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CHESTER, PA - Both the 2020 Dan Patch awardwinner in the two-year-old trotting filly category, Anoka Hanover, and the O'Brien awardwinner in that division, Donna Soprano, were successful in qualifying races at Harrah's Philadelphia on Tuesday morning, as was the O'Brien winner for two-year-old pacing fillies, Scarlett Hanover. Anoka Hanover, a Donato Hanover filly who was also successful in a Philly qualifier last week, won Tuesday in 1:56.1, coming her own back fractions in :56 - :27.4. A winner in 10-of-14 at two, including the Goldsmith Maid, Kindergarten Final, and both Lexington Grand Circuit stakes, Anoka Hanover was driven by Todd McCarthy for trainer Noel Daley, the latter co-owner with Caviart Farms, Crawford Farms Racing, and L. A. Express Stable LLC. Donna Soprano, also a daughter of Donato Hanover, was successful in her morning session in 1:56.4, her back numbers :57.4 - :28.4 for driver Bob McClure, trainer Luc Blais and owner Determination. Donna Soprano won five of seven as a freshman, trotted in 1:53.3 over the big track in Ontario, and was second to the fast colt Venerate in the Mohawk Million. The O'Brien winner among last season's freshman pacing fillies, Scarlett Hanover, also had a successful Tuesday at the riverside oval, triumphing in 1:52.4, last quarter :27.3, for driver David Miller, trainer Ron Burke, and the ownership of Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Frank Baldachino, and J&T Silva- Purnel & Libby. The Bettor's Delight miss won her Ontario Super Final and was 2-3 in the Breeders Crown. Fastest qualifier of the day came from the Betting Line three-year-old pacing filly Darby Hanover, who rallied off a fast pace to stop the timer in 1:52.1 for driver Andy Miller, trainer/wife Julie Miller, and the partnership of Andy Miller Stable Inc., Mr. Caroll Huffman, and Let It Ride Stables Inc. Darby Hanover had wins in the Simpson and Keystone Classic stakes last year, and she took three legs of the PA Stallion Series before finishing second in the final. For full race results, click here. From the PHHA/Harrah's Philadelphia

Dragon Roll surged by foes in the stretch to notch her third consecutive victory in the conditioned harness racing feature pace at a sloppy Yonkers Raceway on Wednesday.   The Roll With Joe mare ceded early position and dropped back to fifth of eight from post four under the guidance of Todd McCarthy. Pettycoat Business (Joe Bongiorno) powered to the lead on the outside in a :28 first quarter and stole a second panel breather with a :58.4 half time.   Dragon Roll moved outside first, but heavy favourite Wingding Hanover (Jason Bartlett) provided her with cover by going first-up. Dragon Roll gapped off through the third split but seemed to find another gear after three-quarters in 1:26.3, and she picked up ground approaching the far turn.   Dragon Roll lunged three-wide turning for home and rolled by Wingding Hanover and Pettycoat Business to score in 1:55.2. Pettycoat Business finished three quarters of a length behind in second, and a late-closing Turnthefrownaround (George Brennan) was third.   DRAGON ROLL REPLAY     Dragon Roll's win was her seventh in 28 lifetime starts; she has earned more than $190,000. Ricky Bucci of Campbell Hall owns and trains the four-year-old. She paid $19.20 to win.   Yonkers Raceway will return on Thursday, May 6 for 10 dashes starting at 7:15 p.m. EDT.   For full race results, click here.   by Nicholas Barnsdale, for Harnesslink

CHESTER, PA - Last season's Two-Year-Old Trotting Filly of the Year, Anoka Hanover, and 2019 Little Brown Jug champion Southwind Ozzi were impressive harness racing winners during Tuesday morning qualifiers at Harrah's Philadelphia. In her first competitive start since winning the Goldsmith Maid last November, Anoka Hanover pounced from the pocket and won handily in 1:55.3 over a "good +1" track. A ten-time winner as a baby, the daughter of Donato Hanover looked ready to start another successful campaign, with Todd McCarthy driving for trainer Noel Daley, the latter co-owner with Caviart Farms, Crawford Farms Racing, and L. A. Express Stable LLC. The Somebeachsomewhere gelding Southwind Ozzi blistered the Philly oval with a 1:50.3 wire-to-wire victory, including twin back quarters of :27.1. After his $800,000+-winning campaign at three that included The Adios and the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Championship, Southwind Ozzi couldn't quite go against the FFA boys, although he did notch all four of his wins, including a 1:48.4 victory, at Harrah's Philly. Tim Tetrick guided the Bill MacKenzie trainee for owners Vincent Ali Jr. and Alma Iafelice, who obviously hope for their fast pacer's bounceback to prior form. Scottish, an altered sophomore son of the late Kadabra, didn't race at two and had made a break in his only other "Q" outing this year, but he put it all together Tuesday for the wife/husband team of trainer Julie and driver Andy Miller, trotting in 1:55.2 with a last half of :56. This one may be one to watch if he can continue development for owners Jason and Douglas Allen. Fastest of all the successful sophomore qualifiers was the Always B Miki pacing filly So Miki Hanover, also for Andy and Julie Miller and also going wire-to-wire in a 1:53.2 mile. So Miki Hanover had a win and two seconds in three freshman outings, but her time suggests she may be a late bloomer for Michael Cimaglio, A And B Stable, and Charles Elliott. Tim Tetrick was tops with four driving victories Tuesday morning; Julie Miller sent out three winners. From the PHHA/Harrah's Philadelphia  

