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YONKERS, NY, Sunday, October 20, 2019--It wasn't harness racing parimutuel, but rather political bragging rights that were up for grabs Saturday night (Oct. 19th), with Yonkers Raceway hosting the Legislators' Challenge. The 'Challenge' was comprised of four before-the-card races, featuring 17 New York State elected officials competing in double-seated jog carts...with sporadic assistance from the Raceway's leading drivers. The opening division saw Bronx Democrat State Senator Jamaal Bailey carry both Pembroke Joey and Jim Marohn Jr. across the line. From post position No. 2, the trio went the distance in 2:11.1. Assembly Member Andy Raia (R-Suffolk) was second, with Assembly Member Steve Stern (D-Suffolk) third and Assembly Member Stacy Pheffer-Amato (D-Queens) fourth. "This was wonderful, a great opportunity to see what the harness drivers really do, and how important their job is," State Senator Bailey said. "Jim (Marohn Jr.) was excellent, a great steward, and I helped him out a little bit as well. It worked out pretty well. "These are real athletes and it's a real skill set. You can't just wake up, roll out of bed, and think you're going to hop in a harness and do it, right? We have to respect these athletes and what they do. I have a greater appreciation today than I did yesterday, and even before that when I did the training. Phenomenal day." Bronx Democrats found themselves at it again in the second Challenge event as Assembly Member Marcos Crespo--from post No. 3 with Shaun Vallee and Galactic Galleon N--edged past State Senator Shelley Mayer (D-Westchester) late to win in 2:10.1. The lone five-participant field was completed by Assembly Member Andrew Garbarino (R-Suffolk), Assembly Member Michael DenDekker (D-Queens) and Assembly Member Taylor Darling (D-Nassau). "I've missed some of the previous events due to scheduling conflicts, but that won't happen again," Assembly Member Crespo said. "I'm grateful to Yonkers and MGM for this opportunity, and really, a great experience to see the joy and the respect that people have for these racehorses and just the entire function of these races. It's a great experience. "I think the plans (for MGM here) are exciting, and certainly the Bronx is one of the great beneficiaries. So many people call this place home, and this is their workplace. This is how they provide for their families, and also Bronxities who love to come here and enjoy their time. It's a great opportunity, and hopefully we'll see how things play out." A Bronx Democrat hat trick was finalized in the third event as Grand Master and pole-sitting Assembly Member Michael Benedetto (with Jordan Stratton) led from start to finish in 2:10.2. It was a match race to the wire, as multiple-season Challenge champion, Assembly Member Gary Pretlow (D-Westchester) took his shot from the pocket but missed. The quartet was completed by Assembly Member Anthony Palumbo (R-Suffolk) and Assembly Member Michaelle Solanges (D-Nassau). "It was exhilarating," Assembly Member Benedetto said, joking that "I was able to break the Pretlow Curse. "We're looking forward to working with MGM in its effort to do more at Empire City Casino." The fourth and final Legislators' Challenge event gave the Democrats a clean sweep as Queens made the tally sheet. State Senator Joe Addabbo Jr., with Vallee and Vanquished N, circled their rivals from last to win in a night's-fastest 2:09.1. From post No. 3, the trio defeated Assembly Member Steven Cymbrowitz (D-Brooklyn), Assembly Member Joe DeStefano (R-Suffolk) and Assembly Member Nathalia Fernandez (D-Bronx). "It's about time Queens came in first in something," State Senator Addabbo said. "We had a good strategy and I had a great time." All four winners have committed to defending their titles at the next Legislators' Challenge. The event was a joint effort of the Raceway, its race office and horsemen along with the Standardbred Owners Association of New York. Upon conclusion, many of the participants and their guests stayed to enjoy the evening's 'other' races. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway  

