Saturday's (Sept. 7) edition of Racing Roundup features results stories from Yonkers Raceway, Vernon Downs, Tioga Downs and Saratoga Gaming and Raceway.
China Grill sizzles at Yonkers
Yonkers, NY--China Grill (Pat Lachance) was first-up and first home Saturday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $37,000 Open Handicap Pace.
|Mike Lizzi Photos|
|China Grill won the Open Handicap Pace at Yonkers in 1:51.3.|
Away fifth from post 4, China Grill watched as Statesman N (Jordan Stratton) led through early intervals of 27.2 and 56.1. Diamond Cowboy (Jason Bartlett) was pocketed, with American Rage (Jim Pantaleano) third.
China Grill, who had lacked room in his last couple starts, took that matter off the table here by extricated himself from the cones. He went up and over Statesman N with the greatest of ease before the 1:24.2 three-quarters. That did nothing for the cause of 6-5 choice Hillbilly Hanover (George Brennan).
Hillbilly Hanover had left for a seat, flushed out the eventual winner, then was left out there when China Grill made the lead. That lead was 2-¾ lengths turning for home and 2-¼ lengths at the wire in a life-best 1:51.3. Second went to Diamond Cowboy, with Hillbilly Hanover, American Rage and Statesman N settling for the minor awards.
For China Grill. a 5-year-old Shanghai Phil gelding trained by his driver for owner Lawrence Litvin, he returned $12.60 (third choice) for his fifth win in 14 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $65, with the triple returning $359.50.
The trotter Manningly and pacer Oh My Joepa were co-feature race winners, while leading driver and trainer Rick Plano continued his victorious ways during Saturday night’s 13-race program at Vernon Downs. With Howard Okusko, Jr. doing the steering for his wife, trainer Jessica Okusko, in Saturday’s $8,000 seventh session, the favorite Manningly advanced from fourth in a 28.4 final quarter to earn a half-length tally in 1:54.2. The fast-closing effort resulted in the third current score and 20th lifetime triumph for the 7-year-old son of Yankee Glide-Balanced Action, who is owned by the M&L Of Delaware, LLC contingent. In the $8,000 eighth event, Oh My Joepa bullied his way through splits of 26.1, 53.4 and 1:21.4 to upset the crowd’s choice, Vroom Hanover, in a 1:51 performance, that produced his sixth season’s score and 11th lifetime victory. Claude Huckabone Jr. drove for trainer Michael Deters and owner Paul Parenteau. Plano picked up three driving victories and a pair of conditioning credits during the card to hike his top teaming count to 112 and his leading training total to 44 after 62 current local programs. The 61-year-old reinsman produced seven driving wins and four training tallies during the three-night weekend. Driver, owner (with his wife, Diane) and trainer Ron Harp finished first with the trotters Crazy Over You (2:00) and Victoria Hall (1:59.3) to secure his first driving double of the track’s 60th anniversary season.
Speculation and driver Jim Meittinis captured Saturday night’s $16,000 open handicap trot at Tioga Downs, one of four wins on the card for Jim Meittinis. Leaving from post 4 after the field was scratched down to five, Meittinis got away last as Waiting On A Woman (Jim Marohn Jr.) took the field to the quarter in 27.2. Marohn and Waiting On A Woman continued to lead the field by the half-mile mark in 55.3 as Fox Valley Smarty (Corey Braden) was parked out in second. Down the backside, Waiting On A Woman was still in command as Meittinis got underway from last and moved Speculation into second over position behind Fox Valley Smarty as the field reached three quarters in 1:23.3. Just past the three quarter-mile mark of the race, Waiting On A Woman made a break on the lead leaving Gaelic And Garlic (Fern Paquet Jr.) in control of the race with Speculation making a three-wide move around the final turn. In the stretch, Gaelic And Garlic was clinging to a short lead, but a closing Speculation would not be denied and got up to win by a nose in 1:55.1. The win was the fourth of the year for the 7-year old son of Pistols N Spurs – Mathers Cunchita, who is trained by Robert Bath. With the win, Speculation increased his seasonal earnings to more than $78,000 for owner Cozette Mcavoy of Pennsylvania.
Saratoga Gaming and Raceway
A Place In History, with Joe Bongiorno in the sulky, captured Saturday’s featured Open Pace with a purse of $18,000. Owned by Barbara Bongiorno and trained by Brad Irvine, the 4-year-old Scoot Hanover gelding posted a winning time of 1:53.