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YONKERS, NY, Friday, January 23, 2015-Favored Set Me Up (George Brennan, $5.40) finished what she started Friday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $35,000 featured Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. In play early from post position No. 3, Set Me Up-beaten choice a week ago-marched around Sir Jillian Z Tam (Pat Lachance), then waltzed through Westchester (:28.2, :58.4, 1:27.1). In the interim, last week's victress, Spirit of Desire (Jason Bartlett), was trying it first-up, moving from fourth. Set Me Up had a length-and-a-half entering the lane, then fended off "Jillian" in a two-speed number. The final margin was a half-length in 1:55. Spirit of Desire held third, with Palm Patrol (Mark MacDonald) and Robin Cruiser (Jordan Stratton) completing the cashers. Pole-assigned Nefertiti Bluechip (Matt Kakaley) settled for valuable experience, which figures to serve her well later in life. For Set Me Up, a 6-year-old daughter of Shark Gesture co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke and Weaver Bruscemi, it was her second win in three seasonal starts The exacta paid $21.40, with the triple returning $55.50. The Raceway's live season continues night Saturday (post time 7:10 PM, weather permitting). After that, it's Monday (7:10 PM), Tuesday (1 PM), then Thursday through Saturday (all at 7:10 PM). Note the next Sunday matinee is Feb. 22. Evening simulcasting accompanies all night programs, with afternoon simulcasting available daily. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Thursday, January 22, 2015--A friendly reminder from Yonkers Raceway that Friday night's Pick 5 wager begins with a carryover of $2,244.20. The Pick 5 is a 50-cent base wager offered on races 5 through 9 nightly. It has no consolation payoff, meaning if no one selects all five winners (as was the case Thursday), the entire pool (minus takeout) moves to the next racing program. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, January 17, 2015--Rank outsider Flem N Em N (Jason Bartlett, $71.50) stunned 'em from first-up Saturday night, easily winning Yonkers Raceway's $35,000 Open Pace. Sitting early from post position No. 4, Flem N Em N saw Cam B Zipper (Brian Sears) break leaving. Sapphire City, also leaving, worked around pole-sitting BJ's Guy (Matt Kakaley) before a :27.2 opening quarter-mile. After a seemingly-soft 57.1 intermission, Flem N Em N moved briskly from fourth. The same horse who tired noticeably in the pocket the previous week blew eight on by here, disposing of Sapphire City nearing the 1:25.2 three-quarters. The tiring leader trapped both BJ's Guy and last week's winner, Take it Back Terry (George Brennan), in behind. Flem N Em N opened four lengths into the lane before winning by 3¼ lengths in 1:52.4. "Terry" shifted out and closed for second, with McErlean (Eric Goodell), BJ's Guy and Sapphire City settling for the remainder. For Flem N Em N, a 10-year-old Down Under Courage Under Fire gelding owned by Bamond Racing and trained by Jeffrey Bamond Jr., it was his first win in two seasonal starts. The exacta paid $285.50, with the triple returning $1,504. Flem N Em N now has lifetime earnings of $604,865 from 33 wins 32 seconds and 29 thirds from 181 starts. Flem N Em N Special Saturday props to Warrawee Needy (MacDonald, $5.90), whose zipped through his $21,000, 12th-race rivals in 1:51.4, fastest local mile of the season. Note that since no one took down Saturday's Pick 5, Monday's gimmick begins with a carryover of $2,665.18 (50-cent base wager, races 5 through 9). The Raceway's live season continues Monday (7:10 PM), then Tuesday (1 PM) and Thursday through Saturday (all at 7:10 PM). by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Friday, January 16, 2015-Spirit of Desire and harness racing driver Jason Bartlett outfought Palm Patrol (Mark MacDonald) in a good, old-fashioned match race Friday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $35,000 featured Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. In play early from post position No. 5, Spirit of Desire worked around Palm Patrol just at a :27.4 opening quarter-mile. After a :57.2 intermission, Momma Rock (Brian Sears) tried it first-up from fourth. However, that bid was weak at best as Spirit of Desire found a 1:25.4 three-quarters. She and her "stalker" then had the race to themselves through the lane. Palm Patrol appeared to grab a short lead, but the aptly-named Spirit of Desire stuck her tongue out on the money in 1:55. Momma Rock wound up a best-of-the-rest third, beaten more than seven lengths. Last