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, October 19, 2019-- Harness racing pacer Allusneedisfaith N (Jim Marohn Jr., $10.40) took it the distance Saturday night (Oct. 19th), winning Yonkers Raceway's $42,000 Open Handicap. From post position No. 4--in one notch after a defection--Alluneedisfaith N slipped past Dancin' Dragon (Jason Bartlett) before a :28.4 opening quarter mile. The teletimer didn't get much more of a workout by a :57.4 intermission, which was fine by the leader. Nearing the half, Theartofconfusion A (Austin Siegelman), The Real One (Pat Lachance) and Prairie Panther (Brent Holland) found themselves in an outer-tier logjam, with Prairie Panther pushed wide as the other two seemed to extricate the cones late. Meanwhile, Alluneedisfaith N continued past a 1:25.2 three-quarters, opening a length-and-a-half lead in and out of the final turn. He finished it off, whipping Dancin' Dragon by a length in 1:53.2. The above troika of The Real One, Theartofconfusion A and Prairie Panther wound up third, fourth and fifth, respectively. Micky Gee N (Jordan Stratton) never fired as the slight 2-1 choice, winding up last in the seven-horse soiree. For fourth choice Alluneedisfaith N, a 5-year-old Down Under Art Major gelding owned by Robert Cooper Stables and trained by Ross Croghan, it was his sixth win in 22 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $41, the triple returned $141 and the superfecta paid $376. A friendly reminder from Yonkers Raceway that Monday evening’s (Oct. 21st) Pick 5 wager starts with a carryover of $3,543.11 and a $15,000 guaranteed pool. The guarantee has been approved by the New York State Gaming Commission and 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 Monday night. It has no consolation payoff, meaning if no one selects all five winners (as was the case Saturday evening), the entire pool (minus takeout) moves to the next racing program. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Friday, October 18, 2019--Harness racing favorite--and lone leaver--Tequila Monday (Eric Goodell, $3.90) finished it off Friday night (Oct. 18th), winning Yonkers Raceway's $42,000 Filly and Mare Open Pace. From post position No. 6, Tequila Monday worked around pole-sitting Robyn Camden (Jim Marohn Jr.) before a 27-second opening quarter-mile. From there, the Raceway's fastest-ever femme (a 1:50 flat effort in late June) was sufficiently swift through intervals of :56.1, 1:24.3 and 1:52.2. Tequila Monday held off a second-over I'mprincessgemma A (Joe Bongiorno) by a half-length, with Robyn Camden third. The small envelopes went to a first-up Write Me a Song (George Brennan) and Glenferrie Blade A (Jordan Stratton). For Tequila Monday, a 5-year-old statebred daughter of American Ideal co-owned by Northfork Racing & Chuck Pompey and trained by Chris Oakes, it was her 10th win in 13 seasonal starts (career 27-for-57). The exacta paid $12.60, the triple returned $29.20 and the superfecta paid $74.50. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

This week's special guest on the Harness Racing Alumni Show was Yonkers Raceway's new Director of Racing, Alex Dadoyan.   Yonkers Raceway, with its take over by the massive casino conglomerate, will MGM cause the demise of harness racing there...??? We discuss its future with Alex Dadoyan, the new Director of Racing at Yonkers.   From Fred Hudson, for the Harness Racing Alumni Show

YONKERS, N.Y. – In the early morning hours on Wednesday, October 2, Talvikki Niiniketo prepared to travel across the Atlantic Ocean with Zacon Gio ahead of the trotter’s start in the Yonkers International Trot Oct. 12. Joining Zacon Gio in his equine transport container, the pair were hoisted into the bay of a cargo 747 jumbo jet and waited for their departure to New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport from eastern Belgium’s Liège Airport. For seating, Niiniketo made do with an overturned bucket. For safety, she held on tight. “It was actually really exciting. It was the first time to go on a really big airplane and when it leaves, sitting there in a big container on a water bucket,” Niiniketo recalled. “First, I was thinking, ‘how am I going to hold on.’ In the end, it was really easy. And also for the landing, I was sitting there on a water bucket with him. It wasn’t so bad. I think it’s worse where the people sit, you feel it more.” Traveling to the United States to compete in harness racing’s World Cup was beyond Niiniketo’s dreams even one year ago. As a self-described city girl, the idea would have seemed impossible to Niiniketo growing up in Helsinki, Finland. “I’m the only one from the family who likes horses,” said Niiniketo, who tried to recall her first equine encounter. “I don’t know, I just saw them and I loved them. I don’t remember, maybe it was some carnival or something where I saw this pony. Then I started riding school to ride the ponies. I actually had a riding horse, that was my first own horse, a riding horse. I did dressage. It’s a Finnish horse, a cold-blooded horse named Syntipukki.” Niiniketo’s passion for horses led her to the sport of harness racing. A desire to see the world took Niiniketo to Italy in the mid-2000s and she worked as a groom and caretaker in trainer Erik Bondo’s stable. Niiniketo returned home to Finland in 2008 to complete her schooling