Favourite Western Graduate enjoyed the perfect Friday night trip, winning Yonkers Raceway's co-featured $52,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap, and providing driver George Brennan with one of his five wins
on the 13-race card.
The true definition of "living right" is being the 13-10 favourite and getting towed into the race by an 11-1 outsider. Such was the case for Western Graduate, who hitched a ride behind Keystone Katherine (Dan Dube). The latter went up and over the early leader, Im Just Special, who faltered after fractions of :27, :56.2 and 1:24.4. However, "Katherine's" advantage was at best a cameo, as Western Graduate--leaving from post position No. 6--disposed of her.
Western Graduate opened up early in the lane, getting a mile in 1:52.4 before finishing the requisite mile-and-one-sixteenth in 1:59.4. She widened to three lengths at the wire, with Quicksilvercandy A (Larry Stalbaum) and Shacked Up (Eric Goodell)--both compromised early when Cotton Candy (Brent Holland) made an ugly break--finishing second and third, respectively. Feeling You (Cat Manzi) and Danika Hanover (Jim Pantaleano) rounded out the payees.
For Western Graduate, a millionairess seven-year-old daughter of Western Hanover owned by KDM Stables and trained by Nick Surick, she returned $4.70 for her fifth win (fourth consecutive) in 16 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $91.50, with the triple returning $337.
Friday night's co-featured $52,000 Open Handicap Trot went to a pocketed Wind Surfer (Pantaleano) in an added-distance 2:02.2.
Leaving from post No. 4, he fell in behind Coach Fox (Stalbaum) as that one put up early intervals of :28.1 and :58.1. Past the half, 17-10 choice Looking Hanover (Brennan), who had left into a three-hole, was on the move again. Looking Hanover engaged Coach Fox in and out of a 1:26.1 three-quarters, with the pair inseparable turning for home.
Looking Hanover would eventually win the battle right before the 1:55.1 mile, only to lose the war. Wind Surfer ducked inside and prevailed by a head, with The Chancellor (Holland), Coach Fox and Dennis (Jordan Stratton) grabbing the remainder.
For Wind Surfer, a six-year-old Muscles Yankee gelding trained by Ron Burke for co-owners James Koran and Betty Sherman, he returned $8.90 (second choice) for his fourth win in 19 '11 tries. The exacta paid $39.40, the triple returned $254 and the superfecta paid $937.
(With files from Yonkers Raceway)