CHESTER PA - A trio of $12,800 harness racing events for up-and-coming trotters and pacers highlighted the Friday card at Harrah's Philadelphia, and all three saw the favorite move to the lead early and then go on to reduce their lifetime marks. The winner in the headliner for pacing males, the Somebeachsomewhere colt Komodo Beach, had to do the most work to control the throttle, as he was looped leaving and persevered with the guidance of Todd McCarthy to the get the lead under the wire the first time. A final half of :55.3 was enough to keep Komodo Beach on the road to a 1:52.3 victory in his second start of the year for trainer Brett Pelling and the ownership of David McDuffee, John Fodera, Steven Wienick, and Trevor Ritchie. KOMODO BEACH REPLAY   In the lead contest for pacing distaffs, driver Corey Callahan moved the Sweet Lou filly Doubleoffthewall to the lead in front of the stands, then tacked on a last half in :56 to be an easy winner in 1:53. Tom Fanning trains the quick miss for the ownership of David Van Wart, Falcon Racing LLC, and Joel Benson. Callahan came back to win with another female in the top trot, the Father Patrick mare Cocktails N Dreams, making the pace-controlling move then keeping her going to the wire in 1:55.3 for trainer Trish Adams and the partnership of Benjamin Gordon and Never Too Late Racing LLC. Troy Beyer had the most successful day among the drivers with three victories, two for trainer Noel Daley. Harrah's Philadelphia will be racing a special live card on Kentucky Derby Saturday at 12:40 p.m., with double-gaited fans welcome to stay on and watch the Bluegrass proceedings via simulcast. The latest Ontario horseman to visit Philly during that province's virus shutdown, Bob McClure, is down for action on the Saturday card, including a drive behind the promising three-year-old trotter Inaminute Hanover - for the same connections with whom he teamed to win the 2019 Hambletonian with Forbidden Trade. Program pages for these cards will be available at https://www.phha.org/harrahspps.html. For full race results, click here. From PHHA/Harrah's Philadelphia    

Down Under harness racing driver has successful weekend winning 6 races. Down Under driver Todd McCarthy was in red hot form over the weekend when driving at The Meadowlands racetrack in New Jersey. He won an impressive 5 races on Saturday night and picked up one win a night earlier on Friday night making is 6 wins for the weekend. To kick it all off he teamed up with down under trainer Brett Pelling and Staycation Hanover to win a 3yo Fillies race for $16,000 in 1:52.1. That was also the start of a successful weekend for down under trainer Brett Pelling as he scored three victory’s, all of with were driven by McCarthy. Moving to Saturday night and the duo went out blazing with South Beach Star to win a $15,000 3yo Colts and Geldings race in 1:50.3, spacing rivals. The highlight win of the night was in the Preferred Pace for $30,000 where Pelling and McCarthy got Sintra over the line in first placing and clocking a sizzling time of 1:48.4. The down under pair just got the better of down under pacer Ana Afreet N who has been in hot form as of late but was just edged out on this occasion finishing second. Todd McCarthys other three victories came with Dull Roar in 1:51.1, nice mare Sweet Lou Lucy in 1:51.0 and Cecil Casanova in 1:51.2 .    Monday 19th April Harrington Raceway DE Jacks Legend N – Time: 1:52.2, Stake: $20,000 Bad Boy Brad A – Time: 1:54.4, Stake: $11,000   Yonkers Raceway NY Speed Man N – Time: 1:52.3, Stake: $22,000 Soho Burning Love A – Time: 1:51.4, Stake: $60,000 Keep On Rocking A – Time: 1:52.4, Stake: $35,000   Tuesday 20th April Harrington Raceway DE Anytime N – Time: 1:52.3, Stake: $14,800 Women In Gold N – Time: 1:55.0, Stake: $11,500 Betterthanamisus N – Time: 1:55.4, Stake: $6,000   Miami Valley Raceway OH Montana Pablo A – Time: 1:55.1, Stake: $4,500 Benson Boys N – Time: 1:52.4, Stake: $12,000   Monticello Raceway NY War Dan Delight N – Time: 1:56.3, Stake: $6,700   Saratoga Harness NY Macheasy A – Time: 1:53.1, Stake: $14,000   Yonkers Raceway NY Galante A – Time: 1:52.1, Stake: $19,000   Wednesday 21st April Buffalo Raceway NY Milliondollargem A – Time: 1:57.2, Stake: $4,100   Saratoga Harness NY Pasultimatedelite N – Time: 1:56.0, Stake: $6,200 Donegalartchokin N – Time: 1:57.1, Stake: $4,500 Hereslooknatyou N – Time: 1:57.3, Stake: $6,200   The Meadows PA  Majestic Moment N – Time: 1:58.4, Stake: $7,900   Thursday 22nd April Harrah’s Hoosier Park IN Imshortandsweet N – Time: 1:52.1, Stake: $18,000 Thebuckeyebullet N – Time: 1:51.1, Stake: $16,000   Yonkers Raceway NY Coveredndiamonds N – Time: 1:56.0, Stake: $12,000   Friday 23rd April Freehold Raceway NJ Followthewind N – Time: 1:57.0, Stake: $6,300   Harrah’s Philadelphia PA Kerrin Joseph A – Time: 1:52.0, Stake: $5,600 Hudsen A – Time: 1:52.0, Stake: $5,600 Statement Made A – Time: 1:51.3, Stake: $8,800   Meadowlands NJ Sheikh Yabooty N – Time: 1:52.4, Stake: $8,000   Miami Valley Raceway OH American Empress N – Time: 1:52.1, Stake: $14,000   Yonkers Raceway NY Mcclinche A – Time: 1:53.4, Stake: $10,500 Lachie Maguire N – Time: 1:54.3, Stake: $12,000   Saturday 24th April Freehold Raceway NJ Machiatto A – Time: 1:54.2, Stake: $10,500   Harrah’s Hoosier Park IN Hedges Avenue N – Time: 1:52.3, Stake: $10,000 Callmequeenbee A – Time: 1:52.3, Stake: $16,000   Meadowlands NJ Stars Align A – Time: 1:48.0, Stake: $16,500   Miami Valley Raceway OH Lucifers Legend A – Time: 1:51.4, Stake: $12,000 Havefaithinme A – Time: 1:51.3, Stake: $23,000   The Downs At Mohegan Sun Pocono PA Vettel N – Time: 1:50.3, Stake: $14,000 Bill Haley N – Time: 1:49.3, Stake: $10,000   Sunday 25th April Bangor Raceway ME Ima Tragedy N – Time: 1:57.3, Stake: $3,500   Harrah’s Philadelphia PA Tango Dancer N – Time: 1:52.2, Stake: $10,000 Billy Badger N – Time: 1:51.3, Stake: $10,000 Eclipse Me N – Time: 1:51.0, Stake: $14,400 Aintnobettor A – Time: 1:52.0, Stake: $8,800   Northfield Park OH Rub Of The Green N – Time: 1:52.2, Stake: $11,000   Pompano Park FL Boarder Control A – Time: 1:53.0, Stake: $5,600   Click here for previous weeks articles   by Carter Dalgety  

