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Drawing post six at Yonkers Raceway may not qualify as relief in many instances, but trainer Jim Campbell was at least a bit thankful to see Alexa's Power receive that starting spot for Saturday's $111,444 Lismore Pace final. "At least she didn't draw the eight-hole again," Campbell said with a laugh. "She moved in a couple spots." Alexa's Power has made two previous starts at Yonkers Raceway this month and started from post No. 8 both times. She won the first, a division of the Reynolds Memorial, and finished fifth in last week's elimination for the Lismore. Each time, Alexa's Power had the fastest last quarter-mile in the race. She closed with a :27.3 panel in the elimination to make up more than seven lengths and finish 1-3/4 lengths behind winner Jewels Forreal. Post No. 8 at Yonkers produces winners at a 3.8-percent rate while post six is at 7.8 percent. Post one leads the way, at 18.6 percent. "She raced really good last week and had a lot of pace finishing," Campbell said. "She's been finishing with a good kick. Over there (at Yonkers) you just have to hope for a good trip because it is such a trip-biased track." Alexa's Power, a daughter of Somebeachsomewhere out of the O'Brien Award-winning mare Michelle's Power, is owned by breeder Jeff Snyder and his son Michael. She is a full sister to stakes-winner Mac's Jackpot and her family also includes Canada's 2012 Horse of the Year Michael's Power as well as Hall of Famer Cam's Card Shark. The filly won three of 13 races last year and earned $90,654 despite battling some health issues midway through her campaign. She is 2-for-3 this season with $19,783 in purses. "She was good last year, but she ran into some good fillies and a little bad luck," Campbell said. "I'm happy she's gotten off to a good start because she trained back really good this year. Hopefully she can keep it going." Alexa's Power is the 5-1 third choice on the morning line in the Lismore, which is for 3-year-old female pacers. Pass Line Bluechip, the winner of five of nine races this year and second by a head to Jewels Forreal in the elimination, is the 8-5 favorite. Jewels Forreal is the 9-2 second choice. Saturday's card at Yonkers also includes the $300,000 Art Rooney Pace for 3-year-old male pacers. Springsteen is the 9-5 morning-line favorite. Racing begins at 6:50 p.m. (EDT). The Lismore is race five on the 12-race card and the Rooney is race six. Following is the field for the Lismore Pace, with drivers, trainers, and morning-line odds. 1. Solitary, Brent Holland, Nick Surick, 12-1; 2. Jewels Forreal, Dan Dube, Ron Burke, 9-2; 3. Believe In Me, Brian Sears, Brett Pelling, 9-1; 4. Pass Line Bluechip, Jason Bartlett, Wayne Givens, 8-5; 5. Python Blue Chip, George Brennan, Ron Burke, 6-1; 6. Alexa's Power, Tim Tetrick, Jim Campbell, 5-1; 7. Checkered Past, Mark MacDonald, Peter Foley, 20-1; 8. Reign On Me, Brett Miller, R. Nifty Norman, 7-1. Following is the field for the Art Rooney Pace, with drivers, trainers, and morning-line odds. 1. Minnie Vinnie, Tim Tetrick, Gareth Dowse, 6-1; 2. Kwik Talkin, George Brennan, Rob Harmon, 5-1; 3. Springsteen, Brian Sears, Rene Allard, 9-5; 4. Trump Nation, Jason Bartlett, Chris Oakes, 3-1; 5. Jimtastic, Eric Goodell, Andrew Harris, 20-1; 6. Major Authority, Mark MacDonald, Andrew Harris, 20-1; 7. Babes Dig Me, Brett Miller, Tony Alagna, 10-1; 8. Decoy, David Miller, Jimmy Takter, 7-1. by Ken Weingartner, USTA Media Relations

This Week: Camluck Classic, The Raceway at Western Fair District, London, Ontario; Art Rooney and Lismore, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y.; and Maxie Lee Memorial, Commodore Barry and Betsy Ross, Harrah's Philadelphia, Chester, Pa. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit will take place at three locations this weekend. Action begins on Saturday (May 26) at The Raceway at Western Fair District with the C$150,000 Camluck Classic for free for all pacers. Also on Saturday, Yonkers Raceway will host the $300,000 final of the Art Rooney Pace (3-year-old colts/geldings) and the $111,444 Lismore Pace (3-year-old fillies). Harrah's Philadelphia will host three Invitational events on Sunday (May 27), each with a purse of $150,000, in the Maxie Lee Memorial for older trotters, the Commodore Barry for older pacing males and the Betsy Ross for older mare pacers. Complete entries for the Yonkers and Harrah's Philadelphia races can be found by clicking on this link. Western Fair entries can be found by clicking on this link. Last time: Yonkers Raceway's foggy Saturday night (May 19) featured eliminations for both the Art Rooney and Lismore Paces. With 10 3-year-old boys entering the Rooney and nine sophomore girls in the Lismore, it was three games of 'musical chairs' to determine next week's finalists. Odds-on favorite Decoy (David Miller, $2.20) made short work of his four foes in the first $40,000 elimination for the Rooney. Unhurried from post position three, he rolled to the lead past the half, then rolled away. The final margin over a 'good' surface was 8-1/2 lengths in 1:54. Minnie Vinnie (Brett Miller) closed for second as the 32-1 rank outsider, with Major Authority (Brian Sears) third and early leader Jimtastic (Jason Bartlett) fourth. Matinee