by Garnet Barnsdale
There was a bit of a social media buzz Friday night following Race 8 at Yonkers when viewers noticed a tractor on the track during the stretch drive in which the field was fanned out at the wire.
The tractor, which could be seen on the outer section of the track as the field came down the stretch, did not affect the finish or — more importantly — any of the horses and drivers, but for sure it wasn’t something you see often. The incident was brought to my attention by my friend Mike Williscraft who posted on my Facebook timeline: “Did I just see that? Garnet Barnsdale, 8th race at Yonkers, fanned five-wide coming home in the mile-and-1/16th dash…it’s Shezallapples, nosing out the John Deere tractor that was six-wide, out dragging the track while the race was on. Can’t say I’ve seen that before…”
Indeed, Sheallapples A — a six-year-old Sportswriter mare out of the Fake Left mare Apple Sorbet — driven by Eric Goodell, powered up 5-wide in an exciting stretch drive to nail Mach It Par by a head. It was another head back to Scandalicious and Jag Out who dead-heated for third. That duo just nosed out Lifetime Trust, who was beaten a charted neck by the race winner in finishing fifth. It was a thriller made just a bit more interesting by the presence of the green tractor.
Tweeter Nathan Rheinheimer had some fun with it posting a picture of the bunched field passing the tractor with the tweet: “How do you improve the product at Yonkers?… Obstacles.”
The silver lining here is the consistent professionalism of the standardbred breed and the drivers who all acted as if there was nothing unusual happening. The horses have seen and passed tractors on the racetrack before and they just went about their business of fighting to the finish of a very exciting race.
No harm, no foul as they say, but it made a few people watching the race from Yonkers do a double take.