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YONKERS, NY, Saturday, March 17, 2018—Saturday night (March 17th) offered a quintet of $50,000 divisions of harness racing Free-for-Allers in the opening round of Yonkers Raceway’s George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series. First Division—From post position No. 2, season-debuting Mach it So (Tim Tetrick, $4) threw down an early series gauntlet, retaking from Chumlee A (Larry Stalbaum) en route to a handy (:28.2, :57.3, 1:25.3, 1:53.3) win. Chumlee A chased, beaten a length-and-three-quarters, with pole-sitting Bettor Memories (Kyle Husted) a three-hole third. For Mach it So, an 8-year-old Mach Tree gelding owned by Bamond Racing trained by Jeffrey Bamond Jr., it was a 41st career victory as he nears $2.5 million in career earnings. The exacta (two wagering favorites) paid $11, with triple returning $52.50. Second Division—It was first-up from and first home for Always at My Place (George Brennan, $12.60). From post  No. 2, he engaged last season’s series winner, Keystone Velocity (Dan Dube) after that one’s intervals of :27.2; :56.4 and 1:24.3. Always at My Place forged by late, beating a pylon-skimming Mister Daytona N (Jordan Stratton) by a head in 1:54. Christen Me N (Tetrick), angling from the pocket as Keystone Velocity tired, was third, beaten a neck. As for 3-2 choice Waikiki Beach A (Scott Zeron), his local debut was dreadful. Never involved, he finished seventh (last), beaten nearly 14 lengths. For third choice Always at My Place, a 7-year-ol Always a Virgin gelding co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke, Weaver Bruscemi, Larry Karr and Phil Collura, he, too, made a successful ’18 bow. The exacta paid $73.50, with the triple returning $185.50. Third Division—Polester Dr. J Hanover (Brett Miller, $6.30) took one step forward and the of the field deferred. The result (:28.2, :58.1, 1:26.4, 1:55) was a nary more than a public workout. Dr. J  Hanover won by a length-and-a-quarter, with Somewhere in L A (Jason Bartlett) a first-up second and 19-10 fave All Bets Off (catch-driver Yannick Gingras) a loose-pocket third. For second choice Dr. J Hanover, a 5-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding co-owned by Brad Grant, Robert Leblanc, Steven Wienick & Irwin Samelman and trained by Tony Alagna, it was his first win in a pair of seasonal starts. The exacta paid $24.20, with the triple returning $50.50. Fourth Division—Odds-on Rockin’ Ron (Gingras, $2.90)—from post No. 4—rebounded from a poor effort in his final pre-series overnight event and went the distance (:27.1 :56.4, 1:24.3, 1:53). Evenin’ of Pleasure  (Joe Bongiorno) chased the winner in a good try, beaten three-quarters of a length. Western Dynasty (Bartlett) sat a three-hole and pocked off the rest. For Rockin’ Ron, a 6-year-old Real Desire co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Burke, Weaver Bruscemi, RTC and J&T Silva Stables, it was his first win in three seasonal starts. The exacta paid $18.80, with the triple returning $56.50. Fifth Division—Bit of a Legend N (Stratton, $21.60) seemed to be minding his own affairs in his ’18 purse debut, when things worked out quite well for him. From post No. 3, the 2016 Levy champ worked out a second-over trip behind 1-2 fave Missile  J (Tetrick). He then rolled over his tow, winning by a neck in 1:53.3. Long Live Rock (Dube) rallied for third. Great Vintage (Gingras), after fractions of 26.3; 56.4; 1:25, led to the lane before fading to fifth. For fourth choice Bit of a Legend N, a 9-year-old Down Under son of Bettor’s Delight owned by Von Knoblauch Stable and trained by Peter Tritton, it was his 42nd career win (earnings $1.93 million). The exacta paid $52, with the triple returning $279.50. Sunday racing is back tomorrow (March 18th), with first post at 11:45 AM. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Friday, March 16, 2018—Nor’easters be damned. The first sign of spring occurred Friday night (March 16th), with the beginning of Yonkers Raceway’s harness racing "Blue Chip Matchmaker Series". A consecutively-contested quartet of $40,000 events for high-end pacing mares opened the show. The first division fooled very few in the equine persona of Shartin N (Tim Tetrick, $2.50). Away fourth from the pole, she took over from Gina Grace N (Larry Stalbaum) after that eight-holer made front (:27.1, :57.3). Shartin N blew right by, opening nighttime daylight before a 1:25.3 three-quarters. The lead was three lengths off the final turn and 4¼ lengths at the wire, finding it in 1:54.2, Motu Moonbeam N (Brent Holland) was second as the 47-1 rank outsider, with Shesjustadelight N (Ron Cushing) a decent third after losing the winner’s tow. “Tim, is this one the real deal?’ “I think so,” Tetrick said. For Shartin N, a 5-year-old Down Under daughter of Tintin in America co-owned by Richard Poillucci and Jo Anne Looney-King and trained by Jim King Jr., it was her fifth win in six seasonal starts. The exacta paid $39.20, with triple returning $261. The second Matchmaker grouping saw another odds-on Kiwi lass as Sell a Bit N (Jordan Stratton, $2.90) set a dawdling pace (:28.1, :58.2, 1:26.4), then held sway in 1:55.2. Pole-sitting Sell a Bit N took over from Medusa (Scott Zeron), then whip that one by a half-length. Third went to Dudesalady (Brent Holland) after trying it first-up, with Annabeth (Mark MacDonald) fourth.   For Sell a Bit N, a 5-year-old Down Under daughter of Julius Caesar owned by Von Knoblauch Stables and trained by Peter Tritton, it was her fourth win in seven ’18 tries. The exacta paid $6, the triple (three wagering choices in order) returned $15 and the superfecta paid $56.50. “(Sell a Bit N) had three weeks off, so she wasn’t 100 percent, but she refused to let anyone pass her,” Stratton said.   The short-priced procession continued in Friday evening’s third series event. Lady Shadow (Jason Bartlett.  $2.90) had things her own way. From post position No. 2, she saw Call Me Queen Be (Zeron) make the first lead. Lady Shadow gained the advantage before a :27.3 opening quarter, then rated a :57.2 intermission. Safe from Terror (Yannick Gingras) found an eight-hole seat, only to take out of fourth. That turned out to be an ill-advised move, as she backpedaled toward a 1:26 three-quarters. Lady Shadow owned a length-and-a-half lead into the lane, before winning by a half-length in 1:54.3. Scandalicious (Tetrick) and Eclipse Me N (Dan Dube) rallied for second and third, respectively. Meanwhile, Call Me Queen Be edged from the pocket, but faded to fourth. For season-debuting Lady Shadow, a 7-year-old daughter of Shadow Play co-owned by (trainer) Richard Banca, D’Elegance Stable IX and Thomas Lazzaro, her career earnings went past $1.94 million, The exacta paid $9.40, with the triple returning $82. ‘It’s the best she’s raced since she’s been in the barn,” Bartlett said. The first round’s final foray had the only non-favored winner, as pocketed third choice Twinkle (Eric Goodell, $8.10) was quite handy.   From post No. 2, Twinkle nestled in behind Lispatty (George Brennan) with substations of :27.4, :57.2 and 1:25.3. Pulling early, Twinkle went right by, winning by a length-and-a-quarter in 1:54.2. Dewar N Soda (Bartlett)  wound up a three-hole second, with Lispatty third and Vintage Babe (Holland) fourth.   Last season’s series champ and  this race’s 17-10 fave, Mackenzie A (Stratton), never did get involved and finishing eighth (last).   For season-debuting Twinkle, a 5-year-old daughter of Bettor’s Delight co-owned by Dana Parham & Let it Ride Stables and trained by Ross Croghan, she’s now won 12-of-13 career starts. The exacta paid $105, the triple returned $338.50 and the superfecta paid $1,570. “She’s an all-around nice horse,” Goodell said.   Saturday night (March 17th) offers a quintet of $50,000 divisions of Free-for-Allers in the opening round of the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series Frank Drucker

