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He's Watching falters in Rooney elim
Sunday, May 25, 2014 - by Frank Drucker, publicity director, Yonkers Raceway

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Yonkers, NY---The storyline entering Saturday night’s (May 24) eliminations for Yonkers Raceway’s Art Rooney Pace for 3-year-old colts and gelding was the undefeated He’s Watching.

The storyline leaving those races was He’s Watching (Jim Morrill Jr.) having to wait for another night.

Mike Lizzi Photos
Stevensville won his Art Rooney Memorial elimination in 1:53. He's Watching finished sixth.

Take nothing away from down-the-road, $40,000 elim winners Stevensville (Tim Tetrick, $21.60) and All Bets Off (Matt Kakaley, $2.30), who lead an octet into next Saturday’s $300,000 final. What transpired with He’s Watching, the 8-for-8 frosh divisional champion of a season ago, was totally unexpected. 

Sent postward as the 10 cents on the dollar from post position No. 2 in his 3-year-old pari-mutuel debut, the New York-bred track-and world-record holder of last summer looked like he wanted no part of his work night. Taken a bit wide in the first turn, he settled loosely-pocketed as Stevensville—from post No. 6—led through early intervals of 27.3 and 56.2.

However, going toward the 1:25.1 three-quarters, Morrill was asking questions and not getting the required answers. Stevensville widened to win by 3-¾ lengths in 1:53. Second went to 44-1 outsider Gold Rocks (Scott Zeron), with Bondi Hanover (Brian Sears) third. Fourth—and the final berth in the final--went to a break-recovering Unlocked (Brent Holland), with Forty Five Red (George Brennan) fifth and He’s Watching bring up the rear sixth, beaten 17-¼ lengths.

For third choice Stevensville, a son of Somebeachsomewhere co-owned by (trainer) Ray Schnittker, Paul Bordogna and Ryan Miller, it was his second win in three seasonal starts. The exacta paid $342, with the triple returning $1,249.  

All Bets Off won his Rooney elim in 1:52.3.

As for He’s Watching, “He just acted as if he wanted to run off at any time,” Morrill said. “I would have been happy sitting a two-hole, but I couldn’t get him to relax. I probably shut his air off, but there was nothing I could do.”

“It was an unfortunate set of circumstances,” co-owner/trainer Dave Menary said. “There didn’t appear to be any physical issues, but what happened happened. He’s too good a horse, and we’ll go back and see. I’m confident this is just going to be a blip on the radar.”

All Bets Off made short work of the second elim for the Rooney, leading—from post No, 3—through sub-sections of 27.1, 56.1, 1:25.1 and 1:52.3. The final margin was 2-½ lengths over Some Playa (Brennan), with Ideal Fashion (Sears) third and Thereisapaceforus (Jason Bartlett) fourth and into the finale. Maxi Bon (Zeron) broke down while on the move down the backside and was distanced.

For All Bets Off, a statebred son of Bettor’s Delight co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke, Frank Baldachino, Panhellenic Stables and Rosemary Shelswell, he’s now 2-for-3 this season. The exacta paid $8.30, with no triple wagering. 

“He was just solid from start to finish,”  Kakaley said. “I popped the plugs and he took off.”

The open draw for the 23rd Art Rooney Pace is Tuesday afternoon.

Southwind Silence, Tyra win Lismore elims

As was the case in the eliminations for the Rooney, death-and-taxes favorites in the elims for the Lismore (3-year-old pacing fillies) were no better than a 50-50 proposition.

Southwind Silence (George Brennan, $2.90) was a handy, wire-to-wire winner in the first, $20,000 elimination. From post position No. 4, she threw down essentially equal halves (28, 57.1, 1:26, 1:54) before winning by a length-and-a-half. Bettor Business (Dan Dube), last season’s upset New York Sire Stakes champ, snapped second over an-early-impeded Palm Beach (Jim Morrill Jr.). It Was Fascination (Scott Zeron) was far ahead of the misbehaving A Little Starstruk (Jason Bartlett), the former earning her place in next Saturday’s final. 

For Southwind Silence, a daughter of Well Said co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke, Larry Karr and Joe DiScala Jr., it was her first win in two seasonal starts. The exacta paid $11.60, with no triple wagering.

Tyra won her Lismore elim in 1:54.4.

The second elim for the Lismore saw inside number Also Encouraging (Brian Sears) sent off as the 35-cents on-the-dollar favorite. After moving from third, she secured the lead from Tyra (Morrill Jr.) at the 57.1 half (28.3 quarter).

However, Also Encouraging had no resistance when Rusty’s Bliss (Jason Bartlett) came challenging. Rusty's Bliss gained the lead just after the 1:26.4 three-quarters, but with no one behind her, Tyra—from post No. 2--was able to slip out--and slip by. Tyra whipped a stubborn Rusty's Bliss by a length-and-a-half in 1:54.4. Gentlemen’s Delight (Dan Dube) was third, with Also Encouraging fading to fourth. That earned her a place at the table next week, but was of no solace those place pool bridge jumpers ($29,422 of the $32,153 on the beaten choice).

For Tyra, a daughter of McArdle owned by CC Racing and trained by Joann Looney-King, she returned $6.50 (second choice) for her first win in three ’14 tries. The exacta paid $105.50, with the triple returning $177. With the jumpers taking their leap, the place prices were $20.80 and $62.50, respectively.      

The open draw for the $124,744 final of the Lismore takes places Tuesday afternoon.

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