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YONKERS, NY, Friday, August 30, 2019-- A shocking rerun, as Feelin' Red Hot (George Brennan, $8.20) successfully authored another down-the-road triumph Friday night (Aug. 30th), winning Yonkers Raceway's $46,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. Assigned outside her seven foes, Feelin' Red Hot pole-vaulted over all of 'em, working around 3-5 favorite Alexa's Power Jason Bartlett) before a 27-second opening quarter-mile. After a :55.4 intermission, Dibaba N (Eric Goodell) tried it meekly first-up from fifth. Meanwhile, Feelin' Red Hot rolled in and out of a 1:23.1 three-quarters. Taking a length-and-a-half lead into the lane, she held off Alexa's Power, winning by a length-and-a-quarter in a season's-best 1:50.4. D G's Elsa (Joe Bongiorno) was a best-of-the-rest three-hole third, with Dibaba N and Safe from Terror (Jim Marohn Jr.) settling for the remainder. For second choice Feelin' Red Hot, a 6-year-old daughter of Feelin' Friskie co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke and Weaver Bruscemi, it was her 12th win in 27 seasonal starts The exacta paid $16.40, the triple returned $71.50 and the superfecta paid $289.50. Saturday night (Aug. 31st) is one of the Raceway's marquee programs of the season, featuring the 64th Yonkers Trot and 65th Messenger Stakes, both Triple Crown events and both worth $500,000. Companion events--the Hudson Filly Trot and Lady Maud--each go for more than $120,000. Post time for the dozen-race card is the usual 6:50 PM, with the featured going as races 4 through 7. The Raceway opens for simulcasting Saturday at 11:30 AM in advance of Gulfstream Park's early post time of 12:15 PM. Note that Saratoga Race Course's final weekend has a first post of 12:30 PM through Labor Day (Monday, Sept. 2nd). by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, N.Y. – Quincy Blue Chip is a rare type to find for sale. Blue Chip Farms bred the Chapter Seven daughter out of the Cantab Hall mare Sirenuse and the filly accomplished big things for her breeder and owner. At 2, Quincy Blue Chip won four legs of the New York Sire Stakes for trotting fillies and placed in another three before finishing second to Winndevie in the $225,000 Final at Yonkers last September. At 3, Quincy Blue Chip returned to sweep the elimination and $209,500 final of the Empire Breeders’ Classic for sophomore trotting fillies at Vernon Downs May 17 and 27, respectively. She then rattled off another two wins and two seconds in New York bred stakes in the barn of Gareth Dowse, including a 1:53.2 lifetime best score at Tioga July 14. One day later, Quincy Blue Chip sold to Rich Banca in an online auction for $335,000. “She’s a good horse. You don’t see horses like her where you’re able to buy them very often, if ever,” Banca said. “I bought her on OnGait. I saw her race, but I didn’t see her in person before. It’s very hard to find good horses and she’s a good horse. She came up for sale and I bought her.” When Quincy Blue Chip arrived at Banca’s stable and the trainer finally laid eyes on her, he was impressed. “I loved her. She’s beautiful. She’s just a perfectly built horse,” Banca said. “She’s really good-looking. She looked really healthy; she was well taken care of. I couldn’t ask for more.” Quincy Blue Chip debuted for Banca and co-owners Barbara and Jim Boese in a $118,800 leg of NYSS at Monticello July 29. Starting from post two, the filly led at every call and posted a 1 3/4-length victory in 1:56.2. Quincy Blue Chip then returned to Vernon Downs Aug. 8 for another NYSS leg. Starting from post seven, driver Jim Morrill, Jr. had the whip on the filly’s tail leaving the gate in a bid to secure the early lead. However, Sweet Chapter and Sensibility left to Quincy Blue Chip’s inside and Woodside Charm blasted to her outside. Barreling three wide into the first turn, Quincy Blue Chip made a rare break in stride before a :26.2 opening quarter. Despite the miscue, which left her eighth 9 1/4 lengths behind, Quincy Blue Chip recovered to finish fourth. “Jimmy said they were just flying into that turn and it’s just something that happened. I don’t think there was any real reason for it, they were just going that fast. It just happened; she made a mistake,” Banca said. “I don’t think that was her fault, I just think she got pushed a little hard into the turn,” Banca continued. “I think she was really good even after she made a break. She came back to finish fourth. If that didn’t happen, I don’t think they could have beat her.” Quincy Blue Chip’s next effort gives credence to Banca’s high opinion of the filly. She went to Batavia Aug. 23 and streaked to a 2-length win over Winndevie in a track-record 1:55.4 mile. Quincy Blue Chip’s 11th win in 20 starts boosted her earnings to $525,387. “She was super. Jimmy said she was just unbelievable. She was great,” Banca said. Off her latest win, Banca feels Quincy Blue Chip has earned a chance to compete in open company stakes. She will do so for the first time at Yonkers Raceway Saturday night (Aug. 31) when she starts in the $124,334 Hudson Trot. Quincy Blue Chip drew post five in the first of four stakes on the card and will again have Morrill in the sulky.  “I just think she’s good enough. I think she’s good enough for it. It’s close to home and I wouldn’t miss it,” Banca said. “There’s good horses in there. It’s not going to be easy, but I think if she gets a good trip and nothing unfortunate happens, I think she’ll be fine.” Quincy Blue Chip is the 3-2 morning line favorite, but will have six challengers. Joe Holloway’s Starita will make her first start on a half-mile track. She won in the Reynolds at the Meadowlands July 6 and enters off a third in the $135,000 Zweig Memorial at Vernon Aug. 17. Jezzy’s Legacy posted a 4-length win in the Stallion Series at the Meadows Aug. 19 and drew the inside post in the Hudson Trot. Magical Beliefs won in the Arden Downs Stakes at the Meadows July 27 and enters the Hudson Trot off a third in Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Aug. 19. Sexy Wow, Golden Tricks, and Personal Paradise complete the lineup. For Banca, a win with Quincy Blue Chip on the Grand Circuit at Yonkers would be especially meaningful. Leading trainer at Yonkers in 2017 and third in the current standings with 80 wins in 544 starts, the Hilltop is Banca’s home track. Banca was also introduced to the Boeses through an SOA of NY program. “It would be unbelievable for me, especially since it’s at Yonkers where I race. The owners are great people and I would love to win the race for them,” Banca said. “The first horse I got for them was one of those French trotters (Adagio de la Tour). They called me up about getting one of those and it’s really just worked out. They own Weslynn Dancer and a lot of nice horses. They’re great owners and friends and it’s worked out great for us.” Saturday night’s card also features the $500,000 Messenger Stakes Final, the $500,000 Yonkers Trot, and the $122,224 Lady Maud. The $46,000 Open Handicap Pace supports the stakes-laden 12-race card. Yonkers Raceway features live harness racing Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. First post time is 6:50 p.m.  By Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY

YONKERS, N.Y. – Trillions Hanover will have a big harness racing crowd rooting for her in Saturday night’s Lady Maud at Yonkers, and not only because she is the 7-5 morning line favorite in the $122,224 stakes. Trillions Hanover is owned by VIP Internet Stable and a number of partners who are new to the game own her through the fractional ownership group. “We’ve got several newer partners on her,” said Ed O’Connor, VIP Stable’s founder and Managing Partner. “We ended up getting several folks who are not our normal big hitters and they have been ecstatic with her. She’s been a fun horse all the way around and it’s not often you get a horse that’s first or second six-out-of-seven times as a 2-year-old, races huge as a 3-year-old, puts in a good mile just about every single time. She’s been really, really popular with our partnership group.” In addition to VIP Stable’s fractional owners, principal partners Falcon Racing and Paul Lang co-own the filly. A $20,000 yearling at the 2017 Harrisburg sale for trainer Tom Fanning, Trillions Hanover went 4-for-7 at 2, winning the $40,000 Pennsylvania Stallion Series Final at Harrah’s Philadelphia last September. This year at 3, Trillions Hanover has competed in a host of Grand Circuit events, including the Fan Hanover, Lynch, Mistletoe Shalee, and the Shady Daisy. She’s earned $130,968. “It is the absolute best advertising we can possibly have. Seeing a fractional ownership group is involved in these big races really gives credibility to what we’re doing,” O’Connor said. “It shows that we’re able to pick out good horses and put partners in a spot where they can have a lot of fun.  “And we really appreciate when it happens with a horse we bought as a yearling. There’s been several horses who we’ve done really well with, but they’ve been high-dollar purchases, we kind of already knew they were really good,” O’Connor continued. “In situations like that, you’re kind of in a no-win situation; if you do well, you were supposed to do well, if you do bad, you look really bad. This is the opposite. Yearlings, you just never know and when they turn out to do pretty good, it’s just really exciting.” Although Trillions Hanover’s two victories this season came in overnights at the Meadowlands, the Somebeachsomewhere daughter has been competitive on the Grand Circuit. She made the Fan Hanover Final with a third in her elimination at Mohawk June 8 and finished second in the Lynch Consolation at Pocono June 29. However, her biggest performance came on the Hambletonian Day undercard. Off a lifetime best 1:50 win at the Meadowlands July 26, Trillions Hanover started as a 15-1 shot in the Shady Daisy Aug. 3. Starting from the inside, she saved ground as the pace developed and stormed home with a :25.1 final quarter to finish second by a neck to Tall Drink Hanover in a 1:48.0 mile.  “That was super. All year, we knew she was really good, still maturing, has a ton of speed, and seems to have a really good late kick,” O’Connor said. “For whatever reason, we just had never been able to get a really good trip with her. When she was coming off cover, the pace had been slow. One or two times she had been on the front, she went really fast fractions, so we never really had a shot where things were going her way until Hambletonian Day. “She was able to sit in, let a lot of the horses mix it up, up front and she came flying at the end,” O’Connor continued. “I thought she was going to get home and in that kind of time, a 48-mile is huge. Coming home in :25.1, I don’t recall having a horse that’s done that before. It was really exciting, and we were really thrilled with what she did. It’s a good testament to how good she is and how good of a job Tom Fanning has done with her so far.” Trillions Hanover comes into the Lady Maud off two defeats in Pennsylvania Sire Stakes behind star filly Warrawee Ubeaut. Although Trillions Hanover has never raced on a half-mile track, O’Connor said it wasn’t by design and thinks she will handle it well. “I think it’s a coincidence. She’s not a huge horse, so I think she’ll fit in there fine. She’s Pennsylvania sired and she raced a light season last year, so there was really no reason to head over to Yonkers and she’s actually pretty lightly raced this year,” O’Connor said. “This is our first opportunity to head over there and we’re looking at her possibly being a good horse for Yonkers if we end up keeping her next year. That’s just a good spot to make money and if she’s as good on a half-mile track as we think she’s going to be, we think that’s really going to be a good spot for her.” George Brennan will drive Trillions Hanover for the first time in the Lady Maud and the pair will start from post four. Their five rivals include JK American Beauty, who is 3-1 from post one and enters with two wins and another four placings in New York Sire Stakes company this year.  