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On Saturday, December 3, the Standardbred Owners Association of New York, the horsemen's association representing the more than 1,000 harness racing owners, trainers and drivers regularly competing at Yonkers Raceway, held its annual membership meeting. At the meeting, the results of the SOA's 2016 Board of Directors election were certified. In the driver/trainer category, Ray Schnittker and Peter Younger were elected to three year terms. In the owner category, SOA President Joseph Faraldo and Chris Wittstruck were re-elected to three year terms. Additionally, freshman director Tyler Buter joined the Board, elected to a three-year term in the driver category, also in unopposed fashion. Missing from the meeting was 1st Vice President Peter Venaglia who was in Paris to attend the annual international meeting and help enhance and expand our business on the European Continent. Additionally, the following officers and trustees of the Welfare and Retirement Funds were elected to serve during 2017. They are: Officers: President: Joseph Faraldo 1st Vice President: Peter Venaglia 2nd Vice President: Irv Atherton 3rd Vice President: John Brennan Treasurer: Irv Atherton Secretary: John Brennan Executive Committee: Joseph Faraldo Michael Forte Irv Atherton Peter Venaglia Trustees: Peter Venaglia, Chairman Joseph Faraldo Irv Atherton John Brennan Jordan Stratton Henry Gargiulo (1st Alternate) Ray Schnitter (2nd Alternate) Chris Wittstruck (3rd Alternate) At the meeting, the Board discussed a variety of statutory and administrative goals for the upcoming year as well as what has become somewhat complicated contract negotiating issues. Also discussed was the successful conduct of the International Trot on October 15, as well as the results of the SOA's realized goal of achieving commingled pools with our international simulcasting partners. Subject to approval by the New York State Gaming Commission, the 2017 racing season will commence with a day card on Sunday January 8, 2017.  Tentative plans for opening day 2017 currently include an Open at $75,000 and down the line inflated purses in appreciation for the support and efforts of those racing at the Hilltop Oval in 2016.  

Tweet Me (Pat Lachance, $24.80) whipped 'fellow lass' Dot Dot Dot Dash (Steve Smith) Sunday afternoon, winning Yonkers Raceway's harness racing mile-and-a-quarter, $56,000 Open Handicap Trot. The added-distance feature was an all-on-the-gate-eight soiree, with any number of early interest parties. One of those, Hemi Seelster (Jason Bartlett), jumped it off as the 11-10 favorite. Not Afraid (Dan Dube), Lady's Dude and Wind of the North (Mark MacDonald) were all in the game at the outset. Wind of the North was out two turns (:28.1, :57) before eventually making the lead. After a 1:26.3 three-quarters, Not Afraid made a second move, disposing of the leader and bringing the ladies into contention. Not Afraid led past the 1:56.2 milepost, taking a length-and-three-quarter lead into the lane. However, a third-over Tweet Me and fourth-up Dot Dot Dot Dash were beginning their assaults, the former getting to the wire three-quarters of a length before the latter in 2:26. Not Afraid, Red Hot Herbie (Jordan Stratton) and Bentley Spur (Joe Bongiorno) rounding out the payees. For Tweet Me, a 5-year-old daughter of Andover Hall owned by Bridget McNeese and trained by Nicholas Devita, it was her sixth win in 25 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $149.50, with the triple returning $601. This week's installment of the "New York, New York Double' offered a 2-Best Play (Aqueduct's 3rd race) and 4-Lo Rail Crossing (our 5th race) winning combination, which returned $13.10 for every correct dollar wager. Total pool was $4,408. Frank Drucker

