Favored Hemi Seelster (Jason Bartlett, $4) finished what he started Sunday morning, winning Yonkers Raceway's mile-and-a-quarter, $56,000 Open Handicap Trot.
Away alertly from post position No. 5 for his 11:25 AM local time audition, Hemi Seelster had to wait his turn before making the lead. He took over from Luminosity (George Brennan) before a :28.2 opening quarter-mile, then rated a :58.4 next half-mile (:58.1, 1:27.1). Tornado Tim (Dan Dube) was the first to move—from sixth—flushing Springbank Sam N (Jordan Stratton) out of fourth.
Hemi Seelster found a 1:55.4 milepost, taking a length-and-a-half lead into the lane. He then widened to 3¼ lengths at the wire in 2:24.3…a track record for his weight class.
Luminosity crossed the line second, with Tornado Tim third, However, those positions were flipped after the former slalomed inside any number of pylons. Dot Dot Dot Dash (Steve Smith) and ‘Sam' rounded out the payees.
For Hemi Seelster, a 4-year-old Holiday Road gelding co-owned by Richard Lombardo, Carl Atley & Robert LeBlanc and trained by Tom Milici, it was his eighth win (fourth consecutive off barn change) in 20 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $21, with the triple returning $64.
Sunday also featured the second installment of the ‘New York, New York Double,' a joint venture with the New York Racing Association. The winning combination of 2 (Pretty Enuff-Aqueduct 3rd race) and 1 (Movement-Yonkers' 5th race) returned $34.25 for each $1 wager.
The ‘New York, New York Double' continues each Yonkers live Sunday through Dec. 18. (Yonkers)