BY FRANK DRUCKER, Publicity Director, Empire City @ Yonkers Raceway
YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, March 28, 2017—A pocketed Never Say Never N (Jason Bartlett, $7.10) out-tripped 2-5 favorite Awesomeness (Scott Zeron) Tuesday night (March 28th), winning Yonkers Raceway’s ‘sloppy’ $61,800 final of the Sagamore Hill Pacing Series.
The annual Teddy Roosevelt-A-Thon was open to 3- and 4-year-old pacers (guys only, girls went at in the Petticoat) who are/were non-winners of four races or $40,000 through last Dec. 1.
Leaving from post position No. 2, Never Say Never N tracked pole-sitting Prejudice (Jordan Stratton) from the outset. Meanwhile, Awesomeness—from post No. 5—tried to leave, but was wrangled back into a fourth-hole.
That trio were the only ones in the final who had each won both of their series starts (one scheduled leg was snowed out).
After early intervals of :28.1 of :58.2, Awesomeness was out and moving, trying to stomp out Prejudice in and out of a 1:26.2 three-quarters.
Prejudice owned a length-and-a-half lead into the lane, but was surrounded. Awesomeness was resilient, but Never Say Never N had the shorter route and the bigger envelope. The latter whipped the former by a head in a moist 1:54.2.
Prejudice was third, beaten a neck, with Sure Fired Bet (Yannick Gingras) and Artmagic (Brent Holland) settling for the remainder. Ideal Son (George Brennan), Wishiwasagigolo (Dan Dube, coupled with Prejudice) and Stirling Escort (Matt Kakaley) finished off the order.
“He’s quick and fits this track very well,” Bartlett said. “Ever since I qualified him, I’ve been impressed with him. I knew Jordan’s horse (Prejudice) would take me to the lane, and it was up to him from there.
For second choice Never Say Never N, a 4-year-old Down Under son of Bettor’s Delight co-owned by Gerard Stuchbury and Thomas Lazzaro and trained by Heidi Rohr, he’s now 5-for-5 this season. The exacta paid $20.20, with the triple returning $30.80.
“His best stride has always been near the wire, but sometimes he shuts himself off, so they added a mini bit tonight and it helped.”
As for Awesomeness, whose own win streak ended at six, “We lost a lot of round in the last turn and Jason (Never Say Never N) was able to get the jump,” Zeron said. “(Awesomeness) was out two turns and really running in, so I can’t fault the effort.”
A $30,000 series consolation was won by Magical Cowboy (Gingras, $5.40, part of entry) in 1:55.2.