week's victress-and this week's slight 5-2 choice-Set Me Up (George Brennan) and Cooking the Books (Eric Carlson) rounded out the payees. For fourth choice Spirit of Desire, a 5-year-old daughter of Real Desire trained by Tim Lancaster for co-owners Bill Lancaster, Neal Rosenberg and Margaret Ames, it was her second win in as many seasonal starts The exacta paid $52.50, with the triple returning $272. The Raceway's live season continues night Saturday (post time 7:10 PM). After that, it's Monday (7:10 PM), Tuesday (1 PM), then Thursday through Saturday (all at 7:10 PM). Note the next Sunday matinee is Feb. 22. Evening simulcasting accompanies all night programs, with afternoon simulcasting available daily. Frank Drucker

Kenneth G. ("Captain Kenny") Dillman, 48, passed away on January 14, 2015 after a brief illness. A native of Hempstead, Long Island, Dillman was a professional caretaker at Roosevelt and Yonkers Raceways for his entire adult life, first for trainer John Brennan, and later for trainer Mike Sorrentino, Jr. Such was his level of competence and work ethic that he was named the Standardbred Owners Association's Caretaker of the Year in 1992. He was well liked by everyone he came in contact with, both on and off the track. In the 1990s, SOA President Joe Faraldo named a horse "Captain Kenny" in his honor. He was predeceased by his wife Petra in 2004. He is survived by his daughter, Amelia Faithe (Amy). A viewing will be held on Saturday, January 17 from 2:00 - 4:00 p.m. and from 7:00 -10:00 p.m. (religious service at 8:30 p.m.) at Flower Funeral Home, 714 Yonkers Avenue, Yonkers, New York. Burial is private. From the SOA of New York  

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, January 11, 2015-Yonkers Raceway's first French-exported program of the season went postward Sunday afternoon. The first seven races on the dozen-race card were oversized fields (11, 12, 10, 10, 9, 10 and 10 trotters, respectively, after scratches) at the mile-and-one-quarter distance. The seven races attracted 1.16 million Euros (approximately 1.38 million U-S dollars) to an audience which included France, Switzerland, Belgium, Spanish Basque community, Germany, Austria, Luxemburg, Holland, Estonia and Malta. The week's marquee trot, a $44,000 blind-draw Open, featured the standard eight starters at the standard eight furlongs. It also featured a predictable result with 2-5 fave Not Afraid (Dan Dube)-from post position No. 5--going as the distance (:28.4, :57.4, 1:26.3, 1:55.1) to win as he pleased. The final margin was five lengths over second choice Backstreet Hanover (Eric Carlson), with Take My Picture (Jason Bartlett) third and In Nomine Patri (Jim Marshall III) fourth. The gimmicks returned $5.60 (exacta), $11.80 (triple, three wagering choices in order) and $89.50 (superfecta). Not Afraid, a now-6-year-old S J's Caviar gelding trained by Jimmy Takter for his wife, Christina, John Fielding and Goran Andeberg, earned more than $154,000 a season ago. Special Sunday props to driver Brent Holland, who is taking his talents to Miami...Valley, that is. The affable Holland, an Ohio native, is relocating there and we wish him well. Holland did win Sunday's $15,500, second race with favored Bambino Hall ($4.50), trotting the added distance in 2:31.2. The Raceway's live season continues Monday night (7:10 PM). After that, it's Tuesday (1 PM), then Thursday through Saturday (all at 7:10 PM). The next scheduled Sunday matinee is Feb. 22. Evening simulcasting accompanies all live programs, with afternoon simulcasting available daily. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, January 10, 2014- Odds-on choice Take it Back Terry (George Brennan, $3.20) skimmed for success Saturday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $35,000 Open Handicap Pace. Unhurried from post position No. 3, the people's preference saw 34-1 shot O'Sundland (Larry Stalbaum) beat everyone to the punch from the far outside, making the lead before a :27.3 opening quarter-mile. While doing so, he looped Mickey Hanover (Dan Dube), forcing that one to prompt toward a :56.3 intermission and 1:25.2 three-quarters. All the while, Take it Back Terry was stuck in a three-hole, behind a pocketed Flem N Em N (Jason Bartlett). O'Sundland owned a length-and-a-half lead entering the lane, but was about done. Swarmed from all side, it was a deep-in-the-passing lane Take it Back Terry saving the chalkies. He whipped a second-up McErlean (Eric Goodell) by a neck in 1:53.4. BJ's Guy (Matt Kakaley) was third, with Mickey Hanover--out every step--and Flem N Em N rounding out the payees. For "Terry," a now-6-year-old