Cokstile Captures The 2022 International Trot
Cokstile made international headlines in 2020 as the placed-first winner in that year's Elitlopp, but there was no need for a disqualification to place the star trotter in the Yonkers Raceway winner's circle after a sensational effort in the 2022 $1 million International Trot on Saturday (Oct. 15).
There wasn't much notable activity for the opening stanzas of the 1-1/4 mile trotting event as Ecurie D (Ake Svanstedt) tried to bottom out the field with a hot early tempo. After a :27.4 opening quarter and :55.2 half, Ecurie D had some six lengths on his rivals but the backfield was starting to made serious gains approaching the 1:24 three-quarter mile mark.
Most aggressive in the outer flow was Ecurie D's stablemate Back Of The Neck (Tim Tetrick) with Cokstile (Vincenzo Dell'Annunziata) second over. As the one-mile mark was reached in 1:54.2, both Back Of The Neck and Cokstile were poised to put away the early pacesetter and break away from the field for a two-horse sprint to the wire. In the stretch, Cokstile pulled away from the 2022 Maple Leaf Trot champion and tripped the timer in 2:23.
Cokstile is a product of both European and North American bloodlines. Bred in Norway by Per-Erik Hagen, Cokstile's sire is Quite Easy, a son of Andover Hall from Maritas Victory, she a three-quarter sister to the great Passionate Glide. His dam is Joystile by the star trotter Coktail Jet. The win was his 28th from 77 lifetime starts, lifting him into double millionaire territory for owner Scuderia Santese Srl of Italy and trainer Mattia Orlando. The nine-year-old paid $46.20 to win.
"It's unbelievable for him, the owners and the trainer. The owners, they spend money, they invested to buy this horse in Norway," Dell'Annunziata told Yonkers through an interpreter. "It was an advantage for him that the race was very fast to the half-mile because he's a strong horse. When he saw that the second horse was not fresh, he moved to go behind [Back Of The Neck]. He knew here that that's the time. He pushed the horse and opened up.
"He loves New York, he loves the race and he loves the people that organized this big race. For him, it's fantastic."
Co-owner Stefano Paladini indicated that a decision to race beyond today in North America has yet to be determined. "This evening we will speak and maybe. We will see.
"We believed he could win [the International Trot]. In the Lotteria [his last race in Italy on Oct. 2], he had a little problem with one of his feet," noted Paladini. "He never lost to Ecurie D in Europe. In the first position, he is very strong. He's an aggressive horse who likes to push and push and push. When he races in the front from the beginning, it is too much for him."
Its Academic (David Miller) closed well to edge out Lovedbythemasses (Todd McCarthy) for third. Favoured Etonnant finished eighth, while Ecurie D faded to finish ninth.
Two $250,000 Invitational events were featured on the International Trot undercard.
When Dovescry and driver David Miller made every call a winning one to take the $250,000 Robert Miecuna Invitational Trot, winning the 1-1/4 mile trot in wire-to-wire fashion in 2:26.4.
Favoured at 4/5, the six-year-old talented trotter was a length and a quarter better than Hillexotic (Yannick Gingras) and Amigo Volo (Todd McCarthy). Owned by John Lengacher of Grabill, Ind., When Dovescry (Muscle Hill - Cedar Dove) is trained by Brett Pelling. She paid $3.80 to win, the 23rd victory of her career and third this season. The winner's share of the purse puts her career bankroll just shy of $2.15 million.
"I didn't really expect it to go that smoothly," Miller told Yonkers media. "I got to the lead, and she relaxes so well. Every quarter that flashed up, it was getting slower and slower. Up the backstretch I was like 'we should be home free from here.' Yannick was the only one I was worried about. He was running me over and I didn't want to let him out, but going that slow, 1:58.3, I figured she could out-sprint him.
"She's well-deserving of that win, that's for sure."
Speaking of millionaires, None Bettor A became harness racing's newest millionaire by virtue of a narrow score in the $250,000 MGM Aria Invitational Pace.
Driver Dexter Dunn positioned 7-1 shot None Bettor A forwardly off the gate in the 1-1/4 mile event and yielded to This Is The Plan (Yannick Gingras) after a :27.2 opening quarter. Leonidas A (Austin Siegelman) pressured the half-mile track world record holder on the lead through the :56 half, 1:23.2 third quarter and 1:51.2 mile markers before relenting. Dunn slid out None Bettor from the pocket around the final turn, but This Is The Plan wasn't done yet and rallied strongly turning from home. The pocket trip proved fruitful for None Bettor A, who stuck a head in front at the wire over a dead game This Is The Plan. American Courage (Matt Kakaley) completed the triactor.
The race was clocked in 2:20.3, more than a full second better than the previous world record of 2:21.4 set by Perfect Son in 2000 at Freehold Raceway.
Travis Alexander trains None Bettor A (Bettors Delight - Limerick Star) for Joe P Racing LLC of Delray Beach, Fl. and Oldford Racing LLC of Port Huron, Mich. Now nine, None Bettor A picked up his 42nd career victory in 131 starts to lift his earnings to $1,020,177. He paid $16.60 to win.
"First and third, very happy. Both horses raced great," Alexander told Yonkers media. "None Bettor had a wicked trip. It worked out and Dexter did the job. It was a big mile."
According to Alexander, None Bettor A is expected to be back in the local Opens while American Courage will be transitioning to a stallion career.
"American Courage is going to stand and race next year at Blue Chip. We might call it quits now and get him ready for the Borgata."