World champion Downbytheseaside (Dave Miller, $3.10) was as odds-on advertised Saturday night (May 20), winning Yonkers Raceway’s lone $40,000 elimination for the 27th Art Rooney Pace for three-year-olds.
Starting from the second tier in the nine-to-get-to-eight foray, Downbytheseaside found himself three-wide at the half in a race that had much more movement than expected. Last season’s Lawrence B. Sheppard Pace winner, Summer Side (Ray Schnittker), made the first lead, stuffing Stealth Bomber (Brent Holland) in behind before a :28.1 opening quarter-mile.
However, Stealth Bomber wanted to no part of the pocket. That one made the lead, with last season’s New York Sire Stakes champion Funknwaffles (Brian Sears) and ‘Seaside’ in hot pursuit.
Downbytheseaside fronted the fray right at the :55.4 intermission, than continued toward a 1:24.3 three-quarters. Stealth Bomber then moved again, vacating a three-hole in front of Miso Fast (Matt Kakaley).
Downbytheseaside opened a coupled of lengths in and out of the final turn, winning by a length-and-a-quarter in 1:52.2. Miso Fast snapped Stealth Bomber for second, with Summer Side and Macs Jackpot (Jason Bartlett) rounding out the payees.
Funknwaffles tired to sixth, with Henry The Dragon (Montrell Teague) and rank outsider Rollin About (Brent Holland) also earning invites to next Saturday night’s (May 27) $300,000 final. Heavens Gait (Jordan Stratton) made a filthy break passing the three-quarters, winding up last and not making the finale.
For Downbytheseaside, a son of Somebeachsomewhere trained by Brian Brown for co-owners Country Club Acres, Joe Sbrocco, Richard Lombardo and Diamond Creek Racing, the win was his second in as many seasonal starts (career 10-for-15). The exacta paid $$7.70, the triple returned $57 and the superfecta paid $341.50.
“I was pleased with the race,” Miller said. “I had to use him some early and ran in a bit in the turns, but we can work on that before the final.”
Miller began his evening drilling seven inside rivals (:28.4, :59.1, 1:27.4, 1:55.1) with Agent Q ($6.80) in the first of two, $20,000 elims for the Lismore (three-year-old pacing fillies).
Last season’s NYSS frosh champ, even-money choice Tequila Monday (Sears), wound up second from second-over, with Caviart Ally (Andrew McCarthy) a first-up third. Ashlees Spitfire (Dan Dube), at 50-1 the longest shot on the board, was fourth. That quartet returns for next Saturday night’s $140,770 final.
“Handy,” was Miller’s succinct description of his date.
For second choice Agent Q, a daughter of Western Terror co-owned by Martin Scharf, Rochetti Racing and Robert Muscara, she’s now two-for-two this season
The second elimination for the Lismore, complete with no show wagering, saw the reason for same -- 3-10 favourite Aint Three OK (Sears) -- jump it off in the first turn and trail throughout.
Pole-sitting Big City Betty (Jim Marohn Jr., $21.60) went the distance (:28.3, :58.1, 1:27, 1:55.2), whipping Gotthisone Hanover (George Brennan) by two and a quarter lengths in a two-speed number. Warrawee Sunshine (Miller) was a ground-saving third as the 29-1 longshot, with Caviart Cherie (McCarthy) fourth and back for the final.
For third choice ‘Betty,’ a Bettors Delight miss co-owned by (trainer) Steve Salerno and Bruce Potter, the win was her second in three ’17 tries. The exacta paid $149, with the triple returning $965.
“This filly has a quick turn of speed, but she has the manners of an older horse,” Marohn said. “I never even saw what happened with Brian [Sears'] horse [Aint Three OK], but mine was very comfortable.”
The open draw for both stakes finals takes place Monday afternoon (May 22).
Saturday night’s pair of $55,000 Open Handicaps were won by trotter Red Hot Herbie (Dan Dube, $19.60) in 1:55.3 and pacer Mach It So (Holland, $7.90) in 1:51.2.
(With files from Yonkers Raceway)