Posts Drawn For Yonkers International Trot

Harness racing at Yonkers Raceway
Published: September 5, 2023 06:05 pm EDT

France's Etonnant drew post position two and has been installed as the 3-1 morning line favourite for Saturday's (Sept. 9) $1 million MGM Yonkers International Trot at MGM Yonkers Raceway.

Saturday's card also includes two $250,000 Invitationals for older horses -- the Robert Miecuna Trot and the Aria Pace -- and eight $225,000 New York Sire Stakes finals for two- and three-year-olds of both sexes and gaits.

Etonnant, a former Elitloppet champion, has won six of 10 starts this year, including in 1:51.3 over the mile distance in the Prix de Washington at Enghien-Soisy Racecourse on July 15. He also won his Elitloppet elimination at Solvalla Racecourse in 1:52 before finishing fifth in the final. This will be Etonnant's second MGM Yonkers International Trot appearance as he raced in last year's edition but made a break and wound up eighth.

"[Post] two is a good number, maybe not such a good number for him, but we cannot be sad with post two. On the inside is a little bit scary [for this horse on a half-mile track], but I think we can handle it," said Etonnant's owner/trainer Richard Westerink, who finished second in the 2015 International Trot with Timoko, the sire of Etonnant.

Among Etonnant's main rival is Vivid Wise As, who is the richest horse in the field with over $3.1 million in the bank and is the third choice on the morning line at 4-1. Vivid Wise As drew post one for driver Matthieu Abrivard and trainer Alessandro Gocciadoro.

"Vivid Wise As is a very good horse also. He has a good draw on the inside," added Westerink. "I hope we will have a great race and a great battle with the other horses, too."

Jiggy Jog S is a familiar horse to fans and followers of harness racing in North America as she has raced here for her entire career, but she was foaled in Sweden and will represent that country on Saturday. She will start from a trailing post nine and is 8-1 on the morning line.

"She's a very, very strong filly, and we're very pleased to have her in the barn. She loves to race and she's fast," offered Sarah Svanstedt, wife of trainer Ake Svanstedt. "Now she is four and facing a strong group of horses here, but girl power can be good. She has been going fast times and facing good horses. She's got a strong mentality and is fast. I don't really know if she really needs a specific way of racing. When she has her day, she's strong and not many horses beat her. Now she has been off almost four weeks coming into this race, so we're training her tough right now, and she's ready to race."

Dexter Dunn will have his familiar seat behind Jiggy Jog S, and Svanstedt said of their partnership, "They are a great team together, and he loves to race her, too. They have a connection."

Canadian representative Fashion Frenzie drew post four in the field of international stars and will be driven by Louis-Philippe Roy for owners Ecurie Francis Richard Inc., Pierre Guillemette and Sylvain Richard of Becancour, Que., and Mario Bourgea of Stanbridge East, Que. 

United States representative Its Academic is another Canadian-connected starter in the field, owned by Brad Grant of Milton, Ont., and has drawn post three.

Its Academic, who will be driven by David Miller for trainer Ron Burke, is one of two hopes for the United States in the field. The champion of this year's Crawford Farms Open Trot, Spirit of Massachusetts and John Cashman Memorial is the second choice on the morning line at 7-2. Its Academic, who also won the Tom Aldrich President's Trot over the half-mile oval at MGM Northfield Park on Aug. 12, was a fast-finishing third from the outside post eight in the 2022 MGM Yonkers International Trot.

The MGM Yonkers International Trot will go as race seven on the 11-race program and at a distance of a mile and a quarter. The full field with their morning line odds, listed driver/trainer, and country is as follows:

$1 million MGM Yonkers International Trot
Post - Name - Driver - Trainer - Odds - Country
1. Vivid Wise As - Matthieu Abrivard - Alessandro Gocciadoro - 4-1 - Italy
2. Etonnant - Anthony Barrier - Richard Westerink - 3-1 - France
3. Its Academic - David Miller - Ron Burke - 7-2 - United States
4. Fashion Frenzie - Louis-Philippe Roy - Nancy Takter - 20-1 - Canada
5. Hierro Boko S - Hannu Korpi - Korpi - 8-1 - Finland
6. Get A Wish DK - Bo Westergaard - Westergaard - 15-1 - Denmark
7. Aldebaran Zeus A - Chris Alford - Brent Lilley - 15-1 - Australia
8. Bengurion Jet IT - Alessandro Gocciadoro - Gocciadoro - 15-1 - Italy
9. Jiggy Jog S - Dexter Dunn - Ake Svanstedt - 8-1 - Sweden
10. Venerate - Brian Sears - Marcus Melander -12-1 - United States

Two races before the MGM Yonkers International Trot is the Robert Miecuna Invitational Trot, and it's headlined by M Ms Dream (post two, David Miller/Ron Burke). M Ms Dream won the Hambletonian Maturity and the Steele Memorial at the Meadowlands earlier this summer, taking her mark of 1:50 flat in the latter event. She'll face the likes of double millionaire Amigo Volo (post one, Dexter Dunn/Nifty Norman) and stablemate Hillexotic (post seven, Yannick Gingras).