YONKERS, N.Y. – After visiting his New Jersey stable Wednesday to train his pacers bound for the Blue Chip Matchmaker and George Morton Levy Series at Yonkers Raceway, Ross Croghan is excited to see what the next six weeks will hold. Croghan will start four horses in the first leg of harness racing series action at Yonkers Raceway this weekend: Call Me Queen Be and Twinkle in the Matchmaker and Waikiki Beach and Hug The Wind in the Levy. Although he’d like to be with his stars full time, a barn of 44 horses in Florida keeps him away. “I’d like to be up there with them, but I just can’t be in two places at once,” Croghan lamented. “I trained all those Levy and Matchmaker horses (Wednesday) morning. I just wanted to make sure they’re all good. They all felt fantastic. I’ve got two mares in the Matchmaker, they’re both as sharp as racehorses can be.” Although $1.2 million earner Call Me Queen Be will make her seasonal debut from post three in the third Matchmaker division Friday night (March 16), Croghan’s focus will be on up-and-coming mare Twinkle. A $77,000 yearling buy out of the 2014 Lexington Select Sale, Twinkle went largely unnoticed last year after making her career debut as a 4-year-old. In the eyes of her trainer however, Twinkle has already shown hints of being something special. “She broke beautiful and she was just so smooth and even. You could put a glass of water on her back and you wouldn’t spill a drop. When you sit behind them and you feel that, you say to yourself, ‘that’s beautiful balance,’ ” Croghan recalled. “But then, by the time she had been training for three months, it was obvious she had growing pains. Usually by 3, they’re better, but she was just one of those horses that wasn’t.” Croghan talked owners Let It Ride Stables and Dana Parham into letting the young filly develop. Even as the opportunity for a 3-year-old season came and went, Croghan never forgot the promise Twinkle showed early in her training and never gave up on the daughter of Bettor’s Delight. “It took her a long time to become a sound horse that you could push on with. I just kept putting her aside thinking she will eventually grow up and her growing pains will go away and last year she did,” Croghan said. “In this day and age, you get pressured because you pay for stakes and there was a point where I thought the owners were going to say to me enough’s enough. I told them I really like this filly and they just said ok and just put up with it. I think they’re going to get paid.” When she finally began racing, Twinkle showed she could carry her morning talent to the races. She went 11-for-12 last year with another second-place finish, good for $101,250 in earnings. In just her third start, Twinkle posted a lifetime best 1:51.3 victory from post 10 at the Meadowlands with John Campbell in the sulky. Croghan remembers the Hall of Fame driver gushing over the filly post-race. “He came in and said, ‘I think you have something special here. Green horses are not supposed to do what she just did.’ ” Now 5 years old, Twinkle will make her stakes debut in the first leg of the Matchmaker Friday night. Eric Goodell will drive the 4-1 shot from post two. Series veteran Regil Elektra will start to Twinkle’s immediate outside while defending Matchmaker champion Makenzie drew post seven. Although the competition is more seasoned, Croghan is confident heading into the series after watching Twinkle out-train Call Me Queen Be this winter. “I’m not a guy that steps on the gas too much training,” he explained. “You just ask them to step that last eighth and you’re looking across and you see that one horse is almost coming out of their hobbles they’re pacing so fast and you look across at the other one and she still has the bit between her teeth. I’ve trained her plenty now and she’s impressive. If you speak to her and then look at your watch, you go, ‘oh my god!’ I’ve had a lot of good mares and this might be one of the best I’ve had.” In addition to his Matchmaker duo, Croghan will start a pair of horses in the Levy Saturday night (March 17). Although Hug The Wind is an outsider in the third division, Waikiki Beach figures to be a major contender in the evening’s second split. A five-time Group 1 winner in Australia and earner of $708,019 for Mark Purdon, Waikiki Beach started his career with 17 consecutive victories from April 2015 to May 2016. Although he was winless in five starts as a 4-year-old last year, Waikiki Beach still finished second in the Group 1 Chariots of Fire at Menangle February 11 and fourth in the Group 1 Miracle Mile February 25. However, after a string of off-the-board finishes in New Zealand in October and November, Croghan learned Waikiki Beach could be for sale. “I went down there to buy some horses and he was just on my radar,” Croghan said. “Sensational 2- and 3-year-old. He hit 4 years old against some of the best horses in the world. As a 4-year-old, it’s not that he raced bad, he just didn’t beat the top-flight ones. He was just on my radar to check out to see if he could possibly be on the market. Through a lot of negotiating and a lot of time, I got a deal done.” Waikiki Beach shipped to the United States December 4, 2017 and after a stopover in New Jersey, the son of Somebeachsomewhere out of the Bettor’s Delight mare Cyclone Beach joined Croghan’s main string in Florida. The kind-mannered horse has proven a pleasure to work with thus far. “He’s just fantastic. His manners are impeccable. He’s just a lovely horse,” Croghan remarked. “He’s a typical ‘Beach;’ he’s just got that fire in his blood. He’s a very, very smart horse, that’s what he is. He’s got a little bit of fire in his blood, but he’s very smart. “ ‘Waikiki’ is just turn-key. You could send a child out to train him, he knows what he’s doing,” Croghan continued. “Most foreign horses, it’s a big change for them to leave their comfort zone, especially coming over in the middle of winter. From day one, he just went out on the track, never looked sideways, never took a hold of you. He doesn’t wear an overcheck, he holds himself in perfect balance at all times. He’s just a pleasure to get ready. He’s just got those beautiful racehorse manners.” Croghan had Waikiki Beach ready to qualify at Pompano January 21 and a week later, he made his fist start on U.S. soil in the Open Handicap at the South Florida racetrack. Waikiki Beach won his debut in 1:51.4 and returned the following week to score in 1:50.2. After a brief freshening before the grueling Levy Series begins, Croghan tuned Waikiki Beach up with a 1:55.4 qualifier at Pompano March 4. While he considered the trial a success, he was surprised at how lazy Waikiki Beach was on the lead. “His qualifier, I would have liked to have gone a little bit quicker, but it was his first time on the engine and he was just a little bit lazy,” Croghan said. “He just didn’t quite get into it, but when Scott Zeron came off the track with him, I said, ‘is he ok?’ He said, ‘he’s lazy on the front end, but as soon as he saw that horse coming to him, there was plenty in the tank.’ ” Croghan thinks the ear plugs used in the morning contributed to Waikiki Beach’s modest qualifier. The gelding doesn’t wear them on race day. “He has won on the front end plenty,” Croghan said. “I got him ready and made sure he stayed nice and quiet. It’s just in that last qualifier, he was a little too quiet. But he had his ear plugs in and he doesn’t have them in the race. When I race him, I take the ear plugs off him. I just keep them in for training and qualifying.” Waikiki Beach will start from post five in his Levy division Saturday night. He’ll face 2017 series winner Keystone Velocity, who drew post seven. Although Croghan is confident, he admits there is no standout in this year’s series. “The draw is in my favor, it’s not in his, but it’s six weeks of racing. I can’t say that he’s not going to be razor sharp because I actually think he will be,” Croghan said. “Between the qualifier and when he’ll race it’s going to be 13 days, but I trained him two trips (Wednesday) morning. He just felt fantastic. I do expect him to step out pretty close to 100 percent ready. “He’s a nice horse and I think he fits that series,” Croghan continued. “I’m not going to call him a standout or anything like that. It’s a very even bunch of horses and when the final comes around, the draw plays a massive part of it. You’ve got to be lucky.” First post time at Yonkers Friday and Saturday night is 6:50 p.m. For Friday’s entries, click here. For Saturday’s entries, click here. Yonkers Sunday Post Time Yonkers Raceway’s first post for this Sunday’s (March 18th) matinee has been set at 11:45 AM. Races 5 (post time 1:30 PM) through 11 (post time 4:25 PM) go as the ‘French’  trots, with the 12th-race finale scheduled for 4:40 PM. Sunday’s ‘New York, New York Double’ consists of Aqueduct’s 3rd race (post time 2:21 PM) and Yonkers’ 7th race (post time 2:30 PM). Program pages accompany this release. By Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY

YONKERS, NY, Thursday, March 15, 2018—Here’s a further update regarding harness racing driver Matt Kakaley, who was injured in an accident during Yonkers Raceway’s 10th race Tuesday night (March 13th). The update was provided by driver Mark MacDonald at the request of Kakaley’s girlfriend, Annie Larrabee. Kakaley, driving Lawgiver Hanover, and Jim Marohn Jr., driving Big Jer, were at the rear of the field moving into the third turn of the $15,000 pacing event. Lawgiver Hanover took a bad step, went down and throwing Kakaley. Big Jer, who may have briefly gone down, unseated Marohn Jr and ran off.  Kakaley, who turns 30 this coming Monday (March 19th), was originally taken to Lawrence Hospital in nearby Bronxville, NY, then subsequently moved north to Westchester Medical Center (Valhalla, NY), where facial plastic surgery was performed.    MacDonald—who visiting Kakaley this (Thursday) afternoon—said “considering what he went through, he was in very good spirits, laughing and joking.” It was MacDonald’s understanding that Kakaley is to be discharged from Westchester Medical sooner rather than later, returning sometime next week to have more work performed on his collarbone. “I don’t know if it’s the best-case scenario, but it seems to be close,” MacDonald said. “The doctors see no reason he won’t recover and get back driving, maybe within five or six weeks.” Does Kakaley had any recollection of the accident?’ “Not much,” MacDonald said.      Lawgiver Hanover was euthanized. The 9-year-old son of Art Major had won 28-of-202 career starts with earnings of $623,179. Marohn Jr. and Big Jer both escaped injury, the former taking his final two scheduled Tuesday drives and with a full complement of Yonkers’ Thursday assignments.  Further updates shall be provided as available. Kakaley has won 4,169 races and more than $61.1 million in purse in a career that began in 2006.   Frank Drucker

YONKERS, N.Y. – New Zealand-bred mare Shartin will take her first shot against harness racing stakes competition since arriving in the barn of Jim King, Jr. last fall in the first leg of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series at Yonkers Raceway Friday night (March 16). Winner of the Group 2 Queensland Oaks at Albion Park last July, the daughter of Tintin In American out of the Live Or Die mare Bagdarin came to the U.S. after Rick Poillucci, who owns Shartin in partnership with Jo Ann King, scouted the mare from the same connections he purchased Nike Franco from in 2016. Although Nike Franco is a multiple Grand Circuit stakes-winning mare and earner of $740,660, Australian trainer Dean Braun made a bold comparison about the two. “When we got her, the guy that trained her over there, he also trained Nike Franco and he said he felt this mare was every bit as good that she was if not more,” King recalled. “I said, ‘that’s a pretty tall order, but we’ll see about that.’ ” Although Shartin arrived in the U.S. at the end of October unraced since winning an overnight at Tabcorp Park Melton August 18, King didn’t have to start fresh with her training. Braun had already begun bringing Shartin back before she shipped across the Pacific. However, because training styles are so different in Australia, King was unsure how far along Shartin would be when she arrived. “When I got her, I couldn’t interpret what he was telling me he’d done with her. I asked him, ‘if you still had her, when would she be ready to qualify?’ He gave me a time that he thought she should be ready to qualify,” King explained. “It’s a little different when he’s telling me she’s been so far in 5 minutes, so far in 4 minutes. That doesn’t compute with me. It’s all different.” King was impressed by how well Shartin handled her transcontinental journey when she arrived at his stable in Delaware. She was in perfect health and showed no signs of stress or excessive fatigue from the trip. “She arrived very healthy, I would say she was more healthy than any other horse I’ve gotten from there,” he said. “Some horses it takes a big toll on, but some horses act like they just came from next door. For her, she took the trip really well.” Once he began working with her, King quickly realized Shartin wasn’t to be toyed with. Although she has a pleasant demeanor in the barn, she becomes pugnacious on the racetrack. Braun even warned King Shartin was “a bit bossy.” “She’s pretty aggressive, she’s pretty eager,” King said. “There’s nothing mean about her, she’s really nice to care for and she tries to do what you ask her to do, but on the track, she gets in a bit of a hurry.” Shartin’s first stateside qualifier came at Dover Downs January 10. She won by 3 ¼ lengths in 1:55.1 before posting three straight sub-1:53 victories at Dover, which culminated in a 1:52.3 score in the Filly and Mare Open Handicap February 7. Shartin tasted her first defeat when finishing second to Monica Gallagher in the Meadowlands’ first race February 17, a card that was cut short due to a blizzard. “At this time, there’s really been no end to her,” King said. “The only time she hasn’t won so far was at the Meadowlands on the snow night when they had to cancel there and at Yonkers. She didn’t know if she won or not, it was snowing so hard she couldn’t see. As far as she knew, she did win. We’re pretty pleased with the return we’ve gotten so far.” Shartin rebounded from her narrow loss to earn a half-length victory in the distaff feature at Dover in her most recent outing February 28. Shartin raced first-over in that start, grinding within 3 lengths of pace-setter Nerida Franco. However, Shartin struggled to advance as the leader posted a :27.1 third quarter and looked to kick away on the final turn. Shartin used a :27.3 final panel to wear down Nerida Franco and post a lifetime best 1:50.2 victory. The win boosted her record to 11-for-18 record with $122,492 earned. “She was out a long way. She came first-over and really looked like at best she was going to be second, but she just kept coming and coming,” King said. “She knows where the wire is and how to get there. She’s pretty tough, she can go a long ways.” Shartin will start from post one in the first division of the Blue Chip Matchmaker first leg Friday night. She is the 7-5 morning line choice with Tim Tetrick in the sulky after her major competition, Mach It A Par and Gina Grace, drew posts seven and eight, respectively. King will leave the decision making to Tetrick, but is bullish about Shartin’s chances in the series. “She’s not one that he needs to baby or trip out, I don’t think,” King said. “I feel pretty good about it. I hate to say I’m confident, but I feel pretty good about it. She’s done everything we’ve asked.” Friday night’s card at Yonkers features four divisions of the Matchmaker Series, spanning races seven through ten. First post time is 6:50 p.m. For entries to Friday’s races, click here. By Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY

Jordan Stratton is no stranger to success in the Blue Chip Matchmaker and George Morton Levy Memorial pacing series at Yonkers Raceway and the 30-year-old harness racing driver will have two past champions among his hopefuls when those events get underway this week at Yonkers Raceway. First up is the Matchmaker, which begins Friday (March 16). Stratton's drives in the series for older female pacers will include Australian-bred defending champion Mackenzie. On Saturday (March 17) in the Levy, for older male pacers, Stratton's drives include New Zealand-bred 2016 winner Bit Of A Legend. The Matchmaker and Levy both feature five preliminary rounds followed by added-money finals April 21. A horse receives 25 points each time he or she races in the preliminary rounds. Points are also awarded based on finish, with 50 points for a win, 25 for second, 12 for third, eight for fourth, and five for fifth. "I love the series," said Stratton, who also won the Matchmaker in 2009 with Pancleefandarpels. "You have to race every week almost because of the 25 points, and they're good horses, so it's a hard series. At the same time, you want to have something left for the final, too. "It's tough, but at the end of it you get to see who the iron horse is." The opening round of the Matchmaker features four $40,000 divisions. Stratton will drive New Zealand-bred Elliesjet in the first division, New Zealand-bred Sell A Bit in the second, and Mackenzie in the fourth. Mackenzie and Sell A Bit are trained by Peter Tritton, who also conditions Bit Of A Legend on the Levy side. Sell A Bit was the runner-up in the 2016 Matchmaker championship, but failed to advance to last year's final. Sell A Bit heads to this season's event with three wins in her past four starts, all in the open handicap for fillies and mares. Mackenzie, who won four of her last five races of 2017, is making her seasonal debut. The Matchmaker fields also include multiple-award-winners L A Delight and Lady Shadow, 2017 championship runner-up Medusa, millionaires Call Me Queen Be and Regil Elektra, and near-millionaire Safe From Terror, whose brother Foiled Again won two Levy titles. Saturday's Levy action will be spread over five $50,000 divisions. Bit Of A Legend, who is making his seasonal debut in the fifth division, made history by going unbeaten in the 2016 Levy. He finished fourth in last year's championship, but counted the Molson, Gerrity, and Quillen among his victories. "The run Bit Of A Legend went on (in 2016) was unbelievable," Stratton said. "I don't know whatever stars aligned, but it seemed like he never got used and he was always pacing forward at the wire. Hopefully he can do it again. He qualified last week and he seems to be really good. I was a hundred percent happy with him." There is no shortage of big names or familiar faces in the Levy, with defending champion and Dan Patch Award-winner Keystone Velocity leading the group. Others ready for the opening round include stakes-winners such as All Bets Off, Dr J Hanover, Evenin Of Pleasure, Great Vintage, Mach It So, Missile J, Rockin Ron, Somewhere In L A (a half-brother to L A Delight), and Western Fame. Stratton is the leading driver at Yonkers this year and tops North America with $1.36 million in purses. He finished second to Jason Bartlett in last year's Yonkers standings. "I think toward the end of last year I was doing really well," said Stratton, who has won 3,505 races in his career. "Now the numbers kind of reflect it a little more. I'm getting excited (for stakes season). Mackenzie is staked and I'll go on the road with her. Hopefully she stays healthy and has some luck on the bigger tracks and that will launch me to the next step." Ken Weingartner  

YONKERS, N.Y. – Two weeks after announcing an ambitious harness racing program that would see 24 French-bred trotters flown to North America to compete at Yonkers Raceway, Standardbred Owners’ Association of New York Executive Director Alex Dadoyan’s initial nerves have transformed to cautious optimism. With several of the spaces already filled, the program is attracting significant interest from local horsepeople. “We did bounce the idea off some people, but it was a big unknown how it was going to be received,” Dadoyan admitted. “Right away when we announced it, there was a lot of positive interest, which is really rare in this game. The owners, trainers, and horsepeople who called looking for more information all seemed genuinely interested in it, intrigued by it, and wanting to learn more about it. “The reception has been very positive,” he continued. “We have a bunch of people who are already lined up and have made their deposits and we have a bunch of people who say they are going to participate and we hope to fill the number that we’re looking for.” The SOA of NY’s pioneering program to import two-dozen French trotters was formed with several goals in mind. It serves to strengthen the relationship between Yonkers and the French trotting association LeTrot, entice French bettors to increase their handle on Yonkers’ races simulcast to France, and address a shortage of trotters competing at the track. The program will also give local horsepeople a chance to buy a horse at a relatively low price point who will be eligible to race in a rich series restricted to French-bred trotters. “There’s multiple things going on. We simulcast the races over to France and if people are betting on races from Yonkers, obviously races that have French horses that they know are going to be more attractive, more interesting to their bettors than horses they’ve never heard of,” Dadoyan explained. “If we were going to do this, we wanted to be able to card races that we could then send back over there,” he continued. “Those races are normally larger fields that we send over, so we weren’t going to do it and just bring back eight horses; that wasn’t going to achieve all of the goals, so we said, we’ll try to see if 24 people are going to be interested and ideally come back and card two full fields of races to send back there in the series for these horses that we bring over.” Organizing the sale of a large number of trotters to a foreign country isn’t a new endeavor for LeTrot. The organization routinely offers sales of promising high-steppers to developing trotting countries, such as Ireland. In this case, LeTrot