Alexa Skye and driver Todd McCarthy served notice in the final of five preliminary rounds of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series at Yonkers Raceway on Friday night with an imposing 1:52.3 victory in her $35,000 division. The fleet-footed 4-year-old by Somebeachsomewhere had to work just a bit to gain control at the quarter, but from that point her four rivals chased her in vain. Alexa Skye left the gate along with Monica Gallagher (Jason Bartlett) from the inside, with Siesta Beach (Matt Kakaley) between those two into the opening bend. Siesta Beach settled along the pylons, but McCarthy pushed Alexa Skye to the top and cleared passing a 27.4 opening fraction. Alexa Skye maintained the lead after that, setting fractions of 56.3 and 1:24.4, with Siesta Beach moving to the outside into the final turn as Monica Gallagher lost contact with the pace-setter. McCarthy let his mare do the talking, and Alexa Skye spoke volumes, cruising home effortlessly with a 27.4 kicker to win by open lengths. Siesta Beach held down the place spot, with Soho Burning Love A (Austin Siegelman) showing decent late foot for third. ALEXA SKYE REPLAY   Sent off as the 1-5 favorite in the field, Alexa Skye paid $2.40 to win. Alexa Skye won all four of the Blue Chip Matchmaker preliminary legs she participated in for co-owner Pollack Racing LLC. and co-owner/trainer Jeff Cullipher. The exacta returned $4.50, with the two favorites first and second, and the triple came back $11.40. Now a winner in seven of nine starts on the season, Alexa Skye moves into the $232,800 final on April 19 as the clear horse to beat.   In the night's first section, which was raced as a non-wagering event, Blue Ivy led a field of four wire-to-wire for driver Tyler Buter to score decisively in 1:52 3/5 over Caviart Cherie (Kakaley) and Machnhope, with Lady Dela Renta A (Jordan Stratton) fourth in the group. Blue Ivy had the pole position and discouraged leavers, blasting off into the opening bend and cutting a 27.1 quarter with no dispute. Buter was then kind to the 5-year-old daughter of Captaintreacherous, allowing her to stroll the middle-half in just 58 seconds, reaching three-quarters in 1:25.1 as Machnope and Andrew McCarthy pulled to make a token bid. No one would get within a length of Blue Ivy, as Buter called on her, and she responded with a 27.2 final quarter, holding a clear advantage to the wire. Caviart Cherie had raced in the pocket throughout and fought hard enough for the place spot. Trained by Todd Buter and owned by Renee Bercury, Blue Ivy completed the five-leg preliminary round with an impressive scorecard that included three wins and two second-place finishes. Friday's 1:52.3 mile was her fastest of the series and her sixth win in 2021 in just 10 starts. Unofficially, the eight mares that advanced to the $232,800 Blue Chip Matchmaker Series final are: Blue Ivy (325 points), Alexa Skye (300), Machnhope (237), Siesta Beach (234), Caviart Cherie (222), Snobbytown (195), Monica Gallagher (178), and My Ruebe Star N (143). The final leg of the MGM Borgata Pacing Series will take place on Monday night (April 12) at Yonkers Raceway with three $40,000 fields set, including a final preview with Leonidas A, This Is The Plan and Hesa Kingslayer N in one division. Yonkers races Monday through Friday night with first post at 7:15 p.m. For full race results, click here. From Yonkers Raceway

This Is The Plan, Western Joe, and Leonidas A scored harness racing victories in the trio of $40,000 divisions of the fourth leg of the MGM Borgata Pacing Series on Monday night (April 5) at Yonkers Raceway. In addition to the on-track action, betting was also brisk on Monday's 10-race card as the handle entered seven-figure territory at $1,037,217.95. After finishing second in all three of his appearances in the series coming into this leg, This Is The Plan (Yannick Gingras) broke through for the first time in style, taking the opening split in 1:51.1. Gingras fired This Is The Plan to the top from post four, and he would put up fractions of 27.2, 56.1, and 1:23.3 before he closed in 27.3 to win by three lengths over pocket-sitter Raukapuka Ruler N (Jordan Stratton). Mach N Cheese (Joe Bongiorno) held third over favorite Let It Ride N (Dexter Dunn). Ron Burke trains This Is The Plan, a 6-year-old gelding by Somebeachsomewhere, for owners Burke Racing Stable LLC., Weaver Bruscemi LLC., J&T Silva- Purnel & Libby, and Larry Karr. This Is The Plan is now a 15-time winner in his career, and he pushed his earnings to $1,806,700. This Is The Plan, the 3-2 second choice, paid $5.00 and was atop a $51.50 exacta and a $126.50 trifecta. THIS IS THE PLAN REPLAY   In the second section, driver Todd McCarthy put the hammer down with None Bettor A and roared through stations of 26.3, 55.1, and 1:23.1. On the far turn Sheriff N (Daniel Dube) attacked the leader two-wide from the pocket, with favorite Rockapelo (George Brennan) picking up cover from third to sit second-over. Even though Sheriff N and Rockapelo had first dibs on the tiring leader, it wound up being a cavalry charge through the stretch after the hot tempo, and taking advantage was Western Joe (Dunn), who sat inside in sixth and rallied through a gap on the pylons on his way to the win by a neck in 1:52.4. Rockapelo wound up second, with Sheriff N back in third. Western Joe, a 7-year-old gelded son of Western Ideal, scored his second straight victory in the series for trainer Chris Choate, co-owner/breeder Anthony Ruggeri, and co-owner Richard Tosies. Western Joe now has a record of 33-16-11 from 105 starts, and he has banked $781,858. Western Joe, who was the second choice at odds of 5-2, returned $7.70 to win and keyed a $15.60 exacta and a $54.50 trifecta. WESTERN JOE REPLAY   Leonidas A (Austin Siegelman), returning after a one-week break, ran his MGM Borgata Pacing Series record to an unblemished three-for-three in the final flight. Leonidas A settled in third behind Ostro Hanover (Tyler Buter) and Lyons Steel (Corey Callahan) in the early going, but Siegelman had him out and on move before the 28-second opening quarter went on the board, and he would take command after that marker. Leonidas A would go on to put up a 56.4 half and a 1:24.4 