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YONKERS, NY, Monday, May 22, 2017 - World champion Downbytheseaside drew post position No. 3 for Saturday night's (May 27th) 27th edition of Yonkers Raceway's Art Rooney Pace for harness racing 3-year-olds. Downbytheseaside, a sophomore son of Somebeachsomewhere, won last week's lone $40,000 elimination race in 1:52.2. Dave Miller, who won this race consecutively in 2002 (Ashlee's Big Guy) and 2003 (No Pan Intended-via disqualification), retains the assignment for trainer Brian Brown and co-owners Country Club Acres, Joe Sbrocco, Richard Lombardo and Diamond Creek Racing. 'Seaside' has won both his seasonal starts and has been board-certified in all 15 career tries (10 wins, 3 seconds, 2 thirds, $616,016). The $300,000 final of the Rooney goes as the 8th race during the 12-race card (first post 7:10 PM, Rooney post approximately 9:30 PM). The draw shook out as such... 1-Mac's Jackpot,g (Jason Bartlett), 2-Miso Fast (Matt Kakaley), 3-Downbytheseaside (Dave Miller), 4-Rollin' About,g (Brent Holland), 5-Funknwaffles,g (Brian Sears), 6-Summer Side (Tim Tetrick), 7-Henry the Dragon (Montrell Teague), 8-Stealth Bomber (Brett Miller). The companion event, the 13th edition of the Lismore for 3-year-old pacing fillies (6th race, approx. post 8:50 PM), offers a final purse of $140,770. The list of lasses is as such... 1-Warrawee Sunshine (Tetrick), 2- Caviart Cherie (Scott Zeron), 3- Caviart Ally (Andrew McCarthy) 4-Agent Q (Dave Miller), 5-Big City Betty (Jim Marohn Jr.), 6-Gotthisone Hanover (George Brennan), 7-Tequila Monday (Sears), 8-Ashlee's Spitfire (Dan Dube). Agent Q (1:55.1) and 'Betty' (1:55.2) won last week's $20,000 elimination races. In addition to the high-end racing program, there's an Art Rooney Pace hat giveaway (one per Empire Club member, while supplies last). (Story shall be updated, if necessary, with program changes, happening Tuesday evening [May 23rd]).   Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, May 20, 2017 -- Harness racing world champion Downbytheseaside (Dave Miller, $3.10) was as odds-on advertised Saturday night (May 20th), winning Yonkers Raceway's lone $40,000 elimination for the 27th Art Rooney Pace for 3-year-olds. Starting from the second tier in the nine-to-get-to-eight foray, Downbytheseaside found himself three-wide at the half in a race that had much more movement than expected. Last season's Lawrence B. Sheppard Pace winner, Summer Side (Ray Schnittker), made the first lead, stuffing Stealth Bomber (Brent Holland) in behind before a :28.1 opening quarter-mile. However, Stealth Bomber wanted to no part of the pocket. That one made the lead, with last season's New York Sire Stakes champion Funknwaffles (Brian Sears) and 'Seaside' in hot pursuit. Downbytheseaside fronted the fray right at the :55.4 intermission, than continued toward a 1:24.3 three-quarters. Stealth Bomber then moved again, vacating a three-hole in front of Miso Fast (Matt Kakaley). Downbytheseaside opened a coupled of lengths in and out of the final turn, winning by a length-and-a-quarter in 1:52.2. Miso Fast snapped Stealth Bomber for second, with Summer Side and Mac's Jackpot (Jason Bartlett) rounding out the payees. Funknwaffles tired to sixth, with Henry the Dragon (Montrell Teague) and rank outsider Rollin' About (Brent Holland) also earning invites to next Saturday night's (May 27th) $300,000 final. Heaven's Gait (Jordan Stratton) made a filthy break passing the three-quarters, winding up last and not making the finale. For Downbytheseaside, a son of Somebeachsomewhere trained by Brian Brown for co-owners Country Club Acres, Joe Sbrocco, Richard Lombardo and Diamond Creek Racing, it was his second win in as many season starts (career 10-for-15). The exacta paid $$7.70, the triple returned $57 and the superfecta paid $341.50. "I was pleased with the race," Miller said. "I had to use him some early and ran in a bit in the turns, but we can work on that before the final." Downbytheseaside Miller began his evening drilling seven inside rivals (:28.4, :59.1, 1:27.4, 1:55.1) with Agent Q ($6.80) in the first of two, $20,000 elims for the Lismore (3-year-old pacing fillies). Last season's NYSS frosh champ, even-money choice Tequila Monday (Sears), wound up second from second-over, with Caviart Ally (Andrew McCarthy) a first-up third. Ashlee's Spitfire (Dan Dube), at 50-1 the longest shot on the board, was fourth. That quartet returns for next Saturday night's $140,770 final. "Handy," was Miller's succinct description of his date. For second choice Agent Q, a daughter of Western Terror co-owned by Martin Scharf, Rochetti Racing and Robert Muscara, she's now 2-for-2 this season. Agent Q The second elimination for the Lismore, complete with no show wagering, saw the reason for same--3-10 favorite Ain't Three