Harness racing favored Take it Back Terry (George Brennan, $4.30) prevailed from the pocket Saturday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $45,000 Open Handicap Pace. In play from post position No. 4, 'Terry' left around P H Supercam (Jason Bartlett), making the lead right at the :27.4 opening quarter-mile. He then gave it up to a three-deep First Class Horse (Eric Goodell), who found a :56.2 intermission. Melmerby Beach (Dan Dube) then moved from fifth, offered a minimal challenge in and out of a 1:24 three-quarters. First Class Horse then owned a length-and-three-lead into the lane, where Take it Back Terry was all dressed up. He ducked inside, winning by a neck in 1:52.4. First Class Horse just held second over a hard-charging Blood Brother (Jordan Stratton), with P H Supercam and newly-minted, all-age track-record holder The Real One (Pat Lachance) settling for the remainder. For Take it Back Terry, a 7-year-old Western Terror gelding co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke, Weaver Bruscemi, Larry Karr and Phil Collura, it was his seventh win in 31 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $33.80, the triple returned $171 and the superfecta paid $980. Note Sunday's (Dec. 4th) first post is High Noon. Frank Drucker

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

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, November 29, 2016 -- Much has been written about the subject of commingled pools, specifically involving Yonkers Raceway and its harness racing French connection. Why, you may ask, should anyone on this side of the Atlantic care? Because if you're one of those horseplayers who has dismissed a track--'The pools are too small' and/or 'I'm betting against myself'--the French are your copains (or buddies, chums, amigos). Take this past Sunday (Nov. 27th) as the latest example. With real-time win and show pool commingling of the seven, French-hubbed, added-distance, overflow fields trots, the tally sheet read as such... ...more than a half-million dollars was added to the pot. European win-pool figures ranged from $23,468 to $70,619, with the earlier races getting the bulk of the attention. The show pool range went from $16,874 to $45,002, again spiking in the earlier events. In other words, these pools are 'thoroughbred-esque,' enticing to bettors of all dollar denominations. This Sunday (Dec. 4), with its amended first post of 12 Noon (from original 11:30 AM), the first seven races are 'French,' so have a go at it. An early program file of these races accompanies, noting that changes are to be made Wednesday morning (Nov. 30th).   Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, November 27, 2016 - Favored Hemi Seelster (Jason Bartlett, $6.20) atoned for last week's behave Sunday morning, winning Yonkers Raceway's harness racing mile-and-a-quarter, $56,000 Open Handicap Trot. In play early (actually, everyone was, since post time was 11:12 AM) from post position No. 7, 'Hemi' had to wait before making the lead. He did so around Centurion ATM (Mark MacDonald) just after a :28.1 opening quarter-mile. Tweet Me (Pat Lachance) was a loose third, while Classical Annie (George Brennan) broke after leaving. Hemi Seelster then rated a :57.4 half-mile and 1:27.2 three-quarters as last week's upsetter, Not Afraid (Dan Dube), moved from fourth. That one couldn't get close, while a second-up Tornado Tim (catch-driver Jeff Gregory) jumped it off. Hemi Seelster picked it up, getting the mile in 1:55.4 and widening to 2¼ lengths in and out of the final turn. He held Centurion ATM at bay, winning by a neck in 2:24.2..a tick faster than his two-week-old local record for this division/distance. Tweet Me was a non-threatening third, easily holding off minor payees Wind of the North (Brian Sears) and Not Afraid. For Hemi Seelster, a 4-year-old Holiday Road gelding co-owned by Richard Lombardo, Carl Atley & Robert LeBlanc and trained by Tom Milici, it was his ninth win in 21 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $24.20, with the triple (three wagering choices in order) returning $76. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Monday, November 21, 2016--Yonkers Raceway offers up these public-service reminders about its upcoming live harness racing schedule. After the programs of tonight and tomorrow afternoon (Mon. and Tue., Nov. 21 and 22), live racing (and evening simulcasting) take a holiday hiatus. There's neither this coming Friday and Saturday nights (Nov. 25 and 26, though afternoon simulcasting is available every day), but racing returns this Sunday (Nov. 27) with an 11:10 AM first post. That earlier-than-usual start does amend the 'New York, New York Double' a bit, using Yonkers' sixth race (post time 1:40 PM) as the back end instead the fifth race. The gimmick begins with Aqueduct's third race (post time 1:18 PM). This past Sunday's two-track, two-breed double was scrapped due to Aqueduct's high-wind cancellation, though it's scheduled to be in play thrice more (Nov. 27, Dec. 4, Dec. 18) this season. Speaking of Dec. 4, Yonkers' first post that day is 11:30 AM. Again., program pages for the 'New York, New York Double' shall be sent when available. