Sapphire City wins open handicap at Yonkers
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Sapphire City (Jason Bartlett) parlayed from the pocket Saturday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $37,000 Open Handicap Pace.
Assigned the pole, Sapphire City found the only leaver in Michael's Power (Eric Goodell). That one made the lead before a :28.1 opening quarter-mile, then rated a 56.4 intermission.
At that point, last week's winner, Great Vintage (Larry Stalbaum), tried it first-up. He prompted the issue in and out of the 1:24.1 three-quarters, while Hillbilly Hanover (George Brennan) was struggling mightily from second-over.
Meanwhile, 9-10 favorite Bolt the Duer (Mark MacDonald), who did not leave from his ordered eight-hole, was never a factor.
Entering the lane, Michael's Power had a length-and-a-half lead, needing only to hold off the horse in his rear view. Sapphire City dove inside, edging away by a length-and-a-half in 1:51.2. Great Vintage held third, with Diamond Cowboy (Dan Dube) and Statesman N (Brian Sears) settling for the remainder. Bolt the Duer wound up last among the octet.
For Sapphire City, a 5-year-old Metropolitan gelding trained by Paul Blumenfeld for co-owners Centaur Stables and Jordan Sklut, he returned $13.40 (third choice) for his sixth win in 27 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $97.50, with the triple returning $1,352.
Special Saturday night salute to Ross Wolfenden, a former Yonkers' driving standout who made his first local appearance in nearly 11 years. The Delaware-based Wolfenden wound up fifth (dead-heat) and seventh in his two drives.
The $1.8 million New York Night of Champions is set for next Saturday, offering eight, $225,000 sire stakes finals in the richest night of racing in the state.