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Harness Racing This Week: Blue Chip Matchmaker and MGM Borgata Pacing series second leg, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit at Yonkers features three $35,000 divisions on Friday (March 19) in the second round of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series for open pacing mares. The Monday (March 22) card at Yonkers will see four $40,000 divisions in the second round of the MGM Borgata Pacing Series for open pacers. Each series offers five preliminary rounds leading to the finales, both set for Monday (April 19). Complete entries for the races can be found by clicking on this link. Last Time: 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 pacing mares on Friday night (March 12) 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 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 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, in February. Alexa Skye picked up her 13th victory overall and has now earned $174,890. It was a chalky beginning to the 2021 MGM Borgata Series for free-for-all pacers on Monday night (March 15) at Yonkers Raceway as favorites delivered in four of the five $40,000 divisions. Let It Ride N (Dexter Dunn) began the proceedings, prevailing off a second-over trip at 1-5 to run his record in the United States to seven wins from seven starts. Dunn brought Let It Ride N to the outside from fourth after the :56.4 half, and then picked up cover when This Is The Plan (Yannick Gingras) tipped out of the pocket beyond the 1:24.1 three-quarters. Dunn sent Let It Ride N three-wide on the far turn, and he kicked home strongly to win by a half-length in 1:52.2. This Is The Plan was the runner-up, and Rodeo Rock (Tim Tetrick) closed from sixth to third in the last quarter. Richard "Nifty" Norman trains Let It Ride N, an 8-year-old gelding by Rock N Roll Heaven, for owners William Hartt and Enzed Racing Stable. Let It Ride N has won 25 times from 61 lifetime starts and he has now pocketed $395,958. Complete recaps of all the races are available on the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2021, 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 2021 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders (through the races on 3-15-21): Drivers: 1. Austin Siegelman - 22; 2t. Andrew McCarthy - 20; 2t. Todd McCarthy - 20; 4t. Dexter Dunn - 12; 4t. Tyler Buter -12. Trainers: 1. Nifty Norman - 17; 2. Ron Burke - 15; 3t. Todd Buter - 10; 3t. Jeff Cullipher - 10; 3t. Nancy Takter - 10. Owners: 1t. Bd Racing - 10; 1t. Renee Bercury - 10; 1t. Jesmeral Stable - 10; 4t. Enzed Racing Stable - 7; 4t. Eric Prevost - 7. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will continue with legs of the Blue Chip Matchmaker and MGM Borgata over the next three weeks. The finals for both events will be held on April 19. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit  

Cigar Smoking Tony and Salt Life picked up their first victories in the event, and Diamondbeach backed up his impressive win from a week ago with another one in the three $15,000 splits of the third and final leg of the M Life Rewards Gents Pacing Series for harness racing colts and geldings on Wednesday night (March 17) at Yonkers Raceway. Driven by Jason Bartlett, Cigar Smoking Tony hustled to the front from the outside post six in the first division, then yielded to race in the pocket behind Sailboat Hanover (George Brennan) after the 27.4 opening quarter. Sailboat Hanover remained on the point at the 56 second half-mile marker, but Bartlett had Cigar Smoking Tony out and on the move prior to the 1:24.3 three-quarters, and Cigar Smoking Tony had the lead back in his possession beyond that station. From there, Cigar Smoking Tony could not be caught as he went on to score by three-parts of a length in 1:54.1. Sweet Truth (Austin Siegelman) rallied for second at 13-1, and 32-1 outsider Social Theories (Tyler Buter) advanced from sixth to third in the last quarter.   