BY FRANK DRUCKER, Publicity Director, Empire City @ Yonkers Raceway
YONKERS, NY, Friday, February 28, 2014--Yonkers Raceway's pair of Friday night $33,000 Open Handicaps--a Pace for the ladies and a Trot for all who passed initiation--were won by a down-the-road Cocoa Beach (Matt Kakaley, $4.90) and a pocket-sitting Tober (Jason Bartlett, $6.70).
From the pole, the 7-5 choice Cocoa Beach gave nothing else a chance. Season-debuting Swinging Beauty (George Brennan) left into a two-hole well before a :27.4 opening quarter-mile.
After a :56.3 intermission, no one moved until eight-hole assignee Economy Terror (Ron Pierce) did so from last. She never came closer to the leader, while Swinging Beauty gapped the pocket at the 1:24.3 three-quarters.
Cocoa Beach widened to 5½ lengths into the lane, then won by a wrapped-up 3¼ lengths in 1:53.1. Second went to a sharp-late Yagonnakissmeornot (Dan Dube), with Sir Jillian Z Tam (Pat Lachance), Carol’s Desire (Jason Bartlett) and Economy Terror rounding out the payees.
For Cocoa Beach, a 6-year-old daughter of Mach Three owned and trained by Brittany Robertson, it was her first win in two seasonal starts. The exacta paid $62.50, with the triple returning $654.
The week’s marquee trot saw a an invading Traverse Seelster (Pierce)---winner of three consecutive races at Dover—leave around Tober, starting from post No. 4. The latter was bumping up the ladder going after a fourth local victory in succession
It was “Traverse” putting up the early intervals of :28.1 and :57.3 before Tall Cotton (Brennan)—assigned outside what was reduced a seven-horse field—made his second move.
Traverse Seelster put that one away before a 1:26.3 three-quarters, taking a length-and-a-half lead into the lane. However, he found closing the sale a bit tougher in Yonkers as Tober edged from the pocket.
That one prevailed by a neck in 1:55.3. An off-the-gate Super Manning (Kakaley) rallied to grab second from second-over, with Traverse Seelster, Tall Cotton and Live Jazz (Mark MacDonald) settling for the remainder.
For second choice Tober, a 6-year-old statebred/homebred Credit Winner gelding co-owned by Kristie Leigh Farm & Joseph Betro and trained by Ed Hart, it was his fourth win in six '14 tries The exacta paid $46.20, the triple returned $158.50 and the superfecta paid $437.
The Raceway's five-night-per-week live schedule continues, with first post every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:10 PM. Evening simulcasting accompanies all live programs, with afternoon simulcasting available daily.