Western Hanover gelding co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke, Weaver Bruscemi, Larry Karr and Phil Collura, it was his first win in a couple of seasonal starts. The exacta paid $23, with the triple returning $109. The Raceway's live season continues night Sunday (post time 11:55 AM), a French-centric, trot-filled card with seven oversized fields at the mile-and-one-quarter distance. After that, it's Monday (7:10 PM), Tuesday (1 PM), then Thursday through Saturday (all at 7:10 PM). by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Friday, January 9, 2015-Yonkers Raceway's 2015 season began Friday night with a $35,000 featured Filly and Mare Open Pace. Second-choice Set Me Up (George Brennan, $5.80), from post position No. 4, whipped her four foes, going the distance (:28.3, :58.2, 1:26.4, 1:54.4). Palm Patrol (Mark MacDonald) moved from third down the backside, closing the margin before missing a half-length. Cooking the Books (Eric Carlson), a no-factor, 7-10 fave Robin Cruiser (Jordan Stratton) and Grounded (Jason Bartlett) completed the cashers/finishers. Early outside assignee--and probable favorite--Voelz Hanover was scratched-ill. For season-debuting Set Me Up, a now-6-year-old daughter of Shark Gesture co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke and Weaver Bruscemi, she comes off a career-best $120,000 season in 2014. The exacta paid $41.80, with the triple cancelled due to the abbreviated number of starters. The Raceway's live season continues night Saturday (post time 7:10 PM) and Sunday (post time 11:55 AM), the latter a French-centric, trot-filled card with seven oversized fields at the mile-and-one-quarter distance. After that, it's Monday (7:10 PM), Tuesday (1 PM), then Thursday through Saturday (all at 7:10 PM). by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Thursday, January 8, 2015--The first weekend of Yonkers Raceway's 2015 season plays no gait favorites, with 14 paces and 10 trots. Saturday night's program includes the $35,000 Open Handicap Pace (6th race), with any number of formful foes. Take it Back Terry (George Brennan, post 3) has won twice in his last four starts, Mickey Hanover (Dan Dube, post 4) thrice in his last five and Sapphire City (Eric Carlson, post 7) had won four races in a row before finishing second in his 2014 finale. Sunday's first matinee goes postward at 11:55 AM (note change from originally-listed 11:25 post time). The dozen-race card features the first seven events--two 12-horse fields and five 10-horse fields--going at the mile-and-one-quarter distance for the French-hubbed audience. The weekly marquee trot, a $44,000 blind-draw Open, is carded as the eighth race. The two lasses, Backstreet Hanover (Tyler Buter, post 2) and Dancehall Mistress (Dan Dube, post 7), figure to be players. This is the lone January Sunday program. Note the post times for the upcoming season... --Mondays/Thursdays/Fridays/Saturdays - first post 7:10 PM --Tuesdays - first post 1 PM --this Sunday - first post 11:55 AM (next one is Feb. 22) Save for a six-card first full week, Yonkers generally offers a five-program-per-week schedule. Included in that is a proposed 31 days (174 races) simulcast to a French-based audience. A stakes schedule shall be announced shortly. The complete 2015 schedule is pending approval of the New York State Gaming Commission. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Monday, January 5, 2015--Yonkers Raceway's 2015, 238-program live schedule begins Friday night, along with the return of evening simulcasting. Another example of good things coming to those who wait. A 12-race card has been drawn, featuring q $35,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace (6th race), where a locally-debuting millionaires--now-10-year-old Voelz Hanover (Pat Lachance)--was assigned outside her five rivals. Please note the post times for the upcoming season are as such... --Mondays/Thursdays/Fridays/Saturdays - first post 7:10 PM --Tuesdays - first post 1 PM --Sundays - first post 11:25 AM (only one [11th] in January) Save for a six-card first full week, Yonkers generally offers a five-program-per-week schedule. Included in that is a proposed 31 days (174 races) simulcast to a French-hubbed audience. The "French races" begin this Sunday Sunday, Jan. 11, and end with the final (Dec. 13) program of the season. A stakes schedule shall be announced shortly. The complete 2015 schedule is pending approval of the New York State Gaming Commission. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, December 23, 2014-Pending approval of the New York State Gaming Commission-and, to a lesser degree, Santa Claus-a 2015, 238-program live schedule has been released by Yonkers Raceway. As previously reported, the Raceway's 2015 live schedule (along with the return of evening simulcasting) is set to begin Friday, Jan. 9, again, pending approval of the NYSGC. It is generally a five-program-per-week schedule, included a proposed 31 days (174 races) simulcast to a French-hubbed audience. The "French races" begin Sunday, Jan. 11, and end with the final (Dec. 13) program of the season. Post time are as such...Sundays (11:25 AM), Tuesdays (now 1 PM), Mondays/Thursdays/Fridays/Saturdays (usual 7:10 PM). A stakes schedule shall be announced shortly. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway  

YONKERS, NY, Thursday, December 18, 2014--Nomination forms are now available for Yonkers Raceway's 2015 series, plus the Lawrence B. Sheppard Pace. In closing date/chronological order, they are Petticoat/Sagamore Hill (Feb. 1), YR/SOA of New York Bonus Trotting Series (Feb. 15), Blue Chip Matchmaker/George Morton Levy Memorial (March 1), Sheppard Pace (April 1, sustaining payment May 1) and Jackpot Next Door Claiming Series (Apr. 15). Copies of each form accompanies this release. http://empirecitycasino.com/uploadedFiles/2015petticoat-sagamorehillnomination.pdf http://empirecitycasino.com/uploadedFiles/2015bluechipmatchmakernomination.pdf http://empirecitycasino.com/uploadedFiles/2015georgemortonlevynomination.pdf http://empirecitycasino.com/uploadedFiles/2015lawrencesheppardnomination.pdf http://empirecitycasino.com/uploadedFiles/2015%20YR-SOA%20Bonus%20Trot%20Series%20Nomination.pdf http://empirecitycasino.com/uploadedFiles/2015jackpotnextdoorseriesnomination.pdf The Raceway's 2015 live schedule (along with the return of evening simulcasting) is set to begin Friday, Jan. 9, pending approval of the New York State Gaming Commission. Afternoon simulcasting continues through Monday, then resumes Friday, Dec. 26, after the conclusion of NYRA's holiday respite. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, December 16, 2014--Jason Bartlett and Ron Burke have waltzed away with Yonkers Raceway's driving and training titles, respectively, for the 2014 season. The 232-program season, (shortened with five cancellations and one abbreviated program [weather]), ended this past Sunday (Dec. 14). Bartlett, 33, won his fourth Westchester driving title going away, with 485 wins from a meet-high 2,440 wins (19.9 percent). His $7,594,544 in purses also led the contingent. Brian Sears (402 wins), George Brennan (401), Eric Carlson (213) and Dan Dube (213) completed the leading five. Burke, 45, successfully defended his Yonkers title, sending out 144 winners from 704 starters (20.5 percent), more than any other local trainer. Among his record-breaking total earnings season was a local-leading $4,646,539 in purses. PJ Fraley (118 wins), Gilberto Garcia-Herrera (112), Rene Allard (111) and Tracy Brainard (106) finished off the first quintet. The Raceway's 2015 live schedule (along with the return of evening simulcasting) is set to begin Friday, Jan. 9, pending approval of the New York State Gaming Commission. Afternoon simulcasting resumes Friday, Dec. 26, after the conclusion of NYRA's holiday hiatus. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

Yonkers Raceway's 2014 season concluded with its sixth Sunday matinee. After a one-week hiatus, the French theme returned, with the first five races-all trots and all exported-featuring oversized fields and the mile-and-one-quarter distance. The European handle for the quintet was just over $1.2 million, making the five-week (25-race) total approximately 6 million Euros (more than 7.5 million U.S. dollars). The featured $46,000 Open Handicap Trot saw favored DW's NY Yank (George Brennan, $3.90) easily handle his rivals, overcoming an eight-hole assignment in 2:26.3. The margin was 3¾ lengths over Backstreet Hanover (Tyler Buter), with Sevruga (Andy Miller) third. For "DW," a 5-year-old Dilbert Hanover gelding co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke, Weaver Bruscemi and Howard Taylor, it was his 13th win in 32 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $50, with the triple returning $142. The Raceway's 2015 live schedule (along with the return of evening simulcasting) is set to begin Friday, Jan. 9, pending approval of the New York State Gaming Commission. Afternoon simulcasting continues through Monday, then resumes Friday, Dec. 26, after the conclusion of NYRA's holiday respite. