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When Jim Clarke Sr. invited longtime friend Andy Altobelli to join him in buying a harness racing yearling a little more than four years ago, he set their budget at $35,000. After Clarke exceeded that number by two grand to purchase female pacer Coffee Addict at the 2011 Standardbred Horse Sale, he joked the toughest part of the day was calling Altobelli with the news. "I was quite happy, but the hardest thing for me was telling Andy that I had to go a little bit above what we intended to spend," Clarke said, adding with a laugh. "He said don't worry about it, that's all right. I said, 'good.' "We've been crazy about her ever since. She's a really nice mare." Now a 6-year-old, Coffee Addict has won 23 races and earned $463,779 during her career. Clarke has owned horses off and on since the late 1970s, but Coffee Addict was Altobelli's first racehorse. "Maybe it was just beginner's luck," said Altobelli, a 63-year-old pharmacist and pharmacy owner from York County, Pennsylvania. "She was just a good horse right from the get-go." Coffee Addict, a daughter of stallion Dragon Again out of the mare Kahlua Queen, wasn't on Clarke's list of horses when he went to the auction. Clarke attended the sale with Zan "Pete" Kaiser and Kaiser's son, Zach, and Pete suggested Clarke take a look at the filly after Clarke was unsuccessful in buying several other horses. Kaiser was unfamiliar with Coffee Addict, but had seen her full brother Mudslide race recently and thought he was a nice colt. "When I got back to see her, she was being prepped to go up to the ring," Clarke said. "I looked at her and couldn't see a pimple on her. Then I sat down in a chair and just watched her demeanor for about 20 minutes. She stood perfectly. She didn't even flick her ear. She was just so attentive. She was showing me that she was a smart horse. She had a head on her shoulders. "I thought I had to buy her. I was so glad Pete suggested I go back and look. I probably wouldn't have looked at her going through the ring." Kaiser trained Coffee Addict through the middle of her 3-year-old season, when she moved to trainer Bruce Saunders and captured a Keystone Classic division at The Meadows in 2013 and later became a top performer in the Fillies & Mares Open Handicap ranks at Yonkers Raceway. Last September, Coffee Addict joined the stable of trainer Norm Parker at The Meadows. She has raced almost exclusively at the western Pennsylvania oval since then, winning seven of 17 starts and hitting the board a total of 14 times. She has won back-to-back races in the top-level handicap division for filly and mare pacers at The Meadows and is entered again for Monday (Feb. 15). "Pete is great at starting up horses, bringing along the young ones, and Bruce did a great job with her too," Clarke said. "At this point in her career I decided I wanted her to race where she lives, and I had done business with Norm a few years ago with Fionavar Hanover. He's been doing a terrific job." Added Altobelli, "We've had people right on through who have done a very good job with her. We've been very fortunate, very lucky. It's been a thrill, for sure." The calm demeanor Coffee Addict displayed while Clarke watched her prior to the yearling sale is not always evident these days on the racetrack. "She's relatively calm, but when she gets on the track she turns into a whole different person," Clarke said. "She had two personalities, I feel. But one thing about her, she's always trying." The 76-year-old Clarke is the retired former owner of a chain of building supply/home improvement centers in southcentral Pennsylvania. He also worked for 84 Lumber for a number of years prior to starting his own business. He was hired at 84 Lumber in 1966 by company founder Joe Hardy and went on to manage several stores. Clarke's interest in harness racing goes back to his days growing up in western New York. He worked as a groom at Buffalo Raceway when he was a teenager and also had a cousin involved in horse ownership. "I've always loved the sport," Clarke said. "I was transferred to Atlanta many years ago for work and we would travel to Hawkinsville to watch the horses at the winter training center and I would talk with all the horsemen. I couldn't wait to get back north and get back involved in harness racing because I could afford to own horses. I came back in 1975 and in 1978, I believe, I bought my first horse. I've been on and off owning horses since then." Altobelli