Yonkers Offers Solid Overnight Card

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Ted Black

February 11th, 2017

One week after the New England Patriots rallied from a 28-3 deficit to defeat the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI, Yonkers Raceway will offer an intriguing array of overnight events on Saturday night as owners and trainers begin eyeing the coveted George Morton Levy Memorial Series next month.

Saturday's opener may not include any horses prepping for the Levy, but the non-winners of $10,000 last five starts for pacers features a pair of genuine aged veterans. Both Ronny Bugatti (Mark MacDonald) and Fameous Western (Maty Kakaley) have combined for 50 wins and $1.2 million and both will be forwardly placed in this affair. Fameous Western should have the fitness edge since he was second, beaten just a nose, at this level last week.

Then two races later in another non-winners of $10,000 last five starts class for older pacers, millionaire Versado (Eric Abbatiello) and Fool Me Once (Scott Zeron), who sports earnings of over $900,000, both own ample back class. But recent down under arrival Burning N (Ron Cushing) won at this level last week in first over fashion and should own the fitness edge in this spot.

Then just past the midway point of the card in the $50,000 Open Handicap for aged pacers in which all eight starters were assigned their slots, the outer four horses loom difficult to overlook.

Somewhere In L A (Kakaley) was assigned the eight hole for a third straight week after last week's dominant performance in the Open. But one week earlier Somewhere In L A virtually participated in a training mile around the oval when he was taken back to last early and never reached contention while fifth. He might leave and attempt to dominate again or he could take back and seek a more favorable draw next week.

While the early fate of Somewhere In L A might be a mystery until the gate leaves, Sapphire City (George Brennan) appears destined for the front early. A nine-year-old Metropolitan gelding now trained by Ron Burke, Sapphire City has won all three of his starts this year in dominant fashion and should have little trouble attaining command early  from post six. In fact, he could dictate the tempo throughout or sit a pocket trip behind Somewhere In L A if that one leaves aggressively again this week.

Another serious contender in the Open Hcp is Roland N Rock (Jordan Stratton), hero of the inaugural event this winter but fourth as the 7-20 favorite in this spot last week. Roland M Rock was once a one-dimensional speedball, but trainer Rob Harmon has taught the gelding to be more patient this year and his versatility certainly makes him a major player here and possibly at a generous price.

Then in the finale, a non-winners of $25,000 last five starts class for older pacers, Limelight Beach (Brennan) clearly looms the one to beat for Burke. The six-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding finished second in the $35,000 Preferred last week, one week after finishing second in this class. Bullet Bob (Brent Holland) double jumps off a gritty win against non-winners of $15,000 last five starts company but has ample speed and back class to be a factor here for trainer Mark Harder.