three-quarters, and a 28.3 final kicker gave him the victory by 2 1/4 lengths in 1:53.2. Lyons Steel was second after a first-over try, narrowly bettering Ostro Hanover. A 6-year-old Mach Three gelding, Leonidas A is trained by Sheena Mcelhiney for owner Jesmeral Stable. Leonidas A posted his 28th career victory, and he has now put away $291,848. Leonidas A, hammered down to 1-9, paid $2.30 to win and led a $7.90 exacta and a $19.20 trifecta. LEONIDAS A REPLAY   There is one more leg of the MGM Borgata Pacing Series to go, and that will be held next Monday (April 12). The final will take place on Monday, April 19. Stakes action resumes at Yonkers on Wednesday night (April 7) when the track plays host to four $20,000 divisions of the second leg of the John Brennan Trotting Series. Opening round winners Guilty Desire (race five/post six, Jordan Stratton/Betty Clegg), Hunting AS (race six/post one, Todd McCarthy/Jenny Melander), Look In My Eyes (race six/post eight, Jordan Stratton/Anette Lorentzon), and Lady Jeter (race seven/post four, Scott Zeron/Ed Gannon Jr.) are all back in action. Then, on Friday (April 9), Yonkers has a couple of $35,000 splits of the final preliminary round of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series for pacing mares. The first of those races will take place as a non-wagering contest, and the second one is race two on the pari-mutuel program. In the non-wagering tilt, Blue Ivy (post one, Tyler Buter/Todd Buter) and Machnhope (post three, Andrew McCarthy/Noel Daley) will both shoot for their third win in the series, and in the other Blue Chip Matchmaker match-up, Alexa Skye (post four, Todd McCarthy/Jeff Cullipher), currently three-for-three in the event, meets up with one of last Friday's victors in Siesta Beach (post three, Matt Kakaley/Nick Devita). For full race results, click here. From Yonkers Raceway

Hunting AS was the only favorite to prevail as the John Brennan Trotting Series began with four $20,000 harness racing divisions on Wednesday night (March 31) at a soggy and sloppy Yonkers Raceway. Driven by Todd McCarthy, Hunting AS worked out a pocket trip behind Halo Its Me (Yannick Gingras) in the third flight and watched as that foe clicked off fractions of 30.2, 1:00.1, and 1:28.3. Halo Its Me was still in command as they turned into the stretch, but McCarthy had Hunting AS finishing well two-wide, and Hunting AS surged by the pace-setter on his way to a one and a quarter length decision in 1:57.3. Blue And Bold (Jason Bartlett) finished third after sitting on the inside in fourth. A 4-year-old gelding by Lionhunter, Jenny Melander trains Hunting AS for owners Melander Racing Inc., Clark Stables LLC., and Robert Bernaski. Hunting AS has a record of 6-11-2 from 32 starts, and he has now earned $81,956. Sent off at even-money, Hunting AS paid $4.20 to win and led an $18.40 exacta and a $112.00 trifecta. HUNTING AS REPLAY   While second-best in that split, Gingras had already collected a win in the event after he guided Lady Jeter to a 10-1 upset in the opening section. Lady Jeter went straight to the top from post five, laid down panels of 28.4, 58.2, and 1:27.4, and kicked home in 29.3 to win by a length and a quarter in 1:57.2. Impulse Buy (Bartlett) was the runner-up, followed by Windsong Pioneer (Brent Holland). Heavy favorite Some Chapter (Dexter Dunn) made a break while advancing first-over on the third turn. Lady Jeter, a 4-year-old Muscles Yankee mare, is trained by Ed Gannon Jr. for owner Zippett Racing Stable. Lady Jeter is now a seven-time winner from 37 tries, and she pushed her bankroll to $98,668. Lady Jeter returned $22.00 to win and keyed a $246.00 exacta and $556.00 trifecta. LADY JETER REPLAY   Another surprise came in the second of the four series tilts when 21-1 offering Look In My Eyes (Jordan Stratton) darted to the engine from post eight, put up stations of 29.1, 58.4, and 1:28, and couldn't be caught in a 30 second final panel, as he kept a first-over McMatters (Mark MacDonald) at bay to win by a length and a half in 1:58. Manhattanup No Ice (Bartlett) wound up third from the pocket. The second winner for sire Lionhunter, Look In My Eyes is a 4-year-old gelding bred, owned, and trained by Anette Lorentzon. Look In My Eyes picked up his seventh lifetime victory, and he has now pocketed $98,215. Look In My Eyes paid $44.20 to win and was atop a $136.00 exacta and a $786.00 trifecta. LOOK IN MY EYES REPLAY   Gingras then toppled the apple cart again in the final flight with 11-1 Guilty Desire in a 1:58.2 mile. Guilty Desire yielded to sit in the pocket behind 1-20 favorite Get Legs (Andy Miller) after the 29 second opening quarter, but Get Legs miscued on the second turn, putting Guilty Desire back in command. He didn't relinquish it again, as a 58.3 half and a 1:28.1 three-quarters was followed by a 30.1 final panel to secure the victory. He downed a closing Bazillionaire (Austin Siegelman) by half a length, with Get Legs recovering and finishing full of trot for third. Betty Clegg trains Guilty Desire, a 6-year-old gelded son of Deweycheatumnhowe, for owner Nick Clegg. Guilty Desire collected his 15th career win, and he has now pocketed $109,866. Guilty Desire paid $25.60, the exacta was worth $726.00, and the trifecta kicked back $1,136.00. GUILTY DESIRE REPLAY   The John Brennan Trotting Series has two additional preliminary rounds on Wednesday, April 7 and Wednesday, April 14, and the final is scheduled for Wednesday, April 21. As a result of all the upsets on Wednesday, there will be carryovers in both the Pick 5 and Pick 6 at Yonkers on Thursday (April 1), in addition to a guaranteed pool in the Pick 5. The Pick 5 carryover is $6,863.85, which triggered a guaranteed pool of $20,000, and the Pick 6 carryover stands at $2,928.24. The guaranteed pool in the Pick 5 is being offered as part of the United States Trotting Association's Strategic Wagering Program. Free past performances for the Pick 5, courtesy of TrackMaster, are available here. The Pick 5 and Pick 6 both have a takeout rate of 20 percent, as do the nightly Pick 4's. Stakes action at Yonkers resumes on Friday (April 2) with two $35,000 divisions of the fourth leg of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series for pacing mares and continues on Monday (April 5) with three $40,000 splits of the fourth round of the MGM Borgata Pacing Series for free-for-allers. For full race results, click here. From Yonkers Raceway

