Yonkers Raceway Tuesday night hosted the $200,200 New York Sires Stakes Clyde Hirt Pace. The event--for 2-year-old fillies--was contested in nearly-quartered, $50,050 divisions. The dance team of trainer Ron Burke and driver Yannick Gingras combined in three of the events…and won each of those.
The first grouping was, as advertised, a Westchester waltz for odds-on Sassa Hanover ($2.10). In play from post position No. 5, she pocketed Bin N Heaven (Dough McNair), then strolled through relaxed rest stops of :29.1, :59 and 1:28. A :27.4 final quarter (life-best 1:55.4) saw her end up 2 3/4 lengths better than "Bin,” who herself raced very well from an outside post.
Third went to Vraka Hanover (Tim Tetrick).
"Sassa,” a daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Burke, Panhellenic Stable, Weaver Bruscemi and Larry Karr, is 2-for-2 (both in NYSS). The exacta paid $6.80, with the triple (three wagering favorites in order) returned $12.80. With no show wagering, more than $19,000 of the $20,000-plus in the place pool was in support of Sassa Hanover.
"I've been impressed since I baby-raced her,” Gingras said. "Tonight was basically a training mile. You want to see manners and guts when they're just beginning, and she showed both.”
Trainer/driver also took down the third and fourth sub-sections with faves Band of Angels ($5) in a night's-fastest/life-best 1:54.4, and Bettor N Better ($2.70) in 1:56.
"(Band of Angels) was able to rate (:29, :58.2, 1:27.4), but a ‘27' last quarter here for a 2 year old is something,” Gingras said. The daughter of Rock N' Roll Heaven defeated One Hot Majorette (Mark MacDonald) by a half-length, with Ameritime (Brent Holland) third.
"I thought Bettor N Better may have a behind the other two (Sassa Hannover and Band of Angels) early, but she's catching up fast. I would have been just as happy sitting behind Timmy (Tetrick, driving Zip Code Envy), but it worked out with me cutting the mile.
Bettor N Better, a Bettor's Delight lass, was a length better than a first-up Heavenly Bride (Brian Sears) in life-best effort, with Zip Code Envy third.
All three of the Burke/Gingras winners are 2-for-2 to begin their careers, with NYSS wins here and Monticello.
Newly-minted Harness Hall of Famer Dave Miller and an off-the-pace Bettor Be Steppin' ($16.80) won the second NYSS event in a maiden-breaking 1:56.4. Starting from post No. 6, she held off 58-1 My Little Delight (Jason Bartlett) by a neck in battle of closers, with Bullville Maggie (Gingras) third.
Even-money choice She's Heavenly (Mike Lachance) brushed to the lead, met pressure from Devil Child (Jimmy Whittemore), then faded to last.
"She was zigging and zagging a bit late,” Miller said of Bettor B Steppin'. "It was her first start on a half, and the last turn may have come up a bit quicker than she was ready for.” The daughter of Bettor's Delight, trained by Joe Holloway, (Yonkers)