Homeracing

Gingras reaches milestone on Yonkers 2019 opener

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Ted Black

January 9th, 2019

While many sports enthusiasts might have been initially enthralled to the start of the NCAA College Football Championship game on Monday evening, serious harness racing fans were keen to watch the first card of the 2019 Yonkers Raceway season that night as history eventually trumped the modest overnight program.

Driver Yannick Gingras has been among the sport's best reinsman throughout the current decade and the future Hall of Famer perhaps best known for being the primary pilot for the recently retired Foiled Again reached another milestone in his career in the Yonkers Monday finale. Having already prevailed in each of the first two races on the night with Roll With Jeff and Abc Muscles Boy, Gingras steered home his 7,000th winner when he guided Prologue to a determined nose score as the 2-5 favorite in a non-winners of six races or $75,000 lifetime class in 1:53.2.

That same evening at Dover Downs on a slightly lesser historical scale, Major Key (Russell Foster) lived up to his role as the 7-10 favorite in a non-winners of three races/optional $15,000 claiming event for pacers when he scored by two lengths in 1:54.2. An Art Major gelding owned and trained by Jay Baxter, Major Key kicked off his 2019 campaign in style and looms one of the budding younger pacing prospects on the Delaware circuit this season.

One night earlier on the first Sunday card of 2019 at Pompano Park in Florida, The Onlyest One rallied for a 15-1 upset in a non-winners of $5,750 last four starts class for pacers in 1:51.3. A 10-year-old Bettor's Delight gelding trained by Tom Artandi, The Onlyest One benefited from the late tiring effort from 1-5 favorite Waikiki Beach (George Napolitano, Jr.) who carved out honest fractions of 27, 55.1 and 1:22.4 before giving way in the lane.

One race later in a non-winners of $2,500 last four starts/optional $8,000 claiming event for pacers, Doo Wop Hanover benefited from ample back class to overcome an extended first over journey to prevail by two lengths as the 1-5 choice in 1:52.3. An eight-year-old Rocknroll Hanover gelding trained by Peter Blood, Doo Wop Hanover has certainly grown accustomed to facing much tougher in his career and last Sunday he kicked off his 2019 campaign with a handy triumph.

Then one race later in a non-winners of $1,500 last four starts/optional $6,000 claiming event for pacers, Hot Art (Rick Plano) benefited from a pocket trip behind Keystone Camaro through honest splits of 27.3, 55.2 and 1:23.2 for this level then easily overhauled that one in the lane for a three-length score in 1:51.4. A 10-year-old Art Major gelding who once garnered horse of the meet honors at Rosecroft Raceway in his prime, Hot Art kicked off his current campaign in sharp style courtesy of the pocket trip.

One race later in a non-winners of $4,800 last four starts/optional $17,500 claiming event for pacers, Let's Roll (Mike Simons) easily lived up to his role as the even-money choice when he brushed to command from fourth before three-quarters and held sway late for a length score in 1:51.4. A four-year-old Roll With Joe stallion trained by Jake Huff, Let's Roll likely earned a spot at the next level for this coming Sunday's card.

Then one race later in the other half of the split, non-winners of $4,800 last four starts/optional $17,500 claiming class for pacers, Southern Allie (Wally Hennessey) delivered the best performance of the card when he romped home five lengths clear in 1:51. A 12-year-old Virginia-bred son of Allie's Western, Southern Allie benefited from a pocket trip behind Sgt Papa Daddy (Napolitano) through serious splits of 26.2, 55 and 1:23.1 then rolled by that one to a convincing tally that should land him in the top class this weekend.

Last Sunday evening in the featured $9,000 Open II for pacers, Dakota Jack (Napolitano) easily lived up to his role as the 4-5 choice when he brushed to command before the half in 55.2, rolled by three-quarters in 1:22.3 then held safe the late bid of 11-1 prospect Windsun Gotham (Greg Merton) to score in 1:51.2. A hero of the Open I during the 2018 portion of this meet, Dakota Jack benefited from a hint of class relief and a pocket trip to prevail on Sunday.
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