Dancin Yankee hopes to waltz in OSS final
October 13, 2016
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Dancin Yankee, the seemingly-indefatigable $1.4 million winner, heads up the $50,000 Ohio Sires Stakes (OSS) for aged pacers on Saturday night at Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway. He'll square off against seven rivals in the one mile test for 4 year olds and up Ohio-breds.
"He's the type of horse everyone wants to have in their barn," trainer Josh Green noted. "My father picked him out at the yearling sale. We like to buy an Ohio-bred every year and my dad has a good eye for yearlings. He thought this colt was very racy and athletic-looking. He doesn't like too many yearlings, but he called me up and said, ‘We have to buy this colt!'"
Purchased for a mere $17,000 at the 2009 Ohio Select Sale, Dancin Yankee has gone on to earn $1,480,200 for Richard Lombardo and L&J Racing LLC. He will be trying for career victory 54 in the OSS Championship, and also has 31 seconds and 21 thirds from 158 lifetime starts.
"Dan Ater broke him for us in Georgia and kept him for his 2-year-old season and for about half of his 3-year-old season," Green recalled.
Dancin Yankee had nine starts during his freshman campaign in 2010, earning $60,406 from four wins and two thirds. One of his most solid efforts came in his maiden victory, when he scored his 2-year-old record of 1:53.2 on Aug. 21 at Scioto Downs in a $19,400 Ohio Sires Stake. Driven by Kyle Ater, the colt drew off by 4 ½ lengths with a :28 final brush. He then posted victories at Raceway Park (Sept. 12) in a wire-to-wire 1:56.3 effort in an OSS; at Delaware (Sept. 22) in a wire-to-wire 1:55 score in the $21,886 Ohio Breeders Championship; and at Northfield Park (Oct. 2) in an OSS in 1:57.1.
"His best quality is that he takes great care of himself and has always been a very sound horse," Green stressed. "I just love him, and I love a horse that comes from off the pace and can get around a half-mile really well and this horse has both of those qualities."
Dancin Yankee returned for his sophomore campaign in 2011, winning his second start out of the box, an OSS at Lebanon on May 7, 2011 in 1:57.1, over a nasty, wet racing surface. He went on to win seven more starts that season, including triumphs at Delaware in the $26,794 Ohio Breeders Championship in 1:53.2 on Sept. 22; OSS at Northfield and Lebanon; and a $40,000 Ohio State Fair Stake at Scioto in 1:52.3 on Aug. 6. He also competed at Chester (where he took his 3-year-old record of 1:50.2F), Pocono Downs and Dover Downs in the Open ranks with great success, adding another $123,331 to his bankroll at the season's end.
In 2012, things just got better for the bay with the white star on his forehead. Dancin Yankee raced consistently week-after-week against some of the toughest pacers on the East Coast. He garnered strong checks in the Levy series at Yonkers, and scored victories in the Open and winners-over class at Pocono Downs, Yonkers, Saratoga and Harrington. At Pocono he scored a seasonal best mark of 1:49.4, en route to winning a $25,000 conditioned pace on May 26. His stats that year saw him add $231,225 to his bulging bank account from seven wins, six seconds and seven thirds in 28 trips postward, pushing his earnings to $414,962 at year's end.
As a 5 year old in 2013, Dancin Yankee went on to another record season, with five wins, seven seconds and a third from 27 starts, upping his earnings by $170,860 en route to being named Ohio Aged Pacer of the Year. He won a $50,000 Levy Leg (April 6) in 1:51.4 at Yonkers and also captured a one and 1/16 mile test in 1:59.2 at that same half-mile oval on July 20. His seasonal best came early in the year via a 1:50.1 record in a $35,000 Dover Downs Preferred Handicap on Jan. 17.
In 2014 this gritty pacer paced to a lifetime best clocking of 1:47.2 at Pocono Downs on May 17 in rein to Brett Miller. However his best effort came when he exploded to win the $260,000 Joe Gerrity, Jr. Memorial on Aug. 16 at Saratoga in a new track record time of 1:48.4. What was most impressive is that he beat the likes of Heston Blue Chip and the mighty Foiled Again, among others, in the fastest mile in that track's history.
"That was definitely his most impressive effort in my book," Green noted.
Dancin Yankee also scored triumphs at Hoosier Park, Harrah's Chester, and Yonkers before winning an OSS leg and the $50,000 Championship in 1:52.1 at Dayton on Oct. 18 of that year. He was named the Ohio Aged Pacer of the Year for the second time.
This venerable pacer, who Green describes as "having kind of a linebacker build," just kept on rolling in 2015, taking victories in the open ranks at Harrington and Pocono Downs. He won a division of the Ben Franklin and was second by a neck in the Gerrity, before returning to his home state to capture the OSS Championship for the second straight season with Danny Noble in the sulky.
"He's just a good horse," Noble said after the race. "He's just a good feeling horse and he just overpowers a field."
Dancin Yankee wrapped up 2015 by adding $282,909 to his bankroll from four wins, seven seconds and two thirds in 23 starts. He recorded a 7-year-old mark of 1:48.3f at Pocono Downs in early June, and was named Ohio's Aged Pacer of the Year for the third consecutive season.
This year, Dancin Yankee has amassed a record of 7-7-3 from 25 trips postward with seasonal earnings of $102,329, missing only three checks all year. He's captured Opens at Northfield, Pocono and Harrington, and took a seasonal mark of 1:49.1 at Pocono on July 30. Green said he's ready for his OSS test at Dayton.
"This horse just feels like a million bucks," Green acknowledged. "He gets turned out a lot and has his own stud paddock at the farm. However, it takes at least two and sometimes three people to paddock him. He's not mean, he's just very ornery and he's a bad biter. Again, it's not a meanness issue, I really think he's playing, but he's sent several people to the hospital so we have to be very careful around him. He has to wear this Hannibal Lector-looking muzzle in the paddock so he can't bite anyone."
Green, a Cedarville, Ohio native, is based at Dovington Training Center in Felton, Del.
"I just think at his core, Dancin Yankee is an over-achiever in everything he does," Green said. "He's very athletic, very consistent and has perfect confirmation."
The decision to stand the rambunctious stallion has been discussed, Green admitted.
"We've talked about it," he said. "We've had interest from some folks in Australia and other places. We had thought about breeding him and racing him at the same time, but since he's already super study, I think once we make that decision, they'll be no turning back for him. He's been a super study horse his whole career so once he starts breeding, he's not going to want to get back into the racing game. Once we do retire him to stand, that will be it."
Dancin Yankee was bred by Elizabeth Yontz of Georgetown, Ky., and is the first foal out of his dam, the $40,922-winning Cambest mare Dancewiththebest. He has a full sister in Cruzin To The Dance p, 3, 1:53.4F ($107,572) and half-siblings in Dancin Caroll (by Sportswriter) p, 2, Q1:55.1f ($81,646); Dancin In the Nude (by Sportswriter) p, 3, 1:52.4s ($35,142); and Dancin Rebel (Big Bad John) p, 2, 1:53.2h ($54,222). (OSS)