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It didn't take long for the visiting Spaniards to break out to a substantial lead in the Spanish & American Friendship Harness Racing Competition. At Yonkers Raceway on Tuesday afternoon (June 2) in the first of the three-leg amateur driving contest, the Spanish invaders finished one -two -three and opened up a big point lead, 29-13. The star of the day was Jaume Riera after he guided Amalfi Coast to a solid one length victory over Movement, driven by fellow countryman Bernado Cirer. And to push the NAADA team farther in the dust, yet another Spaniard, Miquel Capo, garnered the show dough with Sweet Ben. The best placing by an American team member was a fourth place finish by Dave Offenberg. He cut the early fractions with Whatnblazes but the trotter got leg weary in the lane and finished five lengths behind the winner. After his victory a jubilant Jaume Riera was hard to contain. "Yonkers is a place I have been before and a track I occasionally wager on through the simulcasting to France and now I come here and I am so happy I have won my first race in America," he said joyfully. "Jason Bartlett, the leading driver at Yonkers, presented me with the trophy and it was all a big thrill for me. Also it was my third win in my last four starts but by far the biggest. By the way, two of my countrymen finished right behind me so it was a great day for team Espangna." Riera has been following the Yonkers races from his homeland via the international simulcasts to France which are also offered to many other European countries including Mallorca and the Basque Region of Spain. "It was great to meet some of the other drivers, George Brennan, Brian Sears, Mark MacDonald, Daniel Dube and Pat Lachance, just some of the great horsemen I watch from home," Riera added. "Everyone took the time to make us feel very welcome and helped us to know everything about the horses we were going to drive." The race winner, Amalfi Coast, is owned by JMF Racing and trained by Gilbert Garcia-Herrera. He paid $10.40 for win. On Wednesday the competition moves on to Monticello Raceway where the participants will drive in races three and five on the 11-race card. There the same visiting Spaniards will drive against a different team of NAADA amateurs. NAADA president Joe Faraldo drove for USA team at Yonkers on Tuesday and after the drubbing they took he was asked if the Americans still have a chance in the Friendship Competition. He didn't hesitate a moment and blurted, "Of course we do, they don't pay off at the half." By John Manzi for NAADA

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, June 2, 2015--Buoyed by a carryover of $9,051.50, Yonkers Raceway's Tuesday afternoon Pick 5 found a harness racing audience. Some $22,023 of fresh money was thrown into the till, creating a total pool (after takeout) in excess of $25,000. What made the wager even harder to handicap was the entire quintet of races were "French" trots, as in added distance (1¼ miles) and overflow fields (twelve, eleven [after a scratch] and three tens, respectively). The Pick 5 began with the $54,800 Open Handicap Trot, won by Crazy About Pat (Mark MacDonald, $12.20). The former New York Sire stakes champ survived a sustained wide bid to edge Il Mago (Scott Zeron) by a neck in 2:28.1 for the extra acreage. It was 6-5 favorite Luminosity (George Brennan) leading to the lane before fading to third. When the soggy dirt settled, the combination of 1-2-8-10-2 resulted in the Pick 5 pot going unclaimed for the second consecutive card. That means the sumptuous sum of $25,569.51 gets hermetically sealed, then carried over to the next live racing program of Saturday, June 13. Also Tuesday, a Spanish-American Friendship Trot saw the hosts perhaps get a bit too friendly, as the Spaniards finished 1-2-3. The $13,000 event was won by Jaume Riera and Amalfi Coast ($10.40) in 2:00.3. That tandem defeated Movement (Bernardo Cirer) by three-quarters of a length, with Sweet Ben (Miquel Capo) third. As mentioned above, the Raceway now goes on hiatus, with live racing and evening simulcasting returning a week from Saturday. Afternoon simulcasting is offered daily, including this Saturday's (June 6) Belmont Stakes (first post 11:35 AM). Frank Drucker

