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Racing Roundup: Sapphire City wins Saturday Open Handicap Pace at Yonkers
Sunday, December 7, 2014 - from harness publicists across North America

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Saturday's (Dec. 6) edition of Racing Roundup features results stories from Yonkers Raceway and  Batavia Downs.

Sapphire City wins Saturday Open Handicap Pace at Yonkers

Yonkers, NY --- Sapphire City (Eric Carlson) nailed Ronny Bugatti (Tyler Buter) at the wire (Dec. 7) Saturday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $35,000 Open Handicap Pace.
Those two had some "sloppy" numbers to chase, as 11-10 choice Beach Memories (George Brennan) rolled through intervals of  :26.4, :55.1 and 1:22.4. He opened two lengths turning for home, but was about to hit the skids. Ronny Bugatti, who had come first-up, slipped in for a breather after pocket-sitting Orillia Joe (Brent Holland) quit.
Right behind Ronny Bugatti was Sapphire City who, from post position No. 3, had advanced down the backside. Those two had the length of the lane to decide it, with Sapphire City winning by a desperate head in 1:52. It was a from-last P H Supercam (Jason Bartlett)--again on display late--grabbing third, with Beach Memories and E Street Plan (Matt Kakaley) settling for the remainder.
For slight second choice Sapphire City, a 6-year-old Metropolitan gelding trained by Paul Blumenfeld for co-owners Centaur Stable and Jordan Sklut, he returned $11.40 for his eighth win (fourth consecutive) in 37 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $57.50, with the triple returning $323.50.

-- Frank Drucker

Batavia Downs
With the horses that finished 1-2 in last week’s top pace going off co-favorites, newcomer No Real Surprise (who won the Open II last week in a faster mile) was overlooked. But when he came away with the victory in the $11,000 Open pace at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Dec. 6), it was no real surprise to his connections. The gate released a cavalry charge as Just Frank (Rock C. Vinci) parked out Union Man Hanover (Kevin Cummings) and Youwillwishyouhad (John Cummings Jr.) who was bound and determined to take the front. As the three-pack hit the quarter in :27.1, Cummings Jr. got his way and drifted down to the pylons to lead the field. However no sooner did that occur that the eventual winner, No Real Surprise (Shawn McDonough), came first over and refused to give Youwillwishyouhad a breather. When the pair drew even at the three-quarters in 1:26.2, they paced in tandem from there in what simply became a match race. With whips and lines raised, Cummings Jr. and McDonough’s charges went stride for stride around the far turn and halfway down the stretch. At that point No Real Surprise got a slight advantage that he held to the wire, winning by a ½ length in 1:58. Youwillwishyouhad gallantly hung on for second and What The Sheik (Ronnie Wrenn Jr.) was much the best of the rest. It was the eleventh win in 31 starts for No Real Surprise ($12.80) who was a recent acquisition from Yonkers Raceway for owners Vogel and Wags Nags Stable. The winner’s share of the purse raised his 2014 earnings to $69,509. No Real Surprise is trainer by Ron Van Wagoner. Driver John Cummings Jr. had the hot hand winning three races on the night with Drew Monti and Ronnie Wrenn Jr. both registered driving doubles. With the conclusion of Saturday night’s card, the Batavia Downs summer-fall meet came to a close. Live racing will resume at the track on July 14, 2015, pending date approval from the New York Gaming Commission.

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