Yonkers Raceway rolled into summer's last go-round with Friday night's usual pair of $50,000 Open Handicaps. The week's marquee trot was enlivened by the first local appearance of double millionaire Arch Madness (Brian Sears, three winners on the 13-race card), who was making a rare small-track sojourn.
The public romanced the resume, sending the eight-hole assignee off as the 2-5 favorite. However, like many summer flings, this one had a short shelf life...Arch Madness jumped it off in the first turn.
Meanwhile, Stonebridge Diablo (Stephane Bouchard) was left to his own devices on the lead, rolling through weigh stations of 28, :57.4 and 1:26.2. Green Day (Cat Manzi) pulled from third, with pole-sitter Winnin' Image (Gteg Grismore) trying to stay close from the pocket.
"Diablo" had a couple of lengths to play with turning for home, but he was beginning to labor this Labor Day weekend. Beach Nut Brand (Jeff Gregory) and Batalj Launcher (Jason Bartlett)--sitting sixth and seventh, respectively, early--were making the biggest noise late.
Beach Nut Brand, last week's winner, closed down the center, while Batalj Launcher--who left from post position No. 7--kept improving position on the cones. In the end, the short way was the right way, with Batalj Launcher getting a nostril decision in a life-best 1:56.
Shutter Boy (Yannick Gingras), Winnin' Image and Stonebridge Diablo grabbed the final pay envelopes. Arch Madness did beat a couple of rivals to wind up sixth.
For Batalj Launcher, a 7-year-old Tap In gelding co-owned by (trainer) Josh Green and Meadowbranch Racing, he returned $45.80 (seventh choice) for his eighth win in two dozen '09 tries. The exacta paid $534, with the triple returning $3,070.
The weekly Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace saw odds-on Still Electric (Bartlett, three winners Friday) prevail after a second-over trip.
Leaving from post No. 6 as the 3-4 choice, Still Electric watched early as Twin B Tiara (Jim Pantaleano) led through fractions of 27.4, :57.1 and 1:25. She dealt with a first-up Hannah Isabel (Pat Lachance), while Quicksilvercandy A (Larry Stalbaum) was pocketed.
Twin B Tiara owned a length-and-a-quarter lead into the lane, but the favorite was coming. Still Electric went wide and went by, widening to a length-and-a-half in 1:53.3. Quicksilvercandy A photoed Twin B Tiara for second, with Eagle Hilarious (Gregory) and Ramona Disomma (Jordan Stratton) completing the cashers.
For Sill Electric, a 5-year-old daughter of Mr. Electric trained by Kevin Lare for co-owners Thomas Lazzaro, Howard Taylor & Jerry Silva, she returned $3.50 for her 11th win in 24 seasonal; starts. The exacta paid $28.40, with the triple returning $131.50.
New York Sire Stakes action continues next week at the Raceway. Monday night features the $213,466 Eastchester Trot (3-year-old colts/geldings), Tuesday offers the $218,123 Bedford Pace (3-year-old fillies) and Thursday finds the $179,068 Milt Taylor Trot (2-year-old colts/geldings). There are also NYSS events scheduled for next Friday and Saturday nights. (Yonkers)