It took a long look at the photo before the judges posted the order of finish in the $15,000 final of the NAADA Summer Trotting Series on Friday night (August 20) at Yonkers Raceway. It was so close that both drivers Joe Pennacchio and Tony Verruso were pointing fingers at each other while waiting for the race to be declared official.
And close it was! Just a short nose determined that Pennacchio's Keystone Blade bested Verruso's Winneress in the 1:57.4 mile.
When the starter said 'go,' Pennacchio sent his trotter to the lead and they took the field by the quarter in :28.3. Verruso and Winneress tucked in fourth and they were content to follow the leader past the half in :58. Keystone Blade was still comfortable on the front-end but when they rounded the final turn, Verruso rushed Winneress up alongside and the two trotters battled through the stretch and were joined late by Judge Ken (Scott Keppler). The three rushed to the finish side by side.
It took time for the judges to post the order of finish but the 3-5 favourite, Keystone Blade, prevailed.
“I thought we had won it but I wasn't sure," said Pennacchio. "It was so close with three horses heads apart. But my horse was game and he hung on for the win.
Last week, the talented amateur reinsman was sick in bed and tonight's race was his first drive in two weeks. Still, 'Joltin' Joe' got the job done tonight.
Keystone Blade is owned by Pennacchio's Joe P Racing LLC and trained by Cory Stratton. He paid $3.20 to win.
George Brennan-driven Rockathon and Sadiq Hanover knocked off the favourites in their respective races on Friday night, leading to no winning Pick 5 tickets being held. As a result, there will be a $4,273.13 carryover and a $15,000 guaranteed pool in the wager on Monday night’s (August 23) program.
The guarantee in the Pick 5 is being offered as part of the United States Trotting Association’s Strategic Wagering Program. Free past performances for the Pick 5, courtesy of TrackMaster, will be available here. The Pick 5, which begins in race five, has a takeout rate of 20 per cent
The feature on the program was the $45,000 Open Handicap Trot, and it went to 1-2 choice Felicityshagwell S (Dan Dube) in front-stepping fashion in 1:54 flat. That was career win number nine for the six-year-old Maharajah mare, now an earner of $340,790, trained by Ake Svanstedt for owner Knutsson Trotting Inc. She paid $3.10 to win and keyed a $17.20 exacta and a $334 trifecta.
Monday night’s 12-race card at Yonkers starts at 7:15 p.m.
(With files from NAADA & Yonkers)