It was a dark and stormy Friday night, under which Yonkers Raceway hosted the $173,500 New York Sire Stakes Dick McGuire Trot for 3-year-old colts and geldings. The pair of $86,750 events were named for the late New York Knickerbocker standout, Hall of Famer and avid horseplayer.
The opening division saw Helpisontheway (Brian Sears, $2.60) do his bidding from second-over. From post position No. 3, he chased Winning Shadow (Mike Simons) as that one chased Chasin’ Dreams (Jason Bartlett).
Chasin’ Dreams had taken over from Purpose Blue Chip (Dan Daley), all this through early intervals of :28.3 and :57.4. A 30-1, two-move Cruising In Style (George Brennan) then grabbed the lead at the 1:26.2 three-quarters, widening to 2-1/4 lengths entering the lane.
However, Helpisontheway wound up widest and closed fastest, edging by the longshot late. The margin was three-quarters of a length in 1:55.3. Wining Shadow held third, with Purpose Blue Chip and Clive Bigsby (Mark MacDonald) coming away with the remainder.
For Helpisontheway, a son of Chapter Seven trained by Linda Toscano for Camelot and Bays Stables and Little E LLC, it was his fourth win in eight seasonal starts. The exacta paid $41.80, the triple returned $211.50 and the superfecta paid a grand.
"He was just green last season," Toscano said. "Now, he’s figured it out."
Friday night’s second and final division was Veterans Night, as The Veteran (Jordan Stratton, $3.50) proved best in a race with four breakers and arguably his own late exodus.
Away third from post No. 2, he improved early position when Fashion Forever (Dan Dube) and Yuge (Brennan) both misbehaved in front of him. That left the lead to Troller (Sears) through soggy subsections of :29 and :58.4.
Nearing the intermission, On The Ropes (Ake Svanstedt) was moving from fifth, doing so in a hurry. The Veteran then left the cones, forcing On The Ropes three-wide.
Meanwhile, Troller maintained his advantage in and out of a 1:27.4 three-quarters, though The Veteran was coming. The people’s preference soon displaced the leader -- who eventually jumped it off -- and opened a 2-1/4 length lead in and out of the final turn.
The Veteran defeated Perlucky (Trond Smedshammer) by 1-1/4 lengths in 1:56.3, with a compromised On The Ropes, Don (Bartlett) and Yuge settling for the minors.
For The Veteran, a Muscle Mass colt co-owned by trainer George Ducharme, Steven Michaels, Bill Donovan and Jim Winske, it was his fifth win in eight seasonal starts. The exacta paid $23, the triple returned $96 and the superfecta paid $392.50. The winner has been an odds-on choice in his last five tries.
Friday night’s $44,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace was won by Made Of Jewels AS (Stratton, $21.20) in a life-best 1:51.4. (Yonkers)