by Frank Drucker, Publicity Director, Empire City at Yonkers Raceway
Yonkers, NY — It wasn’t a fair fight.
Odds-on choice McWicked (Brian Sears, $2.90) dusted his foes Saturday afternoon (Oct. 13), winning Yonkers Raceway’s $250,000 Dan Rooney Invitational Pace.
The race was supposed to be a small-oval slap fight between McWicked—back here for the first time since the 2017 George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series—Bit Of A Legend N (Jordan Stratton) and locally-debuting Lazarus N. Well, Bit Of Legend N couldn’t match strides and Lazarus N was scratched-sick, so McWicked was left without a meaningful play date.
Undaunted, he did as he figured to do.
Away third behind Nuclear Dragon (Tim Tetrick) and Mach it So (Jason Bartlett)—the former’s early intervals of :27 and :55.3—McWicked—from post position two—left the cones and threw down a :27.1 third quarter (1:22.4).
He opened four lengths in and out of the final turn before winning be that same margin in 1:50.4. Bit of a Legend N was second-choice/second-best, with Evenin’ Of Pleasure (Joe Bongiorno) third. Mach it So and Endeavor (Trace Tetrick) came away with the final pay envelopes, with Always At My Place (George Brennan) and Nuclear Dragon bringing up the backside.
For McWicked, a 7-year-old son of McArdle owned by S S G Stables and trained by Casie Coleman, it was his ninth win in 16 seasonal starts ($1,178,864). The exacta paid $6.90, the triple returned $29.80 and the superfecta paid $139.50.
“I figured I’d come first-up,” Sears said. “I thought he was the best and could get it done that way and it worked out. He’s showed up every week and always put out a really great effort.
“He’ll do it any way you want and he’s all racehorse. He’s just a pleasure to be around and a pleasure to drive It was nice to get it done today.”
In a span of about 81 minutes, Sears won the million-dollar International Trot with 30-1 Cruzado Dela Noche
“It’s awesome,” he said. “To win the signature race here, you don’t get that many opportunities. I think this is the fourth time I’ve been in it, but to win it, it’s quite a thrill.”
You may want to have him select the lottery numbers.
- McWicked returns to half-mile track in Dan Rooney Pace (Saturday, October 13, 2018)
When Casie Coleman drew up the plans for McWicked’s 2018 campaign, Yonkers Raceway wasn’t among the potential targets for the star pacer. In fact, no half-mile tracks were, in part because Coleman believes McWicked is better on a big track and in part because owner Ed James of S S G Stable doesn’t like to race his horses on half-mile ovals. USTA/Mark Hall photo.
- Cruzado Dela Noche is an upset winner in Yonkers International Trot (Saturday, October 13, 2018)
Longshot Cruzado Dela Noche ($62.50), representing Sweden, captured the $1 million Yonkers International Trot at Empire City Casino on Saturday afternoon (Oct. 13). The winner covered the 1-1/4 mile distance in a time of 2:24.3. Brian Sears was in the bike for trainer Marcus Melander and owner Courant Inc. as the 6-year-old son of Muscle Massive-Alidade won for the 15th time in his career.
- Warrawee Roo wins Harry Harvey Invitational Trot (Saturday, October 13, 2018)
Had Warrawee Roo won the Dayton Trotting Derby, he may well have earned an invite to the International Trot. He ran out of racetrack in Ohio. He had no such issues in Westchester. Out early from the pole position, Warrawee Roo (Dan Dube, $10.60) rolled from second-over Saturday afternoon (Oct. 13), winning Yonkers’ $250,000, 1-1/4 mile Harry Harvey Invitational Trot.