So Much for Diplomacy: Stratton leads Yonkers Drivers to Sweep over Frenchmen

By John Cirillo

Yonkers Raceway-based harness driver Jordan Stratton knows quite a bit about winning races with over 2,000 career victories, but his understanding of diplomacy with France, not so much. The 29-year-old sulky star was in the winner’s circle twice this afternoon to give a Yonkers quintet of drivers a commanding lead over five French counterparts in the inaugural Yonkers vs. France Drivers Cup challenge.

STRATTON 1 FRENCH WINNERS CIRCLE.jpg

Stratton, pictured beaming in winners’ circle, led Yonkers sweep

In the first or two divisions raced at 1 ¼ 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 teammate and captain Jason Bartlett, handling the even money favorite Hasty Profitt.

STRATTON, BARTLETT DEAD HEAT.JPG

Stratton (4) storms down center of track to nail dead heat win with Bartlett (2); Buter (7) finished fast on rail for 3rd, completing sweep.

 

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.

BARTLETT SHARED WIN WITH STRATTON.jpg

Bartlett paired with Hasty Profitt for Yonkers sweep

In the second division, Stratton said “au revoir” to the competition from France, not to mention his Yonkers mates, when Cousin Eddie ($7.40) waltzed to a seven and a quarter length victory over the appropriately named Paris Princess N, with Frenchman Pierre Levesque in the sulky. Cousin 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.

STRATTON FRENCH 2 FAST EDDIE WINS.jpg

Air Jordan: Stratton flies to sweep with rousing win behind Cousin Eddie

The final team totals were 85 points for Yonkers (45 + 40), and 47 for France (26 + 21).The point system for one through 10 finishers is as follows: 17/12/9/7/6/5/4/3/2/1.

The two-nation competition, which began today at Empire City Casino’s historic half mile oval, will wrap up with the second round at Vincennes in Paris, France, one race each on Friday, June 24, and Sunday, June 26.

BARTLETT, STRATTON SWEEP FRENCH.JPG

Double J: Jordan (right) and Jason cooked French toast

The Drivers’ Cup line-ups: Yonkers Raceway: Jason Bartlett (captain), Tyler Buter, Dan Dube, Pat Lachance and Jordan Stratton.

YONKERS QUINTET VS. FRANCE.jpg

Proud Yonkers quintet defended home turf

France:Pierre Vercruysse (captain), Matthieu Abrivard, Nicolas Ensch, Pierre Levesque and Franck Ouvrie.

YONKERS FIVE VS. FRANCE

French connection will try to make amends in Paris replay

The competition was developed due to the success of the French-hubbed simulcasting from Yonkers, which has been a big hit in European countries since it was launched in November of 2014. Over $34 million has been wagered on the all-trot-race afternoon cards from Yonkers since the inception.

Stratton threw down the gauntlet for the locals, earning a share of the win in the $18,800 first event before easily winning the second event, raced for a purse of $16,400, with Cousin Eddie.

It was just an honor for me to be asked to participate,” Stratton said. The first trotter (Lily’s Swan Pond) hung a bit late, but at least was able to get there for the dead-heat. The second one (Cousin Eddie) is just very sharp right now. The French drivers are all pros, but they don’t have the small-track experience.”

FRENCH FLAGS IN DRIVERS CUP.jpg

American and French flags were flying on blustery day

“This is true,” French captain Pierre Vercruysse said. “There are some half-mile tracks in Europe and we do watch (Yonkers) races when they are simulcast to France, so we learned from that.

Vercruysse, who did have an extended stateside stay earlier in his career, was appreciative of this return visit. “Everyone was very well-received.”

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s