Day At The Track

Eligible's released for Yonkers rich stakes

02:26 PM 02 Mar 2020 NZDT
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Western Fame, harness racing
Western Fame and driver Daniel Dube winning the final last year
Mike Lizzi photo

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, March 1, 2020-- The name may have changed, but the song remains the same.

Yonkers Raceway's George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series has been rechristened the MGM Borgata Pacing Series, but it continues to attract harness racing's best Free-For-Allers around.

Race secretary Bob Miecuna has unveiled a list of 46 such candidates for the six-week sojourn, which begins Saturday night, March 14th.

As usual, it's a five-week run of preliminary legs, with each prelim race worth $50,000. The top eight point earners through the legs (according to the conditions of the event) qualify for the $200,000 (added) final Saturday night, Apr. 18th.

One needn't look any further than last season's $664,000 finale, where five foes from that octet are back to try the series again. Defending champion Western Fame and runner-up Rodo Rock, along with Ideal Jimmy (fourth), The Wall (fifth) and The Downtown Bus (sixth) are among the in-to-go's.

Western Fame's romp (1:50.4) in the Levy highlighted a $704,000-plus season for the now-7-year-old son of Western Ideal.

He and his cronies from 2019 are not alone.

Names such as...

--2018 Art Rooney Pace winner Trump Nation),

--millionaire-in-waiting Sintra (4-for-4 at Mohawk to begin his season),

--This is the Plan, who took down the half-million-dollar Ben Franklin (Pocono) a season ago,

--Wiggle It Jiggleit, the fan favorite who's on the comeback trail as he approaches the $4 million career earnings plateau enliven the event.

...and lest we forget about the Down Unders, of which there are 17, 13 from New Zealand and four from Australia.

None Bettor A, who took down last season's Battle of Lake Erie (Northfield) and was a season-debuting 1:50.4 winner across the river--edging Trump Nation and Rodeo Rock--appears as potent as any of those friendly interlopers.

Now for the ladies and the Blue Chip Matchmaker.

It's the same month-and-a-half scrum as the MGM Borgata, only with $40,000 per event and Friday night affairs beginning March 13th. The $125,000 added final also goes Saturday night, Apr. 18th.

Which brings us seamlessly to Shartin N, leading lass of the 27 mares who paid in. Fresh off her Horse of the Year coronation, the now 7-year-old double-millionairess has her sights set upon a winning a third consecutive Matchmaker.

It's not as if Shartin N needs to take any track size with her, but she has won eight of her 10 Westchester work nights...all in Matchmaker competition (finals worth $402,600 in 2019 and $373,000 in '18).

The Matchmaker figures to be the first 2020 renewal of Shartin N and Caviart Ally, the latter never have previously raced in this event. 'Ally's lone local tries were a pair of thirds in the 2017 Lismore (elim and final). She begins her 6-year-old season with career earnings in excess of $1.8 million.

The list of eligibles for both the MGM Borgata (No. 33) and Blue Chip Matchmaker (12th edition) accompany this release, with the opening draws set for Monday afternoon, March 9th.

MGM Borgat (No. 33)

Blue Chip Matchmaker (12th edition)

by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

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