Older Horses Earn the Spotlight
On the same night in which California Chrome garnered his second horse of the year title in the last three years, a quartet of older pacers delivered stellar efforts at Yonkers Raceway on Saturday night suggesting that they may not be far removed from having discovered the Fountain of Youth.
One race after Caviart Luca (George Brennan) rallied second over to capture the $45,000 Open Handicap, Somewhere In L A (Matt Kakaley) served notice that he is the best older horse that he is the best horse on the circuit - and perhaps the country right now - when he raced parked to gain command in a 27.1 opener, rolled by the half in 55.4 and still drew clear in the lane to a two-length score in 1:52.2 in the $35,000 Preferred Handicap for older pacers.
A six-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding trained by Richard Banca, Somewhere In L A has won all three of his starts this year and four straight overall. Somewhere In L A likely punched his ticket into the Open Hcp next week and he looks poised to make some noise in the lucrative George Morton Levy Memorial Series here in March and April. In 82 lifetime outings, Somewhere In L A now owns a 23-14-9 slate and $884,000 bankroll and he should eclipse the $1 million plateau in career earnings sometime this spring.
Then two races later on the card, Sapphire City (Brennan) concluded the quick start to the campaign when he easily overcame post six to gain command in a 28.2 opener and was never threatened while coasting home three lengths clear in 1:52.3. A nine-year-old Metropolitan gelding now trained by Ron Burke after spending the previous part of the decade in trainer Paul Blumenfeld's barn, Sapphire City has won both of his starts this year and now owns a 52-43-18 slate and $1.28 million bankroll from 231 lifetime outings.
Then one race later on the card, Lucan Hanover (Jason Bartlett) lived up to his role as the 3-4 favorite when he benefited from a pocket trip behind Bullet Bob (Scott Zeron) through the first three calls, angled to the passing lane and surged clear late to a two-length score over Polak A (Jordan Stratton) to score in 1:52.3 in a non-winners of $25,000 last five starts class.
A seven-year-old Western Ideal gelding trained by Andrew Harris, Lucan Hanover notched his first win in two tries this year and now owns a 28-21-15 slate and $988,600 bankroll from 105 lifetime outings. Lucan Hanover has spent much of the last two seasons at Yonkers in the upper conditions and he even won two legs of the Levy series last spring, so look for him to be back in the Preferred next week.
Then two races later in the Saturday finale, Harris was back in the winner's circle after Casimir Jitterbug (Kakaley) gained command soon after the start and led throughout to capture a non-winners of $20,000 last five starts class. A 10-year-old Sir Luck gelding, Casimir Jitterbug notched his first win in three starts this year and he now owns a solid 53-37-35 slate and $940,000 bankroll from 208 career tries.