OK (Sears)--jump it off in the first turn and trail throughout. Pole-sitting Big City Betty (Jim Marohn Jr., $21.60) went the distance (:28.3, :58.1, 1:27, 1:55.2), whipping Gotthisone Hanover (George Brennan) by 2¼ lengths in a two-speed number. Warrawee Sunshine (Miller) was a ground-saving third as the 29-1 longshot, with Caviart Cherie (McCarthy) fourth and back for the final. For third choice 'Betty,' a Bettor's Delight miss co-owned by (trainer) Steve Salerno and Bruce Potter, it was her second win three '17 tries. The exacta paid $149, with the triple returning $965. "This filly has a quick turn of speed, but she has the manners of an older horse," Marohn said. "I never even saw what happened with Brian's (Sears') horse (Ain't Three OK), but mine was very comfortable." Big City Betty The open draw for both stakes finals takes place Monday afternoon (May 22nd). Saturday night's pair of $55,000 Open Handicaps were won by... - Trot, Red Hot Herbie (Dan Dube, $19.60) in 1:55.3; Red Hot Herbie - Pace, Mach it So (Holland, $7.90) in 1:51.2. Mach it So Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Friday, May 19, 2017 - A pocketed Lispatty (Mark MacDonald, $31.60) stalked and subdued a harness racing season-debuting Pure Country (Brett Miller) Friday night (May 19th), winning Yonkers Raceway's $55,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. On paper, it was a stacked sewing circle, decreased by one when Matchmaker conqueror (and this week's eight-hole assignee) Mackenzie A was a late-for-Lasix scratch. On the track, however, it was a nothing more than a two-speed number, with millionairess Pure County sent off a in her first Westchester appearance. From post position No. 5, the 4-5 fave easily worked around her pole-sitting rival before a 28-second opening quarter-mile. From there, it was a :56.4 intermission and 1:24.2 three-quarters, with Medusa (George Brennan) offering a weak, first-up try and third and the backfield gapping badly. Pure Country owned a length-and-a-half lead into the lane, but Lispatty edged inside and edged by. The margin was a neck in a season's-best 1:52.3. Delightful Dragon (Brent Holland) was third as the 53-1 rank outsider, with Mach it a Par (Brian Sears) and Medusa rounding out the payees. For sixth choice Lispatty, a 4-year-old daughter of McArdle owned by Gilberto Garcia-Owen and trained by Gilberto Garcia-Herrera, it was her second win in 11 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $114.50, with the triple returning $924. Lispatty Nerida Franco N Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Thursday, May 18, 2017 -- A reminder regarding Yonkers Raceway's return to Sunday harness racing matinees--May 28th--and a first post of 12:30 PM. Races 5 through (1:45 PM) through 8 (3:15 PM) are the 'French' trots, featuring oversized fields at the mile-and-a-quarter distance. Last post would be either 4:15 PM (11-race card) or 4:35 PM (12-race card). Also returning is the 'New York, New York Double,' which in this instance includes the third race from Belmont (post time 2:32 PM) and the seventh from Yonkers (post time 2:45 PM). Program pages for this wager ($1 minimum, 18½ percent takeout) shall be sent when available. Frank Drucker

The $15000 Final of the North American Amateur Drivers Association's Spring Trotting Series was contested at Yonkers Raceway on Thursday night, May 18 and when the harness racing judges hung the official sign Tony Ciuffetelli and Tropical Storm Bi emerged victorious in a 1:58 clocking. Earlier in the afternoon at Monticello Raceway Ciuffetelli finished second with Avivas Winner in the Billings Trot over the Mighty M double oval. Some might think that Ciuffetelli had an easy time of it on Thursday. He did, to an extent, but both horses that he raced on Thursday he trucked with him from his home base in Saratoga. What? When he left Saratoga early Thursday morning he had both horses on his trailer and when he got to Monticello he got one (Avivas Winner) ready for the Mighty M Billings trot and left the other in a receiving stall at the Mighty M. After finishing second in the Billings race Ciuffetelli then sent Avivas Winner back to Saratoga with a friendly competitor and then he reloaded Tropical Storm Bi on his trailer again and headed for Yonkers Raceway for the NAADA Final. After he and Tropical Storm Bi got away slowly from the four-hole in the non wagering race, Ciuffettelli was content to bide his time and follow the leaders. Sixth at the quarter and fifth at the half Ciuffettelli hugged the pylons up the backside and when they trotted by the three quarters they were still three lengths behind Alan Schwartz who was cutting the fractions with Hidden Identity. Still fourth and three lengths off the lead when they headed for home Ciuffetelli got Tropical Storm Bi in high gear and they rallied and collared Hidden Identity just before the wire . Third place went to Sam's Honeybee driven by Tony Verruso. (By the way, Verruso won the Billings trot at Monticello Raceway in the afternoon) "Since I own both Avivas Winner and Tropical Storm Bi I was pretty happy with today's results," said Ciuffetelli, a retired corrections officer who recently recovered from a severe bout of Lime Disease. "Some might think that doing all the work myself would be too much but for me its pleasurable as well as rewarding. For me harness racing is a labor of Love." By John Manzi for NAADA  