and with that accomplished, in 2011 she moved back to Italy where she’s lived ever since. After six years working for Bondo, Niiniketo sought new surroundings, eager to see how training varied from stable to stable. She came to work for Holger Ehlert in March 2018. Zacon Gio arrived in Ehlert’s barn a few months later and Niiniketo was assigned his caretaker. A son of Rudy Griff out of the Yankee Glide mare May Glade Font Sm, Zacon Gio was then a 3-year-old with nine wins in 16 starts, but had failed to factor in stakes company, finishing third of five in the Group 3 Gran Premio G. Stabile, eighth in the Group 1 Gran Premio Citta' di Napoli, and seventh in the Group 3 Gran Premio Regione Puglia. Thinking highly of the trotter and desiring to unlock his potential, owner Giuseppe Franco transferred the horse to Ehlert. Intent on getting Zacon Gio to the Italian Trotting Derby in late September 2018, Ehlert started the horse September 1 in a Cesena invitational. However, after getting a second-over trip and angling three wide into the stretch, Zacon Gio finished a flat fourth. His connections thought better of their Derby dreams. “We tried to make (the Derby), it was really short time,” Niiniketo said. “We raced him once almost immediately so that we could see how he was. He wasn’t good in that race. He wasn’t ready for the Derby. Thank god, the owners, even though it was really big money, they agreed to skip the Derby so we had time to try to make him better. We tried to make him better because no one knew what he would become.” In her time working with Zacon Gio, Niiniketo has learned to work with the trotter’s big personality. “He has a lot of character and he’s really playful,” Niiniketo explained. “Sometimes he does some things that are a little bit silly, but that’s only because he just wants to entertain himself. Maybe it’s boring to just go around the track, so he has to make something fun. “He eats all the blankets, he eats everything,” she continued. “When we had the bottled water (in quarantine) and I go to put the water in the bucket, he takes the bottles from me and throws them around. Blankets, he eats right away. If he feels it’s a little bit too warm, he takes them off right away and then it’s in little pieces in the box. He is the boss.” Zacon Gio reemerged for Ehlert October 25, 2018 when he cruised in a Bologna overnight. After that, the wins piled up. Over the following 11 months, Zacon Gio won his next 10 starts, including Group 2 successes in the Premio Citta' Di Torino and the Gran Premio Regione Campania and Group 1 wins in the Premio Unione Europea and Gran Premio Tino Triossi. “He’s been only getting better every race,” Niiniketo said. “He’s only 4. He’s growing mentally and he’s growing physically. From when he came last year, he’s really gained much muscle. He’s double that of when he came.” Zacon Gio’s exploits in Italy improved his record to 20-for-29 with $496,834 earned. Zacon Gio also garnered the interest of the Yonkers racing office, which awarded him an invitation to the New York track’s signature race, the Yonkers International Trot. Zacon Gio’s connections accepted and in late September, Niiniketo and Zacon Gio began their trek to America. They endured a long ride from Ehlert’s stable to Grosbois Training Center southeast of Paris, France. There, Zacon Gio went his final training trip before flying overseas, completing 2,000 meters over the Grosbois track October 1. Then, it was on to Belgium to board the plane before finally landing in New York. However, with a mandatory 48-hour quarantine, Zacon Gio couldn’t ship to Yonkers Raceway until October 4. “We were really worried about the 48 hours when we couldn’t see them, but in the end, it was quite fun because then we were free to go anywhere. After that, you’re stuck going to feed him three or four times a day and can’t really go so much,” Niiniketo said. “I’ve never been in America before. This is the first time. We went to the Empire State Building and we walked around. It was quite fun. We were in the city both days, just shopping.” Niiniketo and Ehlert worked with Zacon Gio at Yonkers in the week leading up to the Yonkers International Trot. Unlike at home, Zacon Gio spent nearly all of him time in his stall. Whenever the caretaker fretted over the upcoming race, she looked to the horse to settle her nerves. “He can’t go to the paddock. He’s used to spending a lot of time out, I just leave him in the paddock and I just take him in just before I have to train him. He gets ready and I go,” Niiniketo said. “Here, he has to be in the box, so he’s like a little bomb when you walk here. “The only thing that was worrying me was how would he take the trip. He’s been drinking and eating, but you never