Jose Godinez trains Cigar Smoking Tony, a 4-year-old son of Art Major, for co-owners/breeders Joseph Betro, Ian Behar, and Kristie Leigh Farm Inc. Cigar Smoking Tony has a record of 5-1-2 from 11 career starts, and he has now earned $30,600. Cigar Smoking Tony was a 9-2 shot and returned $11.40 to win. The exacta paid $118.00, and the trifecta was worth $407.50. In the next grouping Diamondbeach (Siegelman) worked his way around Lou's Sweetrevenge (Brennan) to take command past a quick 27 second opening quarter. Diamondbeach was all business after that, posting a 55.4 half and a 1:24.4 three-quarters on his way to a 2 1/2 length decision in 1:53.3. Lou's Sweetrevenge held second, with Got The Mojo (Matt Kakaley) third.   Diamondbeach, a 4-year-old gelded son of Somebeachsomewhere, is owned and trained by Ricky Bucci. Diamondbeach is now a six-time winner from 19 appearances, and he has banked $51,616. Diamondbeach, the 1-2 favorite, returned $3.10 to win and topped a $7.50 exacta and a $21.80 trifecta. Salt Life (Mark MacDonald) had gotten involved in early pace battles that hurt his chances in the first two rounds of the M Life Rewards Gents Pacing Series, but he avoided that tonight, leading all the way from the pole position en route to a 1:54.3 score at odds of 14-1. Salt Life lined up the field in post position order well before the 28.3 quarter went on the board and continued to be well-rated through the 57.4 half and the 1:26.1 three-quarters. Rolling With Sam (Brennan) marched up into second from first-over on the last turn and tried his best to menace Salt Life, but it was to no avail as the pace-setter kicked home in 28.2 to win by three-quarters of a length over pocket-sitter Panther Time (Joe Bongiorno). Rolling With Sam ended up third.   Another 4-year-old gelding by Somebeachsomewhere, Salt Life is co-owned by trainer Bruce Mattison and Carmen Lemorta. Salt Life bagged his sixth career victory, and he has now put away $34,389. Salt Life, who returned $30.40 to win, keyed a $75.50 exacta and a $393.00 trifecta. The M Life Rewards Gents Pacing Series comes to a close next Wednesday (March 24) with the $58,400 final and a $25,000 consolation. Series standings are available on Yonkers Raceway's website. Stakes action resumes at Yonkers on Friday (March 19) with three $35,000 divisions of the second round of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series for pacing mares and continues on Monday (March 22) with four $40,000 splits of the second leg of MGM Borgata Series for free-for-all pacers. Post time is at 7:15 p.m. For full race results, click here. From Yonkers Raceway

Three $15,000 divisions of the third and final preliminary round of the M Life Rewards Ladies Pacing Series for fillies and mares were the featured races on Tuesday night's (March 16) card at Yonkers Raceway. Pettycoat Business, Paige's Girl, and Turnthefrownaround were victorious, with the first two picking up their second wins in the series, and Turnthefrownaround improving to three-for-three. Pettycoat Business (George Brennan), sent off at 1-9, took over the lead going to the 28 second opening quarter in the first flight, then proceeded to cruise through a 56.4 half and a 1:24.4 three-quarters on her way to a four length tally in 1:54.1. Dragon Roll (Jason Bartlett) finished second from the pocket, with Flirty Forty (Matt Kakaley) third. A 4-year-old Art Major mare, Pettycoat Business is trained by Scott Di Domenico for co-owner/breeder Michael Robinson and his ownership partners Robert Mondillo, R.B.H. Ventures Inc., and Gilbilly Stable. Pettycoat Business now has a record of 5-5-4 from 19 tries, and she has earned $145,973. Pettycoat Business, who paid $2.10 to win, led a $3.20 exacta and a $5.30 trifecta.   