grew up in New Jersey, but spent time as a teenager helping out at his grandfather's dairy farm in Bedford County, Pennsylvania. In 1985, Altobelli bought his own farm in Pennsylvania and raises beef cattle in addition to working as a pharmacist. His interest in harness racing was fueled in part by living near renowned breeding facility Hanover Shoe Farms, as well as his own interest in breeding and genetics. "There were many times we would stop over at Hanover Shoe Farms and see the foals and just look around," Altobelli said. "I really study the stallions and the classic families. I'm trying to get a better background. Even though I've been in it for five years I feel like I'm an amateur. Jim has been kind of a mentor to me and I'm always wanting to learn more." Clarke and Altobelli own three more horses together now: 5-year-old female pacer Adelita Hanover, 4-year-old female pacer Picksync Hanover, and 2-year-old male pacer Gossip Boy (who is a half-brother to millionaire McCedes). "It's a great partnership," Clarke said. "I don't know where it will go, but I'll be doing it for as long as I can. For us to have a horse like Coffee Addict, it's meant a lot. I've gotten a lot of enjoyment and satisfaction out of her. It's just satisfying for us to have what we consider a pretty nice one for just two guys from the York County area." Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications  

A pair of $32,000 Open Handicaps and a few extra dollars in the harness racing campaign war chest are included in Yonkers Raceway's weekend. Friday night's Pick 5 begins with a carryover of $2,578.54 (50-cent base wager, races 7 through 11). Saturday night's Open Handicap Trot (sixth race) finds last week's first three finishers back at it, with Crazshana (Jason Bartlett, post 8), Money Maven (Brian Sears, post 1) and Red Hot Herbie (Dan Dube, post 7). Can Do (Jordan Stratton, post 6) crosses the river with a pair of Open Handicap wins, Home'n Dry (Eric Carlson, post 2) graduated from restricted ranks with a pair of handy victories and Major Athens (George Brennan, post 5) cut the fractions and faded to fourth in his local debut two weeks ago. The week's marquee pace (eighth race) has the Final Four (**no NCAA partnership inferred**) from a week ago, with Atta Boy Dan (Brennan, post 8), Polak A (Sears, post 5), Hugh Hefner N (Stratton, post 3) and Rock Icon (Matt Kakaley, post 2). Phil Your Boots (Tyler Buter, post 7) won this race two Saturdays ago, while Bad Boy Matt (Mark MacDonald, post 6) has been knocking hooves with the best Delaware has to offer. Post time for both programs is 7:10 PM. Frank Drucker

Harness racing driver Jason Bartlett put some more distance between himself and rest of Yonkers Raceway's chauffeurs Monday evening, winning eight of the program's dozen races. Bartlett, who didn't miss an assignment, wasted no time. He guided the undefeated Bea's Ideal ($3.50) to an eased-up, 1:56.3 win in the $12,500 pacing opener. The 4-year-old daughter of American Ideal, unraced prior to this season, is 4-for-4 ($25,000) to begin her career for co-owners (trainer) Heidi Rohr, Marc Reynolds and David Glazer. The lass has been nominated to the upcoming Petticoat Pacing Series, which begins Tuesday afternoon, March 7. Five of Bartlett's Monday winners were trained by Richard Banca, beginning with Wayne the Lefty ($4) in the $6,500 third-race pace (1:55.3). After that, it was Brown Brinny ($6.50) in the $15,000 seventh-race pace, Mybrothergeorge ($3) in the $6,500 eighth-race pace (1:55.4), OK Heartbeat ($6.20) in the $18,000 ninth-race pace (1:55) and A Plus Hanover ($5.10) in the $12,500 pacing finale (1:55.2). Bartlett's other victories came behind a pair of trotters, Dominus Hanover ($3.20) in the $12,500 second race (1:58.3) and Get to Doin' It ($21) in the $18,000 11th race (1:59.2). He now has 213 local wins this season. The Raceway's live season continues with a Tuesday matinee, first post at 1 PM. Frank Drucker

