Oak Grove, KY — Trixton mare Yanaba lowered the track record for older trotting mares at Oak Grove Racing, Gaming and Hotel in her most recent start, and on Monday (May 22) she knocked it down a tick with a win in her $50,000 Kentucky Sire Stakes division.
Sent off as the 4-5 favorite, driver John MacDonald motored Yanaba three wide through the first quarter in :27.2 to seize the lead past the stands the first time while Adore Me (Dexter Dunn) settled into the pocket and Pioneer As (Tony Hall) raced third. Eternal Lee (Andy McCarthy), the second choice at 6-5, landed in fourth and stayed put as the field gave chase to Yanaba, who clocked by the half in :55.4.
Yanaba kept her competitors in behind as she hit the accelerator to three-quarters in 1:23.1 but had to reach for the reserves on the straightaway. MacDonald cut the corner with the mare and implored her to the finish as Adore Me shook free from the pocket and bolted for the lead late, but came a nose shy at the finish of a 1:51.4 mile. Pioneer As rallied down the center to finish a neck off the leader in third and Eternal Lee trotted home evenly to take fourth.
Yanaba bagged her seventh victory from 26 lifetime starts and has now banked $225,475 for owners Ann-Mari Daley, Jared Daley and Oleg Ivutin. Jack Rice trains the mare who returned $3.74 to win. Yanba’s 1:51.4 victory lowers the track record she set on May 9 of 1:52.
The afternoon began with big payoffs when Jaqen H’ghar (Peter Wrenn) vaulted off cover and snagged a 19-1 upset in the $50,000 Kentucky Sire Stakes division for trotting males. The 4-year-old gelded son of Walner sat fourth to a :27 first quarter set by Golden Wall As (Hall), who then yielded control to Majestic J (Dunn) moving past the stands the first time.
Past the half in :55, TNT Blue Chip (Andy McCarthy) began moving overland and carried Jaqen H’ghar on his back to the backside. The outer tier grabbed command to three-quarters in 1:23.2 with Majestic J growing tired to the inside, leaving TNT Blue Chip on the lead to the top of the stretch with Jaqen H’ghar looming. And the Melanie Wrenn trainee capitalized from the covered trip, zipping by TNT Blue Chip and striding clear to a 1-1/2 length win in 1:51.4. Iwon’t Backdown As (Todd McCarthy) closed from last to take second with TNT Blue Chip settling for third and Golden Wall As, overcoming a shuffle, took fourth.
Jaqen H’ghar paid $41.90 to win in his surprise. He collected his fourth win from 15 career starts and has now earned $71,011 for owners Knutsson Trotting Inc. and Ake Svanstedt Inc.
Favorites fired in the two Kentucky Sire Stakes divisions on the pace. Boudoir Hanover (Todd McCarthy) slid to the lead and carved fractions of :27.1, :55.4 and 1:22.4 to easily dispose of her rivals and win the division for pacing mares. She crossed the beam in 1:50.2 and 1-1/4 lengths in front of late-closing Style For A Mile (Dunn), who sat a pylon trip and came rolling down the center of the track late. Dont Fence Me In (Marvin Luna) gave pursuit off a pocket ride to finish third and Ainthesamewithoutu (Hall) faltered off a first-over push to take fourth.
Tony Alagna trains Boudoir Hanover, a daughter of Captaintreacherous, for owners Riverview Racing, Alagna Racing, Caviart Farms, and D. Plouffe And S. Head. She paid $2.54 to win in taking her 11th lifetime victory from 30 starts and adding to her bankroll now worth $924,338.
The pacing male division saw fast-developing All Or Nothing (Dave Palone) hold off the pocket pounce of I Did It Myway (Andy McCarthy) and post the fastest mile of the season so far at Oak Grove, a 1:48.2 steamer. Palone pushed the Always B Miki stallion from the pylon post to the point and rung the field around the rosie, zipping middle splits of :54.4 and 1:21.4 to stride home 1-1/2 lengths better than I Did It Myway. Taurasi (Dunn) levelled off from a first-over move but held third, another six lengths behind, with American Classic (Todd McCarthy) taking fourth.
John Cummins owns All Or Nothing, a six time winner from nine career starts and an earner of $141,789. Robert Bath trains the stallion who paid $4.50 for the victory.
Monday’s card also featured a $28,000 Open Trot. Stride The Hill (Kevin Wallis) took command early and made his competition chase his stonedust after a :27 first quarter as he strolled through middle splits of :56.2 and 1:24.1 to kick away from his competition and win by two lengths in 1:53.1. Wayne Oke trains the 4-year-old gelding by Muscle Hill for owner A Piece Of The Action LLC and the gelding paid $5.38 to win. Heath Bar (Matt Krueger) emerged from off the speed to take second and It’s A Herbie (Verlin Yoder), the even-money favorite, settled for third after going a first-over mile.
A trio of mini series also contested their finals. Mohatu As (Hall, 1:54.4; $5.20) burst off a pocket trip to take the $24,000 trotting final in 1:54.4. In the $24,000 pace, Sure Thing Captain (Joey Putnam, 1:52; $43.78) capitalized on the heavy favorite breaking stride and barreled for the lead in the final half to stroll home and pull off an upset by a length. Ideal Ace (Stephen White, 1:52.3; $3.24) took the $16,000 final for bottom-level horses with a pillar-to-post speed job by 2-1/4 lengths.
Racing returns to Oak Grove on Sunday (May 28) and features a pair of carryovers. The Super High 5 went unclaimed on Monday and will feature a $1,106.71 carryover in the wager on offer in race five. The Late Pick-5 also went unsolved again, so a triple carryover totaling $3,789.30 will be on offer for the wager that starts in race six.
A reminder for patrons, that the race card scheduled for next Tuesday (May 30) has been cancelled and shifted to the tail of the meet on Sunday (July 9).
First-race post time at Oak Grove is 3 p.m. (CDT).