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Racing Roundup: Little Santamonica, Coraggioso win Yonkers co-features
Friday, May 23, 2014 - by harness publicists across North America

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Friday's (May 23) edition of Racing Roundup features results stories from Yonkers Raceway, Scarborough Downs, Buffalo Raceway, Vernon Downs and Saratoga Casino and Raceway.

Little Santamonica, Coraggioso win Yonkers co-features

Yonkers, NY---Yonker Raceway’s pair of Friday night $38,000 Open Handicaps—for distaff pacers and either-gender trotters--were won by Little Santamonica (Jason Bartlett) and Coraggioso (Brian Sears).

Mayra Escamilla
Coraggioso won the Yonkers Open Trot in 1:55.

Little Santamonica, the upstate scourge making her first local try since late March, floated out from post position No. 6 (in one notch after an inside defection) before taking back. She saw the two (7-5) wagering choices in favored Summertime Lea (George Brennan) and Shelliscape (Brian Sears) in play early with intervals of 27 and 55.3.

Virgin Mary (Matt Kakaley) moved from fifth, with Little Santamonica on that one’s tail. However, it remainder Shelliscape’s race in and out of the 1:24.3 three-quarters, taking a length lead in and out of the final turn. Summertime Lea dove inside, but she wasn’t the problem. It was Little Santamonica tipping wide and going by, whipping a game Virgin Nary by three-quarters of a length in 1:52.2.

Shelliscape faded to third, with Summertime Lea and Keystone Wanda (Brent Holland) rounded out the payees.

For Little Santamonica, a 5-year-old daughter of Little Steven owned by Kelly Dawn Hope and trained by Jordan Hope, she returned $21.20 (fourth choice) for her eighth win (fifth consecutive) in 14 seasonal starts.  The exacta paid $139.50, with the triple returning $685.

The week’s marquee trot saw even-money favorite Coraggioso wide early from behind the eight-ball, but wrapped up late. He worked around Tober (Bartlett), then threw down the gauntlet to the tune of 28.1, 57.1, 1:26.2 and 1:55.

The final margin was a drifting three-quarters of a length, but the final result was never up for debate. Tober chased and held second, with Awesome Valley (Brennan), Swishnflick (Larry Stalbaum) and Harbor Point (Eric Carlson) coming away with the remainder.

For Coraggioso, a 5-year-old homebred/statebred son of Conway Hall co-owned by Tom Durkin and Joe Spadaro, and trained by Julie Miller, he returned $4 for his fifth win in 13 ’14 tries (up and over $600,000 in career earnings).  The exacta paid $16.60, the triple returned $86 and the superfecta paid $291.

The Raceway's five-night-per-week live schedule continues, with first post every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:10 p.m. Evening simulcasting accompanies all live programs, with afternoon simulcasting available daily. Note that Saturday’s card features eliminations for both the Art Rooney Pace (3-year-colts/geldings) and its companion event, the Lismore (3-year-old fillies).

--Frank Drucker

Scarborough Downs
Driver Kevin Switzer completely dominated the activity at Scarborough Downs on Friday (May 23), claiming victory in five of the eight races programmed. Included among the tally were two from Switzer’s own roster, Colby’s Victory, who scored his third win in a row on Friday, and Cisco Hanover, who took a seasonal mark of 1:58.4.
Switzer also contributed to the recent success of the Adrian Wisher Stable, steering two from that roster down victory lane: Fox Valley Spencer and Thro Time. The fifth win came in the $6,000 Feature Trot with Big Z Class, making his first local start in 2014 a winning one.

Buffalo Raceway
The rains came, the track was fast and still it did not bother Lutetium and driver Kevin Cummings at all. Lutetium (5.60 5.50 4.40) went right to the lead and never looked back once the gates opened. Driver Kevin Cummings had to do battle with Big Baller (Ron Beback Jr.) and Armed Dangerously around the opening turn but once they straightened away it was smooth sailing. Big Baller Tracked intently from in second, but the times tonight were very quick considering the rain.  When the field hit the half-mile marker, Lutetium slowed down the pace to a 29.2 second panel after a blistering 28.4 opening quarter. They all looked to bunch up after that when Shawn McDonough and Mystical Escapade made the first move and Studio City (Jack Flanigen) followed. By the time they hit the three-quarter-mile marker it was too late for either of them and Big Baller who was second at the time as Lutetium had opened up by five lengths. Lutetium is owned by Colleen Girdlestone and trained by Mark Laidlaw. This is his sixth win of 2014, most of them coming over the Buffalo Raceway half-mile track.

Vernon Downs
Rocks N Bagels scored her fourth victory from four starts this season at Vernon Downs on Friday night, winning the $8,500 feature race. However, she did not have an easy time of it at all in the one-mile pace, having to overcome being parked outside during the majority of the mile. The early pacesetter was Love You Bye, who took the lead almost immediately and dictated matters through solid opening fractions of 27.4 for the quarter, 56.2 for the half, and 1:24 for three-quarters. The pocket trip went to Market Dynamics, who waited patiently behind the leader before trying to make a move of her own at the top of the stretch. This move forced Rocks N Bagels to try and rally three-wide through the stretch, which she did behind a perfectly-timed drive from John MacDonald. The final time for the mile was 1:52.1. Love You Bye stubbornly held off Market Dynamics and persevered to finish second. The other finishers were Artic Byrd fourth and Got The Munchies fifth. Rocks N Bagels is owned by Kelly Dawn Hope of Vernon, N.Y., and trained by Jordan Hope. The driving star of the rainy and chilly Friday night at Vernon Downs was Rick Plano, who picked up four driving victories on the evening. Plano won the third race with Carousel Hall, the fourth race with Natural Woman N, the seventh race with Ziegler Hanover, and the ninth race with Ella V Horse. Plano doubles as the trainer on three of these winners. The only winner he didn't have double duty on was Ziegler Hanover. Live racing resumes at Vernon Downs on Saturday night with a nine-race program, starting at 6:45 p.m. There will be a fireworks display in honor of the Memorial Day holiday weekend following the conclusion of the live racing program.

Saratoga Casino and Raceway
Obrigado (Boy Band) prevailed for the first time in the local Open Trot on Friday night at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. After going13-for-13 last season out of town, Obrigado made his local debut in April. The Paul Kelley-trained trotter once again got a pocket trip in Friday’s $18,190 Open, but this week surged by the front-running favorite in the stretch. Kim Crawford piloted Obrigado to his first local score, prevailing in 1:56 for a new lifetime mark. Dismissed at odds of 6-1, Obrigado won a photo with favored Political Desire (Billy Dobson) while last week’s feature winner Count Speed (Wally Hennessey) closed for third. Obrigado now has recorded 22 wins in 28 career starts. Live racing continues on Saturday night at Saratoga with a first post time of 6:45 p.m. 

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