A $10,000 guaranteed pool and $12,068.60 of actual investments were usurped by a 51-1 bomber, so no one brought down the harness racing Pick 5 Monday night at Yonkers Raceway. The gimmick began with Mac's Secure (Dan Dube, $105.50) skimming the soggy cones in the $17,000, seventh-race pace (1:59.2), and that, along with an 8-1 winner in the next race, obviously was enough to negate a pair of successful odds-on choices in the final two legs. Thus, the Tuesday afternoon (June 2, first post 1 PM) Pick 5 wager begins with a take-notice carryover of $9,051.50. Since it's a "French" Tuesday, all five races are added-distance (1¼ mile), overflow field (12, 12, 10, 10 and 10) events. Good luck with that. The Pick 5 is a 50-cent base wager comprising races 7 through 11 each racing program. It has no consolation payoff, meaning if no one selects all five winners (as was the case Monday), the entire pool (minus takeout) moves to the next racing program. Please be advised that should no one hit the gimmick Tuesday, the carryover goes into escrow until live racing returns Saturday, June 13. Speaking of the Pick 5, Jason Bartlett did that one better, winning six of his nine drives during the 12-race Monday card. Frank Drucker - Yonkers Raceway Publicity Director

Amateur harness racing series seem to be proliferating and getting more respect this season and now there are more opportunities for the sportsmen--and women-- to drive more often than in the past. Currently with North American Amateur Drivers Association (NAADA), the Billings (and the GSY Series) not only do opportunities abound but the amateurs bring their horses which helps the participating tracks fill their racing programs. Recently NAADA hosted a contingent of French amateurs in an international Friendship Competition and now on the heels of those events NAADA is readying three different teams to race against a contingent of Spanish amateurs from Mallorca. The contest races are slated for Yonkers Raceway on Tuesday (June 2); at Monticello Raceway on Wednesday (June 3), and at Tioga Downs on Friday (June 5). Ready to defend their Spanish honors at all three American tracks are Bernardo Cirer, Jaume Riera, Augustin Pou and Miquel Capo while the NAADA teams will vary at each venue. Yonkers and Monticello legs have already been drawn. At the Hilltop oval on Tuesday in race two, NAADA's Peter Kleinhans has drawn the morning line favorite while Spaniards Jaume Riera and Bernardo Cirer each have co-second choices. Kleinhans will be joined that afternoon by NAADA compatriots, Joe Faraldo, Dave Offenberg and Tony Verruso. At Monticello on Wednesday there will be two races. In the first event (race 3), NAADA's Alan Schwartz has the early line favorite) while Spain's Miquel Capo has drawn the morning line favorite in the second (race 5). Both events are for pacers, a gait which the Spanish drivers are not familiar with since only trotters are raced in Europe.   Joining Schwartz there and driving for the red-white and blue are Hannah Miller, Matt Zuccarello, and Gerry Fielding. Races at Tioga Downs have not been drawn at press time. According to NAADA president Joe Faraldo he said his associate Alicia Schwartz, who picked up the Spanish drivers at the airport, told him "they are young and fit and we might have to be at the top of our game", to which Faraldo replied; " Winning or losing isn't that important, Don't forget, amateur racing is just a great excuse for human relations." John Manzi - On behalf of NAADA

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, May 30, 2015 - Harness racing favored In the Arsenal (Brian Sears, $2.50, part of entry) prevailed after making it interesting Saturday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $300,000 final of the Art Rooney Pace. Eight 3-year-olds-seven colts and one geldings-went postward in the 25th Rooney, which began in 1989, a year after the death of Art Rooney Sr. In the Arsenal, unhurried early from post position No. 2, saw pole-sitting Rock N' Roll World (Dan Dube) make the first lead before a visit from the winner's entrymate, Betting Exchange (Dave Miler). That one, denied a an early pocket by the eventual winner made the lead just after a :27.2 opening quarter-mile. In the Arsenal then moved from third, getting around his stable buddy right around the 56-second intermission. Soon after, Arque Hanover (Jason Bartlett) was put in play, going after In the Arsenal toward a 1:24 three-quarters. In the Arsenal eventually disposed of that one, taking a length lead into the lane. He was home free by a cozy margin...until he bore right a path or so and appeared to pull himself up. Betting Exchange was the main beneficiary, ducking inside to make it close. Not close enough, however, as In the Arsenal prevailed by a diminishing head in 1:51.2. Betting Exchange made the entry 1-2, with Rock N' Roll World third, beaten a length. Arque Hanover and National Seelster (Eric Carlson) came away with the remainder, with Cartoon Daddy (Mark MacDonald), Bet You (Tyler Buter) and Sonofa Sizzle (George Brennan) completing the order. For In the Arsenal, a $7,500 "buyback" son of American Ideal trained by Kelvin Harrison for co-owners (breeder) White Birch Farm) and In the Arsenal Racing, it was his third win in as many seasonal starts (career 9-for-14, earnings of $581,843). The exacta (Rock N' Roll World 'second') paid $5.70, with the triple (Arque Hanover 'third') returning $18. It was Sears' third win in the Rooney, after Badlands Nitro (2008) and Pet Rock (2012, stakes-record 1:51. "I was thinking about letting (Betting Exchange) in early, but In the Arsenal can grab on a bit, so I kept him going. As far as what happened (with the bolt) late, I have no idea. He gave no inclination, and I have no explanation, other than to say he's learning. Luckily, no one was outside of me." Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, May 30, 2015 - After a $7,500 farm buyback (In the Arsenal) won the $300,000 Art Rooney Pace Saturday night, the harness racing bargain-basement theme continued. Purrfect Bags (Vic Kirby, $24.60), who sold for all of $2,000, rolling through the lane, winning Yonkers Raceway's $117,724 Lismore for 3-year-old pacing fillies. Unraced parimtuelly for 52 days and with three qualifiers lead into her local debut, Purrfect Bags-from post No. 5-watched as Totally Rusty (Jason Bartlett), the only $15,000 supplemental entrant into this race, made the lead before a :27.3 opening quarter-mile. That one's wagering partner, Strut My Stuff (Jordan Stratton) was settled, as Sassa Hanover (George Brennan), the 2-5 choice, received her marching orders. "Sass" found the front, setting a spiffy :55.3 half when Bedroomconfessions (Brian Sears) moved from fourth. Purrfect Bags-from post No. 5-was behind her in and out of a 1:24.3 three-quarters. Meanwhile, Sassa Hanover had a couple of lengths turning for home, but Purrfect Bags was launched. She went up and over the leader, widening to win by two lengths in a season's-best 1:52.3. Sassa Hanover was second, with Bedroomconfessions third. Strut My Stuff and Totally Rusty settled for the minor moolah, while Special Package (Dave Miller) was outrun. For third choice Purrfect Bags, a daughter of Roddy's Bags Again owned by JoAnn Looney-King and trained her husband, Jim King Jr., it was her third win in four '15 tries (career 10-for-12, earnings of $205,612). The exacta paid $48.80, with no triple wagering due to the abbreviated number (five) of wagering interests. "(Trainer) Jim) (King Jr.) had her very sharp," Kirby said. "She really only had to pace about an eighth of a mile, and when I asked her, she just put her butt down and took off. "Her last race (statebred final at Dover) was all my fault. I drove her very badly. She has a burst of speed, I'm just glad to have a chance to drive her and tonight was definitely worth the trip." "When I bought her (for $2,000), my husband wasn't very pleased, Ms. King-who won this race a season ago as trainer of Tyra--said. "She the same as Tyra. Both are very fast and both try very hard." Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Friday, May 29, 2015--With three-peating Krispy Apple not in attendance Friday night, it took two harness racing lasses to fill her horseshoes. Alhambra (Brian Sears, $3.30) caught It's a Miracle (Eric Carlson, $2.90) at the wire, dead-heating in Yonkers Raceway's $42,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. It's a Miracle, leaving from post position No. 5, wound up pocketed to Virgin Mary (Jordan Stratton) through fractions of :27.4, :57.1 and 1:25.4. Meanwhile, pole-assigned Alhambra was tardy both leaving the gate, then catching her ride in the presence of Magic Starlight (George Brennan). She did, however, close ranks in time to move widest and fastest, drawing even with a passing-lane It's Miracle in 1:53.4...a life-best effort for Alhambra. Virgin Mary, who owned length lead into the lane, faded to third, beaten a length-and-quarters. Magic Starlight and Sir Jillian Z Tam (Pat Lachance) completed cashers in a compact grouping, where the eight ladies finished the course separated by less than four lengths. Sharing the salutations were second choice Alhambra, a 5-year-old daughter of Art Major owned by Joshua Schwartz and trained by William Adamczyk, now 5-for-18 this season. For 17-10 fave It's a Miracle, a 5-year-old Always a Virgin miss trained by Jose Godinez for co-owners Blindswitch Racing, Santo Farina, David Sebolsky and Stanley Yoskowitz, it was her fifth win in 20 '15 tries. The exactas paid $17.60 (Alhambra first) and $13.40 (It's a Miracle first), with the triples returning $63 (Alhambra first) and $36.80 ("Miracle" first). The Raceway's live season continues Saturday night (post time 7:10 PM, $300,000 final of Art Rooney Pace and $117,724 Lismore). After that, it's Monday (7:10 PM) and a French-centric Tuesday (1 PM) before hiatus. Frank Drucker