know because they can’t tell you if something’s wrong, so you never can be sure,” Niiniketo said. “All the team has been really nervous and they come and see, is he tired, is he OK, and I have to just keep in my head that I know him, I (work with) him every day, and I think he’s like always.” Zacon Gio confirmed Niiniketo’s intuition Saturday afternoon, October 12, when he crushed his competition in the $1 million stakes while running his streak to 12. Although driver Roberto Vecchione typically puts Zacon Gio on the point at home, the pair came from off the pace in the trotter’s first start outside Italy. Racing in fourth early, Zacon Gio hugged the pylons around the first of five turns in the 1 1/4-mile Yonkers International as Atlanta set a dawdling tempo and Uza Josselyn prompted to her outside. Entering the second turn, Vecchione angled Zacon Gio to the outside to follow the Swiss mare’s cover. Zacon Gio remained on hold for Vecchione until they reached the midway point of the backstretch the final time. Forced three deep by Guardian Angel As, Vecchione put the whip on Zacon Gio’s tail and the trotter took off like a Manhattan taxi getting a green light. Entering the final turn, Vecchione yanked out the ear plugs and by the midway point of the bend, Zacon Gio left Atlanta in his wake. With Vecchione calling out to his mount, Zacon Gio put up a 3 1/2-length lead in the stretch. In the final sixteenth, the driver took the lines in his left hand and letting Zacon Gio trot through the finish on a loose line, pumped his right hand to the sky in celebration. Slide So Easy of Denmark, who rode a pocket trip behind Atlanta, angled out behind the tiring pacesetter and finished second 3 1/4 lengths behind Zacon Gio. Marion Marauder of Canada was third. Niiniketo met Zacon Gio on the track and hooking a lead to his bridle, walked him to the winner’s circle. She held onto Zacon Gio as dozens of people – owner, trainer, driver, blacksmith, family, friends, and more swarmed around the trotter. Zacon Gio stood quietly as Italian flags fluttered around his head and his connections were hoisted into the air in celebration. Someone even tucked a flag into Zacon Gio’s browband in the chaos. “I’m always scared about the winner’s circle. When he won the first Gran Premio, that was in Florence, and there he also went really fast and should have been tired,” Niiniketo remembered. “Roberto gave the horse to me to take him. I drive around to go in because he’s supposed to be really nice after the race because he’s supposed to be tired. I went by some horses and he just put the tail up and was ready to go again.’ ” With pictures taken, Niiniketo walked Zacon Gio back to the paddock. When the trotter returned to his stall with his new white and blue Yonkers International Trot blanket draped over his back, the trotter stood tall, cotton-stuffed ears forward, eyes wide and bright, nostrils barely flaring as he breathed gently. His vanquished foes were blowing hard and restless after their 10-furlong journey around the hilltop oval. “He’s not ever tired. I’ve never seen him tired,” Niiniketo commented. “He’s just getting better and now this was again another step. He had to race against the older horses who are strong. We don’t know what the limit is.” Niiniketo walked Zacon Gio across the paddock to the washstand and waiting for their turn, the pair circled around with Zacon Gio on a loose lead as Niiniketo accepted a congratulatory phone call. After being hosed off, Zacon Gio took a few gulps of water from a bucket and completed the post-race testing procedures at his own pace before Niiniketo led him back to the barn down the hill from the paddock. Taking the horse path back to the barn, Niiniketo and Zacon Gio encountered three of the adoring connections and were greeted with chants of, “Zacon! Zacon! Zacon!” Niiniketo’s face lit up in a smile and one of the roisterers thrust a beer into Niiniketo’s hand. Zacon Gio stopped and waited quietly for his caretaker to take a few sips before she passed the drink back and the pair continued on their trek. After crossing the road feeding from the Yonkers Ave entrance, the horse path bent to the right, hugging the southeast side of the parking lot and winding downhill. At the bottom, it swung to the left again back toward the barn. On the half-mile hike, Niiniketo looked forward to giving her trotter a well-earned break after getting home. Zacon Gio will be reunited with his paddock, a luxury he was deprived of while staying at Yonkers. “The trainer makes the decisions and talks with the owner now, but I think he’s going to now have a little vacation and take it easy and then start to train for the Gran Premio Lotteria in May,” she said. “That’s our next big