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Stacelita & Manzi become new Yonkers track record holders

September 08, 2007

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Stacelita became the fastest trotter in Yonkers Raceway history Friday night, winning her gait\'s $30,000 Open Handicap in a zippy 1:55.3.

With Catello Manzi escorting the 6-year-old daughter of Angus Hall, Stacelita--empowered by her week of R&R--elbowed her way into the record book. She eclipsed the previous all-aged record of 1:55.4, originally set by Impeccable Image (Walter Case Jr.) in April of 1996 and matched by Glidemaster (George Brennan) in last November\'s edition of the Yonkers Trot.

Stacelita also unceremoniously displaced Sweet Michelle\'s 1:57 (Luc Ouellette) out of the aged trotting mare section, obliterating a divisional record that had stood since May of \'93.

Assigned post position No.3 in the field of seven, Stacelita did what she does best,.get out of the gate. She stepped around the pole-sitting Bright Idea (Tony Morgan) before a :27.4 opening quarter-mile.

Soon thereafter, Grain of Truth (Dan Dube) made a second move toward the front, grabbing the throttle for some short-lived excitement.

However, Manzi and the ma\'am were in no mood to play second fiddle to anyone, so out of the pocket they came to reclaim what they felt was rightfully theirs.

And they were right.

Stacelita rolled by a :56.3 intermission, then a 1:26.2 three-quarters. Bubba Dunn (Jeff Gregory), last week\'s winner, tried it first-over, while Grain of Truth was backpedaling in the two-hole.

All the while, Stacelita slapped three lengths on her foes turning home. She would need most of that cushion, as No More Gold N (Keith Kash Jr.) showed up late.

Stacelita lasted by three-quarters of a length, and, in doing so, earned her very own Westchester speeding ticket.

Grain of Truth was third, beaten 3 1/4 lengths, with Bright Idea and Bubba Dunn grabbing the loose change.

Stacelita, co-owned (and trained) by Carl Cito Jr. and Manzi\'s better half, Ellen, returned $6.10 as the slight favorite. Her seventh win (and 20th board finish) in 23 \'07 tries led a $38.80 exacta and $121 triple.

For his part, Manzi, who does the bulk of his work on the other side of the river, has won the Yonkers Trot (with Green Day, his third) and set the Yonkers\' trot track record in the span of 13 nights.

\"(Stacelita) has just been the perfect trotter for us.\" Manzi said. \"We purchased her privately from Delaware (in late April) after Carl went down there, liked what he saw and told me about her.\"

In 14 starts since changing hands, Stacelita has seven wins (over five different surfaces), four seconds and three thirds.

\"She\'s as handy as a horse could be and never throws in a bad race,\" Manzi said. \"I\'m excited. She\'s the first $100,000 horse (\'07 earnings now $114,578) I’ve ever owned.\"

Friday night\'s $30,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace saw Percee Angus (Greg Grismore) get the better of last week\'s distaff diva, 6-5 fave Miss Galvinator A (Dube) by a head in 1:54.3. Carousel Frame (Jim Pantaleano) was third, beaten a length.

\"Percee,\" a 5-year-old Blissfull Hall lass trained by Julius Czermann Jr. for co-owners Fred & Anita Fialkow, paid $4.80 (second choice) for her 15th win in 29 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $9.10 and the triple was good for $32.60.

More than a half-million-dollars, courtesy of the state, is on the line Saturday night in the $289,520 New York Sire Stakes Hugh Grant Pace (3-year-old colts/geldings) and $251,967 New York Sire Stakes Jim Meagher Pace (2-year-old colts/geldings). The two events comprise a total of seven races on the 10-race program.

The multi-million-dollar New York Sire Stakes has been traversing the state, culminating with the $1.2 million New York Night of Champions here next Saturday night. As always, eight, $150,000 divisional finals shall be contested. Please visit www.nysirestakes.comfor further information. (Yonkers)

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