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This Week: Blue Chip Matchmaker and George Morton Levy series second legs, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit at Yonkers this week features four $40,000 divisions on Friday (March 28) in the second round of the Blue Chip Matchmaker series for open pacing mares. The Saturday (March 29) card at Yonkers will see four $50,000 divisions in the second round of the George Morton Levy series for open pacers. Complete entries for the races can be found by clicking on this link. Last time: Trainer Ron Burke and driver George Brennan were the stars in the opening round of the Blue Chip Matchmaker and George Morton Levy series last weekend at Yonkers. For the weekend, Burke earned a total of 70.5 Grand Circuit training points and Brennan posted 48.5 driving points. Burke and Brennan kicked things off on March 21 by teaming up to capture a Blue Chip Matchmaker division with Summertime Lea. Brennan also won another Matchmaker split with Angels Delight for trainer Kevin Carr. Then on March 22 in the George Morton Levy series, the Burke/Brennan duo won a pair of divisions with Bettor's Edge and Easy Again. Burke added two other Levy winners with Foiled Again and Itrustyou, both piloted by Yannick Gingras. Foiled Again opened up his 2014 campaign with a 1:52.1 score in the first round of the Levy Series. Foiled Again, the three-time defending Dan Patch Award winner as the sport's top older pacing male, began his season and a quest for a third Levy title by throwing down the gauntlet with a wire-to-wire win in the last of this past Saturday's five $50,000 divisions. In play early from post position No. 6, career win No. 77 couldn't have been less stressful for Foiled Again. A Westchester waltz through fractions of :27.4, 57.1, 1:24.4 and 1:52.1 had him 2-3/4 lengths to the good at the wire. Apprentice Hanover caught Hillbilly Hanover in a dead-heat for second. Start No. 199 for the Dragon Again-In A Safe Place gelding increased his lifetime bankroll to $6,055,968. Burke co-owns (as Burke Racing) with Weaver Bruscemi and JJK Stables. Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2014, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2014 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the opening weekend at Yonkers: Drivers: 1. George Brennan - 48.5; 2. Yannick Gingras - 32; 3. Tim Tetrick - 19; 4. Brian Sears - 17; 5. Daniel Dube - 10. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 70.5; 2. PJ Fraley - 21; 3. Rene Allard - 15; 4t. Joe Holloway - 10; 4t. Kevin Carr - 10. Owners: 1t. Burke Racing -19.3; 1t. Weaver Bruscemi - 19.3; 3. Bamond Racing - 18.5; 4. Joe Pennacchio - 10; and 5. M1 Stable - 5.8. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will continue with legs of the Blue Chip Matchmaker and George Morton Levy over the next four weekends. The finals and consolations for both events will be held on April 26. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit  

YONKERS, NY, Friday, March 21, 2014-Yonkers Raceway Friday night hosted the opening round of the Blue Chip Matchmaker, its premier series for Open Mare pacers. Four, $40,000 divisions went postward. The first event saw Angel's Delight (George Brennan, $16.40) pop from a perfect second-over trip in 1:53.2. Leaving from post position No. 5, she watched as Shelliscape (Tim Tetrick) take over from Handsoffmycookie (Dan Dube), then deal with Rocklamation (Yannick Gingras). After fractions of :27.4, :56.4, 1:24.3, Angel's Delight was ready to move. She whipped Rocklamation-part of a 2-5 favored entry--by a length, with Shelliscape another length back in third. "I saw her race last week, and when Matt (Kakaley) tipped her wide in the lane, she just took off," Brennan said. "It was the same thing here. "She'd been racing, while the other ones are just starting back, so maybe that was an advantage. Those other mares-it never takes them long to be ready. It's going to be a good series, and I certainly wouldn't discount mine " For third choice Angel's Delight, a 4-year-old daughter of Rocknroll Hanover owned by Joseph Pennacchio and trained by Kevin Carr, it was her fifth win (with four seconds) in nine seasonal starts. The exacta paid $27.60, with the triple returning $82.50. Brennan doubled his pleasure in the second division, when former New York Stakes champ Summertime Lea ($4.40) won the draw and the race (:27.1; :56.3; 1:25, 1:53.4) in down-the-road fashion. Season-debuting "Lea"-the season-debuting half of the 6-5 favored entry--lasted by a neck over a charging Ramalama (Kakaley), with Cocoa Beach (Brian Sears) third. Swinging Beauty (Gingras), parimutuelly partnered with the winner, was a weak first-over fifth. Anndrovette (Tetrick), making her 2014 bow, never left the cones and finished fourth. For "Lea," a 4-year-old daughter of Lislea co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke, Weaver Bruscemi, Lawrence Karr and Frank Baldachino, it was her 17th win in 26 career starts. The exacta paid $23.20, with the triple returning $68.50. The event third division was its best, with odds-on choice Somwherovrarainbow (Sears, $3.80) going first-up to hold off her rivals in 1:52.4. Trying to leave from post No. 6, she landed in a four-hole as Royal Cee Cee N (Ron Pierce) laid down the law