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YONKERS, NY, Saturday, August 19, 2017 - Odds-on Bit of a Legend N (Jordan Stratton, $3.30) paid a price for the lead, then made his harness racing opponents pay the price for giving it to him Saturday night (Aug. 19th), winning Yonkers Raceway's $55,000 Open Handicap Pace. In the hunt early from assigned post position No. 6, the 2016 George Levy Series winner took over from 21-1 shot Caviart Luca (George Brennan) just after a zippy :26.3 opening quarter-mile. A rated, :29.1 next substation (:55.4 half) was going to make the people's preference tough to catch. Melmerby Beach (Greg Merton) and Mach it So (Brent Holland) tried it from first- and second-over, respectively, as Bit of a Legend N found a 1:24.2 three-quarters. He widened to 2¼ lengths in and out of the final turn, then held Caviart Luca at bay. The margin was measured three-quarters of a length in 1:51.3. Bakersfield (Mark MacDonald) and Melmerby Beach hit the line together for third, with Mach it So settling for the final pay envelope. For Bit of a Legend N, an 8-year-old Down Under son of Bettor's Delight owned by Harry von Knoblauch Stable and trained by Peter Tritton, it was his fifth win in 17 '17 tries. The exacta paid $33.50, with the triple returning $89.50 (Bakersfield third) and $92 (Melmerby Beach third). Prior to the race, Tritton spoke of von Knoblauch, who passed away early this month at age 90. "Harry was a gentleman who enjoyed racing and not afraid to spend money to get good horses. His daughters want to keep the stable going, and I'm fortunate to train for them." Bit Of A Legend's official lifetime record is as follows; Down Under - 63 starts for 20 wins, 15 seconds and 4 thirds for $810,101 North America - 45 starts for 17 wins 10 seconds and 4 thirds for $1,101,920 Total - 108 starts for 37 wins, 25 seconds and 8 thirds for $1,939,521 Bit Of A Legend Yonkers offers up the sixth of eight consecutive Sunday matinees (Aug. 13th), with a first post of 12:30 PM. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Friday, August 18, 2017 - harness racing favored Sell a Bit N (Jordan Stratton, $4.40) proved the fastest femme Friday night (Aug. 18th), winning Yonkers Raceway's $55,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. Away alertly from assigned post position No. 5, Sell a Bit N worked around second choice Delightful Dragon (Brent Holland) just after a :27.3 opening quarter-mile. The track, which had taken on water earlier in the card, wound up yielding equal halves (:57, 1:25.3, 1:54). That was swift enough for the eventual victress, who held off a stubborn, two-move try by Regil Elektra to win by a neck. Delightful Dragon was a pocket third, with Sail to the Beach (Dan Dube) and Lispatty (George Brennan) rounding out the payees...the quintet separated by just two lengths at the wire. For Sell a Bit N, a 7-year-old Down Under daughter of Julius Caesar owned by Harry von Knoblauch Stables and trained by Peter Tritton, it was her second win in 14 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $36.80, with the triple returning $75.50. Sell a Bit N Frank Drucker

YONKERS, N.Y. - Multiple stakes-winner Missile J returns to harness racing at Yonkers Raceway Saturday night after a brief freshening. Trainer Scott Di Domenico, who purchased Missile J out of the Tattersalls January Mixed Sale with owners John McGill and Brian Carsey, entered the pacer back in the $35,000 sub-featured 4-Year-Old Open Handicap. Off the 83-day layoff, but still with $76,380 on his card, the restricted pace is the ideal spot to bring the 15-time winner and $498,482 earner back. “This class is the race we bought him for in January. This is what our hope for him was when we bought him,” Di Domenico said. “Obviously, I don’t think anybody thought that it was going to go the way that it did with him getting on that kind of roll and competing at the level he did with the horses he was racing against. Fortunately it did. That was a great thrill for everybody involved.” After buying Missile J for $115,000, the son of American Ideal won his first four races for his new connections. He climbed the class ladder in each start and won the Open Pace at Dover Downs in a lifetime best 1:49.1 to cap his grand slam. Missile J then won three straight preliminary legs of the George Morton Levy Series at Yonkers. He paced 1:51.3 in two of those triumphs and posted two sub :27 final quarters on the half-mile