BY FRANK DRUCKER, Publicity Director, Empire City @ Yonkers Raceway
YONKERS, NY, Thursday, October 29, 2015—Jason Bartlett used Yonkers Raceway’s final Thursday card (Oct. 29) of the season as a backdrop for his latest milestone.
Yonkers Raceway’s leading driver reached 6,000 career wins, getting to the plateau with a down-the-road, odds-on Cndiana Jones ($3.60) in 1:55.2.
Say this much for Bartlett…he needs to learn about suspense. After getting win No. 5,999 in the $10,000 pacing opener with a pocket-pulling Hustleonhome ($4.80) by 11 ½ lengths in 1:54.1, he was up the oval in the second race.
If you were looking for some dramatic build-up, keep looking. Bartlett took control of the $10,000, third-race pace with “Cndiana” and was never threatened. She won by a length-and-a-half.
Bartlett was greeted in the winner’s circle by family and friends, including the missus, who looked suspiciously like Tom Brady. Mrs. Bartlett (Kristen) and Jason were joined by sons, Kobe and Karter, along with grandfather, Richard, Jimmy Nickerson and Heidi Rohr, among others. Mr. Rohr trained Cndiana Jones.
“Coming from Maine and not knowing what to expect, it’s sort of hard to believe,” Bartlett said after getting the obligatory sign of congratulations. “I never thought I’d have the success I’ve had, going against Brian (Sears), George (Brennan) and all the great drivers who compete here.
“I’m so happy my family was with me tonight,” Bartlett said. “My grandfather has been a father to me and by far my biggest influence.” The 34-year-old Bartlett, a native of Augusta, ME, has career purses in excess of $71 million.
Bartlett’s milestone win was his 413th local victory this season as he closes in on a fifth Westchester title.
Next up on the milestone list is George Brennan, who began Thursday night with 15 wins away from 9,000.