Armstead Cole Quickest In Final Brennan Series Leg

Armstead Cole winning at Woodbine Mohawk Park
Published: April 19, 2023 11:23 pm EDT

Armstead Cole's 1:54.4 mile was the fastest in four $25,000 divisions of the final preliminary leg of the John Brennan Trotting Series on Wednesday night (April 19) at MGM Yonkers Raceway.

Driven by Jason Bartlett, Armstead Cole moved from the pocket to the point past the :28.1 opening quarter, and following middle-half splits of :57.4 and 1:26, the four-year-old gelding by Johnny William closed in :28.4 to defeat What Should I Goo (Joe Bongiorno) by 2-1/4 lengths.

Armstead Cole, who paid $2.20 to win as the 1-9 favourite, competes for owner/trainer Jeff Cullipher and co-owner Pollack Racing. Armstead Cole picked up lifetime win number 10 and has now pocketed $175,243.

In the second split, owner-trainer Ricky Bucci's P L Oscar (George Brennan) yielded to sit in the two-hole behind Outside The Fire (Scott Zeron) after a :28.2 quarter and tracked him through the :57.4 half and 1:26.1 three-quarters. In the lane, P L Oscar rallied up the inside to wrestle the top spot away from Outside The Fire and then held off a charging Primadonna Deo (Jordan Stratton) by a neck in 1:55.4.

P L Oscar, a five-year-old gelded son of Archangel, returned $12.60 to win as a 5-1 offering and made his 12th appearance in the winner's circle. He also raised his career earnings to $182,536.

Pappardelle (Bongiorno) won for the second straight time in the series in the third flight. He posted fractions of :28.4, :58.2 and 1:27.1, then opened up in a :27.4 final kicker to defeat Spicy Nugget (Yannick Gingras) by 3-1/2 lengths in 1:55 flat.

Jenn Bongiorno trains Pappardelle, a four-year-old Wishing Stone gelding, for owners The Delaware Group, Joe Sbrocco, JB Racing and JAF Racing. Pappardelle paid $2.20 to win as the 1-9 choice. He posted the 10th victory of his racing career and has now banked $159,457.

Rounding out Wednesday night's winners in the Brennan Series was Swan Flyer (Gingras). He worked his way up on the outside from post six and got by Torrone (Brent Holland) nearing the :28.4 quarter. From there, Gingras and Swan Flyer backed down the tempo to :58.3 at the half and 1:27.3 at the three-quarters before coming home in :28.3 to better Torrone by three-quarters of a length in a 1:56.1 mile.

Gingras also co-owns Swan Flyer, an Edwin Gannon Jr.-trained four-year-old Swan For All gelding, with partners Fac Racing and Joe Di Scala Jr. Swan Flyer returned $5.60 to win as the 9-5 second choice. He now has a record of 9-7-6 from 32 starts and has put away $153,997.

The John Brennan Trotting Series is for three-year-olds and older who were non-winners of six pari-mutuel races or $150,000 through Feb. 1, 2023, with winners over $250,000 as of that date not eligible. The series concludes next Wednesday (April 26) with a $100,000 final and a $35,000 consolation.

The biggest card on the harness racing calendar so far in 2023 will take place on Monday night (April 24) at MGM Yonkers Raceway as the $511,000 MGM Borgata Pacing Series and $328,000 Blue Chip Matchmaker Series finals take place. On the undercard, there will be two MGM Borgata Pacing Series consolations worth $100,000 and $50,000 (races six and seven) and a $75,000 Blue Chip Matchmaker Series consolation (race five).

To complement the series finals, the Empire Terrace dining room will be open on Monday evening. Owners and fans are invited to attend the races and enjoy a dinner buffet for $50 per person plus 20 per cent gratuity. A cash bar will also be available. No reservations are required but those interested can call 914-457-2627 for more details.

Also, continuing through May 18, the Pick 5 pool on Thursdays at MGM Yonkers Raceway will be seeded with $10,000 and also have a guaranteed pool of $25,000. This initiative is being offered in partnership with the Standardbred Owners Association of New York as part of the United States Trotting Association's Strategic Wagering Program.

MGM Yonkers Raceway is currently operating on a Monday through Friday live racing schedule with post time at 7 p.m. (EDT).

(Yonkers Raceway; Photo of Armstead Cole winning at Woodbine Mohawk Park)

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