Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.
Despite No No Yankee's losing his season debut by almost four lengths to Miller's Effort last week, fans at Rosecroft Raceway sent last season's 2-year-old champion off at 2 to 5 in the $50,000 William E. Miller Memorial Pace Friday night. They were not disappointed.
In a break-marred race, No No Yankee easily overtook Miller's Effort and won by three-quarters of a length in 2:01 2/5.
The time was the only disappointment of No No Yankee's victory. But once Wellwood Hanover, which was expected to set a fast pace, broke behind the starting gate, the race became a chess game. Lew Williams, driving Miller's Effort, figured his best chance was to back down the field and save his horse for the final eighth of a mile.
Walter Ross, driver of No No Yankee, was not worried by the slow pace, with middle quarters of 32 1/5 and 31 seconds. What worried him was Wellwood Hanover, which got back on gait under driver Doug Miller and threatened to block the favorite from coming out and challenging.
"I wasn't concerned until Wellwood came up on the outside," Ross said in the winner's circle. "As long as I could sneak out on him at the turn, I was okay. When he shook loose, I knew he was okay."
In a 29-second final quarter, No No Yankee escaped the box as Wellwood tired and Williams put Miller's Effort in high gear in Maryland's richest harness race.
"I wanted to save him as much as I could and get a jump on the last turn," said Williams. "It is no disgrace getting beat by that horse. I knew I was beaten in the middle of the stretch."
No No Yankee, recently syndicated by the Yes Yes Stable for $2.5 million, paid $2.80, $2.20 and $2.10 after the homebred's 11th victory in 13 starts.
Bred by former New York Yankee baseball star Charlie Keller, No No Yankee increased his career bankroll to $241,000 with the $25,000 winner's share of the purse.
Despite the ease of the victory, Ross said the son of Beast of All still needs several more races to achieve the form he wants Yankee to take into the season's five major paces.
The crowd of 7,727 wagered $94,364, the most ever bet on one harness race in Maryland.
Doug Miller, driver of Wellwood Hanover and no relation to the man for whom this race is named, was upset that starter Dale Fetrow did not order a recall when his horse broke stride behind the gate.