Plainville, MA---Fresh off a victory at Yonkers Raceway last Friday, Tag Up And Go made his third visit of the year to Plainridge Park worthwhile by turning a garden spot trip into a harness racing victory in the $13,000 Open Handicap trot on Thursday afternoon (May 18). It was a three-horse breakaway at the start as Mistress Valentine (Mark Eaton) parked out Tag Up And Go (Bruce Aldrich Jr.) and seated Waiting On a Woman heading around the first turn. No sooner did the trotters hit the quarter in :26.3, Tag Up And Go took the lead and was immediately challenged and passed by Waiting On A Woman. Things settled down a bit in the second panel but at the half, Tuscanellie (Jim Hardy) pulled first over and rushed up alongside Waiting On A Woman and prompted that one to a 1:24.1 three-quarters. That move cost the hard-used leader when they turned for home. At the top of the lane Waiting On A Woman tired and drifted off the pylons, giving Tag Up And Go a clear path to the wire. But Tuscanellie was still full of trot on the outside and Hardy was driving her hard in the middle of the track. Tuscanellie put up quite a fight, but Tag Up And Go benefited from a perfect trip and out-sprinted the game mare to the wire, winning by a length in 1:55.2. It was the fifth win of the year for Tag Up And Go ($4.40) and it raised his 2017 earnings to $68,200 for owners Lester Gelardi and Anthony Passafaro. The 7-year-old gelded son of Angus Hall is trained by the meet's leading conditioner, Monique Cohen. In the co-featured $10,000 conditioned trot, One Swan For All (Wally Watson) was parked-out for three-quarters of the mile en route to a one-length victory in 1:55.4 over Ugly Stick (Ron Cushing), who was rimmed second-over behind the winner. One Swan For All ($6.00) is owned by Joel Wheeler and is trained by Lisa Watson. Mark Athearn and Wally Watson scored driving doubles while Gretchen Athearn and Lisa Watson trained those respective winners. The "Wicked Hi-5" pentafecta was hit in the sixth race and the one-dollar, 5-7-4-8-1 combination paid out an instant jackpot of $28,987.00. Live racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Friday afternoon at 4 p.m. By Tim Bojarski for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts  

YONKERS, NY, Monday, May 15, 2017 - Nine harness racing 3-year-old gentlemen-six colts and three geldings-have been entered for Yonkers Raceway's 27th Art Rooney Pace. The number of entrants means there's a game of musical chairs this Saturday night (May 20th), as in nine in a $40,000 elimination paring down to the eight finalists. That octet is set to return week from Saturday (May 27th) for the $300,000 final. This season's Rooney is led by Downbytheseaside. The son of Somebeachsomewhere is a world record-holder as the fastest frosh (1:50 at Delaware, OH) ever over a half-mile oval. His life-best 1:49 Red Mile effort matched the world record for 2-year-olds at the two-turn mile. The son of Somebeachsomewhere has won nine of his 14 career starts ($596,016), hitting the board in all of them. He began his soph season with a 1:52.1 win in a 'sloppy' Pennsylvania Sire Stakes event at the Meadows. Brian Brown trains for co-owners Country Club Acres, Joe Sbrocco, Richard Lombardo and Diamond Creek Racing. 'Seaside' is the Saturday night's back-of-the-bus number, starting from post position No. 9. The elim goes as the 8th race, drew as such... 1 - Funknwaffles (g), Brian Sears, 2 - Miso Fast, Matt Kakaley, 3 - Mac's Jackpot (g), Jason Bartlett, 4 - Summer Side, Ray Schnittker, 5 - Heaven's Gait. Jordan Stratton, 6 - Stealth Bomber, Brett Miller, 7 - Henry the Dragon, Montrell Teague, 8 - Rollin' About (g), Brent Holland, 9 - Downbytheseaside, Dave Miller. The companion event, the 13th edition of the Lismore, attracted 15 sophomore pacing fillies. Thus, a pair of $20,000 elims are carded this Saturday, with the first four finishers in each returning for the final ($140,770). First elim (4rh race)... 1 - Ashlee's Spitfire, Dan Dube, 2 - Rockette, Kakaley, 3 - Caviart Ally, Andrew McCarthy, 4 - Tequila Monday-Brian Sears, 5 - V String, McCarhty also listed (coupled with Caviart Ally), 6 - Planet Rock, Tim Tetrick, 7 - Twist of Fate, Mark MacDonald, 8 - Agent Q, Dave Miller. Second elim (5th race)... 