BY FRANK DRUCKER, Publicity Director, Empire City @ Yonkers Raceway
YONKERS, NY, Saturday, September 5, 2015—Fair assumption if we asked Yannick Gingras before the races who would give him a Triple Crown win Saturday night, Revenge Shark would not have been the answer of choice.
In the latest example of “That’s why you race ‘em,” Gingras and Revenge Shark ($21.60) outsprinted both Art Rooney Pace winner In the Arsenal (Brian Sears) and Adios champ Dude’s the Man (Corey Callahan), winning a three-horse, Yonkers Raceway photo in the 60th Messenger Stakes.
The second jewel of the Pacing Triple Crown, featuring six 3-year-old colts, two geldings, a $500,000 purse and no previous week’s eliminations—didn’t offer much early suspense.
In the Arsenal, from post position No. 3, left around pole-sitting 3-4 choice “Dude” and made the lead before a :27.3 opening quarter-mile. Revenge Shark, from post No. 2, A slow, :29.1 next station (:56.4 intermission) should have swelled up the leader, especially with no challengers.
Rock N’ Roll World (Dan Dube) moved from sixth, with stablemate/entrymate Dealt a Winner (Jason Bartlett) second-over. That one, looking to add the Messenger to his upset win in the Cane Pace, eventually jumped it off around the final turn.
In the Arsenal was unpressured through a 1:25.1 three-quarters, taking a length-and-a-half lead into the lane. Then, Dude’s the Man angled to take his shot, with Revenge Shark also leaving the cones to move further out. In what was a furious last-sixteenth sprint. Revenge Shark stuck his tongue out just in time, whipping “Dude” by a short nose. In the Arsenal was a no-excuse third, beaten a head.
Roland N Rock (Tyler Buter) and National Seelster (Eric Carlson) earned the final two pay envelopes, Rock N’ Roll World, Rollin’ Ring Afire (George Brennan) and the breaking (when he tow stalled) Dealt a Winner rounded out the order.
For fourth choice Revenge Shark, a son of ’94 Messenger winner Cam’s Card Shark co-owned (as Alagna Racing) by (trainer) Tony Alagna and Brad Grant, it was his fourth win in 17 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $63.50, triple returned $154 and the superfecta paid $571.
The same horse whose previous start was a break at 1-10 in a Philly overnight won a Triple Crown event. This why you race ‘em.
“I never drove him before, but I talk to some of his other drivers and they said he could come home pretty good,” Gingras said. “I wasn’t about to come first-up. I just had to take my chances and it worked out. Actually, I thought I was going by easier, but he was a bit lazy on me late.
“I always felt this horse would get a nice payday this year,” Alagna said from Mohawk. “He's been knocking on the door and Yannick put him in a position to win.”
As for his eventful Yonkers Trot night with Pinkman a couple of races before, “We (judges and I) agree to disagree,” Gingras said. “I was close (to Buen Camino), but that was something that happens in every single race. If they’re going to start taking horses down for what happened in that race, then there will be disqualifications in every race.”