will prepare a group of geldings 4-years-old and up who compete at a similar level for inspection by highly-experienced Yonkers horsemen. The team who selects the horses will be independent from those participating in the program and the horses selected will be randomly distributed to the 24 owners and trainers who commit to the program. “The thing that excites me, gives me a level of confidence is we’re taking over several trainers with us. The French are accustomed to holding these sales for other countries. They organize a bunch of horses and then people can come out and look at the horses,” Dadoyan said. “We’re going to get to go training trips with all of the horses and we’re going to have experienced trotting guys with us to make an educated assessment as to which of the bunch might have the best chance of having some success back home.” Each trotter selected will sell for $25,000 with an additional $3,000 shipping charge, meaning the total expenditure to buy into the program is $28,000. The trotters who make the cut will be eligible to race in a multi-leg series with a final to be held at Yonkers a few months after the horses arrive stateside. In addition to the purse money contributed by the track and the SOA, LeTrot will also add to the purses for these races. Specific details and purse-levels for the series will be announced in the coming weeks. “This gives the participants a chance to recoup their investment before they move to the local competition at whatever level they might end up racing at,” Dadoyan said. “We thought it was important to give an opportunity for these horses to just be in against themselves and it gives everyone a fair chance to make back some or all of their investment immediately. “When we card races exclusively for French-bred horses, the French Trotting Association will contribute money for the purses for those races, so we would have an amount of money contributed from over there for these races that are exclusively for French-bred trotters,” Dadoyan said. “It’s not a small amount of money. We’re going to make the races meaningful enough anyway, but it’s just a little something extra that we can offer everyone.” To participate in the program, a non-refundable deposit of $10,000 is required by March 26. The balance of $18,000 will be due by Thursday April 26. If the program is not fully subscribed by March 26, those making an initial deposit will be refunded. The selection of horses is scheduled in France during the period of the Yonkers shutdown at the end of May. If you are interested in participating in this program, please contact the SOA of NY at 914-968-3599 or via email at All monies paid after the initial deposit will then be held in escrow in an interest-bearing account to the credit of the person depositing the funds. Space in the program is limited to the first 24 owners that reserve a slot by making a deposit.  YONKERS’ TUESDAY PICK 5 FEATURES $8,400 CARRYOVER, 20G GUARANTEE  A friendly reminder from Yonkers Raceway that Tuesday evening’s (March 13th) Pick 5 wager starts with a carryover of $8,478.75 and a $20,000 guaranteed pool. The Pick 5 is a 50-cent base wager comprising races 7 through 11 (if less than 11 races, it’s final five races during that particular card). It has no consolation payoff, meaning if no one selects all five winners (as was the case Monday night), the entire pool (minus takeout) moves to the next racing program. By Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY

YONKERS, NY, Monday, March 12, 2018—Yonkers Raceway’s harness racing office found itself quite popular this (Monday) afternoon, as among the usual Friday/Saturday double draw there were plenty of big girls and big boys. Friday night’s (March 16th) opening round of the Blue Chip Matchmaker saw four consecutively-carded (races 7 through 10) divisions, each worth $40,000. Conveniently, 32 high-end lasses were parsed into the quarter of eight-horse fields. Defending series champion Mackenzie A, who resurfaced her last Friday (March 9th) in a qualifier, makes her seasonal purse debut from post position No. 7 in the final division. Jordan Stratton again does the honors for the now-6-year-old Down Under daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven. Peter Tritton trains for Von Knoblauch Stables and Ellen Kinser. Saturday evening’s (March 17th) beginning of the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series goes with five, $50,000 Free-For-All divisions (races 4 through 7 and 11). Each race was neatly filled with a seven-horse field. Last season’s series winner, Keystone Velocity, makes his ’18 debut from outside his six rivals in the second event. Dan Dube again takes a seat for co-owner/trainer Rene Allard. Now a spry 10-year-old, Keystone Velocity comes off a career-best $783,000 season in 2017.      Each series offers five preliminary legs—ladies first Fridays, guys Saturday—with both finals set for Saturday night (Apr. 21st)   Unrelated to this conversation Sunday matinees resume this weekend (March 18th), with first post at 11:45 AM. Races 5 (post time 1:30 PM) through 11 (post time 4:25 PM) go as the ‘French’  trots, with the 12th-race finale scheduled for 4:40 PM. Information about Sunday’s ‘New York, New York Double’ shall be sent when available. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, March 10, 2018 — It was Double Nickel Saturday night (March 10th), with five-holers Long Live Rock (Dan Dube, $6.20) and Money Maven (Jordan Stratton, $28.20) winning Yonkers Raceway’s co-featured harness racing $40,000 Open Handicaps. Long Live Rock, from that assigned post position No. 5 in the weekly adult pace, worked out a second-over trip behind an out-the-mile Chumlee A (Larry Stalbaum). Chumlee A, ordered outside his seven rivals, steadily advanced toward 9-5 choice Texas Terror N (Greg Merton) as that one led through intervals of :27.1, :56.4 and 1:25.1.  Texas Terror N owned a diminishing lead in and out of the final turn, with Lone Live Rock closing in. The latter did get to the former, winning by three-quarters of a length in 1:53.4, matching a season’s-best effort. A seam-slipping Soho Lennon A (Stratton) just missed second, with Chumlee A and Killer Martini (George Brennan) rounding out the payees, the entire octet separated by just 2¾ lengths at the wire.   For second choice Long Live Rock, a 9-year-old Rocknroll Hanover gelding owned and trained by Rene Allard, it was his second win in four seasonal starts. The exacta paid $14.60, with the triple returning $67.50. Any number of Saturday’s high-end pacing participants were prepping for the onset of the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series, which begins next Saturday night (March 17th). The week’s marque trot saw Money Maven, from that post No. 5, easily go up and over early leader (:28.4, :58) In Secret (Brennan). The eight-baller, as the tepid 2-1 choice, had moved to the lead around lone lass NF Happenstance (Jack Parker Jr.). Back to Money Maven, who made the lead right at the 1:27 three-quarters and opened a length-and-a-quarter in the lane. He widened to three lengths at the wire in season’s-best 1:56.1. Always a Good Time (Dube) and Mostinerestingman (Stalbaum) chased home the winner, while a shuffled NF Happenstance and Zooming (Matt Kakaley) settled for the minors. In Secret faded to sixth.   For sixth choice Money Maven, a 9-year-old Revenue S gelding owned by Kapildeo Singh and trained by Julie Miller, it was second win in six ’18 tries. The exacta paid $202, with the triple returning $918. Sunday matinees resume March 18th, with first post TBA. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Friday, March 9, 2018—Carobbean Pacetry (Jordan Stratton, $7.40) held off 2-1 choice Gina Grace N (Larry Stalbaum) in a two-speed number Friday night (March 9th), winning Yonkers Raceway’s $40,000  harness racing filly and mare Open Handicap Pace. Wide early from post position No. 5, Carobbean Pacetry worked around her rival, making the lead before a :27.2 opening quarter-mile. She then rated a :57.1 middle half (:56.1, 1:24.3), easier since the only one to move at her from a from-seventh L A Delight (Marcus Johansson). Carobbean Pacetry opened a pair of lengths off the final turn, whipping Gina Grace N by a length-and-a-quarter in 1:53.3. L A Delight was a quite credible third, with Safe from Terror (Matt Kakaley) and Itty Bitty (Jason Bartlett) settling for the minors. For second choice Carobbean Pacetry, a 7-year-old daughter of Somebeachsomewhere owned by Meir Geller and trained by Eldo Leonelli, it was her fourth win in eight seasonal starts. The exacta paid $23.40, with triple returning $234.50. Any number of these lasses, as well as those in Friday’s subsequent $30,000 Filly and Mare Preferred PAce—won by Mach it a Par (Bartlett) in 1:54.4—are being pointed toward next Friday’s night (March16th) opening round of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Frank Drucker

YONKERS, N.Y. – After a rare unplaced finish in her last outing at Yonkers, 6-year-old harness racing mare Safe From Terror will look to rebound in Friday night’s (March 9) $40,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. Safe From Terror finished last in the distaff feature February 23 as the race’s 6-5 betting favorite, but trainer Rob Harmon noted the daughter of Western Terror has been battling a lingering illness since she arrived in his stable at the end of January. After trying to cure her with antibiotics on and off between races to conform to withdrawal times, Harmon finally gave Safe From Terror a week off to receive a full dose of medication. “She’s had a bug here and when we treat her, she’s good. But I have to stop treating her a couple days out because with the medicine, you just have to stop,” he said. “She just needed to get through it a whole week.” Safe From Terror finished sixth in her last start at Miami Valley January 19 before shipping east to Harmon. She finished second on debut for her new barn at The Meadowlands February 2 and again was the runner up in her next outing at Yonkers a week later. The daughter of Western Terror finally broke through with a win in the Filly and Mare Open Handicap February 16. Despite her sickness, Harmon describes Safe From Terror as “absolutely perfect.” A 49-time winner from 112 starts with another 30 placings, Safe From Terror has accumulated $931,207 in earnings. Out of In A Safe Place, Safe From Terror is a half-sister to Foiled Again and shares some of his gutsy qualities. “I wish I could pick her apart, I can’t. She’s a racer, she gives you her heart,” Harmon said. “She’s not a big horse, she’s a little horse. That’s the thing, she just goes, she’s got a set of lungs on her. She gives it her all when she’s healthy.” Safe From Terror came to Harmon’s stable after bouncing from track to track in the Midwest. Her owner, Dan Telle of Big Bad DT Racing Stable, set a goal for his mare to reach $1 million in earnings before she retires to broodmare duties. Unable to find a suitable place meet that objective in Ohio, Telle sought an east-coast trainer and called Harmon. “I’m lucky I got the opportunity to train her. They want to make $1 million and they thought it would be easier out here than running around Ohio,” Harmon explained. “A lot of the tracks won’t let her race there because every time she races there, she wins. She went to the Meadows and she won four or five and they told her not to come back there. Cleveland said the same, it’s just one of those deals. It’s a good problem to have.” Transitioning to Harmon’s stable came easy for Safe From Terror. She’s raced for eight other trainers throughout her career, including a stint for Ron Burke that saw her win the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Final and Nadia Lobell as a 3-year-old. “There’s really nothing to figure out with her. She’s been a nice horse. Everybody that’s trained her, they’ve done good with her,” Harmon said. “She came with her own harness and everything and there was no sense in changing anything. We haven’t changed anything.” Safe From Terror will start from post six in Friday’s distaff feature, carded as race six on a 12-race program. Matt Kakaley will drive her for the first time since her 3-year-old campaign. She’s 10-1 on the morning line. As Harmon looks to have Safe From Terror back in top form with the Matchmaker Series quickly approaching, he admits her luck could largely depend on post positions. “With her, I think the posts are really going to count because she can’t leave that hard and it looks like she doesn’t race that great from the back,” he said. “She’s always parked or making a quarter move to the front going to the half. That’s the only thing, we’re making a half move and she just keeps going once she hits the front. You just keep chasing her, she just keeps going.” Safe From Terror will face seven rivals Friday night, including 3-1 early favorite Divas Image, who captured four consecutive distaff features at Dover Downs before being compromised by outside post positions in her two most recent starts. Gina Grace is a 7-2 chance after drawing post three and posting two wins in her first four North American starts for Larry Stalbaum and Kimberly Asher. Millionaire L A Delight will debut for trainer Nancy Johansson off two sharp qualifiers, but is a 7-1 morning line after drawing post seven. Itty Bitty, Delightful Dragon, Carobbean Pacetry, and All About Madi complete the field. Absent from the lineup is Sell A Bit, winner of the Filly and Mare Open Handicap from post eight February 23. “I think she’ll be ok. I know Matt Kakaley is our driver and hopefully he can stick with her through the Matchmaker,” Harmon said. “Sell A Bit’s not in there this week, but when you get up to that upper class, they’re all good horses.” First post time at Yonkers Friday night is 6:50 p.m. For entries to the races, click here. by Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY

Elkton, MD -- Post Time with Mike and Mike, presented by BetAmerica, is excited to announce their line-up for Thursday morning (March 8) at 10:30 a.m. They will be joined by Chris Page, one of the top leading drivers in Ohio; Matt Rose, handicapper for the Daily Racing Form (Harness Eye) and charter at Yonkers Raceway; Scott Robinson, co-owner of Lost In Time; and Janine Gesek, representing Pacing for the Cure.   Page, one of the top drivers in the Buckeye State, joins the program for the first time to talk about his illustrious career. Page, who has earned just under $30,000,000 in earnings and won just over 4,000 races is coming off a career season where he helped pave the way for Downbytheseaside to Pacer of the Year honors. He will discuss his illustrious career and where he sees things going in his upcoming future.   Robinson, the co-owner of two-year-old pacer of the year Lost In Time will join the program for the first time as well on Thursday. He will discuss how his champion pacer has been training leading up to his three-year-old season. Robinson attended the Dan Patch Awards in Florida with WWE Hall of Famer Ric Flair, he will discuss that experience and some of his thoughts about what brought Flair to the awards.   The "Inside Handicapping" segment continues this week with Matt Rose, who will talk about some of the new handicapping angles at Yonkers Raceway with some of the changes that the track has brought on. Rose will discuss the improving handle and how that can play to the gamblers favor each race night.   March is National Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month. Gesek, from Pacing for the Cure will join to discuss some of the things going on with Pacing for the Cure Ambassador Mr. Bill G. She will also highlight some of the events coming up to help support the cause of Multiple Sclerosis.   Post Time with Mike and Mike, presented by BetAmerica, can be heard live every Thursday at 10:30 a.m. via their website or on the archive at     By Michael Carter, for Post Time with Mike and Mike

