Friday night found Yonkers Raceway hosting its usual pair of $37,000 Open Handicaps, for trotters and distaff pacers. The week's featured trot had 3-2 favorite YF Little Guy (Jim Pantaleano) go from first-up to first home.
After Stonebridge Diablo (Cat Manzi) led through early intervals of :28 and :58, YF Little Guy moved from fifth. He dueled with "Diablo" through a :28.4 third quarter, putting that one away in short order. Master Pine (Jason Bartlett) gapped the new leader, while YF Little Guy widened to 2 1/2 lengths turning for home. Shoeless White Sox (Jeff Gregory) did close, but close well, but YF Little Guy wound up a length-and-a-quarter to the good in 1:56.2 Winnin' Image (Matt Kakaley), Hurrikanebiggeorge (Stephane Bouchard) and Batalj Launcher (Jordan Stratton) came away with the small change.
For YF Little Guy, a 7-year-old Shilling gelding trained by Lou Pena for KDM Stables, he returned $5 for his sixth win in 18 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $51, with the triple returning $169.
The weekly distaff derby turned into a mad-scramble event, with Little Mermaid N (Pat Berry) closing on the wide side to edge pylon-skimming Cheyenne Trish (Brent Holland) in a battle of longshots.
The race was far from favorite-friendly, what with 7-5 choice Mach You and Me (Bartlett) unable to get out of her own way before the start and 8-5 second choice Symphony in Motion (Gregory) out every step from her assigned eight hole.
Delaware invader Apache Dame (Pantaleano) sprinted through stations of :27.1, :55.4 and 1:24.4, then came back to the bunch out of the final turn. Symphony In Motion chased the leader before turning off the brutal trip. Then, the cavalry came. Little Mermaid N, working out a second-over trip from post position seven, prevailed by a head in 1:53.4.
Sherri on Ice (Bouchard), a blocked Soiree (Stratton) and Cross Cross (Manzi) completed the cashers, with the first five separated by a scant length on the line.
For Little Mermaid N, a 6-year-old Road Machine Down Under miss trained by Ettore Annunziata for owner Michael Spaccarelli, she returned $32.40 (sixth choice) for her fourth win in 21 '10 tries. The exacta paid $285.50, with the triple returning $649.
Saturday night, the Raceway offers a pair of stakes for 3-year-old pacers, the $250,000 Art Rooney (colts/geldings) and $150,000 Lismore (fillies).
The field for the Rooney, with declared drivers...1-He's Gorgeous (Bartlett); 2-Tobago Cays (Manzi); 3-We Will See (Jim Morrill Jr.); 4-One More Laugh (Tim Tetrick).
The field for the Lismore, with declared drivers...1-It's De Lovely (Gregory); 2-Dancinwiththestarz (Morrilll Jr.); 3-Aries Angel (Brandon Simpson); 4-A and G's Princess (Yannick Ginrgas).
Please be advised that both stakes shall be races as non-bettors before the 12-race, parimutuel card (first post 7:10 p.m.) The Lismore is scheduled for p.m. while the Rooney goes at 6:15 p.m. (Yonkers)