Alexa Skye was expected to face her toughest test of the year in the second of two $35,000 divisions of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series on Friday night at Yonkers Raceway. However, when two mares were scratched prior to the race, reducing the field to just five, the task was made considerably easier for driver Todd McCarthy. Nevertheless, it took two early moves for the 4-year-old daughter of Somebeachsomewhere to secure the front, but the rest was once again quite easy as Alexa Skye made it three straight conquests in the series, scoring by a comfortable margin in 1:53.4. My Ruebe Star N (Jordan Stratton) left alertly, as did Blue Ivy (Tyler Buter). The pair were directly inside Alexa Skye, the race favorite, and McCarthy settled in third as My Ruebe Star N seated Blue Ivy and marched towards the opening quarter. Alexa Skye moved before the quarter had been passed, secured the lead after the 27.4 quarter, and from there was in control. After a 29.4 second quarter, McCarthy and Alexa Skye had all of the rest time they needed and quickly marched off with a 28 second flat third quarter, gaining some separation from My Ruebe Star N as Buter and Blue Ivy moved to the outside to try to track down the leader. McCarthy felt the urgency of the threat that Blue Ivy, a first leg winner, posed and began to urge Alexa Skye on coming off the final turn. He kept active in the bike, and it certainly woke up the sharp mare as she sprinted off with a 28.1 kicker, keeping Blue Ivy at bay, with Siesta Beach (Matt Kakaley) closing strongly late for third. ALEXA SKYE REPLAY   Trained and co-owned by Jeff Cullipher, along with Pollack Racing LLC., Alexa Skye was a winner for the sixth time in 2021 and is just $250 shy of the $100,000 mark in seasonal earnings. This was her 15th victory overall, and she now has banked $209,890 lifetime. Sent off as the 2-5 favorite, Alexa Skye returned $2.80 to win and keyed a $4.80 exacta and a $12.60 triple. In the first $35,000 division, 1-2 favorite Snobbytown took command shortly past the start and went wire-to-wire for driver George Brennan and trainer Ron Burke. It was the first win in the series for the 5-year-old mare. Snobbytown cut fractions of 27.4 and 57.1 for the opening half, and then discarded token pressure by Maczaffair N (Stratton) past the halfway mark. Snobbytown remained in control at three-quarters, which she put up in 1:25.1, and Brennan was able to keep pocket-sitter Caviart Cherie (Kakaley) locked in until the late stages to secure a safe margin while pacing a 29.1 final quarter in the 1:54.2 mile. Caviart Cherie held down the place spot, with Keep Rockin A (Tim Tetrick) making a solid advance for third. Maczaffair N faded to fourth after a long first-over grind. SNOBBYTOWN REPLAY   Snobbytown, a daughter of Nob Hill High, is owned by Burke Racing Stable LLC., Weaver Bruscemi LLC., and Jason Melillo. Snobbytown, who paid $3.10 for the victory as the 1-2 choice, now has a record of 20-16-6 from 49 appearances, and she has put away $376,755. The exacta came back at $12 and triple returned $44.40. Two more preliminary rounds remain in the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series on Friday, April 2 and Friday, April 9. The final is scheduled to take place on Monday, April 19. The third leg of the MGM Borgata Pacing Series will be the feature on Monday night's card at Yonkers Raceway, with three $40,000 divisions on the 10-race program. Yonkers races Monday through Friday night with a first post time at 7:15 p.m. For full race results, click here. From Yonkers Raceway

Having gained enormous respect from her blowout harness racing victory in the opening leg of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series, Alexa Skye had a much easier time putting away her rivals on Friday night (March 19), capturing the first of three $35,000 divisions at Yonkers Raceway in a 1:53.4 clocking. Sent off as the prohibitive 1-10 betting favorite, Todd McCarthy wasted little time seizing command on the opening bend from an accommodating My Ruebe Star N and driver Jordan Stratton. McCarthy kept an easy clip, going to the quarter in 28.4 and reaching the half unchallenged in 58.1. From there, the field of six stayed very much in line as Alexa Skye picked up the pace on the backstretch, hitting three quarters in 1:26 on her own power. McCarthy hardly moved a muscle edging into the homestretch, and the powerful 4-year-old daughter of Somebeachsomewhere finished out her mile with a 27.4 final quarter as the rest of the field battled hard for the place spot. My Ruebe Star N held her ground and won the competition for the second position, while Siesta Beach (Matt Kakaley) closed along the pylons and finished in a dead-heat with Keep Rockin A (Tim Tetrick) for show. ALEXA SKYE REPLAY   Alexa Skye, who picked up her 14th victory overall and has now banked $192,390, is owned in partnership by Pollack Racing LLC. and trainer Jeff Cullipher. The dead heat for third crunched the payoffs a bit, with Alexa Skye returning $2.20 for win and the exacta kicking back a cool $7.20. In the triple department, the 3-1-2 combination returned $10, and the 3-1-4 was worth $6.30. Seaswift Joy N and driver Andrew McCarthy pulled the upset in the second division, using the wire-to-wire approach as an 11-1 offering. Bettors Heart N (Dexter Dunn), the even-money choice, left quickly and parked Seaswift Joy N for early command, yielding her advantage into the opening bend..After clearing, McCarthy had Seaswift Joy N in control reaching the quarter in 28.1 and slowing the half to 