Yonkers Raceway's 2013 season began with a rainy Friday night and with its usual pair of $35,000 co-features. The Filly and Mare Open Pace went to a first-up Southwind Jazmin (George Brennan), who put away even-money favorite Don't Blame Her (catch-driver Brian Sears), then held sway.
"Jazmin," unhurried early from post position No. 2, watched as Don't Blame Her made the lead around Ocean's Motion (Mark MacDonald). After a :27.2 opening quarter-mile and 57-second intermission, Southwind Jazmin moved from fourth among the six-pack.
She engaged the leader in and out of the 1:25.3 three-quarters, grabbing a short lead turning for home. Southwind Jazmin finished it off from there, wining by a length in 1:55. Red Star Hottie (Matt Kakaley, four winners on the dozen-race card) closed stoutly to grab second, with Ocean's Motion, Arctic Fire N (Eric Goodell) and a tiring Don't Blame Her completing the cashers. Sir Jillian Z Tam (Pat Lachance) was outrun.
For Southwind Jazmin, a 5-year-old daughter of Art Major trained by Mark Harder for owner Rick Phillips, she returned $5.80 (second choice) for a winning seasonal debut. The exacta paid $17, with the triple returning $71.
Friday night's Open Handicap Trot was won by a third-over Sugar Queen Gabby (MacDonald), who snapped both Celebrity Bluechip (Kakaley) and Enrico As (Brennan) at the wire in 1:58.
Celebrity Bluechip, as the 4-5 choice, two-moved to the early lead (:28.1, :58.3). Affirmed Action (Cat Manzi) who threw in some steps before the quarter, tried it first-up, with Enrico As in behind.
Meanwhile, Celebrity Bluechip went past a 1:28.2 three-quarters, taking a length-and-a-half lead into the lane. However, it was "Gabby," third-over from post No. 6, moving latest and fastest. Sixth turning for home, she whipped "Enrico" by a head, with Celebrity Bluechip third. Affirmed Action and Looking Hanover rounded out the payees.
For Sugar Queen Gabby, a 6-year-old daughter of Dream Vacation trained by John Stoutenberg for owner Tracy Lynn Cortese, she returned $13.40 (third choice) for her successful '13 first night. The exacta paid $105, the triple returned $355 and the superfecta paid $1,421. (Yonkers)