Yonkers Raceway played host to the richest night of racing in the state Saturday, the $1.8 million New York Night of Champions, proudly hosted by Yonkers Raceway.
Eight, $225,000 sire stakes divisional finals--for 2- and 3-year-old of both sexes and gaits—in the 23rd Night of Champions, which were each again sponsored by a prominent Empire breeding farm or ownership group. The Reader's Digest recaps...
Crawford Farms 2-Year-Old Colt/Gelding Trot--Pole-sitting favorite Fashion Blizzard (Jim Morrill Jr., $3.40) cut the mile.(:28.4, :57.3, 1:28.1) and was resurgent in the lane, holding off second choice Tirade Hanover (Brian Sears) by a head in 1:57.4. Twisted Pretzel (Cat Manzi) was third, beaten 5¼ lengths. Royalty for Life (Jason Bartlett), who figured to be a player, broke in the first turn.
Fashion Blizzard, a homebred son of Credit Winner owned by Fashion Farms and trained by Jim Campbell, is now 4-for-8 with three seconds and a third this season. The exacta paid $5.90, with the triple returning $37.40.
Morrisville College Equine Institute 2-Year-Old Filly Trot--It was even-money You Want Me (Tim Tetrick, $4) getting the job done. Leaving from post position No. 2, she made it five wins in a row, ducking inside in a wild-scramble finish. Isabella Gal (Sean Bier) was grabbed second from second-over, with Lady Riviera (Morrill Jr.) third after trying it first-up. Barn Babe (John Cummings Jr.) was a needing-room fourth after leaving well from the eight-hole.
You Want Me, a daughter of Credit Winner co-owned by (trainer) Paul Kelley and William Weaver III, had those five win in nine '12 tries. The exacta paid $82.50, the triple returned $217.50 and the superfecta paid $590.
Winbak Farm 2-Year-Old Filly Pace--Divisional dominatrix Summertime Lea (Morrill Jr.. $2.40) ended her statebred season in the winner's circle, as usual. Leaving from post No. 2, she was patiently pocketed behind Hit the Curb (Jason Bartlett). "Lea" edged out early in the final turn, then coasted home by a length-and-a half. Brussels Hanover (George Brennan) was a cone-skimming second, with Hit the Curb saving the bottom of the ticket.
"Lea," a daughter of Lislea, co-owned by (trainer) Ron Burke, Weaver Bruscemi, Frank Baldachino and Earl Smith, is now 8-for-9 after a fifth consecutive victory
Cameo Hills Farm 3-Year-old Filly Pace--In what figured to be a three-horse event, 4-5 choice Romantic Moment (Sears, $3.70) made short work of everyone. Away alertly from post No. 6, she controlled the cotillion (:27.3, :57, 1:25.4, 1:53.1) as she pleased. Romantic Moment whipped defending sire stakes champ Handsoffmycookie (Tetrick) by a length-and-a-half as "Cookie" photoed Major Look (Andy Miller) for second. Ramalama (Morrill Jr.) was a first-up fourth.
Romantic Moment, an American Ideal miss trained by Jimmy Takter for owner Brittany Farms, remains board-perfect this season with eight wins, two seconds and a third in 11 efforts (earnings more than $728,000). The exacta paid $7, the triple returned $11.80 and the superfecta (four wagering choices in order) paid $36.
"She's always shown up," Takter said. "She overcome the post this evening and I thought she raced very well."
Kenneth J Syndicate 2-Year-Old Colt/Gelding Pace--Irony (and talent) had a race sponsored by a Ken Jacobs-owned double sire stakes champ won by another upper echelon Ken Jacobs-owned colt in odds-on Doctor Butch (Tetrick, $2.30). "Butch," from post No. 3, took over from Bet the Moon (:27, 56.1, 1:25, 1:53.1), beating that rival by a length-and-a-quarter. Framed Art (Mark MacDonald) was a first-up third.
Doctor Butch, a son of Art Major trained by Linda Toscano, ended his summer with eight wins and a trio of seconds in 11 tries (earnings of $324,000-plus). The exacta paid $3.60 and the triple (three wagering choices in order) returned $6.30.
Stirling Brook Farms 3-Year-Old Filly Trot--Millionairess Win Missy B (Sears) was blessed with high speed, but cursed with high temperament. Fresh off her track-record effort here in her career small-track debut, she picked a bad night to have a bad night. The 1-2 choice broke leaving, paving the way for Cowgirl Hall (Morrill Jr., $5.30) Leaving from post No. 3, "Cowgirl" set unpressured intervals (:28.4, :58.1, 1:27.4, 1:57.1). She defeated pocket-protecting Kristin's Victory (Steve Smith) by 2¼ lengths, by Annandamide (Brennan) third. Win Missy B wound up distanced.
Cowgirl Hall, a daughter of Cash Hall trained by Gates Brunet for co-owners Ted Gewertz, Michael Rosenthal, Jean Brunet and Deborah Brunet, has won seven of 15 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $32.80, with the triple returning $128.
Allerage Farm 3-Year-Old Colt/Gelding Trot-The rain, which had threatened to make a guest appearance all night, crashed the last couple of finales with a vengeance. Here, Yonkers Trot winner and world champion Archangel was sent postward as the 7-10 choice despite an eight-hole impost. He settled in fourth as second choice Brookroad Knight (Jeff Gregory) jumped it off.
Meanwhile, third choice Coraggioso (Sears, $11) was sailing along (:28.1; 58.0; 1:27.1) from post No. 6. Down the backside the second time, Archangel had the leader in his sights...only to break stride in the final turn. That ended the suspense portion of the event, with Coraggioso going on to win by three handy lengths in 1:57.1. A Penny Earned (catch-driver Tetrick) was able to get into second at 56-1, with Mado Dream (Brennan) a pocket third. Archangel was seventh-placed-eighth.
"I just think he was moving too fast out in the two-patch and may be overtrotted," co-owner/trainer Peter Arrigenna said. "He came out of the race alright, and all we can do is look ahead (to Lexington)."
Coraggioso, a homebred son of Conway Hall trained by Gates Brunet for co-owners Joe Spadaro and Tom Durkin, is now 7-for-14 this season with earnings past $412,000. The exacta paid $232,50, the triple paid $995 and the superfecta paid $15,673 (base $2 wager).
Blue Chip Farms 3-Year-Old Colt and Gelding Pace--Perhaps the Little Brown Jug should be renamed the Night of Champions Prep. Major Bombay (Miller, $18), fresh from his Thursday excursion at Delaware, OH (fifth in his elim), outdrew his rivals here and made 'em pay (:27.1, :56, 1:23.3, 1:52.2).
Breakin' the Law (Bartlett) was breakin' in the pocket, though recovered to cross the line second, surviving an inquiry while beaten three-quarters of a length. Last season's NYSS champ, Heston Blue Chip (Tetrick), had to settle for third as this season's 3-10 favorite.
Major Bombay, an Art Major colt trained by Tony Alagna for co-owners Aaron Waxman, Louis Willinger, John Fodera and Major Bombay Partners, upped the seasonal resume to four wins (as tonight’s fourth choice) in 14 starts (earnings in excess of $308,000).
Saturday night's $44,000 Open Handicap Pace was won by Great Vintage (Dan Dube, $8.20) in 1:52.1. (Yonkers)