57.3 while the favored Bettors Heart N struggled to maintain close contact with the leader throughout. Lady Dela Renta A and Stratton were first to pull into the third turn but were unable to advance as Seaswift Joy N extended her lead through three-quarters, which went on the board in 1:26. On the final turn, McCarthy kept his mare alert, and she closed out the mile with a 27.4 quarter, easily holding the hard-charging Blue Ivy (Tyler Buter) off in a 1:53.4 mile. Blue Ivy, the 6-5 second choice, was a clear second, with Lady Dela Renta A holding third. SEASWIFT JOY N REPLAY   Owned by Bradley Grant, Seaswift Joy N, an 8-year-old Bettor's Delight mare, improved on her second-place finish in the opening leg for her third victory in 2021 for trainer Tony Alagna. Seaswift Joy N, who is now a 28-time winner and earner of $465,035 lifetime, returned $24.20 to win, with the exacta paying $86. The triple was good for $220.50. Favored Machnhope, with Andrew McCarthy, in the bike took the overland route to victory in the third Blue Chip Matchmaker division, scoring in 1:53.4, the same exact time of the first two winners. Snobbytown, second choice in the field, jetted to command at the outset for George Brennan and had control late on the opening bend. Snobbytown cruised to the quarter in 27.4 and continued to control the action after that point, hitting the halfway mark in 57.2. McCarthy took Machnhope off the pylons heading past the half, and the 2-5 public choice grinded her way up to second as Snobbytown passed three-quarters in 1:25.4. It was a match race from there, with McCarthy getting the most out of Machnhope in the stretch and taking the duel in the late stages. Snobbytown was well clear for second, with Dbldelitebrigade N (Todd McCarthy) finishing in a dead-heat for third with Caviart Cherie (Kakaley). MACHNHOPE REPLAY   Trainer Noel Daley also co-owns Machnhope, a 6-year-old by Mach Three, with Deo Volente Farms LLC., Tom Pontone, and L.A. Express Stable LLC. Machnhope scored her 29th career win and has now pocketed $392,044. She returned $2.90 to win, with the exacta worth $6.40. The triples paid $8.50 (Dbldelitebrigade N third) and $11.20 (Caviart Cherie third). Third round action in the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series will take place on Friday, March 26. On Monday (March 22), the second round of the MGM Borgata Pacing Series has four $40,000 divisions, with first leg winners Leonidas A and San Domino A meeting in one split and fellow round one victors Hesa Kingslayer N and Let It Ride N meeting in another. Yonkers Raceway hosts live harness racing Monday through Friday nights, with first post at 7:15 p.m..  For full results, click here. From Yonkers Raceway  

Alexa Skye and driver Todd McCarthy served notice in the second of three $35,000 divisions of opening round action in the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series for harness racing pacing mares on Friday night at Yonkers Raceway with a blistering 1:51.2 victory. McCarthy took the 4-5 public choice to the lead shortly after the start, putting second choice Seaswift Joy N, driven by his brother Andy, in the pocket. Alexa Skye dictated the pace, cutting the first two fractions in identical 28 second quarters and keeping the abbreviated field of five at bay in the process. Alexa Skye picked up the pace noticeably past the half and smoked her third quarter in 27.2, gaining ample separation on the field before marching home impressively with a 28 second final kicker.   A 4-year-old daughter of Somebeachsomewhere, Alexa Skye won for the first time since being purchased by trainer Jeff Cullipher, along with Pollack Racing LLC., in February. Alexa Skye, who picked up her 13th victory overall and has now earned $174,890, returned $3.70 to win, with the exacta with runner-up Seaswift Joy N coming back at $7.00. Monica Gallagher held on to the show spot and finished off a $19.40 trifecta. Andy McCarthy was able to post a mild upset in the first split with Machnhope, going first-over the final three eighths to collar race favorite My Ruebe Star N in the homestretch and win comfortably by 2 1/4 lengths. Jordan Stratton put the field in post position order at the outset with My Ruebe Star N and posted very modest fractions of 28.3 and 57.4 for the opening half. The pace picked up considerably when McCarthy pulled on the right line off turn three and went on the attack, coming to even terms with the favorite at the 1:25.3 three-quarters. The two continued to battle through the final turn, but Machnhope, trained by Noel Daley, surged past into the stretch and closed out her 1:53.3 victory with a 28 second final panel. Caviart Cherie squeezed out on the final turn to earn the place spot, with Bettors Heart N making a solid three-wide charge from a difficult spot to salvage the show dough.   Machnhope is owned by Deo Volente Farms LLC., Tom Pontone, L.A. Express Stable LLC., and trainer Daley. The 6-year-old daughter of Mach Three paid $4.80 to win, the exacta returned $52.00, and the trifecta kicked back $193.00. Machnhope is now a 28-time winner from an even 100 appearances, and she has pocketed $374,544. Blue Ivy and driver Tyler Buter cashed in on a second-over trip in the third flight as a 6-1 outsider in the field of six mares. Blue Ivy was away patiently in the early stages as Siesta Beach claimed control on the first turn but relinquished command to the 4-5 favorite Soho Burning Love A prior to the 28 second opening quarter. Tim Tetrick had Soho Burning Love A under good rating and waltzed to the half in 56.4 before meeting some pressure on the backstretch when Lady Dela Renta A and Stratton came calling. Tetrick and Soho Burning Love A disposed of the first-over challenger past the 1:25 three-quarters but proved powerless in the late going as Buter pulled Blue Ivy three-wide and flashed a wicked burst of speed to win going away in a 1:53.3 clocking. Soho Burning Love A held on to the place spot, with Siesta Beach following in third.   A 5-year-old by Captaintreacherous that had mastered the Northfield half-mile track this winter, Blue Ivy won for the fourth time in six starts in 2021 for owner Renee Bercury. Todd Buter trains Blue Ivy, who now has 23 career triumphs and has put away $319,790 The bettors received a healthy $15.20 on the win end, with the exacta worth $37.80 and the trifecta good for an $86.00 return. The second leg of the Blue Chip Matchmaker is slated for Friday, March 19. Preliminary round action continues in the series through April 9, and the final is slated to take place on Monday, April 19. Stakes action continues on Monday night at Yonkers with five $40,000 divisions of the opening leg of the MGM Borgata Series for free-for-all pacers. Post time is 7:15 p.m. From Yonkers Raceway

