BY FRANK DRUCKER, Publicity Director, Empire City @ Yonkers Raceway
YONKERS, NY, Sunday, January 8, 2017—Red Hot Herbie (Jason Bartlett, $10.80) sat an antsy pocket Sunday afternoon, winning Yonkers Raceway’s season-opening, mile-and-a-quarter, $75,000 Open Handicap Trot.
The added-distance feature was the first of seven ‘French’ forays during the 11-race card, going with a field of nine after an early defection.
Put in play from post position No. 4, Red Hot Herbie made the first lead before yielding to the lass Tweet Me (Pat Lachance). That one did her business through modest early intervals of :29.4 and :59.1.
After a soft 1:29.1 three-quarters, ‘Herbie’ wanted out. He extricated himself from the pocket, going by the leader right around the 1:57.3 mile marker and taking a length-and-a-half lead into the lane.
Red Hot Herbie held off Springbank Sam N (Jordan Stratton) by a length-and-three-quarters in 2:27.3. Tweet Me stayed for third, with Money Maven (Andy Miller) and Kelsey’s Keepsake (Joe Bongiorno) rounding out the payees.
Not Afraid (Dan Dube) was a non-factor sixth as the 2-1 choice.
For third choice Red Hot Herbie, a now-7-year-old Here Comes Herbie gelding co-owned (as Allard Racing) by (trainer) Rene Allard, Bruce Soulsby and Edward Reppucci, it was a winning 2017 debut off a $160,000 season a year ago. The exacta paid $24.80, with the triple returning $129.50.
Note that the return of the “New York, New York Double’ was a scratch after Aqueduct cancelled its card. The wager is scheduled to make a ’17 debut next Sunday (Jan. 15th).
Also be advised Yonkers’ early-season schedule is comprised of five nights (Mon/Tue/Thu/Fri/Sat) with a first post of 7:10 PM. The remaining January Sunday matinees (15th and 29th) are TBA as of this writing.