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Sapphire City, Count Me In win Saturday co-features at Yonkers

Sapphire City, Count Me In win Saturday co-features at Yonkers
Saturday, January 31, 2015 - by Frank Drucker, publicity director, Empire City at Yonkers Raceway

Yonkers, NY --- Sapphire City (Eric Carlson, $18.20) and Count Me In (George Brennan, $4.80) divided Yonkers Raceway's Saturday night (Jan. 31) glory, winning the co-featured $35,000 Open Handicaps.

Sapphire City won the Open Handicap Pace in 1:55.1.

Sapphire City annexed the Open Handicap Pace in rallying fashion. Working out a second-over trip from post position No. 6, he was chasing 4-5 choice Doctor Butch (Brian Sears). That one had to wait his turn before making the front (:28.2, :58.1), getting around second choice Mickey Hanover (Dan Dube).

Sapphire City, towed in behind Classic Gent (Stephane Bouchard), was able to slip to the cones when Mickey Hanover dropped anchor before a 1:27 three-quarters.

Doctor Butch owned a short lead into the lane, but was in trouble from both sides. Sapphire City ducked inside, getting the jump on a from-last Take It Back Terry (Brennan). The former whipped the latter by a half-length in 1:55.1. Doctor Butch faded to third, with Flem N Em N (Jason Bartlett) and Classic Gent rounding out the payees.

For fourth choice Sapphire City, a 7-year-old Metropolitan gelding trained by Paul Blumenfeld for co-owners Centaur Stable and Jordan Sklut, it was his first win in four seasonal starts. The exacta paid $108, with the triple returning $334.50.

Sean Hamrock photos

Count Me In was a front end winner in 1:56 in the top trot.
Second choice Count Me In left nothing to chance in the week's marquee trot, going the distance from post No. 3 in equal halves (:27.3, :58, 1:26.4, 1:56).

With pole-assigned In Nomine Patri (Jim Marshall III) doing just enough to keep the pocket, two-time defending champ Not Afraid (Dube) was wrangled back in third.

The 4-5 fave saw Count Me In widen down the backside, taking a four length lead in and out of the final turn. Count Me In was a safe winner, holding off Not Afraid by a never-threatened half-length. In Nomine Patri, Murmur Hanover (Pat Lachance) and Dancehall Mistress (Sears) settled for the remainder.

Count Me In, a 6-year-old Full Count gelding co-owned (as Burke Racing) by trainer Ron Burke, Weaver Bruscemi, M1 Stable and Michelle Yanek, is now three-for-four this season. The exacta paid $10.80, the triple returned $36.60 and the superfecta paid $109.50.

The Raceway's live season continues (weather permitting) Monday (7:10 p.m.), then Tuesday (1 p.m.) and Thursday through Saturday (all at 7:10 p.m.).

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