1 - Big City Betty, Jim Marohn Jr., 2 - Caviart Cherie, McCarthy, 3 - World Apart, Tetrick, 4 - Gotthisone Hanover, George Brennan, 5 - Ain't Three OK, Sears, 6 - Ideal Plan, Bartlett, 7 - Warrawee Sunshine. McCarthy also listed. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, May 13, 2017 -- Favorites Melady's Monet (Jason Bartlett, $2.90) and Somewhere in L A (Bartlett again, $4.40) delivered the goods Saturday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's 'sloppy' pair of $55,000 harness racing co-features. 'Melady'--from post position No. 5--took down the week's marquee trot. Down the backside the second time he caught the parked-out Not Afraid (Dan Dube) after that one was rebuffed by pole-sitting Dewcolorintheline (Jordan Stratton). After early intervals of :28.1 and :58.2, Melady's Monet launched his wide bid, engaging Dewycolorintheline in and out of a 1:27.2 three-quarters. Buen Camino (Brian Sears) found himself perched behind 'Melady,' but could not matched strides. Melady's Monet opened a length lead into the lane, then widened to 2½ lengths at the (1:56.3) wire. Buen Camino did wind up second, with 29-1 rank outsider Luck O the Irish (catch-driver Steve Smith) third. Covert Operative (Brent Holland) and a tiring 'Dewy' grounded out the payees. For Melady's Monet, a millionaire 8-year-old Revenue S gelding owned by Melady Enterprises and trained by Kevin McDermott, it was his fourth win (44th career) in seven seasonal starts. The exacta paid $15, with the triple returning $133. Melady's Monet Somewhere in L A made short work of his seven inside rivals, winning the weekly featured pace by three lengths in 1:53.2. Paying a three-wide price to take the lead, he did so at a :27.1 opening quarter-mile. The rest was simple (:56.4, :1:24.3), made simpler when 41-1, pole-sitter Western Rockstar A (Dan Dube) decided to race first-up. Texicna N (Stratton) raced second, offering good pace at both ends of the mile. Third went to Betterlatethnnever (catch-driver Jeff Gregory), with locally-debuting Mister Daytona N (Andy McCarthy) tiring in the pocket to fourth. Badiou Hanover (Brent Holland) took care of the rest. For millionaire Somewhere in L A, a 6-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding trained by Richard Banca for co-owners D'elegance Stable IX, Carmen Iannacone, T L P and Gandolfo Stables, it was his seventh win in 16 '17 tries. The exacta paid $23, the triple returned $129.50 and the superfecta paid $373.50. Somewhere in L A Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Friday, May 12, 2017 - A first-up Freeze Out (Jordan Stratton, $8.10) did it with a flourish Friday night (May 12th), winning Yonkers Raceway's $55,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace for a fifth consecutive harness racing victory. Away fifth from post position No. 4, Freeze Out was uninvolved early as Call Me Queen Be (Scott Zeron) quarter-moved past Apple Bottom Jeans (George Brennan). The 'Queen' made the lead just at :27.4 opening quarter-mile, then found a :56.2 intermission. Freeze Out took aim at her target going by a 1:25 three-quarters, then went past early in the lane. Freeze Out finished out winning by a length-and-a-half in a life-best 1:53.2. Apple Bottom Jeans, compromised sitting behind a tiring leader, closed inside for second, with Sassa Hanover (Matt Kakaley), Jag Out (Brent Holland) and a never-in-it 8-5 choice Mach it a Par (Brian Sears) rounding out the payees. For third choice Freeze Out, a 4-year-old daughter of American Ideal owned and trained by Ricky Bucci, it was her seventh win in 13 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $138, the triple returned $890 and the superfecta paid $2,389. During her form spree, she hasn't once been sent off as the betting favorite. Frank Drucker

The partners and trainer of Downbytheseaside have announced today that the champion harness racing pacing colt by Somebeachsomewhere will bypass the sire stakes this season and instead plans on next racing in the Art Rooney Pace at Yonkers Raceway.   "We believe that the Art Rooney is the best preparation for our eventual goal of the Pepsi North American Cup " says partner Adam Bowden of Diamond Creek Farm. "We plan to give him the best possible opportunity going into the first big goal of the season, and we feel this is the right path to do so."   Downbytheseaside set the world record for two-year-old pacing colts on a half-mile track in 1:50 at the the Delaware County Fair last year, and then followed it up by equaling the record for a two-year-old pacer on a mile track, winning his International Sire Stake division in 1:49 at the Red Mile.    "He came out of his first start looking good," says trainer Brian Brown. "Eased into it as planned, and now he's primed and ready for what comes next." 

