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Not Afraid Scores; 3,000 For Stratton

Published: November 20, 2016 12:56 pm ET

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Not Afraid (Dan Dube, $38.20) led the longshot legion Sunday morning, winning Yonkers Raceway’s mile-and-a-quarter, $56,000 Open Handicap Trot.

Away alertly from post position No. 3 for his 11:30 a.m. local time road test, Not Afraid then saw an interesting floor show develop. Centurion ATM (Steve Smith) made the next lead before yielding to a wide-early Hemi Seelster (Jason Bartlett).

That one found front before a :28.2 opening quarter-mile.

Then came 4-5 fave Bee A Magician (Brian Sears), even wider early and parked two turns before grabbing the baton after a :56.4 half. An antsy ‘Hemi’ wanted to reclaim his turf, but was rebuffed and eventually broke in a retreating pocket.

However, the $4 million lass Bee A Magician had been sufficiently softened up before a 1:26,4 three-quarters, as Not Afraid moved with purpose from fourth. That one went up and over and, after a 1:56.2 mile station, owned a 2-1/2 length lead into the lane.

Not Afraid held off a charging, 73-1 Springbank Sam N (Jordan Stratton) by a head in 2:25.4 for the added distance. Tweet Me (Pat Lachance) and her 149-1 self rallied for third, with Centurion ATM and Deweycolorintheline (Mark MacDonald) settling for the minors. Bee A Magician tired badly to finish eighth, beating just a pair of breakers in her first non-payday since she was sixth in the 2015 Yonkers International Trot.

For fourth choice Not Afraid, a seven-year-old S Js Caviar gelding trained by Jimmy Takter for co-owners the missus Christina, John Fielding and Goran Anderberg, it was his seventh win in 30 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $494.50, with the triple (first two finishers and ALL) returning $1,073.

One race later, driver Jordan Stratton notched his 3,000th career win. Stratton teamed with Bingo Queen ($7.70) for a powerful, first-up Yonkers Raceway victory in the $21,600, second-race trot. The pair negotiated the mile-and-a-quarter distance in 2:29 en route to a 2-3/4 length win.

“I appreciate the number, probably more than my family does,” Stratton said. Then, in a rather bold assumption, he offered that “they love me anyway.”

The affable 29-year-old Stratton, regular chauffeur of George Morton Levy Series winner Bit Of A Legend N, was joined in the winner’s circle presentation by his brother, Cory, a pretty fair horseman in his own right.

Jordan Stratton has earned $45 million in purses in a career which began in 2006. His 225 wins place him fifth in this season’s local driver standings.

As an aside, Sunday’s edition of the ‘New York, New York Double’ was scratched after Aqueduct cancelled its card. The gimmick is scheduled to return next Sunday, Nov. 27, with Yonkers’ first post at 11:10 a.m.

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