Similar tactics worked for driver Scott Zeron with Paige's Girl in the next section, as she posted fractions of 29, 57.3, and 1:26.3 on her way to a 1 3/4 length victory in a final time of 1:55.4. P L Nelly (Daniel Dube) was second at 17-1, and Avaya Hanover (Joe Bongiorno) finished third at odds of 31-1. Lance Hudson trains Paige's Girl, a 4-year-old by Captaintreacherous, for owner William Hartt. Paige's Girl is now an eight-time winner from 19 lifetime efforts, and she has pocketed $64,441. Paige's Girl returned $6.40 to win as the 2-1 second choice and topped a $70.50 exacta and a $341.50 trifecta. Brennan also guided Turnthefrownaround to a 1:55.2 triumph in the last split. Turnthefrownaround pulled out of the pocket on the way to the 28.2 opening quarter and cleared Ready Set Rock (Austin Siegelman) past that marker to take over command. Turnthefrownaround never really had an anxious moment from there as she sailed through a 57.2 half and a 1:26.4 three-quarters before sealing the deal with a 28.3 final panel. She defeated Ready Set Rock by 2 1/4 lengths, with Break The Deal (Zeron) third. The winner is a 4-year-old daughter of Roll With Joe and is trained by Ron Burke for owners Burke Racing Stable LLC., Weaver Bruscemi LLC., and Phil Collura. Turnthefrownaround scored her seventh victory in her 32nd trip behind the gate, and she has now banked $144,660. Turnthefrownaround paid $2.80 to win as the 2-5 favorite and headed an exacta that paid $11.20, and a trifecta that kicked back $35.40. The M Life Rewards Ladies Pacing Series wraps up next Tuesday night (March 23) with the $57,800 final and $25,000 consolation. Series standings are available on Yonkers Raceway's website. In other news from Tuesday night's card, 14-year-old Striking Sahbra gelding Watkins won the $9,500 third race trot from post eight in 1:58.4, vaulting past the $1 million mark in lifetime earnings. Watkins is trained and owned by Michael Annunziata, and Jordan Stratton was in the bike. Stakes racing continues at Yonkers on Wednesday (March 17) with the last leg of the M Life Rewards Gents Pacing Series for colts and geldings. Then, on Friday (March 19), pacing mares clash in three $35,000 divisions of the second round of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series. Alexa Skye, Blue Ivy, and Machnhope, who were victorious in the first leg of that event, have drawn in separate races again this time. The fields for Monday's (March 22) second leg of the MGM Borgata Pacing Series have also been set, with 30 entrants divided into four $40,000 races. First round winners Leonidas A (post one, Austin Siegelman/Sheena McElhiney) and San Domino A (post two, Todd McCarthy/Nancy Takter) lock horns in the third split, and two of the other leg one victors, Hesa Kingslayer N (post two, Jim Marohn Jr./Michael Deters) and Let It Ride N (Dexter Dunn/Richard "Nifty" Norman), head up Monday's last MGM Borgata tilt. First race post time for all of that upcoming action is 7:15 p.m. For full race results, click here. From Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, N.Y. – If harness racing future wagering were offered today on the Borgata Pacing Series Final, which will be held Monday, April 19, 2021 at Yonkers Raceway after five preliminary legs, the two favorites would undoubtably be Let It Ride and This Is The Plan. After 40 of the 47 eligible pacers were entered into the Borgata Series first leg and split into five divisions, those two favorites found themselves in the same split – the first one of the series – which begins tonight (March 15) in race three. Let It Ride won two Group 1 stakes in Australia in 2018, but lost his form and settled into a winless rut in 2020.  He shipped to America last fall to Nifty Norman’s stable and added Lasix, which Norman credited as a key change for the 8-year-old Rock N Roll Heaven gelding.  Let It Ride is undefeated in six U.S. starts, including a 1:48.1 victory in the $28,000 Meadowlands open/preferred handicap Jan. 2 and an off the pace victory in 1:52.1 with a :26.4 final quarter in the $30,000 Yonkers open handicap Jan. 11, his latest pari-mutuel outing.  Let It Ride tuned up for the Borgata Series with a 1:54 qualifier at the Meadowlands March 6. He drew post four in the $40,000 Borgata opening division and with regular reinsman Dexter Dunn set to drive, is the 9-5 morning line favorite. While Let It Ride will make his first Grand Circuit start in the Borgata, This Is The Plan is no stranger to the series; he’s been an active player in North America’s top races since 2017. Career highlights include wins in the $176,000 Hoosier Park Pacing Derby in 2020, the $500,000 Ben Franklin Final and $200,000 Prix d’Été in 2019 and the $260,000 Progress Pace in 2018.  