YONKERS, N.Y. - Since arriving in the United States this winter, Mister Daytona is a perfect 2-for-2 for harness racing trainer Brewer Adams. Saturday night (May 13), the New Zealand bred horse will make his Yonkers Raceway debut in the eighth race $55,000 Open Handicap Pace. Mister Daytona flew into New York in early February, only a week after his final Australian start at Gloucester Park. The son of American Ideal out of the Bettor’s Delight mare Chara had won 15 of 21 starts Down Under and amassed $69,641. He achieved the rank of listed classic winner by capturing the $25,000 FFA Im Themightyquinn Final at Gloucester January 27. “I got lucky because he had raced right before he came over,” Adams explained. “A lot of horses when they come over here get bought a month in advance and they have to wait for a flight. So a lot of times, they’re just standing out in the field until they come over. He had just raced, so he was still very fit when I got him.” Mister Daytona was welcomed to the Northern Hemisphere by a storm that dumped 20 inches of snow. Getting the 5-year-old acclimated and keeping him healthy was Adams’ main goal in the 5-year-old’s first month in the United States. “When he came over, it was summer over there and winter here. I had to keep a blanket on him all the time because he had no hair. Basically just let him acclimate,” Adams recalled. “He got thrown to the wolves right away as far as the weather. He handled it very well. He never got sick on me.” After allowing him five days in the field at his farm in Lehighton, Pennsylvania, Adams slowly brought Mister Daytona back into training. He jogged for a full month before beginning training miles. “When we trained down, he wasn’t stellar only because he’s one of those horses that likes competition. When I trained him down by himself, he didn’t seem very interested,” Adams said. “When I brought him over to Pocono and schooled him the week before he qualified, he was impressive.” After winning a qualifier at Pocono Downs April 19, Mister Daytona made his first stateside start in a $15,000 overnight at Harrah’s Philadelphia April 30. After dropping in fourth early, driver Andy McCarthy angled him first-over with a half-mile to pace. Turning into the stretch, Mister Daytona had 4 lengths to make up on the race’s even-money favorite Voracity. As the leader tired, Mister Daytona held strong. He posted a :27.2 final panel to win by three-quarters of a length. “It was nice to know that we had what we thought we had. When we had seen the tapes on him and purchased him, we thought we had a good horse on hand. But when they come over here, you never know what you’re going to get,” Adams said. “I was very happy to see that he took to the racing here pretty easily and then his second start here was even more impressive.” Last time out, Mister Daytona moved up in class and raced 12 lengths behind a blazing early pace. He tracked cover second-over before tipping wide nearing the three-quarters. With a burst of speed, Mister Daytona confronted pacesetter Dream Out Loud and took the lead a furlong out. In the lane, he powered away to score by 3 in 1:51.2, a lifetime mark. Saturday night, Mister Daytona will tackle his toughest competition yet when he races in the Open Handicap Pace at Yonkers. He is the 3-1 second choice on the morning line and drew post three, well inside of 2-1 favorite Somewhere In L A, who will grapple with an assigned eight hole. “He’s in with some really good horses this week. Luckily we have the inside, which is a big part of making money at Yonkers,” Adams reasoned. “Mister Daytona raced only on half-mile tracks down there, so I know he’ll handle the surface well. I’m not going to say he’s going to run off, but I think he’ll handle the competition. He’s a pretty tough little horse and he’s very, very gritty.” Andy McCarthy will drive Mister Daytona again this week, to Adams’ delight. Keeping the same driver in the bike in a horse’s first several North American starts can be critical to their development and long-term success and was part of the plan for Mister Daytona. “I wanted (Andy) to drive him from the very beginning. We had a plan with Mister Daytona, we wanted to race him from off the pace,” Adams explained. “I don’t want to get to the point where you have to leave every week to make any money. I like the fact that he can come from off the pace and still win if we have to. Andy and I are on the same page with that.” While Saturday’s race will be Mister Daytona’s biggest test to date, Adams is already enjoying the ride with his new standout pacer and is looking forward to the rest of the season. “He’s been exciting so far. Any time you have a horse like him in the barn, it’s nice.” First post time at Yonkers is 7:10 p.m. Click here for entries for Saturday’s card. by Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY

