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Triple Crown Legs To Habitat, 'Revenge'

Published: September 5, 2015 11:54 pm ET

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“Habitat has fled the scene,” said Yonkers Raceway announcer John Hernan, by way of introducing the 61st winner of the Yonkers Trot for three-year-old colts and geldings, conducted on Saturday evening (Sept. 5) at Yonkers Raceway. The race is the second leg in the Trotting Triple Crown.

The win came in 1:54.4 by three and a half length lengths with Brian Sears, who was also named on French Laundry but chose Habitat. The winner is trained by Ron Burke and owned by Burke Racing Stable, Our Horse Cents Stables and Weaver Bruscemi.

Sears has now won both of the first two legs of the Trotting Triple Crown -- the Hambletonian with Pinkman and now the Yonkers Trot with Habitat.

As the eight-horse field left the gate, Crazy Wow, part of the 3-5 Burke entry with the winner, made a break and never caught the field. Sears put Habitat on a path for the lead and made it by the :27.4 first quarter with Buen Camino (Trond Smedshammer) behind him and French Laundry (Corey Callahan) in third.

That trio marched on to the :57 half, this time with Pinkman (Yannick Gingras) and French Laundry switching spots in third and fourth position. By the 1:26 three-quarters, Pinkman was off the rail and challenging for the lead, getting past Buen Camino briefly, but not able to pose a serious threat to Habitat.

Sears had his hands in his lap for the final unchallenged eighth of a mile. The win was the seventh in 14 starts this year for the son of Conway Hall-Habits Best. His $250,000 share of the purse pushed him to $570,434 in 2015 winnings and $1,137,490 in career earnings.

After the race, Trond Smedshammer, driver/trainer of Buen Camino, who crossed the wire fifth, filed an objection against Yannick Gingras, driving Pinkman, for causing interference at the head of the stretch.

The objection was sustained, and while the winner, Habitat, was unaffected, the official second-place finisher became Southwind Mozart (Daniel Dube), moved up from third, and the official third-place finisher became Buen Camino (Smedshammer), moved up from fifth. Pinkman was disqualified from second to fifth, as was his stablemate French Laundry, who crossed the wire fourth, but was set back to sixth.

“I was able to get Pinkman behind me. I knew he struggled a bit last week,” Sears said. “My horse is a handy horse. I had driven four of the eight horses in the race, so I knew the competition very well, which always helps.”

As for the chances a completing a Sears-driven Triple Crown in the Oct. 10 Kentucky Futurity, “Nope," he said. "I plan to be here with Bee A Magician in the International Trot.”

There were three horses fanned out across the track in the last stride of the $500,000 Messenger Stakes for three-year-old pacing colts and geldings, but Revenge Shark (Yannick Gingras) won the second leg of the Pacing Triple Crown.

The win, by a nose, came in 1:53.1 for the Cams Card Shark-Western Top Cat colt trained by Tony Alagna for owners Alagna Racing and Bradley Grant. The win was his fourth in 17 starts this year and puts his career earnings at $425,867.

Dudes The Man (Corey Callahan) was second and In The Arsenal (Brian Sears) third.

Pacing off the starting gate, there was a brief tussle for the lead between In The Arsenal and Dudes The Man, with In The Arsenal emerging with the lead by the :27.3 first quarter. He held that lead to the :56.4 half.

The order remained the same to the three-quarters in 1:25.1 before Dudes The Man was out and moving in the stretch to challenge while Revenge Shark took the third path from the rail to make his challenge. With the three together at the wire, it was Revenge Shark getting to the wire first.

It was the first time behind Revenge Shark for winning driver Yannick Gingras.

“That’s the way I was hoping for, that Corey [Callahan, driving Dudes The Man- was going to get off on the right foot and I was going to sit the three-hole behind clearly the two best horses in the race,” he said.

“I talked to some guys who drove the horse before and they said he’s a real good sprinter. Maybe first up would not be his cup of tea, but maybe if he was sitting in the three-hole and be able to sprint at the end of it, that would be something he’d like. He certainly did.

“Even though they weren’t going that much, they didn’t come back that much and In The Arsenal wasn’t as good tonight as he has been. I expected him to come a big back half, so first up into a big back half wouldn’t have worked either. When he [Revenge Shark] cleared, he cleared maybe halfway down the stretch and maybe 10 yards away, he wasn’t really the strongest. But we were racing at Yonkers Raceway tonight and the angle got us home.

“Like everybody else said, he likes to sprint. I was a little worried about him in the turns, but scoring down, he felt good and I figured we could get a good piece from there.”

(With files from HRC & Yonkers Raceway)

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