Yonkers Hosts International Trot on Saturday Afternoon

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Ted Black

October 15th, 2016

Harness racing enthusiasts are accustomed to seeing the sport's best trotters and pacers compete under the lights, but this Saturday afternoon Yonkers Raceway will offer a special daytime card featuring a $1 million trot and a pair of $250,000 Invitationals.

Midway through the card Yonkers will host the latest renewal of the $1 million Yonkers International Trot, a one-mile and one-quarter race that has attracted a stellar field of 10 older trotters from across the globe, including the best trotting mare on the continent.

In fact, Hannelore Hanover (Yannick Gingras) drew the coveted rail for this marathon event and will be among the betting favorites Saturday afternoon. A four-year-old Swan For mare trained by Ron Burke, Hannelore Hanover has won 15 of 17 starts this year and banked nearly $900,000 and she has already proven her ability to beat the boys.

Just to her outside is Resolve (Ake Svandstedt) who is the likely favorite in the race although he has not raced in nearly a month and did not give a good account of himself on his last visit to the New York half-mile oval. He does, however, own a recent sharp, first over victory in the Maple Leaf final when he overhauled Hannelore Hanover easily in the lane. He was also second to former Yonkers Trot hero Nuncio in the Elitlopp, Europe's most coveted event for trotters.

Two other North American trotters, Flanagans Memory (Brian Sears), winner of the Allerage at Lexington last Sunday in 1:51.2 in his first start on Lasix, will seek redemption against the top pair, as will Obrigado (Mark Macdonald), who was the beaten favorite at Lexington after winning the Dayton Derby and the Crawford at Vernon Downs.

Oasis Bi (Erik Adielsson) is the best of the European invaders having faced the best on that continent for several years and the eight-year-old Toss Out stallion drew post five and should be in an ideal spot throughout. European trotters are accustomed to racing parked out the entire duration and a wide journey will not compromise his chances here.

Fellow Euros BBs Sugarlight (Vidar Hop) and On Track Piraten (Orjam Kihlstrom) have both enjoyed stellar campaigns overseas but drew post seven and eight, respectively, but both bear watching if they can work out a trip. Tano Bork (John Campbell) and  Explosive De Vie (Kevin Oscarsson) will start from posts nine and 10 in the second tier, but both Euros look outclassed in this affair

One race later Yonkers will offer a $250,000 Invitational for trotters and this event features a solid field of 10 older horses, four of which are mares.

Clearly the most talented and most accomplished horse in the field is Bee A Magician (Sears), a six-year-old Kadabra mare who has won all three of her starts this year but has been idle since late May. Bee A Magician has won 44 of 68 lifetime outings and banked over $3.8 million in a career that has already seen her garner horse of the year honors three years ago.

Looking to upend Bee A Magician are two other mates who drew alongside her. Barn Doll (Jeff Gregory) drew the rail after recording her first win of the season last out in Delaware, Ohio, while Allerage Star (Andy Miller) finally gets an inside draw after being assigned outside slots in the Open Handicap the past three months.

Shake It Cerry (David Miller) is probably the second-best mare in the field, but the Jimmy Takter trainee drew post eight and will have a tough trip. Centurion ATM (Svandstedt) will start from post four and has raced well in spurts this season and owns a win over the track and will represent the hopes of Maryland-breds on the card.

Homicide Hunter (Sears) has ample early speed and could be a factor early from post five, while Luminosity (George Brennan) will leave from post seven after winning last week's Open Hcp here. Meladys Monet (Jason Bartlett) and Wind Of The North (Corey Callahan) will look to get involved from posts nine and 10, respectively.

Three races later the older pacers will take center stage in a $250,000 Invitational and the event attracted the best pacer in the land.

Wiggle It Jiggleit (Montrell Teague) is the reigning horse of the year and he is the top rated horse in the land thanks to 14 wins from 22 starts with $1.5 million banked. Wiggle It Jiggleit arrives off consecutive wins in the Dayton Derby and Bobby Quillen Memorial, but he had the misfortune of drawing post eight and will have to work out a trip since making the front early main not be an option.

Bit Of A Legend N (Jordan Stratton) was the star of the George Morton Levy Memorial series during the spring over the Yonkers oval, winning all five legs of the series and the final. His form since has been spotty, but Bit Of A Legend N has won two of his last three starts and draws the coveted rail for this affair and looms a major player.

Two spots to his outside is Mel Mara (Callahan) has unleashed some big miles this year for trainer Dylan Davis, winning once in 1:47 over Always B Miki and later a sharp 1:50.1 triumph at Harrington. He has been unlucky in his last three, but from post three Mel Mara is likely to be on the move early and will force the closers to chase him down in the lane.

Just to his outside is All Bets Off (Matt Kakaley) the well-traveled Bettors Delight stallion who has been the best of the Burke brigade this year. All Bets Off owns a 3-5-7 slate and $520,000 bankroll from 23 starts this year and he has made all of the big dances this season and was recently third when Always B Miki became the fastest horse in the sports history with his 1:46 score at Lexington last Sunday.

Others vying for top prize in this affair include Split The House (Sears), Keystone Velocity (Tyler Buter), Artistic Major (Brent Holland) and Melmerby Beach (Daniel Dube). Split The House chased Always B Miki last Sunday, Keystone Velocity has won two of his last three and three of his last five, while Artistic Major has won the 4yo Open twice in the last three weeks at Yonkers.

One race later in a $35,000 Winners Over event, rainouts The Real One (Pat Lachance) seems his second straight score despite missing a week, with prior Open Hcp heroes Winds Of Change (Macdonald) and PH Supercam (Bartlett) alongside him.

But the marquee name in this affair is the ageless warrior Foiled Again (Gingras) who has won his last two starts for Burke, including an upset score in an Invitational event at Batavia over Polak A and Mel Mara. Foiled Again sports a stellar 90-62-40 slate and record $7.44 million bankroll from 268 lifetime outings during a career that will send the 12-year-old Dragon Again gelding in the Harness Racing Hall of Fame.