Driver Jordan Stratton scored a driving double on Saturday night’s harness racing card at Yonkers Raceway, which put him at the celebratory milestone mark of 2,000 career wins.
Stratton, who reached 1,999 with Foreign Officer ($9.30) in the $27,000 eighth race pace, hit the milestone when Lolas Cruiser ($13.60) was both good and lucky in the $20,000 11th race pace.
“Lola” prevailed in 1:55 flat in a race where runner-up Report For Duty N (Brennan) was badly impeded by a first turn breaker, then race leader Sams Escape also jumped. Report For Duty N did recover to get second as the 4-5 choice. “I’ve always tried to take each race as it happens, but I knew I was this number was getting here,” Stratton said.
The 24-year-old Stratton — whose family was on hand to help him accept the congratulatory sign in the winner’s circle — has earned more than $22.4 million in purses in a career which began quite modestly in 2006.
In Saturday’s $33,000 Open Handicap Pace, Code Word and driver Tyler Buter used a second over trip to author an 11-1 upset. Leaving from post position No. 6, Code Word watched early as Corky Baran (Pat Lachance) threw down windy gauntlet fractions of :27.2, :57.2 and 1:25.3. Real Nice (Jason Bartlett), the 2011 Levy Series champ, was pocketed in his 2012 seasonal debut.
Meanwhile, last week’s winner, Summer Camp (Eric Goodell), was first-up as this week’s 11-10 favourite. Summer Camp wore down “Corky” early stretch, but could not stave off the rival on his rear. Code Word just did get there, prevailing by a head in 1:54.4. A closing Tobago Cays (Jim Pantaleano), a shuffled Real Nice and Jerrys Brown Gold (George Brennan) came away with the remainder.
Code Word, a five-year-old son of Western Terror co-owner (as Burke Racing) by trainer Ron Burke, Frank Baldachino, Weaver Bruscemi and Lawrence Karr, returned $24.20 (fifth choice) for his fourth win in six seasonal starts. The exacta paid $88.50, with the triple returning $699.(Yonkers Raceway)