through a :27.1 opening quarter-mile and a :57.2 half. "Somwher" was then out and moving, engaging the leader through a 1:25 three-quarters. She put Royal Cee Cee N away mid-stretch then held off both the horse on her back (Krispy Apple [Tetrick]) and a pocket-sitting Charisma Hanover (Gingras). The margin was scant nose over Krispy Apple, with "Charisma" a shorter schnoz back in third. For "Rainbow," a 4-year-old daughter of Somebeachsomewhere trained by Joe Holloway for co-owners Diamond Creek Racing and Ted Gewertz, she's now 2-for-2 this season and up over $900,000 for her career. It was a far cry from the lass who stopped on a dime the last time she was here, last October's elimination for the Lady Maud Pace. "She's bigger, she's stronger and I'm just happy to have her," Holloway said. "There's not much half-mile experience with her, so I changed the equipment a bit, and she was very good." The final Matchmaker grouping was nothing more than a public workout for 1-4 fave Yagonnakissmeornot (Dube, $2.50). Sent right to the lead from post No. 4, she had nary an anxious moment though intervals of :27.3, 56.4; 1:25.1 and 1:52.4. The final margin was 4¼ lengths over Let's Go Higher (Jason Bartlett), with Economy Terror (Mark MacDonald) a pocket third and Bettor B Lucky (Gingras) fourth. or "Yagonna," a 5-year-old daughter of The Panderosa co-owned (as Allard Racing) by (trainer) Rene Allard and Kapildeo Singh, it was her fourth win in seven 14 tries. The exacta paid $13, the triple returned $38.60 and the superfecta paid $155. "She'd make anybody look good," Dube said. "She does it all on her own and doesn't know where the end of the mile is." Friday's $38,000 Open Handicap Trot was won by Lorenzo Dream (Sears, $19) in a season's-best 1:55.2, also the fast local mile of 2014. The George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series begins Saturday night, with five, $50,000 division, (races 2.4,5,9 and 11 on the 12-race card). by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway                      

YONKERS, NY, Friday, March 14, 2014--Yonkers Raceway's pair of Friday night $33,000 Open Handicaps--a Pace for the ladies and a Trot for all who sent in the box tops--were won by a pocket-sitting Royal Cee Cee N (Brian Sears, $5) and an come-from-behind Super Manning (Matt Kakaley, $6.70). Royal Cee Cee N, who became a career millionairess with a second-place finish a week ago, was in play early this night from post position No. 3. As the 3-2 favorite, she made the first lead before yielding the right of way to Cocoa Beach (Ron Pierce). "Cocoa" set tepid fractions of a flat 28 seconds and :58.1 before inside assignee Fashion Mystery (Eric Carlson) moved from fourth. She put forth just mild pressure going toward a 1:26.1 three-quarters, with Cocoa Beach taking a length-and-a-half lead into the lane. Despite the cheapy intervals, she couldn't stall the lass on her back, as Royal Cee Cee N ducked in and went by. The margin was three-quarters of a length in 1:53.4 (:27.3 final quarter). Fashion Mystery held third, with Krispy Apple and Ramalama completing the cashers. For Royal Cee Cee N, an 8-year-old Down Under daughter of Christian Cullen owned and trained by Mark Harder, it was her first win in three seasonal starts. The exacta (two wagering choices) paid $17, with the triple returning $116. The week's marquee trot saw slight 2-1 fave Super Manning-off the gate and solidly second in last week's edition-unhurried this week from post No. 6. He watched as Tall Cotton (George Brennan) left over his seven inside rivals. After early sub-sections of :28 and :58 (with pocket-sitter Lorenzo Dream [Sears] edging out, then going back in), Traverse Seelster (Pierce) moved from fifth. That one disposed of the leader, with Calchip's Brute (Jordan Stratton) second-up and Super Manning plying his craft from third-over. It was "Traverse" owning a short-lived lead at the 1:26.1 three-quarters, but-and everyone else-were about to be inhaled. Super Manning swung wide and busted the race wide open. He was up a length in and out of the final turn, then widened to 3¼ lengths in 1:54.4...fastest trot mile of the season. Lone lass Backstreet Hanover (Carlson) was able to get into second, with Calchip's Brute, Zooming (Tyler Buter) and Traverse Seelster settling for the small change. For Super Manning, a 6-year-old Diamond Goal homebred owned by Joseph Pennacchio and trained by Kevin Carr, it was her first win in five '14 starts. The exacta paid $55, the triple returned $413 and the superfecta paid $1,908. Friday night props to former New York Sire Stakes champ Coraggioso ($3.40), who returned downstate with a convincing victory (1:56.1) in the $17,500, ninth-race trot. The now-5-year-old son of Conway Hall, co-owned by breeders Tom Durkin and Joe Spadaro, is now 16-for-37 in his career. He defeated Where to Hanover, owned by always-welcome Yonkers co-host Gary (Man About Town) Machiz, by a length-and-a-half. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway  

