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Real Nice Cruises To Open Victory

Published: July 16, 2011 9:41 pm ET

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Real Nice (Jordan Stratton) was much the best Saturday, winning Yonkers Raceway's featured $52,000 Open Handicap Pace.

Had it been any easier, Real Nice could have sent out for refreshments.

Leaving from post position No. 5 as the 7-10 favourite, Real Nice stepped around pole-sitting Domitian Hanover (Cat Manzi) before a :26.1 opening quarter-mile. From there, a :55.2 half and 1:23.1 three-quarters, with MacRaider N (Jeff Gregory) doing the first over labour. Real Nice opened two and a half lengths turning for home, then hit the mile marker in 1:50.3 (one-fifth faster than the all-age, flat-mile track record).

The final margin was three and a quarter lengths as Real Nice negotiated the mile-and-one-sixteenth in 1:57.2, a tick shy of Giddy Up Lucky’s all-age track standard for the distance. MacRaider N fought to good fight and held second, with Wholly Louy (Jim Pantaleano), Domitian Hanover and This Is Wyatt (Eric Goodell) rounding out the payees.

For Real Nice, a six-year-old Real Artist gelding trained by Rich Banca for co-owners Gary and Beverly Paganelli and Anthony Scussel, he returned $3.40 for his ninth win in 18 seasonal starts. The exacta (two wagering choices) paid $9.40, with triple returning $70.

Saturday night also featured the Raceway's continued participation in the U.S. Trotting Association's "Back to the Track" weekend. There was a popular T-shirt giveaway, a driver meet-and-greet autograph session (featuring Jordan Stratton, Cat Manzi and Dan Dube), equine-related information booths, drawings for Empire City restaurant gift certificates and a USTA-sponsored trip the Little Brown Jug.

(Yonkers Raceway)

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