There was a fair amount of Yonkers Raceway symmetry Sunday afternoon (July 16), as the Jason Bartlett-driven Hemi Seelster, who was sent off at odds of 12-1, won the $68,000 Open Handicap Trot from Post 12.
Hemi Seelster worked out a perfect second-over sojourn from the back of the bus and was towed into the race by no less than International Trot winner Resolve (driven by Ake Svanstedt). The latter, after having left for a seat, had to rough it first-up against Obrigado (Mark MacDonald).
Obrigado, caught three-deep early, led through sensible-enough intervals of 28.1, :58.4, 1:28.4 and 1:57.3.
However, Obrigado, with a length-and-a-quarter lead entering the lane, was unable to close the deal. Hemi Seelster went by and won in a blanket photo for the mile-and-a-quarter in 2:26.2.
The wagering choice in each of his last two starts, Hemi Seelster paid $26.80 this time around.
Homicide Hunter (driven by Brian Sears), another dozen-to-one proposition, roared home from third-over to miss by a head. Obrigado saved the bottom of the ticket, beaten a neck. Maestro Blue Chip (Brent Holland) and Buen Camino (Jordan Stratton) settled for the remainder (the five payees were separated by three-quarters of a length).
Resolve, meanwhile, faded to eighth as the 4-5 favourite, the first time he has crossed the line worse than fourth since Svanstedt’s first start with him (May 15, ‘15).
For sixth choice Hemi Seelster – a five-year-old Holiday Road gelding co-owned by Howard Taylor & Abraham Basen and trained by Rich Banca – it was his sixth win in 17 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $226.50, with the triple returning $10,686.
Sunday’s latest installment of the ‘New York, New York Double’ offered a winning combination of 1-Karma Delight (Belmont’s third race) and 3-Ultimate Shopper (Yonkers’ seventh race) paid $12.40 for every correct $1 wager. Total pool was $5,208.
The gimmick wager now shifts to Saratoga as its Thoroughbred venue when that meeting begins Friday (July 21). Note that Yonkers’ next two Sunday post times are 12:30 p.m. (July 23) and 11:30 a.m. (July 30), respectively.
New York Sire Stakes action will return to Yonkers this coming Tuesday night (July 18), with the Bruce Hamilton Trot for two-year-old fillies.