Freehold, NJ --- Already a physically gifted harness racing colt, In The Arsenal added a new weapon to his cache during his offseason. A little bit of patience. In The Arsenal, racing as part of a common-ownership entry with Betting Exchange, is the even-money morning line favorite in Saturday’s $300,000 Art Rooney Pace for 3-year-olds at Yonkers Raceway. In The Arsenal and driver Brian Sears will start from post No. 2 for trainer Kelvin Harrison. Sonofa Sizzle, who has won four of five races this year including his Rooney elimination by a neck over Betting Exchange in 1:52.1, drew post eight and is the 3-1 second choice. Saturday’s card also features the $117,724 Lismore Pace for 3-year-old female pacers. The entry of Totally Rusty, who is undefeated in four starts this year, and Strut My Stuff is the 1-1 morning line choice. Last week, In The Arsenal won his Rooney elimination by a head over Rock N’ Roll World in 1:53.1. He is 2-for-2 this season and has won eight of 13 career races while earning $431,843 in purses. He is owned by breeder White Birch Farm and the multi-partnered In The Arsenal Racing. “He’s matured a lot, as far as being a lot smarter than he was last year,” Harrison said. “Last year if you started him up you really had trouble holding him. Now he’s more manageable; his manners are a lot better. He’s way smarter. That’s the big thing for him. You can’t be wasting energy against these kinds of horses.” Last year, In The Arsenal won the Lawrence B. Sheppard final at Yonkers in mid-July before being sidelined for more than a month because of illness. When he returned, he won four of five starts before drawing post 10 in both his elimination and final for the Breeders Crown. He finished third in his elim and second in the final. In addition to his victory in the Sheppard, the colt’s triumphs included the Matron Stakes and divisions of the Bluegrass, International Stallion, and Historic-Goshen Cup. In The Arsenal is a son of American Ideal out of the mare Ladyotra. He was bred by White Birch Farm, who bought back the colt for $7,500 at the 2013 Standardbred Horse Sale. Harrison attributed the price to In The Arsenal’s then-smallish size, as well as the fact he was the 14th foal out of the then-21-year-old Ladyotra. “I think that kind of determined his price at Harrisburg, because he was really small,” Harrison said. “But he had great conformation; he was well put together.” With a win Saturday, In The Arsenal would become the first horse to capture the Sheppard at age 2 and Rooney at age 3. The list of Rooney winners includes Horse of the Year recipients Precious Bunny, Cam’s Card Shark, Gallo Blue Chip, and No Pan Intended, as well as stars One More Laugh, Pet Rock, and the filly See You At Peelers. “It’s his race to win or lose,” Harrison said about In The Arsenal. “He’s got a good spot, he’s got a good driver; if things go reasonably well for him I’m sure he’s going to be right there. “He likes a half-mile track. He can pace the turns wicked fast. He’s good on any size track, but when you pace the turns as hard as he can pace them it’s a bigger advantage to him.” Following the Rooney, In The Arsenal will head to Canada for the North America Cup. He also has the Max C. Hempt Memorial and Meadowlands Pace on his schedule in the next several weeks. “Obviously I don’t think we’re going to be doing them all,” Harrison said. “We’ll take our shots and see how it goes. If everything went perfectly you would skip the Hempt and freshen him up for the Meadowlands Pace. The Hempt is big money, it’s a great race, it’s just a shame they’re all back to back.” Following is the field in post order for the Art Rooney Pace with drivers, trainers, and morning line: 1. Rock N’ Roll World, Daniel Dube, Mark Silva, 7-1 2. In The Arsenal, Brian Sears, Kelvin Harrison, 1-1 3. Argue Hanover, Jason Bartlett, Casie Coleman, 10-1 4. National Seelster, Eric Carlson, Chris Ryder, 6-1 5. Betting Exchange, David Miller, Tom Fanning, 1-1 6. Bet You, Tyler Buter, Jimmy Takter, 20-1 7. Cartoon Daddy, Mark MacDonald, Ron Burke, 15-1 8. Sonofa Sizzle, George Brennan, Josh Green, 3-1 by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications

A banner day for the sport of amateur harness racing climaxed when "Lady Monica" Banca and Bob "the Headhunter" Hechkoff each won their respective $6000 divisions of the CKG Billings Amateur Driving Series at Yonkers Raceway on Thursday night (May 28). Banca won on the betting card while Hechkoff's triumph came in a non-wagering trot. Earlier in the day at, Monticello Raceway, "Hot-Handed Hannah" Miller won two amateur events, a NAADA trot and a Catskill Amateur Series pace, marking the first time that amateur drivers--and there were four-- did double duty racing at one track in the afternoon and at another in the evening. Once again Banca's victory was on the betting card at Yonkers Raceway and it came with the same horse (Meadowview Arny) that she used to defeat a team of visiting French amateurs in an international competition a month ago. As she did against the visiting French, Banca wasn't content to follow anyone and moved her horse to the lead after getting looped on