First-season New York-sired colts and geldings were on display Thursday night, with Yonkers Raceway hosting the $290,455 New York Sire Stakes Jim Crawford Pace for 2-year-olds, with four divisions.
Sheppard Pace winner Hail The Taxi (John Campbell) enjoyed yet another successful Westchester work night, this time in the third ($71,605) event. The son of Art Major, who authored a 35-1 stunner in that $119,000 July stakes race, was a quite impressive, three-move winner here...despite a 33-day layoff.
Leaving outside his six rivals, he was wide early before finding a seat in fourth. Artist Night (Ron Pierce) was off to the races at the races, after a :28 opening quarter-mile and a :57 half. Hail The Taxi was on the move again by the half, making up lengths going to the 1:25.2 three-quarters. He ducked in for a breather when Manhattan Benny (Stephane Bouchard) tired, biding his time as Artist Night maintained a short lead turning for home.
However, once the "Taxi" pulled fromthe pocket, he was gone. Hail The Taxi rolled and widened, winning by four lengths in 1:55. He defeated slight 3-2 favorite Sir Cary's Z Tam (Pat Lachance), who snapped Artist Night for second.
For Hail The Taxi, trained by Jim Campbell for owner Fashion Farms, he returned $5 (though as second choice) for his second win in five seasonal starts. The exacta paid $13.80, with the triple returning $25.
"He's been a ready-made horse from the horse from the beginning," John Campbell said. "He's done whatever we've asked, nothing fazes him and he was very good tonight."
Thursday's final ($72,905) state-bred event saw Bet The Moon (Jason Bartlett) make the lead (:27.4 opening quarter), then sting division leader Doctor Butch (Tim Tetrick) before releasing the 15-cents-on-the-dollar choice in the second turn. "Butch" then found a :56.4 intermission and 1:26.1 three-quarters, taking a length-and-a-quarter lead into the lane.
However, Bet The Moon ducked inside and picked off the people's preference, prevailing by a neck in 1:55.2. Third went to Ronny Bugatti (George Brennan), with Framed Art (Mark MacDonald) fourth. For Bet The Moon, a Bettor's Delight colt owned by Edwin Gold and trained by Ron Burke, he returned $10.20 (second choice) for his second win in eight '12 tries. The exacta paid $21.80, the triple paid $112 and the superfecta paid $268.50.
The opening ($72,905) division was won by second-choice Track Master D (Bartlett), who retook the lead from Scalped (Montrell Teague), cut the mile (:28.3, :58, 1:27), then held that one off by a half-length in a life-best 1:55.2. The winner had to withstand an objection by the runner-up.
Swift As A Shadow (Tetrick) was a first-up third as the 6-5 choice, with a Bettor World (Brennan) fourth.
For Track Master D, a Bettor's Delight colt trained by Tony Alagna for co-owners Louis Willinger, Tangie Massey, Minisink Farms and Eagles Soar Partners, he returned $4.70 for his second win in five seasonal starts. The exacta paid $29.40, the triple paid $56 and the superfecta returned $172.50.
The second ($72.905) grouping saw a pocketed 12-1 shot Visa Viper (Brennan) easily go by 1-5 favorite Deny Deny Deny (Tetrick) by a length-and-a-quarter in a life-best 1:54.2. The fave had led through fractions of :28.2, :57.3 and 1:26. Third went to America'sgottalent (Bartlett), with Story Book (Larry Stalbaum) fourth.
For Visa Viper, a son of Bettor's Delight co-owned by Gus and Alan Johnston and trained by Brian Magie Jr., he paid$27.60 (third choice) for his second win in eight seasonal starts. The exacta paid $42.60, the triple returned $84 and the superfecta paid $170.
Yonkers Raceway continues its normal five-night-per-week live schedule, with first post every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:10 PM. Evening simulcasting accompanies all live programs, with afternoon simulcasting available around the NYRA schedule. (Yonkers)