Bestseller Hanover won the Lismore Pace earlier this year for Jason Bartlett and Scott Blacker. She was ninth in the Shady Daisy and won a $17,000 overnight at Pocono last out and is 4-1 from post five. Blue Ivy will start from post two and ships in from Kentucky after off the board finishes in Sire Stakes from tough post positions. Annie Hill and Abuelita Hanover complete the lineup. “It’s kind of an unusual situation. We’ve raced her three times in Sire Stakes and we’ve gotten beat by the best 3-year-old filly in the country and then we got to a more prestigious race like the Lady Maud and we’re pretty significantly down in class,” O’Connor said. “Not that there’s any bad horses in here at all, but there’s no Warrawee Ubeaut in here.  “So, we think it’s a tough race, she’s got to race well, but she’s been racing against the very best 3-year-old fillies in the country in just about every start this year. If she can work herself out a trip, we hope we can come away with a big check at the end,” O’Connor continued. O’Connor hopes to add another Yonkers stakes victory to VIP Stable’s resume. The group co-owned two-time George Morton Levy Series winner Keystone Velocity. “We love racing at Yonkers. We probably race at Yonkers as much as any place,” O’Connor said. “That’s been one of the tracks we’ve looked at as the place we want to go, even back when they were just starting to get the slots there. It’s a prestigious track, this is a prestigious race, and we’re really excited to be in there.” Saturday night’s card also features the $500,000 Messenger Stakes Final, the $500,000 Yonkers Trot, and the $124,334 Hudson Filly Trot. The $46,000 Open Handicap Pace supports the stakes-laden 12-race card. Yonkers Raceway features live harness racing Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. First post time is 6:50 p.m. For entries to the races, click here.  By Brandon Valvo, for the SOA of NY

YONKERS, NY, Thursday, August 29, 2019--Yonkers Raceway Thursday night (Aug. 29th) hosted the $161,500 New York Sire Stakes Bruce Hamilton Pace for 3-year-old colts and geldings. The event once again honored the memory one of the state's true get-it-done gentlemen, the long-time Executive Secretary of the Harness Horse Breeders of New York whose contributions to the industry were way too numerous to mention here. Although only of the $80,750 divisions was bettable, both winners were quite logical. The pre-card quintet was led by Hickfromfrenchlick (Matt Kakaley), disposing of his four inside rivals in 1:52.4. Taking over from Major Blake (Jason Bartlett), Hickfromfrenchlick threw down intervals of :27.1, :56.1 and 1:24.4 before the final maker. He defeated a misbehaved-early Artie's Ideal (Marcus Miller) by a half-length, with Major Blake third. Respect Our Flag (Joe Bongiorno) and Bicorne Hanover (George Brennan) were the stragglers. For Hickfromfrenchlick, a son of So Surreal co-owned by (trainer) Ray Schnittker, Nolamaura Racing and Thomas Spatarico, it was his seventh wins (with two seconds and a third) in 10 seasonal starts ($275,886). Last season's Sheppard winner here is now 11-for-17 lifetime, "Use whatever word you want about him," Kakaley said. "Fast, gusty, handy." Pole-sitting Rollwithpapajoe (Bongiorno, $5.80) finished what he started (:28., :57.4, 1:25.1, 1:53) a few races later. Covered Bridge (Brian Sears) chased from the pocket, missing a length-and-three-quarters, while 13-10 fave Major March (Bartlett) was a two-move third. Dealer's Table (Jordan Stratton) and Melodie's Major (Tyler Buter) brought up the rear. For 'Papajoe,' a Roll With Joe gelding co-owned by Barbara Bongiorno Stable, Bill Lambos & Dionisios Liberatos and trained by Jennifer Bongiorno, it was his fifth win in 15 ' 19 starts. The exacta paid $13, with neither triple nor superfecta wagering offered. "He has such quick speed that he can put himself in good spots," driver Bonorno said. If the sire stakes results were quite predictable, they weren't nearly the 'free space' of It's Rigged (Buter). That one had things--and the oval --all to himself, walking over a bottom-level statebred Excelsior event in 1:56.4. Thursday night's Pick 5 wager, which began with a $8,292.11 carryover and $20,000 guaranteed pool, found $32,054 of new cash. The winning combination of 6/1/3/1/5 paid $72.50 for each correct half-dollar ticket. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Thursday, August 29, 2019--Here's one that can't lose...guaranteed or your non-wagering money cheerfully refunded. Yonkers Raceway Thursday night (Aug. 29th) hosts a good, old-fashioned walkover. The 3-year-old pacing gelding It's Rigged (punchline optional) has the honors at about 5:30 PM in a $6,100 New York Sire Stakes Excelsior 'B' event. Tyler Buter, who began the day at 3,209 career wins, is reasonably certain to get another one. It's Rigged, a homebred Riggins gelding, enters with three wins and four seconds in his nine seasonal starts ($13,100). He's owned by Last Hurrah Stable and trained by Eldo Leonelli. Ironically, it's the second consecutive season the Raceway has hosted a walkover. The 3-year-old statebred pacing filly Windsun Magnolia and Jim Marohn Jr. made it look easy last September, disposing of her no rivals in a life-best 1:58. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Wednesday, August 28, 2019- Of the dozen 3-year-olds who entered this season's Messenger Stakes, four were trained by Tony Alagna. Students of history should not have been surprised, as Alagna has come within a dirty nose of winning Yonkers Raceway's second jewel of the harness racing Pacing Triple Crown four years in a row. In 2015, Revenge Shark (Yannick Gingras) won a three-horse photo, upsetting in the Messenger at odds of 9-1. By contrast, in 2016, Racing Hill (Brett Miller), in the midst of a $1.5 million season, fooled no one (we checked), winning this race at five-cents-on-the-dollar. In 2017, 22-1 Art Scene (Jordan Stratton) closed inside, running out of racetrack against another 1-20 winner in Downbytheseaside. Last season, Stay Hungry (Doug McNair) outgamed Jimmy Freight in what was essentially a match race. "(The Messenger) is a race that's very important to us," Alagna said from Lexington, KY. "Obviously, you have to be lucky, but also versatile and quick off the gate." Of Alagna's barbershop quartet for this season's 64th edition, three advanced to Saturday night's (Aug. 31st) half-million-dollar final...though not necessarily the one the trainer figured. "I thought Captain Trevor was our best chance, but he didn't race well (last in his elim)," Alagna said. He scoped sick and we're not sure why-maybe the shipping-but that's horse racing. We just move on." Alagna is 'moving on' with U S Captain (Jason Bartlett, post 4), Waterway (Joe Bongiorno, post 6) and Escapetothebeach (Corey Callahan, post 7). The trainer opined about the trio. " U S Captain raced very well last week (second to Aflame Hanover). It looked to me as if he lost some momentum getting jammed up behind the leader (eventual winner). "Waterway (third to Aflame Hanover) seemed to be doing his pacing at the wire, which is all you can ask. Last season, he paced in (1):50 and 1 and won the consolation of the Kentucky Sire Stakes (Red Mile), so we thought he'd come back a bit better, but he gets around Yonkers very well. "Escapetothebeach came first-up against Bettor's Wish (finishing third), and that's been the story of his season. He's had some bad posts and bad trips, but I think he's had a really good season." U S Captain and Waterway both entered the Messenger off local overnight wins, a fact that wasn't lost on Alagna. "We wanted to try them there with the Messenger in mind," Alagna said. As for the three-head monster looking to take down pole-sitting behemoth Bettor's Wish, "They came out of last week well and are coming into the final training well. "I'm looking forward to it." The Messenger goes as the seventh of Yonkers' dozen Saturday races, the card also featuring the 65th Yonkers Trot ($500,000) as the sixth race, $124,334 Hudson Filly Trot (4th race) and $122,224 Lady Maud (5th race). Those program pages accompany this release. First post is the usual 6:50 PM. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Wednesday, August 28, 2019-Yonkers Raceway has pushed up its harness racing entry box closing this Monday (Labor Day, Sept. 2nd) to 9 AM, instead of the usual 3:30 PM. There's no holiday live racing, hence the early closing. It's a double-draw box for the Friday/Saturday (Sept. 6th/7th) programs. For more information, please contact the race office at (914) 457-2627. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway  

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, August 27, 2019--George Brennan doesn't get his mail delivered to the Westchester harness racing winner's circle. Lately, it's just seemed that way. This past Friday night (Aug. 23rd), Brennan won half of Yonkers Raceway's dozen races. That was child's play. Tuesday night (Aug. 27th), Brennan turned 6-for-12 into 7-for-11, as is one more win with one fewer race. Brennan's night's began with a chalky $6.40 early double when Wild West ($2.80) won the $13,500 pacing opener (1:54.1) and Bigboy Rosco ($4.50) won the $18,500, second-race trot (1:56.1). Win Nos. 3 and 4 were also short wagering reaches as Birch Island Betty ($3.40) took down the $18,500, fourth-race pace (1:53.2) and JK Heaven Sent ($3.90) won the $18,500, sixth-race pace (1:54). Brennan then fooled the public--twice--winning the $13,500, seventh-race pace with Reach for Infinity ($10.60) in 1:54.1 and the $24,000, eighth-race pace with Badix Hanover ($47) in 1:58.3 for the mile-and-one-sixteenth. He ended the evening ripping out of the $18,500, 11th-race pacing pocket with favored Sunken Treasure ($4.60) in 1:53.1. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

With the Hambletonian Stakes already on his list of accomplishments, Forbidden Trade will try for the second jewel in the Trotting Triple Crown when he faces seven foes in Saturday's (Aug. 31) $500,000 Yonkers Trot at Yonkers Raceway. Nine trotters have captured the harness racing Triple Crown since its inception in 1955, the most recent Marion Marauder three years ago. Forbidden Trade and driver Bob McClure will start the Yonkers Trot from post six. Gimpanzee, the 2018 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male trotter and third-place finisher in the Hambletonian, leaves from post four. Soul Strong, who was a parked-out fourth from post 10 in the Hambletonian, starts from post two. It will be Forbidden Trade's first trip to The Hilltop, but the Luc Blais-trained colt is no stranger to success on half-mile-sized tracks such as Yonkers. Forbidden Trade won at Ontario's Grand River Raceway last season in 