Yonkers offers sophomore stakes action
Saturday Harness Racing RecapOne week after thoroughbred racing fans watched War Of Will rebound from his troubled trip in the Kentucky Derby to capture the Grade I Preakness Stakes, harness racing enthusiasts were able see numerous top sophomore pacers compete in a pair of lucrative stakes at Yonkers Raceway on Saturday night.
Art Rooney finalSaturday's feature was the $300,000 Art Rooney final for three-year-old colt pacers and the winner would have certainly made the event's namesake proud. Bettor's Wish (Dexter Dunn), a sophomore son of Bettor's Delight trained by Chris Ryder, lived up to his role as the 4-5 favorite when he overcame post six to secure good early position, brushed to command before the far turn and romped home six lengths clear in 1:51.4.
Bettor's Wish has won all three of his starts this year and now boasts eight wins and over $450,000 banked from 15 career tries. It may be a little early in the season to view Bettor's Wish as a contender for divisional honors, but he is likely to get plenty of support in the inaugural Hambletonian Society Top 10 poll that will be unveiled on Tuesday afternoon.
Earlier on the CardEarlier on the card, Bestseller Hanover (Jason Bartlett) forged a mild 6-1 upset when she gained command before a modest 28.2 opener, got a serious breather by the half in 58 flat, rebuffed a bid from 1-9 choice Queen Of The Pride (Jordan Stratton) on the far turn when the favorite went on a gallop, then held safe the late surge of 41-1 outsider As Time Goes By (George Brennan) for a length score in 1:54.4.
A sophomore daughter of Somebeachsomewhere trained by Scott Blackler, Bestseller Hanover notched her first victory in three starts this year and now sports five wins and nearly $160,000 banked from 13 career tries.
$44,000 Open Handicap for older pacersTwo races earlier in the $44,000 Open Handicap for older pacers, Mickey Gee N (Stratton) benefited from a second over journey behind Caviart Luca (Brennan) down the backside and through the far turn, angled wide for the drive and held safe Bettors Fire N (Ron Cushing) for a length score in 1:52.2 as the 4-5 favorite. A down under invader trained by Lance Hudson, Mickey Gee N notched his third win in nine starts this year and now sports 15 victories and $180,000 banked from 42 career tries.
$44,000 Open Handicap for older trottersIn the $44,000 Open Handicap for older trotters, Weslynn Dancer (Scott Zeron) lived up to her role as the 9-5 favorite when he overcame a first over journey to surge to command at the head of the lane and edged Swansea for a head score in 1:54.4. A durable mare trained by Richard Banca for owners Barbara & Jim Boese of Harrington Raceway fame, Weslynn Dancer now sports a 4-3-1 slate and $140,000 banked from 15 starts this year and now boasts 18 wins and $320,000 banked from 59 career tries.
$35,000 Preferred HandicapThen one race later in the $35,000 Preferred Handicap, Scott Rocks (Brian Sears) overcame a first over bid to prevail by a length in 1:52.3. A nine-year-old Rocknroll Heaven gelding trained by Hunter Oakes, Scott Rocks recorded his third win from nine starts this year and now sports 53 wins and $885,000 from 159 career outings. He likely earned a berth in the $44,000 Open Handicap when racing resumes at Yonkers on June 8.