BY FRANK DRUCKER, Publicity Director, Empire City @ Yonkers Raceway
YONKERS, NY, Thursday, February 23, 2012 -- Mark MacDonald made his Westchester--and 2012 seasonal--debut Thursday night, driving a Yonkers Raceway duo.
MacDonald's first drive was a last (sixth)-place finish behind Heaven and Hall in the $11,000, second-race trot.
He then found paydirt in the $14,000, 10th-race pace, winning with the first-up Tongue Twister ($16.60) in a season's-best 1:55.3.
Both horses were trained by Mark Ford, who encouraged MacDonald to come stateside.
"I'm excited," MacDonald said. "I am planning on staying. This is where I want to race. Hopefully, it works out," The 33-year-old MacDonald, a standout on the Woodbine circuit for years, has 4,928 career wins with purses approaching $59 million. He’s back in the bike after an injury-plagued 2011 season.
MacDonald has four scheduled drives Friday (all for Ford) and seven Saturday (all but one for Ford).
Also of note Thursday were the three wins by Jordan Stratton, moving him to within three of 2,000 for his career.
Yonkers' five-night-per-week (Monday/Tuesday/Thursday/Friday/Saturday) live schedule continues. First post for all programs remains at 7:10 PM. Evening simulating accompanies all live programs, with afternoon simulating available around the NYRA schedule.