BY FRANK DRUCKER, Publicity Director, Empire City @ Yonkers Raceway
YONKERS, NY, Saturday, July 8, 2017—Yonkers Raceway’s premier open event for 2-year-olds colts and geldings, the Lawrence B. Sheppard Pace, offered a trio of $25,000 elimination races Saturday night (July 8th).
The first and third elims were prim and proper, but the middle one was dynamite.
Ottawa invader Kwik Talkin’ (Jordan Stratton, $3.40) proved he was kwik walkin’ as well. From post position No. 2, he prevailed in a mile with much movement, whipping a stubborn Springsteen (Chris Ryder) by a length in a snappy 1:54.4. ‘Phat’ was third, beaten 4½ lengths.
Those two, plus pole-sitting Phat Blue Chip (Jason Bartlett), mixed it up two- and three-wide through intervals of :27.4, 57.4 and 1:27.1.
It was Springsteen getting first ‘run,’ ripping out of a three-hole and leading into the lane. He could not stall the winner, now 3-for-3 in his career after cutting his teeth at Rideau Carleton.
For Kwik Talkin’, an $18,000 (Harrisburg) son of Well Said trained by Rob Harmon for Ontario co-owners Robert Robinson, Jacqueline Dinelle and Scott & Lisa Henry, the mile was a life-best effort. The exact paid $17.20, with the triple returning $31.80.
“Nice horse,” Stratton said. “Hopefully, we draw well in the final.”
Harmon offered a bit more insight. “The owners called and asked if I’d take the horse,” he said. “I didn’t know anything about him. I trained him here (Yonkers) last Friday in 1:58 and he was getting around the track well. I just added a line pole outside, since he’s sort of green and doesn’t know a whole lot.”
Another example of why ignorance is bliss.
Those three frosh are to be joined in next week’s $110,500 finale of the Sheppard by the other elimination winners—maiden-breakers Persist Blue Chip (George Brennan, $10.20) in 1:58.3 and Trump Nation (catch-driver Eric Goodell, $23.40) in 1:57.1—as well as second-place finishers Damion Diesel Hahn (Ray Schnitttker) and Hora Star (Brennan) and Real Rayenbow (Jason Bartlett).
Real Rayenbow cut the mile as the 13-10 fave in the final elim before fading to third.
Persist Blue Chip ($57,000 Harrisburg) is a Roll with Joe colt, while Trump Nation, a son of Betterthancheddar, did not sell at auction.
The Sheppard is, of course, named for the man behind breeding behemoth Hanover Shoe Farms. The open draw takes place Monday afternoon (July 10th),
Saturday night’s pair of $55,000 Open Handicaps were annexed (big word) by…
--(Pace) Somewhere in L A (Bartlett, $4.70) in 1:51, matching fastest local mile of season;
--(Trot) Homicide Hunter (Brian Sears, $10) in 1:55.4.
Special Saturday props to Brennan for his five-win night, including the first four races during the dozen-race card.
New York Sire Stakes hit town for the first time this season Monday night, with the $169,500 Hugh Grant Pace for 3-year-old colts and geldings.