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Big purses on the line Saturday at Yonkers
Last Saturday night  (Feb. 11) Yonkers Raceway offered $280,000 in overnight purse money and this Saturday (Feb. 18), that total will be eclipsed with the $326,000 that the Hilltop Oval is putting up for grabs on the 10-race card.
Once again two $50,000 Open Handicaps - one for trotters and one for pacers- will be featured and the strong undercard is highlighted with a pair of $39,000 events.

The 50-cent Pick-5 commences with this week's Open Trot, race six, which pits the Allard Stables' Red Hot Herbie, who got the better of the equal draw for posts seven and eight, against the Julie Miller trainee and hard hitting mare, Allerage Star. The rivalry continues as the Gural/Settlemoir owned charge pays the toll over the George Washington Bridge in quest of the dough. This outstanding mare is again handicapped with the eight-hole, but she is so good that she almost succeeded in getting home before the boys last week from the same tough spot. After cutting the fractions the talented mare was overtaken in the deep stretch from a two-hole perfect trip by Red Hot Herbie in 1:55.4 and finished second.

The other mare in the race, Dot Dot Dot Dash, no slouch herself, moves to the coveted pylon position off a third place finish to both ‘Herbie’ and ‘the Star’ in last week's battle with many of the same foes. The veteran Springbank Sam N, the oldest trotter in the race, drew the four-hole and also can threaten from there for trainer, Peter Tritton.

Red Hot Herbie has the upper hand cash-wise with $79,000 on his card thus far this year, and with another $50,000 in purse money in this week's rematch his totals can easily increase.

Race seven, the Open Pace, has the same $50,000 on the line and Guantanamo Bay will have the skyrocketing talent Scott Zeron in the bike from post seven in this handicapped event. With Zeron deciding to stick around the Hilltop Oval, he has joined the ranks of the talented field of reinsmen that are surely among the best in the game currently racing today. That talented group will be further enhanced when “the White Knight” and latest Hall of Famer, Brian Sears, again joins the local driving colony. In the meantime, Zeron has risen to second place in the ranking behind perennial driving champ Jason Bartlett.

Joining the group of equine stars is a freshened-up Levy winner, Bit of a Legend N who is burdened with post eight. ‘The Legend’ has been given a well-deserved rest since last Nov. and comes into the contest off a respectable third place finish in his qualifier. With over $700,000 in his 2016 bank account he is certainly to be reckoned with.

The Dover Downs invader, Soto, who has three wins in five seasonal starts, picks up another Yonkers talent in Matt Kakaley and figures to be a factor. Also deserving serious consideration are Caviart Luca, who has been knocking at the door for Ron Burke, and Matias Ruiz's, Sports Bettor, who has drawn inside from last week's post seven.

The races can be seen live on Post time is the usual 7:10 p.m. and if you have an Empire City Bets online wagering account there are rebates as high as 8 percent. See for details.
These have been good battles---the same horses have been battling each other for the last several weeks; the classic overnight stakes program.  

And, next Sunday, the matinee returns with several trots being contested at 1 1/4 miles.  Yonkers has been simulcasting the Sunday races to Europe, France in particular.  The overall handle has increased with some races seeing over $100,000 in handle.  There is definitely more strategy with the 1 1/4 mile distance and this will be the distance when the International Trot returns to YR in October.  Last year, Resolve set a world record of 2:23 and change for a half-mile track when he won the IT for America.  

Two good ones at Buffalo Raceway tonight as well.  The $8,600 race features a solid field of eight and the $10,000 race has a field of 7.  Last Saturday, Knocking Around scored in this race, but has to do it this week from the 7-hole.  

Tomorrow is opening day at Saratoga Raceway with seven runners competing in the $12,000 Open Handicap.  Post time for this race is 2:15 pm with overall post time set for 12:15 pm.
Some of the early results:

Gait: Pace Purse: $26,000
Time-27.3; 57.0; 1:25.2; 1:53.3
6-VALIDUS DEO (Daniel Dube) 99.50 19.60 9.60
4-CHEVALS CLIVESDALE (Mark MacDonald) 6.20 5.70
7-LETTUCEROCKTHEM A (Jordan Stratton) 10.40
EXACTA (6-4 $803.00)
TRIPLE (6-4-all $588.00)

