Yonkers, NY — “She passed.”
That was driver Yannick Gingras’ post mortem after the mare Atlanta worked out over Yonkers Raceway for the first time.
The world champion 4-year-old trotter went through her paces prior to Tuesday night’s (Oct. 1) regularly-scheduled program, doing so in preparation for the $1 million International a week from Saturday (Oct. 12).
“I was very happy with her,” Gingras said, adding Atlanta’s negotiated her 1-1/4 mile International Trot distance “in 2:26 or so”.
“She did everything I wanted, especially around the turns. I made sure to buzz her around the turns.”
The New York-bred daughter of Chapter Seven, who has never raced over a half-mile oval, has seven wins and three second-place fiinishes in 11 seasonal starts, with earnings of $658,400 this year. Her last purse try was a 1:51.4 win in the $220,000 Charlie Hill Memorial at Scioto on Sept. 7.
Gingras and trainer Ron Burke took Atlanta to Yonkers in part having learned from not-too-ancient history.
“We didn’t bring Hannelore Hanover here before the (2016) International, and that was a mistake,” Gingras said of the fast distaffer who broke in the turns.
“I know (the International) is going to be tough, but (Atlanta) has held her own against some very good older horses.
“At the end of the day, there aren’t many million-dollar races in the sport,” Gingras said. “I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t want to win it.”
(Atlanta video/Gingras interview can be viewed here).
Post time for the International Trot matinee card is 1 p.m. Post positions for the 10-horse, nine-nation field will be drawn next Tuesday afternoon (Oct. 8).