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Racing Roundup: Sweet Lou wins Open Handicap at Yonkers
Sunday, December 8, 2013 - from harness publicists across North America

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Saturday’s (Dec. 7) edition of Racing Roundup features results stories from Yonkers Raceway, Northfield Park, Pompano Park and Saratoga Casino and Raceway.

Sweet Lou wins Open Handicap at Yonkers

Yonkers, NY --- Double-millionaire Sweet Lou (George Brennan) made a successful local debut Saturday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $37,000 Open Handicap Pace.

Mayra Escamilla photo
Sweet Lou captured the Open Handicap Pace on Saturday night in his first visit to Yonkers Raceway.
Ordered outside his seven rivals (though inside one notch after a defection), 3-5 choice Sweet Lou worked around Sapphire City (Eric Carlson), making the lead before a  quick :26.3 opening quarter. It was a rated 30-second quarter (:56.3) with Ardyne Ace (Larry Stalbaum) moving from fifth.

That one offered minimal grief in and out of a 1:24.3 three-quarters, with Sweet Lou taking a couple of lengths into the lane, The people's preference then held the gang at bay, whipping Sapphire City by a length in 1:52... a snappy :27.2 final quarter.

Third went to a three-hole Lumberjack Willie (catch-driver Jordan Stratton), with Pan from Nantucket (Eric Goodell) and Ardyne Ace rounded out the payees.

For Sweet Lou, a 4-year-old son of Yankee Cruiser co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke, Weaver Bruscemi, Lawrence Karr and Philip Collura, he returned $3.30 for his fourth win in 23 seasonal starts. The exacta (two wagering favorites) paid $10.60, with the triple returning $49.

It should be noted that Sweet Lou's only half-mile experience prior to Saturday was the 2012 Little Brown Jug, when he won his heat before finishing second in the final. It is surmised he's going to join the Burke contingent in next season's George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series.

-- Frank Drucker

Northfield Park
Keith Kash Jr. drove five winners on Saturday (December 7) at Northfield Park.  Kash’s winners included Hazel Eyes ($15.20) in race two, Girls’ Getaway ($13.60) in race three, Sporty Callie ($5.80) in race four, Matt’s Jack ($7.60) in race 10 and Columbia Art ($4.60) in race 12.  Three of the five winners were also trained by Kash. Kash, 34, began driving in 1997 and has since garnered 2,090 career victories and is in excess of $8,000,000 in purse earnings. 

Pompano Park
Thebestofjoel, handled by owner-trainer Ed Hensley, proved his wire-to-wire debut victory at Pompano Park in his last start was no fluke as the pair teamed up and used similar tactics for a repeat score in the $10,000 Open 1 Pace on Saturday night. The 5-year-old son of Cammibest, starting from the outside post in the septet, took the lead just a couple of strides out of the gate and clocked panels of :27.3, :55.1 and 1:23.1 en route to a victory measuring three-parts of a length in 1:50.4. Northern Companion, driven by Rob Hoffman, paced his final half in :55 to finish second while Lyon's Johnny, with Wally Hennessey in the bike, finished third, just a length away. Cruizin K C was fourth while Next Flight In picked up the final award. In a post-race interview, Hensley said, "You know, this horse has good gate speed--he showed that last week--and, when the gate opened, I didn't see that much early speed inside so I gunned him a bit right after the start to, at least, find a spot close up early. Well, he got to the front pretty easily. You know, when a horse shows you he's got 1:50 speed, you get a lot of confidence in him and, after he reached the top pretty easily and in a manageable time, I felt confident that he could do a repeat performance. He's got those :27 and a piece final quarters in him and, when you're on top, the others have to maybe go :26.4 or :27 to catch you. That's not easy when you're playing catch up. So, we were lucky again. And this is a very good bunch of Open horses here, so I'm proud of this guy's performance." For Thebestofjoel, it was his fifth win of the year in 22 starts and sent his seasonal earnings to $62,262. He's banked $211,107 lifetime to go along with a Meadowlands mark of 1:49.4.

Saratoga Casino and Raceway
Yet another pacer added his name to the long list of Open Pace winners at Saratoga Casino and Raceway on Saturday night. Dinner Guest (No Pan Intended) became the 20th different horse to win the Saturday feature in the last 22 weeks. Trainer Rene Allard has won a handful of Opens with various members of his stable in the past few months but it was Dinner Guest (Billy Dobson) who prevailed for the first time in the $15,000 Open on a chilly night in Saratoga. Taking advantage of plenty of early speed in the race, Dinner Guest out-closed his rivals to secure his ninth victory of the season. The score for Dinner Guest, which came in 1:54.4, moved the 9-year-old’s lifetime earnings to just dollars shy of the half-million mark. Trigger Finger (Jim Devaux) fought gamely for second while Rock To Glory (Bruce Aldrich Jr) earned the show spot.

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