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Students of history should not have been surprised, as Alagna has come within a dirty nose of winning Yonkers Raceway's second jewel of the Pacing Triple Crown four years in a row.

In 2015, Revenge Shark won a three-horse photo, upsetting in the Messenger at odds of 9-1.

By contrast, in 2016, Racing Hill, in the midst of a $1.5 million season, fooled no one, winning this race at five cents on the dollar.

In 2017, 22-1 Art Scene closed inside, running out of racetrack against another 1-20 winner in Downbytheseaside.

Last season, Stay Hungry outgamed Jimmy Freight in what was essentially a match race.

The Messenger is a race that's very important to us,' Alagna said from Lexington, KY. Obviously, you have to be lucky, but also versatile and quick off the gate.

Of Alagna's barbershop quartet for this season's 64th edition, three advanced to Saturday night's Aug. 31st half million dollar final...though not necessarily the one the trainer figured.

I thought Captain Trevor was our best chance, but he didn't race well, Alagna said. He scoped sick and we're not sure why-maybe the shipping-but that's horse racing. We just move on.

Alagna is moving on with U S Captain (Jason Bartlett, post 4), Waterway (Joe Bongiorno, post 6) and Escapetothebeach (Corey Callahan, post 7).

The trainer opined about the trio.
U S Captain raced very well last week second to Aflame Hanover. It looked to me as if he lost some momentum getting jammed up behind the leader (eventual winner).

“Waterway (third to Aflame Hanover) seemed to be doing his pacing at the wire, which is all you can ask. Last season, he paced in 50 and 1 and won the consolation of the Kentucky Sire Stakes, so we thought he'd come back a bit better, but he gets around Yonkers very well.

Escapetothebeach came first-up againt Bettor's Wish, and that's been the story of his season. He's had some bad posts and bad trips, but I think he's had a really good season.
U S Captain and Waterway both entered the Messenger off local overnight wins, a fact that wasn't lost on Alagna.

We wanted to try them there with the Messenger in mind, Alagna said.

The Messenger goes as the seventh of Yonkers' dozen Saturday races, the card also featuring the 65th Yonkers Trot as the sixth race, $124,334 Hudson Filly Trot (4th race) and $122,224 Lady Maud (5th race).

First post is the usual 6:50 PM.

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