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Saturday -  Favored Beach Memories (George Brennan, $4.30) did his damage from first-up Saturday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $35,000 Open Handicap Pace. Sitting chilly early from post position No. 3, Beach Memories saw Sapphire City (Eric Carlson) make the lead (:27.1, :57.2) around BJ's Guy (Brent Holland), with early pocketeer Ronny Bugatti (Tyler Buter) shuffled to third. Beach Memories, who flashed wild speed in the slop a week ago, advanced from fifth here. He went up and over Sapphire City before the 1:24.1 three-quarters, opening 2¼ lengths in the lane. The final margin was a length-and-a-half in 1:52.1. It was Sapphire City holding second, with BJ's Guy, Ronny Bugatti and McErlean (Jordan Stratton) settling for the small change. For Beach Memories, a 4-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding trained by Ron Burke for co-owners Strollin and AWS Stables, Country Club Acres and King MacNamara, it was his fourth win in 24 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $34.40, with the triple returning $149.50. The Raceway's live season concludes with Sunday's matinee (post time just after 11 AM). by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

We did not fare that well last weekend with my selections but we shall move forward. First time since back in April that there are no stakes races in our handicapping column. Will just make my job a little harder but hopefully financially rewarding. Good Luck! $34,000 Trot Preferred Woodbine Racetrack 2nd race SATURDAY - Thought I had it nailed down last week but Daylon Magician folded late in the stretch. So this week I am going to go with CHARMED LIFE. He made a terrific three-wide move and closed well in the stretch to beat this group and I think he can do it again. Use Daylon Magician and Charlie Is A Joker in exotic plays. $35,000 Pace Open Handicap Yonkers Raceway 6th race SATURDAY - Despite burning up a lot of win tickets in his last two starts, I still like BEACH MEMORIES in here. I think with a good inside post and showing good gate speed he can work out a perfect cover trip and with that will win against this field. Use BJ's Guy and P H Supercam in exotic plays. $26,000 Pace WO $25,000 last 6 Yonkers Raceway 8th race SATURDAY - While he may have finished off the board in his last two outings, MICKEY HANOVER drops and should be able to pop from the rail. Something wasn't right last week and hopefully they got him good to go in here at a price. Use Orillia Joe and Santanna One in exotic plays. $12,000 Pace Open Handicap Pompano Park 7th race SATURDAY - Lately it has been PRAIRIE JAGUAR cutting the mile for someone else to win off of. But each week he is game to the wire, losing both in photo finishes. I think that Wrenn can rate him better in here and hold on all the way. Use Cadillac Phil and Duc Dorleans in exotic plays. $27,000 Pace NW $28,000 last 5 Woodbine Racetrack 10th race SATURDAY - Four return winners and three others hit the board last week. Makes for a very competitive race so as long as you can pick the winner you will get a nice return. I am going with CAMAES FELLOW. Won last week with ease and is actually dropping down in class for this race. Loves the front end and has won three of last five starts that way. Use Nickle Bag and Calgary Seelster in exotic plays. $30,000 Pace FFA Handicap The Meadowlands 11th race SATURDAY - Having won and lost here the last two starts by a head and nose, I have to come back with SPEED AGAIN. Shows he can do first-over or on the front end and can work his way up front so outside post should not hinder his efforts. He missed by a head last week from farer out than he is in here. Use Wake Up Peter and Shooter's Dream in exotic plays. $46,000 Trot Open Handicap 1¼ Mile Yonkers Raceway 1st race SUNDAY - Great way to start off the morning with 12-horse extra distance trot. The action is always interesting with a different winner every week. This week I am going with DW's NY YANK. He is the class of the field having won the one mile Open last week and has won in extra distance mile earlier. Tough enough to grind it out if necessary. Use Sevruga and Crazy About Pat in exotic plays. $28,000 Trot NW $25,000 last 6 1¼ Mile Yonkers Raceway 3rd race SUNDAY - Pick the winner in here and you will make money for sure. Tough field going extra distance is tough to handicap. I ended up going with HOORAYFORVACATION. Having the rail is good and with his front end speed he can take a shot at wiring the field or getting great cover. He was no factor from post 11 last week and prior he had won two of his three starts. Use Stir Me Up and Bentley Karan in exotic plays.  

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