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - It's hard to imagine anyone feeling confident about Sweet Lucy Lou's chances down the backstretch in the Friday night harness racing feature at The Meadowlands, a high-end conditioned pace for fillies and mares. After all, the 5-year-old by Sweet Lou-Ultimate Bet, was sent to the gate as a 17-1 outsider and was sitting 10th and last as the field went past the half-mile marker with apparently no chance. But then things picked up for her connections, not to mention her backers. Driver Todd McCarthy put Sweet Lucy Lou into a fourth-over flow, a train that was led by a resilient Betalady, who went parked the mile while in search of a third straight win at The Big M. At three-quarters - which was timed in 1:22.2 - Dover Downs shipper Going Gone Hanover was calling the shots with 5-2 favorite Wingding Hanover in the pocket and Betalady still grinding away on the rim in third. "I thought she had a shot," said winning trainer Bob Cleary of Sweet Lucy Lou. "I thought a lot of them wouldn't like the wind in their faces in the stretch." Cleary was spot on, as his prized pupil roared home after tipping off cover for the stretch drive to score by 1¼ lengths in 1:51.3 and return a handsome $36.60 to win. Golden Quest N rallied after going second-over to grab the place spot. A game Betalady hung in there for third.   "She's a big closer," said Cleary, as Sweet Lucy Lou raised her lifetime stats to 10 wins from 50 starts. "It was a big class drop for her. Last year, she was fourth in the Breeders Crown [won by Kissin In The Sand]. Hopefully, she can be a stakes filly this year. She's a big-track horse and is staked to all of the big races at The Meadowlands and Mohawk." "I looked at her lines and that cemented in my mind that she's crazy good off cover," said McCarthy. "I was hoping she'd be good enough and she was." Owned by Royal Wire Products, Sweet Lucy Lou recorded her first win since October 9 of last year and lifted her lifetime bank account to $245,602. A LITTLE MORE: Leading driver Dexter Dunn and Yannick Gingras both won three races on the card, while Andy Miller, McCarthy and Mark MacDonald all won two apiece. ... Jeff Cullipher had a training double. ... All-source wagering totaled $2,706,688. ... Racing resumes Saturday at 6 p.m. by Dave Little, for The Meadowlands  

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - For a second straight night, harness racing driver Todd McCarthy had the hot hand, and for a second straight week, action in The Meadowlands' 20-cent Pick-5 was huge. The combination led to a giant payday for a handful of sharp players. Unlike seven days ago (Jan. 2), when the total Pick-5 pool of $360,948 was divvied up many ways as three favorites (two odds-on choices) scored during the sequence leading to a payoff of $343.74, members of the "Todd Squad" cashed in for big balloons this time around. Saturday night, the pool was $195,759 including a $25,000 seed put up by the track and the Standardbred Owners Association of New Jersey, and those who had all five winners walked away with $25,057.52. McCarthy, who won four times on the Friday card, scored on Saturday in the second race with 9-1 shot Pokerface Bluechip. He made the day of those who hit the bet when he guided 29-1 chance Effronte A to the winner's circle in the fourth before winning his third race of the sequence with 2-1 favorite Somebaddude in the fifth-race payoff leg. Winner's odds for the sequence - that included a pair of post-time public choices - were 7-1, 9-1, 6-5, 29-1 and 2-1. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - For a guy who didn't arrive until four months ago, Todd McCarthy continues to impress in harness racing's toughest driver colony. The 27-year-old McCarthy continued to do good things since his arrival from Australia, winning four times on the Friday night card at The Meadowlands. The five-time driving champion at Australia's Menangle Racetrack finished second at the recently concluded Fall Big M Meeting, ending up just four winners behind leading pilot Dexter Dunn, the native New Zealander who won 46 races. Break The Deal got McCarthy's big Friday off to a good start in the opener, taking a low-end fillies and mares pace in 1:52.4 as the 8-5 favorite for trainer Tom Shay before recording three more victories with non-chalks. The Double Deuce raced uncovered around the far turn on the way to taking the fourth race, a low-end conditioned distaff pace, for trainer Nancy Takter as the 5-1 third choice in 1:53.1 before another 5-1 chance, the Noel Daley-trained Darkrshadeofpale N, won the fifth race mid-range fillies and mares pace in 1:51.4 as the fourth choice in the betting. The "Todd Squad" were smiling once again at the conclusion of race eight, when Godspell Hall tipped off perfect cover to score as the 9-2 third choice in a mid-range conditioned trot in 1:53.2 for trainer Nifty Norman. Darkrshadeofpale N JOEY UPSETS IN FEATURE: Driver Dave Miller put 13-1 long shot Joey on the front early, and the 6-year-old gelded son of Yankee Glide-Jodi's Jayme went all the way to take the featured $19,000 high-end conditioned trot in 1:53.1. Seeking his third consecutive win, 4-5 favorite Some Chapter used a huge brush down the backside to challenge the eventual winner, but flattened out on the far turn before coming back to battle Joey through the stretch, only to come up a neck short in a superb try. A LITTLE MORE: Dexter Dunn guided three winners on the card while Dave Miller had a pair. ... The Julie Miller-trained, Andy Miller-driven Get Legs stayed perfect in five lifetime starts after winning the 11th race non-winners of three trot in a lifetime-best 1:53.1. ... All-source handle totaled $2,804,088. ... Racing resumes Saturday at 6 p.m. when the first race 20-cent Pick-5 kicks off. The Meadowlands and the Standardbred Owners Association of New Jersey have teamed up to seed the pool with $25,000. The wager sports a $100,000 guaranteed pool. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - One sharp player cashed in big - thanks to harness racing driver Todd McCarthy - just in time for Christmas at The Meadowlands Friday night by hitting the 20-cent Pick-5. He or she walked away with $43,916.06. A pair of heavy favorites who were likely singled on many tickets - Best Honey Hanover (2-5 in the first race) and Walks Of Life (3-5 in the third) - went down to defeat, setting the stage for the big payday for the winner, who was betting into the Oregon hub. McCarthy, second in the Big M driver standings at the Fall Meet with 37 wins entering the night, scored with 23-1 shot Genessee Seelster in race three and then came right back in the fourth with 13-1 chance Peppermint Mocha. The odds of the winners for the sequence were 9-2, 4-5, 23-1, 13-1 and 5-1. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations  

Harness racing driver Todd McCarthy is no fan of the cold, but the Australia native is a big admirer of good horses. And the latter will keep McCarthy in the U.S. through this winter and next year. The 27-year-old McCarthy moved to the U.S. in late August and already counts a handful of Grand Circuit stakes victories among his 80 wins sinceeries cham then. His biggest triumph came earlier this month with Anoka Hanover in the Kindergarten Classic Spionship for 2-year-old female trotters, and McCarthy will be back in action with the filly this weekend. Anoka Hanover is the 5-2 morning-line favorite in Saturday's $451,800 Goldsmith Maid for 2-year-old filly trotters at The Meadowlands. She brings a six-race win streak to the event, including divisions of the International Stallion and Bluegrass stakes. For the year, the Noel Daley-trained filly has won nine of 13 races and $373,153. McCarthy has been in the sulky for her past six starts. "She's been awesome," McCarthy said. "Noel has done a terrific job with her and certainly made my job easier. It's a tough race, but fingers crossed, hopefully everything goes well for us." Anoka Hanover was not eligible to the Breeders Crown last month at Harrah's Hoosier Park. On Saturday, she will face the top-three Breeders Crown finishers: winner Lady Chaos, runner-up Mazzarati, and Splash Blue Chip. Lady Chaos and Splash Blue Chip have not raced since the Crown. Mazzarati finished third in the Kindergarten two weeks ago, when Anoka Hanover won in a career-best 1:52.3. "Going to the Breeders Crown would have been cool but she might not have been the same horse going into the Kindergarten and the race this week," McCarthy said about Anoka Hanover, a daughter of Donato Hanover-Aunt Mel. "I'm a big believer that sometimes everything happens for a reason and that fortnight ago was perfect. "She's got such a good attitude for such a young filly; she handles herself so well. She's just a lovely little horse to drive. She's so honest. She's out there to do her best every time, you don't have to ask her too much; she's trying as hard as you can. When you come across a horse like that, it doesn't matter what age group, you just really appreciate them." McCarthy is the younger brother of top drivers Luke and Andy McCarthy and son of highly regarded trainer John McCarthy. His accomplishments Down Under included winning the 2016 Australasian Young Drivers Championship and multiple New South Wales state and metropolitan premiership driving titles. He represented Australia at the 2019 World Driving Championship and counts the Inter Dominion as his top victory. "I have to thank Noel for all he's done," McCarthy said. "He helped me come over here and got me going. He couldn't have been more helpful since I've come to the States, putting me down to drive. I can't thank him enough." McCarthy's original plan was to return to Australia during the U.S. winter and return next spring or summer. But with his newfound success in the States, he decided there was no reason to leave. McCarthy entered Friday with 80 wins in 565 drives, a 14-percent win rate, and $1.17 million in purses. "To be honest, I never thought I would stay this busy when I came over; I thought I'd be pretty quiet," McCarthy said. "But everyone has been so welcoming, and I've been getting a lot of great opportunities. I'm really enjoying it. "I don't like the cold too much, but I'm happy to stick it out and I'll do my best to enjoy the winter. I don't want to go home. I'm having too much fun." The Goldsmith Maid is part of the Fall Four events for 2-year-olds Saturday at The Big M. Breeders Crown champion On A Streak is the 3-1 favorite in the $398,650 Valley Victory for male trotters and Summa Cum Laude, who captured a Breeders Crown in a dead heat with Perfect Sting, is the 9-5 choice in the $371,900 Governor's Cup for male pacers. Fire Start Hanover, also a Crown winner, is the 2-1 favorite in the $323,600 Three Diamonds for female pacers. In addition to the Fall Four, the Saturday card includes TVG Series championships for trotters and pacers. Those races will feature the final career starts for Dan Patch Award winners Bettor's Wish, Kissin In The Sand, and Manchego. For complete Saturday Big M entries, click here. Racing begins at 7:15 p.m. (EST). by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA    

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