BY FRANK DRUCKER, Publicity Director, Empire City @ Yonkers Raceway
YONKERS, NY, Thursday, July 16, 2015—National Seelster (Andy Miller, $13.20) ripped out of the pocket and ripped past a prohibitive favorite Thursday night, throwing down the gauntlet with the fastest of three efforts during Yonkers Raceway’s $168,375 New York Sire Stakes Hugh Grant Pace.
Leaving alertly from post position No. 6 in the first, $56.125 event for 3-year-old pacing colts/geldings, National Seelster made the first lead. He then gave up the baton to 1-4 choice Arque Hanover (Jason Bartlett) right at a :27.1 opening quarter-mile. Southwind Massimo (Pat Lachance) was away third.
Arque Hanover found a 56-second intermission and 1:23.4 three-quarters, with no outer pressure whatsoever. He took a length lead into the lane, but National Seelster was more than ready for his second move. He went up and over “Arque,” winning by a length-and-quarter in a certifiably-snappy 1:51.1.
Arque Hanover held second over Southwind Massimo.
For second choice National Seelster, an (unraced at 2) son of Bettor’s Delight trained by Chris Ryder for co-owners Robert Mondillo and Oompa’s Farm, it was his seventh win in 13 seasonal starts (4-for-4 in NYSS competition). The exacta paid $22.60, with the triple returning $86.50.
“He’s just a perfect colt,” Ryder said. “Does whatever you ask, gets around any surface. We may try the Adios next, depending upon how many of those ‘killers’ are there.”
Thursday’s other Grant events were won by Betting Exchange (Jim Morrill Jr., $2.10) getting off the seasonal schneid in 1:53.3, and Americanprimetime (Bartlett, $19.80), holding off 59-1 Rock in Heaven (Dave Miller) in a season’s-best 1:52.4.
The former, Bettor’s Delight colt trained by Tom Fanning for co-owners himself, Howard Taylor and Susan Kajsfasz, zipped well past $300,000 in career cash. The exacta (Penji Hanover [Mark MacDonald] second) paid $4.50 (two wagering choices, with the triple (K-Rock [Yannick Gingras] third) returning $27.80. The winning margin was two lengths.
For fourth choice Americanprimetime, a son of American Ideal trained by Rick Dane Jr. for owner Rock and Roll Stable, he’s now 2-for-9 this season. The exacta paid $148.50, the triple (Artistic Major [Scott Zeron] third) returned $1,548 and the superfecta (17-10 choice A Bettor Hat [Brian Sears] fourth) paid $12,135 (base $2 payout). The winning margin was a half-length.
The Raceway’s live season continues Friday and Saturday (both at 7:10 PM), with Saturday night featuring the $107,500 final of the Lawrence B. Sheppard Pace for 2-year-old colts and geldings. Evening simulcasting accompanies all night programs, with afternoon simulcasting available daily.