thing. I’m going to just forget about him for a week in the paddock so he can just do what he wants to do. Eat grass and be by himself. He likes it.” As Niiniketo approached the barn with Zacon Gio, she reflected on her time in New York. Only an hour removed from the race which more than doubled the trotter’s earnings to $996,834 and opened doors for more adventures to come, she tried to grasp the magnitude of the victory. “It’s been amazing and everything has been so nice,” Niiniketo said. “It’s so well-organized. You never have to worry. If there’s something (wrong), in five minutes, they fix it. That’s really nice. In Italy, it’s never like that. Here, in five minutes everything is fixed. “It’s a dream come true, of course. Doesn’t happen to every girl,” Niiniketo said. “It’s unbelievable. I can’t even get hold of it yet, what he just did, what we just won. It’s unbelievable. I couldn’t even imagine it a year ago. And I’ve been doing quite good with normal horses, but no one like him because there is no one like him, there’s no one like him.” 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

McWicked and harness racing driver Brian Sears were able to grind it out first-over in capturing the $250,000 Dan Rooney Invitational Pace at Yonkers Raceway Saturday for the second straight year. The 11th race feature saw Jimmy Freight (Scott Zeron) and None Bettor A (Jason Bartlett) trade control of the lead with Jimmy Freight winning out by the first quarter in :26.2. Coming around the second turn Jimmy Freight remained in control as Sears started McWicked up first-over past the half mile :55.1 and right through to the three-quarters in 1:22.4 with The Real One (Pat Lachance) hanging in the hunt second-over. McWicked was able to grind by Jimmy Freight by the top of the stretch and then was barely able to hold off a late flying Micky Gee N (Jordan Stratton) to win by a long nose in 1:51.1. Jimmy Freight was third by a length. “I can’t say enough about the horse and the way he races,” Said Brian Sears of McWicked. “He has been battling hoof issues all summer, but he shows up every week. I was pretty pleased where I got away in the race. I did come first-up a little earlier than I like, but he battled tough and held on to the wire.” It was the second straight win and sixth of the year for McWicked. The eight-year-old stallion by McArdle is trained by Casie Coleman and owned by the S S G Stables of North Boston, NY. (Ed James) and paid $6.90 to win. With the $125,000 winners share of the purse, McWicked now sports career earnings of $4,878,342. By Steve Wolf, for Harneslink

Yonkers, NY – Harness racing's greatest traveling roadshow, the CKG Billings Amateur Driving Series, made a stop at Yonkers Raceway on Thursday night (Oct 10) for two short-field trotting divisions and when the judges hung the official signs two youthful newcomers each emerged victorious in their respective splits. “Terrific Tyler” Miller scored an impressive 1:56.4 triumph with Inukchuk Chuck while Melissa “Missey” Arbia reined Finnick Odair home first in 2:01.3 for her maiden victory. With short fields usually the most advantageous position is to be on the front-end and Miller knew that so he fired Inukchuk Chuck to the lead from post five and although it took a :27.4 quarter for them to get there once on top Inukchuk Chuck knew just what to do for the veteran gelding recently had strung together four previous victories. Miller's charge led his company by the half in 58.4 and from there the only thing in doubt was the margin of victory which turned out to be 2-1/2 lengths over “Joltin' Joe” Pennacchio's, Super Manning. Dave “the Rave” Offenberg took home the show dough with Fiji. Ms Arbia obviously felt she had the best horse in the race so she sent Finnick Odair to the lead from post five and they got there in a relatively soft :29.4 While marching to the half Mike “the Tyke”Polansky went first-up with Noble Warrawee and they got alongside Finnick Odair at the threequarters but in the lane Polansky's trotter tired and faded which allowed room for Annie “Get Your Gun” Stoebe to rally March Madness home for second money making it yet another time where the ladies finished first and second in a Billings trot. Third place went to Muzzy's Muscles in rein to Billings president, Tony “the Capo” Verruso. NAADA action at Monticello Raceway Monticello, NY-- A very confident Robert Hechkoff sent Five Towns to the lead when the gate folded and the veteran trotter made every pole a winning one en route to a 1:59.4 victory in the fourth leg of the NAADA Trotting Series at the Mighty M on Thursday afternoon. Sent off as the favorite from the four-hole Five Towns was joined on the first turn by Ladys Big Stormont (Alan Schwartz) and