Fashion (George Brennan) eliminated himself with a break down the backside the second time. For Decoy, a son of Somebeachsomewhere co-owned by Brixton Medical Inc., R A W Equine and Joe Sbrocco and trained by Jimmy Takter, it was his second win in three seasonal starts. Saturday's other 40-large elim for the Rooney saw Trump Nation (Bartlett, $9) hold off both 4-5 choice Springsteen (Sears) and Babes Dig Me (Brett Miller) by a head and a neck, respectively. Pole-sitting Trump Nation took over from early leader -- and subsequent breaker -- Handsoffmychips (Brennan), then finished it off in 1:53.3, his fastest purse mile of the season. Kwik Talkin (Jordan Stratton) wound up fourth. Third choice Trump Nation, a statebred son of Betterthancheddar co-owned by trainer Andrew Harris and Evan Katz, is now two-for-three this season. The evening's lone $20,000 elimination for the Lismore was won by Jewels Forreal (Dan Dube, $5.20, part of entry) in a life-best 1:55.1. Pocketed from post four, Jewels Forreal was able to get out when entrymate Python Blue Chip (Brennan) made a bad, first-over break in the final turn. Pass Line Bluechip (Bartlett) cut the mile but could not last, beaten a head. Checkered Past (Mark MacDonald) was third, with Solitary (Brent Holland), Alexa's Power (Stratton), Believe In Me (Sears), Reign On Me (Brett Miller) and a recovering Python Blue Chip also qualifying for the final. Krushed Apple (David Miller) was outrun. For second choice (part of three-headed entry) Jewels Forreal, a daughter of So Surreal co-owned as Burke Racing by trainer Ron Burke and Weaver Bruscemi, it was her first win in seven 2018 tries. Complete recaps of all the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2018, 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 2018 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend. Drivers: 1. Tim Tetrick - 179; 2. Yannick Gingras - 149; 3. Jordan Stratton - 134; 4. Jason Bartlett - 109; 5. Daniel Dube - 75. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 138; 2. Peter Tritton - 102; 3. Jim King Jr. - 99; 4. Richard Banca - 75; 5. Rene Allard - 70. Owners: 1. Vonknoblauch Stable - 87; 2. Richard Poillucci - 44; 3. Jo Ann Looney-King - 40; 4t. Burke Racing Stable - 35.3; 4t. Weaver Bruscemi - 35.3. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place at Northfield Park and Mohawk next weekend. Northfield will host the Battle of Lake Erie for open pacers and Mohawk will feature the Somebeachsomewhere for 3-year-old colt pacers and the second leg of the Graduate for 4-year-old open pacers and trotters. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand CIrcuit  

YONKERS, NY, Monday, May 21, 2018 - Harness racing Post positions have been drawn for Yonkers Raceway's $300,000 Art Rooney Pace and $111,444 Lismore Pace. The 28th Rooney, one of Yonkers' premier event's for the sport's glamour division, offers six 3-year-old colts and two geldings. The event, which began in 1989, a year after the death of Art Rooney Sr., goes as Saturday night's (May 26th) sixth race. The open draw probably didn't bother one elimination winner (Trump Nation [Jason Bartlett, post 4]), though it cheesed off the other (Decoy [Dave Miller, post 8]). Miller, who has won this race three times, including last season with Downbytheseaside, obviously has his work cut out behind the son of Somebeachsomewhere. Jimmy Takter trains for Brixton Medical, R A W Equine and Joe Sbrocco. Decoy won his elim going away, by 8½ lengths in a 'good' 1:54. Bartlett, the perennial leading local driver, has never won the Rooney. Trump Nation took over early a week ago, making the lead from an eventual breaker and holding sway. He won by a head in 1:53.3. his fastest purse mile of the season. The Betterthancheddar colt enters the final with new co-ownership (Evan Katz and Crawford Racing) and new trainer (Chris Oakes). The field, with declared drivers... 1-Minnie Vinnie (Tim Tetrick), 2-Kwik Talkin' (Jordan Stratton listed), 3-Springsteen (Brian Sears), 4-Trump Nation (Jason Bartlett), 5-Jimtastic (Eric Goodell), 6-Major Authority (Yannick Gingras), 7-Babes Dig Me (Brett Miller), 8-Decoy (Dave Miller). The 14th Lismore, companion event to the Rooney, was carded as the fifth race. Lone elimination winner Jewels Forreal (Dan Dube) landed in post No. 2 among the octet of 3-year-old pacing. The field, with declared drivers... 1-Solitary (Brent Holland), 2-Jewels Forreal (Dan Dube), 3-Believe in Me (Brian Sears), 4-Pass Line Bluechip (Jason Bartlett), 5-Python Blue Chip (George Brennan) 6-Alexa's Power (Tim Tetrick), 7-Checkered Past (Mark MacDonald), 8-Reign on Me (Brett Miler). First post for the 12-race card is the usual 6:50 PM. Frank Drucker        