Showing that last year was no fluke the talented Hannah Miller was again in the winner's circle last night (Feb. 6) at Yonkers Raceway after she reined Jacks To Open to his second consecutive victory in their division of the NAADA Trotting Series. Robert Kenney won the other split with Rev Up The Spice. But once again all eyes were on "Hurricane Hannah" as she seems to be picking up where she left off last season, a year in which she won 32 races and was named USHWA's National Amateur Driver of the Year. She'll receive that award at the upcoming USHWA National Awards Banquet slated in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. on Sunday night, March 6. Teamed for the second time this season with her venerable trotter, Jacks To Open, Miller and her charge got away softly from the pole position and cut easy early fractions. As they reached the half way point Paul Minore moved Wygant Prince out to challenge and a speed duel ensued toward the three quarters where they trotted head to head through a :28.4 stanza. In the lane Wygant Prince tired which allowed Fox Valley Steffen and Dr. John Kokinos, who were enjoying a two-hole covered trip, to move off the pylons and mount a formidable challenge toward paydirt. But Jacks To Open showed his class and held his competitor at bay to score a neck triumph in 2:00 flat. Nautilus De Vie finished third for Dave Yarock. When asked about Jacks To Open's performance Miller said via email, "Jack was super this week and was able to get to the front a little easier than usual. And although we had a stiff challenge in the stretch Jack was strong right through the wire." Ms. Miller shares ownership of the winner with trainer Nick Surick. In his division Robert Kenney took advantage of a two-hole trip behind the pacesetter, AJ Destiny (Bob Hechkoff) and rallied in the lane to score a length victory in 2:02.2. Tony Verruso took home the show dough with Sam's Honeybee. For Kenney, who has not driven more than seven times in any of his amateur career seasons and a total of just 33 since it began in 2000, his victory tonight marked his fourth consecutive over the last two years in which he drove only three times--all winners- in 2015. Rev Up The Spice is owned by Di Stefano and Sons Stable and trained by John Di Stefano. Both NAADA trots-each for a $6000 purse- were raced as non-wagering events and presented before the betting card got underway that evening. John Manzi  

A week before Valentine's Day, "Shana" and "Dan" were the popular harness racing couple, winning Yonkers Raceway's $32,000 Saturday night co-featured Open Handicaps. "Shana," as in Crazshana (Jason Bartlett, $6.70) prevailed from the pocket in the week's featured trot. Leaving from post position No. 4, he tailed a three-wide-early Red Hot Herbie (Brian Sears) through that's one journey (:28.1, :57.4, 1:26.4). "Herbie," as the 9-10 favorite, put away a second move from Not Afraid (Dan Dube), taking a length-and-a-half lead into the lane. However, he couldn't close the sale, surrounded from both sides. Crazshana edged out and went by, whipping a cone-skimming Money Maven (George Brennan) by a length in 1:55.2. Red Hot Herbie, lone lass Tweet Me (Pat Lachance) and Headsaregonna Turn (Tyler Buter) completed the cashers. For second choice Crazshana, a 4-year-old statebred Crazed gelding owned by Bamond Racing and trained by Jeffrey Bamond Jr., it was his first win in three seasonal starts. The exacta paid $25.40, with the triple returning $77.50. The weekly marquee pace saw odds-on Atta Boy Dan (Brennan, $3) prevail from post No. 5 in a two-move effort. After he and Polak A (Sears) were put in play early (:28.3 opening quarter-mile), Melmerby Beach (Bartlett)--who was throwing his head around early--made a big move, from fifth to the lead before a :57.3 intermission. Melmerby Beach maintained his place in and out of a 1:24.4 three-quarters, with a length-and-a-half lead in and out of the final turn. He was then ganged up on by a trio of "outsiders," with Atta Boy Dan edging from the pocket and beating a wider Polak A by a neck in 1:53. A rallying Hugh Hefner N (Jordan Stratton), Rock Icon (Matt Kakaley) and a tiring Melmerby Beach rounded out the payees. For Atta Boy Dan, a 7-year-old Western Terror gelding co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke and Weaver Bruscemi, he's 1-for-3 this season. The exacta paid $9.40, with the triple returning $38.60. The Raceway's live season continues Monday night with a dozen races, a $10,000 guaranteed Pick 5 pool and a first post of 7:10 PM. Frank Drucker

