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Racing Roundup: And Heez Perfect, Rock N Soul win Yonkers co-features
Saturday, August 18, 2012 - by harness publicists across North America

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Friday's (Aug. 18) edition of Racing Roundup features results stories from Yonkers Raceway, Saratoga Gaming and Raceway, Grand River Raceway, Batavia Downs, Scioto Downs and Vernon Downs.

And Heez Perfect, Rock N Soul win Yonkers co-features

Yonkers, NY--Yonkers Raceway's usual Friday night pair of $44,000 Open Handicaps--for trotters and distaff pacers, respectively--were won by a first-over And Heez Perfect (Mark MacDonald, $16.80) and a from-the-back-of-the-bus Rock N Soul (Jason Bartlett, $4.60).

Sean Hamrock Photo
Rock N Soul (5) won the $44,000 Open Handicap for pacing mares in 1:52.4.

Pole-sitting And Heez Perfect eased from third to go after the leader, 8-5 favorite Big Sky Storm (Jordan Stratton). That one worked around Speed Bomb (Bartlett), then threw down intervals of 28.2, 57.4 and 1:26.1.

Unfortunately, Big Sky Storm--with a length lead turning for home—jumped it off. And Heez Perfect. who may have been going by anyway, did so by a half-length in 1:55.2. Big Sky Storm wound up crossing the line second, but was set down to for last his transgression.  That moved up Bastille (Cat Manzi), Blacktuxwhitesocks (Trond Smedshammer), Speed Bomb and KLM Express (Jim Marshall III) one place each on the earnings ladder.

For And Heez Perfect, a homebred 6-year-old Andover Hall gelding owned by Mitchell Walker and trained by Robert Baggitt Jr., he prevailed as the fourth choice for this fourth win in 17 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $176.50, the triple returned $877 and the superfecta paid $5,244. 

Rock N Soul, the 13-10 choice, unhurried from post 5, was content to watch the early fray--and fray there was.

First, Keeper's Destiny (MacDonald) made the lead from her outside post just after a 26.3 opening quarter-mile.

She took over from Nite Games (Dan Dube), then hooked up with the second move of Billmar Scooter (Eric Goodell) before a a 55.2 intermission. 

Down the backside, Keeper's Destiny tried to lose the ladies, but they found her soon after a 1:23.3 three-quarters. Radar Contact (Stratton) was wide, Naughtytiltheend (Brent Holland) was wider and Rock N Soul was widest.

With all the foes in pursuit, Keeper's Destiny had the lead entering the lane, However, her time in the fun zone was about to end, and the back markers was going to decide it. Rock N Soul was able to get Naughtytiltheend late, winning by a head in 1:52.4.

Radar Contact saved the bottom of the ticket, with Keeper's Destiny and Southwind Jazmin (Jeff Gregory) grabbing the small change.

For Rock N Soul, a 5-year-old daughter of Rocknroll Hanover co-owned (as Burke Racing) by trainer Ron Burke, Weaver Bruscemi, Howard Taylor and Frank Baldachino, she returned $4.60 for her fourth win in 20 '12 tries. The exacta paid $11.60, with the triple returning $54.

--Frank Drucker

Whybabywhy pulled off the mild upset in the Friday feature at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. Heading into the $18,500 open trot on a two-race local win streak, Whybabywhy (Padre Hanover) took her first crack at the Friday open and parlayed her pocket trip to victory. Bruce Aldrich Jr. catch-drove the 8-year-old mare for trainer Amber Buter and sat patiently behind frontrunning Neighsay Hanover (Jay Randall) before pouncing on him in the stretch. The Buter barn stayed red hot at the Spa with the open win which was the trotting mare’s fourth in her last five starts and sixth victory of the season. Neighsay Hanover held second while Some Like It Hot (Dan Cappello Jr) earned the show spot. Whybabywhy returned $11.60 to win in the six horse open.
Saturday night’s card is the biggest of the season at Saratoga with the $122,500 Joe Gerrity Jr. Memorial Pacing Series Final and two divisions of the New York Sire Stakes which will each be contested for purses of $117,000+.

