Yonkers Raceway's pair of snowflake-themed Friday night $35,000 Open Handicaps--for distaff pacers and trotters of either gender--were won by Chief Karen (Larry Stalbaum, $21.20) and Master Pine (Jim Pantaleano, $68).
Watching early from post position five (in one notch after an inside scratch), "Karen" saw a wide Hot List (Matt Kakaley) make the lead from her outside venue. She worked around Warrawee Koine (Jason Bartlett) before a :27.2 opening quarter-mile.
After a :56.3 intermission, last week's victress, this week's 19-10 choice Don't Point At (Jeff Gregory), moved from fifth, with Chief Karen slightly gapping that one at the 1:25.3 three-quarters. Southwind Jazmin (George Brennan) launched a wide bid from the back of the bus. Hot list maintained a length lead in and out of the final turn, but company was closing in. Warrawee Koine ducked inside, with Chief Karen finding her best stride outside. The latter whipped the former by a head in 1:54.3. Hot List saved the bottom of the ticket, with Southwind Jazmin and Don't Point At settling for the minor spoils.
For sixth choice Chief Karen, a 7-year-old daughter of Camluck co-owned by Curran Racing and Adam Michael and trained by Heidi Rohr, it was her second win in three seasonal starts (fourth in five dating to end of last season). The exacta paid $94, with the triple returning $580.
The week's featured trot saw pocket-sitting bombardier Master Pine (Jim Pantaleano) prevail at 33-1. In play from post two, he tailed Affirmed Action (Bartlett) through intervals of :28.1, :58.2 and 1:27.2. Affirmed Action, off those comfy fractions and only token, first-up pressure from Enrico AS (Brennan), had a length-and-a-half lead into the lane. However, he put up minimal resistance as Master Pine zipped up the cones, winning by three-quarters of a length in 1:57.1. Affirmed Action held second, with 9-10 fave Sugar Queen Gabby (Mark MacDonald) rallying from last to grab third. Enrico AS and Looking Hanover (Brian Sears) rounded out the payees.
For sixth choice Master Pine, a 10-year-old Master Lavec gelding trained by Julie Miller for co-owners Mark Moger and Albert Delia Jr., it was his first win in a couple of '13 tries. The exacta paid $418, the triple returned $1,107 and the superfecta paid $4,329.
Yonkers Raceway continues its 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)