The global Standardbred community is abuzz with anticipation as Yonkers Raceway prepares to host the prestigious $1,000,000 MGM Yonkers International Trot this Saturday afternoon. This invitation-only event takes center stage on an 11-race card offering a staggering $3.3 million in purses. Additionally, the card features the New York Sire Stakes championships for 2- and 3-year-olds, promising a day of thrilling harness racing action.
Ten seasoned trotters hailing from different corners of the world will converge at the iconic Yonkers Raceway, capturing the attention of horse racing enthusiasts worldwide. When the post positions were drawn, French sensation Etonnant secured the advantageous two-hole and was promptly anointed as the 3-1 morning-line favorite in this mile-and-a-quarter showdown.
However, Etonnant’s owner and trainer, Richard Westerink, voiced his concerns about the race’s early tempo, especially considering the initial stretch of the track. “But the only horse I’m really scared of is Etonnant and what he will do,” Westerink admitted.
Etonnant has been training well, despite some weight loss due to the prevailing heat in France and the United States. The 9-year-old son of Timoko stands to claim the elusive trophy this year after an unfortunate break during the same event last year.
The United States is eager to reclaim its glory in the MGM Yonkers International Trot, with It’s Academic (7-2, post three) representing the nation’s hopes. A win on Saturday would propel this 6-year-old trotter’s career earnings past $2 million. It’s Academic’s most recent outing saw him set the pace in the Maple Leaf Trot at Woodbine Mohawk Park, narrowly succumbing to the unbeaten Alrajah One.
Vivid Wise As, a 9-year-old son of Yankee Glide, drew the coveted one-hole starting position. Therefore, he poses a significant threat with his 34 wins in 85 career races and a bankroll exceeding $3 million.
Another European contender making waves is Hierro Boko, who has doubled his earnings in 2023, amassing $295,320 at the age of 9. Trainer and driver Hannu Korpi believes his horse’s ability to adapt and the familiarity of his routine have positioned Hierro Boko as a formidable opponent.
Off to the races
The race, scheduled as the seventh event of the day with a post time of 3:00 PM (EDT), promises to deliver heart-pounding action and possibly a historic win. As the world watches, Yonkers Raceway prepares to make history in this extraordinary display of international harness racing talent.