the first turn. Once on the engine she kept up the strong pace and she and Meadowview Arny trotted through fractions of :29, :58.4 and 1:28.2 before going on to a length victory over Wygant Prince and driver "Coach Paul" Minore. Third place went to Rev It Now driven by Hannah Miller who was looking for a perfect day of three wins in three drives that day. Banca, Norwegian by birth, notched her second driving victory in five seasonal starts. The winner is owned by Joe Faraldo and Chris Wittstruck and trained by Richard Banca. He paid $3.40 for win. In the non-wagering split Hechkoff, as he usually does, sent his trotter, No Recess, to the lead from the seven hole and they had two lengths on the field as they passed the first stanza. Hechkoff seemed comfortable on the lead but as the field headed to the halfway point David "Proud Poppa" Glasser pulled the three hole with Csi What's My Name when he heard Dave "Steady As" Yarock coming with Rompaway Alvin. Glasser's trotter and No Recess and side by side around the paddock turn and up the backside and they were still one-two heading for home. But No Recess proved stronger and turned back Csi What's My Name for a one length victory in a 2:01.1 clocking. Mark "Shoprite" Schullstrom picked up the show dough with Catalyst. Hechkoff's RBH Veentures owns the winner whose trained by Kyle Spagnola.For Hechkoff it marked his seventh winning drive of the season and 61st of his 15 year amateur driving career. by John Manzi for the Billings Series  

YONKERS, NY, Thursday, May 28, 2015—Yonkers Raceway’s $300,000 Art Rooney Pace ‎highlights the  season's debut of "Saturday Night at the Races" harness racing series heard on Sirius XM Channel 92. The program, airing from 9:30-11 PM, features major harness stakes from across North America and is co-hosted by Mike Curci and ‎Peter Kleinhans. (Approximate post time for the Rooney is at 8:15 PM, with the race airing on tape delay). . The 25th Rooney, for 3-year old colts and geldings, is led by elimination winners In The Arsenal and Sonofa Sizzle.. The $117,724 Lismore, the companion feature for sophomore fillies, is also included in the broadcast. The Rooney remembers the family patriarch and late Pittsburgh Steelers founder Art Rooney, Sr. The family has owned Yonkers Raceway since 1972.  Empire City Casino at Yonkers Raceway is a sponsor of “Saturday Night at the Races,” with other Yonkers’ stakes races to be featured on the program during throughout the season. (FFI…Bill Finley/Sirius XM Radio, wnfinley@aol.com, Cirillo World/John Cirillo, 914-260-7436, johnnycigarpr@aol.com;) Frank Drucker

Yonkers Raceway's leading harness racing drivers Brian Sears and Jason Bartlett are scheduled to be in midtown Manhattan Thursday, discussing Saturday night's $300,000 Art Rooney Pace for 3-year-old colts and geldings. The event takes places from 11 AM-12:00 Noon at the Nat Sherman Townhouse, 12 E. 42nd Street (between 5th and Madison Avenues), and also includes members of the Rooney family. In the 25th edition of the Rooney, Sears takes a seat behind In the Arsenal from post position No. 2, the stronger half of the even-money, morning line favored entry. In the Arsenal has won eight of 13 career races and more than $430,000 and enters off a victory in one of last weekend's two elimination events. Sears has two Rooney Pace victories to his credit. Bartlett drives Arque Hanover, a troubled fourth in his elim after coming down from Canada. Arque Hanover drew post No. 3 and is listed at 10-1 on the early line. For further information, or to RSVP, please contact John Cirillo (914-260-7436, johnnycigarpr@aol.com) Frank Drucker

Harness Racing This Week: Molson Pace, The Raceway at Western Fair District, London, Ontario; and Art Rooney and Lismore, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit will take place at two locations this weekend. Action begins on Friday (May 29) at The Raceway at Western Fair District with the C$150,000 Molson Pace for free for all pacers. In addition to the appearance of two-time defending champion State Treasurer, who will start from the trailing post eight, recent Confederation Cup winner All Bets Off is in the field and has drawn the rail. Yonkers Raceway will host the $300,000 final of the Art Rooney Pace (3-year-old colts/geldings) and the $117,724 Lismore Pace (3-year-old fillies) on Saturday (May 30). Elimination winners In The Arsenal and Sonofa Sizzle lead the field in the Art Rooney Pace. Complete entries for the Yonkers races can be found by clicking on this link. Western Fair entries can be found by clicking on this link. Last time: Last weekend's Grand Circuit action was highlighted by the Maxie Lee Memorial for older trotters, the Jerry Taylor Memorial for older pacers and the Betsy Ross for pacing mares at Harrah's Philadelphia. Father Patrick, who was a division