by John Furgele
It was another big Saturday of racing at Yonkers and Buffalo Raceways as each track had three feature races on their respective cards. At Buffalo, the big race was the $10,000 Open Pace, and what a race it was with three horses charging down the stretch. Itsonlyrocknroll scored the win in 1:55, holding off the fast closing Knocking Around with Major Trick third. Fractions were 28, 57.2, and then 1:26.2. It was the third straight win for the Larry Stalbaum driven gelding.
In the first of two $8,600 paces, Rock the Dream took the field out in 27.3 and then 56.1, before giving way to Keystone Dalton who hit three-quarters in 1:26. In the stretch, Flying Cowboy was too good, charging home to win in 1:56.
The second $8,600 pace saw Peter Pumpkineater use a classic stalking trip to win in 1:56.3. Believe This Bob did all the heavy lifting in this one, cutting fractions of 28.3, 58, and 1:27.2. Peter Pumpkineater sat second the entire time before making his move in the final stages.
Racing resumes on Wednesday at Buffalo Raceway with the mid-week tradition, the $10,000 Open Pace for fillies and mares. Post time is 5 pm. Buffalo Raceway races Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays with post times of 5, 5, and 6 respectively.
Miracle at Yonkers
The stakes were a little bigger at Yonkers with four features with purses of $45,000 for two and $35,000 for the other two. The first $45,000 race saw Allerage Star lead from start to finish taking the field through fractions of 28.3, 58.3, 1:27.2 en route to a 1:55.3 finish.
In the second $45,000 pace, a miracle occurred! A true miracle, indeed, as a horse won a race at Yonkers from gate eight. If you watch enough races from Yonkers, it is easy to see why this is such a difficult feat. Being in the 8-hole leaves too many decisions for the driver. Conventional wisdom says get to the lead right away, but that takes so much work and so much effort. When this does happen, it leaves the horse spent for the stretch drive. If you try to bide your time, the horse is often tied to the outside for most of the race. Many times, when a driver gets position 8, the goal is try to get third or even fourth or fifth to at least get some money for your efforts.
In this race, Roland N Rock took the first quarter in 26.4, but Somewhere in LA was working and fighting so hard to get from position 8 to first. He finally did so as the passed the half in 55.4. It appeared that the taxing 55.4 would do him in, but the horse showed resolve and got to the line first in 1:52.4. He won at odds of 17-1; had he been assigned to post one or two, he’s probably the betting favorite. That’s how undesirable position 8 is, not only for the horse, but the bettors as well.
In the first $35,000 race, Limelight Beach was the front-runner, blazing through panels of 27.1 and then 56. When 1:23.4 was flashed for three-quarters, one got a sense that someone other than Limelight Beach was going to win and that horse was Sports Bettor in 1:53.1
The second of the $35,000 races saw Opulent Yankee speed to the front with fractions of 28.2, 58.1, and 1:27, but in the end, the hard-charging Newcastle was victorious in 1:55.3.
Yonkers racing continues on Monday, February 6 with four $29,000 races on the 11-race card. Post time is 7:10 pm.