In his most recent stakes outing, George Brennan found This Is The Plan a perfect second-over trip from post seven in the $125,000 Invitational Pace for Borgata Series Eligibles at Yonkers Nov. 28. The Ron Burke trainee capitalized, earning a half-length victory in 1:52. This Is The Plan then finished second in a Meadowlands preferred Dec. 5 before getting a winter break. He returned with a 1:54 qualifier at the Swamp March 6 to prepare for the Borgata Series. This Is The Plan drew post one in the Borgata first division and with regular driver Yannick Gingras in the sulky, is 3-1 on the morning line. Other players in the Borgata first division include Western Joe, American History, Stars Align, Rodeo Rock, Bronx Seelster, and Tellitsabb. The second division of the Borgata first leg features the returns of American Mercury, who switches barns to the Norman stable and finished a nose ahead of Let It Ride in the March 6 qualifier, and None Better, who is back off two qualifying wins (1:50.4 at Pompano Feb. 15 and 1:50.1 at the Meadowlands Feb. 27) and is now in the Nancy Takter stable. The third division features the Grand Circuit debut of Pat Stanley for Shane Tritton, the Yonkers return of San Domino, the beaten favorite in the Invitational for Borgata Series Eligibles last fall, and Tookadiveoffdipper, who was third in that Invitational.  The fourth division pits several stalwarts of the Yonkers open handicap pace against each other, including Hesa Kingslayer, Ideal Jimmy, The Wall, Shnitzledosomethin, and Ostro Hanover.  The final division of the Borgata first leg sees the return of Backstreet Shadow, winner of the $164,000 Roll With Joe in 2020, and the 16-1 upsetter of the 2020 $100,000 Potomac Pace, Leonidas, who captured a $30,000 Yonkers open in his pari-mutuel return March 1. Monday’s card features a $2,884 pick six carryover. The wager begins in race three and encompasses all five divisions of the Borgata first leg, plus the $25,000 preferred handicap pace. The wager features a $1 minimum stake, a 20% takeout rate, and no jackpot provision. Free full-card past performances are available here. Yonkers Raceway features live harness racing Monday through Friday with a first post time of 7:15 p.m. For entries to the races, click here. By Brandon Valvo, for the SOA of NY

It was a chalky beginning to the 2021 MGM Borgata Series for free-for-all harness racing pacers on Monday night (March 15) at Yonkers Raceway as favorites delivered in four of the five $40,000 divisions. Let It Ride N (Dexter Dunn) began the proceedings, prevailing off a second-over trip at 1-9 to run his record in the United States to seven wins from seven starts. Dunn brought Let It Ride N to the outside from fourth after the 56.4 half, and then picked up cover when This Is The Plan (Yannick Gingras) tipped out of the pocket beyond the 1:24.1 three-quarters. Dunn sent Let It Ride N three-wide on the far turn, and he kicked home strongly to win by half a length in 1:52.2. This Is The Plan was the runner-up, and Rodeo Rock (Tim Tetrick) closed from sixth to third in the last quarter. Richard "Nifty" Norman trains Let It Ride N, an 8-year-old gelding by Rock N Roll Heaven, for owners William Hartt and Enzed Racing Stable Inc. Let It Ride N has won 25 times from 61 lifetime starts, and he has now pocketed $395,959. Let It Ride N paid $2.30 to win and led a $5.30 exacta and a $53.50 trifecta.   The lone upsetter was 9-2 offering Lyons Steel (Austin Siegelman), who won the second split in 1:53.1. Lyons Steel raced in fifth through fractions of 27.3, 56.4, and 1:25, went four-wide from third-over on the final turn, and got up in the stretch to defeat American Mercury (Andrew McCarthy), who had the second-over journey, by a neck. Mac's Jackpot (Brent Holland) was third after popping out of the two-hole nearing three-quarters. A 6-year-old Rock N Roll Heaven gelding, Lyons Steel is trained by Dennis Watson for owner BD Racing LLC. Lyons Steel picked up career victory 27, and he pushed his bankroll to $394,668. Lyons Steel returned $11.40 to win. The exacta kicked back $58.00, and the trifecta was worth $231.00.   