Ohio-bred Yankee Boots looks to “reach” winner’s circle.
by Jay Wolf
When the field for Saturday night’s $400,000 Carl Milstein Memorial at MGM Northfield Park was announced, many were surprised of the depth and talent in this year’s invitation-only event.
Another surprised person was Steve Carter, the veteran trainer and co-owner of the Ohio-bred Yankee Boots. Despite two straight wins and a solid career, Carter was pleased with the invite.
“I was very surprised to get an invite, but Dave Bianconi (Northfield Park’s executive vice-president of racing/simulcast) was reaching out to get a full field of horses,” said Carter.
Yankee Boots’ invite to the rich event may not be that far of a ‘reach.’ The gelded son of Yankee Cruiser—Boots N Saddles has won 15 of 26 career starts and has earned $227,820 for Peggy Carter, Chuck Grubbs, Joseph Whitacre and trainer Carter.
Last year, Yankee Boots established a new world record for freshman geldings with his 1:51.3 gate-to-wire effort in the $40,000 Buckeye Stallions Series Championship at Northfield Park.
“He broke the world record as a 2-year-old. It’s not like he hasn’t been a good horse pretty much his whole life,” said Carter.
With high hopes for a big 2019, Yankee Boots’ 3-year-old season got off to a rocky start with a last place finish in the $40,000 James Hackett Memorial Final at Miami Valley Raceway on April 20.
“He afibed (atrial fibrillation) due to an electrolyte imbalance. We keep him hydrated more now,” said the Londonderry, OH resident.
Yankee Boots’ recovery was quick as he won his next start on May 4 in the $17,500 opening leg of the Buckeye Stallion Series, a secondary series for Ohio breds.
“We wanted to race him easy because of the afib and we wanted to make sure his was alright,” said Carter, who has conditioned winners of 1,800 races during his 30+ year career.
Yankee Boots is coming into the sixth edition of the Milstein off a pair of wins in a division of the $72,800 Ohio State Fair (Aug. 3) and the third leg of the Ohio Sires Stakes (July 27). He has finished on the board in 9 of 11 starts this year.
“He’s a very consistent horse… He definitely is getting better. We have been working on his feet and that has helped him. He has been kicking in and doing his work more and more and getting faster. He’s turning into a pretty nice horse.”
This year’s field of eight Milstein contestants includes Bettor’s Wish, the winner of the $300,000 Art Rooney Pace and runner-up in the $750,000 North America Cup, the $682,650 Meadowlands Pace and $285,362 Cane Pace. The Chris Ryder trainee has earned $624,544 for the ownership team of Ryder, Bella Racing, Fair Island Farm and the Bettors Wish Partners.
The second choice in the morning-line is Century Farroh. The Ontario-bred has won eight of nine seasonal starts and has earned $293,128 for his 75-year-old owner Dave Ratchford.
The deep field also includes the Adios champion Southwind Ozzi, the Ohio-based Workin Ona Mystery, and New York Sire Stakes points leader American Mercury.
With such a tough field, Carter is realistic about his chances with Yankee Boots, who will be driven by Dan Noble.
“Obviously, he is stepping way up in class and hopefully we can get a check.”
“I started racing at the county fairs and I always said, ‘When I get a good horse they are easier to race against those other good ones.’ Our horse doesn’t have a tremendous amount of gate speed, so I am sure he will be chasing them.”
The Carl Milstein Memorial honors the patriarch who ran Northfield Park from 1984 to 1999. The Milstein family operated the Cleveland suburb oval until July 2018 when MGM Growth Properties purchased the track.
The Milstein undercard includes Ohio Sire Stake action and the $50,000 Myron Charna President’s Pace, a race for 4-year-old and up Ohio-sired pacers, where Sectionline Bigry looks to dethrone the three-time defending Charna champion Dancin Yankee.
The final leg of the $120,000 (div.) OHSS for 3-year-old colt trotters and two $50,000 divisions of Ohio Sires Stakes for 3-year-old filly pacers will also have a prominent spot on the 16-race card. The first post will be 6:00 pm. (Eastern).
The $400,000 Carl Milstein Memorial (Race 10)
Approximate Post Time 9:30 p.m. (Eastern)
PP. Horse (Driver/Trainer) Morning Line Odds
1. Captain Victorious (Yannick Gingras/Ron Burke) 8-1
2. Century Farroh (David Miller/Dr. Ian Moore) 7/2
3. Bettor’s Wish (Dexter Dunn/Chris Ryder) 5/2
4. Yankee Boots (Dan Noble/Steve Carter) 15-1
5. Workin Ona Mystery (Tim Tetrick/Brian Brown) 4-1
6. Rockie Got Framed (Ricky Macomber Jr./Jamie Macomber) 20-1
7. American Mercury (Tyler Buter/Chris Oakes) 12-1
8. Southwind Ozzi (Brian Sears/Bill Mac Kenzie) 9-s2