Pompano Park's popular "Over The Hill Gang" series for aged trotters—9 year-olds and up—continued on Monday night with Yankee Manny and driver Kevin Wallis teaming up to score in 1:56.1.
The 10-year-old gelded son of Yankee Glide, owned by Jamie Marra Racing, had returned to the racing wars last week after a two-month vacation and suffered broken equipment at the start to lose all chance, but this night was a different story.
Having raced off the pace over the past several months, driver Wallis changed strategy this night by sending Yankee Manny winging early and into the lead around the first turn before yielding to Go Jesse Go (John MacDonald) prior to the :28.1 opener.
In the garden seat through panels of :57.2 and 1:26.4, Yankee Manny left the coziness of the pocket turning for home and wore down Go Jesse Go in the final few strides to win by a head.
On The Tab (Wally Hennessey) finished third while I'll Tell You What finished fourth after recovering from a miscue early on. Vacation Day picked up the nickel in the field of eight with combined earnings over $2.5 million.
This was the initial win of the 2016 season for Yankee Manny in six starts and 40th win lifetime in 186 trips back of the starting gate. He's not banked $240,006 career-wise.
After the race, driver Wallis related, "It didn't look like he was doing too well off the pace so I thought, now that he's freshened up a bit, why not try to leave and see where we go.
"It turned out well. He raced very well."
As the third choice on the toteboard, Yankee Manny returned a win mutual of $10.60.
Also of note on the Monday program were the performances of the 3-year-old pacer Stonebridge Beach, a son of Mach Three owned by 9096 9205 Quebec Inc., and Ideal Kiss, a sophomore son of American Ideal owned by Twenty Four Carrot Racing.
With trainer Stephane Pouliot in the sulky, Stonebridge Beach made a quarter move from third to the front after the :27.4 opener and proceeded to post fractions of :55.2 and 1:23.2 in route to a very handy win in 1:52.3, a new lifetime mark.
The colt, who won $82,497 last season as a 2 year old without a win chasing the top ones during the lucrative Ontario Stakes season, earned his second straight victory at Pompano Park—he won in the slop last week in 1:54.3—to score a resounding win measuring 3 ½ lengths over Always Covers (Dan Daley) with Carlos Mittanna (Wally Hennessey) third.
Stonebridge Beach now has $87,787 in career bounty and rewarded his multitude of backers with a 10 percent dividend on their $2 investment--$2.20 as the 1-10 favorite.
Ideal Kiss, second to Stonebridge Beach one week ago, broke his maiden with a magnificently rated 1:54 mile for trainer Jim McDonald, making one of his rare appearances in the sulky.
Ideal Kiss posted a pair of :29.1 quarters to open the festivities, reaching the half in :58.2, and then let his charge put together a pair of :27.4 panels, reaching the third station in 1:26.1 and home in the aforementioned time of 1:54, completely under wraps—his margin of victory nine lengths over Road Block (Wally Hennessey) with Shesamadmadgirl (Matt Romano) a half-length further away in third.
Not only did Ideal Kiss break his maiden in his third lifetime start, it gave McDonald his maiden win of the 2016 semester—his last win being last October at Pompano Park with Looney. McDonald has 1,007 lifetime wins in the sulky.
Off as the even-money second choice-Road Block was 4-5—Ideal Kiss returned $4 to win. (Pompano Park)