07/08/2012 8:57AM

Yonkers: Archangel scores upset in Yonkers Trot


You could tell from the start of the $445,594 Yonkers Trot that the race was not going to be a walkover. Heavily favored Googoo Gaagaa had given Yonkers management the chills when he drew the rail, leading them to cancel all but win wagering on the first leg of trotting’s Triple Crown.

But Jim Morrill Jr., driving New York’s finest, Archangel, wasn’t conceding anything on the first turn. Morrill’s heads-up drive put his horse on the lead coming off the opening bend, a lead he would never relinquish.

With five wins in six starts this year, all in New York, Archangel had carved out a nice resume, but he had not faced open company and had never gone up against Googoo Gaagaa, the 1-5 favorite, who was entering the race off consecutive world-record performances in the Beal at Mohegan Sun at Pocono. So when Googoo Gaagaa’s driver, Corey Callahan, didn’t immediately retake control at the 27 4/5-second quarter, there was a sense this was not going to be a routine race.

That sense intensified on the second turn, when Googoo Gaagaa made a break in stride. Suddenly, Morrill and his charge had the lead and were at the half in good shape but still trotting strongly to the tune of 56 4/5. The cagey veteran driver didn’t allow Googoo Gaagaa to get into the race by relaxing the pace, instead he accelerated the third quarter, with Archangel holding a clear lead over Stormin Normand through a 1:25 1/5 clocking.

Googoo Gaagaa had regained ground and was in striking position heading into the final turn behind Market Share, but again the paddock turn was his downfall as he broke stride in almost the same spot he had the first time around.

That left Archangel with a clear lead, and the near 5-1 shot cruised to the wire 1 1/2 lengths in front of Stormin Normand. Market Share held third, with Googoo Gaagaa, defeated for on the second time in his career, finishing fourth.

The mile of 1:54 1/5 was a world record for the son of Credit Winner, who unlike the favorite, is eligible for the Hambletonian on Aug. 4 at the Meadowlands.

Callahan admitted following the race that he was trying to retake the lead.

“I was going to move him to the front after the second turn,” Callahan said.

Unfortunately, Googoo Gaagaa broke stride before Callahan could move him.

Alan Hainsworth, Clare Semer, and trainer Peter Arrigenna share ownership in Archangel who finished second to eventual Breeders Crown champion Uncle Peter last year at Woodbine in the Breeders Crown eliminations in his only venture outside New York.

Uncle Peter was an easy 1:52 3/5 winner for trainer Jimmy Takter at Pocono on Saturday and will likely meet Googoo Gaagaa and others in Saturday’s Stanley Dancer Memorial at the Meadowlands.

Check Me Out and driver Ray Schnittker cruised around the Yonkers oval to capture the $185,194 Hudson Filly Trot in 1:56 1/5, defeating stablemate Real Babe by three-quarters of a length in the three-filly nonwagering event. Check Me Out is eligible to the Delvin Miller Memorial Saturday at the Meadowlands and could meet up with rival Win Missy B, who captured a Reynolds division Friday night at the Meadowlands in 1:52 4/5.