Meadowlands, Yonkers offer stakes action on Preakness Day

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Ted Black

May 17th, 2019

Not long after the Preakness Stakes goes official on Saturday - preferably without a lengthy inquiry - both the Meadowlands and Yonkers Raceway will give harness racing fans plenty of stakes action for sophomore and older pacers.

In one of the earlier races at the Big M, a solid group of pacing mares will go postward in the second leg of the Rainbow Blue series. Named in honor of one of the best Maryland-bred pacing mares of all-time, the Rainbow Blue includes three millionaires in the compact field of six distaffers.

Railbound Youaremycandygirl (Yannick Gingras) will seek to regain her winning ways for trainer Ron Burke following a fifth-place finish as the 5-2 second choice in her four-year-old debut. Youaremycandygirl has won 18 of 29 career outings and earned over $1.45 million and will be among the contenders throughout the series. Kissin In The Sand won 10 of 15 starts last year en route to being champion three-year-old filly pacer for trainer Nancy Johansson, while Caviart Ally (Andrew McCarthy) prevailed in the Filly-Mare Preferred over the strip for trainer Brett Pelling and now owns 17 wins and over $1 million from 55 career outings.

Then several races later in the $50,000 Graduate Series opener for four-year-old trotters of both genders, Atlanta (Gingras) tackles the boys again over the same oval in which she captured the Grade I, $1 million Hambletonian last summer. The four-year-old daughter of Chapter Seven now trained by Burke romped in her seasonal debut at Miami Valley and sports 13 wins and $1.2 million banked from 25 career tries and again appears to be in line for division honors and trotter of the year.

Perhaps the main threat to Atlanta is Six Pack (Ake Svandstedt), a four-year-old Muscle Mass stallion won won 11 of 15 starts last season including a four-length score in the $200,000 Matron Stakes at Dover Downs, a 1:49.1 hero of the Grade I Kentucky Futurity at Lexington and an eight-length winner of the Grade I Yonkers Trot. Six Pack arrives off a pair of qualifiers and brings 15 wins and $1.35 million from 23 starts into his four-year-old debut but may yield a hint of seasoning to the mare

Several races later in the second Graduate split for four-year-old trotters, much of thr attention will be focused on the three horses that drew outside posts.

Phaetosive (Trond Smedshammer) arrives off a sharp 1:54.3 score in her second qualifier and brings 11 wins and $850,000 banked from 18 career tries. She was clearly the third-best sophomore trotting filly in the land last season behind Atlanta and Manchego and leaves from post six in her four-year-old debut. Mission Accepted (Gingras) has already won three of five starts this year for Burke and leaves from post seven, while Muscle M Up (Svandstedt) seeks his third straight score to begin the campaign but will have to overcome post eight in this spot.

Then several races later in the $35,000 Mr Muscleman for older trotters, Pinkman (Gingras) will look to rebound from a sixth-place finish as the 8-5 choice in the $175,000 Arthur Cutler Memorial and leaves from the rail. Trolley (Marcus Miller) drew the outside six hole following a second-place effort in the Cutler, while Yonkers invader New Heaven (Eric Abbatiello) will get under way from post four, just outside JL Cruze (Andrew McCarthy) who is seeking to regain the form that earned him the nickname "Denton Destroyer" during his championship campaign.

That same evening at Yonkers Raceway in New York, the focus will be on three-year-old pacers of both genders as the half-mile oval offers eliminations for both the Lismore and Art Rooney Stakes, with their respective finals slated for the following Saturday.

In the first Lismore elim, As Time Goes By (Jordan Stratton) and Mi Nina Bonita (Brent Holland) arrive off a one-two finish in their W.N. Reynolds split. Two races later in the second Lismore slim, Queen Of The Pride (Stratton) arrives off a sharp score in her Reynolds split for trainer Kevin Lare and owner Frank Chick and she looms the future book favorite for the upcoming final.

Then one race later in the first $40,000 Art Rooney elim, Goldberg (Montrell Teague), Air Force Hanover (David Miller) and Captain Malicious (Mark Macdonald) will look to take advantage of their inside three post draws, then three races later in the second Art Rooney elim onlookers can make a case for Just Plain Loco, Rollwithpapajoe, Beootr's Wish, Blood Money and Branquino. Bettor's Wish scored in 1:52 over the oval for trainer Chris Ryder, while Branquino has won all three starts this year for trainer Ray Schnittker and will look to overcome post six to earn a berth in the lucrative final.