09/23/2016 2:49PM

Yonkers: Toscano with a septet of starters in NY Night of Champions

Geri Schwarz
Planet Rock is one of many sharp Linda Toscano youngsters.

Yonkers Raceway will host eight $225,000 championship races for New York-sired 2 and 3-year-olds on Saturday night and few trainers will play a more prominent role than Linda Toscano. The veteran conditioner will send out seven horses across five races with a legitimate chance to pick up large checks.

New York’s Night of Champions begins with 2-year-old filly pacers and Toscano is represented by a pair of talented young ladies in Robin J and Planet Rock. The pair have combined for 13 wins in 17 career starts and will have the services of John Campbell and Tim Tetrick, respectively, in the bike.

Planet Rock has only tasted defeat once in her career, a third-place finish two starts back at Yonkers when she sat behind slow fractions and had absolutely no shot of winning. In every other start, the daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven has found herself in command by the three quarter pole while on her way to the winner’s circle.

“She’s done everything we’ve asked of her,” said Toscano, who had no regrets about her lone loss. “She was the victim of a slow half. All good horses get beat. We race them too much for that not to happen.”

With a 1:52 career best mile in her pocket, ranking her tied for fourth as the fastest rookie pacing filly in North America, win or lose on Saturday, Planet Rock seems likely to move on from New York foes to face Grand Circuit types in the near future.

“I think she’ll be able to go with them,” said Toscano, who mentioned the filly has one race against open company at the Red Mile.

While Planet Rock, who starts from post seven, might be the top half of Toscano’s uncoupled entrants, Robin J from post two could make some noise as well. The daughter of Blue Chip Farms sire Roll With Joe has never missed the board in her nine career starts for Kenneth Jacobs, who owns both fillies.

“She’s a great gaited horse who doesn’t do anything wrong,” said Toscano.

After a few races off, Toscano will send Soft Idea to the post in the 3-year-old filly pace. Coming off a break and without a win in her last three starts, the task ahead looks daunting for the daughter of American Ideal, but Toscano hasn’t lost faith in her.

“The track has been bad at Batavia this year,” said Toscano, explaining away the recent break. “She isn’t dominant like last year, but she is an honest horse with the right trip.”

Scott Zeron is listed to drive Soft Idea from post three.

There is good and bad news for Toscano in the 2-year-old filly trot. She has a leading contender in Amber Ella, a four time winner in five career starts. But the product of Chapter Seven-Blushed and driver John Campbell will have to attempt to navigate a good trip from post eight.

“There are some pretty nice fillies in there. Barn Bella looks very good,” said Toscano. “I have confidence in my horse, but the eight-hole is hard to overcome.”

Barn Bella has won four straight starts by a combined 25-1/4 lengths, but is coming off a scratched-sick line in her last start.

In the 3-year-old colt pace, Toscano has plenty of power in Bottom Deals (post one) and Missile J (post three).

Bottom Deals posted a career best 1:49 2/5 winning mile at Vernon Downs in his last start, although Toscano admitted he had a perfect trip that day. Meanwhile, Missile J was thought to be the best of this division back in July before embarking on a five-race losing streak where he never finished better than fourth.

“It was a comedy of errors. He was sick and then it took me three starts to figure out that he could be bleeding,” said Toscano, who put the gelding on Lasix prior to his last start against older foes at The Meadowlands.

“We decided to give him a trip last week and he wound up surrounded by bad horses. He still finished up in 26 and change (26 3/5) and I really liked his start,” said Toscano.

The Hambletonian-winning trainer will wrap up her Sire Stakes entrants with Sir Royson in the 3-year-old colt trot. A longshot on paper as he comes off three straight miscues, Toscano admitted that she was simply hoping for a check against some tough foes. She did add that some equipment changes have been made in hopes of turning the son of Crazed around.

With the speedy Dayson drawing post eight and coming off a break, recent sensation Smalltownthrowdown figures to be the horse to catch in the trot final from post two.

The New York Sire Stakes finals will be contested as races 1 through 8 on the track’s 13-race Saturday night program. The festivities begin at 7:10 p.m.

[DRF HARNESS LIVE: Real-time insights from the DRF Harness team this Saturday at 7:00 p.m.]