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, November 20, 2016 - After nearly doing it with a 73-1 number a race earlier, harness racing driver Jordan Stratton won his 3,000th career race Sunday afternoon. Stratton teamed with Bingo Queen ($7.70) for a powerful, first-up Yonkers Raceway victory in the $21,600, second-race trot. The pair negotiated the mile-and-a-quarter distance in 2:29 en route to a 2¾-length win. Stratton nearly blew up the tote board in the late-morning opener, missing a hard-charging head in the featured Open Handicap Trot. "I appreciate the number, probably more than my family does," Stratton said. Then, in a rather bold assumption, he offered that "they love me anyway." The affable 29-year-old Stratton, regular chauffeur of George Morton Levy Series winner Bit of a Legend N, was joined in the winner's circle presentation by his brother, Cory, a pretty fair horseman in his own right. Jordan Stratton has earned $45 million in purses in a career which began in 2006. His 225 wins place him fifth in this season's local driver standings. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, November 20, 2016 - Not Afraid (Dan Dube, $38.20) led the harness racing longshot legion Sunday morning, winning Yonkers Raceway's mile-and-a-quarter, $56,000 Open Handicap Trot. Away alertly from post position No. 3 for his 11:30 AM local time road test, Not Afraid then saw an interesting floor show develop. Centurion ATM (Steve Smith) made the next lead before yielding to a wide-early Hemi Seelster (Jason Bartlett). That one found front before a :28.2 opening quarter-mile. Then came 4-5 fave Bee a Magician (Brian Sears), even wider early and parked two turns before grabbing the baton after a :56.4 half. An antsy 'Hemi' wanted to reclaim his turf, but was rebuffed and eventually broke in a retreating pocket. However, the $4 million lass Bee a Magician had been sufficiently softened up before a 1:26,4 three-quarters, as Not Afraid moved with purpose from fourth. That one went up and over and, after a 1:56.2 mile station, owned a 2½-length lead into the lane. Not Afraid held off a charging, 73-1 Springbank Sam N (Jordan Stratton) by a head in 2:25.4 for the added distance. Tweet Me (Pat Lachance) and her 149-1 self rallied for third, with Centurion ATM and Dweycolorintheline (Mark MacDonald) settling for the minors. Bee a Magician tired badly to finish eighth-beating just a pair of misbehavers-her first non-payday since she was sixth in the 2015 Yonkers International Trot. For fourth choice Not Afraid, a 7-year-old S J's Caviar gelding trained by Jimmy Takter for co-owners the missus Christina, John Fielding and Goran Anderberg, it was his seventh win in 30 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $494.50, with the triple (first two finishers and ALL) returning $1,073. As an aside, Sunday's edition of the 'New York, New York Double' was scratched after Aqueduct cancelled its card. The gimmick is scheduled to return next Sunday, Nov. 27th, with Yonkers' first post at 11:10 AM. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, November 19, 2016--The Real One (Pat Lachance, $8.70) etch-a-sketched his name into Yonkers Raceway's harness racing annuals, setting an all-age track record in winning Saturday night's $45,000 Open Handicap Pace. Sitting chilly from post position No. 4, The Real One watched a pole-sitter Melmerby Beach (Dan Dube) took no prisoners, as in early fractions of :26.4 and :55.1. Rank outsider Santa Fe Beachboy (Brent Holland) was pocketed and slight 2-1 choice First Class Horse (Jason Bartlett) moved from third. That one went up and over a non-resistant 'Melmerby' right after the 1:22.1 three-quarters. The Real One was perched behind that move as First Class Horse opened a length-and-a-quarter lead into the lane. The stalker ducked in and whipped his tow by a neck in 1:50 flat, a tick faster than the previous Westchester standard. That mile unceremoniously knocked a quintet--Crombie A, Forty Five Red, Limelight Beach, Go Daddy Go and Americanprimetime--out of the record books. Bit of a Legend N (Jordan Stratton) wound up a best-of-the-rest third--beaten 4¼ lengths--with Take it Back Terry (George Brennan) and Santa Fe Beachboy rounding out the payees For third choice The Real One, a 6-year-old Mach Three trained by his driver for owner Helene Filion, it was his eighth win in 30 seasonal starts (career earnings past $700,000). The exacta paid $62, the triple returned $215 and the superfecta paid $706. "That's his trip," Lachance said. "He chases other horses. Melmerby Beach did all the dirty work and we showed up at the end." Stratton's two-win night moved him within one of 3,000 career victories. No one took down Saturday night's Pick 5 wager, so Sunday morning's gimmick (first post 11:30 AM) begins with a carryover of $2,043.93 (50-cent base wager, races 6 through 10). Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Friday, November 18, 2016--A 'four-peating' Krispy Apple (Jason Bartlett, $4.10) just lasted Friday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $45,000 harness racing filly and mare Open Handicap Pace. The eight-hole-assigned favorite left around second choice Mach it a Par (Brian Sears), then negotiated her eight furlongs in :27, :56.2, 1:24.4 and 1:52.4. Drifting a bit through the lane, she did hold off a pair to her inside, Mach it a Par and lone filly Lispatty (Mark MacDonald). The margin over the former was scant nose, while the latter missed by three-quarters of a length. Two Kiwis--Glenferie Bronte N (Jordan Stratton) and Jungle Genie N (Brent Holland)--settled for the remainder. For Krispy Apple, an 8-year-old daughter of Western Ideal co-owned by Bamond Racing and Joseph Davino and trained by Jeffrey Bamond Jr., it was her 10th win in 23 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $12.60, the triple (three wagering choices in order) returned $32 and the superfecta paid $230. Special props for this win, the 50th of Krispy Apple's $1.8 million career. "She had some health issues toward the middle of the season and she wasn't herself, but she's had her legs back under her lately and she's been the Krispy Apple of old," Bartlett said. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, November 15, 2016--The second-largest jackpot in Empire City/Yonkers Raceway's 10-year history was taken down this past Sunday (Nov. 13). Linda H., of nearby Thornwood, NY, parlayed an impromptu visit and a $10 bet into a $961,411.81 payday. The big hit occurred on a $5 denomination Wheel of Fortune machine in Empire City Casino's Gotham Palace. "It was such a shock," Linda said. "I couldn't believe my eyes. It was surreal and a dream come true. Everyone dreams of hitting the big jackpot. "My husband, Edward, and I go to Empire City a couple of times a month," she added. "He was at the casino, but not with me, and didn't have his cell phone. He met me after all of the excitement." It was just over a year ago, October 25, 2015, that Howard G. of Suffolk County (Long Island), scored Empire City's record-breaker, worth $1,473,503 on the Wheel of Fortune Triple Star slot machine. Linda said that she and her husband usually visits with friends for the slots, dinner and harness racing, but this time it was just the couple--a 'spur of the moment' visit--before a trip to the supermarket. "We never made it food shopping because I was too exhausted." Frank Drucker             Frank Drucker Director of Publicity 810 Yonkers Avenue Yonkers, NY 10704 Phone: (914) 457-2432 E-mail: FDrucker@YonkersRaceway.com  

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, November 13, 2016 - Harness racing favored Hemi Seelster (Jason Bartlett, $4) finished what he started Sunday morning, winning Yonkers Raceway's mile-and-a-quarter, $56,000 Open Handicap Trot. Away alertly from post position No. 5 for his 11:25 AM local time audition, Hemi Seelster had to wait his turn before making the lead. He took over from Luminosity (George Brennan) before a :28.2 opening quarter-mile, then rated a :58.4 next half-mile (:58.1, 1:27.1). Tornado Tim (Dan Dube) was the first to move-from sixth-flushing Springbank Sam N (Jordan Stratton) out of fourth. Hemi Seelster found a 1:55.4 mile post, taking a length-and-a-half lead into the lane. He then widened to 3¼ lengths at the wire in 2:24.3...a track record for his weight class. Luminosity crossed the line second, with Tornado Tim third, However, those positions were flipped after the former slalomed inside any number of pylons. Dot Dot Dot Dash (Steve Smith) and 'Sam' rounded out the payees. For Hemi Seelster, a 4-year-old Holiday Road gelding co-owned by Richard Lombardo, Carl Atley & Robert LeBlanc and trained by Tom Milici, it was his eighth win (fourth consecutive off barn change) in 20 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $21, with the triple returning $64. Sunday also featured the second installment of the 'New York, New York Double,' a joint venture with the New York Racing Association. The winning combination of 2 (Pretty Enuff-Aqueduct 3rd race) and 1 (Movement-Yonkers' 5th race) returned $34.25 for each $1 wager. The 'New York, New York Double' continues each Yonkers live Sunday through Dec. 18th. