This weekend, the major racing action takes place at Yonkers Raceway where the Yonkers Trot and the Hudson Filly Trot will be contested once again. This year, seven horses entered both races, eliminating the need for eliminations and while I detest eliminations, it is hard to believe that only seven horses entered the $445,474 race. For sure, some of the hesitation to enter the race is it is being contested before the Hambletonian and it may make sense to move the Yonkers Trot so it is contested after the Hambletonian, some horses are entered because the trainer may feel the horse can't handle the half mile oval, but I suspect the main reason people are bypassing the race is they don't want to pay a starting fee of $20,000 to draw the seven or eight hole.
The seven or eight hole is always daunting on a half mile track, but at Yonkers it is even more daunting. With the starting line just before the first turn, a horse that needs to leave that has the outside post will find themselves crashing into a casino bust if they leave full throttle; that is how close they are to the turn. With Yonkers unwilling up to now to take the steps to return the finish line back to its original configuration, perhaps it is time to change the distance of the race to 1 1/16 miles; the same distance as overnight races are contested at. There is some precedence for this as the first eight years The Yonkers Trot was contested (1955-62), it was contested at the 1 1/16 miles distance. Realistically, it is not a question of whether or not a horse can race the extra 1/16th of a mile but at least if a horse draws the outside posts, there is a better chance of leaving and getting a good position in the race which may increase interest in the race.
But nothing is going to change this year, (or next two years for that matter), so we may as well get on with previewing the Yonkers Trot and its companion race, The Hudson Filly Trot. Horses are listed in post position order.
Yonkers Raceway 8th Trot - $237,714; The Hudson Filly Trot - 3YO Fillies
2 - Angelette Hanover (Brennan, 4-1) - Beaten by favorite in last but can land major share.
3 - Lady Rainbow (Gregory, 5-1) - Winless this year, but not completely out of it.
1 - Jezzy (Tetrick, 6-5) - Queen of New York is the obvious favorite. Will be odds on..
4 - Creme De Cocoa (Ackerman, 5-1) - What this horse could do with a catch driver. Not the case this week.
5 - Thatnotmyname (Takter, 6-1) - Appears to be overmatched.
1A - Iron Lady (Manzi, 6-5) - Could this horse have found his type of track last week? Wish uncoupled.
6 - Cabaret Princess (Pierce, 12-1) - Seems to be an impossible place.
No Place and Show Wagering
Coupled: Jezzy and Iron Lady; Jerry Silva owned entry.
Yonkers Raceway 9th Trot - $445,474; The Yonkers Trot - 3YO Open
2 - Del Cielo (Brennan, 3-1) - Would require major reversal of form.
3 - Leader Of The Gang (D Miller, 9-5) - The class of this field. Should score first win of year here.
4 - Celebrity Bombay (B Miller, 8-1) - Raced decent in late closer at Big M. May land share.
1 - Pegasus Blue Chip (Gingras, 5-1) - Outclassed field at Grand River. This is more difficult.
5 - Evil Urges (Whittemore, 4-1) - Comes off the pace and will by flying late. Likely not enough.
1A - Live Jazz (Meittinis, 5-1) - Can handle the smaller oval. Just don't know when he is going to jump.
6 - Bambino Hall (Tetrick, 10-1) - Will need to leave and tuck. Not the track to have to do this.
Coupled: Pegasus Blue Chip and Live Jazz; Hartman owned entry.
Of course, I would be remiss not to mention this Saturday, the Meadowlands is contesting two elimination races for the Meadowlands Pace. The top five horses in each race will advance to next week's $1 million final. Here are my selections for the two eliminations. In addition to my top three horses, I will also identify the horses I feel will finish well enough to compete next week for all the marbles. Elimination winners get to choose their post positions.
Meadowlands 5th Pace - $50,000; Meadowlands Pace - 3YO Open (1st Elimination)
2 - Custard The Dragon (Teague, 5-1)
4 - Up The Credit (Jamieson, 2-1)
5 - Roll With Joe (Sears, 4-1)
7 - Bestofbest Hanover (Lachance, 10-1)
1 - Rollwithitharry (Dube, 9-2)
Coupled: Rollwithitharry and High Noon - Takter stable entry; Custard The Dragon and Win N Atcha - Teague stable entry.
Meadowlands 6th Pace - $50,000; Meadowlands Pace - 3yo Open (2nd Elimination)
6 - Powerful Mist (A Miller, 5-2)
3 - Big Jim (Hudon, 9-2)
1 - Wind Me Up (Pierce, 5-1)
2 - Westwardho Hanover (Jamieson, 10-1)
7 - Drop The Ball (Gingras, 6-1)
Coupled: Wind Me Up and Feel Like A Fool - Takter stable entry
Lastly, at Georgian Downs are the Masters Stakes for Ontario Sired horses that are 4yo & up; a way to reward Ontario sired horses that are still competing after their OnSS days have concluded. These are some pretty good races with Dreamfair Eternal, Western Silk, and Keystone Horatio competing.
Georgian Downs 5th Pace - $111,000; The Master Stakes - 4YO and Up (Ontario Sired Fillies and Mares)
2 - Dreamfair Eternal (Waples, 7-5)
6 - Lady Latte (S Zeron, 3-1)
1 - Warrawee Koine (R Zeron, 6-1)
3 - Western Silk (Macdonald)
Georgian Downs 11th Pace - $119,000; The Mastser Stakes - 4YO and Up (Ontario Sired Horses and Geldings)
8 - Ideal Race (Marks, 2-1)
1 - Alexi Mattosie (Boughton, 9-2)
7 - Mach Dreamer (McNair, 9-5)
6 - Keystone Horatio (Waples, 7-2)