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Western Graduate, Master Pine win at Yonkers

May 01, 2010

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Newly-minted millionairess Western Graduate (Filly and Mare Pace) Master Pine (Trot) led the limelight  Friday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's pair of $32,000 Open Handicaps.

Western Graduate (Jim Pantaleano), leaving from outside her five rivals, methodically moved first-up from fifth. She went after Headpoles R Us (Greg  Grismore) as that one led through intervals of :28.1, 57.3 and 1:25.2. Western Graduate had advanced to second turning for home, she was not about to settle for  being the bridesmaid.

Western Graduate edged away through the stretch, defeated pocket-sitting, 6-5 choice Chris Cross (Jeff Gregory) by a length-and-a-half in 1:54.3. "Headpoles" faded to third.

For Western Graduate, a 6-year-old daughter of Western Hanover owned by KDM Stables and trained by Lou Pena, she returned $5.50 (second  choice) for her third victory (second consecutive) in 15 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $10.60, with the triple returning $35.60. It was her 38th career win in 123  starts, with earnings now at $1,015,907.

Leaving from post No. 3 after an inside defection, Master Pine (Jason Bartlett) stole a minute half. He then threw in a :56.3 back portion to keep the  closers at bay. Master Pine, with three lengths to play with turning for home, defeated 4-5 favorite Victor's Vicky (Cat Manzi) by 4 1/4 lengths. Bet to Win (Brent  Holland) was third.

For Master Pine, a 7-year-old Mater Lavec gelding trained by Julie Miller for co-owners Mark Moger and Albert Delia Jr., he paid $8.10 (second  choice) for his fifth win in 10 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $17.60, while the triple was cancelled (short field).

Special props to Shoeless White Sox (Gregory), whose 1:55.2 effort in the $20,000, second-race trot not only was the fastest local trot mile of the season, it also set a new track record under the category of "aged trotting horse."

The 5-year-old son of Mr. Lavec was trained by Mark Harder for owner Chris Alexander.

Friday's card also saw the first local appearance of young Canadian driving star Doug McNair, who finished second once and third once in six drives.(Yonkers)
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