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, May 20, 2018 - Smalltownthrowdown (Brian Sears, $8.50) was a two-move harness racing titan Sunday afternoon (May 20th), winning Yonkers Raceway's $54,800 Open Handicap Trot The field of eight (seven with nose-to-gate, one in back of bus) went as the opener and the first of four 'French' trots. Smalltownthrowdown, three-wide from post position No. 6-in one notch after the programmed pylon number was removed-found an early four-hole. He watched Buen Camino (Jim Marohn Jr.) and longshot Bluebird Jesse (catch-driver Brent Holland) duel early, with the latter-out two turns-making the lead between a :28.1 opening quarter-mile and :57.2 half. Smalltownthrowdown was then ready for his cue, extricating himself from the cones and busting the race wide open. The lead was 3½ lengths at the 1:27 three-quarters. After a 1:55.2 milepost, Smalltownthrowdown finished the mile-and-a-quarter in 2:25.4. Buen Camino found room late to grab a best-of-the-rest second, beaten 3¾ lengths. Bluebird Jesse easily held third, with Kinetic King (Jordan Stratton) and Gural Hanover (George Brennan) relegated to the minors. Seasoned Saint (Jason Bartlett) was a never-in-it sixth as the 19-10 favorite. For third choice Smalltownthrowdown, a 5-year-old statebred Cash Hall gelding co-owned (as Allard Racing) by (trainer) Rene Allard, Bruce Soulsby, Yves Sarazin and VIP Internet Stable, it was his second win in three seasonal starts. The exacta paid $26.80, the triple returned $124 and the superfecta paid $439.50. Sunday's return of the 'New York, New York Double' offered a winning combination of 9-Forest Blue (Belmont's 3rd race) and 1-Noble Warrawee (Yonkers' 7th race) paid $50.75 for every correct $1 wager. Total pool was $6,254. The next Sunday matinee is June 17th (post time TBA). Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, May 19, 2018 - Yonkers Raceway's foggy Saturday night (May 19th) featured harness racing eliminations for both the Art Rooney and Lismore Paces. With 10 3-year-old boys entering the Rooney and nine sophomore girls in the Lismore, it was three games of 'musical chairs' to determine next week's finalists. Odds-on favorite Decoy (Dave Miller, $2.20) made short work of his four foes in the first, $40,000 eliminations for the Rooney. Unhurried from post position No. 3, he rolled to the past the half, then rolled away. The final margin over a 'good' surface was 8½ lengths in 1:54. Minnie Vinnie (Brett Miller) closed for second as the 32-1 rank outsider, with Major Authority (Brian Sears) third and early leader Jimtastic (Jason Bartlett) fourth. Matinee Fashion (George Brennan) eliminated himself with a break down the backside the second time. For Decoy, a son of Somebeachsomewhere co-owned Brixton Medical Group, R A W Equine & Joe Sbrocco and trained by Jimmy Takter, it was his second win in three seasonal starts. The exacta paid $36.60, with no triple wagering offered due to the short field. "I was pretty happy with him," Miller said. "He went a good middle half. Now, we hope to draw good for next week. Miller has won three finals of the Rooney Pace, including last season with Downbytheseaside. Saturday other 40-large elim for the Rooney saw Trump Nation (Bartlett, $9) hold off both 4-5 choice Springsteen (Sears) and Babes Dig Me (Brett Miller) by a head and a neck, respectively. Pole-sitting Trump Nation took over from early leader-and subsequent breaker-Handsoffmychips (Brennan), then finish it off in 1:53.3, his fastest purse mile of the season. Kwik Talkin' (Jordan Stratton) wound up fourth. For third choice Trump Nation, a statebred son of Betterthancheddar co-owned by (trainer) Andrew Harris and Evan Katz, he's now 2-for-4 this season. The exacta paid $17.80, with again no triple wagering offered. "I wanted to control the race," Bartlett said. "When I saw the cheap (:57.2) half, I thought I was in good shape, but halfway down the lane, when (Springsteen) came at me, I thought I was beaten. He dug in." The evening's lone $20,000 elimination for the Lismore was won by Jewels Forreal (Dan Dube, $5.20, part of entry) in a life-best 1:55.1. Pocketed from post No. 4, Jews Forreal was able to get out when entrymate Python Blue Chip (Brennan) made a bad, first-over break in the final turn. Pass Line Bluechip (Bartlett) cut the mile but could not last, beaten a head. Checkered Past (Mark MacDonald) was third, with Solitary (Brent Holland), Alexa's Power (Stratton), Believe in Me (Sears), Reign on Me (Brett Miller) and a recovering Python Blue Chip also qualifying for the final. Krushed Apple (Dave Miller) was outrun. For second choice (part of three-headed entry) Jewels Forreal, a daughter of So Surreal co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke and Weaver Bruscemi, it was her first win in seven '18 tries. The exacta paid $12.20, the triple returned $55.50 and the superfecta paid $267. The finals of both events, worth $300,000 (Rooney) and $111,444 (Lismore), go next Saturday night (May 26th). Open draws take place Monday afternoon (May 21st). Saturday night's $44,000 Open Handicap Pace saw favored Evenin' of Pleasure (Sears, $5.20) repeat in 1:52.3 . The 8-year-old son of Dragon Again, owned by Gestion J Y Blais and trained by Jennifer Bongiorno, is approaching $900,000 in career coin after a 30th lifetime win. Sunday matinees return tomorrow (May 20th), with a first post of 12:35 PM. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Friday, May 18, 2018 - Stop us if you've read this one before... Odds-on Newborn Sassy (Jordan Stratton, $2.60) did not play fair Friday night (May 18th), winning Yonkers Raceway's $44,000 harness racing filly and mare Open Handicap Pace in obnoxiously facile fashion. This field, reduced to a half-dozen after a mid-pack defection (ill), found Newborn Sassy and Call Me Queen Be (Eric Goodell) hooking up early. The former, from what became outside post position No. 6, stepped around the latter well before a :27.4 opening quarter-mile, then waltzed through a :56.4 intermission. Between the half and the (1:24.4) three-quarters, Mach it a Par (Jason Bartlett) tried it first-up from fourth. However, the leader's 57-second middle portion figured to make everyone else's life difficult. Newborn Sassy owned a length lead into the lane, then widened to 2¾ lengths at the 1:52.3 finish. Mach it a Par fought the good fight to wind up second, with Delightful Dragon (Mark MacDonald) third. Tequila Monday (Brian Sears) and Call Me Queen Be rounded out the payees, while Motu Moonbeam N (Brent Holland) settled for some lovely parting gifts. For Newborn Sassy, a 5-year-old daughter of Western Ideal co-owned by CC Racing & Jo Ann Looney-King and trained by Jim King Jr., it was her fourth (consecutive) win in 15 seasonal starts after starting'18 0-for-11. The exacta paid $9.40, with the triple (three wagering choices in order) returning $29.80. Yonkers' Saturday (May 19th) program offers eliminations (two) for the Art Rooney Pace and (one) the Lismore. The finalists go at it next Saturday (May 26th) for $300,000 (Rooney) and $111,444 (Lismore). Saturday's 143rd Preakness Stakes shall be prominently simulcast throughout the Raceway. Mutuel windows open at 10 AM, in advance of Pimlico's first post at 10:30 AM. Pimlico offers 14 races (final post 7:35 PM), with the Preakness going as the 12th race (post time 6:48 PM). Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY-The final leg of the NAADA Trotting Series was contested tonight (May 17) at Yonkers Raceway and when the dust had settled Paul Minore and Dr. John Kokinos each emerged victorious in their respective divisions and both were repeat winners in the harness racing series. Minore and his old war horse Wygant Prince, used the front-end route for a 1:59 victory and "Dr John" used similar tactics to notch a 1:58.3 triumph behind Here Comes Numbers. However both drivers needed the photo finish camera to verify the decisions. In his contest Minore set sail from the three-hole with his 11-year old SJ's Photo gelding and cut nearly equal fractions of :29.1; 1:00 and 1:29.4 before turning back his stubborn competition. Still with a solid one length lead as the field turned for home Minore was busy urging his charge as Bobby Ciarvardini and Balimor AS supplied constant pressure but when the photo-finish carmera snapped Wygant Prince had notched his 36th career triumph which raised the trotter's lifetime earnings to almost $410,000. Fox Valley Steffen took home the show dough for Jennifer Lappe. The winner is owned by Minore and trained by Taylor Gower. Employing his usual strategy, Kokinos, who seems to like the front-end, sent the 10 year old altered son of Here Comes Herbie to the lead and played catch me if you can... and nobody could, although his competitors made a race out of it as they headed for paydirt. Still seemingly comfortable as the field heard for paydirt a hard charge by Master of Excuse and driver Monica Banca nearly made the outcome in question. But Here Comes Numbers gave Dr. John his fourth winning ride in the series as the veteran trotter tripped the camera for a neck triumph in 1:58.3. Lurking closely behind the leaders another neck farther back was third place finisher Soul Train and Joe Lee. The winner is owned by Patrick Laiso and Jennifer Lappe and trained by Ms Lappe. Slated next week is the consolation followed by the $15,000 series finale. by John Manzi for NAADA  

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, May 15, 2018 -- Yonkers Raceway's 'French' Sunday harness racing matinees return this weekend (May 20th), first post set for 12:35 PM. Races 1 through 4 (post time 2:05 PM) go as the 'French' trots, with the 12th-race finale scheduled for 4:41 PM (provided a dozen are drawn later this afternoon). Sunday's 'New York, New York Double' consists of Belmont's 3rd race (post time 2:37 PM) and Yonkers' 7th race (post time 3:01 PM). Program pages shall be sent when available. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Monday, May 14, 2018 - Yonkers Raceway's Superfecta Mondays are breeding. Effective Thursday night (May 17th), the Raceway shall offer superfecta wagering in every race, every night, provided there are sufficient harness racing wagering interests in a given race. "Our fans have indicated they wanted more exotic wagers," Raceway COO Bob Galterio said. "We're happy to offer this as we continually try to improve our product." The new wagering format was approved by the New York State Gaming Commission. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Monday, May 14, 2018 - Ten harness racing 3-year-old guys - six colts and four geldings - were entered for Yonkers Raceway's Art Rooney Pace. The 28th Rooney begins with a pair of $40,000 elimination races this Saturday night (May 19tt), each a five-to-eliminate-one affair. Those go as races 6 and 8 during the 10-race card, with the first quartet in each returning for next Saturday night's (May 26th) $300,000 final. Rooney 1st elim (6th race)... 