Favoured Polak A (Brian Sears, $4.60) snapped Phil Your Boots (Tyler Buter) at the wire on Saturday night, winning Yonkers Raceway’s $32,000 Open Handicap Pace.
Those two, leaving from post position Nos. 5 and 6, respectively, were sent toward the lead. “Phil” worked around Polak A, then laid down intervals of :27.4, :57 and 1:24.4. The third-quarter pace was prompted by a first-up First Class Horse (Jason Bartlett).
Phil Your Boots owned a length and a half lead into the lane and looked home, but Sears was relentless in getting after Polak A. That one finally did corral the leader, winning by a nose in 1:53.
Season-debuting All Bets Off (Matt Kakaley) saved ground through the final turn before finishing with a flourish to grab third. First Class Horse and Dream Out Loud N (George Brennan) rounded out the payees.
For repeating Polak A, a seven-year-old Down Under Pacific Fella gelding co-owned by many Bellinos and trained by Tony O’Sullivan, he’s now four-for-six this season. The exacta (two wagering favourites) paid $28, with the triple returning $97.50.
Later in the card, Sears and Sapphire City ($5.90) turned in the fastest local mile (1:52.1) of the season, winning the $16,000, 10th race pace.
The Raceway’s live season continues with a “French” Sunday afternoon (first post 12:30 p.m.).
Amateur Series Continues At Yonkers
The seventh leg of the North American Amateur Driving Association (NAADA) Trotting Series saw two former Passover Pace champions each drive a winner in their respective splits. Bobby Krivelin (2011, 2013) won the first $6,000 split with Permanent Joy while Alan Schwartz (2002, 2004, 2006) copped the other $6,000 trot with Current Crisis. But since the competitors in amateur racing don’t receive any remuneration, Krivelin emerged as the big winner since his Hero Stables own both trotters.
After starting from the pole position in his non-wagering trot, Krivelin allowed Mr Invincible (Matt Zuccarello) to take command on the first turn, but once the field straightened on the backstretch, Krivelin then quickly retook the lead before the quarter-mile timer flashed :29.4. From there, Permanent Joy was on cruise control as the eight-year-old Trot For Joy gelding went on to an oh-so-easy five-length triumph in 1:59.1 over Warrawee Preferred, driven by Dr. Scott Woogen. Although Mr Invincible shadowed the winner throughout, he ended up third some seven lengths behind Permanent Joy.
“Permanent Joy loves to be on top and he just straightens out and seems to get stronger and stronger,” Krivelin related after his triumph, and then added, “He never sees a harness until he goes to the races because he lives outside 24-7. Oh, occasionally I’ll tow him behind a golf cart so he moves along a good clip, but he loves the outdoors and I have lots of big beautiful paddocks on my farm in Goshen [New York].”
Krivelin, a food purveyor by trade, has been a three-time recipient of the National Amateur Driver of the Year Award and, with his victory on Saturday, he now has driven 187 winners in a career, which began in 1996. It was his third victory in the current NAADA Trotting Series and his 48 points are 15 better than runner-up Dave Yarock’s 33. Hannah Miller is third with 31 points.
A second split saw another former National Amateur Driver of the Year, Alan Schwartz, guide Current Crisis to a 1:59.1 victory.
In their split, Schwartz’s trotter started from the pylon position, but he allowed Dave Yarock and Nautilus De Vie to take command after the start. Biding his time in the two-hole, Schwartz stalked the leader until the field rounded the final turn at which point he eased Current Crisis to the outside and the seven-year-old Current Cast gelding trotted by Nautilus De Vie and went on to a three length triumph, also clocked in 1:59.1. Peter Kleinhans rallied Windsun Galliano from far back to finish second just a neck ahead of Nautilus De Vie.
“It’s been a long time between pots, but I finally had some power,” Schwartz said referring to Current Crisis’s abilities. “Still, I had a perfect trip and didn’t have to move until the stretch and it’s a nice feeling when you pull on the leader and your horse goes by him and wins the race.”
But Schwartz has had that feeling more times than any current amateur driver competing today. It was his 565th driving victory and, with the passing of “Boots” Dunn, Schwartz is now the winningest amateur driver racing today.
(Yonkers Raceway & NAADA)