Yankee Lariat cuts the mile at Hazel Park

by Dan Conway, USTA web newsroom correspondant

The following should be a basic rule for handicappers of harness races: when a horse comes in to your track off of a 1:51 and a piece effort from the eight post, he or she is worth a second look, particularly when a 1:53 effort will do nicely at your track.

The $12,600 Invitational Handicap Pace on Saturday night (October 1) at Hazel Park Raceway featured six contenders with last week’s victor in this class, Meal Ticket, assigned the outside post. The bettors’ however, favored Not Demott, who finished second in the Open his last time out at Windsor Raceway.

But the best laid plans of race secretarys and the boys and girls along the rail don’t always work out. As so often happens in a competitive horse race, when the action starts everybody is equal and little goes as planned.

Powering away from the two post, Yankee Lariat was guided to the front end by Art McIlmurray and took the field to the quarter in :27.4. The longshot in the field, Poseiden’s Fury and Jason Merriman, were away second with Merritt Dokey and Spastic third.

The four-year-old Yankee Lariat earned over $200,000 last season and he is four for 26 this year with $35,884 on his 2005 card. Last week he cut the mile at Mohawk from the eight post, but was caught in the stretch, finishing fourth in a time of 1:51.1.

Meal Ticket and Brad Kramer were away fifth and were on the outside following Not Demott and Evzen Pindur as the field passed the grandstand. Yankee Lariat reached the half in :57.3, a solid length and a half in front of Poseiden’s Fury. At this point, Pindur had Not Demott moving up third on the outside, followed by Meal Ticket. Spastic pulled up at the quarter pole and did not finish.

Not Demott has been the favorite in seven out of his last eight races in Canada. The winner of $350,349 lifetime continued to move up towards the leader around the second turn and down the backstretch. Meanwhile, McIlmurray urged Yankee Lariat to a :27.2 third panel and hit the three-quarter marker in 1:25. Poseiden’s Fury was two lengths back in second.

Around the final turn, Yankee Lariat kept up the pace and blew into the stretch a length and three-quarters ahead of Poseiden’s Fury. Not Demott and Meal Ticket were also swinging wide for the charge to the wire.

Down the lane, Yankee Lariat, a horse by Western Hanover out of Lush Limbaugh, remained strong and hit the wire in 1:53.2 to win by almost two lengths over Poseiden’s Fury. Meal Ticket closed the best and finished third.

With his fifth victory of the season, Yankee Lariat pushed his lifetime earnings to $359,445. He is trained by Rebekah Swinko and owned by four stables: No Cry Harness Llc, Were All In Racing Llc, Open Outcry Harness Llc and Hat Trick Racing Llc, all of Illinois.

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