Yonkers, NY – Cigar Smoking Tony and Salt Life picked up their first victories in the event, and Diamondbeach backed up his impressive win from a week ago with another one in the three $15,000 splits of the third and final leg of the M Life Rewards Gents Pacing Series for colts and geldings on Wednesday night (March 17) at Yonkers Raceway.
Driven by Jason Bartlett, Cigar Smoking Tony hustled to the front from the outside post six in the first division, then yielded to race in the pocket behind Sailboat Hanover (George Brennan) after the :27.4 opening quarter. Sailboat Hanover remained on the point at the 56 second half-mile marker, but Bartlett had Cigar Smoking Tony out and on the move prior to the 1:24.3 three-quarters, and Cigar Smoking Tony had the lead back in his possession beyond that station. From there, Cigar Smoking Tony could not be caught as he went on to score by three-parts of a length in 1:54.1. Sweet Truth (Austin Siegelman) rallied for second at 13-1, and 32-1 outsider Social Theories (Tyler Buter) advanced from sixth to third in the last quarter.
Jose Godinez trains Cigar Smoking Tony, a 4-year-old son of Art Major, for co-owners/breeders Joseph Betro, Ian Behar, and Kristie Leigh Farm Inc. Cigar Smoking Tony has a record of 5-1-2 from 11 career starts, and he has now earned $30,600. Cigar Smoking Tony was a 9-2 shot and returned $11.40 to win. The exacta paid $118.00, and the trifecta was worth $407.50.
In the next grouping Diamondbeach (Siegelman) worked his way around Lou’s Sweetrevenge (Brennan) to take command past a quick :27 second opening quarter. Diamondbeach was all business after that, posting a :55.4 half and a 1:24.4 three-quarters on his way to a 2 1/2 length decision in 1:53.3. Lou’s Sweetrevenge held second, with Got The Mojo (Matt Kakaley) third.
Diamondbeach, a 4-year-old gelded son of Somebeachsomewhere, is owned and trained by Ricky Bucci. Diamondbeach is now a six-time winner from 19 appearances, and he has banked $51,616. Diamondbeach, the 1-2 favorite, returned $3.10 to win and topped a $7.50 exacta and a $21.80 trifecta.
Salt Life (Mark MacDonald) had gotten involved in early pace battles that hurt his chances in the first two rounds of the M Life Rewards Gents Pacing Series, but he avoided that tonight, leading all the way from the pole position en route to a 1:54.3 score at odds of 14-1. Salt Life lined up the field in post position order well before the 28.3 quarter went on the board and continued to be well-rated through the :57.4 half and the 1:26.1 three-quarters. Rolling With Sam (Brennan) marched up into second from first-over on the last turn and tried his best to menace Salt Life, but it was to no avail as the pace-setter kicked home in :28.2 to win by three-quarters of a length over pocket-sitter Panther Time (Joe Bongiorno). Rolling With Sam ended up third.
Another 4-year-old gelding by Somebeachsomewhere, Salt Life is co-owned by trainer Bruce Mattison and Carmen Lemorta. Salt Life bagged his sixth career victory, and he has now put away $34,389. Salt Life, who returned $30.40 to win, keyed a $75.50 exacta and a $393.00 trifecta.
The M Life Rewards Gents Pacing Series comes to a close next Wednesday (March 24) with the $58,400 final and a $25,000 consolation. Series standings are available on Yonkers Raceway’s website.
Stakes action resumes at Yonkers on Friday (March 19) with three $35,000 divisions of the second round of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series for pacing mares and continues on Monday (March 22) with four $40,000 splits of the second leg of MGM Borgata Series for free-for-all pacers. Post time is at 7:15 p.m.