YONKERS, NY, Friday, December 20, 2013--The password is "penultimate," as in next-to-last card of Yonkers Raceway's season. Friday night's $37,000 co-featured Opens--a blind-draw Pace for the ladies and a Handicap Trot who all with letters of recommendation--were won by people's preference Ramalama (Matt Kakaley, $3.40) and a last-early (Kakaley again, $7.30). In play early from post position No. 2, Ramalama--as the 7-10 choice--worked around pole-sitting Blissful Romance (George Brennan), taking the lead after a :27.4 opening quarter-mile. Then, it was an elongated move by Economy Terror (Mark MacDonald), with that one's turn in the big chair. Economy Terror found a :55.1 intermission before Blissful Romance moved from third. She changed her mind, leaving Rock N Load (Jordan Stratton) first-up toward a 1:23.3 three-quarters. That one wasn't gaining, and Ramalama pulled an antsy pocket before the final turn. However, Economy Terror wouldn't go down without a fight. Ramalama did prevail, however, winning by a length in 1:52.1. Ideal in Vegas (Cat Manzi) was third--beaten fourth lengths--with Rock N Load and Sweet Hedge (Dan Dube) settling for the minor awards. For Ramalama, a 4-year-old daughter of Bettor's Delight owned by Blue Chip Bloodstock and trained by David Duspiva, it was her 10th win in 27 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $17, with the triple returning $53.50. The week's marquee trot had one similar element of last week's marquee trot...the implosion of all-age track record-holder Quick Dream (Brennan). This time around, that one, as the 9-10 favorite, was well-situated fourth early before doing the dance of the damned. It was Likeabatoutahell (Dube) two-moving around last week's winner, Lorenzo Dream (Eric Goodell), with intervals of :28, :56.3 and 1:25.1. Meanwhile, Super Manning-unhurried from post No. 6--was continuing a long backside move, engaging the leader in and out of the final turn. Super Manning edged away mid-stretch, widening to 2 3/4 lengths in 1:54.4. Third went to Justa Rebel (Stratton), with War Cry Hall (Jason Bartlett) and And Heez Perfect (MacDonald) rounding out the payees. For second-choice Super Manning, a 5-year-old homebred Diamond Goal gelding owned by Joseph Pennacchio and trained by Kevin Carr, it was his seventh win in 29 '13 tries. The exacta paid $55, the triple returned $274.50 and the superfecta paid $1,415. The Raceway's live schedule concludes Saturday night, with the customary 7:10 PM first post. The 2014 season is scheduled to begin Monday, Jan 6, pending NYS Gaming Commission approval. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Friday, November 29, 2013--Yonkers Raceway's Black Friday night $37,000 co-featured Open Handicaps--Pace for the ladies and Trot for anyone duly deputized--were won by a perfectly-pocketed Handsoffmycookie (Dan Dube, $6.70) and a second-up Super Manning (Matt Kakaley, $4.40). Leaving from post position No. 4, "Cookie" was in play early, making the first lead. She then gave it up to 8-5 choice Feeling You (Jason Bartlett), who worked her way from an eight-hole impost right at the :26.4 opening quarter-mile. Moving toward the :56.3 intermission, some unwanted company arrived in the form of Hot List (George Brennan). That one had body--but not bike--in front as Feeling You maintained her slim lead through a cut-throat 1:25.1 three-quarters. It was Marty Party (Eric Carlson) second-over, while "Cookie" was all dressed up and waiting for someplace to go. She found that place in the presence of the passing lane, edging clear by a length-and-a-half in 1:54.3. Second went to Marty Party, with Hot List, Royal Cee Cee N (Brian Sears) and Feeling You rounding out the payees. For second choice Handsoffmycookie, a 4-year-old millionairess daughter of Art Major owned by JFE Enterprises and trained by Scott DiDomenico, it was her eighth win in 30 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $76, with the triple returning $362.50. The week's marquee trot saw 6-5 favorite Super Manning--like "Cookie" a four-hole beginner--patiently waiting his turn. Brando's Muscle Man (Eric Goodell) and Lorenzo Dream (Brent Holland) were the early newsmakers through intervals of :28.1 and 59 seconds flat. Melady's Monet (Dube) then started the train, with Super Manning towed in behind. The night was just about over for "Brando" before a 1:27.1 three-quarters, with "Melady" opening a couple of lengths in and out of the final turn. However, Super Manning was about to get the memo. He had the leader in his sights at mid-stretch, drawing away late to win by a length in 1:55.3. A shuffled Lorenzo Dream rallied for third, with Brando's Muscle Man and Calchip's Brute (Bartlett) settling for the remainder. For Super Manning, a homebred 5-year-old Diamond Goal gelding owned by Joseph Pennacchio and trained by Kevin Carr, he's now 6-for-27 this season. The exacta paid $53, the triple returned $282.50 and the superfecta paid $783. Yonkers welcomed Cat Manzi back in the bike Friday night, as he finished sixth with his lone drive. Friday's Pick 5 wager was not hit, meaning Saturday night's wager--complete with a $2,688.93 carryover-now offers a $10,000 guaranteed pool. The Pick 5 is a 50-cent base wager on races 5 though 9 offered every racing night. The Raceway's five-night-per-week live schedule continues, with first post every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:10 PM. Evening simulcasting accompanies all live programs, with afternoon simulcasting now available daily. Frank Drucker  

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