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Restless Yankee To Minnesota Hall

Published: February 18, 2020 12:06 pm ET

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This Saturday (Feb. 22), Minnesota Harness Racing Inc. will bestow its highest honour upon one of the most prolific and successful pacers to ever compete in the ‘Land of 10,000 Lakes’ when the gelding Restless Yankee is installed into the equine Hall of Fame at the MHRI Annual Meeting and Banquet in Forest Lake, Minn.

The now 13-year-old honouree is a prodigy of Relentless Yankee and is out of the Big Towner mare Towners Love Dove. He was bred by Ronald Emerson of Iowa and began his career under the tutelage of Emerson and ownership partner Mark Holtan, before training duties were turned over to Robert Lems of South Dakota. Lems handled the conditioning duties for the talented pacer over most of his career, and Robert Lems, along with his son, Ryan Lems, also became the owners of Restless Yankee for several years.

Restless Yankee had success right out of the gate, and won his very first race at the Humboldt, Iowa fair before invading the Minnesota oval with back-to-back wins in two-year-old events. The early success for Restless Yankee quickly proved to be no fluke, as he continued to make frequent trips to the winner's circle year after year. He was the three-year-old colt Minnesota state champion pacer of 2010 and the four-year-olds and up state champion in both 2011 and 2012. He won races at Running Aces each and every year from 2009 through 2016 – an amazing feat in itself, but far more impressive is the cumulative number of those Running Aces victories, which stands at 34. That is correct – 34 wins at Running Aces, which is a record number that quite possibly may never be beaten.

Restless Yankee also set the all-age track record at Running Aces on June 12, 2012 with a dominant 1:51.2 victory with Nick Roland in the bike. That performance shaved three fifths of a second off of the previous track record and remained fastest for two years.

In addition to all of his success in Minnesota at Running Aces, Restless Yankee was also well travelled and displayed his pacing talents with victories all over the United States, from Iowa to Florida and all along the east coast, too. He racked up wins at Prairie Meadows, Maywood, Saratoga, Dover, Harrington, Pompano and took a 1:50.3 mark at Vernon Downs in 2014 in a Miracle Mile event and has 53 career wins from 195 starts, with 27 seconds and 27 thirds and $303,809 in the bank.

The Hall of Fame induction will be one of the highlights of the MHRI Annual Meeting and Banquet at Vanelli's by the Lake on Saturday. Check-in will start at 1 p.m. and the Hall of Fame induction at approximately 4:30 p.m., followed by dinner and divisional awards. You still have time to come out and join the celebration this Saturday. For more information about attending the banquet, contact MHRI Executive Secretary Patty Strand at [email protected].

(Minnesota Harness Racing)

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