1:56.4, the fastest mile by a 2-year-old trotter in Canadian history. It also will be McClure's first visit to Yonkers. The 28-year-old, though, did plenty of driving on Ontario's half-mile ovals before becoming a regular at Woodbine Mohawk Park in 2018. McClure led Canada in wins in 2017 and 2016. He was third last year and in 2015. "At the end of the day they're all still going in a circle," McClure said about racing at Yonkers for the first time. "I know it's a tight half, but I've driven on a lot of (half-mile tracks) here too. "Good horses, they get around pretty well anything," he added. "(Forbidden Trade) is just a complete professional. That's why he was so successful at 2; he was like a 4-year-old to drive. He never made any mistakes; he was just perfect." Forbidden Trade, owned by Serge Godin's Determination stable, won seven of 11 races last year and received the O'Brien Award as Canada's best 2-year-old male trotter. This year, Forbidden Trade has won six of nine starts and finished no worse than third in any race. He has won five of his past six races, with his only setback being a third-place finish in his Hambletonian elimination. He won the same-day final by a neck over favorite Greenshoe. "He came back this year and he's faster, he's stronger, he's always been great gaited, and he's just as smart," McClure said. "You look at all the races he's won, you can leave with him and go out of there in :26 (seconds) or you can take him back and come home in :26. He just does whatever he has to do. "He's just a really good horse." Forbidden Trade has raced once since the Hambletonian, winning a division of the Ontario Sire Stakes Gold on Aug. 12 at Woodbine Mohawk Park. "He was really good that day," McClure said. "I'm sure he's in top form. He was feeling so good, Luc decided to go (to the Yonkers Trot)." Forbidden Trade, who has earned $907,728 in his career, will start the Yonkers Trot from one of the least advantageous post positions from a statistical standpoint. Posts one through five at Yonkers produce winners at a minimum of 14.3 percent, led by post one at 18 percent, while post six is at 8.5 percent. "It's just a starting spot," McClure said. "We'll probably just get off the gate and see how things turn out. You never know what's going to happen. Gimpanzee is probably the horse to beat, so we'll go from there." The three legs of the Trotting Triple Crown are the Hambletonian, Yonkers Trot and Kentucky Futurity. The Futurity, held at Lexington's Red Mile, is Oct. 6. Racing begins at 6:50 p.m. (EDT) Saturday at Yonkers. The Yonkers Trot is race six on the card and will be followed by the $500,000 Messenger Stakes for 3-year-old pacers. Bettor's Wish, the sport's top money-earner this season with $859,544, leads the field of eight in the Messenger, which is the second jewel in the Pacing Triple Crown. Captain Crunch, who won the first jewel, the Cane Pace, did not enter the Messenger. The card also includes the Hudson Filly Trot and Lady Maud. For complete entries, click here. Below is the field for the 65th Yonkers Trot. PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer 1-Osterc-Dexter Dunn-Per Engblom 2-Soul Strong-Dexter Dunn-Ake Svanstedt 3-Sheena's Boy-Andy Miller-Ake Svanstedt 4-Gimpanzee-Brian Sears-Marcus Melander 5-Livinonthedash-Marcus Miller-Erv Miller 6-Forbidden Trade-Bob McClure-Luc Blais 7-HL Revadon-Jim Marohn Jr.-Harry Landy 8-No Drama Please-Jason Bartlett-Tom Fanning by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA   

YONKERS, NY, Monday, August 26, 2019- Post positions have been drawn for Yonkers Raceway's pair of $500,000 Triple Crown harness racing events, set for the Saturday night (Aug. 31st). The 65th Yonkers Trot required no eliminations, as just eight 3-year-olds entered. Hambletonian winner Forbidden Trade drew post position No. 6 in what was carded as the sixth race. "It wasn't in our original plan, but plans change," trainer Luc Blais said. "We let him tell us what to do and he's been training so well." Forbidden Trade, a son of Kadabra, supplemented to the Trot after his 2-year-old season. He has won six of his nine starts at 3 ($671,484), the latest an Ontario Sire Stakes Gold event at Mohawk. The colt, has who made two half-mile-track OSS starts in his career, is owned by Serge Godin's Determination and driven by Bob McClure. "Always such a professional," McClure said in advance of his-and his date's-first trip to Westchester. "Just from Day One, he was mentally ahead of the other trotters.": Defending the honor of the Empire State is Gimpanzee (Brian Sears, post 4), a perfect 4-for-4 here including last season's $225,000 New York Sire Stakes title. The Chapter Seven colt, trained Marcus Melander for co-owners Courant Inc. and S R F Stable, has won 13 of his 15 career starts ($895,996). He enters off a paid sire stakes workout last weekend at Batavia where every other horse in the field went off at triple-figures-to-one. The draw for Trot entrants, with declared drivers... 1- Osterc (Dexter Dunn) 2-Soul Strong (g) (Dunn also listed) 3- Sheena's Boy (g) (Andy Miller) 4-Gimpanzee (Brian Sears) 5- Livinonthedash (Marcus Miller) 6-Forbidden Trade (Bob McClure) 7-HL Revadon (g) (Jim Marohn Jr.) 8-No Drama Please (Jason Bartlett) Messenger Stakes No. 64, which began with soph pacers, found elim winners Bettor's Wish (Dunn, post 1) and Aflame Hanover (Corey Callahan, post 8) starting from the pole and the polar opposite, respectively. Bettor's Wish, a Bettor's Delight colt-the lone $30,000 supplement into this race-has hit the board in 22-of-23 career tries (13 wins, 7 seconds, 2 thirds, $1,131,600). He has eight wins and three seconds) in 11 '19 tries ($859,544). Chris Ryder co-owns (with Bella Racing, Fair Island Farm & Bettor's Wish Partners) and trains. The field for the Messenger (7th race)... 