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Rookies Spar In Yonkers Stakes

Published: September 5, 2014 11:32 pm ET

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Yonkers Raceway Friday night hosted its final statebred division of the season, the $198,999 New York Sire Stakes Lew Barasch Trot for two-year-old colts and geldings. It’s the last chance for these freshmen to qualify for the $1.8 million New York Night of Champions, held here next Saturday (Sept. 13).

Three divisions – worth $66,733, $65,533 and $66,733, respectively -- made up the event, which honoured the memory of the iconic Hall of Fame harness publicist from the sport's golden age. Many of "Tootie's" family, including his wife, Bunny, and friends were on hand for winner's circle presentations.

Friday’s pair of $44,000 Open Handicaps, for trotters and distaff pacers, were won by Traverse Seelster (Tyler Buter, $4.90) in 1:54.1, and Venus Delight (Bartlett, $6.10) in 1:51.3. The latter matched Rocklamation’s track record for a four-year-old pacing mare.

Second choice Insomniac (Jason Bartlett, $7.20), from post position four, led from start to finish (:30.1, 1:00.2; 1:29.3; 1:58.3) en route to beating Crazshana (Trond Smedshammer) who was a first-up second, beaten a couple of lengths, with Credit Creation (Mark MacDonald) third. Mambo Blue Chip (Jeff Gregory) broke in the pocket as the 6-5 choice.

For Insomniac, a Crazed gelding co-owned by (trainer) Paul Kelley and William Weaver III, it was his second win in nine seasonal starts.

“I wanted him to finish better than he has, and he did that tonight,” Bartlett said.

Second choice Crazy Wow (Dan Rawlings, $8) gave both himself and his driver a successful local debut. From post two, he led at every pylon (:30, 1:00.2, 1:30, 1:58.2) en route to winning the second division over Wings of Royalty (Brian Sears) and even-money fave, Sugarmakesmecrazy (Ake Svanstedt).

For Crazy Wow, a son of Crazed owned by Joseph Hess and trained by Dan O’Mara, it was his third win in six ’14 tries.

“Dan (O’Mara) said he had a good trotter and asked me drive him,” Rawlings said. “He showed high speed, then broke, but he showed me enough that I told Dan ‘Wherever he goes, I’m going.’

“He’s had some rigging issues, but Benny Eggers, who has the horse here, figured it out. He deserves a lot of the credit.”

Pole-sitting - and odds-on - Buen Camino (Smedshammer, $2.30) fooled very few in the third division, going the distance (:29.4; 1:00, 1:30.3; 1:59.1). Royal Lad (MacDonald) challenged in and out of the final turn before missing a length, while 111-1 shot Pier Ho Exotic (John Cunning Jr.) was a good, two-move third.

For Buen Camino, a Crazed gelding trained by his driver for owner Purple Haze Stables, he’s 2-for-2 at Yonkers Raceway and 4-for-6 overall, having won his last three (NYSS) starts.

“What’s impressed me about him is his speed,” Smedshammer said. “Speed wins races. Ideally, you don’t want to have a young horse on the front every race, but we drew inside and figured it was the best place to be.”

(Yonkers Raceway)


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