(Yonkers, NY)—The $1-Million Yonkers International Trot at Empire City Casino will be contested on Saturday afternoon,October 13, at Yonkers Raceway when 10 of the world’s elite trotters converge on the historic harness oval for the 40th edition of the 1¼- mile global classic. It will be the fourth straight year that the purse is the richest in the history of New York State harness racing, since Empire City president and CEO, Timothy J. Rooney, brought back the International in 2015 after a 20-year hiatus.
The 2018 Yonkers International Trot has attracted the world’s best from seven countries: Canada, Italy, and Sweden with two entrants apiece, and the United States, Norway, Denmark, and France with single entrants.
First post time is at 1:00 p.m., and post time for the Yonkers International is at 3:40 p.m. for the spectacular card that also includes a pair of $250,000 Invitational races: the Harry Harvey Trot [10 starters, 1¼ miles, post time 2:40 p.m.] and the Dan Rooney Pace[8 starters, 1 mile, post time 3:10 p.m.].
The hopes of the U.S.A. rest on the shoulders of the only mare in the race, Ariana G., as she tries to become the ninth lady in history to accomplish the feat. Delmonica Hanover, Une de Mai and Roquepine each won a pair, and Classical Way, Armbro Flight, Fresh Yankee, Kit Lobell, and Peace Corps round out the exclusive distaff octet.
Ariana G. has 26 career victories in 37 starts, good for a 70 % win percentage. Owned by Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld, the homebred daughter of Muscle Hill comes off a track-record (1:52.1) effort in the Dayton Trotting Derby, beating the boys, on September 27th with catch-driver Brian Sears in the bike for trainer Jimmy Takter. It was her fifth win in 11 seasonal starts to boost her career earnings to a lofty $2,367,709.
New England-born trainer Jerry Riordan, now an expatriate racing out of Sweden by way of Italy, will attempt a rare feat as he tries to win back-to-back Internationals with a different horse. Riordan conditioned last year’s champ, the Italian Whirlwind Twister Bi, and will trigger the highly-regarded Ringostarr Treb postward this year. In 1978 and 1979, the immortal Billy Haughton trained back-to-back United States flag-carriers in Cold Comfort and Doublemint, both driven by his son Peter. Ironically the senior Haughton, one of the sport’s great sulky stars, never drove an International winner. A decade prior, Frenchman Jean-Rene Gougeon trained and reined consecutive International champs in the aforementioned French mares Roquepine and Une De Mai in 1968 and 1969, respectively. Ringostarr won both his elimination and the final of the prestigious Elitloppet at Solvalla Racecourse in Sweden earlier this year, the time for the final was a flashy 1:51. Ringostarr Treb has 30 wins in 85 career starts.
Canada’s Marion Marauder returns seeking International glory after a second-place finish last year. Now a five-year-old, Marion Marauder won the Yonkers Trot at Yonkers as a three-year-old en route to the Trotting Triple Crown, so he has an affinity for the sharp turns of the half-mile oval.
The five-year-old son of Muscle Hill is Canada-driven with Scott Zeron in the sulky, Canada co-owned (Marion Wellwood and grandson Devin Keeling) and Canada co-trained (Devin’s parents, Mike Keeling and Paula Wellwood, with Paula listed as stateside trainer).
Marion Marauder has made his $3,080,380 in only 48 career starts (20 wins, 15 seconds, 5 thirds), with six of those wins and four seconds this season ($544,680). His Yonkers resume reads three wins—including the 2016 Yonkers Trot en route to the Trotting Triple Crown—and a pair of seconds in five starts.
The field for the $1-Million Yonkers International Trot at Empire City Casino includes:
Arazi Boko (Italy)
Ariana G (United States)
Cruzado Dela Noche (Sweden)
Marion Marauder (Canada)
Pastore Bob (Sweden)
Ringostarr Treb (Italy)
Slide So Easy (Denmark)
Up and Quick (France)
Will Take Charge (Canada)
International History: The International Trot was launched in 1959 at now-defunct Roosevelt Raceway with the artichoke-eating French standout Jamin capturing the premiere. Tim Rooney brought the race to his historic half-mile oval in Westchester as host site in 1988 with the closing of Roosevelt, with that edition taken by the U.S.A.’s Mack Lobell. In 2015, the 37th edition of the Yonkers International Trot marked the revitalization of the worldwide showcase after a 20-year absence, thanks again to Rooney’s efforts. Papagayo E. became Norway’s first International winner in taking the return. Yonkers’ famous harness oval had last hosted the spectacle in 1995, when it was captured by Sweden’s His Majesty.
The powerful, French flag-carrier Ideal du Gazeau, with his white blaze and an amazing burst of speed, was the only three-time International champion under the reins of Eugene Lefevre. Holding his head high in a unique and exciting trotting style, Ideal du Gazeau pulled off the Pat Riley-esque “three-peat” consecutively in 1981, ’82 and ’83, after finishing second to the American mareClassical Way (John Simpson, Jr.) in his debut in 1980.
Race Day Festivities:
The Trackside Beer Garden features 16 specialty craft beers and international concessions such as beer bratwurst and Bavarian pretzels. Food & drink tickets are available for purchase at the event, starting at 10 tickets for $10, with a beer sampling wristband available for $50, plus tax. For guests looking for a more traditional racing experience, the Empire Terrace restaurant, which overlooks the racetrack, will also be open starting at 12:00 p.m. with an a la carte menu available (reservations are encouraged: 914-968-4200 ext. 649.)
· Throughout the event, enjoy a trackside performance by, the New Jersey-based Rock & Roll fun-omenon band, presented by iHeartRadio. Q104.3, New York’s Classic Rock radio station, will also be on-site with giveaways and promotions.
· Before the horses take off, Empire Club Members should be sure to visit a Promotions Booth between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. to receive one free paper entry for the International Trot Cash Giveaway, featuring over $10,000 in cash prizes. Additionally, the first 4,000 Empire Club Members to visit a Promotions Booth will receive a free commemorative International Trot hat. Guests can become a member of the free Empire Club by visiting any Promotions Booth on the casino floor.
The 2018 Yonkers International Trot is free to attend and open to all ages. For additional information on each of the participating horses, visit