BY FRANK DRUCKER, Publicity Director, Empire City @ Yonkers Raceway
YONKERS, NY, Saturday, March 4, 2017—A pocketed Hemi Seelster (Jason Bartlett, $17.80) and a down-the-road Caviart Luca (George Brennan, $14) were the melba toasts of the town Saturday night, winning Yonkers Raceway’s $50,000 co-featured Open Handicaps.
In play from post position No. 3, Hemi Seelster nestled into an early pocket behind pole-sitting Springbank Sam N (Jordan Stratton), with the lass Allerage Star (Andy Miller) diving into a three-hole. Slight 2-1 choice Rose Run Parker (Brennan) tried to leave, but found no room at the inn and took back to seventh.
‘Sam’ rated soft-enough subdivisions (:28.2, :58.4) before 20-1 shot Tweet Me (Pat Lachance) took her shot, first-up from fourth. Springbank Sam N maintained his lead in and out of a 1:27.3 third quarter, taking a length-and- a-half lead into the lane.
Despite seemingly cheap fractions, ‘Sam’ was powerless to stave off Hemi Seelster, who prevailed by a length-and-a-half in 1:56.1. Allerage Star remained third, with Tweet Me and Rubber Duck (Joe Bongiorno) settling for the remainder. Rubber Duck’s pay envelope was compromised when Rose Run Parker broke right in front of him in the stretch.
For sixth choice Rock of Cashel, a 5-year-old Holiday Road gelding trained by Richard Banca for co-owners Howard Taylor and Abraham Basen, it was his second (consecutive) win in five seasonal starts. The exacta paid $49.60, with the triple returning $358.50.
The weekly featured pace saw Caviart Luca, from post No. 7, pay a stiff price for the privilege of fronting the gang (:27., :55.3, 1:23.3, 1:52.1).
A half-length to the good entering the lane, he fought ‘em all off, whipping 31-1 Lucan Hanover (Mark MacDonald) by a neck. Bit of a Legend N (Stratton), as the 7-10 fave, eschewed slipping out to race third over and needed room. He wound up a tight third, missing a half-length, with Roland N Rock (Tyler Buter) and First Class Horse (Matt Kakaley) settling for the remainder.
For third choice 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 fifth win in seven ’17 tries. The exacta paid $139.50, the triple returned $907 and the superfecta paid $8,717.