San Domino A (Todd McCarthy) didn't disappoint at 3-5 in the next grouping, tallying in 1:53.1. San Domino A sped out from post four and cleared to the point around Tookadiveoffdipper (Pat Lachance) passing the 27 second opening quarter. After a 56.1 half and a 1:24.3 three-quarters, San Domino A slammed the door with a 28.3 final kicker, topping a first-over Tyga Hanover (Jason Bartlett) by a length and a half. Pat Stanley N (Jordan Stratton) turned a second-over trip into a third-place result. The victorious 8-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding is trained by Nancy Takter for the ownership group of Joe P Racing LLC. and Oldford Racing LLC. San Domino A now has 30 lifetime wins, and he has earned $367,225. San Domino A paid $3.30 to win and was atop a $23.80 exacta and a $58.00 trifecta. Hesa Kingslayer N (Jim Marohn Jr.) was the even-money choice in the fourth flight, and he would get the job done in a 1:52.4 mile. This race was action-packed as 42-1 shot Ideal Jimmy (Holland) forged his way to the lead going to the 27 second opening quarter, then gave a parking ticket to Shnitzledosomethin (Gingras) through a 55.3 half and a 1:23.3 three-quarters. Hesa Kingslayer N, who had joined the two-wide flow from fourth before the half, went on the attack three-wide prior to three-quarters, assumed the first-over position on the final bend, and showed an advantage on the outside before they turned for home. From there, Hesa Kingslayer N went to win by a length over Semi Tough (George Brennan), with Ostro Hanover (Tyler Buter) third from off-the-pace. Trainer Michael Deters also co-owns Hesa Kingslayer N, an 8-year-old gelded son of Christian Cullen, with Joel Warner. Hesa Kingslayer N now has 18 career triumphs, and he has put away $149,962. He returned $4.00 to win and keyed a $69.50 exacta and a $258.50 trifecta. Siegelman picked up another MGM Borgata Pacing Series victory when he guided even-money favorite Leonidas A to a 1:53.1 decision in the final tilt. Western Fame (Daniel Dube), who won this event the last time it was held in 2019, posted stations of 28.1, 57.1, and 1:25.1, but Backstreet Shadow (Tetrick) was moving quickly towards him from first-over heading to three-quarters, and Leonidas A was glued right to that rival from second-over. Siegelman tipped Leonidas A three-wide on the last turn, he vaulted into the lead in upper stretch, and then drew off to a convincing 2 1/2 length tally. Backstreet Shadow had to settle for second, and Chief Mate (Scott Zeron), who started from post eight, advanced from last to third in the final quarter. Last year's Potomac Pace champion, Leonidas A is trained by Sheena McElhiney for owner Jesmeral Stable. A 6-year-old Mach Three gelding, Leonidas A has won 50 percent of his lifetime starts (26 of 52), and he has earnings of $251,848. Leonidas A paid $4.00 to win. The exacta returned $8.90, and the trifecta kicked back $76.50. The MGM Borgata Series continues with preliminary round action through April 12, and the final is scheduled to take place on Monday, April 19. There is more stakes racing ahead at Yonkers this week with the third and final leg of both the M Life Rewards Ladies Pacing Series on Tuesday (March 16) and the M Life Rewards Gents Series on Wednesday (March 17). On Friday (March 19), pacing mares take to the track in three $35,000 divisions of the second round of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series. Alexa Skye, Blue Ivy, and Machnhope, who were victorious in the first leg of that event, have drawn in separate races again this time. Post time for all of those programs is 7:15 p.m. 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

Tookadiveoffdipper will find himself in an unfamiliar spot when he lines up for his opening-round division of the MGM Borgata Pacing Series for older male pacers at Yonkers Raceway on Monday (March 15). He will start from post one for the first time in 26 career starts at The Hilltop. In fact, it will be only the third time he leaves from anywhere inside of post four. The first round of the six-week Borgata series, formerly the George Morton Levy Memorial, attracted 40 horses, which were split into five divisions. Tookadiveoffdipper is in the third division and 6-1 on the morning line for trainer-driver Pat Lachance. During his