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Higher purses means more young horses are heading to Yonkers

Higher purses means more young horses are heading to Yonkers
Tuesday, July 21, 2015 - from the SOA of New York

Yonkers, NY --- Hall of Fame trainer Chuck Sylvester is a name familiar to everyone in the sport of harness racing. The four-time Hambletonian winner excels at developing young trotters. Sylvester will once again have some of his young trotters on display at Yonkers Raceway this Tuesday afternoon (July 21). The 3-year-old trotting colt Talbot Hercules leaves from post four in race five and the 3-year-old trotting filly A List Lindy leaves from post four in race 10.

But the lure isn't a New York Sire Stakes event; it's the increased purses that have been implemented at the Hilltop oval for horses that are non-winners of two, four and six pari-mutuel races. Beginning in July, Yonkers significantly raised purses for younger horses. The new purse levels mean the non-winners of two class races for $20,000 each week, the non-winners of four races for $25,000 and the non-winners of six races for $30,000.

Grand Circuit horsemen that might not routinely race at Yonkers took immediate notice of the purse increases and of those Sylvester and Frank Antonacci picked up their first wins of the season at Yonkers during the inaugural week the increased purse levels were implemented.

The recently concluded USTA summit on finding ways to increase breeding and attract new racehorse owners unanimously supported what Yonkers had already put in place: directing more purse funds to younger horses. The thought being that yearling buyers need an attractive place to race horses that donít end up being stakes winners.

On the Tuesday afternoon card at Yonkers Raceway, eight of the 12 races are comprised of these newly elevated non-winners of two, non-winners of four and non-winners of six classes.

There have also been other recent changes on the Yonkers Raceway condition sheet. The Yonkers race office incorporated some recommendations from the SOA of NY membership for more high priced claiming races. With the approval of Yonkers GM Bob Galterio, the Yonkers race office carded and filled $40,000, $50,000 and $75,000 claiming races this past week, which provide a new dynamic to the weekend cards.

The next major change coming to Yonkers will be the return of the finish line to its more traditional half-mile location. If approval can be received from the New York Gaming Commission soon, the change could be implemented prior to the $1 million International Trot on Oct. 10.

Interest in the International Trot continues to grow, with inquiries coming in from New Zealand, Canada, Finland, Belgium and other parts of Europe. Some invitations for the International Trot should begin to be extended in the not too distant future.

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