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With a guaranteed $500,000 final purse, Yonkers Raceway's signature trotting event begins with a game of musical chairs, as in one, $40,000 elimination this Saturday night (Aug. 27). to determine the eight finalists.

The final is next Saturday night (Sept. 3).

The entrants, alphabetically, are...Celebrity Express, Cufflink Hanover (gelding), Gleaming Memory, Hititoutofthepark (ridgling), Iron Mine Bucky, Lagerfeld, Marion Marauder, Smalltownthrowdown and Steed (gelding).

Marion Marauder, a Muscle Hill colt, enters with six wins a second in eight seasonal starts ($854,905). He had won five consecutive starts-included the elimination and $1 million final of the Hambletonian-before a first-up second in last weekend's Colonial at Pocono.

Paula Wellwood trains, keeping it in the family for co-owners Marion Wellwood and Devin Keeling. Scott Zeron again does the driving.

As a carrot at the end of a Yonkers Trot stick, the winner also gets a Yonkers International Trot invitation for that million-dollar event, set for Saturday afternoon, Oct. 15th.

The 61st Messenger Stakes, second leg of the Pacing Triple Crown, also goes for its 500-large guaranteed final. Racing Hill leads eight in a 'one-dash-for-the-cash" event, also set for Saturday, Sept. 3.

Racing Hill, the career seven-figure son of Roll with Joe, has been consistent to a fault this season, hitting the board (four wins, five seconds, one third) in 10 tries. He won the $500,000 Hempt Memorial (Pocono), while the victory in the $400,000 Adios (Meadows) was sandwiched around second-placed efforts in the Meadowlands Pace and the Battle of the Brandywine (also at Pocono).

Tony Alagna trains the Tom hill homebred, who is making his small-track debut.

The Messenger entrants, again alphabetically, are...Another Daily Copy, Don'tcallmefrancis (gelding), Dr. J. Hanover, Fernando Hanover (gelding), Manny, Racing Hill, Stonebridge Beach and Western Fame.

This Saturday programs also features a pair of events for 3-year-old fillies, the $118,574 Hudson Trot and $109,050 Lady Maud Pace (3YO fillies).

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