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MacDonald Sweeps Yonkers Opens

Published: May 15, 2016 12:57 am ET

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Mark MacDonald was the star of the show Saturday night, sweeping both of Yonkers Raceway’s $40,000 co-featured Open Handicaps with favoured Great Vintage (Pace, $5.30) and Obrigado (Trot, $8.20).

Great Vintage, assigned post position No. 2, two-moved around Texican N (Jordan Stratton), then set sail on his appointed rounds (:27.4, 56.3, 1:24.2, season-matching 1:52).

The people’s choice eventually disposed of a first-up Bettor Rock On N (Dan Dube), then took a three-quarter length lead into the lane. He fended off an inside bid of Texican N by half-length in 1:52. Artistic Major (Brent Holland) rallied very well for third, with Ideal Cowboy (Jason Bartlett) and Atta Boy Dan (George Brennan) settling for the remainder.

For Great Vintage, an eight-year-old son of American Ideal trained by Jimmy Takter for his wife Christina Takter and co-owners John Fielding, Goran Anderberg and Goran Falk, the win was his third in seven seasonal starts. The exacta paid $28.80, with the triple returning $220.50.

As for Obrigado, he did his damage—from assigned post No. 5—from first-up. Away six, he saw Luminosity (Brennan) lead through intervals of :27.4, :57.2 and 1:26.1. It was Luminosity holding a short lead into the lane, but Obrigado was relentless.

He keep at it, whipping Luminosity by a length in 1:54.2. Homicide Hunter (Stratton) was third, with tepid 5-2 choice Major Athens (Brian Sears) and Allerage Star (Pat Lachance) earning the minor moolah.

For second choice Obrigado, an six-year-old Boy Band gelding co-owned by trainer Paul Kelley, Linwood Higgins, SRF Stable and Stable 45, the win was his first in a pair of ’16 tries. The exacta paid $33.60, the triple returned $179 and superfecta paid $579.

Saturday’s $30,000 Preferred Handicap Pace was won by Machtu N (Steve Smith, $7.70) in a night’s-best 1:50.4 for his first North American victory.

Among those enjoying Yonkers Raceway’s Saturday night soiree were some special guests. The Raceway and the Standardbred Owners Association of New York hosted approximately 100 metropolitan-area veterans for dinner and an up-close look at the drivers, trainers, trotters and pacers.

Leading the post parade for first three races were vets representing three branches of the military: Army, Navy and Marine Corps. The same three races saw veterans groups in the winner’s circle for an impromptu meet and greet.

Trainer Robbie Siegelman once again acted as “point person.” Siegelman has been a long-time, active volunteer with HorseAbility (, an Old Westbury, New York-based non-profit organization offering therapeutic riding programs, hippotherapy and a summer day camp to children, adults, and families with special needs.

“Everyone had a great time,” Siegelman said. “We may have to do this more often.”

(With files from Yonkers Raceway)

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