October 5, 2018
NY Sports Day
$1 Million Yonkers International Trot at Empire City Casino Set for Saturday afternoon, October 13th
The $1-Million Yonkers International Trot at Empire City Casino will be contested on Saturday afternoon,October 13, at Yonkers Raceway when 10 of the world’s elite trotters converge on the historic harness oval for the 40th edition of the 1¼- mile global classic. It will be the fourth straight year that the purse is the richest in the history of New York State harness racing, since Empire City president and CEO, Timothy J. Rooney, brought back the International in 2015 after a 20-year hiatus.
The 2018 Yonkers International Trot has attracted the world’s best from seven countries: Canada, Italy, and Sweden with two entrants apiece, and the United States, Norway, Denmark, and France with single entrants.
First post time is at 1:00 p.m., and post time for the Yonkers International is at 3:40 p.m. for the spectacular card that also includes a pair of $250,000 Invitational races: the Harry Harvey Trot [10 starters, 1¼ miles, post time 2:40 p.m.] and the Dan Rooney Pace[8 starters, 1 mile, post time 3:10 p.m.].
The hopes of the U.S.A. rest on the shoulders of the only mare in the race, Ariana G., as she tries to become the ninth lady in history to accomplish the feat. Delmonica Hanover, Une de Mai and Roquepine each won a pair, and Classical Way, Armbro Flight, Fresh Yankee, Kit Lobell, and Peace Corps round out the exclusive distaff octet.
Ariana G. has 26 career victories in 37 starts, good for a 70 % win percentage. Owned by Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld, the homebred daughter of Muscle Hill comes off a track-record (1:52.1) effort in the Dayton Trotting Derby, beating the boys, on September 27th with catch-driver Brian Sears in the bike for trainer Jimmy Takter. It was her fifth win in 11 seasonal starts to boost her career earnings to a lofty $2,367,709.
New England-born trainer Jerry Riordan, now an expatriate racing out of Sweden by way of Italy, will attempt a rare feat as he tries to win back-to-back Internationals with a different horse. Riordan conditioned last year’s champ, the Italian Whirlwind Twister Bi, and will trigger the highly-regarded Ringostarr Treb postward this year. In 1978 and 1979, the immortal Billy Haughton trained back-to-back United States flag-carriers in Cold Comfort and Doublemint, both driven by his son Peter. Ironically the senior Haughton, one of the sport’s great sulky stars, never drove an International winner. A decade prior, Frenchman Jean-Rene Gougeon trained and reined consecutive International champs in the aforementioned French mares Roquepine and Une De Mai in 1968 and 1969, respectively. Ringostarr won both his elimination and the final of the prestigious Elitloppet at Solvalla Racecourse in Sweden earlier this year, the time for the final was a flashy 1:51. Ringostarr Treb has 30 wins in 85 career starts.
Canada’s Marion Marauder returns seeking International glory after a second-place finish last year. Now a five-year-old, Marion Marauder won the Yonkers Trot at Yonkers as a three-year-old en route to the Trotting Triple Crown, so he has an affinity for the sharp turns of the half-mile oval.
The five-year-old son of Muscle Hill is Canada-driven with Scott Zeron in the sulky, Canada co-owned (Marion Wellwood and grandson Devin Keeling) and Canada co-trained (Devin’s parents, Mike Keeling and Paula Wellwood, with Paula listed as stateside trainer).
Marion Marauder has made his $3,080,380 in only 48 career starts (20 wins, 15 seconds, 5 thirds), with six of those wins and four seconds this season ($544,680). His Yonkers resume reads three wins—including the 2016 Yonkers Trot en route to the Trotting Triple Crown—and a pair of seconds in five starts.
The field for the $1-Million Yonkers International Trot at Empire City Casino includes:
Arazi Boko (Italy)
Ariana G (United States)
Cruzado Dela Noche (Sweden)
Marion Marauder (Canada)
Pastore Bob (Sweden)
Ringostarr Treb (Italy)
Slide So Easy (Denmark)
Up and Quick (France)
Will Take Charge (Canada)