track. Missile J’s last win came April 1 at Yonkers. Since then, he finished third in the Levy Final as the race’s even-money favorite, third in the Graduate Final, fourth in an Open Handicap Pace, and seventh in the Stafford Invitational at Harrah’s. His connections came together and decided to give the gelding some well-earned time off. “Racing that caliber of horses, going 1:51, :26 three weeks in a row at Yonkers, that’s very hard to hold up to. Five or six weeks in a row of that Levy series against that competition, they throw a lot of heat on you every week and it’s taxing,” Di Domenico said. “I’m not making any excuses on why he didn’t win the final or the next race or anything else. I just think it was a combination of getting raced fairly hard through the winter and raced at a very high level in the Levy. I just think he needed a break.” Di Domenico came to McGill and Carsey with his decision and they agreed. Despite having to bypass several Grand Circuit events, Missile J’s owners opted to be patient and let their star pacer recuperate from the winter and spring campaign. “When we sat down and talked about giving him a little break, they were very good about it. You always want to do good for people like that. They give me a lot of options to make decisions, which I enjoy and we work well together,” Di Domenico said. “They believe in the horse and they believe in the trainer’s decision to sit a horse of his caliber out. He was eligible to some Grand Circuit races for a lot of money. They knew he was out in the field and they watched those races from the sidelines and never said a word or complained about it ever. I’m appreciative of them for believing in my decision to give the horse a little break and I think he’ll repay them for it, I really do. “Horses don’t do what he did,” he continued. “He came home in some tough spots and mowed them down and I think he’s got a lot of future ahead of him.” After about 35 days off at New Jersey Equine, Missile J returned to Di Domenico’s barn in great shape. He had put on some weight and came back mentally sharp and with a great attitude. Di Domenico prepped Missile J for his first race off the bench with one qualifier at Harrah’s August 8. He finished second to Christen Me and paced 1:53.2 with a :27.1 final quarter. In his first start off the layoff, the race office assigned Missile J post eight. Brent Holland will drive the 9/2 morning line chance for the first time Saturday night. Di Domenico is expecting an off-the-pace trip. “He’s done everything that I’ve asked him to do. Everything really professionally,” the trainer said. “The outside at Yonkers is not a very easy thing to overcome. Hopefully he’ll get some pace ahead of him and he’ll have a shot to pick up some of the pieces and get paid.” Saturday’s 4-Year-Old Open Handicap Pace also includes last week’s winner, Ideal Jimmy. The son of Western Ideal drew post four and is the 7/2 second choice on the morning line. Jordan Stratton will drive again. St Lads Moonwalk finished third last week from post five and drew the same position this time. He is the 3-1 morning line favorite. Dakota Jack, Settlemoir, Mr D`s Dragon, Continual Hanover, and Western Dynasty complete the field. A $55,000 Open Handicap Pace featuring Bit Of A Legend and Somewhere In L A headlines Saturday’s card. Post time is 7:10 p.m. For entries for Saturday’s races, click here. Sunday at Yonkers A reminder regarding Yonkers Raceway’s matinee program this Sunday (Aug. 20th), with a 12:30 PM first post. It’s the sixth of eight consecutive Sundays. It’s a dozen-race, all-trot card, with races 2 (approx.. post time 12:50 PM) through 5 (2:20 PM) of the ‘French’ theme, as in overflow fields at the mile-and-one-quarter distance. The ‘New York, New York Double’ is also back this Sunday, including Saratoga’s 3rd race (post time 2:07 PM) and Yonkers’ 5th race (post time 2:20 PM). Program pages accompany this release. Final post for Sunday is scheduled for 4:50 PM. by Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY

YONKERS, NY, Thursday, August 17, 2017 - Yonkers Raceway Thursday night (Aug. 17th) played host to the $156,000 New York Sire Stakes Clyde Hirt Pace for harness racing 2-year-old fillies. Three divisions, worth $52,000 each, went postward. The opening event saw 3-10 favorite Youaremycandygirl (Yannick Gingras) brush to the lead around second choice Alexis Faith (Jim Morrill Jr.). The official horse of the Archies then set intervals of :28, 57.3 and 1:27.1, only to fold off the final turn. Alexis Faith ($8.40), from post position No. 2, ducked inside, defeating a second-over, 32-1 Line Dancer (Brett Miller) by a half-length in 1:55.3. Sand Artist was a first-up third, while odds-on 'Candygirl' faded to fifth among the half-dozen. For Alexis Faith, a daughter of American Ideal Ontario co-owned by West Wins Stable, Jim Fielding, J. Robert Darrow and Kevin McKinney, she remains perfect (5-for-5) to begin her career. The exacta paid $160.50, with the triple returning $820. The second sire stakes grouping, was won by second choice All on Top Hanover (Andy Miller, $6.40). Pocketed-after a retake-from post No. 6, she pulled early against that stubborn foe, even-money choice Python Blue Chip (Jason Bartlett). Rebuffed once through intervals of :28.1, :57.1 and 1:26, All on Top Hanover did eventually prevail, besting her rival by a length-and-a-quarter in 1:55.4. American Myth (Brett Miller) was a loose-pocket third. For All on Top Hanover, a Betterthancheddar miss co-owned by (trainer) Erv Miller, Crawford Racing, Ronald Michelon and George Golemes, she's now 3-for-6 this season. The exacta paid $21.20, with the triple returning $123. The final sire stakes grouping saw no one able to Get Shorty, as in Hurrikane Shorty (Bartlett, $2.50). With no anxious moments from the pole, the 1-4 choice won by a comfortable length (:28.3, :58.1, 1:27.2, 1:55.4). Betterthangraduate (Matt Kakaley) chased from the pocket and held second, with Azreal as it Gets (Brian Sears) a closing third. For Hurricane Shorty, a daughter of Art Major trained by Kevin McDermott for co-owners Little E LLC, Jason Settlemoir, Arthur Geiger and David Stolz, it was her third win in five first-season tries. The exacta paid $8, with the triple returning $28.20. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, August 13, 2017 - It's a Homicidal hat trick. Odds-on favorite Homicide Hunter (Brent Holland, $3.70) made it three consecutive harness racing victories Sunday afternoon (Aug. 13th), winning Yonkers Raceway's $68,000 Open Handicap Trot. Away fourth from behind the eight-ball among the dozen, Homicide Hunter saw Smalltownthrowdown (Greg Merton) and Hemi Seelster (Jason Bartlett) takes turns fronting the field (:28.1, :57.2, 1:27.2). Homicide Hunter was then out and moving, setting his sights upon the leader. He dove into a rest stop past the 1:55.1 milepost when Smalltownthrowdown backed away. 'Hunter' then became the hunted in the final turn, finding himself with a three-length lead after Hemi Seelster made a wild break and a hard right turn, back down into the paddock before completing his appointed rounds. Homicide Hunter won it easily, defeating Dewycolorintheline (Dan Dube) by 4¼ lengths in 2:26 for the mile-and-a-quarter. Last week's upsetter, Taco Tuesday (Steve Smith), was third, with Sumatra (Eric Goodell) and Theraputic (George Brennan) picked up the remainder.. For Homicide Hunter, a 5-year-old Mr. Cantab gelding owned by Crawford Farms Racing and trained by Chris Oakes, it was his sixth win in nine seasonal starts. The exacta paid $51, the triple returned $389.50 and the superfecta paid $2,118. Sunday's installment of the 'New York, New York Double' offered a winning combination of 2-Kelsocait (Saratoga's 3rd race) and 11-Awsome Valley (Yonkers' 5th race) paid $44 for every correct $1 wager. Total pool was $5,623. Note the Raceway's post time next Sunday (Aug. 20th) is 12:30 PM. Frank Drucker

Nuncio has received an invitation to the harness racing $1 million International Trot (World Cup) at Yonkers Raceway on October 14th. "We received an invitation in the mailbox on Friday. Now let's take a stand if we are going or not, "says Stefan Melander. Previously, Jerry Riordan's Twister Bi has both been invited and thanked for the environmental dollar race in New York. On the other hand, both Bold Eagle and Timoko have already refused to participate and Nuncio is the second trainer, trained in Sweden, invited to Yonkers International Trot ($1,000,000) over the 2,011 meter distance. For Stefan Melander, the race is no news. He won the World Cup in 1995 with Swedish-born His Majesty. "There are many things I need to keep in mind before I decide, but it's definitely interesting to go to Yonkers. Nuncio feels still strong in training and now I have to wonder if we are going to the United States and then continue to the French winter meeting, or if we just aim at Vincennes or the United States, "says Stefan Melander. Nuncio has previously celebrated success on the Yonkers Raceway. As a three-year-old, he won both trials and finals in Yonkers Trot ($ 500,000) with John Campbell in sulky. By Claes Freidenvall Reprinted with permission of Sulky Sport

