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The first leg saw Stratton win both Yonkers' races on March 20, one in a dead-heat with Yonkers captain Jason Bartlett. The locals won the opening round, 85 points to 47 (points awarded as 17/12/9/7/6/5/4/3/2/1, with five given in the event of a scratch).

In addition to Bartlett and Stratton, Tyler Buter, Dan Dube and Pat Lachance are representing Westchester against a potent French quintet of Pierre Vercruysse (captain), Matthieu Abrivard, Nicolas Ensch, Pierre Levesque and Franck Ouvrie.

"I've driven at Vincennes before (in the World Driving Championship), and the track is great, "Bartlett said. "It's an honor to represent both Yonkers and the U.S."

As for Stratton, he's keeping his eyes on the prize. "I have to make sure to bring a suitcase big enough to carry home the trophy," he said.

Recap of Opening Leg

The two-nation competition began on Empire City Casino's historic half mile in a pair of 1 1/4 mile trotting races which were simulcast to the French-hubbed audience.

In the first or two divisions raced at 1 1/4 miles with 10 starters, Stratton, driving 23-1 longshot Lily's Swan Pond, stormed down the stretch to finish in a dead heat for the win with his Yonkers mate Bartlett, handling the even money favorite Hasty Profitt. HeadsAreGonna Turn, with Tyler Buter in the bike, was just a neck back in third, giving the Yonkers contingent a sweep of the first three spots in the competition. The race was timed in 2:31:2.
In the second division, Stratton gave the French a "kiss it goodbye" drive soaring to a seven and a quarter length win behind Cousin Eddie ($7.40). Appropriately named Paris Princess N, with Frenchman Pierre Levesque in the sulky, was second. "Eddie," winning his sixth Race in eight starts this season, stopped the clock in 2:29:4. Massive Talent with Yonkers' Dan Dube driving was third.

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