1-Jimtastic (Jason Bartlett), 2-Major Authority (Bartlett also listed), 3-Decoy (Dave Miller), 4-Matinee Fashion (George Brennan), 5-Minnie Vinnie (Tim Tetrick). Rooney 2nd elim (8th race)...1- Trump Nation (Bartlett), 2-Kwik Talkin' (Jordan Stratton), 3- Springsteen (Brian Sears), 4- Babes Dig Me (Brett Miller), 5- Handsoffmychips (Sears also listed). Handsoffmychips, Major Authority, Matinee Fashion and Minnie Vinnie are the geldings of the group. The companion event to the Rooney, the Lismore Pace, offers nine 3-year-old young ladies. That number necessitated a larger game of 'musical chairs,' with all the fillies in one tidy $20,000 elimination. That elim is the fifth race, with the first octet going after $111,444 in the Saturday, May 26th final. The single elim drew out as such...1-Python Blue Chip (Brennan), 2-Krushed Apple (Dave Miller), 3-Solitary (Brent Holland), 4-Jewels Forreal (Brennan also listed), 5-Pass Line Bluechip (Bartlett), 6-Believe in Me (Sears), 7-Reign on Me (Brett Miller), 8-Alexa's Power (Tetrick), 9-Checkered Past (Mark MacDonald). Note that Python Blue Chip, Jewels Forreal and Reign on Me are coupled (intersecting owner/trainer), as are Krushed Apple and Believe in Me are also partnered (common ownership). Changes for these races shall be made Tuesday (May 15th) First post Saturday is the usual 6:50 PM. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, May 12, 2018 - It's a Reynolds Wrap. The mercurial W.N. Reynolds Memorial found its way to Westchester Saturday night (May 12th), with Yonkers Raceway hosting six divisions for harness racing 3-year-olds pacers of both genders. More than $132,000 was up for grabs in three 'moist' divisions each for the boys and the girls. The fastest male mile of the $23,066 per race trio was turned in by odds-on Wes Delight (Cory Callahan, $2.70). From post position No. 4, he took over from a 90-1 bombardier and finished the first event from there (:27.3, :56.2, 1:25.1, 1:53.3). Wes Delight defeated Trump Nation (Jason Bartlett) by 2½ lengths, with 129-1 proposition Yupper (Brett Miller) third. For Wes Delight, a son of Bettor's Delight co-owned by (trainer) Mark Harder, Rick Phillips and Deena Frost, it was his second win in three seasonal starts. The exacta paid $11.40, with the triple returning $261.50. "A little kid could drive him," Callahan said. "He had the leader stop in front of him (in PA Sire Stakes at the Meadows), so I thought if I could make the front, I'd leave with him. "He does only what's asked of him.". The other colt/gelding divisions were won by... --My Delight (by Betterthancheddar); owner Bay Pond Racing Stable/trainer Homer Hochstetler/driver Brent Holland; 1:55.1/$71; --Mach N Cheese,g (by Betterthancheddar); owner Save the Day Stable/trainer Rob Harmon/driver Jordan Stratton; 1:54.1/$7.40. It was feast or famine for Harmon after last season's Sheppard winner, Kwik Talkin' (Stratton), stopped badly on the lead in the second division. He wound up last at 1-5, presenting the trainer with some questions before next week's eliminations for the Art Rooney Pace. "The track was hard and he's had some foot problems," Harmon said. "The (entry) box closes Monday afternoon, so we have to see how he's doing." Saturday night's trio of Reynolds for the ladies, worth $21,066, $21,066 and $21,566, respectively, were won by... --Checkered Past (by American Ideal); owner All Star Racing/trainer Peter Foley/driver Mark MacDonald; 1:54.1/$3.40; --Presto Blue Chip (by American Ideal); co-owners Howard & Michael Ouriel/trainer Jeff Smith/driver Brett Miller; 1:54.2/$6.50; --Alexa's Power (by Somebeachsomewhere); owner Jeff Snyder/trainer Jim Campbell/driver Tim Tetrick; 1:54.4/$9.30. Not to be outdone, the $44,000 Open Handicap Pace saw Evenin' of Pleasure (Joe Bongiorno, $9.30) beat up his rivals by seven lengths in 1:51.1...fastest local effort of the season. The 8-year-old son of Dragon Again, owned by Gestion J Y Blais and trained by Jennifer Bongiorno, is approaching $900,000 in career coin. The $44,000 Open Handicap Trot was won by favored Seasoned Saint (Bartlett, $5) in a season's-best 1:55.3. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, N.Y. – Nearly a year after winning Yonkers Raceway’s signature race for harness racing 2-year-olds, the Lawrence B. Sheppard Pace, Kwik Talkin will return to the Hilltop in tonight’s (May 12) W. N. Reynolds Memorial. Kwik Talkin will start from post four as the 5-2 morning line favorite in the second of three $23,066 divisions of the Reynolds, his seasonal debut. “Since the Rooney Eliminations are next week, we figured we would just concentrate on racing him at Yonkers,” Robinson said. “We had to pay a $6,000 supplement to get him in, so probably the wisest thing to do was to concentrate on Yonkers to get him ready for the Rooney hopefully.” After his impressive 1:53.4 victory in the Sheppard in just his fourth start July 15, 2017, Kwik Talkin earned a win and two seconds in Pennsylvania Sire Stakes throughout the summer, earning a ticket to the PASS Championship September 4. Although an outside draw compromised him in the final, Kwik Talkin still earned $123,543 in eight stars last year. Not eligible for other stakes engagements, his connections turned him out early. “He got shut down real early and my partners, that was the first horse they ever bought. They built a barn for him on their property and paddocks and that’s where he spent his time when he was off,” Robinson explained. “He was off about three-and-a-half months and that’s where he was at. I think recently they just put a walker in, they bought a broodmare, so they’re right into it now.” For Robinson, introducing new owners to the game and seeing them make a significant investment in the sport has been part of the thrill of owning a talented horse like Kwik Talkin.  “It’s really good. They ask a lot of questions. Sometimes you’re not used to that, but they’re pretty good,” he said. “They’re good people and they bought in on three or four more yearlings last year. They bought a mare in Delaware. They have a really good spot, now when the horses need to go out, they have a really good spot to go to.” After his hiatus on the Henry’s farm, Kwik Talkin returned to Robinson to train down for his return. Robison saw the son of Well Said out of the Cams Card Shark mare Kwik Dial develop into a more athletic horse over the winter. “He grew some and he’s still not a real big horse, but he’s athletic looking,” he said. “He’s not big and heavy, which to me is good because that means he should have a long career. Some studs, they’re heavy and then they start to get lame really easy, just too much weight on the joints. I don’t think this horse will get like that.” Although he is confident Kwik Talkin is ready for his 3-year-old debut, Robinson admits Kwik Talkin is a difficult horse to gauge in the mornings. Last year, it wasn’t until Kwik Talkin’s second start at Rideau Carlton, when he paced to a 1:55.0 victory with Robinson in the sulky, that his talent became clear. “He’s got a great foundation into him and everything, so I’m not worried about that. You just sort of get a little concerned because you’re not really 100 percent sure what they’re going to do until they get into a race,” Robinson explained. “He had always trained good and he qualified good, but I didn’t really know how good he was until his second race at Rideau Carlton, then I had a better idea of what I had. I’m hoping after the race on Saturday. We’ll have a better idea of what we have.” Robinson qualified Kwik Talkin twice at Rideau Carlton. He finished second in a 1:57.4 clocking April 8 and won his next outing with broken equipment in 1:55.3. However, his second qualifier came one week later than anticipated as inclement weather forced Robinson to rework the horse’s schedule. “He trained back, probably the same as he did last year. He does what he has to do,” Robinson said. “I qualified him twice at Rideau Carlton. I was hoping to get him down there a week earlier than I did, but he was two weeks between qualifiers. We had a freezing rain storm here, so I got set back a week.” After shipping to trainer Rob Harmon, Kwik Talkin qualified again at Yonkers May 4, finishing second in 1:55.0 with regular reinsman Jordan Stratton at the lines. Kwik Talkin trained satisfactorily earlier this week ahead of tonight’s race. “We were hoping to get him down a week earlier and get an overnight into him before the Reynolds, but we ended up qualifying him again,” Robinson said. “He qualified well, Jordan said he was a little lazy. Rob did a little work to him. Jordan came out to train him (Wednesday) and Jordan said he was quite happy with him, so hopefully everything will go good on Saturday.” Stratton chose Kwik Talkin over both Mr Profeta and My Delight in tonight’s Reynolds division. Paprike Blue Chip, who finished second in the New York Sire Stakes Final in his last start October 14, will start from post six at odds of 7-2. I Soar Him First is a 9-2 chance from post seven after winning three legs of the Weiss Series and finishing third in the final at Pocono. Lyons Steel, Jimtastic, and Major Offense complete the field. “Jordan had three drives and he took him, so I think that’s a good sign,” Robinson said. “We had a good draw, so that will help. I think he likes Yonkers, he had two starts here last year and he raced super, so we’ll keep our fingers crossed and hope everything goes well.” First post time Saturday at Yonkers is 6:50 p.m. The 12-race card also features a $44,000 Open Pace, a $44,000 Open Trot, and three divisions of the W. N. Reynolds Memorial for 3-year-old pacing fillies. For entries to the card, click here. By Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY

YONKERS, NY, Friday, May 11, 2018 - Odds-on Newborn Sassy (Jordan Stratton, $3.40) did not play fair Friday night (May 11th), winning Yonkers Raceway's $44,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace in obnoxiously facile fashion. Forwardly-placed from post position No. 5 (in one notch courtesy of an inside defection), Newborn Sassy two-moved around Twinkle (Eric Goodell), retaking after a :27.2 opening quarter-mile. A cheapy, 57-second intermission worked to her advantage when Delightful Dragon (Mark MacDonald) moved first-up from fourth. Newborn Sassy then threw down a :27.3, third-quarter gauntlet (1:24.3), putting four lengths between herself and the gang off the final turn. The final margin was a rather unsightly 8¼ lengths in 1:52.3. Delightful Dragon was resurgent, getting second, with Twinkle, Mach it a Par (Jason Bartlett) and Caviart Cherie (Joe Bongiorno) rounding out the payees. Mach it a Par and Caviart Cherie were flipped after the latter was set down a place for cutting the cones. For Newborn Sassy, a 5-year-old daughter of Western Ideal co-owned by CC Racing & Jo Ann Looney-King and trained by Jim King Jr., it was her third (consecutive) win in 14 seasonal starts after starting'18 0-for-11. The exacta paid $19.80, with the triple returning $109.50. Saturday night's (May 12th) card includes six divisions of the W.N. Reynolds Memorial Pace for 3-year-olds. More than $132,000 is up for grabs, with three divisions each for the boys and the girls. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Friday, May 11, 2018 - Yonkers Raceway Friday night (May 11th) recognized harness racing driver Steve Smith for his latest milestone. Smith won the 4,000th race of his career last Friday (May 4th) at his 'day job,' Freehold Raceway. He then moved toward the next plateau, upsetting Saturday afternoon's (May 5th) $66,400 Lady Suffolk for 3-year-old trotting fillies with 21-1 longshot Special Miss. The affable 56-year-old Smith, a native of Boston, has been a New York/New Jersey area standout seemingly forever. He has accumulated seven-figure purse seasons every year since 2000, with a career total of more than $35 million. "I'm not a numbers guy, but I appreciate it" Smith said. "Just keep grinding away." Smith's obligatory sign of congratulations was presented by Fred Opper, the Raceway's long-time publicity department icon and crack statistician. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, N.Y. – Since arriving in the barn of harness racing trainer Scott Di Domenico this year, Bluebird Jesse as surpassed expectations. The 4-year-old trotter won two of the three preliminary legs of the Yonkers Raceway / SOA of NY Bonus Trotting Series before capturing the $85,000 series final April 24. Last week, he made his first start in the local Open Trot, finishing third. “He’s exceeded what I thought he was going to be,” Di Domenico said. “I can’t say we expected this one to win the series final and show that he has a shot to be a very, very useful trotter at Yonkers. That says a lot about the horse.” Bluebird Jesse made his mark in Indiana as a 2- and 3-year old. He won six races at Hoosier for trainer Keith Roth, including a $75,000 Indiana Sire Stakes Final. Bluebird Jesse’s success in the Midwest put him on the radar of Indiana owners Brian Carsey and John McGill and New York partner Adam Friedland.  “They were talking about this horse for a long time even before they had him bought,” Di Domenico explained. “You have to give them the credit. I wish I could say I found him, I bought him, but I didn’t. They saw the horse in Indiana, he came up for sale, they were fortunate to get him.” After purchasing the son of Jailhouse Jesse last fall, the trio of owners placed him with trainer Walter Haynes for the winter. Di Domenico credits him for getting the horse ready. “He got this horse rested up and trained back and when he came to me, he was ready to go do something,” Di Domenico said. “He did a good job with the horse and when he got out here, he was ready to go.” Since arriving in his stable, Di Domenico has been impressed by how easy Bluebird Jesse is to train. Bluebird Jesse rarely does anything wrong in the mornings and jogs with two fingers. His best attribute is his handiness, his trainer says.  “He trots the turns well at Yonkers, he’s pretty sure-footed and he’s fast enough,” he said. “The thing I like most about him is his handiness. You’re able to leave with him off the gate, you’re able to race him off the pace and it seems as though he’s going to give you 100 percent effort every time no matter what you do with him. He’s just a real likeable horse.” Bluebird Jesse showed his versatility in the Yonkers Raceway/SOA of NY Bonus Trotting Series. He secured a first-over win on a sloppy racetrack in leg one and rode a pocket trip to victory in leg three. In the series final, Bluebird Jesse used his inside advantage to drive to the lead in the first turn, avoiding trouble as rivals Tyson and Optimist Blue Chip makes breaks to his outside. Although he was unchallenged on the lead through a :58.1 half mile, Bluebird Jesse faced an early test as 1-9 favorite Seasoned Saint, undefeated in the series preliminaries, pulled the pocket with 3 furlongs to trot.  Racing around the final turn, Bluebird Jesse was confidently handled by George Brennan as Seasoned Saint drew within a neck of the lead under urging from Jim Marohn Jr. Brennan high-lined the trotter and went to a right-handed whip in the stretch as Seasoned Saint drew on even terms with Bluebird Jesse at the sixteenth pole. Bluebird Jesse dug in, holding off the favorite to win in 1:54.4, the fastest trotting mile of the year at Yonkers. “As good as the horse had been, I wasn’t surprised,” Di Domenico said. “He had the capabilities of trotting fast and he did it. He had a very good series. Throwing the second leg of that series out, he was gritty, he fought, he was first-over. He did a little bit of everything and every week he responded and every week he kept coming and showed that he was a very talented horse.” Saturday night (May 12), Bluebird Jesse will start from post six in the $44,000 Open Handicap Trot. In his