1-Bettor's Wish (Dunn) 2-Branquinho (Bartlett) 3-American Mercury (g) (Tyler Buter) 4-U S Captain (Bartlett also listed) 5-Reigning Deo (George Brennan) 6-Waterway (Joe Bongiorno) 7-Escapetothebeach (g) (Callahan) 8-Aflame Hanover (g) (Callahan also listed). Saturday night's dozen-race card also includes companion events, the $124,334 Hudson Filly Trot (4th race) and $122,224 Lady Maud (5th race). First post is the usual 6:50 PM. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, August 24, 2019--It was a 'Non-Bettor's Wish' Saturday night (Aug. 24th) during Yonkers Raceway's harness racing eliminations for the 64th Messenger Stakes. Bettor's Wish (Dexter Dunn), the lone $30,000 supplemental entrant into the second jewel of the Pacing Triple Crown, summarily disposed of his five rivals in a non-wagering elim. A pole-sitting second early in the $40,000 off-the-card elim, Bettor's Wish took over from American Mercury (Tyler Buter) before a 28-second opening quarter-mile. After a pedestrian, 58-second intermission, Escapetothebeach (Corey Callahan) tried it first-up from fourth. Bettor's Wish led through a 1:26.1 three-quarters, eventually holding off American Mercury by a half-length in 1:53.2. Escapetothebeach backed away but held third, with Branquinho (Jason Bartlett) fourth. That quartet goes into next Saturday night's (Aug. 31st) $500,000 finale of the Messenger. Lyons Johnnyjnr (Dan Dube) and Captain Trevor (Jordan Stratton) completed the order. Bettor's Wish, a Bettor's Delight colt has hit the board in 22-of-23 career tries (13 wins, 7 seconds, 2 thirds, $1,131,600). He now has eight wins and three seconds) in 11 '19 tries ($859,544). Chris Ry8der co-owns (with Bella Racing, Fair Island Farm & Bettor's Wish Partners) and trains. "He was just so great, so easy to drive," Dunn said. "I can't wait for next week." The remaining half of the Messenger field was to be decided later this evening in the second, $40,000 elim, part of the dozen-race wagering program. The on-the-card, $40,000 elim saw Aflame Hanover (Callahan, $6) finish what he started. From post position No. 3, he never had an issue (:27.4, 56.3, 1:24, 1:52), whipping pocketed pole-sitter U S Captain (Bartlett) by a length-and-a-half. Waterway (Joe Bongiorno), paired with the runner-up as the 17-10 wagering choice, was a closing third, while 37-1 rank outsider Reigning Deo (George Brennan) was a ground-saving fourth to advance. Buddy Hill (Eric Goodell) and Air Force Hanover (Stratton) were fifth and last, respectively. For second choice Aflame Hanover, a Russell Hanover gelding co-owned by (trainer) Linda and Tony Schadel, it was his fourth (consecutive) win in 16 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $17.60, with neither triple nor superfecta wagering offered. "He was super," Callahan said. "He did everything I asked. His hopple hanger broke, but that didn't bother him." Aflame Hanover traversed the Keystone State exclusively, only leaving (before Saturday) to finish fifth and fourth, respectively, in the elim and final of Mohawk's North America Cup. Saturday's pair of $46,000 Open Handicaps were won by... --Pace, None Bettor A (Bartlett, $2.30) in 1:50.4; --Trot, Will Take Charge (Stratton, $8.70) in 1:54.4. Undeservedly reduced to sidebar status were... --American History (Bongiorno, $5.60), who matched the all-age track record (1:50) in winning the $37,000 4-Year-Old Open Handicap after teletimer-torturing intervals of :26.2, :53.1 and 1:20.2; --Double-millionaire Bit of A Legend N (Stratton, $4.60), who grinded out a 50th career win (in his 150th life start), winning the $30,000, 11th-race pace (1:52.4). Open draws for next Saturday's four-pack of stakes--$$500,000 Yonkers Trot No, 65, Messenger, $124,334 Hudson Filly Trot and $122,224 Lady Maud Pace--take place Monday afternoon (Aug. 26th). by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway  

YONKERS, NY, Friday, August 23, 2019--Feelin' Red Hot (George Brennan, $5.80) successfully authored another installment of 'Catch Me If You Can' Friday night (Aug. 23rd), winning Yonkers Raceway's $46,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. Wasting no time from post position No. 5, Feelin' Red Hot worked around Wisdom Tree (Dexter Dunn) before a :27.3 opening quarter-mile. Out in :57.2 and home in :54.2 (1:24.4, 1:51.4) figured to make it difficult for the pursuers, and it did. Wisdom Tree and Alexa's Power (Jim Marohn Jr.) wound up inseparable for second, behind three-quarters of a length. A belated 6-5 favorite Betterb Chevron N (Jordan Stratton) and Miss You N (Brent Holland) rounded out the payees, while Mach it a Par (Eric Goodell) received lovely parting gifts. For second choice Feelin' Red Hot, a 6-year-old daughter of Feelin' Friskie co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke and Weaver Bruscemi, it was her 11th win in 26 seasonal starts (career 30-for-101, now up over a half-million dollars). The exactas paid $8.30 and $9.50, the triples returned $31.60 and $33.60 and the superfectas paid $72.50 and $68.50 (payoffs listed with Wisdom Tree second, then with Alexa's Power second). For his part, Brennan won half of the evening's dozen races. Friday night's Pick 5, which began with a $8,800-plus carryover and $20,000 guaranteed pool, attracted $33,582 of new coin into the gimmick. It was a 3/6/5/4/4 winning combination returning $206.50 for each correct half-a-buck wager. The Raceway opens for simulcasting Saturday (Aug. 24th) at 11 AM in advance of Saratoga Race Course's first post of 11:35 AM. Post time for the $1.25 million Travers Stakes (11th race) is listed at 5:44 PM. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway  