champion at ages 2 and 3, made his 4-year-old debut a winning one by capturing Sunday's (May 24) $150,000 Maxie Lee Memorial Invitational by two lengths over Bee A Magician in 1:52.1. Lindy's Tru Grit finished third. Father Patrick's time equaled the track record for a 4-year-old male trotter. "If everything stays perfect I think he's going to be very dominant," said trainer Jimmy Takter, whose past stars include Horse of the Year Award winners Moni Maker and Malabar Man. "I really do. I've been around greatness, and I think he's going to be a horse people talk about for many, many years." Father Patrick and Bee A Magician were among four horses to go for the lead on the first turn and Father Patrick got to the front before the group neared the second turn. The opening quarter was :27.1, followed by a half in :55.4 and three-quarters in 1:24.2. Bee A Magician tried to launch a challenge coming off the final turn, but Father Patrick yielded no ground. "He did it so easy too," winning driver Yannick Gingras said after the race. "The earplugs are still in; I never really called on him. I let him trot the last eighth (of a mile). "Bee A Magician got the right trip, but with those kinds of fractions maybe I got a little bit of a jump on her. But she's a great horse and I was definitely worried around the turn when Brian (driver Sears) pulled because I knew she would give me a run. But he just showed what kind of horse he is." Father Patrick has won 23 of 29 career races and earned $2.51 million for the Father Patrick Stable ownership group. Takter also visited the winner's circle following the inaugural $150,000 Jerry Taylor Invitational for older male pacers, which was won by his Great Vintage (David Miller) by three-quarters of a length over Dancin Yankee in 1:50.2. Mach It So finished third. A 7-year-old son of American Ideal out of the mare Art's Vintage, Great Vintage is 2-for-2 this season. He has won 28 of 95 career races and earned $793,108. Takter trains Great Vintage for owners Christina Takter, John Fielding, Goran Anderberg and Goran Falk. Radar Contact (John Campbell) won the $150,000 Betsy Ross Invitational for older female pacers by a neck over Anndrovette, who won last year's race. Ooh Bad Shark was third. Radar Contact went to the front in the opening quarter-mile and never looked back, holding off multiple Dan Patch Award-winner Anndrovette at the wire. A 7-year-old daughter of Dontgetinmyway out of the mare Topville Cyberwave, Radar Contact has won six of 16 races this year and finished worse than second only twice. For her career, she has 31 victories in 97 starts and $877,006 in purses. Radar Contact is trained by Noel Daley for owners Charles Stillings and Dean Ehrgott. Complete recaps of the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2015, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2015 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend: Drivers: 1. Daniel Dube - 152; 2. Yannick Gingras - 146; 3. Jason Bartlett - 123; 4. Brian Sears - 118; 5. Tim Tetrick - 102. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 230; 2. Jeff Bamond Jr. - 186; 3. Rene Allard - 130; 4t. Mark Silva - 50; 4t. Jimmy Takter - 50. Owners: 1. Bamond Racing - 164.5; 2. Burke Racing - 61.75; 3. Weaver Bruscemi - 53.55; 4. Allard Racing - 41.6; 5. Jeff Snyder - 37.5. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place at four different racetracks next weekend. The Meadows will host 3-year-old filly trotters (Friday, June 5) and 3-year-old colt trotters (Saturday, June 6) in the Currier & Ives. Also on Saturday, Scioto Downs will host the Charlie Hill for free for all trotters, Mohawk will feature the Somebeachsomewhere for 3-year-old colt pacers and Meadowlands Racetrack will contest the second leg of the Graduate for 4-year-old open pacers and trotters. Paul Ramlow

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, May 26, 2015 -- Favored Winter Blues (Brian Sears, $3.80, part of entry) and bombardier McEver (Mark MacDonald, $91.50) earned the spiffy blankets Tuesday afternoon, winning Yonkers Raceway's pair of harness racing final in the "Jackpot Next Door" Claiming Series. In play early from post position No. 4 in the $69,000 finale for the boys, Winter Blues worked around Auckland Flyer (Eric Carlson), with a :27.2 opening quarter-mile and :56.2 intermission. Ideal Carver (Dan Dube) tried it from fourth towards the 1:24 three-quarters as Winter Blues owned a length-and-three-quarter lead in and out of the final turn. When a $20,000 claimer paces a life-best 1:51.3, he's gonna be tough, and Winter Blues was just that. He held sway over Ideal Carver by three-quarters of a length, with Auckland Flyer third. Someplace Special (Tyler Buter) and Digital Z Tam (George Brennan) came away with the remainder. For Winter Blues, a 10-year-old Astreos gelding