BY FRANK DRUCKER, Publicity Director, Empire City @ Yonkers Raceway
YONKERS, NY, Sunday, October 19, 2014—Yonkers Raceway has announced the octet of world-class trotters for this Saturday night’s (Oct. 25th) International Trot Preview.
The race, at one-and-one-quarter miles for a purse of $250,000, is a precursor to next season’s return—after a two-decade hiatus--of the International Trot.
The eight on the gate for the Preview are (alphabetically) Archangel, Arch Madness, reigning Harness Horse of the Year Bee a Magician, Commander Crowe, Market Share, Natural Herbie, Not Afraid and Sebastian K. the world’s fastest trotter. Here’s a quick cheat sheet…
ARCHANGEL—A 5-year-old statebred son of Credit Winner with more than $1.1 million on account, he’s the 2012 Yonkers Trot winner (track-record for 3YO colts [1:54.1]). After a year in the breeding shed, he returned for new trainer Ron Burke and took a life-best 1:50 effort earlier this season. Archangel is co-owned by Legendary Standardbred Farm (Alan Hainsworth) and Clare Semer.
ARCH MADNESS—The 10-year-old Balanced Image gelding is a millionaire four times over for co-owners Marc Goldberg & Willow Pond LLC and trainer Trond Smedshammer. Arch Madness served notice that he’s back in business this past Friday night, with an 11-length romp in a track-record 2:00.3 for the mile-and-one-sixteenth.
BEE A MAGICIAN—2013’s Harness Horse of the Year on the strength of a perfect 17-for-17 season, this 4-year-old daughter of Kadabra is defending the honor of the fairer sex here. Thrice a winner (with six seconds) in a dozen starts this season, Bee A Magician’s lone local appearance was an effortless track-record (4YO mares) 1:55 in Open event in late August. The lass, a career $2.5 million earner, is trained by Nifty Norman for co-owners Mel Hartman, Herb Liverman and David McDuffee.
COMMANDER CROWE—One of Europe’s preeminent trotters, the 11-year-old Juliano Star gelding joins Arch Madness in the $4 million earnings club. His 60 career victories include the Elitlopp in 2012 and, more recently, Sweden’s Åby Stora Pris invitational. This is his U.S. debut and third North American start, the first two of a pair of thirds in Breeders Crowns (2011 & ’12). “Commander” is trained by Fabrice Souloy for owner Snogarps Gard AB (Barbro Wihlborg, Ulf Wihlborg & Joakim Wihlborg).
MARKET SHARE—This 5-year-old son of Revenue S is approaching $3.5 million in lifetime loot. His resume includes wins in a pair of seven-figure events, the 2012 Hambletonian and that season’s Canadian Trotting Derby. A season ago, it was the Breeders Crown. Maple Leaf Trot and TVG Free-For-All and American-National. In 2014, the Maxie Lee (Harrah’s Philly) has been his biggest win to date. Market Share’s lone local appearance was a third-place effort (to Archangel) in the 2012 Yonkers Trot. Linda Toscano trains for co-owners Richard Gutnick, Bill Augustine and T L P Stable.
NATURAL HERBIE—A 4-year-old Here Comes Herbie gelding has gone from being the scourge of Indiana to one of North America’s best trotters. A .500 hitter (11-for-22) this season and a shade better (23-for-45, $624,851) for his career, “Herbie” whipped Invitational class horses in the Vincennes (Meadowlands, life-best 1:51.4) and Noble Memorial (Scioto) for owner/trainer/driver Verlin Yoder.
NOT AFRAID—If there’s not a law that says a high-end trotting event can’t be held without a representative of Jimmy Takter present, perhaps there ought to be. This 5-year-old S J’s Caviar gelding is co-owned by Christina Takter, John Fielding and Goran Anderberg. He’s a six-time winner each of the last two seasons with career earnings in excess of $400,000. Not Afraid defeated Arch Madness in a Pocono Preferred event earlier this month. However, this is certainly a step up the social circle from the crowd Not Afraid saw the last time he was here, going winless in five tries against overnighters in the first half of 2013.
SEBASTIAN K—When your business card reads “World’s Fastest Trotter,” do you need any other references? The 8-year-old son of Korean, trained and driven by Ake Svanstedt for owner Knutsson Trotting (Michael Knutsson and Tristan Sjoberg), has taken the continent by storm in 2014. Eight wins and two seconds in 11 starts ($663,853), with his stunning 1:49 effort in a late June Pocono Invitational rewriting all the record books. A pair of stakes wins at the Meadowlands and one a Vernon are also included. His European prowess unquestioned (nearly $2.3 million in earnings), Sebastian K, as well as Commander Crowe, add to the tremendous list of overseas horses who have, ahem, “taken their talents to Westchester.”
This Saturday night’s (Oct. 25) five stakes finals…$500,000 Yonkers Trot, $500,000 Messenger Stakes, $250,000 International Trot Preview, $150,854 Lady Maud and $124,590 Hudson Filly Trot shall be “open drawn” Tuesday afternoon.
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.