They’re 2 year olds. Things happen.
Such was the case in Saturday night’s $100,000 Lawrence B. Sheppard Pace, Yonkers Raceway’s premier event for ‘open’ frosh colts and geldings honoring the Hall of Fame founder of Hanover Shoe Farms.
When the stone dust settled, Hickfromfrenchlick (Mark MacDonald, $5.30) emerged an open-length winner in a six-horse race that was not for the squeamish.
At the outset, the eventual winner—from post position two—was off the gate. His next-door neighbor to the outside, Just Plain Loco (Jim Marohn Jr.), tried to leave but threw in steps. He eventually righted the ship, but was wide into the first turn.
Meanwhile, 4-5 choice World On Edge (George Brennan) led into the first turn, only to jump it off That left first starter and 58-1 rank outsider Can We Dance (Greg Merton) as sort of a default leader from his outside post.
The bombardier put up intervals of :28 and :57, the latter as pole-sitting Hurrikane Kingklee (Dan Dube) tried to pull pocket, only to reconsider.
Nearing the 1:26.1 three-quarters, the field truncated…even World On Edge, who then misbehaved again. Hurrikane Kingklee finally did dispose of the longshot leader, while Hickfromfrenchlick was right behind.
The ‘Hick’ inhaled the tiring front-enders in the final turn, opening to two lengths into the lane.
Hickfromfrenchlick then rolled home in his parimutuel debut, the final margin 3-1/4 lengths in 1:55.4. Just Plain Loco, who angled widest into the final turn, survived his race race-and-a-half to finish second, with another first-starter Treasure Tom (Jason Bartlett) third. Hurrikane Kingklee and Can We Dance settled for the minors, while World On Edge needs to think about what he did.
For second choice Hickfromfrenchlick, a $47,000 (Goshen NY) plebe son of Larry Bird, er, So Surreal, co-owned by (trainer) Ray Schnittker, Nolamaura Racing and Thomas Spatorico, he’s won both of his purse tries (Landmark at Goshen). The exacta paid $20, the triple paid $155 and the superfecta paid $367.
"He shied from the car at the start," MacDonald said. "I was fortunate with the breakers to get away where I did and just sort of sit there.
"When Danny (Dube, Hurrikane Kingklee) pulled, I was right behind him and he just sort of paced away. Ray (Schnittker) told me not to screw it up. A strange race. Glad we won."
Saturday’s $44,000 Open Handicap Pace was won by odds-on Always at My Place (Brennan, $3.10) in a season’s-best 1:50.3. (Yonkers)