Bernard Lavigne scored his first career driving win on Aug. 17 at Grand River Raceway. The 24-year-old reinsman steered Hopetostrykeitrich to his maiden win for owner Shirley Reibeling and trainer Kyle Reibeling. The pacer went off at 9-1. Lavigne took him to the top and never looked back, settling 3-1/2 lengths the best over Likely To Win and Amillionbucks in 1:59.3. Lavigne, of Gatineau, QC, has driven exclusively at Rideau Carleton for his past 34 starts. He had two drives earlier in the Grand River card which produced a second and seventh before his maiden win in race six.

Starbux Eden pulled the pocket midway down the stretch and pulled away late to score a length victory over Sharp Lady in the $7,200 Fillies and Mares Open Trot at Batavia Downs on Friday night. Sharp Lady set the tempo, using fractions of 28.2, 59.3 and 1:29.3, but Starbux Eden ($8.60) and winning driver John Cummings Jr. went the final quarter of a mile in 29.3 and nailed the tiring leader before the wire. The final time of the mile was 1:59, a new seasonal mark for Starbux Eden. Sharp Lady (Ray Fisher Jr.) held on for second while Vicky Winner (Jamie Dunlap) was third. The winner is trained and owned by Megan Wilson of Williamsville, N.Y. It pushed Starbux Eden's seasonal bankroll to $37,798 and was her second straight win and eighth victory of 2012. Downs dash leading driver Shawn Gray racked up four more wins on the Friday program while John Cummings Jr. and Jim McNeight scored doubles.  
The Pick-6 once again stymied handicappers as no one picked-6 in fact no one picked five winners in the six-race sequence . The carryover pool is now $7,442.

The 3-year-old Real Desire filly Real Touch proved to be “real tough” in winning over older rivals in the $15,000 Open for filly and mare pacers at Scioto Downs on Friday. Trainer-driver Ray Paver sent the filly, a 2-1 betting favorite, away from the gate at full speed from post 8, but other pacing mares left alertly, too. Second choice Ocean Pearl got to the opening quarter first in 27.1 for Kurt Sugg while Real Touch was caught three-wide outside the leader and Tu Sei Bella. At the half-mile point, Real Touch was in front but still parked outside Ocean Pearl. The timer clicked 56.2. Down the backstretch during the third quarter, Real Touch cleared to the front and was never threatened after that as a final quarter in 28.1 brought her to the wire 2-3/4 lengths the best in a mile time of 1:54.2. Tu Sei Bella held for second while outsider Miss Two Punch rallied to grab the third-place money. It was the sixth win in a dozen starts this season for Real Touch, The fast sophomore filly is owned by trainer Paver in partnership with Knox Services and Slaughter Racing Stable, LLC.

The pacer Nuke’s Flash and trotter Cedarridgetag were co-feature race winner on Friday (Aug. 17) at Vernon Downs, while defending driving champ Jimmy Whittemore captured four of the evening’s 10 races. Whittemore did the teaming for part-owner and trainer Kenneth Dawson in Friday’s sixth session as Nuke’s Flash ($5.10) rallied from third in the final quarter to gain a three-quarter length victory in 1:54.4. It was the fourth tally this season and the seventh all-time for the 4-year-old son of Memphis Flash-Nukie Naybor, who is shared in ownership by Annette Dawson. With Whittemore doing the steering in the seventh event, Cedarridgetag ($9.00) drafted along in second until the stretch showdown and then passed the pace-setting Whimzical Britt in the final stride to earn a neck decision in a career-best 1:56.2 performance. Trainer Scott West and Katie Currie own the 4-year-old son of Tagliabue-T W Linda, who now sports three current tallies and five lifetime scores. Whittemore’s other wins came behind the pacer Thisthatntheother (1:58) in race eight and the trotter Forrest County (1:58) in Friday’s 10th event. It marked the 28-year-old driver’s second four-win outing at the 55-program meeting. Driver Brian Connor collected a pair of first-place finishes during Friday’s card to chalk up his sixth double at the meet. 

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