Favourites Western Conquest (Brent Holland, $3.70) and Stevensville (Jordan Stratton, $2.70) won their respective $25,000 eliminations Saturday night, leading the octet for Yonkers Raceway's Lawrence B. Sheppard Pace for two-year-old colts and geldings.
Western Conquest, from post position No. 2, played leapfrog on the lead with Thereisapaceforus (Larry Stalbaum). The people's preference took over right at a :29.1 opening quarter-mile. He then held sway through subsequent sub-stations of :59.1, 1:28.3 and (pari-mutuel-best) 1:56.4.
Thereisapaceforus held second -- beaten two lengths -- with Gotta Laugh Again (Stratton) and a first-up Goldin Parachute (Dan Dube) also earning invites to the final.
Western Conquest, a homebred (Tanah Merah Farms) son of American Ideal trained by Erv Miller, is two-for-two to begin his career. The exacta paid $7.20, with the triple returning $35.60.
Stevensville, who had shown wild speed early, was nursed along from the pylons here. Third early (:29.2, 1:00.1) to second-choice Forty Five Red (Dube), he methodically engaged the leader going toward a 1:28.4 three-quarters.
Forty Five Red maintained a tenuous lead entering the lane, but Stevensville would not go away. He prevailed by a three-quarters of a length in 1:57, with Forty Five Red "photoing" 52-1 pocket-sitter Great American (Holland) for second. A pari-mutuel-debuting Disarrei (Pat Lachance) was fourth, earning his seat at the final table.
Stevensville, a son of Somebeachsomewhere co-owned by his breeders (trainer) Ray Schnittker and Charles Iannazzo, has three wins and a second in four frosh tries. The exacta paid $5.l0, with the triple returning $28.80.
Saturday night's $46,000 Open Handicap Pace was won by a third-over American Rage (Jim Pantaleano, $27.60), snapping 9-10 fave Malak Uswaad N (Eric Goodell) on the money in 1:50.3 -- a tick off the fastest local mile of the season.
The final of the Sheppard, worth $111,250, goes next Saturday night, as do the elims (if necessary) for the Yonkers Trot.