YONKERS, N.Y. - Trainer Ross Croghan will send out strong harness racing contenders in both of Yonkers Raceway's top classes Friday night. A pair of 4-year-old mares, Prairie Sweetheart and Call Me Queen Be, are primed for the Filly and Mare Preferred Pace and the Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace, respectively. Prairie Sweetheart is the 2-1 morning line choice from post three in the $40,000 Filly and Mare Preferred Pace, the seventh on the 11-race card. A Florida bred by Royel Millennium out of the Masterman mare Taylors Lady, Prairie Sweetheart first caught Croghan's eye when she won a string of races at Yonkers and Pocono last summer for Mike Deters. Croghan purchased the filly just before departing for the Little Brown Jug and Lexington, and although she wasn't staked to anything, decided to bring her along. "I didn't want to be away from her the first month after I had just given a sizable amount of money for her, so she came down to Lexington with the rest of the horses just so I could get used to her," he said. "The second time I trained her down there, I was actually blown away by how talented she was. The way she felt, there was only one mare that could possibly beat her, and that's Lady Shadow." Croghan consulted Prairie Sweetheart"'s owners, Eric Cherry of Let It Ride Stables and Dana Parham, who gave him the green light to supplement her to the Allerage Farms Filly and Mare Open Pace. She sat a pocket trip to Lady Shadow before powering away in the stretch to win in a career best 1:49.1, beating older mares as the lone 3-year-old filly in the field in her first start for Croghan. "We did and it worked out. It wasn't preplanned, it was just a last minute thing and it made everybody look very smart," Croghan joked. Prairie Sweetheart suffered the first loss of her 15-start career in her seasonal debut at The Meadowlands April 14. She brushed to the lead up the backstretch that night and despite pacing a final quarter in :27.1, was passed in the final eighth by favored Windsun Glory and Inittowinafortune. "Her first start back was disappointing," Croghan admitted. "I took her blood and she had a little blood infection, so we waited a couple weeks and everything seems good right now." Back in good health, Prairie Sweetheart prepared for her comeback with a qualifier at Harrah's Philadelphia May 2. She finished second in 1:52.3, beaten 1 3/4 lengths by Nike Franco N, who will challenge Prairie Sweetheart again Friday as the 5/2 second choice on the morning line from post four. "I know in the qualifier, she had been a couple weeks with hardly any training, just a couple light miles waiting for the blood to get corrected. I just thought that qualifying mile would top her off. She trained back sensational. Nike Franco, she's very talented, so it's not an easy race, but I think she'll perform very well." One race later, Croghan will send out Call Me Queen Be in the $55,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. From post three, she is a 5-1 chance on the morning line behind favored Mach It A Par at 5/2. Croghan didn’t mince words about his expectations for the daughter of Somebeachsomewhere and Preppy Party Girl. "I'm expecting her to go straight to the top and dominate the race. That's what I'm expecting," he said without hesitating. "I'll be disappointed if that doesn't happen." In 31 starts, Call Me Queen Be has amassed a bankroll of $1,042,099. Last year, she showcased her talent by winning the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Final for 3-year-old fillies and capturing the first heat of the Jugette before finishing second in the final. She closed the season with a victory in the Breeders Crown Final for 3-year-old fillies. "The second half of the season, she did show that she was, I thought, the best filly out there," Croghan said. "That's as good as a horse can race in that Breeders Crown. First-up. It was very, very strong." In her first start of the year at The Meadowlands April 21, Call Me Queen Be led at every call but the last, finishing second to Inittowinafortune in 1:52.0 with an individual final quarter of :26.3. Last time out, she blasted to the front from post seven at Yonkers April 28, but faded in the final quarter to finish an uncharacteristic eighth. "For the first time in her life, she had an atrial fibrillation and quit at the three-quarters, which is what they do when their heart rhythm gets out of whack," Croghan explained. "She's been treated for that and she trained sensational the other day. Her heart rate was perfect, so I'm not expecting her to do that again." Call Me Queen Be's biggest strength is her early speed. She is capable of posting sub :26.0 opening quarters, like she did at Pocono Downs last summer, and still comes back to her driver, Scott Zeron, after making those moves. "Scott has told me 20 times she is the fastest horse off the gate he has ever sat behind," Croghan said. "He's got there in :25.4 with her and said he never started her up. She's got that good tactical gate speed which is going to put her into every race she's in." Like her stablemate, Eric Cherry's Let It Ride Stables and Dana Parham own Call Me Queen Be. Longtime owners for Croghan, they are looking forward to the season ahead. "They're both great guys, they both love racing horses, and it's a good little setup," Croghan said. "We're looking forward to a fun season. We had fun last year and both fillies are very, very sound. We're going to be there." First post time at Yonkers is 7:10 p.m. Click here for entries for the card. by Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, May 6, 2017 - A pair of down-the-roaders-Great Vintage (Dan Dube, $4) and Taco Tuesday (Jason Bartlett, $6.40)-were the Saturday night (May 6th) harness racing standouts, winning Yonkers Raceway's pair of $55,000 co-features. Great Vintage started inside