to show up. It’s the Open, that’s just how it is. If he doesn’t face (Trump Nation) this week, he’s going to have to face him in a month in the Levy. He’s pretty exciting right now, but if that’s his limit, that’s his limit,” Cassar said. “We’ll just take care of the horse. He’s been good to us so far, we want to do the right thing by him. I’ve got a lot of horses there now that are 9, 10, 11 years old that are still racing because we do the right thing by them. They show up to Yonkers week in and week out and that can be a little bit tough on them, but if you do the right thing, they can last a long time and make a lot of money.” Saturday night’s card also features the $40,000 Open Handicap Trot. Yonkers Raceway features live harness racing Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. First post time is 7:05 p.m. For entries to the races, click here. By Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY

YONKERS, NY, Friday, February 14, 2020--I'mprincessgemma A (Joe Bongiorno, $6.20) was both widest and fastest Friday night (Feb. 14th), winning Yonkers Raceway's $40,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. Sandy Win (Eric Goodell) fronted the fray, doing so through early intervals of :27.1 and :56.3. Robyn Camden (Jim Marohn Jr.), who had left into a three-hole as the 19-10 favorite, made a second move to go after the leader. Western New York standout HP Sissy (Dan Dube) tried to match strides with 'Robyn," but gapped. It was Sandy Win maintaining her advantage in and out of a 1:25 three-quarters, Meanwhile, I'mprincessgemma A, away last from outside her five (after a scratch) rivals, was saving ground by the pylons and slipping out down the backside right behind Betterb Chevron N (Jordan Stratton). Shady Win owned a length lead off the final turn, but was about to get swallowed up. 'Gemma,' fifth entering the lane, launched past everyone. She widened to win by 2¾ lengths in 1:53.4. Shady Win did hold off the rest to and save second, with Robyn Camden and Betterb Chevron N inseparable for third. Wishy Washy Girl (Brent Holland) picked off the final pay envelope, while 'Sissy' backpedaled to last among the half-dozen in a rare poor effort.   For season-debuting third choice I'mprincessgemma A, a 6-year-old Down Under daughter of Village Jolt co-owned by her chauffeur, trainer Jennifer Bongiorno, Steve Manzi and Wish Me Luck Stables, she entered off an eight-win, $100,000 season in 2019. The exacta paid $19.80, the triples returned $34.20 (Betterb Chevron N third) and $23.40 (Robyn Camden third) and the superfectas paid $60 (Betterb Chevron N third) and $49.60 (Robyn Camden third). A friendly reminder from Yonkers Raceway that Saturday evening’s (Feb. 15th) Pick 5 wager starts with a carryover of $3,899.15 and a $15,000 guaranteed pool. The guarantee has been approved by the New York State Gaming Commission and is conjunction with the U.S. Trotting Association’s Strategic Wagering Program. The Pick 5 is a 50-cent base wager comprising races 5 through 9 Saturday night. It has no consolation payoff, meaning if no one selects all five winners (as was the case Friday night), the entire pool (minus takeout) moves to the next racing program. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, N.Y. – When HP Sissy’s name appeared in the entries for the $40,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace at Yonkers Raceway Friday night (Feb. 14), trainer Mike Ohol’s colleagues on the Western New York circuit voiced their skepticism. “A couple guys up there were telling me, ‘what are you going down there for,’ ” Ohol said, but the harness racing trainer remained steadfast. “You don’t know until you try it.” Ohol campaigned HP Sissy to a 13-win season in 2019. The Up The Credit mare also placed 14 times and earned $116,493 while making the majority of her 37 starts at Buffalo and Batavia Raceways. All but two of her starts last year came at the Open level. Ohol acquired HP Sissy as a project in January 2019. Although the mare won the $50,000 Coupe des Eleveurs at Hippodrome 3R as a 3-year-old in 2016 and competed on the Grand Circuit in the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series as a 5-year-old, HP Sissy went just 2-for-27 in 2018 racing for Rene Allard