by Ken Weingartner
Photo by Geri Schwarz
Smalltownthrowdown is ready for a small-track showdown.
The Dan Daley-trained 3-year-old is among nine horses entered in Saturday’s (Aug. 27) $40,000 Yonkers Trot elimination at Yonkers Raceway. The gelding has raced four times this season on half-mile tracks, such as Yonkers, and won three. He heads to the elimination off back-to-back victories on half-mile ovals in New York Sire Stakes action.
Smalltownthrowdown will start the elimination from post two with Daley driving and is 9-2 on the morning line, the third choice behind Hambletonian winner Marion Marauder at 5-2 and Lagerfeld at 4-1. The top eight finishers advance tothe $500,000 Yonkers Trot final Sept. 3 at Yonkers.
The winner of the Yonkers Trot, which follows the Hambletonian as the second jewel in the Trotting Triple Crown, will receive an invitation to the $1 million Yonkers International Trot on Oct. 15.
“His game is a half-mile track,” said Daley, who trains Smalltownthrowdown for wife Ann-Mari, James Crawford IV, Donald Brenner, and Richard Lombardo. “He seems to trot that (size) track as good as anywhere. A big track doesn’t really pick him up.
“To step up against these horses, I don’t know. But he’s been super sharp, so we figured we’d take a shot.”
Smalltownthrowdown, his name inspired by a country song, is a son of stallion Cash Hall out of the mare Ann’s Promise. He was purchased for $21,000 at the 2014 SUNY Morrisville Sale under the name Branchport. His half-sister Annies List was a multiple winner on the New York Sire Stakes circuit and earned $260,083 lifetime.
“He was my favorite pick at Morrisville,” Daley said. “He’s a Cash Hall. Not many are high on them, but I’ve been lucky with them. He just had a great look. I knew his sister was a really good filly the year before.”
Smalltownthrowdown was winless in his first eight races last year, although he hit the board six times including a second-place finish in the New York Sire Stakes championship at Yonkers. He then won back-to-back races, including the Simpson Memorial Stakes at Vernon Downs, to finish the season.
This year, the gelding has won five of 12 races and pushed his career earnings to $278,760. He won in a career-best 1:54.4 on Aug. 9 at Saratoga in a division of the New York Sire Stakes and followed up with a 1:56.2 triumph in the NYSS at Monticello on Monday.
“It took him a little while to learn to be controllable and do everything right, but he’s turned out to be a nice horse,” Daley said. “He was really sharp at Monticello, so we put him in here and hope we can get some money.”
The field for the Yonkers Trot elimination, in post order, is Iron Mine Bucky, Smalltownthrowdown, Marion Marauder, Lagerfeld, Steed, Cufflink Hanover, Celebrity Express, Hititoutofthepark, and trailer Gleaming Memory.
Marion Marauder, trained by Paula Wellwood, is bidding to add the second jewel in the Trotting Triple Crown to his list of accomplishments. The third jewel, the Kentucky Futurity, is Oct. 9 at Lexington’s Red Mile, but Marion Marauder is not eligible to the event. Supplemental entries, though, are permitted.
There have been eight trotters to complete the Triple Crown sweep. The most recent wasGlidemaster in 2006.
Below are the post positions:
1. Iron Mine Bucky-George Dennis-Greg Haverstick-7/1
2. Smalltownthrowdown-Dan Daley-Dan Daley-9/2
3. Marion Marauder-Scott Zeron-Paula Wellwood-5/2
4. Lagerfeld-Mark MacDonald-Jimmy Takter-4/1
5. Steed-Brian Sears-Richard Johnson-15/1
6. Cufflink Hanover-Jason Bartlett-Chris Oakes-5/1
7. Celebrity Express-John Campbell-Staffan Lind-20/1
8. Hititoutofthepark-Corey Callahan-John Butenschoen-12/1
9. Gleaming Memory-Ake Svanstedt-Thomas Milici-15/1
Saturday’s card at Yonkers also includes the $118,574 Hudson Trot for 3-year-old fillies, which finds Staffan Lind’s Celebrity Eventsy as the 3-2 morning line favorite, and the $109,050 Lady Maud for 3-year-old female pacers, where Newborn Sassy is the even-money choice.