Ten of the sport's best older male pacers are slated to meet in the Aria Invitational Pace (Race 10). Allywag Hanover (post three, Todd McCarthy/Brett Pelling) and Bythemissal (post six, Gingras/Burke) were third and second, respectively, in last Saturday's (Sept. 2) Canadian Pacing Derby at Woodbine Mohawk Park and renew acquaintances here. Covered Bridge (post 10, Jordan Stratton/Jeff Gillis) has had a great year on half-mile ovals, winning the Camluck Classic, Gold Cup and Saucer, and Kane Invitational, but will have to overcome the trailing post.

Both the Robert Miecuna and Aria Invitationals will be conducted at the distance of a mile and a quarter, and the full draws are as follows:

$250,000 Robert Miecuna Invitational Trot - Race 5

1. Amigo Volo - Dexter Dunn - Nifty Norman
2. M Ms Dream - David Miller - Ron Burke
3. Credit Con - Joe Bongiorno - Jenn Bongiorno
4. Nows The Moment - Austin Siegleman - Allison MacDonald
5. Take All Comers - Tim Tetrick - Jim Campbell
6. Southwind Tyrion - Ake Svanstedt - Svanstedt
7. Hillexotic - Yannick Gingras - Ron Burke
8. Logan Park - Doug McNair - Rob Fellows
9. Just For Trix - Andy Miller - Mike Murphy
10. Stormy Kromer - Jason Bartlett - Paul Stafford
AE. Flagman - Rick Plano - Plano

$250,000 Aria Invitational Pace - Race 10

1. None Bettor A - Jason Bartlett - Travis Alexander
2. Leonidas A - Austin Siegelman - Steve Finkelstein
3. Allywag Hanover - Todd McCarthy - Brett Pelling
4. Whichwaytothebeach - Mark MacDonald - Garry Merner Jr.
5. Stonebridge Helios - Dexter Dunn - Ake Svanstedt
6. Bythemissal - Yannick Gingras - Ron Burke
7. Linedrive Hanover - Brian Sears - Anthony Beaton
8. Idealsomemagic A - George Brennan - Cory Stratton
9. Poseidon Seelster - George Brennan - Nik Drennan
10. Covered Bridge - Jordan Stratton - Jeff Gillis
AE. Natameri - David Miller - Jessica Okusko

Those three events will be joined by the annual New York Day of Champions that will crown the eight winners of the sire stakes program in the Empire State. The sire stakes finals, which all have a purse of $225,000, are races one through four, six, eight and nine and 11 on the card. The draws shook out as follows:

Three-Year-Old Colt Pace presented by Blue Chip Farms - Race 11

1. Thunder Hunter Joe
2. Metal Man
3. Hurrikane Hunter
4. Taste Of Honey
5. Huntinthelastdolar
6. Goldin Greatness
7. Duval Street
8. Its A Me Mario
AE. American Fling

Three-Year-Old Filly Trot presented by Allerage Farms - Race 9 

1. On The House
2. Gigi Hanover
3. Royal Filly
4. Midwind Success
5. Instagram Model
6. Usosweet Blue Chip
7. Canterbury Hanover
8. Pride N Joy
AE. All The Rage

Three-Year-Old Filly Pace presented by Cameo Hills Farm - Race 8

1. Dame
2. Turn On The Charm
3. Windsun Tiara
4. Silky Stride
5. True Blue Hanover
6. Vivians Dream
7. Earthwindfire
8. Rock My Socks
AE. Sweet Home

Two-Year-Old Filly Pace presented by Winbak Farm - Race 6

1. Sea Pearl
2. Hunting Hula
3. Delightville
4. So Well Dressed
5. Blue Point
6. Bronx Barista
7. Camerican
8. Peace Talks
AE. Leannes Choice

Three-Year-Old Colt Trot presented by Crawford Farms - Race 4

1. Sevecheetah
2. Onion Gum
3. Wild Bill Kelso
4. Chapercraz
5. Crown
6. Kierkegaard K
7. Some Kinda Crazy
8. Cecil Hanover

Two-Year-Old Colt Trot presented by Purple Haze Standardbred Adoption Program - Race 3

1. Chaplind
2. Super Duper Cooper
3. Bargain
4. Nottingham
5. Situationship
6. Wild Ticket
7. Titan Your Grip
8. Keep Asking
AE. It Wasnt Me

Two-Year-Old Colt Pace presented by Genesee Valley Farm - Race 2

1. Ameritric
2. Howlenthehills
3. Huntingforchrome
4. Dealers Turn
5. Vandiemen Blue Chip
6. Boston Rocks
7. Avenger Force
8. Darius
AE. Supplement Fee

Two-Year-Old Filly Trot presented by Mill Creek Farm - Race 1

1. R Melina
2. Erin
3. Sister Mary Maude
4. Communion Money
5. Sadbirdstillsing
6. Senorita Palema
7. Crowbar Girl
8. Seven Year Itch
AE. Hippie Shake

Saturday's program at MGM Yonkers Raceway gets underway at a special early post time of 12:15 p.m. (EDT).

(With files from Yonkers Raceway)

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