Regil Elektra and harness racing driver Jason Bartlett won the draw, the hearts and minds of the electorate and the race Friday night, annexing Yonkers Raceway's $32,000 Filly and Mare Open Pace. From the pole, Regil Elektra saw Inittowinafortune (Jordan Stratton) take the first ballot. The people's preference then reclaimed the lead before a :27.4 opening quarter-mile. From there, it was very simple (:57.2, 1:25.4, 1:54), with Massive Attack A (George Brennan) trying it weak first-over. The end result was a handy, three-length victory. Dune in Red (Mark MacDonald) was a three-hole second, with Inittowinafortune, Elisaveta N (Eric Carlson) and Bazooka Terror (Tyler Buter) rounding out the payees. For Regil Elektra, a 6-year-old daughter of Mach Three owned by Fred Monteleone and trained by Keith Armer, she's now 3-for-5 this season. The exacta paid $10.80, with the triple returning $25.20. The Raceway's live season continues Saturday night, with a dozen races and a first post of 7:10 PM. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, February 2, 2016 - If harness racing driver Steve Smith brings in a 95-1 shot, are we in for more, six more weeks of winter? Smith and Bullseye ($192.50) was cited for excessive tote board lighting Tuesday afternoon, winning Yonkers Raceway's $10,000, eighth-race pace with the chunkiest mutuel of the season. Unhurried from post position No. 7, Bullseye was seventh at the three-quarters and fifth into the lane. He outmuscled Inthenameofjames (Jason Bartlett) by three-quarters of length in 1:55, his first board finish in three 2016 tries. Last Dragon (Brian Sears), the just-over-even-money favorite, led into the stretch but tired and finished last. Bullseye, a 5-year-old Cam's Card Shark gelding owned by Alroy Chow and trained by Anita Vallee, also led the highest exacta ($793) thus far this season. It's fair to say upset, which begin the Pick 5 sequence, was responsible for the wager going unclaimed. Thus, Friday night's gimmick features a carryover of $2,163.39 (50-cent base wager, races 7 through 11). Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, January 30, 2016 - A pocketed Somebody AS (Jordan Stratton, $13.40) and a down-the-road Phil Your Boots (Tyler Buter, $5.40) earned the glory Saturday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's harness racing co-featured $32,000 Open Handicaps. The weekly featured trot saw Somebody AS from assigned post position No.3 watched invading Major Athens (George Brennan) led the way. The slight 2-1 choice threw down the anvil (:28.1, :57.2, 1:26), taking a length-and-a-half lead into the lane. Red Hot Herbie (Brian Sears), who found an early three-hole, loomed at the leader in and out of the final turn, but flattened. Somebody AS though, was waiting for his shot. He ducked inside and bested a rallying Crazshana (Jason Bartlett) by a neck in 1:54.4, fastest local mile of the season. Red Hot Herbie settled for third, with Major Athens Zooming (Buter) completed the cashers. For third choice Somebody AS, a 7-year-old Striking Sahbra gelding trained by Anette Lorentzon for co-owners ACL Stuteri Ab and Kjell Johansson, it was his first win in two seasonal starts. The exacta paid $102.50, with the triple returning $703. The week's pacing feature had 17-10 choice "Phil" leave from post No. 5, steal away with a cheap (:28.0, 57.4) half. From there, the pursuers had no shot, with a :55.4 back portion (1:25.4; 1:53.3). The final margin was a length-and-three-quarters over a good effort from Melmerby Beach (Bartlett), with Texas Terror N (Matt Kakaley), Atta Boy Dan (Brennan) and Hugh Hefner N (Stratton) settling for the remainder. For Phil Your Boots, a 6-year-old Shanghai Phil gelding trained by Andrew Harris for owner Louis Frascella, he's now 2-for-3 this season. The exacta (two wagering favorites) paid $12.60, the triple returning $129.50 and the superfecta paid $949. The Raceway's live season continues Monday night, with a dozen races and a first post of 7:10 PM. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Friday, January 29, 2016 - Locally-debuting Tessa Seelster with harness racing driver George Brennan at the controls overcame one eight-hole and seven elders Friday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $32,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. It turned out to be an outside-assigned, two-speed number, as "Tessa" and Inittowinafortune (Jordan Stratton) both left around a dormant Regil Elektra (Brian Sears). It was Tessa Seelster making the lead well before a :27.3 quarter-mile. From there, she finished off her rounds  :57, 1:24.4, an elongated inquiry regarding a possible cutting-the-cones violation). Inittowinafortune took her shot in the lane, but missed a head, with slight 2-1 favorite Rockn' Ruby N (Dan Dube), Regil Elektra and Dune in Red (Mark MacDonald) settling for the remainder. For third choice Tessa Seelster, a 4-year-old daughter of Shadow Play co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke, Weaver Bruscemi and Jonathan Newman, she's now 3-for-3 this season. The exacta paid $200, with the triple returning $1,392. The former Ontario standout was a six-figure purchase before this season by her new connections. The Raceway's live season continues Saturday night, with a dozen races and a first post of 7:10 PM. Frank Drucker

