BY FRANK DRUCKER, Publicity Director, Empire City @ Yonkers Raceway
YONKERS, NY, Saturday, February 18, 2017—It was the old double-nickel Saturday night as a pair of fives took down Yonkers Raceway’s $50,000 co-featured Open Handicaps.
Rock of Cashel (Scott Zeron, $13.20) won the week’s marquee trot from second over, snapping pace-setting (:28.3, :58, 1:27.1) 17-10 choice Springbank Sam N (Jordan Stratton) by a head in 1:56. Dot Dot Dot Dash (Steve Smith) offered her best stride late to grab third, with a two-move Red Hot Herbie (Jason Bartlett) and a pocket-tiring Newcastle (Dan Dube) settling for the minors.
For third choice Rock of Cashel, a 7-year-old son of Majestic Son co-owned by Joseph Jannuzzelli & Jeffrey Ruch and trained by Mark Harder, it was his second win in six seasonal starts. The exacta paid $48, with the triple returning $124.
The weekly featured pace saw tepid fave Caviart Luca (George Brennan, $6.30) have a simple a trip as was equine-ly possible, as in unpressured intervals of :27.3, :57.3, 1:25 and 1:52.2. The final margin was 2¼ lengths over the loose pocket of Sports Bettor (Brent Holland).
A season-debuting But of a Legend N (Stratton) was saved to the lane from the eight-hole, then was sharp closing for third. Delaware interloper Soto (Matt Kakaley) was also solid late grabbing fourth, while First Class Horse (Tyler Buter) earned the final pay envelope.
For Caviart Luca, a 6-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke, Weaver Bruscemi and Phil Collura, it was his fourth win in five ’17 tries. The exacta paid $40.40, with the triple returning $664.
More tidbits from a Saturday evening…
--no one hit the Pick 5, so Monday night’s gimmick begins with a carryover of $2,310.27 (50-cent base wager, Monday going as races 7 through 11);
--Stratton won four races, including three in succession, during the 10-race card;
--a local season-high daily double of $1,251 was the result of 6-Validus Deo (Dube, $99.50) and 4-Aggressive (Mark MacDonald) winning the first two races.