Harness Racing Musings

by John Furgele, Harness Racing 228

Buffalo Raceway finally got back in action last night with an 11-race card.  The track had not raced since Saturday, Feb. 10 due to a myriad of issues—Mother nature, horse shortages and problems with the track itself were the major reasons—but they were back in business and the hope is that the track can resume its Wednesday, Friday, Saturday schedule.  As expected, times were a bit slow last night; most of these horses are stabled here and haven’t been able to train during the hiatus.  In the $9,500 open trot feature, Lenny Mac beat the boys in 2 minutes flat.

Regil Elektra did not win last night’s $25,000 pace at Yonkers last night, but her second place finish pushed her over $1 million in lifetime earnings.  She led through the half, dropped to third before moving up to second to earn $6,250.  That puts the 8-year old mare by Mach Three at slightly over $1,001,000 for her career which likely continues next Friday or Saturday at Yonkers.

Handle at Yonkers continues to be up and last night, Sell A Bit N won the $40,000 open pace for fillies and mares out of the dreaded eight post.  The more that can happen, the better it will be for handle at half-mile racing tracks like Yonkers.  If bettors think all eight horses can win, place or show, they will fork over their money.  Now, to be fair, Sell A Bit N is an excellent horse.  She wins and wins often and there’s a reason she runs in the weekly opens at Old Hilltop.  That said winning from the 8 post is winning from the 8 post—rare and not easy.

The French trots are back at Yonkers tomorrow with a 12 race card.  Seven of those races will be at 1 ¼ miles and the feature is Race 2—the $50,000 open handicap.  NF Happenstance comes into this race as the leading money earner with $74,500.  Post time is 12:15.

The Meadows returned to action yesterday after not being able to race due since late January to the Equine Herpes Virus.  Legendary track announcer Roger Huston was back calling the action for the 10-race card which saw Thoughtyoudlikeit win the $17,000 feature in 1:53.3 over the 5/8 mile track.

The track also did something that some would consider surprising by requesting make-up days to replace those that were lost during the quarantine.  The track has asked the Pennsylvania Gaming Commission to increase racing from three days to four in October and November and wants to eliminate breaks that were scheduled in May, July and September.  Anytime a track wants to race more, to me, is always a good thing.  In this day of racinos and casinos, one often wonders how much the facilities are into racing, but this request by The Meadows suggests that they care about racing.

Sunday’s Saratoga cars features  13 races, most with full fields and two $12,000 opens, one for trotters and one for pacers. The open trot features Ulster who won last week’s race in his first start of the year.

Pompano Park has eight races on its Sunday night card and recently announced a bump in purse money.  The normally $11,000 opens will now race for $12,000 and tomorrow’s card features two $12,000 races that will be run at 5/8 mile—one lap around the track.  Thus far, the “five furlong” sprints have been uneventful; Race 3 will feature the return of Panocchio, who has been out with some minor injuries.  Perhaps he will find the shorter distance to his liking.

Finally, a full-field of 8 for today’s $8,000 preferred handicap pace at old Freehold.  Can Ohio Larry win in New Jersey or will Clint Westwood make his day by scoring over the old track.

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