Yonkers, NY--The NAADA $15,000 Summer Series Final was a harness racing barn-burner when only three lengths separated the winner from the last place finisher. And Joe Pennacchio's 1:59.3 triumph in the event didn't come easy. Up behind his own Cheeky Little Minx in the seven-horse contest which was presented before the first race on the betting card, Pennacchio left the gate from the five-hole and his veteran trotting mare never saw the pylons the entire mile and by all standards she went a very gutsy trip. When the gate sprung Joe Faraldo and Tough Get Going darted to the front and were challenged by Paul Minore and Wygant Prince. Faraldo yielded command to Wygant Prince as Pennacchio and Cheeky Little Minx wanted a part of the action and challenged on the outside as the leaders trotted by the first stanza in :28.2. As they headed for the halfway point Pennacchio and Minore were going at it and the two raced side by side to the half in :58.2 while being stalked on the outside by Cheeky Little Miss. Wygant Prince showed the way to the three quarters and put away Tough Get Going but the veteran trotter couldn't shake the plucky little mare. As they rounded the final turn Cheeky Little Minx and Wygant Prince were noses apart before the latter began to fade. At that point Hannah Miller hustled Jacks To Open up alongside Cheeky Little Miss and the two raced as a team all the way to the wire. It took a photo to determine that Pennacchio's mare was a head better than Hannah's veteran trotter. Broadway Bruiser took home the show dough for Matt Zuccarello. Cheeky Little Minx is a seven-year-old mare by Lucky Chucky, trained by Corey Stratton for Joe P Racing, LLC/ by John Manzi, for NAADA      

YONKERS, NY, Friday, August 23, 2019- Yonkers Raceway is not racing Labor Day evening (Monday, Sept. 2nd). It's a scheduled dark day and a rare change to the usual Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday weekly workload. The Raceway will be open for holiday simulcasting until approximately 6 PM. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, N.Y. – Wisdom Tree’s first three starts at Yonkers all yielded the same results. The then 2-year-old filly started from outside posts and make breaks late in her miles, failing to earn a check in New York Sire Stakes company, including the $225,000 final October 14, 2017. Since that race, the Betterthancheddar daughter is perfect at the Hilltop in four tries and made amends for her freshman defeat with a 1 1/2-length score in the NYSS final for 3-year-old pacing fillies last fall. Wisdom Tree will look to run her Yonkers streak to five when she starts in the $46,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Friday night. It will be the Jeff Cullipher-trainee’s first start in the Yonkers distaff feature. “I think she gets over (Yonkers) very well,” Cullipher said. “She’s just really easy. She can leave, she’s very versatile, she can do anything. She’s great-gaited, that helps. She’s just a medium to small horse, she does everything right for a half-mile track.” Wisdom Tree went 11-for-18 last year and earned $436,111 for Cullipher and co-owner Tom Pollack. The pair bought Wisdom Tree out of the 2016 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale for $28,000. Out of the Artsplace mare Wisdom, Wisdom Tree caught Pollack’s eye as a half-sibling to Rich Wisdom. “Me and Tom Pollack, we go (to the sale) with a budget and she was within that. Tom actually had a brother to her and that’s how we originally noticed her,” Cullipher said. “We always try to get a couple of New York breds, we like the New York Sire Stakes. That wasn’t our forte, but we knew eventually we would branch out that way.” Cullipher, leading trainer at Hoosier Park in 2017 and 2018 and currently topping the standings, has branched out east as intended. He has about 20 horses at White Birch Farm in New Jersey and Wisdom Tree now races out of his stable when she treks east, having previously gone to Ed Hart. “Before, we would only send two, three out and we always sent them to Ed and everything always worked out good. Now, I’m enlarging my stable of my own,” Cullipher said. After Wisdom Tree’s NYSS final win last September, Cullipher took her to the Red Mile where she finished second a division of the Tattersalls in 1:48.2 October 6. She raced three more times through October 26, but only mustered two thirds and a fifth. Cullipher decided to give the filly a break. “We got pretty tough on her. We took her to Lexington and she went a huge mile, paced 48-and-2. That took a lot out of her,” Cullipher said. “We raced her a couple more times and she just wasn’t herself. She’s been good to us, so we just gave her extended time off and tried to shoot for this year.” Wisdom Tree returned with victories a pair of qualifiers at Hoosier Park in early May. Although she’s now 4, Cullipher sees much the same filly he did working with her at 2.  “She’s actually still the same today as she was training her down as a baby,” Cullipher said. “She never did anything flashy, but always did everything right. That’s still her today.” Wisdom Tree started 2019 posting a :25.3 final quarter to finish second in a distaff open at Hoosier Park May 22. She won her next start in 1:50.4 in the same class a week later, but made a break next out June 8. “She laid over those horses. The night she made a break, she came from last and was blowing right by them, but she did it coming off the turn and I think she was just going so fast she took a little dive in and overpaced herself,” Cullipher said. Wisdom Tree returned to her winning ways in her next start June 22, taking another Hoosier distaff feature in 1:50.4. After a local win in a $30,000 overnight July 5, Cullipher took Wisdom Tree to the Grand Circuit.  