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Yonkers Hosts NY Night Of Champions

Published: September 25, 2016 1:04 am ET

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The Empire’s best of the best converged upon Yonkers Raceway on Saturday night (September 24) for the $1.8 million New York Night of Champions.

Eight, $225,000 New York Sire Stakes finals, each sponsored by a prominent breeding farm, feature the best two and three-year-olds of both sexes and gaits in the 27th Night of Champions edition.

The freshmen (and freshwomen) played out as such...

(Winbak Farm Two-Year-Old Filly Pace) - Roaring To Go (catch-driver Jason Bartlett), pocketed and a bit wobbly-gaited late, crossed the line first in 1:55. The wobbles didn’t do her in, but the cutting the cones did.

She was set down to second for leaving the course in the final turn, promoting 6-5 favourite Tequila Monday (Brian Sears, $4.50) to the win. The latter, last after an early, eight-hole break, was relentless, closing from a dozen lengths back at the half to miss a head before eventually being put up.

Robin J (John Campbell) sat and was a best-of-the-rest third.

Tequila Monday, a daughter of American Ideal, trained by Chris Oakes for co-owners Susan Oakes and Chuck Pompey, has won four of her five seasonal starts. The exacta paid $12.40, with the triple (three wagering choices) returning $41.

(Genesee Valley Farm Two-Year-Old Colt/Gelding Pace) – Odds-on Funknwaffles (Jim Morrill Jr., $2.70) won this “match race” with second choice Miso Fast (Matt Kakaley) by three-quarters of a length in 1:52.3, a track record for two-year-old pacing geldings. It was 10 lengths back to Twin B Cowboy (Tim Tetrick), with 140-1 shot Whats Goin On (Mark MacDonald) fourth.

Funknwaffles, a son of American Ideal co-owned by Ms. Oakes & Crawford Farms Racing and trained by John Butenschoen, has been just about perfect (nine starts, eight wins, one second) this season ($257,284). The exacta paid $4, the triple returned $29.60 and the superfecta paid $266.

“He’s an overachiever,” Morrill Jr. said. “May not be much to look at, but this was a tremendous mile on a cool evening.”

(Majestic View Farms International Two-Year-Old Colt/Gelding Trot) – He was the best in the division coming in, and Devious Man (Andy Miller, $3.20) was the best going out. Working his way to the lead just before the half, he finished of his rounds in 1:58. Stick With Me Kid (Sears) chased after yielding, beaten a length-and-three quarters, with Such An Angel (Campbell) a first-up third.

For Devious Man, a son of Credit Winner owned (as part of Stroy Inc.) by trainer Julie Miller, he’s won six of his 10 ’16 tries. The exacta (two wagering choices) paid $11.20, with the triple returning $23.40.

“He just zips around these small tracks,” Andy Miller said. “He was getting a little tired around the last turn, but he’s figured out how to win.”

(Crawford Farms Two-Year-Old Filly Trot) – Despite 22 days off and a scratched-sick in between, odds-on Barn Bella (Jeff Gregory, $3.20) held sway. She defeated an out-a-long-way Mamora Bay (Sam Schillaci) by length in a division track-record 1:57.2. Heels On Wheels (Kakaley) was third.

Barn Bella, a Conway Hall miss co-owned by (trainer) Steve & Nancy Pratt and Purple Haze Stables, has won six of her nine first-season starts. The exacta (two wagering choices) paid $7.70, with the triple returning $22.

“She was sick before her last scheduled start [here],” Gregory said. “Steve [Pratt] didn’t want to qualify her because she’s been racing regularly before that. He and Claude Huckabone Jr., who drove her earlier in the season, did a very good job with her, because she was a project when she first started.”

The three-year-olds are summarily summarized...

(Allerage Farm Three-Year-Old Filly Trot) – Last season’s division champ Non Stick (Ake Svanstedt, $4.80) defended her title in wire-to-wire, 1:56.4 fashion. Swinging Royalty (Brian Sears) was a pocket second, beaten a length, with 111-1 proposition Straight A Student (Mark MacDonald) closing for third.

Non Stick, a daughter of Lucky Chucky trained by her co-owner (with Little E LLC) and driver, has won six of her 10 seasonal starts ($345,907) and 12-for-16 in her career. The exacta paid $42.20, with the triple returning $841.

Fad Finance (Jim Morrill Jr.), as the 3-4 choice, had a brutal trip, trying to leave, only getting a (three-hole) seat when a rival broke and eventually finishing an empty fifth.

(Cameo Hills Farm Three-Year-Old Filly Pace) – Wishy Washy Girl (Morrill Jr., $6) finished what she started, two lengths better than frosh champ Dime A Dance (Matt Kakaley) in a life-best 1:53.3. American Ivy (Andy Miller) was a loose pocket third.

No Clouds Bluechip (Sears), the 11-10 fave, was a weak first-over and backpedaled to last.

Wishy Washy Girl, a daughter of Roll With Joe trained by Tracy Brainard for co-owners Steven Demeter and Michael Cimaglio, is now four-for-14 this season. The exacta paid $24.20, with the triple returning $129.

(Blue Chip Farms, Three-Year-Old Colt/Gelding Pace) – Slight favourite Roll Away Joe (Jason Bartlett, $4.90) never had an anxious moment, whipping second choice Bottom Deals (Tim Tetrick) by two and a half lengths in 1:52.3. Craftship (Scott Zeron) picked of the rest for third. Art Rooney Pace winner Missile J (Sears) tried it uncovered, gave way readily and finished last.

Roll Away Joe, a Roll With Joe gelding trained by Brainard for co-owners Demeter, Howard Taylor and Tom Lazzaro, has won six of his 17 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $14.80, with the triple returning $57.

(Morrisville College Equine Institute Three-Year-Old Colt/Gelding Trot) – Small-priced Smalltownthrowdown (Dan Daley, $2.80) needed some coaxing, but finished it off in 1:56.1. Dayson (Sears) was a good, two-move, eight-hole second -- beaten a length -- with Dante (Svanstedt) a pocket third and The Royal Harry (MacDonald) fourth.

For ‘Smalltown,’ a Cash Hall gelding trained by his driver for co-owners Ann-Mari Daley, James Crawford IV, Donald Brenner and Richard Lombardo, the win was his seventh in 15 seasonal starts ($446,263). The exacta paid $13.80, the triple returned $33.20 and the superfecta (four wagering choices in order) paid $110.

“He had issues with a pus pocket the last time he raced [at Yonkers],” Dan Daley said. “I know it had to be stinging him a bit, so that’s why I had to keep after him.”

Daley said Smalltownthrowdown would be in the Harrisburg sale.

“He’s going to make someone some money, but I have partners and we need the money to buy more babies.”

Saturday night’s pair of $45,000 Open Handicaps were won by pacer Bit Of A Legend N (Jordan Stratton, $4.30) in 1:52.1, and trotter Allerage Star (Andy Miller, $5.60) in 1:54.2.

(With files from Yonkers Raceway)

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