career, Tookadiveoffdipper has won seven times at Yonkers and hit the board a total of 14. His most recent victory at the half-mile oval came Jan. 18 in his second start for Lachance after being trained previously by Virgil Morgan Jr. The 7-year-old gelding was the 2018 Indiana Sire Stakes champion for older male pacers. "He's a nice horse," Lachance said. "We're still working on some things, just getting to know him, really. We've had a couple little issues with him, but I think he's getting better. He's going into (his race) very good. "He's got the rail this week, so we'll put him in play. He can leave really good, so I expect him to race good." Last year's Borgata series was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. There was, though, a November invitational for Borgata-eligible horses, and Tookadiveoffdipper finished third behind This Is The Plan and Ostro Hanover. Tookadiveoffdipper, who began his career at the Iowa fairs, is a son of Always A Virgin out of Onceinabluemoon. He has won 38 of 114 races and $478,826. He is owned by Jane Cross and Mark Cross. "He's a nice horse to be around, all the way around," Lachance said. "He's a nice drive, very quiet in the barn. He does nothing wrong." Western Fame, who won the 2019 series, is in Monday's fifth division of the Borgata. Leonidas A, last year's Potomac Pace champion, is the 9-5 morning-line favorite in that division. The morning-line favorites in divisions one through four are Let It Ride N (9-5), American Mercury (3-1), Rockapelo (3-1), and Hesa Kingslayer N (5-2). Fourteen horses in the Borgata have earned more than $500,000 lifetime -- led by millionaires Western Fame, This Is The Plan, and American History -- and an additional 10 have earned at least $370,000. "There are a lot of good horses in there," said Lachance, who is making his first appearance in the series since 2016. "We'll see if (Tookadiveoffdipper) fits in there or not. He's showed that he can go in the Open before, so I don't see why not. "It's an exciting time." Racing begins at 7:15 p.m. (EDT) Monday at Yonkers. The Borgata divisions are races three through seven. For complete entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA  

YONKERS, N.Y. – Harness racing owner Tim Bojarski has participated in just about every aspect of the Standardbred racing business throughout his life: as a groom, a trainer, a driver, a writer, handicapper, and as the National President of the U.S. Harness Writers Association and the President of USHWA’s Upstate New York Chapter. He’s also owned horses in partnership with Tony Gruppo since the early 1980s. While the pair has achieved success at the open level, competing on the Grand Circuit has remained a dream. Friday night at Yonkers, Dbldelitebrigade N will change that as she makes her stakes debut in the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series first leg Friday night (March 12). “I’ve owned horses basically my whole life,” Bojarski said. “We been racing at Batavia most of our lives. There are some really good horses racing at Plainridge the last couple years, Paternity Suit A is one of my other horses we race in the open there. Still, it’s not the Grand Circuit. To be able to participate at that level is something we’ve always wanted to do and feel fortunate that we are able to do it now.” Bojarski and Gruppo began importing horses from Australia to upgrade their racing stock. After two previous successful Down Under buys, agent Frank Rinaldi presented them with Dbldelitebrigade N, a consistent Bettor’s Delight daughter out of the Smooth Fella mare Smithie’s Delight.  “We were interested in getting a higher-end mare to race in the open at Plainridge, mostly. When Frank came across her, he got in touch with me right away. He told me he felt this mare is something really special. He gave me her information and I went online and watched all of her replays,” Bojarski recalled. “Her races in Australia are really something to see,” he continued. “Almost every one of them, she’s parked out almost the whole mile. Her last several starts there, she was racing the higher-end male open horses and beating them; I mean really beating them.” Specifically, Bojarski cites Dbldelitebrigade N’s effort in the free for all pace at Albion Park Aug. 22, 2020 as a key race in his decision to purchase the mare. Trainer and driver Grant Dixon sent Dbldelitebrigade N from post seven, but was stuck three-wide around the first turn on the five-eights-mile oval. Dixon put his foot down through the stretch the first time. On loose lines and with the whip on her tail, Dbldelitebrigade cleared parked out rival Bee Gees Bandit to sit on the rim off pacesetter Mafuta Vautin’s flank.  