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, August 12, 2017 - Somewhere in L A (Jason Bartlett, $7.70) avoided the third-turn happenstance Saturday night (Aug. 12th), winning Yonkers Raceway's harness racing $55,000 Open Handicap Pace. Passive from assigned post position No. 6, Somewhere in L A watched as Luck Be Withyou (Eric Goodell) 'won the break,' making the lead directly outside of 11-10 fave Sunfire Blue Chip (Dan Dube). The former, not in a giving mood, then hung the latter though testy early fractions of :26.1 of :54.3. However, passing the half and moving toward the three-quarters, Lucky Be Withyou had none of his own. He made a filthy break, wiping out himself and the parked-out 'Sunfire'. A three-holed Dynamic Youth (Carl Cito Jr.) then found himself leading at the 1:23.2 three-quarters, but the back markers were closing in. Somewhere in L A rolled wide around Sunfire Blue Chip opening a length-and-quarter lead into the lane. He won by a length-and-a-quarter in 1:52. Second went to an inside dive of 42-1 Polak A (Greg Merton), with Evenin' of Pleasure (George Brennan), Bit of a Legend N (Jordan Stratton) and P H Supercam (Brent Holland) rounding out the payees. For third choice Somewhere in L A, a 6-year-old Somebeachsomewhere co-owned by D'Elegance Stable IX, Carmen Iannacone, T L P & Gandolfo Stables, it was his 10th win in 25 '17 tries. The exacta paid $139.50, the triple returned $1,163 and the superfecta paid $10,118 (base $2 payout). Yonkers offers up the fifth of eight consecutive Sunday matinees (Aug. 13th), with a first post of 12:30 PM. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, N.Y - A week ago, Yonkers Raceway began using a new electronic draw system to set post positions for its races. The new system is called eTrack and was developed by the USTA. The system takes the harness racing horses entered in each race as input and randomly assigns post positions to them with the press of a button, as Yonkers Raceway Assistant Race Secretary Bob Miecuna explains. “With eTrack from the USTA, it’s an option you have to draw the races automatically instead of doing it by hand,” he said. “Basically, everything is set up exactly the same way you would for the regular draw. You select the horses you have for each particular race and then you push a button to draw and then the eight post positions come up with the also eligibles. It’s very simple.” The electronic draw replaces a decades old system of drawing post positions by hand. As Miecuna explains, the process was dated and relied heavily on human participation. “The old process, the entry blanks were brought over to the judges for each race and the judge would select an entry blank and then a horseman would go and select a number randomly. They had pills numbered one through eight. They would go and select a pill, call out the number, they’d write it down on the blank and on the draw sheet, and continue right through, eight for each race for all twelve races.” Miecuna, who began his role 19 years ago and handles the processing of entries, claims, and other work in the race office, noted the upgraded draw system offers two main advantages: integrity and efficiency. The new system largely removes humans from the equation and saves time. “This does save time. The time isn’t the big thing, it’s just it’s very efficient,” he said. “Nobody can drop a pill. The only human hand is touching the button that says ‘draw.’ ” Miecuna noted the new system also makes it easier for horsemen and the public to observe the draw. When pills were hand-drawn and entry blanks were pulled under the old system, it was difficult for any spectators to see which numbers and horses were being selected. The new  eTrack system, however, displays its results on a large screen monitor in the race office.  “We got a large TV monitor for the judge’s office so anyone who comes in can come and see it,” Miecuna said. “There’s no looking over a shoulder onto a little computer screen. We have a 42- or 44-inch that they can look at.” Although the eTrack system has been available to the track for several months, the race office began using it to draw pari-mutuel races about a week ago. For two months leading up to the change, Miecuna and Race Secretary Steve Starr used the eTrack system to set post positions for qualifiers. “We were practicing with that on qualifiers for about two months just to make sure that when we did go and do it live, it was a smooth transition,” Miecuna explained. “We knew it was going to work, but we wanted to make sure we could do it properly.” The system has successfully drawn post positions for pari-mutuel races, including overnight and sire stakes fields. The only limitation of the software is exposed when complex handicaps are applied to the track’s top classes. Miecuna is optimistic a future software update will address this limitation. “If you do make any kind of difficult handicap race, you have to draw by hand, but besides that it’s fine. You can’t assign one and two, draw three through six, and assign seven and eight. Down the road they’ll get to that.” Yonkers Raceway races Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights at 7:10 p.m. and Sunday afternoons. Click here for a complete racing schedule. To view Yonkers Raceway’s draw schedule and latest condition sheets, click here. by Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY

YONKERS, NY, Friday, August 11, 2017 - A pocketed Jag Out (Brent Holland, $18.60) proved best Friday night (Aug. 11th), winning Yonkers Raceway's harness racing $55,000 filly and mare Open Handicap Pace. Away alertly from post position No. 4, Jag Out made the first lead, then gave it up to HP Sissy (Dan Dube) before a :27.2 opening quarter-mile. It was a :56.3 intermission before Freeze Out (Joe Bongiorno) moved first, from sixth. He then was relegated to a poor tow from just-over-even-money favorite Darlinonthebeach (Brian Sears). That one did nothing for the back markers as HP Sissy found a 1:24.4 three-quarters. 'Sissy' owned a length-and-a-half lead in the lane, but Jag Out moved out and moved by. The margin was a neck in a season's-best 1:53.2. Betabcool (George Brennan) offered good pace on both ends of the mile to grab second, with HP Sissy, Arielle Lynn (Eric Goodell) and Newborn Sassy (Jordan Stratton) settled for the remainder. Darlinonthebeach wound up sixth. For sixth choice Jag Out, a 5-year-old daughter of American Ideal co-owned owned by (trainer) Nick Surick, J L Benson Stable and Bert Hochsprung, it was her fourth win in a dozen seasonal starts. The exacta paid $85.50, the triple returned $601 and the superfecta paid a palindromic $2,552. Jag Out A friendly reminder from Yonkers Raceway that Saturday evening’s (Aug. 12th) Pick 5 wager starts with a carryover of $2,485.47.   The Pick 5 is a 50-cent base wager comprising races 7 through 11 during every racing card. 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. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, August 8, 2017 - Yonkers Raceway Tuesday night (Aug. 8th) played host to the $162,500 New York Sire Stakes Milt Taylor Trot for harness racing 2-year-old colts and geldings. Three divisions, worth $54,000 each, went postward. The opening event saw second choice Clive Bigsby (Jason Bartlett, $4.60) get the jump on 3-5 Funknpancakes (Corey Callahan), beating that rival handily in 1:58.2. Away fourth from position No. 7, 'Clive' saw Alex the Great (Andy Miller) move around Funknpancakes and lead through intervals of :29.4 and :59.4. Clive Bigsby then challenged through the 1:29.3 three-quarters, putting 'Alex' away. The new leader opened a length-and-a-half in the lane then, with an extricated 'Pancakes' in pursuit, widened to the three lengths at the wire. Alex the Great was a clear third. For Clive Bigsby, a Muscle Mass gelding co-owned by (trainer) George Ducharme and Winners Racing Stable, it was his fourth win in five seasonal starts (2-for-3 in NYSS). The exacta paid $7, with the triple returning $28.60. "He's just a handy horse with a good attitude," Bartlett said. "When I made the lead, his ears pricked right up and he took off." The second sire stakes grouping, pared to gang of seven, was won by a pocketed Purpose Blue Chip (Dan Daley, $7) In play from post No. 3, 'Purpose' was sequestered behind even-money choice Cruising in Style (Bartlett) as that won led strung-out rivals (:29.1, :59.2, 1:29). Despite cruising in style, Cruising in Style was unable to close the sale. Up a length off the final turn, he watched as Purpose Blue Chip went by...with purpose. The final margin was a length-and-a-half in 1:58.4, with The Veteran (Brian