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Racing Roundup: Imperial Count, Handsoffmycookie win Friday co-features at Yonkers
Friday, May 03, 2013 - from harness publicists across North America

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Friday’s (May 3) edition of Racing Roundup features results stories from Yonkers Raceway, Vernon Downs, Saratoga Casino and Raceway and Buffalo Raceway.

Imperial Count, Handsoffmycookie win Friday co-features at Yonkers

Yonkers, NY --- Yonkers Raceway's pair of Friday night $46,000 Open Handicaps, for either-gender trotters and distaff pacers, were won by Imperial Count (Tyler Buter, $7.50) and Handsoffmycookie (Dan Dube, $7.30).

Jelena Gerga photo
Imperial Count set a track record of 1:54.4 in winning the Open Handicap Trot.

Imperial Count, leaving from post position No. 7, watched early as Canadian visitor Hesgotlegs (Mark MacDonald) worked around Political Desire (Jason Bartlett) passing a :27.1 opening quarter-mile.

After a :56 half, 2-1 choice Calchip's Brute (George Brennan) moved from sixth, with Imperial Count right on his tail. Hesgotlegs maintained the lead in and out of a brisk 1:25.3 three-quarters, but the fun was about to end for our friend from the north.

Calchip's Brute went on by in early stretch, but all he did was tow Imperial Count into the race and into the winner's circle. He edged past, prevailing by three-quarters of a length in 1:54.4. That mile was the fastest locally this season as well as a track record for an older horse. Third went to a third-up Monsignor Flan (Brent Holland), while Political Desire and Hesgotlegs completed the cashers. Last week's winner and this week's eight hole beginner, Up Front Billy (Brian Sears), missed the memo for the start and broke.

For second choice Imperial Count, a 5-year-old son of Angus Hall owned by Neven Botica and trained by Nifty Norman, it was his fourth win in seven seasonal starts. The exacta paid $46, with the triple returning $155.50.

The weekly ladies' luncheon saw millionairess statebred Handsoffmycookie -- fresh off her win in last week's consolation for the Blue Chip Matchmaker -- slip out and roll by.

Handsoffmycookie, leaving from post No. 5, was sitting a three hole behind Keeper's Destiny (Sears) and 2-1 fave Warrawee Koine (Jason Bartlett). It was Keeper's Destiny throwing down fractions of :27.1, :56.3 and 1:25, with eight hole assignee Marie's Z Tam (Brennan) living life a long way on the outside.

With Four Starz Roe (Matt Kakaley) gapping that one, Handsoffmycookie was able to hang a right and find room. She went by and whipped a passing lane Warrawee Koine by 1-1/4 lengths in 1:53.4. Royal Cee Cee N (Eric Goodell) skimmed the cones for third, while Keeper's Destiny and Marie's Z Tam came away with the remainder.

For second choice Handsoffmycookie, a 4-year-old daughter of Art Major owned by JFE Enterprises and trained by Scott DiDomenico, it was her second (consecutive) win in seven '13 tries. The exacta paid $33.20, the triple returned $183 and the superfecta paid $525.

-- Frank Drucker

Vernon Downs
Reigning New York Sires Stakes champion Coraggioso was fast and fit in his season’s debut on Friday night, capturing the $10,000 Vernon Downs featured eighth race and setting a track record for 4-year-old trotting horses. Trainer Gates Brunet was at the controls in the week’s Open test as favored Coraggioso, winner of the NYSS 2012 title for 3-year-old colt trotters, got cover early in Friday’s mile contest. The quick-striding son of Conway Hall-Electra Hanover rallied from third in the final quarter (authoring a :28.3 final fraction) to defeat the front-striding A Penny Earned by a head in a career-best 1:53.4, lowering the track’s former standard for his class (set by Winning Mister in 2010) by one tick of the timer and establishing a season’s fastest trotting mark at the central New York oval. Friday’s fantastic performance earned the career-winner of more than $511,400 his 12th lifetime victory for owners Joseph Spadaro and Tom J. Durkin, the famed announcer for the New York Racing Association.

Saratoga Casino and Raceway
The defending Horse of the Year at Saratoga recorded her first local victory of the 2013 campaign on Friday night as Mymomsablizzard (CR Excalibur) went wire-to-wire in the $16,050 Open Two Trot. Mymomsablizzard won 15 times last season and headed into Friday’s feature with just one win at Yonkers recorded earlier in the year. Billy Dobson, who was the regular pilot for the trotting mare in her championship ’12 campaign, was back in the bike and moved her out to the early lead. They went wire-to-wire in 1:56.1, matching the fastest time of the season for any trotter at the Spa this year. Last week’s Open Two winner Pay The Winner (Stephane Bouchard) was second to Mymomsablizzard while Big Baller (Shawn Gray) earned the show spot.

Buffalo Raceway
Ziegfeld, a 5-year-old Broadway Hall gelding, won the $9,000 featured trot in 2:00 for owner Michael Torcello at Buffalo Raceway Friday night. It was the fourth win in nine attempts this season for Ziegfeld.
Ziegfeld ($8.60), the 3-1 second choice in the betting, settled in sixth with John Cummings, Jr. in the bike as eventual third place finisher Majestic Lad (Ray Fisher, Jr.) cut all the fractions in the race, :29.2, :59.3 and 1:29.3. As the field hit the top of the stretch, Ziegfeld unleashed a :30 last quarter-mile to beat second place finisher Serious George (Kevin Cummings) by 1-1/4 lengths at the finish line. Trained by Gerry Sarama, the $4,500 share of the purse put Ziegfeld’s season’s earnings at $25,380 and $133,062 lifetime. It was his 16th win in 73 lifetime starts. John Cummings, Jr. led all drivers with five wins on the night. The Pick-7 was finally hit, as two lucky patrons cashed in for $17,677 each.

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