BY FRANK DRUCKER, Publicity Director, Empire City @ Yonkers Raceway
YONKERS, NY, Thursday, September 11, 2014—With Yonkers Raceway hosting the 25th edition of the New York Night of Champions Saturday night, driver Jason Bartlett—who has dates in every race—discussed his assignments.
The $1.8 million event, richest night of racing in the state, offers eight, $225,000 sire stakes finals for 2-and 3-year-olds of both sexes and gait (races 5 through 9 on the 13-race program). Once again, each race is sponsored by a prominent Empire State breeding farm, and there is a $10,000 guaranteed pool Pick 5, 50-cent base wager races 5 through 9).
As for Bartlett…
Crawford Farms 2-Year-Old Filly Trot (2nd race)—Zanna Blu (head number 3, post 2)…”I’ve never driven her before. I know she has good gate speed and a good spot. Ideally, you want to try and hold early position.”
Cameo Hills Farm 3-Year-Old Filly Pace (3rd race)—Spreester (post 1)…”I’m not surprised she was the points leader (overall 6-for-14, $134,330). She’s versatile and obviously, the draw helps. If nothing crazy happens, she should be right there.”
Winbak Farm 2-Year-Old Filly Pace (4th race)—Bossers Joy (HN 2, post 4)…”Well, at least I’m right next to Ron Burke’s three (Band of Angels, Sassa Hanover and Bettor N Better drew the inside three slots). (Trainer) Kevin (McDermott) says his filly has some talent, but this is tough.”
Stirling Brook Farms 3-Year-Old Filly Trot (5th race)—L Dee’s Scripture (HN 1, post 2)…”Obviously, (defending NYSS champ) Market Rally is the one to beat. When I drove my filly here earlier, she did come home (from post 6) in :28.1. I figure she’s going to be much closer in this race.”
Morrisville College Equine Institute 2-Year-Old Colt/Gelding Trot (6th race)—Insomniac (post 8)…”Can I get a do-over with the draw? I really think this is toughest race of the eight, anyone can win. My horse has speed, but so does everyone inside of me. He hasn’t made any mistakes, but he’s going to have to earn it from out there.”
Blue Chip Farms 3-Year-Old Colt/Gelding Pace (7th race)—Moliere Hanover (HN 6, post 7)…”He’s alright from off the pace, but there’s going to have to seriously mix it up on the lead. All Best Off is definitely the one to beat, and he starts next to me (post 6).”
Genesee Valley Farm 2-Year-Old Colt/Gelding Pace (8th race)—Oneisalonelynumber (post 7)…”I don’t know anything about him, but I can go back and watch the replays. There are some chicken lines (breaks) and zeros (parked out races) on his card, and the draw doesn’t help.”
Allerage Farm 3-Year-Old Colt/Gelding Trot (9th race)—Lukas Hall (HN 1A, post 6)…”He’s up against two very good trotters (defending sire stakes champ Flyhawk El Durado and Gural Hanover, who is a common-ownership entrymate of”Lukas”). I’ve driven him twice and he made break both times. I’d like to think if he trots, he can get a share.”
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.