Yonkers Raceway opened its 2012 harness racing season Friday night, with its usual pair of $33,000 co-features at the returned-to distance of a mile. The Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace saw Breakheart Pass (Jason Bartlett) pay a stiff price to grab the big chair, then hold sway.
Assigned post position No. 7, she was the third leader, moving past a 27-second opening quarter and into the second turn before finding her place.
She then rated a :56.1 half as 9-10 favorite Ridge Jumper (George Brennan) took up the chase.
Those two closed ranks in and out of the 1:25.2 three-quarters, with Breakheart Pass maintaining the slimmest of advantages. She widened to a length-and-a-quarter into the lane, keeping her stubborn foe at bay, The final margin was a length-and-a-half, with Breakheart Pass getting the mile in 1:54.2.
That trip was highlight of Bartlett’s eight-win night—including the first four races–(obviously) showing no ill-effects from the ankle injury which sidelined him for the latter portion of last season.
Ridge Jumper saved second, with Cannae Cammie (Brent Holland), Fox Valley Sage (Pat Lachance) and Celtic Danser (Larry Stalbaum) rounding out the payees.
For Breakheart Pass, a now-8-year-old daughter of Western Hero co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke and Weaver Bruscemi, she returned $8.30 (second choice) for a winning seasonal debut. The exacta paid $16.40, with the triple returning $68.50.
Friday night’s co-featured Open Handicap Trot saw the longshot lass Definitely Mamie (Jeff Gregory) whip the boys to the tune at 40-1. “Mamie,” assigned the pole, sat a three-hole, then found room between combatants late.
After H and M’s Hit (Jordan Stratton) led through early intervals of :28 and :58, 9-10 choice Wuthering Hanover (Pat Berry) moved to challenge. However, he wasn’t making too many inroads at the 1:27 three-quarters, with H and M’s Hit owning a length-and-a-half lead off the final turn.
Pocket-sitter Celebrity Bluechip (Bartlett) dove inside, but he wasn’t the problem. “Mamie” was, as she burst through to beat H and M’s Hit by a neck in 1:56.3. Wuthering Hanover, Celebrity Bluechip and Son of Nordic (Eric Goodell) grabbed the remainder.
For Definitely Mamie, a 5-year-old daughter of Pegasus Spur trained by Stacy Chiodo for co-owners Robert Reibstein and Howard Taylor, she returned $83 (seventh choice) for her ’12 bow. The exacta paid $613, the triple paid $2,295 and the superfecta returned $12,162 (base $2 wager).
Yonkers’ 2012 live season continues Saturday night before the usual five-night-per-week (Monday/Tuesday/Thursday/Friday/Saturday) returns next week. First post for all programs remains at 7:10 PM. Evening simulcasting accompanies all live programs, with afternoon simulcasting available around the NYRA schedule. (Yonkers Raceway)