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Sunday, February 26, 2012


BY FRANK DRUCKER, Publicity Director, Empire City @ Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, February 25, 2012 -- Code Word (Tyler Buter) used a second-over Saturday night trip to author an 11-1 upset, winning Yonkers Raceway's $33,000 Open Handicap Pace.

Code Word driven by Tyler Buter scores the 11-1 upset in the weekly feature Open Handicap (Mike Lizzi Photo)
Leaving from post position No. 6, Code Word watched early as Corky Baran (Pat Lachance) threw down windy gauntlet fractions of :27.2, :57.2 and 1:25.3. Real Nice (Jason Bartlett), the 2011 Levy Series champ, was pocketed in his 2012 seasonal debut.

Meanwhile, last week's winner, Summer Camp (Eric Goodell), was first-up as this week's 11-10 favorite. Summer Camp wore down "Corky" early stretch, buy could not stave off the rival on his rear. Code Word just did get there, prevailing  by a head in 1:54.4. A closing Tobago Cays (Jim Pantaleano), a shuffled Real Nice and Jerry's Brown Gold (George Brennan) came away with the remainder.

For Code Word, a 5-year-old son of Western Terror co-owner (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke, Frank Baldachino, Weaver Bruscemi and Lawrence Karr, he returned $24.20 (fifth choice) or his fourth win in six seasonal starts. The exacta paid $88.50, with the triple returning $699.

Later in the evening, driver Jordan Stratton won his second race on the card, which just happened to be the 2,000th of his career. Stratton, who reached 1,999 with Foreign Officer ($9.30) in the $27,000, eighth-race pace, hit the milestone when Lola's Cruiser ($13.60) was both good and lucky in the $20,000, 11th-race pace.

Jordan Stratton scores his 2,000th career win with Lola's Cruiser.  (Mike Lizzi Photo)
"Lola" prevailed (1:55) in a race where runner-up Report For Duty N (Brennan) was badly impeded by a first-turn breaker, then race leader Sam's Escape also jumped. Report For Duty N did recover to get second as the 4-5 choice.  

"I've always tried to take each race as it happens, but I knew I was this number was getting here," Stratton said. The 24-year-old Stratton--whose family was on hand to help him accept the congratulatory sign--has earned more than $22 million in purses in a career which began quite modestly in 2006.

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.