co-owned (as Allard Racing) by (trainer) Rene Allard and Kapildeo Singh, it was his fourth win in 16 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $14.40, with the triple returning $36.80. "Just an honest horse who raced very well," Sears said, though he was admittedly stumped when asked how many career marks he's put on 10-year-olds. Tuesday afternoon's $59,000 finale of the 'JND' for the ladies was won by that cone-skimming McEver as the longest shot on the board. ` Leaving from post No. 7 (in one notch after a defection), McEver had no choice but to watch the floor show taking place many lengths in front of her. It was pole-sitting Mikeleh (Dube) refusing to give up the baton, seating a reluctant 1-5 choice (part of entry) Grace Seelster (Brennan) and throwing down the gauntlet (:26.3, :55.4). First-up was Derek Delight (Sears), "Grace's" partner, but she couldn't sustain a bid toward a 1:24.1 three-quarters. So, Mikeleh owned a length-and-three-quarter lead into the lane. Grace Seelster took another shot, but she wasn't the problem. The problem was McEver, who saved every inch of ground, closed relentlessly (:27.4 individual final quarter) and actually won going away. The margin over Mikeleh was a length in a season's-best 1:53. Shawnee Dancer (Scott Zeron) rallied for third, with Grace Seelster and My Ideal Hanover (Buter) rounding out the payees. "I'd rather be lucky than good any day," MacDonald said. "Turning for home, I was hoping to get third, but she kicked it in and Danny's filly and mine were going in opposite directions. His came back to us and mine just took off." For McEver, a 7-year-old daughter of McArdle owned by Susan Oakes and trained by Chris Oakes, it was her fifth win in 14 '15 tries. The exacta paid $453, with the triple returning $4,784. The winner paid $116 to place, with show wagering barred. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, May 26, 2015 - In the Arsenal, already with a Yonkers Raceway open stakes wins to his credit, drew post position No. 2 for Saturday night's harness racing $300,000 Art Rooney Pace. The 25th edition of the Art Rooney, one of the sport's premier events for the 3-year-old male pacers, goes as the fourth of 12 races (first post 7:10 PM, approximate post for Rooney 8:15 PM). Brian Sears drives In the Arsenal, a son of American Ideal trained by Kelvin Harrison for co-owners (breeder) White Birch Farm and In the Arsenal Racing. The colt won the second of last weekend's two elimination races, defeating Rock N' Roll World by a head in 1:53.1. In the Arsenal has won eight of his 13 career races and $431,843, making him the richest of the octet the final. He first gained prominence last summer, winning the $125,000 Lawrence B. Sheppard, the Raceway's premier event for 2-year-old pacing colts and geldings. Last week's other elim winner, Sonofa Sizzle (1:52.1), wasn't as fortunate with the open draw. He landed behind the eight-ball with George Brennan picking up the assignment for trainer Josh Green. Sears drove the son of Life Sizzles a week ago. The field for the Rooney Pace... 1 - Rock N' World (Dan Dube), 2 - In the Arsenal (Brian Sears), 3 - Arque Hanover (Jason Bartlett), 4 - National Seelster (Andy Miller), 5 - Betting Exchange (Dave Miller), 6 - Bet You (Brett Miller), 7 - Cartoon Daddy (Yannick Gingras), 8 - Sonofa Sizzle (George Brennan). Note that In the Arsenal and Betting Exchange shall race as a common-ownership entry. Saturday night's undercard is led by the companion event, the $117,724 Lismore for 3-year-old pacing fillies (6th race, approximate post 9 PM). The half-dozen lasses... 1 - Strut My Stuff (Jordan Stratton), 2 - Bedroomconfessions (Sears), 3 - Totally Rusty (Bartlett), 4 - Sassa Hanover (Gingras), 5 - Purrfect Bags (Tim Tetrick), 6 - Special Package (Brennan). Note Strut My Stuff and Totally Rusty race as a (common-ownership) entry, with the latter of $15,000 supplemental entrant. Changes (if any) to these races are to be made Wednesday morning. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, May 23, 2015 -Harness racing driver Brian Sears was the man about town Saturday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's pair of $40,000 eliminations for the 25th Art Rooney Pace. A total of 13 3-year-old gentlemen-11 colts and two geldings-began the night, with the first four finishers in each elim getting a pass through the velvet robe into the stakes finale. Sears took of the first event with a first-up Sonofa Sizzle ($9.90) in 1:52.1. He held off Betting Exchange (Dave Miller) by a neck after the front end folded. The front end came in the form of 6-5 favorite Soto (Brett Miller), who worked around Arque Hanover (Jason Bartlett) and threw down intervals of :27.2 :56 and 1:24.1. Meanwhile, scourge of Delaware Sonaofa Sizzle, from post position No. 3, had engaged the leader before