05/24/2014 10:36PM

Yonkers: He's Watching defeated in Rooney elimination

Mike Lizzi
All Bets Off posted the fastest Rooney elimination with a 1:52 3/5 mile.

The undefeated He’s Watching was supposed to be the featured attraction in the $300,000 Art Rooney final on May 31. After his elimination on Saturday (May 24) at Yonkers Raceway, where he finished last in the field of six, fans who backed the David Menary trainee to the tune of 1/9 had to be scratching their heads.

He’s Watching had his troubles from the onset, taking the first turn wide before finally settling down behind pacesetter Stevensville. The latter posted fair fractions of 27 3/5, 56 2/5 and 1:25 1/5 with He’s Watching chasing from the pocket. Coming around the final turn, Stevensville began to pull away from a struggling He’s Watching who appeared very rough-gaited.

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In the stretch, driver Tim Tetrick, who was only at Yonkers for one drive, was simply a passenger as Stevensville opened up with every stride to win by 3 3/4 lengths in 1:53 over Gold Rocks.

Bondi Hanover and Unlocked finished third and fourth earning spots in the final.

Stevensville ($21.60 to win) is trained and co-owned by Ray Schnittker along with Paul Bordogna and Ryan Miller. The 3-year-old colt by Somebeachsomewhere-Wild West Show has won two of his three starts in 2014.

As for He’s Watching, according to driver Jim Morrill, Jr., the formerly 8-for-8 early-season divisional leader was trying to make a break the entire mile and the driver may have shut the colt’s air down while trying to keep him pacing. Menary was planning to scope the horse following the race.

All Bet’s Off recovered some money for the chalk bettors in the final Rooney elimination for 3-year-old pacers. The son of Bettor’s Delight, also sent off at 1-9, took charge early in the mile and never had an anxious moment in an easy 1:52 3/5 stroll around the Yonkers oval.

All Bets Off set fractions of 27 1/5, 56 1/5 and 1:25 1/5 during the mile. Some Playa came uncovered by the three-quarter mark to nab second over the pocket-sitting Ideal Fashion. Thereisapaceforus was far back in fourth but still qualified for the final.

“I called on him off the last turn and pulled the plugs, and he took off like he is supposed to,” said winning driver Matt Kakaley.

All Bets Off is trained by Ron Burke for Burke Racing LLC, Panhellenic Stable, Frank Baldachino and Rosemary Shelswell.

In the first of two $20,000 Lismore eliminations for sophomore filly pacers to eliminate one horse each prior to the $124,744 final, Southwind Silence ($2.90) took charge off the first turn and never looked back. The Ron Burke trainee was guided through fractions of 28, 57 1/5 and 1:26 before stopping the clock in 1:54.

Bettor Business sat the pocket and held second. Palm Beach came uncovered late in the mile for third and It Was Fascination grabbed the last spot in the May 31 final.

The second elimination saw an upset as Also Encouraging, the 2-5 choice, faltered in mid-stretch and faded badly. Tyra assumed the early lead before the opening quarter in 28 3/5 but gave up command approaching the half to the favorite. With the middle fractions on the board in 57 1/5 and 1:26 4/5, longshot Rusty’s Bliss charged at the leader and gained a clear advantage into the stretch. At that point Tyra ($6.50) pounced for driver Jim Morrill, Jr. and charged past to win in 1:54 4/5.

Rusty’s Bliss, Gentlemans Delight and Also Encouraging rounded out the top four heading to the final.