and Benoit Baillargeon. “She was racing up in Canada and we thought she would be a good buy because she was down in class and she showed a lot of back class,” Ohol said. “If we could get her and turn her around, we thought she could be a heck of a horse.” Despite his high aspirations, Ohol’s first impression of HP Sissy could only be described in expletives. She was high-strung, difficult to handle, and hard to control on the track. However, over time, Ohol and HP Sissy formed a bond. “The more I started working with her and watching her - I pay attention to everything they do in the barn. I feel a horse out like they feel you out - we just seemed to click and once I turned her one time, I said, ‘my god, this horse is pretty fast.’ She just goes.” Ohol’s formula for success with HP Sissy is patience and care. His strategy is focused on managing HP Sissy’s natural speed and not overtraining her. “I don’t let anybody else jog her, I do it all myself. I don’t want anybody else roughing her up. When she gets in an attitude, she just wants to take off on you. I can keep her a little more relaxed and when she gets too hot, I just take her off the track and walk her around a little bit and take her in the barn. She’s got a routine,” Ohol said. “She’ll get to going in the barn,” he continued. “You have to try to keep her relaxed. Don’t bring too many horses around her, she’s always the first one to eat, otherwise she starts kicking the walls down. She wants to be the queen.” With HP Sissy’s record, she may have earned that right. HP Sissy captured the Filly and Mare Open seven times at Buffalo Raceway from February through July before moving on to Batavia, where she took another four features. Ohol ranks her performance Sept. 18 among her best. Starting from post five in a six-horse field, HP Sissy left around rival Lady London and made the lead entering the backstretch the first time. She led at every call and under Drew Monti pistol grips, kicked away from the field in the final quarter to post a 3-length win in 1:53.3. HP Sissy repeated the effort one week later with a 1:53.4 score. “She went to Batavia, she had two wins in a row,” Ohol said. “She won in 1:53.3 and Drew Monti was driving her and he never let her go. He said, ‘Mike, I don’t know how fast she would have gone if I would have let her go. I was hanging onto her the whole mile and she just pulled away from the field. They couldn’t touch her.’ ” HP Sissy’s biggest win in 2019 came Oct. 4, when she shipped to Yonkers to take a $22,000 overnight in gate-to-wire fashion in 1:54.0 with Dan Dube in the sulky. HP Sissy raced through the end of November and reemerged in a qualifier at Buffalo Raceway Jan. 24, posting a 2:02.3 win over a sloppy track with a 3-second variant. “I gave her a couple weeks off in November, but she’s a hard horse to even turn out because she’s just hard on herself,” Ohol said. “I feel she’s better off jogging a little bit. She seems more happy if she’s out on the track doing things instead of out in the field. If you turn her out, she runs up and down the fence. She just seems happy when she’s on the track and doing her thing.” In HP Sissy’s first start of 2020, the 7-year-old posted a 1:57.0 win in the Buffalo distaff feature Feb. 5. In that effort, HP Sissy dueled with Protect Blue Chip, parking that rival through fractions of :28.0, :57.0, and 1:27.0. While the plugs were pulled on Protect Blue Chip before the half, driver Denny Bucceri didn’t get to work on HP Sissy until passing the three-quarters, kicking out the plugs and going to a right-handed whip. Turning for home, HP Sissy still dealt with Protect Blue Chip while Carly Girl angled three-wide and Lady London looked to the passing lane. Despite the onslaught, HP Sissy held off her challengers by a half-length. With her victory, HP Sissy punched her ticket to the Hilltop. “I was extremely happy with her because a horse left against her and she parked that horse who had just won the week before,” Ohol said. “That’s why I thought, if I’m going to go to Yonkers, this is the time to take her because I feel she’s sharp right now.” HP Sissy will be reunited with Dan Dube and the pair will start from an assigned post one in the Valentine’s Day feature. The pair are 