For Opinion, click here for View from the Racetrack Grandstand

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


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

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, September 4, 2012--With the $1.8 million New York Night of Champions a scant couple of weeks away--Sept. 22, to be precise--several downstate sire stakes legs remain to be contested.

After tonight's (Tuesday's) $331,270 Dick McGuire Trot for 3-year-old colts and geldings, the statebreds are at it again both Thursday and Friday.

Thursday night finds the $290,455 Jim Crawford Pace for freshman colts and geldings. Drawn and quartered (races 3,5,7 and 8), the event finds talent in every division.

The opening ($72,905) division includes Swift as a Shadow (Tim Tetrick, post 2), a Bettor's Delight colt who have won half of six starts and more than $82,000 this summer. Linda Toscano trains the Winbak Farms homebred, who was a handy NYSS winner here last month.

The second ($72.905) grouping includes Deny Deny Deny (Tetrick, post 1) and America'sgottalent  (Jason Bartlett, post 3). The former, a son of Art Major trained by Toscano for owner Ken Jacobs, has been first or seconds in five, first-season tries ($96,746). The latter, a son of American Ideal, has won three of eight efforts, hitting the board a half-dozen times.

Ron Burke trains for Our Horse Cents Stables.

Thursday night's third ($71,605) sire stakes sojourn includes the return of Sheppard Pace winner Hail the Taxi (John Campbell, post 7). The son of Art Major, who authored a 35-1 stunner in that $119,000 July stakes race, subsequently finished second to divisional standout Captaintreacherous in the $309,050 Woodrow Wilson at the Meadowlands.

Jim Campbell trains for Fashion Farms as Hail the Taxi makes his first start in 33 days. His primary competition figures to come from Sir Cary's Z Tam (Pat Lachance, post 4), a Bettor's Delight colt who already has a local sire stakes win on his resume.

Thursday's final ($72,905) statebred event brings the Empire's upper echelon in the form of Doctor Butch (Tetrick, post 5).  The Art Major colt, trained by Toscano for owner Jacobs, has six wins (including his last five starts) and a pair of seconds in eight '12 efforts ($161,782).

"Butch" was second in final of the Sheppard (after winning his elim), then won a local NYSS appearance at odds of 1-20. His life-best of 1:52, taken two starts back at Tioga, is the fastest win time of any of Thursday's sire stakes entrants.

Friday night, the $291,440 Pat Quaglietta Trot for 2-year-old fillies, like the Crawford, was sliced and diced into four divisions (races 3 through 6, at $72,860 each).

The evening's first event is led by the board-perfect Barn Babe (John Cummings Jr., post 4). The daughter of Cash Hall, owned and trained by Steve Pratt, has three wins, three seconds and a pair of thirds ($73,123) in eight efforts this season. However, she did tire to third as the odds-on choice when these ladies first hit town about a month ago.

The second grouping is led by Pretty Crazy (Brent Holland, post 2). The daughter of Crazed, co-owned and trained by Brandon Simpson, has won five of her eight starts ($56,674), including a wire-to-wire victory here in the lasses' first local go-round here in early July.  

Friday's third statebred group looms a battle of the three inside interests with You Want Me (Jim Morrill Jr., post 1), Royal Malinda (Dan Daley, post 2) and Palm Beach Chic (Jeff Gregory, post 3) all enjoying solid summers.

You Want Me, a Credit Winner lass, co-owned by (breeder) William Weaver III and (trainer) Paul Kelley, enters with handy wins in her last two tries. "Malinda," a daughter of RC Royalty trained by Daley for co-owners Ann-Mari Daley, Purple Haze Stables and Richard Lombardo, has hit the board in four of her seven tries this season. Palm Beach Chic, a Conway Hall miss co-owned by her driver and Bill Richardson and trained by Toscano, has a couple of statebred wins in her last five efforts.

The evening's final foray features talented lasses in the form of Lady Riviera (Morrill Jr., post 1), Proclaiming April (Trond Smedshammer, post 2) and Isabella Gal (Morrill Jr. also listed, post 5).

Lady Riviera, a daughter of Sand Vic owned and trained by Rich Banca, has three wins and a pair of seconds in six seasonal starts ($56,384). Promising April, a White Birch Farm homebred trained by Smedshammer, has a couple of wins and a third in five '12 tries ($50,125). "Isabella," a daughter of RC Royalty co-owned by (trainer) Jeffrey Long, Bob and Lynn Brooks and John Buettner, has five wins in eight tries ($86,083), with one of those wins coming here last month.

The Raceway continues its normal five-night-per-week live schedule, with first post every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:10 PM. Evening simulcasting accompanies all live programs, with afternoon simulcasting available around the NYRA schedule.