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Art Rooney Pace to Badlands Nitro

Published: July 5, 2008 1:35 pm ET

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Style points were at a premium for Badlands Nitro Saturday night, but he was efficient enough to win Yonkers Raceway's $538,270 final of the Art Rooney Pace.

With Brian Sears driving for co-owner/trainer George Teague, "Nitro" outkicked his main rival, Santanna Blue Chip (Jody Jamieson) to prevail by a half-length 1:52.4. The win, Teague's second in succession as trainer in this race - Southwind Lynx won the million-dollar Rooney in '07 - made Badlands Nitro harness racing's newest millionaire.

Moon Beam (Eric Abbatiello) was a credible third despite a first-up effort, beaten a length-and-a-half. Legacy N Diamonds (Tim Tetrick), the other half of the "Santanna" entry, wound up fourth, with Dragon King (Dave Miller) grabbing the final pay envelope. Dontloseyourdayjob, Idle Hour (Jason Bartlett, driving the other portion of the winning entry) and Meant To Be Me (John Campbell) were the back markers.

Leaving from post position No. 6 in the field of eight 3-year-old colts, Badlands Nitro - the stronger half of the 3-10 favoured entry - dropped in fifth. Dontloseyourdayjob (Yannick Gingras) had his schnoz on starting gate from the eight-hole, rolling right to the front just after a :27.1 opening quarter-mile. Santanna Blue Chip, from post No. 3, fell in behind, with pole-sitting Dragon King (Dave Miller) away third.

"Dayjob" continued through a :56.1 intermission, before Moon Beam took out of fourth. Badlands Nitro looked at it from second-over, though not without his escort getting after him a bit. Dontloseyourdayjob and Moon Beam were right alongside one another going to the 1:24.1 three-quarters, with Badlands Nitro going three-deep and Santanna Blue Chip searching for room.

"Nitro" did get his mind on business when it counted, outgaming a splitting-rivals Santanna Blue Chip for half the pot. The $269,135 winner's share increased his career cash to seven figures - a fraternity which already included Santanna Blue Chip.

Badlands Nitro - Art Rooney Pace

The two had won last week's $40,000 elimination races, with "Nitro's" 1:51.4 just two-fifths away from the local sophomore pacing colt record.

Badlands Nitro, a son of Badlands Hanover co-owned by John Celii, paid $2.70 for his sixth win in seven seasonal starts. The exacta returned a popular $4.10, with the triple (three wagering choices in order) worth $11.40.

"That's just the sort of horse he is," Sears said. "He does what he has to do. You just have to give him a chance, and he really has never disappointed us."

"I'm just very pleased with his success," Teague said of the $16,000 yearling who has made a few dollars back from that original investment. "We had this race on his schedule all along, and we just hope to get horses good enough to bring here."

Saturday night's $325,230 final of the Lismore Pace - companion event to the Rooney - saw Thong (Tetrick) two-move to glory in 1:53.3.

Leaving from post No. 6 - same venue as Badlands Nitro - Thong ducked in fourth while Hammah Isabel (Gingras) rated early intervals of :28.2 and :57. Thong edged out to engage the leader by the 1:24.4 three-quarters, with "Isabel" owning a length-and-a-quarter lead into the lane.

However, Thong proved too tough, going up and over by that same 1 1/4 lengths. Good News Lady (Greg Grismore), last along the pylons turning for home, knifed through to grab second at 33-1, with Cheyenne Trish (Campbell) - gapping the winner's cover - settling for third. Riverbank Hanover (Sam Schillaci) and Hannah Isabel rounded out the payees, with Ladycino (Jim Morrill Jr.), Chocolate Art (Bartlett) and Ideal Newton (Greg Merton) bringing up the rear.

Thong - Lismore Final

Thong, a daughter of Western Hanover trained by Kevin Lare for North Street Stable and Jerry Silva, paid $4.20 as the wagering choice. Her fourth win in six '08 tries led a $139 exacta and $531 triple.

(Yonkers)


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