7-1 on the morning line. HP Sissy’s rivals include Robyn Camden, who rides a 4-race win streak for Rene Allard and will start from post five as the 5-2 morning line choice. Imprincessgemma posted a win and two seconds in this class to cap her 2019 season last fall. She returns of a qualifying win at Freehold Feb. 8 in which she utilized a :27.0 final quarter to stop the clock in 1:55.4. She and Joe Bongiorno are 4-1 on the morning line. Sandy Win finished second in this race last week for trainer Chuck Connor, Jr. Eric Goodell will drive from post three as a 4-1 morning line. Cay’s Blessing won a local Preferred in December and started her 2020 campaign with consecutive runner-up finishes in the Filly and Mare Open Handicap for Jason Bartlett and Rich Banca. Wishy Washy Girl and Betterb Chevron complete the lineup. “I’m hoping I do good with (HP Sissy); I don’t want to brag, but I think she’s up to the task to give a good race,” Ohol said. “I trained her a little different this week. I hope I didn’t over-train her. I trained her a couple trips instead of just one. I knew I was going down there and was going to be in kind of tough, so I gave her a little extra this week. I don’t think I overdid it, I just trained her within herself. You don’t have to force her to go, she goes.” Ohol expects Dan Dube to utilize HP Sissy’s early speed from her inside post. “Let me tell you, when that gate opens up, look out. She just goes. She went a quarter in :27 at Saratoga, and that’s a half-mile track. If you do sit in a hole with her and pull her out, you better be ready because as soon as you pull on that right line, she’s in high gear; she wants out.” Ohol said. “The gate opens up and she’s on top by the first turn, usually by a length or two. Dube told me last year when I came down there, he said he loved driving her because when that gate opens, she’s gone. You can get to the front, set the pace, an then they have to catch her. “We’ll see what happens. We’ll see if she’s up to the task. You’re up against the best horses there, but she’s raced against them before and done well.” Yonkers Raceway features live harness racing Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. First post time is 7:05 p.m.  By Brandon Valvo, for the SOA of NY

YONKERS, NY, Monday, February 10, 2019--The deadline for nomination is fast approaching with some of Yonkers Raceway's more popular harness racing stakes and series closing this Saturday (Feb. 15th). Nominations close for the Mlife Reward Pacing Series, Ladies (formerly the Petticoat) and Gents (formerly the Sagamore Hill). The respective series are open to 3- and 4-year-olds who were non-winners of four races and or $50,000 through this past Dec. 1st. This Saturday, the nominations also close for the big boys and big girls. The Borgata Pacing Series (formerly the George Morton Levy Memorial) and Blue Chip Matchmaker annually attract the best Free-for-Allers around. Nomination blanks for all of the above accompany this release and are also available in the nightly racing program, the Raceway's website (www.empirecitycasino.com/racing/) and selected harness print and on-line publications. https://www.empirecitycasino.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/2020-M-Life-Series-Nomination.pdf https://www.empirecitycasino.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/2020-MGM-Borgata-Pacing-Series-Nomination.pdf https://www.empirecitycasino.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Blue-Chip-Matchmaker-Nomination.pdf For further information, please contact the race office at (914) 457-2627. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Monday, February 10, 2020--The second Monday of the month (Feb. 10th) resulted in another admirable Yonkers Raceway harness racing handle. A week after the single-season high ($1,025,349) figure, a total of $982,740 was wagered. The soggy dozen-race card included wins by P L Munson (Renaldo Morales III, $6) in the $16,000, sixth-race pace (1:54.3) and Weona Sizzler A (Jason Bartlett, $3.60) in the $14,500, 10th-race pace (1:54.2). Monday night began the Raceway's $7,500 guarantee Pick 5 pools, which continue each Monday and Tuesday. A total of $11,256 was invested, returning $272.25 for every correct (2/3/3/4/5) combination. Yonkers' Pick 5 remains a 50-cent base wager (races 5 through 9). The Raceway's live schedule continues every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, with first post at 7:05 PM. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, February 8, 2019 -- Popular propositions Jack's Legend N (Jason Bartlett, $3.60) and Swansea (Austin Siegelman, $2.70) did not disappoint Saturday night (Feb. 8th), winning Yonkers Raceway's pair of harness racing $40,000 Open Handicaps. Jack's Legend N took down the weekly adult-table pace in first-over fashion. From post position No. 3 (in one notch after a defection), he saw Tookadiveoffdipper (Brent Holland) pocket Ostro Hanover (Dan Dube) through intervals of :26.2 and :55.3. Jack's Legend N then moved from third, assaulting in earnest at the 1:23.3 three-quarters. Tookadiveoffdipper gave way gradually in and out of the final turn, with Jack's Legend N grinding by. The latter edged away, whipping Ostro Hanover by a length-and-a-half in a season's-best 1:51.4. San Domino A (George Brennan) loomed but flattened, finishing third, with Tookadiveoffdipper and Bettor Memories (Eric Goodell) settling for the remainder. For Jack's Legend N, a 6-year-old Down Under Bettor's Delight gelding co-owned by (trainer) Richard Banca and James & Barbara Boese, it was his first win in three seasonal starts. The exacta paid $18.80, with the triple returning $46.40. Jack's Legend N The week's marquee trot offered minimal suspense, with Swansea--from post No. 4 (also in one place after a scratch)--taking it the distance (:28, :57.4, 1:26.2, 1:54.3). His job was made much easier after Yes (Holland) was totally devoid of trot and Eye ofa Tiger AS (Bartlett) broke. Swansea whipped Melady's Monet (Brennan) by a length, with newly-minted millionaire Smalltownthrowdown (Dube) third. Eye ofa Tiger AS crossed the line fourth, but flipped placings with Yes after the former's extended transgression. For Swansea, a 5-year-old Swan for All gelding co-owned (as Triple D Stables) by (trainer) Scott DiDomenico and Dana Parham, it was his second win in four '20 trues. The exacta paid $13.60, with the triple wagering cancelled due to the abbreviated number starters. Swansea Frank Drucker

YONKERS, N.Y. – On any given day when Soho Lennon comes off the track after training, harness racing trainer Doug Dilloian, Jr. knows there could be a delay in getting back to the barn. Dilloian has trained Soho Lennon since early 2016 and the horse has developed a bond with his conditioner. “He’s easy to fall in love with,” Dilloian said. “When he comes in off the racetrack, when I hook the lines up and go to take the jog cart off, he’ll stop and he’ll rub his head all up and down my back and he’ll do it for four, five, six minutes to the point where sometimes his bridle will come right off.” Around the barn, Soho Lennon rules the roost. He lets his connections know at lunch time he’s ready to eat and he wants to be fed first. Each morning, Soho Lennon goes out in the paddock with barn mate Runrunjimmydunn, and if they aren’t the first two horses out the door, Soho Lennon starts banging on his stall gate and flipping his feed tub over. “He knows he runs the barn,” Dilloian said. And with good reason. Since arriving in the U.S., the Australia-bred Mach Three son has earned $441,380 in Dilloian’s barn for owners David Linker and Howard Perlmutter’s Pit Bull Stable. Soho Lennon had six-figure seasons in each year since his arrival except for 2017, when he only made 20 starts due to sickness. Now at 10 years old, the gelded pacer will try to earn his first victory in the Yonkers Raceway Open Handicap Pace Saturday night (Feb. 8). “We bought him to be a high-level condition horse. His consistency over a long period of time has been more of a surprise. A lot of horses peak and once they get to 9 or 10, start tailing off a little bit classification wise. But for four years, especially in the wintertime, he’s been anywhere from a non-winners of 20 (thousand dollars last five) to an Open pacer consistently every year,” Dilloian said. “He gets a limited amount of starts. He’s a 20- to 25-start per year horse, which is probably why he’s remained as sharp as he has for all these years.  “He’s no world-beater by any means and he’s not the fastest horse, he’s just one of those horses that gives you 110 percent every week.” Soho Lennon showed promise in his home country, winning the Group 2, $50,000 West Australia Nights of Thunder Final over 1,730 meters at Gloucester Park January 2, 2015. However, one year later, Soho Lennon was out of form, finishing sixth or worse in his last four Australian starts. The horse became available for sale and Dilloian saw the opportunity. Dilloian connected with Perlmutter on Facebook via a mutual friend. After the pair had success with Australian import Bettor Reason, a solid partnership had been formed. David Linker later sent Dilloian a text indicating he would like to get involved with a foreign horse. He joined the group and they imported Soho Lennon in Feb. 2016. “We bought him at a very reasonable rate,” Dilloian said. “He’s just been an absolute blessing since.” “Since that time, those two are the two greatest owners I’ve had,” Dilloian said. “They don’t aggravate you; they don’t bother you. Whatever is in the best interest of the horse, that’s what they’ll do. If one needs a month off or two months off, if they need week of from racing, do it. Since I only have eight to 10 horses most of the time, we generally try to take care of our horses and not over race them. We try to get longevity. “We bought Soho Lennon and then we’ve had a bunch of them since then. It’s just really been a good rapport. With those guys, it’s usually anywhere between seven and nine horses in the barn at any given time,” Dilloian continued. “And we just try to focus on quality. If they don’t go a half, I’d rather move them along or send them to other trainers, because I just want to focus on Yonkers. The purses are amazing and I really believe if you just week in and week out stay there, the horses will reward you.” Of Soho Lennon’s 102 U.S. races, 95 have come at Yonkers. One rare exception came at the end of the gelding’s 2019 campaign. After the pacer had a tough trip in a local $22,000 overnight Dec. 14, Dilloian pointed him to a $10,500 race at Freehold. Soho Lennon drew the inside and led gate-to-wire; the win put Soho Lennon over the $100,000 mark in earnings for the year. Soho Lennon returned to Yonkers Jan. 11, posting a 2 3/4-length victory in 1:52.2 in a $20,000 overnight. He continued to climb the class-ladder in his next two starts and posted two more wins over off tracks to run his streak to four, all with Jim Marohn, Jr. in the bike. “Going into the final week before Christmas, he had gotten roughed up at Yonkers, had gotten a tough trip and got parked. We wanted to take care of him the next couple starts, so I entered him at Freehold and he finished out the year over $100 (thousand),” Dilloian said. “It got his confidence back. And then we gave him a little break and since Yonkers reopened, he’s been drawing well, but he’s been earning it. He’s been very sharp.”   Soho Lennon continues to step up in class Saturday night (Feb. 8) as he will make his first start at the Open level since Dec. 15, 2018. Soho Lennon drew post one in the $40,000 feature and will again have Marohn in the sulky. The pair are 4-1 on the morning line. Soho Lennon will face seven rivals, including Jack’s Legend. The Rich Banca trainee impressed in the Open ranks last fall and enters off consecutive placings in the Preferred Handicap from outside posts. He was assigned post four this week and is the 3-1 morning line favorite with Jason Bartlett slated to drive. Ostro Hanover also rides a 4-race win streak into this week’s pacing feature, but has missed three weeks. Dan Dube will drive the Rene Allard trainee from post six. Bettor Memories enters off an upset win in the local Preferred Handicap Feb. 1, but drew post eight. San Domino was the runner up in last week’s Preferred Handicap and the Andrew Harris trainee will start from post seven in his second start of the year. Tookadiveoffdipper is 2-for-3 this season and upset the local Preferred Handicap Jan. 25. Brent Holland will drive the Virgil Morgan, Jr. trainee from post five. Somebaddude and Don Domingo complete the lineup. “The rail is obviously a great equalizer,” Dilloian said. “I don’t know that (Soho Lennon) is a true Open horse