Western Graduate, Wind Surfer Win Opens

Western Graduate (George Brennan) rallied from well off hot Friday night fractions, winning Yonkers Raceway's co-featured $42,500 Filly and Mare Open

Handicap Pace.

Leaving from the always-popular eight-hole, Western Graduate spectated early. Up Front Kelli Jo (Jordan Stratton) made the lead just before a :27.2 opening quarter-mile. Cuz She Can (Yannick Gingras) was pressing on as the 11-10 choice, finding an open pocket when Monochromatic (Jim Pantaleano) misbehaved prior to the quick :55.4 intermission. That break wiped out Twin B Tiara (Dan Dube).

Hannah Isabel (Cat Manzi) then came to play, testing "Kelli Jo" at the 1:25.1 three-quarters,. Cuz She Can wedged her way out of the pocket, sending Jasperthat A (Ryan Anderson) wide, with Western Graduate even wider.

"Hannah" clung to a short lead turning for home, held gamely, but could not stall the winner. Western Graduate prevailed by a head in 1:54, with Jasperthat A, Cuz She Can--who ducked in between foes--and Up Front Kellie Jo completing the cashers. The first four finishers were separated by just a length.

For Western Graduate, a six-year-old Western Hanover millionairess trained by Lou Pena for KDM Stables, she returned $10.60 (second choice) for her seventh win in 30 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $131.50, with the triple returning $529. Western Graduate's 1:51.3 effort here in late July is the local, all-age distaff record.

Friday night's co-featured $42,500 marquee trot saw Wind Surfer (Pantaleano) needing every bit of a perfect pocket trip to hold a hard-charging Looking Hanover (Gingras) in 1:56.1.

Wind Surfer, leaving from post No. 5, stalked Pembroke Prayer (Brennan) around the oval through intervals of :28, :58 and 1:26.4.

The leader was done in and out of the final turn, but carried his pursuer where he needed to go, Meanwhile, the invading Looking Hanover, ordered behind the eight-ball as the even-money fave, wound up second-up behind a dullard in Bet To Win (Cat Manzi). Looking Hanover rallied resolutely, but had too much work to do.

The difference in trips equated to the difference in checks, with Wind Surfer prevailing by a diminishing three-quarters of a length. Winning Sister (Stratton), Pembroke Prayer and Benns Sure Thing (Jeff Gregory) grabbed the small change.

For Wind Surfer, a five-year-old Muscles Yankee gelding trained by Ron Burke for co-owners Betty Sherman and James Koran, he returned $13.60 (third choice) for his seventh victory in 20 '10 tries (fourth in last five). The exacta paid $47.20, with the triple returning $370.

Yonkers' current live schedule (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday) remains in effect, with first post at 7:10 p.m. Evening simulcasting --including Saturday's Breeders Crown card from Pocono Downs (first post 5 p.m.) --accompanies all live programs, with afternoon simulcasting available around the NYRA schedule. Wednesday afternoon simulcasting ends at approximately 5:30 p.m.

(Yonkers Raceway)