After taking last winter off, harness racing driver Anthony Napolitano decided to spend this winter racing at Yonkers and the Meadowlands. He is more than happy with the decision, and hopes it leads to more opportunities. Napolitano is the leading driver at the Meadowlands so far this year, with 11 wins in 64 starts. He also has raced three Thursdays at Yonkers, where he has picked up three victories in 12 starts. His combined winning percentage at the two ovals is a solid 18.4 percent. "Last winter I took off and it was so boring," Napolitano said. "I thought I would really like it, but after a couple months having off you can't wait to get back to work. I appreciate it a lot more. Everything seems to be working out." In previous years, the 34-year-old Napolitano spent winters competing at Pompano Park in Florida. Napolitano now lives in northeast Pennsylvania and drives regularly at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, which is closed for live racing until March 19. Shuttering his farm and heading to Florida for the winter was no longer a practical option. "Yonkers and the Meadowlands are close enough to me for me to race over the winter instead of going back to Florida," Napolitano said. "I like to go to visit family (in Florida) but for work it's tough because you have to move everything down there. I knew after buying my farm that over the years I would look to the Meadowlands and Yonkers in the winter. I'm not a fan of the cold, but I knew I had to make something happen." Last year Napolitano ranked third in wins at Pocono, behind older brother George Napolitano Jr. and Simon Allard. For the season, Anthony Napolitano won a total of 188 races and $2.44 million in purses, his best totals since 2009 when he won 295 times (with more than half the victories coming at Pompano Park) and $2.52 million. "I had a good year at Pocono and guys were asking me if I was going (to the Meadowlands)," Napolitano said. "I decided to go opening night and I ended up doing OK. I'm just going to enjoy it now." Napolitano followed his father and brother into harness racing, although he also has a passion for racing cars and still can be sometimes found at a dragstrip located near his farm. Napolitano's brother, George, won a track-record 407 races at Pocono in 2015 and captured his ninth title for wins at the oval. George has won 7,506 races in his career and was the national leader in victories in 2010. He finished second to Aaron Merriman last year, with 832, but established a personal best with $8.56 million in purses. "We're very close off the track, but very competitive on the track," Anthony Napolitano said of his relationship with George. "He's really competitive. Sometimes we hurt each other's feelings on the track, but off the track it's like nothing ever happened. We keep it a business. We respect each other. We're blood brothers for life so you've got to leave it on the track. "That goes for any of the drivers. We try to do as good as we can. Things happen out there and you can't take it personally." Anthony Napolitano has won 2,021 races in his career, notching triumph No. 2,000 on Dec. 12 at the Meadowlands. "It's not great in a lot of people's eyes --- a lot of drivers have a lot of career wins --- but I started at Pompano and it was very tough there because there were two or three guys that won all the races so I had to dig deep. At the tracks I've been at, I've had very tough (driver) colonies to deal with. I'm happy to have 2,000 wins and I'm looking for many more. I feel that I'm getting better with age and I learn something new every night." Napolitano's maturation as a driver includes being more patient on the racetrack. "Experience really shows," Napolitano said. "I had lots of times where I thought I should pull first over and it was no good. I've been in those situations so many times over the years that now instead of taking that chance and over-driving, I'm more patient and I sit in. Most times it is the best move, especially on a big track like the Meadowlands. Sometimes I've gotten myself beaten by over-driving because that stretch is very long. I've had luck with not