and Banca’s horse looks like he’s the real deal. Soho Lennon is one of those horses that when I watch him race, I never count him out, but things will have to go his way for sure to beat this kind of field. He trained good this week and I really believe when horses are sharp in their head, they don’t know who they’re racing against, so I definitely wouldn’t count him out.” Dilloian expects Marohn to utilize the inside advantage and Soho Lennon’s speed to secure a good position early. “He’s probably not the fastest leaver, but he leaves fast enough to where I hope he can protect. His best races are on the front. I don’t see that happening in there because he’s not going to be the favorite and I don’t know that he has enough speed to cut the corner and seat everybody,” Dilloian said. “It looks like he’s hopefully going to get away in the two-hole, but probably third. I’ll let Jimmy Marohn take it from there. Things will have to go his way, but if he has any kind of opportunity where he gets a decent trip, if he’s got to win on heart, he’ll do it. “I’ve had him long enough now where he’ll forever have a home with me. I’ll never race him in a claimer and he’ll retire with me,” Dilloian said. “He kind of started the whole thing with the higher-level condition Yonkers horses, so I’m forever grateful for him. He holds a special place in my heart.” Saturday night’s card also features the $40,000 Open Handicap Trot.  Yonkers Raceway features live harness racing Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. First post time is 7:05 p.m. For entries to the races, click here. by Brandon Valvo, fo the SOA of NY

YONKERS, NY, Friday, February 7, 2019-- A last-to-first Kaitlyn N (Jason Bartlett, $4.90) picked off her four harness racing rivals Friday night (Feb. 7th), winning Yonkers Raceway's $40,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. Watching from the outside post position in the quintet, favored Kaitlyn N was at the rear as Itty Bitty (Dan Dube) led through early intervals of :27.3 and :57.2. Pole-sitter Wishy Washy Girl (Joe Bongiorno) was pocketed and Feelin' Red Hot (George Brennan) eventually moved first-up from fourth. The later engaged the leader in and out of a 1:25.3 three-quarters, with a second-over Kaitlyn N getting dragged into contention. The people's preference then moved widest and fastest through the lane, prevailing by a length-and-a-half in 1:54.4.   A reserved Sandy Win (Eric Goodell) did get into second, with Wishy Washy Girl, Itty Bitty and Feelin' Red Hot rounding out the order of finishers/payees. For Kaitlyn N, a 7-year-old Down Under daughter of American Ideal co-owned by (trainer) Richard Banca and James & Barbara Boese, it was a winning seasonal debut. The exacta paid $25.20, with neither triple nor superfecta wagering offered. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Monday, February 3, 2020 -- As harness racing speedy imports go, Blackwell Ruby IR has had no problem learning the rules of our roads. The 5-year-old Irish homebred daughter of Kikikolt (Western Hanover - Katies Lucky Cam - Cam Fella) goes after a fourth consecutive victory Tuesday night (Feb. 4th), looming a short price from the pole in Yonkers Raceway's $16,000, second-race pace. Blackwell Ruby IR stepped up the restricted class ladder and summarily dusted her last set of foes by 4¼ lengths a couple of weeks ago...accentuated by a :27.3 kicker. "It wasn't as if she went by some tired horses," driver Jim Marohn Jr. said of the Jan. 21st effort. "She not big, but she is very gritty with high speed. She tended to be a bit warm, though." Sentiments of driver echoed sentiments of trainer, Irishman Robert Cleary. "When we first started with her, all she wanted to do was leave a hundred (miles an hour)," Cleary said. "I knew something about her. My friends back home held her in high regard. She was pacing in (1):58 on what would be considered a fair track here and she was beating some nice older horses...great-gaited. "I began training her with some decent aged horses and she's learning to stay behind them," Cleary said. Blackwell Ruby IR, whose life-best 1:52.3 Meadowlands effort began this current run, has license to be a good one. Blackwell Ruby IR A Harrah's Philly nose shy of going 5-for-5 