by Frank Drucker, Publicity Director, Empire City at Yonkers Raceway
Yonkers, NY — There was good form for both Military Master A and Gruden, and it continued Saturday night (Oct. 20), winning Yonkers Raceway’s pair of $44,000 Open Handicaps.
Military Master A (Jordan Stratton, $5.80), from post position No. 6, prevailed from third-over in the week’s featured pace that cried out for a closer.
Pole-assigned Chantepleure (Austin Siegelman) inexplicably stuffed 7-5 choice Dr. J Hanover (Mark MacDonald) in behind at the outset, paying a :26.2 opening quarter-mile price for the privilege. The leader rated a :29.1 next substation (:55.3 half), but that would be of small consequence when the wolves came calling.
Gokudo Hanover (Jason Bartlett) moved from third, taking over past a 1:23.2 three-quarters as Chantepleure stopped and Dr. J Hanover was trapped.
Gokudo Hanover owned a short lead in and out of the final turn, but he, too, was inhaled. A second-up I’m Some Graduate (George Brennan) went by, but he couldn’t match strides with Military Master A. The latter, sixth entering the lane, won by a length in 1:52.1.
I’m Some Graduate was second, with Theartofconfusion A (Brent Holland) third. Scott Rocks (Eric Goodell) and an exhumed-too-late Dr. J Hanover rounded out the payees.
Chantepleure backpedaled to last in the seven-horse field.
For second choice Military Master A, a 7-year-old Down Under Bettor’s Delight gelding owned by William Hartt and trained by Lance Hudson, it was his seventh win (third consecutive) in 15 seasonal starts The exacta paid $30, the triple returned $283 and the superfecta paid $1,065.
The week’s marquee trot saw Gruden (Bartlett, $4.50) leapfrog his half-dozen inner foes and easily go the distance (:28.1, :57.4, 1:26, 1:55.3). The lead was 2-1/2 lengths off the final turn, the exact same margin at the wire.
New Heaven (Brennan) slalomed the cones for second, with 9-10 favorite Lean Hanover (Stratton) a first-up third. Tober (Holland) and Kinetic King (Jim Marohn Jr.) settled for the minors.
For second choice Gruden, a 5-year-old Muscle Yankee gelding co-owned (as Allard Racing) by (trainer) Rene Allard, Bruce Soulsby and VIP Internet Stable, it was his fifth win in 15 2018 tries (4 wins, 2 seconds, 2 thirds in last 10 efforts). The exacta paid $25.80, the triple returned $72 and the superfecta paid $409.