07/18/2013 11:04AM

Yonkers: Schnittker happy with his prospects in Sheppard final and Yonkers Trot elim

Lisa Photo
Ray Schnittker was all smiles after winning the 2010 Meadowlands Pace with One More Laugh.

Stakes action heats up on Saturday night at Yonkers Raceway with the $111,250 final of the Lawrence B. Sheppard pace for two-year-old colts and a pair of $40,000 eliminations for the $530,000 Yonkers Trot, the first jewel in Trotting’s Triple Crown.

Trainer Ray Schnittker will have a say in both contests, primarily with two colts in the Sheppard, race five on the 13-race Yonkers card. Stevensville, a winner in 1:57 in one of two eliminations last Saturday night, drew post eight while Gotta Laugh Again landed post seven.

“I just can’t believe how many times I’ve drawn the outside posts when I have two entered here” said Schnittker, referring to his endless supply of bad luck over the years. But the trainer is not deterred by the draw and he’s very pleased with how his colts have responded, at least lately.

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“Stevensville was no good at Goshen,” said Schnittker about the odd performance where the son of Somebeachsomewhere cut the pace well clear of all rivals and then collapsed in the late stages. In an eight-day period the colt bounced back racing from off the pace in his elimination and proving the strongest.

In late June, Stevensville captured a division of the Pennsylvania All Stars in 1:52 3/5 at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs.

As for Gotta Laugh Again, the first full brother to Meadowlands Pace and $2.5 million winner One More Laugh, hasn’t done everything right to this point but is beginning to get the hang of things.

“He was a little stupid early on and just didn’t understand what he was supposed to do,” said Schnittker. “He’s starting to pick things up now and I really like this colt a lot.”

Gotta Laugh Again was 11 lengths back following a very slow half mile clocking and then paced his final half in roughly :56 flat to finish third in his elimination. Schnittker will be in the bike behind Gotta Laugh Again while Jordan Stratton steers Stevensville.

On the trotting front, Schnittker has high hopes for Dewycolorintheline in the first (fourth race) of two eliminations for the Yonkers Trot. Much like Stevensville’s bounce-back effort last week, Dewycolorintheline regained his form after a disappointing outing in the Beal consolation at Pocono. The sophomore colt finished a solid third at 90-1 in last week’s $294,000 Stanley Dancer Memorial at the Meadowlands.

“He’s a good colt,” said Schnittker, “He chipped a knee last year but he’s come back strong.”

Despite one win in 11 lifetime starts, Dewycolorintheline has always been matched up against the best competition and he seems to be peaking at the right time. Schnittker expects to race him for the next two weeks, hopefully at Yonkers, and then enter him in the Hambletonian on August 3. His strategy seems counter to nearly every trainer of a Hambletonian contender. Leading Yonkers Trot eligible Smilin Eli and Spider Blue Chip did not enter on Tuesday, with the former going in a qualifier at the Meadowlands on Saturday and the latter opting for the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes at Harrah’s Philadelphia (July 18).

Dewycolorintheline drew post three and will meet six others that haven’t distinguished themselves as yet as three-year-olds. Both Lauderdale (post six) and Kegler Hanover (post seven) enter the Trot elimination off impressive efforts over the Yonkers half-mile oval. Lauderdale carved out a 1:55 1/5 mile finishing second on July 9 for trainer Jonas Czernyson. Kegler Hanover scored a dramatic 12-length victory in a $88,314 New York Sire Stakes event on July 1 going wire-to-wire.

The second $40,000 Yonkers Trot elimination, race six on the card, appears very competitive and could be the proving grounds for the $825,000 yearling purchase Detour Hanover. The full brother to champion Donato Hanover has shown glimpses of extreme talent during his brief racing career. Most recently he’s captured two straight overnight events at the Meadowlands while showing extreme speed. He seems to have a flawless gait that should come in handy while having to navigate four turns at Yonkers.

Dan Dube drives Detour Hanover from post four for trainer Tom Cancielliere.

Trainer Jimmy Takter appears to have the most advanced colt in the Yonkers Trot in Dontyouforgetit, a winner of $513,569 during his career. The son of Cantab Hall finished third in the $500,000 Beal Memorial on June 29 and has finished in the money in 14 of his 16 lifetime starts. Dontyouforgetit drew post six.

Only the first four finishers in each elimination race advance to the Yonkers Trot final on July 27.

Post time for the 13-race card is 7:10pm.

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