to begin her North American career, 'Ruby' has a family tree that--according to the U.S Trotting Association's Anne Chunko--includes Kikikatie ($1.2 million-plus) and the half-million-dollar earning Katie Said. Our heroine, who has been sent off at odds of 2-5 or less in all stateside tries, was given last week off for good reason. Her owner, Gavin Murdock, is in town from Belfast and plans a Yonkers Raceway visit Tuesday. Blackwell Ruby IR is going to 'inform' Cleary of her upcoming schedule. "Once she races through these restricted conditions, she's going to get a break before she goes against the older mares." The chauffeur is convinced. "I wouldn't put it past her," Marohn Jr. said. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Monday, February 3, 2020 -- The first harness racing Monday of the month (Feb. 3rd) resulted in a Yonkers Raceway single-season high handle. The dozen-race card attracted $1,025,349 through the windows, electronic or otherwise. Needless to say, more than a few of those dollars found their way to 1-20 favorite Globaldomination N (Jordan Stratton, $2.10), who won the $18,000, third-race pace in a life-best 1:53. The 5-year-old Down Under Bettor's Delight gelding, owned by Von Knoblauch Stable and trained by Peter Tritton, has three wins and two seconds in five seasonal starts ($33,500). Beginning next Monday (Feb. 10th), Yonkers shall have a $7,500 guarantee included in its Monday and Tuesday Pick 5 (50-cent base wager, races 5 through 9). Globaldomination N Frank Drucker    

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, February 1, 2020 -- Bettor Memories ($21) with harness racing driver Eric Goodell in the sulky  did it the hard way Saturday night (Feb. 1st), winning Yonkers Raceway's $35,000 Preferred Handicap Pace with a first-up foray. Unhurried from post position No. 4, Bettor Memories saw reformed claimer--and 7-10 favorite--Keystone Phoenix (Dan Dube) lead through seemingly-soft 'flat' intervals of :27 and :56. Bettor Memories then moved from fifth, making up significant ground into a :27.4 third quarter (1:23.4). Keystone Phoenix was about to wear out his welcome in and out of the final turn. Bettor Memories went by, closing the sale in 1:52...equal 56-second halves. San Domino A (Jordan Stratton) stalked the winner but missed a head, with a trapped Trump Nation (George Brennan) extricating himself from the pocket to grab third. Tremendous Play (Jason Bartlett) and a tiring Keystone Phoenix settled for the remainder. Bettor Memories For fourth choice Bettor Memories, a 7-year-old Bettor's Delight gelding owned by Gus Dovi and trained by Nifty Norman, it was his second (consecutive) win in three seasonal starts. The exacta paid $85.50, the triple returned $294 and the superfecta paid $1,640. Saturday night's $27,000 trotting feature was a down-the-the-road display by favored Will Take Charge (Stratton, $5.50) in 1:55.2. Will Take Charge (Georgia Panagi Photo) The Raceway's live schedule continues with a Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday first post of 7:05 PM, as usual. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Friday, January 31, 2020--Odds-on choice Snobbytown (George Brennan, $2.60) fooled no one Friday night (Jan. 31st), airing in Yonkers Raceway's $27,000, month-end pacing feature for the ladies. There wasn't much to it, as Snobbytown--from post position No. 5--left for an immediate lead. She worked around polester Wishy Washy Girl (Joe Bongiorno) before a :27.3 opening quarter-mile, with the rest of the ladies arranged in numerical order. From there, Snobbytown effortlessly closed the sale (:57, 1:24.3, 1:52.3), the final margin over Wishy Washy Girl a widening 4¼ lengths. Milliondollargem A (Jordan Stratton), Sandy's Beach (Jim Marohn Jr.) and Ambro Courage N (Austin Siegelman) settling for the remainder.   For Snobbytown, a 4-year-old daughter of Nob Hill High co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke, Weaver Bruscemi, and Jason Melillo, it was her first win in three seasonal starts. The exacta paid $13.20, with the triple returning $58.50. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, January 28, 2020 -- Birch Island Betty (Jim Marohn Jr., $136) and her 67-1 self charged from next-to-last Tuesday night (Jan. 28th), winning Yonkers Raceway's $18,000, 10th-race harness racing pace in rather surprising fashion. From post position No. 7, 'Betty' closed widest and fastest, nipping 11-10 favorite Betcha Baby (Brent Holland) by a neck in 1:55. Sezana N (Eric Goodell) was third, with Take Abit of Life (Matt Kakaley) fourth. For seventh choice Birch Island Betty, a 5-year-old daughter of Big Jim co-owned (as Allard Racing) by (trainer) Rene Allard and Carmen Carson, it was her first win a pair of seasonal starts. The exacta paid $471, with the triple returning $2,135 and the superfecta paid $13,106 (base $2 payout). The $2 multi-race payouts ending with Birch Island Betty were $6,035 (Pick 3) and $10,200 (Pick 4), respectively. Earlier in the evening, the Pick 5 wager easily surpassed its $15,000 guaranteed pool when $19,503 was added to a carryover in excess of $4,400. The winning combination of 4/1/6/2/3 returned $1,810 for each correct half-a-buck wager, which concluded a race before 'Betty' threw down her gauntlet. Total handle for the dozen-race card was a season-high $918,830. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, January 25, 2020 -- Millionaire-in-waiting Smalltownthrowdown (Dan Dube, $28.20) parlayed from the pocket Saturday night (Jan. 25th), winning Yonkers Raceway's harness racing $40,000 Open Handicap Trot. In the game from assigned post position No. 3, Smalltownthrowdown sat behind Now's the Moment (Jason Bartlett) as that one made the lead before a :27.4 opening quarter-mile and after a nasty break by Yes (Brent Holland). It was between a :58.1 intermission and 1:27 three-quarters when 7-10 favorite Melady's Monet (George Brennan) commenced and concluded a weak, first-over bid. With the fave done, Now's the Moment opened a pair of lengths in and out of the final turn. However, he couldn't close the sale as Smalltownthrowdown edged out and by. The final margin was a length-and-a-quarter in a season's-best 1:56, with eight-holer Swansea (Austin Siegelman) closing for third. Melady's Monet and Lean Hanover (Jim Marohn Jr.) settled for the minors. For fifth choice Smalltownthrowdown, a 7-year-old statebred Cash Hall gelding co-owned (as Allard Racing) by (trainer) Rene Allard, Yves Sarazin, VIP Internet Stable and Bruce Soulsby, it was his second win in three seasonal starts (career 28-for-85, $998,223). The exacta paid $142.50, the triple returned $947 and the superfecta paid $3,015. Allard didn't do much wrong, winning with four of his six Saturday starters. The week's marquee pace, a $35,000 Preferred Handicap Pace, was won by a down-the-road (:27.3, :57.3, 1:25.2, 1:53.2) Tookadiveoffdipper (Jordan Stratton, $16). Tookadiveoffdipper Smalltownthrowdown Tookadiveoffdipper Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Friday, January 24, 2020 -- A season-debuting Robyn Camden (Jim Marohn Jr., $11) proved best Friday night (Jan. 24th), winning Yonkers Raceway's $35,000 Filly and Mare harness racing Preferred Handicap Pace. In play from post position No. 5, Robyn Camden was able to plotz into a early pocket after 11-10 favorite Feelin' Red Hot (George Brennan) made a nasty break. From there, Robyn Camden was stalking Cay's Blessing (Jason Bartlett) through the latter fractions of :27.2, :56.4 and 1:25.3. It was an antsy two-hole for 'Robyn,' who edged out early to take her shot. Robyn Camden did go by mid-lane, the final margin a half-length in 1:54.2. Rockin' the Boys A (Jordan Stratton) was a three-hole third, with Made of Jewels AS (Eric Goodell) fourth around the oval. Misbehavers She's Pukka N (Dan Dube) and the aforementioned Feelin' Red Hot were fifth and last among the half-dozen. For fourth choice Robyn Camden, a now-5-year-old daughter of Art Professor owned by James O'Sullivan and trained by Rene Allard, she's off a 14-win, $192,000 season in 2019. The exacta paid $50, with the triple returning $178. Robyn Camden The Raceway's mutuel windows open at 11 AM Saturday (Jan. 25th) for Gulfstream Park's Pegasus Day program, with first post of 11:30 AM. The $3 million Pegasus World Cup and $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf go as races 11 and 12, respectively. Frank Drucker

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