being too aggressive and slipping through late. "It's very hard out there; people don't understand. One split second a guy is on top of you making a move and you've missed your chance. There's a lot going on in each and every race. I know you're only as good as your last drive, but I've learned to keep my composure and keep grinding away. I know every night isn't going to be a good night. I used to take it home with me, but now I leave it on the track and keep my focus; just take a step back and regroup." Napolitano hopes a strong winter will help him gain the faith of more trainers and owners in the future. "I just want to show people that if I have a little power I can compete too," Napolitano said. "I'm just happy that people are seeing that I'm a late-bloomer and I am getting better at what I do as I mature. Hopefully people will see I can drive a young horse and I'll get lucky and get a decent horse to drive in some of the stakes races. "But I just feel blessed to have a career like this. I'm very thankful. I couldn't be happier." Ken Weingartner Media Relations Manager Harness Racing Communications

YONKERS, NY, Wednesday, January 27, 2016-Yonkers Raceway's weekend offers up thrice the $32,000 Open Handicaps for your dining and dancing pleasure. Since we're nothing if not chivalrous, the ladies are the opening act, with Friday night's (first post 7:10 PM) distaff pacing derby going as the sixth race. Last week's Preferred 'Cap winner Regil Elektra (Brian Sears, post 6) is already 2-for-3 this season, as are Bazooka Terror (Eric Carlson, post 2) and The Empiressister N (Jason Bartlett, post 3). The unknown interloper is 4-year-old Tessa Seelster (George Brennan, post 8) sent outside her elders for a just her third career half-mile try (Flamboro, Grand River). She enters after pair of wins across the river. Saturday night (first post 7:10 PM) finds the week's marquee trot (sixth race) offers a rivalry between recent winners Dot Dot Dot Cash (Matt Kakaley, post 6), Red Hot Herbie (Sears, post 7) and Not Afraid (Dan Dube, post 8). Some new blood arrives in the presence of barn-changing Crazshana (Bartlett, post 1) and Meadows-invading Major Athens (Brennan, post 5). The weekly pacing feature (eighth race) has Aslan (Sears, post 8) banished behind the eight-ball after winning this race two weeks ago (last weekend's rivalry meeting was snowed out). Down Under flavor is in the form of Texas Terror N (Kakaley, post 2) and Hugh Hefner N (Jordan Stratton, post 4). The Raceway's season continues Thursday evening (first 7:10 PM), the final Thursday until March.0- Frank Drucker Director of Publicity

YONKERS, NY, Monday, January 25, 2016-After the Northeast's initial snowstorm of the season left a lovely 20½ inches in beautiful, downtown Yonkers over the weekend, Yonkers Raceway was back it Monday night. Saturday's first-of-the-season cancellation turned out to be a one-hit wonder, as track superintendent Ed Ryan and his posse worked tirelessly Sunday into Monday to get the field in game shape. Monday night's dozen-race program-with guest announcer Peter Kleinhans doing for the honors for an under-the-weather John Hernan-went off without a hitch. Favored Siloutte (Dan Dube, $4.20) enjoyed the track crew's work enough to turn in a life-best 1:55.2 effort in the $15,000, third-race pace. The Raceway's season continues Tuesday afternoon (first post 1 PM), then Thursday, Friday and Saturday (7:10 PM each evening) Frank Drucker  

On Sunday, January 17, the Standardbred Owners Association of New York lauded Yonkers Raceway's top harness racing driver and trainer of 2015.   Maine native Jason Bartlett, perennially at or near the top of the Yonkers leader board, notched his fifth driving title at the Hilltop Oval. Winning at a nearly 20% clip, Bartlett finished an astounding 89 wins over his nearest competitor in the deeply talented Yonkers driving colony. The 2009 and 2013 United States representative to the World Driving Championship, Bartlett recently achieved the career 6,000 win plateau. Only in his mid-30s, Jason has achieved the status of consummate veteran horseman by regularly plying his trade at one of the sport's most competitive venues.   Though only in his late 20s, Quebec native Rene Allard has already distinguished himself as one of the country's top conditioners. Allard eked out his leading trainer title with a winning dash total just slightly above the second place finisher Ron Burke. He achieved this result by winning with roughly 26% of his starters. Recently, Allard pledged his support for his fellow Canadian horsemen in need by pledging a percentage of his national training earnings to those victimized by the Classy Lane Farm fire earlier this month.   "The renaissance of New York harness racing has served to attract some of the continent's top young talent to our Westchester Oval," said SOA of NY President Joseph Faraldo. "Both Jason and Rene are on the type of superior career paths we witnessed during the Roosevelt-Yonkers heydays. Their achievements are to be commended, and it is with great pride that we called both of them Yonkers horsemen."   Standardbred Owners Association of New York