Sears) making up some 10 lengths in the back half to finish third. For third choice Purpose Blue Chip, a son of Chapter Seven trained by his driver for co-owners Ann-Mari Daley, James Crawford IV, Richard Lombardo and Donald Brenner, it was a maiden-breaker after a pair of seconds. The exacta paid $14.80, with the triple returning $52. The 'fastest was the lastest' as odds-on Fourth Dimension (Sears, $2.60) easily won the evening's final sire stakes soiree. Having to wait his turn for the lead, Fourth Dimension-from post No. 6-did just that. Once there, few issues (:28.1,:58, 1:27.2, 1:57), with the effort matching Dejarmbro's (Sept., 2010) track record for frosh trotting colts. The margin was a length-and-quarter in and out of the final turn and 2¼ lengths at the wire. Perlucky (Trond Smedshammer), at 25-1, offered good late trot to grab second from Rich Uncle (George Brennan) while 54-1 number Ronnie Goldstein (Kim Crawford) was fourth. For Fourth Dimension, a Chapter Seven colt owned by Courant Inc. and trained by Marcus Melander, he's now a perfect 3-for-3 (all in NYSS) to begin his career. The exacta paid $32.40, the triple returned $102 and the superfecta paid $2,717. "I don't know what I can say about him other than he's a superb athlete," was Melander's winner's circle summation. Frank Drucker

It's official; the small town of Windsor, Maine has produced a professional sports superstar. On Sunday afternoon, July 23rd, 36 year old Jason Bartlett, the nation's leading harness racing driver by earnings, achieved his 7,000th career driving victory at his adopted home, Yonkers Raceway. When the youthful Bartlett arrived at the Hilltop Oval from New England about a decade ago, he brought with him tremendous skill, prowess and much  success reflected by his then 2,000 career wins. Those attributes have allowed the hard-working reinsman to develop a career that places him perennially in harness racing's top echelon of veteran catch drivers. His career earnings are in excess $88 million, over $7 million was which has been amassed in just the first 7 months of this year. Jason's talent, integrity and demeanor lead to his selection as the United States representative to the World Driving Championship in Norway in 2009; the U.S. in 2011 and France in 2013, with only injury preventing his 2011 participation. Bartlett has come a long way since his maiden win as a teenager at his local hometown Windsor Fair in 1998. Now the resident of another small town that understands harness racing very well, Goshen, New York, the devoted husband and father does himself, the world-wide industry and Yonkers Raceway proud. The Standardbred Owners Association of New York wishes this Maine transplant all the best, and trusts that he will choose to ply his trade at the Home of the International Trot for years to come. Alex Dadoyan  

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, August 6, 2017 - Taco Tuesday (Jordan Stratton, $23.40) did his damage from second-over Sunday afternoon (Aug. 6th), winning Yonkers Raceway's harness racing $68,000 Open Handicap Trot. Floating out of the gate from post position No. 6, Taco Tuesday found a home fifth while 19-10 choice Hemi Seelster (Jason Bartlett) walked to the lead. Overcoming his assigned eight-hole, 'Hemi' was issue-free through pokey early fractions of :29.1 and :59 and 1:28.4. Down the backside the final time, Buen Camino (Scott Zeron) took out of fourth, confronting Hemi Seelster as the pace of this trot picked up. After a 1:57.1 mile post, Hemi Seelster owned a shortening lead into the lane As Buen Camino was about to win the battle...but lose the war. Taco Tuesday, towed into it by Buen Camino, appreciated the gesture so much, he rolled right over him. Taco Tuesday won by a length, the mile-and-a-quarter going in 2:26.3. Hemi Seelster faded to third, with Sumatra (Eric Goodell) sand Georgie's Pockets (Joe Bongiorno) settling for the minors. For eighth choice (in the field of nine) Taco Tuesday, a 4-year-old Cantab Hall gelding owned by Vincent Laurenzo and trained by Rob Harmon, it was his sixth win in 14 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $107, the triple returned $489.50 and the superfecta paid $8,476. Sunday's installment of the 'New York, New York Double' offered a winning combination of 6-Rally Cry (Saratoga's 3rd race) and 4-Tarot (Yonkers' 7th race) paid $11.80 for every correct $1 wager. Total pool was $7,977. Note the Raceway's post time next Sunday (Aug. 13th) is 12:30 PM. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, August 5, 2017-- Favored Rockin' Ron (George Brennan, $4.60) finished what he started Saturday night (Aug. 5th), winning Yonkers Raceway's harness racing $55,000 Open Handicap Pace. In play from assigned post position No. 6, 'Ron' worked around P H Supercam (Brent Holland) before a :26.3 opening quarter-mile. Sunfire Blue Chip (Mark MacDonald) left outside Rockin' Ron, but was relegated to a three-hole. Rockin Ron' found a 55-second intermission, then threw down a :27.2 third quarter (1:22). The maneuver lost P H Supercam as 'Sunfire' moved past him. The leader opened 2¼ lengths into the lane, holding Sunfire Blue Chip at bay by a length in 1:51...matching the fastest local mile of the season. Somewhere in L A (Jason Barlett) was third, also after solid, two-move try, with P H Supercam and Melmerby Beach (Greg Merton) rounding out the payees. For Rockin' Ron, a 5-year-old Real Desire gelding co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke, Weaver Bruscemi and RTC Stables, it was his fourth win in 17 '17 tries (25th career victory, earnings over $700,000). The exacta paid $33.20, with the triple returning $121.50. Yonkers offers up the fourth of eight consecutive Sunday matinees (Aug. 6th), with a first post of 12:30 PM. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, N.Y. - Ideal Jimmy will continue his comeback in the $35,000 4-Year-Old Open Pace at Yonkers Raceway Saturday night. After making his return to the Hilltop Oval in the same class July 29, harness racing trainer Erv Miller thinks the gelded son of Western Ideal will be competitive in this week’s race. “He had a first start last week. Hopefully he’ll be in a little better shape and ready to go than he was last week, but normally I find at Yonkers it takes them a start or two before they’re really to go,” he said. “It depends on the horse and what he’s done in qualifiers. Normally we’re a little more conservative than we are aggressive the first start or two off the break.” Ideal Jimmy finished seventh in his return, which was his first start since winning a non-winners of eight at Yonkers December 5, 2016. He was beaten just 2 1/2 lengths after racing along the pylons and closing with a :28.1 final quarter. “I thought he raced really good. He just ended up coming up the inside and he wasn’t going to go anywhere because he didn’t get into the race early enough, but first start around there, I thought that was a good starting point,” Miller commented. Ideal Jimmy’s extended break from racing gave the small son of Western Ideal a chance to develop. Miller and owner D. R. Can Witzenburg plotted Ideal Jimmy’s 4-year-old campaign to serve as a transition to bigger targets next year. “We discussed this horse’s future last year to maybe not race him as a 4-year-old this year. I think sometime in March we brought him in,” Miller remembered. “He went through the non-winners of eight and he didn’t fit any more conditions, so we just gave him time to grow up and mature. He’s filled out, grown up. We don’t think he’ll quite compete against the open horses as a 4-year-old, but hopefully as a 5-year-old going forward he will. We’ll see how good he gets and hopefully be in the Levy next year.” Van Witzeburg is a longtime supporter of Miller and has the patience to give his horses time when needed. That makes Miller’s job easier. “I’ve trained for him a long time. He’s a really nice guy. He’s got great patience with horses and he understands the game. He knows they’re not robots and they don’t go when you say, ‘go,’ they go when they’re ready,” Miller said. “He’s been very patient that way with his horses. It’s really nice to have it that way and have it when they understand the horses a little bit.” Ideal Jimmy was a Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champion at 2. He’s 8-for-32 lifetime with another 10 seconds and thirds. He’s earned $443,722 and took a mark of 1:51.0 at the Meadows as a freshman. “He’s just been a really easy horse to get along with all along. He was a really nice 2-year-old. Not very big, just a small horse, which normally doesn’t work for PA because you have to race against the Somebeaches and stuff, but he’s always put his best foot forward and put out a good effort, so we just kept riding with him. He never did take a lot of work or anything. He was always a pretty easy horse to get along with,” Miller described. Ideal Jimmy will