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11 year old takes finale

February 28, 2007

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The fourth and fifth finals of the Empire City Non-Claiming Series--listed as events two and four on your scorecard, but number one in your heart--led the Tuesday matinee madness at Yonkers Raceway.

Event four featured $7,500 claiming trotters jostling for joy and a $32,100 purse. Zaire N, who won his last series preliminary leg going away, was dispatched from post position five as the 4-5 favorite.

With Catello Manzi doing the honors for trainer Paul Fusco, Zaire N was buried in the background esrly. Our Sundancer N (Jim Pantaleano) led the octet through early fractions of :29 and :59.1. The Z Man Wins (Pat Berry) was in an antsy pocket, with CR Dawn Patrol (Dan Dube) situated third.

The leader was showing signs of passing the baton just after the 1:29.3 rhree-quarters, which he did as The Z Man Wins took over turning for home. All the while, Zaire N was methodically marching first-over from fourth, with Fraher Hill Magic (Mike Forte) towed along for the ride.

Zaire N made the lead, then held off Fraher Hill Magic to win by a neck in a life-best 2:00.1. CR Dawn Patrol was up for third, while The Z Man Wins could do no better than fourth. Paradise Quikie (Mark Gingrich) was an eight-hole fifth.

Zaire N, an 11-year-old Down Under Gee Whiz gelding, owned by Barry Franklin, returned $3.70 for his second win in five seasonal starts. The exacta paid $25.60, with the triple good for $123. The $16,050 winner\'s share was more than Zaire N earned in all of 2006 (16 starts).

The final for event two--$5,000 claiming pacers--threw $22,250 on the table. Tag-teamers Medoland Big Guy (George Brennan) and Mainline Hall (Berry), trained by Paul Fusco, went to the gate at 15 cents on the dollar from post positions one and seven, respectively.

The former took advantage of the pole and whisked away to the tune of a :27.4 quarter-mile. The latter dropped in fourth, but was on the move--and on the lead--passing his entrymate before a 58-second intermisision.

Mainline Hall, who went three-for-three in his series trials, owned a length-and-a-quarter lead enetering the stretch, then finished it off. He won by a length in a season\'s-best 1:56.2. Zzyzx Rd (Manzi) grabbed second over Medoland Big Guy, with Michelpangelo (Dube) and Upswing N (Mark Beckwith) also making money.

For Mainline Hall, a 5-year-old Cambest gelding owned by Dale Wareham, it was his fourth victory in sevem \'07 efforts. After banking just under $11,000 in \'06 and about the same figure thus far in 2007, he earned $11,125 for this series win. (Yonkers)

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