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, January 19, 2016 - Proving he's not quite ready to join AARP-that's the American Association of Retired Pacers-14-year-old Sakra Fella (Scott Zeron, $66.50) showed a group of harness racing youngins what for, winning Yonkers Raceway's Tuesday matinee opener. Sakra Fella closed from fourth through the lane in the $6,500 opener to whip pace-setting 2-5 favorite Arthur (Matt Kakaley) by three-quarters of a length in 1:58.1. Combined with an earlier win at Monticello, the Pacific Fella gelding is now 2-for-3 this season as the one-horse stable of Dolores and Carl Dobkowski. Mr. Dobkowski, the trainer since Day One, turns 91 next month. Sakra Fella had gone winless is limited work (10 starts) over the previous two seasons and has never won more than twice in a year since 2008, when he made 38 starts. As was pointed out by more than one shrewd observer, Sakra Fella's local race lines predate Yonkers' "slot era," beginning with a qualifier in February, 2005. Tuesday's win was his 20th in his 180th career start ($298,902). Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Monday, January 18, 2016 - Yonkers Raceway and the Standardbred Owners Association of New York have announced a joint contribution to assist those affected by the Classy Lane barn fire. The initial donation is $10,000-equally shared by the track and its horsemen-with an initiative underway to increase that amount."As with the rest of the harness industry, we were stunned and saddened by what happened," Raceway COO Bob Galterio said. "We have enjoyed a strong simulcast relationship with Ontario tracks for many years, and we're thinking of those horsemen and their loss at this very difficult time." "It's the worst thing that can happen to anyone in this business, so we're just trying to assist in any way we can," SOA of New York president Joe Faraldo said. In addition to the "first donation," Yonkers' owners, trainers and drivers have been encouraged to set aside a portion of their purse earnings to be earmarked to the Central Ontario Standardbred Association. The SOA has specifically requested that the half the money raised go toward caretaker assistance and for those trainers who had three or fewer horses. Distribution of the balance is at the sole discretion of COSA for those based upon financial need. "We've had any number of our members ask how they can help," Faraldo said. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, January 17, 2016 - Not Afraid with harness racing driver Dan Dube at the controls held off Red Hot Herbie (Brian Sears) in a two-speed number Sunday afternoon, winning Yonkers Raceway's $32,000 Open Handicap Trot. Assigned post position No. 5 among the half-dozen, Not Afraid and outside-remanded "Herbie" were both in play early. Not Afraid retook from Red Hot Herbie right before the :28.4 opening quarter-mile, then rated a comfy 59-second intermission. It was a 1:27.3 three-quarters as Tweet Me (Pat Lachance) moved from third, in front of 13-10 choice Dot Dot Dot Dash (Matt Kakaley). Not Afraid owned a length-and-three-quarter lead into the lane, then held sway despite drifting.. He whipped Red Hot Herbie by a half-length in 1:55.4...fastest local trot mile thus far this season. Tweet Me, Dot Dot Dot Dash and Zooming (Tyler Buter) came away with the remainder, while Theraputic (George Brennan) was outrun. For second choice Not Afraid, a now-7-year-old S J's Caviar gelding trained by Jimmy Takter for co-owners his wife, Christina, John Fielding and Goran Anderberg, he's now 2-for-2 in 2016. The exacta paid $19, with the triple returning $118. Note that the "French" Sunday matinees take a hiatus until Feb. 28. The Raceway's season continues Monday (first post 7:10 PM) and Tuesday (1 PM). Frank Drucker

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