YONKERS, N.Y. – Cammie Haughton was ecstatic as he drove over the George Washington Bridge on his way home from the track around midnight Monday, February 26. Bettors pumped $927,279 through the windows on that evening’s 12-race program, signaling to Haughton the changes he’s made since assuming the role of Director of Racing are paying off. “When I go over the G.W. Bridge the other night doing almost $1 million, I was like, ‘yeah man, this is great! We’re almost there,’ ” Haughton exclaimed. “I was so happy, just thrilled to death. Who else does that? Who else is happy to do that for racing? I’m happy with the position I got and I’m happy to help. Things are working.” In his new role, Haughton’s primary mission is to increase handle on the track’s races. His daily routine that involves working with the broadcast department, executive office, race office, and the horsemen before presiding over the scheduling of races in the evening means he has a hand in nearly everything that goes on at the track. “When I leave there at night, my head is spinning. But here it is on my day off and I’m thinking about all this, but you have to,” Haughton said. “That’s the thing, I do care. I’m not the guy to just sit around and not do anything. I’m on it, I’m on it big time.” Thus far, his initiatives are producing results. Domestic and international commingled handle at Yonkers from January 1 through February 28 topped $29.2 million on 424 races, a 64.2% increase from the $17.8 million bet on 419 contests over the same period last year. Just over two months into his tenure in his new role, Haughton is already making a reputation for himself as someone who gets things done. He cited the driver’s room at the track as an example. The room was in disrepair when he found it, but will soon get a needed facelift. “The tiles are coming up off the floor, it needs to be painted, the lockers all need to be emptied and cleaned. So, guess what? I got it done,” Haughton said. “I got the brand-new floor ordered, I got the painters, I talked to the horseman, we’re ready to get the lockers emptied and moved. We’re going to have a new locker room here in a couple weeks. You have to do those things, you have to.” While it may seem arbitrary to the racing product, completing projects like this are part of Haughton’s mission to leave no stone unturned. He describes his strategy as a back to basics approach that focusses on making common-sense improvements to deliver the best racing product possible to the gambling public. He formed his strategy in the months leading up to commencing his term as Director of Racing when he put himself in the customers’ shoes. “Before I got my job, I sat and observed the races for two months. I knew I was going to be Director of Racing, but I didn’t have the job yet,” Haughton recalled. “So, I was observing and writing down all these things that needed to be done on a pad and a piece of paper.” Haughton noted a lack of racing action, poor scheduling of post times, and the live broadcast as areas in need of major improvement. Beyond simply identifying the problems, he began working to solve them immediately. His first stop was a meeting with the drivers where he laid out his plans and sought their support. “I told them the wolves will be at our door if we don’t start turning this thing around,” Haughton said. “I told them basically, ‘look, if you don’t like what I’m going to be doing, first of all, it’s for your benefit – the drivers and the trainers and the horsemen, it’s for everybody’s benefit. If you don’t like what I’m doing here, go race somewhere else.’ All the drivers are cooperating 100 percent with what’s going on.” Haughton cites the support of the Yonkers horsemen and the Standardbred Owners Association of New York as a critical component of his ability to make changes at the track. He sees them as partners in his mission to improve the racing, not as resistors who want to keep the status quo. “They want change, I can see, and they want a better product,” Haughton remarked. “I feel that when they see me walk in the paddock and I’m dressed in a tie and a jacket, very professional, that’s how I was brought up in my family, I think they kind of like that, that somebody’s watching the ship now. “They’re willing to do whatever it takes and it’s working,” he continued. “I’m very thrilled with the cooperation of the SOA, the cooperation of the management, and everybody around me wants to help.” With the horsemen on his side and aware of his expectations, Haughton stunned the harness racing world when he announced his next move: the removal of the passing lane from Yonkers’ half-mile racetrack. “They either pull or they get locked in. It’s called racing,” Haughton said. “With the passing lane, the first five horses would go around the track and they would know that when you get to the stretch, it’s a lot easier. So, they sit, and they sit, and they sit. That’s not racing to me. They’re racing now.” Without the passing lane, the percentage of winning favorites at Yonkers through the end of February was 37.7 percent, a 10.2 percent decrease from the 42 percent strike rate of favorites over the same period in 2017. While detractors protested the move, citing concerns that bettors would lose chances to cash if their horses lacked racing room in the stretch, Haughton takes another argument. When he considered the point from the bettors’ perspective, he saw increased opportunities for trip handicappers to find value. “I saw a horse locked in the other night that had all kinds of pace in the stretch and obviously, he couldn’t get through,” Haughton said. “Here’s a gambler who’s playing Yonkers Raceway, that puts it in his mind that number four was locked in last week and couldn’t get out. He’s going to bet that horse the following week. He’s going to follow that horse and know that he had pace in the stretch and couldn’t get out.” Although the removal of the passing lane is the most glaring change Haughton has made, he thinks other initiatives have been just as important in increasing handle. Proper scheduling of post times has had the biggest impact on betting volume than any other change, he claims. “Scheduling the times is very, very important. That is the most important,” Haughton said. The scheduling of post times involves two components. First, he ensures post parades are scheduled to give bettors ample time to evaluate the horses as a physical specimen before placing a wager. Second, Haughton aims to make sure Yonkers’ races go off between other major racetracks to avoid conflicts. “It was blowing my mind, the horses coming out onto the racetrack for two minutes and going right to the gate,” he said. “How do you get money in the pools if they’re out there for two minutes and go right to the gate? You can’t do it. It’s impossible.” Haughton’s efforts to coordinate post times has already spurred increased communication and cooperation from other racetracks, the historical lack of which has been a constant gripe of gamblers playing multiple racetracks for years. “The other racetracks, they’re even calling me now. ‘Can you slow down a little bit because we have 15 races, you have 12 and we’re trying to go in between and it’s getting late for us.’ Then I have to make a decision,” Haughton said. Haughton’s choice to keep horses on the track longer before the start plays off one of his other initiatives, to improve the quality of Yonkers’ simulcast presentation. One of his primary areas of focus thus far has been to ensure each horse gets a clear, close up camera shot before the race. Haughton understands the vast majority of his customers aren’t at the track. Rather than fight this, he is catering to these players’ needs. “It’s not like it was years ago when 20,000 people were coming out for racing. There’s basically nobody at the tracks now, it’s all coming in from simulcast,” he said. “I told every operator that runs these cameras, ‘I want close ups on these guys. I don’t want these horses looking like ants on a screen.’ It’s better for the people who are sitting home watching the races.” Haughton isn’t finished tweaking the product at Yonkers. As the year goes on, he will look to make more changes. He teased increased improvements to the broadcast as one of the changes to look out for. “The good weather is coming. I’m going to throw a camera on top of the paddock, on the roof. We’ve got that in motion,” he explained. “As soon as the good weather comes on a Friday or Saturday night, I’m going to have a camera up there. Close up shots as they come around the final turn. Like NASCAR, they have cameras everywhere. You’ve got to change it up.” Haughton has also been pleased with the initiative of offering free full card past performances on Monday evenings, an initiative undertaken in cooperation with the SOA of NY. He hopes to see that promotion expanded to include additional nights in the future. “That’s fantastic. That’s another thing that we have to get up on our broadcast and show,” he said. “Here’s the thing, if you don’t promote it and get on it and get it out there, nothing’s going to happen.” Other possible future initiatives include increased field sizes, a reworking of the racing classifications and the racing schedule, and a slanted starting gate to aid the chances of outside horses. While these are still in the early planning phases, Haughton notes he has plenty of time to forge ahead with them. “I love the starting gate idea, I love it,” he said. “I think it’s going to happen. Right now, our handle is up, racing is never better, the track seems to be very, very good as far as the surface. Things are good. Now if they keep going in the good way, maybe that starting gate will come. “Here’s the thing,” he continued. “We’ve got the eyes on us now at Yonkers Raceway and I want to keep that. Now I just need to keep the interest in what we’re doing.” Yonkers Raceway races on a Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday basis with a first post time of 6:50 p.m. For a complete racing schedule, click here. For a schedule of upcoming stakes races, including the Petticoat Series, Sagamore Hill Series, YR/SOA of NY Bonus Trotting Series, Matchmaker Series, and Levy Series, click here.   Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY  

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, March 6, 2018—A friendly reminder from Yonkers Raceway that Thursday evening’s (March 8th) Pick 5 wager starts with a carryover of $7,516.89 and a $20,000 guaranteed pool. The Pick 5 is a 50-cent base wager comprising races 7 through 11 (if less than 11 races, it’s final five races during that particular card). It has no consolation payoff, meaning if no one selects all five winners (as was the case Tuesday night), the entire pool (minus takeout) moves to the next racing program.   FRANK DRUCKER

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, March 3, 2017—Gokudo Hanover (Matt Kakaley, $12.80) and In Secret (George Brennan, $11.80) were the big cheeses Saturday night (March 3rd ), winning Yonkers Raceway’s co-featured harness racing $40,000 Open Handicaps. Gokudo Hanover ‘won the bob’ in a three-horse, pacing-feature photo, prevailing from second-over. From post position No. 2, he watched early as 3-5 choice Rockin’ Ron (Brennan) vaulted over his six inside foes. Rockin’ Ron paid a price (:26.2, :55) for the privilege. Pole-sitting Don’tcallmefrancis (Greg Merton) moved from third, doing so with purpose. He went up and over a non-resistant Rockin’ Ron right at a 1:23.1 three-quarters, opening a-length-and-a-quarter lead off the final  turn. The effort was valiant, but the result…not quite. Gokudo Hanover chased Don’tcallmefrancis, while a third-up Long Live Rock chased ‘em both. It was a Kodak moment, with Gokudo Hanover prevailing by a nose in 1:53.1. Long Live Rock was second, with Don’tcallmefrancis third, beaten a head. The smaller change went to Killer Martini (Jason Bartlett) and Alotbettor N (Joe Bongiorno). Rockin’ Ron backpedaled to sixth For second choice Gokudo Hanover, 6-year-old Cam’s Card Shark gelding co-owned (as Triple D Stables) by (trainer) Scott DiDomenico, James Craparotta & Pat Berry Racing, it was his first win in six seasonal starts. The exacta paid $91, with the triple returning $368. In Secret couldn’t have asked for better assigned eight-hole trip. Two of his main rivals—Rubber Duck (Bongiorno) and Always a Good Time (Dube)—broke early, never factoring as In Secret nestled into a three-hole. He chased Fearless Man (Bartlett) through intervals of :28.1, :58 and 1:26.1. Fearless Man owned a length-and-a-half lead into the lane, but In Secret left the cones, having the target in his sights. The latter prevailed by half-length in 1:56.1. Dog Gone Lucky (Jordan Stratton) did get to Fearless Man for second, with Crazy About Pat (Mark MacDonald) and Mostinterestingman (Larry Stalbaum) rounding out the payees. For fourth choice In Secret, a 6-year-old Dewycheatumnhowe gelding co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke, J&T Silva Stables, Larry Karr and Weaver Bruscemi, it was first win in two ’18 tries. The exacta paid $48, with the triple returning $256. Sunday matinees resume March 18th, with first post TBA. A friendly reminder from Yonkers Raceway that Monday evening’s (March 5th) Pick 5 wager starts with a carryover of $3,856.56 and a $15,000 guaranteed pool. The Pick 5 is a 50-cent base wager comprising races 7 through 11 (for 10-race cards, it’s races 6 through 10). It has no consolation payoff, meaning if no one selects all five winners (as was the case Saturday night), the entire pool (minus takeout) moves to the next racing program. Monday‘s program may be downloaded at Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Friday, March 2, 2018—The wind and the snow and the rain and all that other fun stuff has forced Yonkers Raceway to cancel Friday’s night (March 2nd) live racing program. Evening simulcasting has also been scrapped, though afternoon simulcasting is available until approximately 6 PM. It’s the Raceway’s first full-card cancellation of the season. Live racing is scheduled to resume Saturday night (March 3rd) with a first post of 6:50 PM.   Frank Drucker  

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