putting him away. He held off Betting Exchange, who was three-wide early before slipping out in the lane. Cartoon Daddy (catch-driver Dan Dube) was a never-threatening third, with Arque Hanover, despite breaking early in the lane, finished fourth to get into the final. A tiring Soto and an outrun A Bettor Hat (George Brennan) rounded out the order. For second choice Sonofa Sizzle, son of Life Sizzles owned by Michael White and trained by Josh Green, it was his fourth win in five seasonal starts. The exacta paid $81.50, with the triple returning $190. "He did everything I asked of him," Sears said "It helped that they mixed it up a bit early, but he was very sharp." Let's not gloss over the "interesting" effort of Arque Hanover, who, in the words of his date, was a victim of too much pace and no place to go. "I was overloaded," Bartlett said. "He was definitely a winner. He had so much pace, he started getting crooked on me and made a break. It's shows how good he was that he came back and made the final, anyway." The second elimination saw odds-on choice In the Arsenal ($2.50), whose debutante effort came in last season's Lawrence B. Sheppard Pace here, barely prevail. Leaving from post No. 2, he gave the first lead to Rock N' Roll World (Dube) before a 28-second opening quarter-mile. In the Arsenal then moved to the lead, completing his rounds (:57.2, 1:26, 1:53.1). Rock N' World, now a runner-up in all four races this season, tried In the Arsenal in the passing lane by missed a head. National Seelester (Dave Miller) and Bet You (Brett Miller) also earned their invites to return, while Rolling Ring Afire (catch-driver Tyler Buter), Western Pioneer (Brennan) and a breaking Penji Hanover (Mark MacDonald) completed the order. For In the Arsenal, a son of American Ideal trained by Kelvin Harrison for co-owners (breeder) White Birch Farm and In the Arsenal Racing, it was his second win in as many '15 tries. The exacta paid $10.20, with the triple returning $16. "He's more mature mentally and physically than he was at 2," Sears said. "In elimination races, you have to race a favorite as if he's the favorite, so I put him on the lead. He knows what he's doing out there." The $300,000 final of the Rooney goes next Saturday night (May 30), along with the six-lass $117,724 Lismore (3-year-old pacing fillies). The open draw for both stakes takes place late Tuesday morning. Saturday's $42,000 Open Handicaps were won by... --(Trot), Luminosity (Brennan, $6.50) in 1:54.4 --(Pace), Duc Dorleans (MacDonald, $16.60) in 1:51.3. No one took down the Saturday Pick 5, so Monday's gimmick begins with a carryover of $4,501.50 and offers a $10,000 guaranteed pool (program pages available at www.yonkersraceway.com). The Pick 5 is a 50-cent base wager comprising races 7 through 11 every racing program. The Raceway's live season continues Memorial Day evening (7:10 PM), Tuesday (1 PM, pair of finals in the Jackpot Next Door Claiming Series), then Thursday through Saturday (all at 7:10 PM). Note there is no live racing or evening simulcasting June 3-12, inclusive. Afternoon simulcasting is available daily, including the June 6th Belmont Stakes. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Friday, May 22, 2015 - With the Stanley Cup playoffs down to the nitty and the gritty, it was apropos that Krispy Apple (Jason Bartlett, $3.20) would record a Friday night harness racing hat-trick. She had to work a bit harder for this one than the previous two, but she was more than up to it, winning Yonkers Raceway's $42,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace in convincing fashion. Ordered outside her seven rivals, the 3-5 favorite fell into line fourth as Jonsie Jones (Tyler Buter) paid a :26.4 price for the privilege of leading the way. Witch Dali (Jordan Stratton) strung that one out, with pole-assigned Canaco Star (Dan Dube) third In turn two, was Krispy Apple moving again, making the lead by the :55.1 intermission. She went Westchester wide, however, as Witch Dali pulled pocket before aborting that attempt. Meanwhile, the new leader was well in hand at the 1:23.2 three-quarters, taking a two-length lead into the lane. The final margin was 2½ lengths in 1:53, a length closer and a few ticks slower than her previous two wins, but she is getting older. For Krispy Apple, a 7-year-old millionaires daughter of Western Ideal co-owned by Bamond Racing and Joseph Davino and trained by Jeffrey Bamond Jr., it was her fourth win in nine seasonal starts. The exacta paid $30.80, with the triple returning $179. The Raceway's live season continues Saturday night (post time 7:10 PM, eliminations for the Art Rooney Pace). After that, it's Memorial Night Monday (7:10 PM) and Tuesday (1 PM, two finals in the Jackpot Next Door Claiming Series). Frank Drucker

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