Sophomore fillies invaded Yonkers Raceway Friday night, with the track playing host to the $282,975 New York Sire Stakes Bruce Hamilton Pace. The event annually honors the memory of the former executive secretary of the Harness Horse Breeders of New York, whose contributions to the success of the state-bred program cannot be measured.
Three divisions--at $94,325 each--comprised the program. Pocket-sitter defeated pace-setter in the first division, with Sir Lehigh Z Tam (Pat Lachance) beating 2-5 choice Cheyenne Miriam (Andy Miller) by a head in 1:54.3. Road Bet (Marcus Miller) was third.
"Miriam" quarter-moved, then put up fractions of :27, :55.4 and 1:24.4. She had a length-and-a-quarter lead turning for home, but "Lehigh," in play early from post position four, ducked inside and picked off the favorite.
For second choice Sir Lehigh Z Tam, a daughter of Art Major co-owned by her (trainer) driver, M&M Harness Racing and Ira Rosenblum, she returned $7.90 (second choice) for her third win in a dozen seasonal starts. The exacta $15.20, with the triple returning $53.
The second event saw frosh sire stakes champ Summertime Lea (Jim Morrill Jr., $2.10) prevail as the puniest of pari-mutuel propositions. Leaving from post 2, "Lea" worked around pole-starting Freetime (Andy Miller), then laid down the law through intervals of :27.3, :57, 1:26.1 and 1:54.3.
The final margin was 2╝ lengths over Lismore winner JK Black Beauty (Jason Bartlett), with Freetime holding the bottom of the ticket.
For Summertime Lea, a daughter of Lislea co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke, Weaver Bruscemi, Frank Baldachino and Earl Smith, she's now 7-for-9 this season and 15-for-19 in her career. The exacta paid $8, with the triple returning $36.60.
Friday evening's final Hamilton hoedown was another take-no-prisoners effort, this one by Winbak Heavenly (Jim Marohn Jr.). Leaving from post 3, she stuffed Springforth (Larry Stalbaum) in behind, then set quick quarters of 27 seconds flat and :55.1. That's when 2-5 shot Social Scene (George Brennan) came on the scene. However, once she moved from third, it was obvious she was not the age group track record-holder of earlier this summer. Social Scene never seriously threatened by the 1:23.4 three-quarters.
Meanwhile, Winbak Heavenly, with a couple of lengths entering the lane, held Springforth at bay by a neck in 1:53.2...matching her life-best effort. Brussels Hanover (Brent Holland) closed from last among the six-pack to grab third. As for Social Scene, she tired badly and finishing behind her five foes.
For Winbak Heavenly, an American Ideal lass owned by Paul Jensen and trained by Mike Deters, she returned $15.40 (third choice) for her seventh win in 15 '13 tries. The exacta paid $76.50, with the triple returning $467.
Friday night's pair of $46,000 Open Handicaps, for trotters and lady pacers, were won by Wishing Stone (Brennan, $2.90)--he a double-millionaire--in 1:54.3, and Krispy Apple (Brian Sears, $6.30)--she a millionairess--in 1:53. The effort by Wishing Stone, who overcame the eight-hole to win by 6╝ lengths, was a track record (aged trotting horse).
The Raceway's five-night-per-week live schedule continues, 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)