his rivals in the blind-draw Open Pace, then took it the distance (:27.2, 56.4, 1:24.4, 1:52), though not without an elongated scrum with Blood Brother (Bartlett),. That one, having left into a three-hole, went after the leader in a big way. It was a back-half match race, with Great Vintage holding sway by a determined nostril. Orillia Joe (Brent Holland) held third-beaten 3½ lengths-with Roland N Rock (Jordan Stratton) and Te Kawau N (Brian Sears) For Great Vintage, a 9-year-old millionaire son of American Ideal trained by Jimmy Takter for co-owners his wife, Christina, John Fielding and a pair of Gorans (Anderberg and Falk), it was his first win in a seven seasonal starts The exacta (two wagering choices paid $9.20, with the triple returning $33.60. Despite 'losing' the post position Nos. 3 through 7 draw, Taco Tuesday gave nothing else a shot (:28.2, :57.2, 1:25.4, 1:54.2) in the Open Handicap Trot. The result was the fastest local trot mile of the season. Springbank Sam N (Stratton) chased from the pocket, missing a length. It was more than six lengths back to eight-hole assignee Barn Doll (Jeff Gregory), with Showmeyourguns (Tyler Buter) and Pridecrest (Holland) settling for the minors. Red Hot Herbie (Dube), as the 11-10 fave, was an outrun sixth, beaten just a pair of breakers. For second choice Taco Tuesday, a 4-year-old Cantab Hall gelding owned by Vincent Laurenzo and trained by Andrew Harris (off a barn change), it was his fifth win in nine '17 tries. The exacta (two wagering favorites) paid $7.30, with the triple returning $34.20.   Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Friday, May 5, 2017 - Harness racing favored Sell a Bit N (Jordan Stratton, $4.70) lasted on the lead Friday night (May 5th) , winning Yonkers Raceway's Cinco de Mayo $55,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace In play from post position No. 4, Sell a Bit N worked around Delightful Dragon (catch-driver Eric Goodell), then finished (:27.4, :57.2, 1:25.3, 1:54.1) what she started. Sell a Bit N defeated the 'Dragon' by a neck, with a two-move Dublin Rose (George Brennan) third. Caviart Cari Ann (Dan Dube) and Certified Ideal (Brian Sears) settled for the remainder. For Sell a Bit N, a 7-year-old Down Under daughter of Julius Caesar owned by Harry von Knoblauch and trained by Peter Tritton, it was her fifth win in nine seasonal starts. The exacta (two wagering choices) paid $17.40, the triple returned $82 and the superfecta paid $357. Sell a Bit N It turned out that fives were indeed wild for the fifth day of the fifth month. In addition to the ol' double-nickel purse for the feature, March Awareness (Mark MacDonald, $6.60)-horse No. 5 in race No. 5-rolled home by seven lengths in a $27,000 trot (1:56). Frank Drucker

On Thursday evening (May 4) two $6000 divisions of the North American Amateur Drivers Association Spring Trotting Series were contested over the double oval at Yonkers Raceway with both events raced as non-wagering affairs prior to the harness racing betting card getting underway. Peter Kleinhans won the first split with Toss Cartwright in 1:59.4 while the second division went to John Kokinos when he reined Sim Brown home first in a 1:59.2 clocking. Although Kokinos breezed to an easy five- length triumph Kleinhans had to work hard to keep Hannah Miller and Rev It Now at bay to score short nose victory. In fact the finish was so close that Rev It Now got the last call but the judge's review of the photo finish showed a different result. Kleinhans and Toss Cartwright took command as the gate folded and they led through fractions of :29; :58.2 and 1:29 with Rev It Now and Hannah Miller shadowing the pacesetter's every move. When they rounded the final turn the top two trotters were open lengths ahead of the trailing horses and as they straightened for home "Hurricane Hannah" moved Rev It Now out to challenge and a battle then ensued as the two trotters raced head-to-head down the long stretch and all the way to the wire and despite Rev It Now getting the last call it was Toss Cartwright who walked away with the lion's share of the purse. Third place, some three lengths in the rears, was Windsun Fireball, driven by John Nicholson. The race winner is owned by Coleen Cash and trained by John McDermott. For Kleinhans it was his first winning drive in four seasonal starts this year and 52of his amateur career. In late May Kleinhans will be among the six NAADA members who will travel to France for a Friendship Competition against members of UNAT (Union Nationale des Amateurs du Trot) -the French amateur organization. In the other division Dr. John Kokinos made a laugher out of the race when he sent Sim Brown to the lead from the two-hole and then made every pole a winning one en route to a five-length triumph over Kerfuffle Cookie and driver Peter Gerry. Third place went to Jelectric who was handled by Bob Davis. Sim Brown coasted through early fractions of :30.1; 1:00.3 before Kokinos put the pedal to the metal and his trotter began to draw clear of the competition and the farther they went to bigger to lead became until they coasted to an oh-so-easy victory. Sim Brown is owned by Robert Santagata and Jennifer Lappe and Kokinos also doubles as the horse's trainer. It was the second seasonal victory for the 9-year old Angus Hall gelding who now has purse earnings in excess of $605,000. by John Manzi for NAADA

