Yonkers Hosts Solid Saturday Night Card

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Ted Black

August 24th, 2016

This coming Saturday night Yonkers Raceway will offer a solid program that includes a pair of six-figure finals for three-year-old fillies of both gaits and a preview of one of the track's premier events as well as an Open Handicap for older pacers that could be the stepping stone for bigger and better things for several combatants.

Saturday's fifth race at Yonkers is the $45,000 Open Handicap for older pacers that includes several horses that could earn an invite to the $200,000 Bobby Quillen Memorial at Harrington next month.
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Doctor Butch, who competed in the Quillen two years ago, arrives with a solid 4-7-5 slate and $160,000 bankroll from 25 starts this year and will leave from post four. McArdles Lightning ended the Meadowlands meet on a roll, taking his last two starts for trainer Steve Elliott, including the Open in 1:48.3 on Hambletonian Day and won a qualifier on Tuesday morning at Harrah's Philadelphia. PH Supercam disappointed at 9-5 last weekend, but the Jeff Bamond, Jr. trainee owns 50 wins and $1.4 million banked from 190 lifetime starts.

But much of the attention in the Open Handicap will be focused on two horses assigned the outside slots. Feel The Need A (Eric Goodell) gets post seven courtesy of his 1:50.4 score in the Open last weekend for trainer Chris Oates and he boasts three wins in as many starts over the track since arriving from down under. The Real One (Pat Lachance) gets assigned the eight hole for a second straight week although he offered little last week at 14-1 following a pair of Open tallies with ground-saving trips on Aug. 6 and 13.

One race later on the card, Yonkers will offer the $50,000 Yonkers Trot elimination, which will eliminate exactly one sophomore colt trotter from competing in the $500,000 Yonkers Trot final next weekend, the second jewel in trotting's triple crown for three-year-old colts.

Virtually all of the attention in the Yonkers Trot elim - and then next weekend in the final - will gravitate toward Marion Marauder (Scott Zeron), gritty, determined winner of the Grade I, $1 millon Hambletonian final who came back to finish second in the $500,000 Colonial last weekend at Pocono Downs to Southwind Frank, the longtime star of this division. Marion Marauder has won six of eight starts and earned over $850,000 for trainer Paula Wellwood and mother Marion Wellwood and he will leave from post three as the odds-on favorite in this event on Saturday night.

Lagerfeld (Mark MacDonald) and Iron Mine Bucky (George Dennis), the one-two finishers in the Colonial consolation I last weekend at Pocono Downs after both earned a spot into the Hambo final, should secure berths in the final. Iron Mine Bucky drew the rail and has ample gate speed to protect it as evidenced by his gritty performance last weekend at Pocono Downs, while Lagerfeld has a strong closing kick and should be prominent throughout from post four.

Smalltownthrowdown (Daniel Dube), who sports consecutive scores against New York Sire Stakes company at Saratoga and Monticello Raceways, brings a 5-2-1 slate and $150,000 bankroll from 12 starts this year into the Yonkers Trot elim and should be able to earn a spot in the final. In fact, his early speed and experience over the half-mile ovals could enable him to earn a decent share of the pot this weekend.

One race later in the $120,000 Hudson Filly Trot for three-year-old filly trotters, much of the focus will be on Celebrity Eventsy (John Campbell), who has won four of eight starts this year and banked over $210,000 for trainer Stefan Lind. She won the $150,000 Moni Maker at the Meadows last out after finishing third in the Hambo Oaks final one week after taking her Oaks elim. She drew well for the final and has enough gate speed to control the tempo from the outset.

Dream Child (Zeron), Wild Flower (Daniel Dube) and Windowshopper (Brian Sears) also earned a berth in the Hambo Oaks final, finishing seventh, eighth and 10th, respectively. Windowshopper attracted a stunning amount of support for the final and was 4-1 at post time although she has yet to hit the board in five starts this year. Southwind Hope (Andy Miller) finished third in the Duenna Stakes and brings a solid 4-3-2 slate and $110,000 bankroll from 11 starts this season into this event.

Then two races later on the card a compact field of six sophomore filly pacers will go postward in the $110,000 Lady Maud Stakes and the exacta could easily be comprised of Delaware invaders.

Apple Bottom Jeans (Montrell Teague) splashed to a 12-length victory in her $100,000 Delaware Standabred Breeders Fund final on Governor's Day at Harrington for trainer Kevin Switzer and she already owns an open stakes victory over the Yonkers strip. Apple Bottom Jeans owns four wins and seven second-place finishes this year from 12 starts and boasts nine wins and eight runner-up efforts from 18 career tries.

Newborn Sassy (Jordan Stratton) brings a 3-4-2 slate and $220,000 bankroll from 12 starts this year into the Lady Maud for trainer and co-owner Jo Ann Lonney-King, including a win in the Adioo Volo at the Meadows on the Adios undercard. Newborn Sassy was second in a Pennsylvania Sire Stakes event last out, but she has fared well in open events such as the Fan Hanover and looms the choice courtesy of 11 wins and $440,000 banked from 22 career tries.

Looking to split the top pair are railbound Skinny Dipper (Sears), Cheyenne Triengel (Zeron), Hug A Dragoness (George Brennan) and Time On My Hands (Jason Bartlett). Those three have combined to win 10 of 41 starts and earn nearly $250,000 this year, but they also drew outside the top pair and would need considerable racing luck to overtake either of them.

This Saturday will also offer harness racing fans the chance to see eliminations for the Metro and She's A Great Lady Stakes at Mohawk Raceway in Canada with those finals and the $625,000 Canadian Pacing Derby slated to take place one week from Saturday on a superb card.

Then on Monday evening at Harrington Raceway, a full field of eight older pacers will clash in the $17,500 Open Handicap, an early tuneup for one or two horses for the upcoming $200,000 Bobby Quillen Memorial Invitational on Monday, September 19. Much of the attention in Monday's clash will focus on the three horses assigned the outside slots.

Getitoffyourchest ended the Harrington spring meet as the best horse on the grounds, but the Richard Lewis trainee will get an acid test on Monday. Dancin Yankee returns to the Delaware half-mile oval for trainer Josh Green, looking to regain his 2014 form when he was among the best older pacers in the land before being tagged team by a Ron Burke uncoupled entry in his Quillen elim that fall. Arque Hanover (Jonathan Roberts) has won his last two starts impressively for trainer Dylan Davis, who will likely also have Mel Mara on target for the Quillen next month.