second try at the open level, he will have Tim Tetrick in the sulky with morning line odds set at 7-1. Seasoned Saint will start to Bluebird Jesse’s inside as the 5-2 favorite while In Secret is 5-1 from post seven in his return from the Cutler Memorial. Melady’s Monet will start from the outside post at odds of 20-1. Gonna Fly, Uva Hanover, Buen Camino, and Mostinterestingman complete the lineup. “I was concerned a little bit moving up to that level. It’s definitely tougher, but I think his versatility, his handiness, and his will to race right now – obviously he’s not going to beat those horses every week, but I think when he’s able to draw the inside and the tougher ones draw the outside, I think he’ll be able to beat those horses,” Di Domenico said. “His handiness is going to keep him in a lot of races and it’s going to let him earn a pretty good living in that class. “He’s got the six. Tim is going to have to look over and see what the inside looks like and make the call at the gate,” he continued. “The race is certainly a little tougher than it was last week. Those are open trotters at any track at any level. In a perfect world, I’d love to see him trotting home strong, I’d love to see him win.” First post time Saturday at Yonkers is 6:50 p.m. The 12-race card also features a $44,000 Open Pace, three divisions of the W. N. Reynolds Memorial for 3-year-old pacing fillies, and three divisions of the Reynolds for 3-year-old pacing colts. For entries to the card, click here. By Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY

Hightstown, NJ --- Harness racing trainer Mark Harder is hoping Wes Delight can provide a lot of joy this season. The 3-year-old male pacer will race Saturday (May 12) in a $23,066 division of the W.N. Reynolds Memorial Stakes at Yonkers Raceway as he tunes up for a North America Cup bid next month. Last year, Wes Delight won three of 11 starts and earned $124,077 for owners Harder, Rick Phillips, and Deena Frost. So far this year, the colt beat older horses in his seasonal debut and finished second to Dorsoduro Hanover in a division of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes at The Meadows despite traffic trouble around the final turn. “I think he’s the real deal,” Harder said. “He showed a lot of talent last year at 2, but just struggled with his gait a little bit. He’s come back good and strong this year. He was very good at the Meadows last week. He sat behind (leader) Pedro Hanover and he stopped and took us out of the race. But when he got free, he had a lot of pace late.” Wes Delight is a son of Bettor's Delight out of Maid West, a half-sister to stakes-winner Gimmebackmybullets. Wes Delight was purchased for $55,000 at the 2016 Lexington Selected Sale. He is the 5-2 morning-line favorite in his Reynolds division, which is the first of three for the 3-year-old male pacers, and will have Corey Callahan in the sulky. “He will have a couple of races before we head off to the North America Cup,” Harder said. “Big plans, but I think he can go with those horses. He’s not a big horse, but he travels like a bigger horse. He gets over the ground good and has good desire. He’s got a personality and is just a nice horse to be around. He’s just a happy horse.” Harder also will send out horses in the other two Reynolds divisions, 4-1 Iluvtomakemoney in the third and 12-1 Major Offense in the second. Iluvtomakemoney, a son of Well Said out of millionaire Symphony In Motion, has won six of 15 career races and heads to the Reynolds off a victory in a division of the Pennsylvania Stallion Series. He has earned $93,901 lifetime and is owned by breeder Joseph Jannuzzelli. Tim Tetrick will drive the gelding. “He’s just a good little hard-hitting horse,” Harder said. “He’s not overly abundant in talent, but he goes to the races and makes money. He’s always right there. We’ll keep him away from the big boys. You’re better off being a big fish in a little pond than a little fish in a big pond.” Major Offense, who is eligible to the upcoming Art Rooney Pace at Yonkers, won twice in his first three races this year but is winless in three starts since then. For his career, the son of Art Major-Northwestern has won two of 12 races and earned $29,056 for the same ownership group as Wes Delight. George Brennan will drive Major Offense; his first opportunity in the bike behind the gelding. “It seems like he’s tailed off a little bit, like he doesn’t really like it (at Yonkers) much,” Harder said. “We decided to give this race a shot and I made a driver change just to see if it made a difference. He’s just not getting away in good spots and he’s gapping off. We’ll see if George can light a fire in him a little bit and get him involved. “How he races will determine whether we go to the Rooney or not. It’s doubtful at this stage.” Rob Harmon’s Kwik Talkin is the 5-2 morning-line favorite in the second Reynolds division and Harmon’s Mach N Cheese is the 5-2 choice in the third. In addition to the Reynolds action for the boys, Yonkers hosts three divisions for the 3-year-old female pacers as well. First race post time is 6:50 p.m. (EDT). For complete entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, USTA Media Relations Manager 

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