YONKERS, N.Y. - Since returning to harness racing at Yonkers April 14 off a September layoff, 5-year-old mare Jag Out is perfect in two starts for trainer Nick Surick. She won her seasonal debut in a $27,000 overnight after racing first-over for the last quarter mile, then returned a wire-to-wire the following week when racing for $35,000. For Surick, seeing Jag Out finally put her best foot forward has been a process months in the making. Surick purchased Jag Out, a daughter of American Ideal out of the Albert Albert mare Impertinent, from the 2015 Harrisburg Mixed Sale for $60,000. The purchase came on the advice of Erv Miller, who trained Jag Out in her 2- and 3-year-old seasons. “He told me this little filly is tough as nails and she has a lot of gate speed if you’re looking for something to race at Yonkers,” Surick recalled. “He kind of pushed me into her and that’s why I bought her.” After a winter freshening, Surick brought Jag Out back as a 4-year-old in April 2016. Surick and his owners hoped she would be a free for all mare from the start and ambitiously spotted her in the top classes at Yonkers in her first three races. By the end of her season however, Jag Out had only two wins in 17 starts, both in non-winners conditions, and had earned just $42,100. “I gave her the winter off and she trained back ok, but she just wasn’t 100 percent for me,” Surick said. “She was still a little immature and she was growing up and she went through a growth spurt. She was a little sore on me. I raced her five months and she just was never 100 percent. She would sit the two hole and wouldn’t win. I thought I could get her sounder and I didn’t.” Surick shut Jag Out down in September 2016 and sent her for a body scan at Mid-Atlantic Equine Center. The results confirmed Jag Out had heat in her joints and was sore from inflammation related to her growth spurts. “We thought it was best to turn her out again and not push her and hurt her,” Surick said. “We stopped with her in September, gave her off through December and brought her back in January this year, not knowing what we were going to have.” Jag Out returned to training a transformed horse. As she trained back, her development became clearer, leading Surick to believe she was finally living up to the potential they saw when they purchased her. “She’s filled out now, she’s got a bigger chest on her, and she’s strong-boned. We let her hobbles out an inch-and-a-half coming back and I just see a real difference in maturity and in her attitude,” Surick detailed. “I think we let her grow up and I’ve seen a big difference just in her first two races and I think we’re going to see a big difference going forward.” Nursing Jag Out through her growth spurts wasn’t the only challenge facing Surick and his team. She can be difficult to handle on a daily basis, forcing Surick to take special precautions to keep her safe and happy. “A lot of my horses go out in pairs and they have friends. She kind of just likes to be left alone,” Surick said. “One thing that she does like, she gets a weekly massage and she gets acupunctured every week. Besides that, the more you leave her alone, the better off she is. “She’s not really a people person. Just myself and the girl that takes care of her, we handle her ourselves and that’s about it.” he continued. “In the barn, she’s a disaster. If you walk past her stall, she kicks the wall. She’s got a matted stall that looks like solitary confinement. Her stall is padded from the floor to the ceiling, all the walls. I couldn’t take a chance at her hurting herself.” Although she’s difficult to handle in the barn, Jag Out is a dream on the racetrack. She’s fast off the gate, her biggest asset according to Surick, and is easy to drive. Those qualities will make Matt Kakaley’s job easier as he will sit behind her for the first time this week. “Some horses, if you fire them up too soon and you get to the front, they become uncontrollable and they’re like a runaway train. Whereas she’s two fingers. You can go, stop, she’s like driving a car. It’s like having a gas and a brake. It’s a huge quality to have when you’re racing on a half-mile track,” Surick explained. Friday night, Jag Out will look to prove she can take on the country’s best mares when she steps up into the $55,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap at Yonkers. She was assigned post six in an eight horse field that includes two standouts from the recently-concluded Blue Chip Matchmaker Series, Bedroomconfessions and Regil Elektra. They were dealt posts seven and eight, respectively. Surick is counting on a big performance to put his mare in the running for an invitation to the Betsy Ross Mares Invitational Pace at Harrah’s Philadelphia. “Both of them got tortured in the final, so drawing inside them is a good thing,” Surick reasoned. “I have to think those trainers and drivers are going to have to come up with a plan “B” on racing those mares this week. I think those two horses are going to have to get taken off the gate and I don’t think they’re going to be close enough. I think we’ll be up on the lead or near it and I think they’ll be chasing us.” First post time at Yonkers is 7:10 p.m. Click here for entries for Friday’s card. by Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY

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