to Schwartz's dismay Hechkoff played hardball and wouldn't allow his trotter to take command. "My horse leaves good so I wanted the front-end and I tried to make a hole for Schwartz behind me but that didn't work out so he was left out in the fresh air," Hechkoff explained. They raced as a team by the first stanza in :29.1 and Hechkoff kept the pedal to the metal and kept Schwartz on the limb as they trotted by the halfway point in :58.1. When the leaders headed for the three quarters Ladys Big Stormont was still second but the overland route was taking its toll and the veteran trotter tired. That allowed Joe Pennacchio and Cheeky Little Minx a shot at he leader when they rounded the final turn but Five Towns was too much for his competition and rambled home a 1-1/4 length winner over Pennacchio's charge. Six Bax finished third for Tony Verruso. "He can leave fast or he can follow. He's just a nice old horse and a real pleasure to drive." Hechkoff said about Five Towns A 10-year-old Andover Hall gelding, Five Towns notched his seventh seasonal victory and raised his yearly earnings to over $51,000. He is owned by Hechkoff's, RBH Ventures, and Spagnola Racing. Sent off as the favorite in the race, Five Towns paid $5.50 by John Manzi, for the Billings and NAADA Series  

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, October 5, 2019-San Domino A (Jason Bartlett, $17.40) escaped unscathed Saturday night (Oct. 5th), winning Yonkers Raceway's $42,000 Open Pace. It was a strangely-contested contest, with 3-5 choice Mac's Jackpot (Brent Holland)-from post position No. 2-in no hurry early. He was set to get away fourth until one leaver, Benhope Rulz N (Shaun Valle) broke, wiping out another leaver, I'marocnrollegend N (George Brennan). Mac's Jackpot then defaulted into a pocket behind pole longshot Highland Tartan (Dan Dube) before a :26.1 opening quarter mile. Continuingly content to sit, Mac's Jackpot saw Highland Tartan find a :55.1 intermission. San Domino A, away third from post No. 3, then moved to engage Highland Tartan. As the former was overhauling the latter before a 1:22.4 three-quarters, Mac's Jackpot seemed to want to extricate himself from the cones. With The Real One (Pat Lachance) to his outside, Mac's Jackpot couldn't go anywhere, eventually dropping back noticeably. Meanwhile, San Domino A opened to two lengths off the final turn, disposing of The Real One by a length in 1:50.4. Highland Tartan held third, with Theartofconfusion A (Austin Siegelman) and Havefaithinme N (Eric Goodell) settling for the minors. Four fourth choice San Domino A, a 6-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding trained by Andrew Harris for co-owners Joe P Racing and Oldford Racing, it was his fifth win in 14 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $110, the triple paid $447 and the superfecta paid $1,625.   by Frank Drucker Publicity Director

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, October 5, 2019--Yonkers Raceway's instant guarantee for its Saturday night (Oct. 5th) Pick 5 made someone instantly happy. A single, solitary ticket with the magic sequence--3/6/3/6/7--took down the entire pool, good for $23,905.75 for that base 50-cent wager. With nearly $5,300 unclaimed from Friday night's (Oct. 4th) Pick 5 wager, the Raceway's $15,000 guarantee was easily vaulted over with $24,808 of new investors. The winning quintet of... 3-Betting Exchange ($34) 6-Military Master A ($10) 3-Don Domingo N ($3.90) 6-Prairie Panther ($7.80) 7-Mach it So ($39.80) led to the single-ticket windfall. Yonkers' Pick 5 begins with either the sixth or seventh race during every program, offering a $10,000 guaranteed pool each Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. However, larger 'instant guarantees' have happened quite frequently, as evidenced by Saturday evening. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Friday, October 4, 2019-Please forgive the late notice, however Yonkers Raceway has scrapped its scheduled live harness racing program for a week from tonight, Friday, Oct. 11th. The cancellation allows the Raceway to use the paddock for detention ahead of Saturday afternoon's (Oct. 12th) $1 million International Trot and pair of $250,000 Invitationals. The program shall be made up at a date TBA. The schedule change has been approved by the New York State Gaming Commission. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Friday, October 4, 2019- An uncovered Lady Dela Renta A (Jim Marohn Jr., $9.60) picked off Feelin' Red Hot (George Brennan) at the wire Friday night (Oct. 4th), winning Yonkers Raceway's $42,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. Away third from post position No. 2, Lady Dela Renta A watched as 9-10 fave Feelin' Red Hot pocketed Alexa's Power (Dan Dube) through early intervals of :27.4 and :56.3. Lady Dela Renta A then moved, engaging the leader past a 1:24 three-quarters. Feelin' Red Hot owned a three-quarter-length in and out of the final turn, but the pursuer was relentless. Lady Dela Renta A stuck her tongue out late, prevailing by a neck in 1:52.1. Alexa's Power tired in the pocket but held third, with Betterb Chevron N (Jordan Stratton) and Lispatty (Austin Siegelman) settled for the minors. It was Liberty Rose N (Eric Goodell) at the back of the half-dozen. For third choice Lady Dela Renta A, a 5-year-old Down Under daughter of Well Said co-owned by Dolne Farm Services & Blindswitch Racing and trained by Jose Godinez, it was her eighth win in 23 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $33.80, the triple returned $96 and the superfecta paid $200. A friendly reminder from Yonkers Raceway that Saturday evening's (Oct. 5th) Pick 5 wager starts with a carryover of $5,299.21 and a $15,000 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 Saturday night. It has no consolation payoff, meaning if no one selects all five winners (as was the case Friday night), the entire pool (minus takeout) moves to the next racing program. For full results and entries click here. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

Yonkers, NY-- On Thursday evening, Oct. 3 two harness racing divisions of trotters in North American Amateur Drivers Series (NAADA) went to post at Yonkers Raceway and when they were declared official Bob Hechkoff and Tony Ciuffetelli, Jr each emerged victorious in their respective non-wagering divisions. Hechkoff guided Five Towns to a 2:01.3 triumph while Ciuffetelli scored with Someway Same Hall in 1:59.3; both races contested before the wagering card got underway over a rain slicked oval. In his division Hechkoff sent Five Towns to the front and due to the short five-horse field they got away with :30.1 first quarter with no challenges. But when they headed for the halfway point Miguel Alejo Hernandez was out and moving with Tropical Trice. The two raced side by side until the three quarters when Hechkoff's trotter rebuffed the challenge and then braced for Paul Minore and his veteran Wygant Prince. But Five Towns held strong and rambled to a 1-1/4 length triumph over Minore's trotter. Tropical Trice faded and finished third. Five Towns is owned by RBH Ventures and Spagnola Racing and trained by Kyle Spagnola. The second NAADA split saw Tony Ciuffetelli, Jr. sit a pocket until the head of the stretch and then hustle his trotter to a length triumph in the 1:59.3 clocked mile. After Joe Lee zipped Soul Train to the lead when the gate sprung Ciuffetelli was content to sit in the two-hole and follow the leader. Fast early fractions over the rain-soaked race course took a toll on the leader and when Ciuffetelli decided to challenge late in the mile Someway Same Hall didn't have any trouble circling Soul Train and rallying to victory. Meanwhile in the deep stretch Dave Offenberg hustled Fiji up for second money while Soul Train faded and finished third. Someway Same Hall is owned by his driver and trained by Joe Ciuffetelli. The NAADA Trotting Series continues next Thursday at Monticello Raceway For full results and entries click here. by John Manz, for NAADA

YONKERS, NY, Thursday, October 3, 2019--Yonkers Raceway's harness racing secretary Bob Miecuna has finalized the eight-horse field for the $250,000 Dan Rooney Invitational Pace. The octet, part of the undercard for Saturday afternoon's (Oct. 12th) International Trot card, is (alphabetically)... American History (age 4) --fresh off matching Yonkers' all-age track record (1:49.3) this past Saturday night (Sept. 28th) after winning Harrington' Quillen Memorial in identical time in previous start. Courtly Choice (4) - wins in the Canadian Pacing Derby (Mohawk) and Commodore Barry Invitational (Harrah's Philly). At 3, won the Meadowlands Pace, Little Brown Jug (Delaware, OH) and Empire Breeders' Classic (Tioga). Jimmy Freight (4) -- won last week's Dayton Pacing Derby as well as Mohawk's Gold Cup. At 3, won the final of Ontario Sire Stakes Gold (Mohawk) and elim of Yonkers' Messenger Stakes before second in final. McWicked (8) - Really? $4.6 million in career earnings doesn't need much in the way of introduction, but...how about 2018's Harness Horse of the Year after wins in TVG (Meadowlands), Breeders Crown (Pocono), Dan Rooney (here), Allerage (Red Mile), Canadian Pacing Derby (Mohawk), Haughton Memorial (Meadowlands) and Ben Franklin (Pocono)? This season's wins include the Ewart Memorial (Scioto), Gerrity Memorial (Saratoga) and Roll With Joe (Tioga). None Bettor A (6) - his first North American season includes