Is there a budding rivalry beginning to blossom at Yonkers Raceway? The 2017 Yonkers racing season is one week old, but already, Rubber Duck has shown strength with two Sunday victories. Yonkers is doing two things unique to other harness tracks in the nation. One, is that they are simulcasting their Sunday afternoon races to France and Europe, thus the early 11:30 am post times. Yes, this makes for a quick turnaround from Saturday night, but if those in France are willing to bet a few hundred thousand dollars, the lack of sleep is worth it.
The other difference is that the Sunday trotters are racing at the European preferred distance of 1 ¼ miles. Yonkers hosted the International Trot last October and that race was also at 1 ¼ miles and of course featured horses from Europe. Yesterday, there were 7 races contested at 1 ¼ miles. Personally, I find the 1 ¼ mile distance intoxicating. The distance allows (at Yonkers) for 11 starters; and there is chance for an outside horse or even a closer to win, or at the very least, get a piece of the purse pie. Harness racing is standard fare. Every race is either a pace or a trot and the distance is usually one mile. Unlike thoroughbred racing, there are no five, six, and seven furlong affairs, nor is there turf racing.
On January 8, both Rubber Duck and Red Hot Herbie won their races, and yesterday, the two squared off in a $56,000 “Preferred Trot.” Rubber Duck was much the best, coming home in 2:27.3 with Herbie back in second. Let’s hope that these two stay healthy and continue dueling throughout 2017.
Last year, Yonkers Raceway conducted Tuesday matinees to cater to the European crowds, but this year, Tuesday posts have been moved back to evenings. There are 23 Sunday dates scheduled in 2017 and that number could be increased. The next Sunday matinee is slated for January 29. The heavy Sunday months are July and August with four.
Dot Dot Dot Dash also won on Sunday’s card at Yonkers, making him two for two this season. Yonkers races five times per week and depending on Sundays, six.
Big Upset at The Meadows
Believeinthespirit pulled an upset in Monday’s $20,000 Preferred Handicap at The Meadows, running 1:52.2 for the mile and paying $58.60 to win.
Monticello Back Today
Monticello Raceway was off for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and will race just three cards this week (Tuesday-Thursday) with post times set for 12:25. There are 12 races scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday.
Buffalo Raceway returns to action Wednesday night with an 11-race card.
Hope to see you at the races!