For Opinion, click here for View from the Racetrack Grandstand

Sunday, September 9, 2012


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

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, September 8, 2012--Neither rain, nor more rain, nor even more rain could stay Sapphire City (Brent Holland) from the swift completion of his appointed all-age track record time.

He prevailed from second-over Saturday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $44,000 Open Handicap in 1:50.2, fastest local mile ever.

Leaving from post position No. 4, Sapphire City was spectating early, sitting fifth as Rockin' Glass (Dan Dube) set sloppy sail through fractions of :26.3 and 54.4. Rafferty Hanover (George Brennan), in his first visit to the Saturday night adult table, was pocketed, with Code Word (Jason Bartlett) third.

Down the backside, slight 2-1 choice Aussie Reactor A (Jordan Stratton) moved from fourth with Sapphire City along for the tow. Aussie Reactor A disposed of the early leader passing the 1:23 three-quarters, taking a short lead into the lane. However, Sapphire City--after breaking in the pocket as the favorite a week ago--would have none of that this evening.

He easily went on by Aussie Reactor A, winning by a couple of lengths in a last quarter of :27.2  Aussie Reactor A saved second, with a diving-inside Dancin' Yankee (Jim Pantaleano), One More Laugh (Pat Lachance) and Eagle All (Eric Goodell) coming away with the small change.

That mile wiped both Silver Almahurst (1993) and Electric Oui (this past May) out of the record book (all age, 1:50.4), not to mention Sea Venture (this past May) and Real Flight (this July) out of the subsection for 4-year-old geldings (1:51).

"I've always liked this horse, even when he was racing in the much lower conditions," Holland said. "He's proven he's good enough for the Open Handicaps. I drove him too conservatively in Philly (closing third in an Invitational) and last week, he broke because he was locked in a line.

"Tonight, he had a great trip and he did the rest."

For Sapphire City, a 4-year-old Metropolitan gelding trained by Paul Blumenfeld for co-owners Centaur Stable and Jordan Sklut, returned $12 (third choice) for his ninth win in 27 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $48.20, with the triple returning $229.

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.