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, November 12, 2016 - Bit of a Legend N (Jordan Stratton, $13.80) couldn't possibly have had an eight-hole trip than he did Saturday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's harness racing $45,000 Open Handicap Pace. In play from behind the eight-ball, the Levy Series winner found a gaping three-hole for a brief respite, then marching toward the lead. He made it around pole-sitting, 9-5 choice Rock N' Roll World (George Brennan) before a pokey 28-second opening quarter-mile. Then came a plodding, 29-second next station (57-second half), effectively ending the suspense. First Class Horse (Jason Bartlett), gapping his rivals earlier, moved first-up from fourth, but never threatened. Bit of a Legend N found a 1:25 three-quarters, taking a length-and-a-half lead into the lane. He whipped Rock N' Roll World by that same margin in 1:52.3, with First Class Horse, a way-after-the-fact The Real One (Pat Lachance) and Santa Fe Beachboy (Brent Holland) rounding out the payees. For fourth choice Bit of a Legend N, a 7-year-old Down Under son of Bettor's Delight owned by Harry von Knoblauch and trained by Peter Tritton, it was his 13th win in 27 seasonal starts ($718,450). The exacta paid $42, the triple returned $197.50 and the superfecta paid $829. Stratton's four-win night moved him within nine of 3,000 career victories Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Friday, November 11, 2016 - A three-peating Krispy Apple (Jason Bartlett, $5.20) easily disposed of her harness racing rivals Friday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $45,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. In play from behind the eight-ball, the 8-5 favorite worked around Tessa Seelster (George Brennan), making the lead just before a :27.3 opening quarter-mile. Then, she just toyed with 'em (:57, 1:25, 1:52.4), a 2½-length lead into the lane becoming three lengths at the wire. Lispatty (Mark MacDonald) snuck inside to grab second over 'Tessa,' with Regil Elektra (Brian Sears) and 41-1 rank outsider Motu Moonbeam N (Tyler Buter) coming away with the remainder. For Krispy Apple, an 8-year-old, $1.8 million daughter of Western Ideal co-owned by Bamond Racing and Joseph Davino and trained by Jeffrey Bamond Jr., it was her ninth win in 22 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $29.60, the triple returned $127 and the superfecta paid $404.50. Frank Drucker

The Standardbred Owners Association of New York and Yonkers Raceway have joined together to offer 10 harness racing fans a chance to own part of a horse racing at Yonkers Raceway. Ten lucky fans were randomly chosen through the USTA's new ownership database and each person will receive a five percent stake in the three-year-old trotter Emerald Chip. The horse is in to go in Tuesday's third race at Yonkers Raceway and is the 9-5 morning line favorite from post one in the $20,000 conditioned event. And the best part for the new owners is there won't be any bills! Trainer Andrew Harris has agreed to send the ten winners a summary of the horse's earnings and expenses on a regular basis so they can get a true sense of what the ownership experience would look like. The SOA of NY and Yonkers Raceway will give each winner five percent of what Emerald Chip earns through the end of the Yonkers meet December 18, up to a total of $10,000. "This is a great new initiative to give people the sense and experience of owning a horse", said SOA of NY President Joe Faraldo. "We want to thank Yonkers Raceway for partnering with us on this marketing venture to get more people involved in our sport." The current Yonkers Raceway schedule has afternoon racing on Sundays and Tuesdays, and the traditional 7:10pm posts Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays.  

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