Wisdom Tree finished ninth with a tough trip in the Golden Girls July 13, fifth in the Lady Liberty while individually timed in 1:48.0 on Hambletonian Day, and fourth in the Artiscape in her last outing August 18. Year to date, she’s 3-for-9 with $62,971 earned. “Obviously, she’s made good money, but she’s just a tick below what she needs to be to really compete with Shartin and Caviart Ally. We’ll continue to give her a chance. She’s not getting embarrassed,” Cullipher said. “The money’s not on her card like we would like for it to be. That’s why when we can, we’re going to hit spots like Yonkers and hopefully we can do OK going for good enough money there to get some money on her card." In her return to Yonkers, Wisdom Tree will start from post two and face six rivals. Unlike in her 2- and 3-year-old seasons when she had 13 different drivers, Cullipher has tried to keep a consistent presence in the bike this year. Sam Widger drove in each Midwest start while Dexter Dunn got the call in her last three starts on the East Coast. Dunn will drive again Friday night. “I liked when Dexter called and said he would come and drive. It made me feel a lot better that he had the confidence in her,” Cullipher said. “That’s made things a lot easier this year. She’s been so easy, and easy to drive, so everybody seems to get along with her.” Apple Bottom Jeans is also dropping out of stakes company for trainer Dylan Davis. She finished second in the Rainbow Blue June 28, third in the Golden Girls, second in the Barton at Plainridge July 28, and paced 1:47.4 when fourth in the Lady Liberty. She is 5-for-18 this year with $272,015 earned and will start from post six with Corey Callahan in the sulky.  Alexa’s Power won this Open in her last start two weeks ago and drew immediately outside of Wisdom Tree for Jim Marohn, Jr. and Jim Campbell. Last week’s winner Betterb Chevron landed post four after starting from the seven last out. Jordan Stratton has the return call for Lance Hudson. Miss You was second to Betterb Chevron last week, but drew post seven this time. Feelin Red Hot was third behind Alexa’s Power and Dibaba in her last outing and will start from post five for George Brennan and Ron Burke. Nine-year-old mare Mach It A Par will start from an assigned post one. “I’m going to leave it in Dexter’s hands, but I think it’s going to work out very well. She’s versatile enough that she can do whatever she needs to do and I have the confidence in Dexter to have her in the right spot,” Cullipher said. Yonkers Raceway features live harness racing Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. First post time is 6:50 p.m.  By Brandon Valvo, for the SOA of NY

YONKERS, NY, Thursday, August 22, 2019--Yonkers Raceway Thursday evening (Aug. 22nd) hosted the $154,600 New York Sire Stakes Pat Quaglietta Trot for 2-year-old harness racing ttrotting fillies. A pair $77,300 beneath-the-raindrops races comprised the event, which resulted in a perfect pair of winners Love a Good Story (Andy Miller, $2.40) went the distance (:29.2, :58.3, 1:28, 1:57.2) in a gapped-out opening division, her sixth win in as many seasonal/sire stakes starts and matching her previous local effort. From post position No. 3, the final margin was 3¼ lengths. Without a Warning (Jason Bartlett) was the bridesmaid at every section, with Miss Jubilation (Ake Svanstedt), Flotus (John Stark Jr.) and C Me Hyde (Phil Fluet) completing the order after a pair of defections. Love a Good Story is a daughter of Chapter Seven co-owned by Pinske Stables, Kentuckiana Racing Stable & Daniel Plouffe and trained by Julie Miller. The exacta paid $7, with neither triple nor superfecta wagering offered. "It was just business as usual," driver Miller said. There was a lengthy weather (heavy rain/lightning) delay prior to the second group, which only forestalled the obvious. The precipitation just about stopped as track record-holder Hypnotic AM (Brian Sears, $2.40) started Away third from post No. 2, the lass took over from Really Blue Chip (George Brennan) right by the :28.4 opening quarter-mile before taking off...period. She widened by the :58.2 intermission, then finished off the foray (1:27.4, 1:56.3) by 3½ lengths. Seventimesalady (Svanstedt) was second, with No Mas Drama (Joe Bongiorno) and I'lldoitmyself (Bartlett) rounding out the gimmick finishers. For Hypnotic AM, a homebred Chapter Seven ma'am trained by Marcus Melander for owner Courant Inc., she's now 5-for-5 (three NYSS, elim and final of Jim Doherty Memorial) to begin her career, never once going off at odds higher than 1-2. The exacta (two wagering choices) paid $3.80, the triple returned $50 and the superfecta paid $157.50. "She feels as good as she looks," Sears said. New York Sire Stakes returns downstate Thursday night (Aug. 29th), with the Bruce Hamilton Pace for 3-year-old colts/geldings (purse TBA). Total purses for the 2019 New York-bred program are estimated at $14 million. For more information, please visit www.nysirestakes.com. PICK-5 CARRYOVER A friendly reminder from Yonkers Raceway that Friday evening’s (Aug. 23rd) Pick 5 wager starts with a carryover of $8,812.56 and a $20,000 guaranteed pool. The guarantee is in conjunction with the U.S. Trotting Association’s Strategic Wagering Program. The Pick 5 is a 50-cent base wager comprising races 7 through 11 Friday night. It has no consolation payoff, meaning if no one selects all five winners (as was the case Thursday night after a final-race-sequence 42-1 bomber), the entire pool (minus takeout) moves to the next racing program. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

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