FRANK DRUCKER, Publicity Director, Empire City @ Yonkers Raceway
YONKERS, NY, Saturday, September 13, 2014—Yonkers Raceway Saturday night hosted the 25th edition of the New York Night of Champions.
The $1.8 million event--richest night of racing in the state--offered eight, $225,000 sire stakes finals for 2-and 3-year-olds of both sexes and gaits. Once again, each race was sponsored by a prominent Empire State breeding farm. Despite Mother Nature sticking her nose in--rain throughout first half of card and delays due to track maintenance—the state’s best were summarily saluted.
Here’s the chronological compendium…
Crawford Farms 2-Year-Old Filly Trot—Slight second choice Barn Doll (Jeff Gregory, $4.40) was the best coming in and best going out, winning (from post position No. 5) by five lengths in a soggy 2:00.4. Nunkeri (Mark MacDonald) was second, with Betcha (Jim Morrill Jr.) a recovering third after a break. Concentration (Brian Sears), also at 6-5 but the tepid favorite, broke early, though came back to finish fourth.
For Barn Doll, a daughter of Conway Hall co-owned by (trainer) Steve & Nancy Pratt and Purple Haze Stables, it was her seventh win in nine seasonal starts (3-for-3 here). The exacta paid $44, with the triple returning $192.50.
“She just knows what she’s doing, a total pro,” Gregory said. “I wasn’t worried about her coming up sick (in her last scheduled NYSS start, because Steve said it wasn’t that bad and she had trained well. I’m hoping she keeps it going next season as a 3-year-old..
Cameo Hills Farm 3-Year-Old Filly Pace—As expected, the 11-10 choice, pole-sitting Spreester (Jason Bartlett) cut the mile, but she was no match for the lass on her back, It Was Fascination (Brett Miller, $6), from post 2, ducked inside and won by a length-and-a-quarter in 1:57.2. Table Talk (Matt Kakaley) was a first-up third.
For “Fascination,” a daughter of American Ideal co-owned by (trainer) Tony Alagna, Riverview Racing and Bay’s Stable, it was her fourth win in 13 ’14 tries. The exacta paid $12.20, the triple returned $38.60 and the superfecta (Major Dancer [Sears] was fourth) paid $85.50.
“I’ve never driven her before, but I watched her replays and thought if she was close enough, she’d have a chance,” Miller said.
Winbak Farm 2-Year-Old Filly Pace—The three-headed, Ron Burke-trained monster in Band of Angels (George Brennan), Sassa Hanover (Morrill Jr.) and Bettor N Better (Kakaley) were considered so potent, they were barred from all wagering.
The finished fourth, fifth and eight (last).
It was just-over even-money Mosquito Blue Chip (John Campbell, $4.10)—seventh at the three-quarters from post No. 6—furiously closing to snap Bossers Joy (Bartlett) by a nose on the money in 1:56. Heavenly Bride (Sears) was a from-last third. “Sassa” led to the lane before tiring to fifth.
For “Mosquito,” a Bettor’s Delight lass co-owned by (trainer) Paul Jessop, Our Three Sons Stable and Donato Falcicchio, she’s now 4-for-9 this season. The exacta paid $18.60, with no triple wagering due to the limited number of wagering interests.
“I thought Jason (Bartlett, driving Bossers Joy) had lost me around the last turn, but in the straightaway, my filly just kept going,” Campbell said. “She’s a lot calmer than when I baby-raced her, maybe a bit too calm, but she was strong at the finish.”
Stirling Brook Farms 3-Year-Old Filly Trot—Last season’s champ is now this season’s champ. Odds-on Market Rally (Morrill Jr., $2.40, part of entry) put a whuppin’ on her outclassed foes. From post No. 6, she had open-length lead seemingly from the post parade. Up 10 at the half, she coasted home by 5¾ lengths in 1:58. Second went to Cutup Hanover (Gregory), Glowngold (Sears, part of another entry) third.
For Market Rally, a daughter of Cash Hall co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke, Weaver Bu7rscemi and Panhellenic Stabler, it was her seventh win in 10 ’14 efforts. The exacta paid $31.60, with tbe triple returning $82. Market Rally is 6-for-6 here in her career.
Morrisville College Equine Institute 2-Year-Old Colt/Gelding Trot—Odds-on Crazy Wow ($3.80) and driver Dan Rawlings are each a perfect 2-for-2 locally, winning the draw and leading at every pylon in 2:00.1. Wings of Royalty (Sears) was a first-up second—beaten 3½ lengths—with Buen Camino (Trond Smedshammer) third.
For Crazy Wow, a son of Crazed owned by Joseph Hess and trained by Dan O’Mara, he’s now 4-for-7 in his first season. The exacta paid $15.80, with the triple returning $34.80.
“I really didn’t care where I was leaving the gate, as long as he left trotting,” Rawlings said. “I saw too many horses ‘blow up’ earlier and I wanted to make sure he didn’t. The fact that I was able to get a breather made me happy.”
Blue Chip Farms 3-Year-Old Colt/Gelding Pace—Odds-on All Bets Off (Kakaley, $2.30, part of entry) beat down his overmatched foes. From post No. 5, he took no prisoners, going down the road by four lengths in 1:54. Stay Up Late (MacDonald) was a first-up second, with Western Conquest (Brent Holland) third.
For Art Rooney Pace winner All Bets Off, a son of Bettor’s Delight co-owned (with Frank Baldachinio, Panhellenic Stable and Rosemary Shelswell) by trainer Burke, he’s now 9-for-12 this season (career earning nearing $830,000) for an original $7,000 yearling purchase). The exacta (two wagering choices) paid $6.60.
“He’s just better than these horses,” Kakaley said. “Ronnie has had him good all season. There wasn’t much to it tonight.”
Genesee Valley Farm 2-Year-Old Colt/Gelding Pace—Driver and trainer teamed up again, this time with Cartoon Daddy ($15.40), though not before surviving an inquiry. Away third from post No. 6, he extricated himself from the cones just before Oneisalonelynumber (Bartlett) came to him on the outside.
That move placed Cartoon Daddy second-over behind Berkley, before grabbing that rival and winning by a couple of lengths in 1:55. Betting Exchange (Sears), as the 3-2 choice, crossed the line, but was set down to seventh for impeding Oneisalonelynumber soon after Cartoon Daddy was acquitted for possibly doing the same thing.
Southwind Masimo (Pat Lachance) and a tiring early leader Americanprimetime (Morrill Jr.) were advanced to third and fourth, respectively.
For fourth choice Cartoon Daddy, a Aert Major frosh trained by Burke for himself (as Burke Racing) and Joe DiScala Jr., it was his fifth win in nine seasonal starts. The exacta paid $125.50, the triple returned $681 and the superfecta paid $1,526
Allerage Farm 3-Year-Old Colt/Gelding Trot—Defending champ Flyhawk El Durado (MacDonald) led to the lane, only to make a bad break and take any suspense out of his meeting with Gural Hanover (Morrill Jr., $2.90, part of entry). The latter, never out of range from post No. 2, then had the race all to himself. He defeated Zoey De Vie (Sears) by 4¾ lengths, with Daley Lovin’ (Dan Daley) third. “El Durado” recovered to finish fourth.
For Gural Hanover, a Crazed gelding co-owned by trainer Burke, Little E and Panhellenic Stables, it was his eight consecutive (sire stakes) win and his ninth win in 11 ’14 tries. The exacta paid $21, with the triple returning $187.50. .
Saturday’s $44,000 Open Handicap Pace was won by Bigtown Hero (Kakaley, $17) in 1:53.2
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.