start from post position two in Saturday’s 4-Year-Old Open, just to the inside of morning line favorite Western Fame. The eight-horse field also includes 19-time winner St Lads Moonwalk and 10-time winner Blaise MM Hanover. “This week is a little tougher than last week with Western Fame in there,” Miller said. “I think Ideal Jimmy will be quite a bit better than last week just getting a race under his belt. He could be getting a little involved this week and be there at the finish. It helps to have the two hole. “I think it’s great with New York having the opportunities they do on a small track. I think a half-mile track should suit him pretty good,” the trainer continued. “He’ll get some races against 4-year-olds there instead of having to race against older horses. Hopefully he’ll monopolize off of that and have a good last half of the year.” by Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY

YONKERS, NY, Friday, August 4, 2017 - Lispatty (George Brennan, $6.20) bottomed 'em out Friday night (Aug. 4th), winning Yonkers Raceway's $55,000 harness racing filly and mare Open Handicap Pace. Going right down the road (:27.1, :55.3, 1:23.2, season's-best 1:52.2) from assigned post position No.4, Lispatty showed no love to 11-10 favorite Regil Elektra (Jason Bartlett). The former hung the latter, who eventually threw it in reverse, finishing seventh. Lispatty opened four lengths passing the three-quarters, aided by pocket-sitting Sail to the Beach (Brian Sears) tiring badly. Delightful Dragon (Brent Holland) slipped out from behind that one, but had too much ground to make up. The lead was 3½ lengths in the out of the final turn, more than enough as Lispatty lasted by a length-and-a-quarter. Delightful Dragon was second, with HP Siddy (Dan Dube), Sell a Bit N (Jordan Stratton) and Sail to the Beach completing the cashers. For second choice Lispatty, a 4-year-old daughter of McArdle owned by Gilberto Garcia-Owen and trained by Gilberto Garcia-Herrera, it was her third win in 17 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $46, with the triple returning $1,186. Lispatty Note that the Raceway is open for simulcasting a half-hour earlier (11:30 AM) Saturday (Aug. 5th) to accommodate Hambletonian Day at the Meadowlands as well as the Meadows (first posts for both at 12 Noon).  YONKERS’ SATURDAY PICK 5 FEATURES $2,700 CARRYOVER A friendly reminder from Yonkers Raceway that Saturday evening’s (Aug 5th) Pick 5 wager starts with a carryover of $2,780.45.   The Pick 5 is a 50-cent base wager comprising races 7 through 11 during every racing card. 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. Frank Drucker

It was eight weeks in the making and on Friday, August 5 the top point earners in the harness racing NAADA Summer Trotting Series convened at Yonkers Raceway for the $15,000 series finale and when the judges hung the official sign Toss Cartwright and driver Peter Kleinhans emerged victorious, a length better than Hannah Miller's Pine Tab in a 1:59.1 clocking. Although it was a non-betting race Pine Tab, off two consecutive victories, figured to be the one to beat and Alan Schwartz took that to heart. When the wings of the mobile gate folded Schwartz sent his Lady's Big Stormont for the lead and that move pushed Pine Tab to rebuff the challenge but the :28.1 first stanza took a toll on Pine Tab later in the mile. However, once Schwartz found a spot along the pylons Paul Minore moved Wygant Prince out to keep the pressure on Pine Tab and the two trotters were heads apart at the first half which was trotted in :58.2. They then raced side by side toward the third stanza but Miller's charge refuse to give an inch. Around the final turn the eventual winner was still three lengths behind Pine Tab who had put away Wygant Prince. But in the deep stretch trouble loomed for 'Hurricane Hannah' as the speedy first half began to take toll on Pine Tab and as the veteran tired and his strides shortened at which point Kleinhans saw a chance for victory and got after Toss Cartwright and the Muscles Yankee gelding rallied to a one length triumph over Pine Tab. Wygant Prince held on for the show dough. It was the third seasonal victory for Toss Cartwright who's owned by Colleen Cash and trained by John McDermott. For Kleinhans it marked his third seasonal triumph in just 10 trips to post this season and the 54th of his amateur driving career. by John Manzi for NAADA

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