Yonkers Raceway’s foggy Saturday night featured eliminations for both the Art Rooney and Lismore Paces.
With 10 three-year-old boys entering the Rooney and nine sophomore girls in the Lismore, it was three games of ‘musical chairs’ to determine next week’s finalists.
Odds-on favourite Decoy (Dave Miller, $2.20) made short work of his four foes in the first, $40,000 eliminations for the Rooney. Unhurried from post position No. 3, he rolled to the past the half, then rolled away. The final margin over a ‘good’ surface was 8-1/2 lengths in 1:54.
Minnie Vinnie (Brett Miller) closed for second as the 32-1 rank outsider, with Major Authority (Brian Sears) third and early leader Jimtastic (Jason Bartlett) fourth. Matinee Fashion (George Brennan) eliminated himself with a break down the backside the second time.
For Decoy, a son of Somebeachsomewhere co-owned Brixton Medical Group, R A W Equine & Joe Sbrocco and trained by Jimmy Takter, it was his second win in three seasonal starts.
“I was pretty happy with him,” Miller said. “He went a good middle half. Now, we hope to good for next week.
Miller has won three finals of the Rooney Pace, including last season with Downbytheseaside.
Saturday’s other $40,000 elim for the Rooney saw Trump Nation (Bartlett, $9) hold off both 4-5 choice Springsteen (Sears) and Babes Dig Me (Brett Miller) by a head and a neck, respectively.
Pole-sitting Trump Nation took over from early leader—and subsequent breaker—Handsoffmychips (Brennan), then finish it off in 1:53.3, his fastest purse mile of the season.
Kwik Talkin (Jordan Stratton) wound up fourth.
For third choice Trump Nation, a statebred son of Betterthancheddar co-owned by (trainer) Andrew Harris and Evan Katz, he’s now 2-for-4 this season.
“I wanted to control the race,” Bartlett said. “When I saw the cheap (:57.2) half, I thought I was in good shape, but halfway down the lane, when (Springsteen) came at me, I thought I was beaten. He dug in.”
The evening’s lone $20,000 elimination for the Lismore was won by Jewels Forreal (Dan Dube, $5.20, part of entry) in a life-best 1:55.1.
Pocketed from post No. 4, Jews Forreal was able to get out when entrymate Python Blue Chip (Brennan) made a bad, first-over break in the final turn. Pass Line Bluechip (Bartlett) cut the mile but could not last, beaten a head.
Checkered Past (Mark MacDonald) was third, with Solitary (Brent Holland), Alexas Power (Stratton), Believe in Me (Sears), Reign on Me (Brett Miller) and a recovering Python Blue Chip also qualifying for the final.
Krushed Apple (Dave Miller) was outrun.
For second choice (part of three-headed entry) Jewels Forreal, a daughter of So Surreal co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke and Weaver Bruscemi, it was her first win in seven ’18 tries.
The finals of both events, worth $300,000 (Rooney) and $111,444 (Lismore), go next Saturday night (May 26th). Open draws take place Monday afternoon (May 21st).
Saturday night’s $44,000 Open Handicap Pace saw favoured Evenin Of Pleasure (Sears, $5.20) repeat in 1:52.3 . The eight-year-old son of Dragon Again, owned by Gestion J Y Blais and trained by Jennifer Bongiorno, is approaching $900,000 in career coin after a 30th lifetime win.
Sunday matinees return tomorrow, with a first post of 12:35 p.m.