win in the Battle of Lake Erie and final of Great Northeast (Pocono), plus pair of Open Handicaps here. Theartofconfusion A (9) - set the local all-age track record (1:49.3) while working his way up through the conditioned ranks. Has raced exclusively here since August of 2017. This is the Plan (4) - wins in the Hoosier Park Pacing Derby, Prix D'Ete (Hippodrome Three Rivers), Ben Franklin (Pocono) Well-traveled number is making Yonkers his 16th career venue. Western Fame (6) - early-season standout here, winning four legs and final of George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series. Post time for the International Trot matinee card is 1 PM. Post positions for the Rooney shall be drawn Monday afternoon (Oct. 7th). by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, September 28, 2019--American History (Joe Bongiorno, $2.30) matched Yonkers Raceway's all-age track record Saturday night (Sept. 28th), dusting an age-restricted harness racing handicap field in 1:49.3. Assigned outside his five rivals in the $35,000, fifth-race pace, American History floated into a four-hole as Turbo Hill (Eric Goodell) laid down a flat 27-second opening quarter mile and :55.1 intermission. American History then went after the leader, the tandem throwing it down in a :26.4 third quarter (1:22). He then put away Turbo Hill shortly thereafter, taking a length lead into the lane. After some driver encouragement, American History widened, whipping 36-1 outsider Ideal Flip (Brent Holland) by three lengths. Turbo Hill and Tiger Baron (George Brennan) rounded out the gimmick finishers. Fresh off his win in Harrington's Quillen Memorial--in an identical 1:49.3--American History won his fourth race in 15 seasonal starts. The 4-year-old son of American Ideal is co-owned by (breeder) Brittany Farms, Marvin Katz & American History Racing and trained by Tony Alagna. "He's scary fast," Bongiorno said. "He probably went a :26.1 third quarter and I never had to pull the plugs. There's no telling just how much he can go in his next start at Lexington." The exacta paid $41, the triple returned $249 and the superfecta paid $523. Saturday's effort equaled Theartofconfusion A's (Austin Siegelman) track record from four weeks ago. It also set a new record for American History's weight class, displacing himself (1:50) from five weeks ago. Saturday night's pair of $42,000 Open Handicaps were won by... --Pace, None Bettor A (Jason Bartlett, $3) in 1:50.4, --Trot, Rich and Miserable (Tyler Buter, $7.30) in 1:53.4. Rich and Miserable set a track record for 4-year-old geldings, eclipsing Lord Cromwell (1:54.1), taken last October. FRANK DRUCKER Publicity Director

YONKERS, NY, Friday, September 27, 2019- Odds-on harness racing favorite Betterb Chevron N (Jordan Stratton, $3.20) could not have gone any slower in the early going Friday night (Sept. 27th), winning Yonkers Raceway's $42,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. The lone leaver from post position No. 5, Betterb Chevron N slogged through early intervals of :28 and :57, with those nice round numbers giving her way too much of an advantage. It was Liberty Rose N (Eric Goodell) trying it first-up from fourth as Betterb Chevron N maintaining her lead in and out of a 1:25.2 three-quarters. Betterb Chevron N owned a three-quarter length lead off the final turn, then held pocket-sitting Lispatty (Austin Siegelman) at bay by that same margin in 1:53.2. Third went to Liberty Rose N, with Quite a Sight (Brent Holland) and Alexa's Power (Jim Marohn Jr.) rounding out the remainder. For Betterb Chevron N, a 6-year-old Down Under daughter of Bettor's Delight owned by William Hartt and trained by Lance Hudson, it was her eighth win in 24 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $13, the triple returned $108.50 and the superfecta paid $297. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway  

YONKERS, NY, Thursday, September 26, 2019-- After losing his first nine races to start the harness racing season, Brookie's Prince N (Jason Bartlett, $3.30) has flipped the script 180 degrees. It was an 11th consecutive win Thursday night (Sept. 26th) as Brookie's Prince N lasted on the lead during Yonkers Raceway's $13,500 pacing opener. In for the higher number in a $12,5000/$15,000 claiming handicap, Brookie's Prince N wired the field (;27.3, 57.4, 1:26.1, 1:55.3) from outside post position No. 7. The 6-year-old Real Desire Down Under gelding, owned by Jessica Anderson and trained by Rich Banca, was summarily reclaimed by owner-trainer Brittany Robertson. The rent-a-horse Brookie's Prince N has now been taken out of his last five starts. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

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