Mohawk and Yonkers Take Center Stage on Saturday Night

Profile Picture: Ted Black

Ted Black

September 23rd, 2016

Two days after Betting Line captured the Little Brown Jug in emphatic style, harness racing fans will now focus their attention on Saturday's action with numerous stakes taking place at Yonkers Raceway in New York and Mohawk Racetrack in Toronto, Canada.

Saturday night's Yonkers card begins with eight straight $225,000 New York Sire Stakes finals, with editions being offered for both the two- and three-year-olds of both gaits and genders. But the stellar card hardly ends with those events since a trio of Open events, two for pacers and another for trotters, immediately follow.

In the opening race on the card, the $225,000 NYSS final for two-year-old filly pacers, Robin J (Tim Tetrick) arrives with six wins from nine starts for trainer Linda Toscano and will leave from post two, while the other Toscano trainee, Planet Rock, has won seven of eight outings but drew post seven. Just to her outside is Tequila Monday (David Miller), who will have the services of the Jug-winning driver for trainer Chris Oakes, but the Maryland-bred daughter of American Ideal drew post eight on the far outside. She has won three of four tries and was the beaten favorite in the NYSS split at Tioga Downs that Planet Rock won.

One race later the three-year-old filly trotters will be on display in their respective NYSS final. Non Stick (Ake Svandstedt) has won five of nine outings this year after scoring in all six of her starts at age two and looms the favorite from post two despite breaking stride in her most recent outing. Swinging Royalty (Brian Sears) sports a solid 3-5-5 slate and 1:54.1 mark at Vernon Downs for owner-trainer George Ducharme, while Fad Finance (Jim Morrill, Jr.) owns a 5-3-2 slate from 11 outings and has been the post time favorite in her last six starts.

One race later in the NYSS final for freshman pacing colts, Miso Fast (Matt Kakaley) will look to live up to his name again when he starts from post two for trainer Ron Burke, having won five of seven starts and $118,000 thus far and been favored in his last six tries. Funknwaffles (Morrill) has won seven of eight starts for trainer John Butenschoen and leaves from post four, with his lone setback occurring two starts back at Batavia Downs in a NYSS split won by Pointomygrandson (Marcus Miller) who has won his last two and three of eight overall but leaves from post eight.

Then one race later in the NYSS final for two-year-old colt trotters, Maryland-bred Devious Man (Andy Miller) starts from post four having won four straight and five of nine overall for trainer Julie Miller, but Stick With Me Kid (Sears) and Such An Angel (John Campbell) will get plenty of support from posts one and two, respectively. Another Miller trainee, Money Macintosh, sports a commendable 4-2-1 slate and $122,500 bankroll but will start from post seven.

Then one race later in the NYSS final for three-year-old filly pacers, Wishy Washy Girl (Morrill) will leave from post three after a sharp NYSS score at Batavia last out, while Dime A Dance (Kakaley) will start one spot to her outside for Burke. American Ivy (Andy Miller), another Miller protege, drew the coveted rail and looms a factor despite her recent offerings, while Time On My Hands (Daniel Dube) seeks to end a modest four-race skid for trainer Chris Ryder despite post eight.

Then one race later in the NYSS final for two-year-old filly trotters, the three inside ladies look to be tough to overtake. Mighty Surf (Scott Zeron) drew the rail for trainer Dennis Laterza, Flyhawk Charm has post two for trainer Joe Flynn and Barn Bella (Jeff Gregory) will leave from post three for trainer Steven Pratt having won five of eight starts and boasting a 1:55.2 mark at Tioga Downs, easily the best of this group. Amber Ella (Campbell) has won four of five tries for Toscano but drew the dreaded eight hole here.

One race later in the NYSS final for three-year-old colt pacers, early season star Missile J (Tetrick) will start from post three owning an 8-2-2 slate and $314,000 bankroll from 18 starts this year for Toscano, while Roll Away Joe (Morrill) sports a 5-1-4 slate and $210,000 bankroll from 16 tries for trainer Tracy Brainard. Another Brainard trainee, Talk Show, arrives off a solid qualifier here last out but gets post seven, while Maryland-bred Bottom Deals drew the rail for Toscano following a stellar 1:49.2 score against similar at Vernon Downs on Labor Day and looms a danger.

Then one race later in the last NYSS split of the night, Smalltownthrowdown (Dan Daley) will look to put the finishing touches on a solid campaign when he leaves from post two. Two starts back he was second to Hambletonian winner Marion Marauder in the $500,000 Yonkers Trot final and then came right back to take a NYSS split over the oval in 1:55.3 as the 4-1 second choice. Dayson (Sears), an eight-time winner from 13 starts this year for Burke, was the 2-5 favorite in that event but made a break and then gets post eight for this event.

One race later in the $45,000 Open Handicap for older pacers, railbound Melmerby Beach (Dube) arrives off a second-place effort last week, while The Real One (Pat Lachance) and Bit Of A Legend N (Jordan Stratton) settled for minor spoils. They will start from posts three and five, respectively, Saturday night against talented invader Rockeyed Optimist (Tetrick) who was assigned post eight courtesy of his 11-3-1 slate and $270,000 bankroll from 19 starts that includes a recent try in the $225,000 Jim Ewart Memorial at Scioto Downs behind Always B Miki and Wiggle It Jiggleit.

Then one race later in the $35,000 4YO Open, look for Mcardles Lightning (Tyler Buter) to rebound from a sixth-place effort in last Monday's $150,000 Bobby Quillen Memorial at Harrington Raceway in which the Steve Elliott trainee raced first over against eventual winner and reigning horse of the year, Wiggle It Jiggleit. Go Daddy Go (Dube) drew the rail for this spot, just inside of Blood Brother (Bartlett). Cooperstown (Stratton) won this event three starts back, while In The Arsenal (Sears) drew the dreaded eight hole while going in search of his first win from 13 tries this season.

Tomorrow night's Mohawk card includes eight $50,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Grass Roots finals, but the main event occurs midway on the program when the track presents the latest edition of the $311,000 Milton Final for pacing fillies and mares. Maryland-bred Lady Shadow (James Macdonald) has been the dominant force in this division and posted a handy, two-length score in 1:51 in her Milton elim for her eighth win in 15 starts this year and she gets post three for the final.

Just to her outside is Solar Sister (Doug McNair), who settled for third as the odds-on choice in her Milton elim last week but certainly merits respect in this spot. Wrangler Magic (Sylvain Filion) posted a 52-1 shocker in her Milton elim and gets the rail for the final, but will likely be much shorter than last week. Frost Damage Blues (Jack Moiseyev) was second to Lady Shadow in her elim and should be rolling late, while Sandbetweenyourtoes (Jody Jamieson) was second in the other Milton elim.