Gait: Trot Purse: $18,000
Time-28.1; 58.1; 1:27.1; 1:56.3
4-AGGRESSIVE (Mark MacDonald) 24.40 9.20 5.50
1-SHOWMEYOURGUNS (Jordan Stratton) 4.70 2.80
3-PRIDECREST (George Brennan) 4.10
EXACTA (4-1 $113.50)
TRIPLE (4-1-3 $444.00)
DAILY DOUBLE (6-4 $1251.00)

Gait: Trot Purse: $22,000
Time-28.4; 58.3; 1:27.2; 1:55.2
5-BUEN CAMINO (Jordan Stratton) 7.60 4.10 3.50
4-J A T O (George Brennan) 4.70 2.90
1-GET TO DOIN IT (Mark MacDonald) 4.20
EXACTA (5-4 $35.00)
TRIPLE (5-4-1 $121.50)
SUPERFECTA (5-4-1-2 $205.00)

Gait: Pace Purse: $26,000
Time-27.4; 57.0; 1:25.0; 1:53.1
3-POLAK A (Jordan Stratton) 5.50 2.80 2.60
5-THE LUNCH PAIL (Scott Zeron) 8.00 5.70
1-DEETZY (Jason Bartlett) 3.90
EXACTA (3-5 $50.50)
TRIPLE (3-5-1 $236.00)
PICK 3 (4-5-3 $168.50)

Gait: Pace Purse: $30,000
Time-28.2; 57.1; 1:25.1; 1:52.3
2-PROVOCATIVEPRINCEN (Jordan Stratton) 3.60 2.50 2.30
3-VEGAS VACATION (Jason Bartlett) 2.90 2.70
6-ROCKIN RON (George Brennan) 4.30
EXACTA (2-3 $7.20)
TRIPLE (2-3-6 $35.40)

Gait: Trot Purse: $50,000
Time-28.3; 58.0; 1:27.1; 1:56.0
5-ROCK OF CASHEL (Scott Zeron) 13.20 6.60 3.80
4-SPRINGBANK SAM N (Jordan Stratton) 3.30 2.80
1-DOT DOT DOT DASH (Stephen Smith) 4.40
EXACTA (5-4 $48.00)
TRIPLE (5-4-1 $124.00)
PICK 3 (3-2-5 $219.50)
PICK 4 (5-3-2-5 $1280.00)
Gait: Pace Purse: $50,000
Time-27.3; 57.3; 1:25.0; 1:52.2
5-CAVIART LUCA (George Brennan) 6.30 3.80 3.30
2-SPORTS BETTOR (Brent Holland) 8.50 4.60
8-BIT OF A LEGEND N (Jordan Stratton) 7.60
EXACTA (5-2 $40.40)
TRIPLE (5-2-8 $664.00)

Gait: Trot Purse: $26,000
Time-29.2; 58.2; 1:27.1; 1:55.4
4-BENTLEY SPUR (Jason Bartlett) 4.60 3.90 2.60
1-WATKINS (Mark MacDonald) 4.60 3.70
2-KELSEY'S KEEPSAKE (Matthew Kakaley) 2.30
EXACTA (4-1 $19.40)
TRIPLE (4-1-2 $62.00)
SUPERFECTA (4-1-2-6 $308.00)
PICK 4 (2-5-5-4 $1580.00)
Gait: Trot Purse: $39,000
Time-28.4; 59.0; 1:27.2; 1:56.0
3-LUCK O THE IRISH (Jordan Stratton) 37.60 9.40 3.90
2-HEMI SEELSTER (Jason Bartlett) 4.60 2.80
4-NOT AFRAID (Daniel Dube) 2.20
EXACTA (3-2 $74.50)
TRIPLE (3-2-4 $207.00)

Gait: Pace Purse: $39,000
Time-27.2; 56.2; 1:24.4; 1:52.0
6-BLOOD BROTHER (Jason Bartlett) 5.90 3.50 3.30
7-BADIOU HANOVER (Brent Holland) 26.40 9.90
5-MAKE SOME LUCK (Daniel Dube) 3.40
EXACTA (6-7 $162.50)
TRIPLE (6-7-5 $946.00)
SUPERFECTA (6-7-5-1 $8646.00)
LATE DOUBLE (3-6 $80.00)
PICK 3 (4-3-6 $472.50)
 Comment: no winners
 Carryover: $2,310.27

Total Handle: $476,803
The #6 in the first race paid $99.50 to win!! That's a good way to start the day if you had him in the first.

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