Trotters highlight Monday cards

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Ted Black

August 20th, 2015

At a pair of half-mile tracks several states apart, trotters both young and old were on display on Monday evening in consecutive races at the midway points of programs at Yonkers Raceway in New York and Ocean Downs in Maryland.

Monday evening at Yonkers the two-year-old colt trotters took center stage in a pair of $75,000 New York Sire Stakes events. As often happens in races where the nominees are randomly divided, one division came up considerably tougher than the other. The results perhaps indicated that the latter split contained a trio of budding stars.

In the first of the two NYSS divisions, Allerage Echo (Brian Sears) overcame his outside post six draw to gain command early, yielded to favored Credevie (Trond Smedshammer) before the half in 59.4, sat a loose pocket by three-quarters and through the far turn then angled wide for the drive and then drew clear late to a two-length score in 1:59.4.

A freshman son of Conway Hall trained by George Ducharme for owner Kenneth Jacobs, Allerage Echo notched his third win in five lifetime starts and pushed his career earnings past $95,000 with the handy score while Credevie wilted as the even-money favorite late and faded to fourth while suffering his third defeat in four career outings. But those colts were soon forgotten.

In the second NYSS split for freshman trotting colts contested as the very next race on the card, Dayson (Jeff Gregory) lived up to his billing as the 1-5 favorite when he brushed to command before the half and then edged clear to a two-length score in 1:57.4 for his fifth win in as many starts. Another son of Conway Hall trained by Howard Okusko for owners Margaret Butler and Amy Butler, Dayson pushed his bankroll to nearly $130,000 while remaining perfect through his first handful of outings.

Dayson not only displayed the ability to leave and protect position along the pylons, he also brushed to command easily and rebuffed a challenge from Reve Royale (Sears), who pulled from the pocket prematurely, and then outlasted the late bid of Dog Gone Lucky (Tyler Buter) who closed willingly in the lane to finish second for trotting specialist Chuck Sylvester.

In fact, all three of those trotters in the second division look like budding stars and the second- and third-place finishers probably would have easily won the first division. Dayson covered the mile in 1:57.4, a full two seconds faster than the clocking posted by Allerage Echo in the first split. Dog Gone Lucky, who left early and then rallied for the place spot in a solid, two-move try, and Reve Royale, were both faster than Allerage Echo by more than a full second.

That same evening at Ocean Downs, the midway point of the card shifted the focus on the top older trotters to visit the seaside oval this summer. Although both events were carded as B Handicaps with all of the horses assigned and both offered identical $6500 purses, the two events hardly mirrored one another.

The first of the two B Handicaps, The Budster (Sean Bier) got away fourth, saved ground throughout and then rallied inside through the far turn and along the passing lane to post a narrow victory over Be The Best (Jared Moyer), Rules Little Man (Kim Vincent) and Enough About You (Roger Plante, Jr.) to score by a head in 1:59.2.

A 10-year-old Broadway Hall gelding trained by Eli Scott, Jr. for owner Jeff Bartels, The Budster notched his fourth win from 13 starts this year and now owns a 38-26-26 slate and earnings of over $626,000 from 199 career outings. His two previous wins came against $7500 claimers at Harrington. Be The Best, who had won two straight against C-2 and C-3 trotters at Ocean Downs, rallied late for the place spot.

But 20 minutes later the second B Handicap proved to be a far tougher, faster event and was won by a superior animal. The second-, third- and fourth-place finishers in the latter event would have likely been the top three finishers in the first split.

When the gate folded in the second B Handicap on the Monday card at Ocean Downs, Chinese Cuisine (Daryl Bier) left alertly from post six to gain command in a 27.3 opener, maintained a very honest tempo by the half in 56.4, rolled by three-quarters with an uncontested lead in 1:26 then held sway in the lane to score by two lengths in 1:56.

A seven-year-old Revenue S gelding trained by John Duer for owner Tina Duer, Chinese Cuisine notched his fourth win from 19 starts this year and pushed his seasonal earnings to nearly $30,000. Last fall he set the all-age track record at Rosecroft when he toured that five-eighths mile oval in 1:53.4 and earlier this spring he prevailed there in 1:54.2. His winning time on Monday was more than three seconds faster than the clocking The Budster posted in the first split, but was more than a full second above the all-age track mark of 1:54.3 set by Selfish Princess two years ago.

House On Fire (Frank Milby) left to secure the pocket and chased Chinese Cuisine through the honest splits and still lasted for the place spot in a solid performance. Fashion Smile (Jonathan Roberts) rallied for the show spot, while Cashco faded to fourth after a first over bid. But either of those three would have coasted to victory in the first split, with the other two completing the exacta and triple.