A total of seven 3-year-old colts have been entered for the 2009 edition of Yonkers Raceway's Art Rooney Pace. It is the 19th edition of one of Yonkers' premier pacing events. The number of entrants has made the '09 Rooney a "one-dash-for-the-cash" event, worth $421,850, a week from Saturday night, June 13.
Barber Pole, twice a winner in four seasonal starts, looks to give trainer George Teague, Jr. a third consecutive win in this race (Southwind Lynx-2007, Badlands Nitro-2008). Barber Pole, a son of Badlands Hanover owned by his breeders Gary and Barbara Iles, grabbed a life-best 1:49 earlier this season at the Meadowlands.
Fireintheshark banked $172,875 as a freshman -- 11-of-16 in the money -- but has been up the track in his pair of '09 efforts. His rookie season featured success in New Jersey-bred events as well as a win in a division of the International Stallion Stake at the Red Mile. The son of 1994 Rooney winner Cam's Card Shark is trained by Jim Campbell for co-owners Arlene and Jules Siegel.
The pride of the Empire State, Hypnotic Blue Chip, has been quite occupied thus far in 2009. The Art Major colt started 11 times (seven wins, two seconds, one third), with earnings of $210,740, third in his weight class thus far this season. He invades Westchester after winning his elimination and $218,925 final of the Empire Breeders Classic at Tioga. Mark Harder trains for himself, Deena Frost, Stable 45 and Robert Murphy.
If I Can Dream socked away more than $235,000 as a plebe, highlighted by a win in the $257,850 final of Dover's Matron Stakes in mid-November. His 1:50.4 life-best came the previous week in an elimination for the Matron. This season, the son of Western Hanover -- trained by Tracy Brainard for Bulletproof Enterprises -- has a pair of overnight wins to his credit.
Mobile was a six-figure earner in 2008, taking a division of the Standardbred at Delaware, Ohio, in a life-best 1:54.1 after finishing third in the $300,000 final of the Kentucky Sire Stakes at the Red Mile. He won his '09 seasonal debut at the Meadows. Ronnie Burke trains the son of Real Desire for owner George Leon.
Monkey Off My Back, a statebred son of Bettor's Delight, was unraced at 2. This season, he's won twice in seven starts -- both Meadowlands' overnights -- and earned a pair of paydays in the Empire Breeders Classic (third in elim, fourth to Hypnotic Blue Chip in the final). Chris Ryder trains for owner Richard Young.
Venice Menace, a Western Hanover colt, brings perfection to the Rooney. He's won all four of his seasonal starts -- three overnights at Chester, one at Freehold -- including a maiden-breaking 1:52.2 effort early last month. Jeff Snyder and Lothlorien co-own Venice Menace, trained by Steve Elliott.
The Rooney's companion event, the Lismore Pace, attracted 11 3-year-old fillies for a total purse of $333,970. A pair of $20,000 elimination races are scheduled for this Saturday night, with the first four in each qualifying for the $293,970 final Saturday night, June 13.
The Lismore ladies are -- in alphabetical order -- B Intensified, In The Game, Indulge Me, Jkmusicofthenite, Jordan's Jewell, Kabbalah Karen B, Mogul Magnate, Not Enough (the lone $30,000 supplemental entrant), Notjustaprettyface, Pumptuous and Spoiled Beach.
Yonkers is currently in the midst of an early-June live racing break, as previously scheduled and approved by the New York State Racing and Wagering Board. Live racing returns this Saturday night. The open draw for both stakes finals takes place next Tuesday afternoon, June 9. (Yonkers)