By John Cirillo
There was no “Fountain of Youth” elixir for 90-year-old trainer Carl Dobkowski and his 14-year-old pacer Sakra Fella in last night’s (January 28) first race at Yonkers Raceway. Where was Ponce de Leon when you needed him?
The duo had scored the major upset of the season last Tuesday (January 19) over the historic Empire City Casino half mile oval, when Sakra and the ageless conditioner teamed for a $66.50 payoff with “youngster” Scott Zeron (26-years old) in the bike. But it was a different story last night when Sakra, saddled with post position seven, sat seventh the entire mile and was unable to mount a closing kick to gain on the leaders.
In a blanket finish that took a magnifying glass to separate ‘em, Babinga Wood and driver Dan Dube won the bob over Late Night Fight (Eric Carlson), pacesetter Hot Roddy (Jason Bartlett) and WishForABeachHouse (George Brennan), a nose-nose-and-neck separated the foursome. Moderate fractions of 27:4, :58, 1:26:4 and 1:55:2, plus the outside post doomed the “Old Timers.”
February 20 marks Dobkowski’s 91st birthday, and the ageless conditioner will try again for an early celebration.
More on Dobkowski: Born in Greenpoint, Brooklyn…Lives in Stormville, NY (East Fishkill/Dutchess County) after residing in nearby Hopewell Junction for many years…was harness driver for 35 years prior to training only…Sakra Fella comprises his one-horse stable…
More on Sakra Fella: Gelded son of Pacific Fella…scored by three-quarters of a length over the 2-5 favored Arthur in last week’s upset win, timed in 1:58 for the mile…is now 2-for-4 in his final year of racing after going winless the past two seasons…Fourteen is the mandatory retirement age for a harness racehorse…Sakra hadn’t won more than two races in a year since 1978…veteran warrior has been racing since 2005, a year prior to Yonkers Raceway’s Empire City Casino slot machine era, which began in 2006…last week’s win was his 20th in his 180th career start, good for $298,902 in lifetime earnings.