BY FRANK DRUCKER, Publicity Director, Empire City @ Yonkers Raceway
YONKERS, NY, Saturday, October 25, 2014—Yonkers Raceway didn’t exactly hand Nuncio (John Campbell) the money Saturday night. He had to go through the obligatory Yonkers Trot compulsories, but the end result was surprise to no one in particular.
Nuncio strolled to a 2¼-length, 1:56 win in the 60th Trot, his second Trotting Triple Crown victory of the season and Yonkers Trot No. 3 for his Hall of Fame driver.
His job made that much easier when Gural Hanover—an elimination winner last week, as was Nuncio—scratched sick, pole-inheriting Nuncio claimed this race in short order. After allowing Don Dorado (Tim Tetrick) the first lead from the far outside, Nuncio, as the puny 1-20 choice, made front.
Waltzing through a 29-second opening quarter-mile and :58.4 half, he widened down the backside while Don Dorado broke and left the course. After a :28.4 third quarter (1:27.3), Nuncio opened to three lengths in and out of the final turn.
Though drifting through the lane, he held sway over an improved effort by Datsyuk (Charlie Norris). Resolve (Dave Miller) was third, beaten 11 lengths, with Expressive Action (Jason Bartlett) and Journey (Dan Dube) completing the cashers. Breakers King City (George Brennan) and Don Dorado rounded out the order.
For Nuncio ($2.10 to win), a $7,000 (Harrisburg) son of Andover Hall owned by Stall Tz and trained by Jimmy Takter, it was his 10th win in 15 seasonal starts. The ultra-consistent sort, who won the Kentucky Futurity before invading Yonkers, has never missed worse than second (15 wins, 10 seconds) in 25 lifetime starts ($1,758,970).
For Takter, who completed his personal 2014 Trotting Triple Crown (he drove Trixton to a win in the Hambletonian, where Nuncio was second), it was his fourth Yonkers Trot in the past six seasons.
The exacta here paid $6.40, with the triple returning $15.20.
“When you’re at this class, every horse has desire, every horse has speed and every horse has talent,” Campbell said. “What makes Nuncio so special is brings those things every start. He takes it to the next level.
“I feel sorry for those (Gural Hanover) people, not to be able to race, and it changed the complexion of the race. Regardless, I thought my horse was the one to beat.”
The 13-race handle was $1,105,936, second-highest total of the season.