Turning for home, Dbldelitebrigade N took the lead and braced for the challenge of Sir Julian, who circled up four wide from the backfield. Dixon called out to Dbldelitebrigade N, high-lined her, and gave three quick snaps of the whip. In the final few meters, he dropped his hands confidently as Dbldelitebrigade N cruised through the wire a length clear of Sir Julian. “Where you would normally think she was going to pack it in and back through the field, she found another gear. It was a phenomenal race,” Bojarski said. Dbldelitebrigade N shipped to Tom Fanning’s stable at Gaitway Farm Nov. 2, 2020. Fanning took it slow, letting the mare acclimate to her new surroundings. However, she soon showed she was ready to get serious with her training. “The acclimation is the whole thing and having gone through it with the other two, we know to take it slow, let them tell you when to take it to the next level,” Bojarski said. “Tom did a great job with her. He turned her out a couple days, got her on the track just jogging a mile or two and basically let her tell him when to go. Knock on wood, she never got sick, never lost her appetite, never lost weight. She’s got a great personality, does everything right, is very professional about her work, and Tom says she’s a joy to have in the barn.” Dbldelitebrigade N qualified at the Meadowlands Dec. 26. In four starts at the Swamp between Jan. 2, 2021 and Feb. 5, DbldelitebrigadeN  earned a 1:51.4 victory in a $15,500 overnight, two thirds, and a fourth. She then moved to the $30,000 Yonkers distaff opens. Dbldelitebrigade N was beaten a nose by Seaswift Joy in her first local start Feb. 11 and was third by a neck while pacing 1:53.4 with a :27.3 final quarter two back Feb. 25. In her last start here March 4, Jason Bartlett sent Dbldelitebrigade to the lead, but she faded in the final quarter to finish fourth in a blanket photo. “I like what I’ve seen. Her last start, we put her on the front end and it probably wasn’t a good night to do that because it was pretty cold and very windy. It got to her a little bit at the end,” Bojarski said. “She finished fourth, but only lost out on second by about a head. Prior to that, when she raced out of a hole, she paced in 1:53.4 and this mare had never really raced on a half, even in Australia. I think she’s made the switch pretty well. She’s a good-size mare, she isn’t small and our drivers have told me she’s pretty handy getting around the half.” Dbldelitebrigade N drew into the first of three divisions of the Matchmaker first leg, carded as the second race on Friday’s program. She drew post four and with Bartlett down to drive again, is 7-1 on the morning line. Her rivals include 9-5 favorite My Ruebe Star from post one and 2-1 second choice Bettors Heart from post five. Caviart Cherie, Machnhope, and Ali Nui complete the sixpack of pacing mares. Every horse in the field can win that race. I feel all three divisions any horse can win because of the short fields and you never know how it’s going to go,” Bojarski said. “I like our chances. We’re in the middle of the pack. There’s a lot of speed in there and we’ve got a mare who can track speed. We’ll see how the race goes, but we’ve got Jason Bartlett up, who knows that track as well as anyone, and he’s driven this mare. I feel very confident going into the race. “I don’t think we really know what she is yet,” Bojarski continued. “I think there’s more of the story to be written. I feel that she’s probably a little bit better than we’ve seen so far. For right now, I’m looking forward to this race and I can’t thank Tom Fanning enough for the work he’s done getting her ready for this and I feel very confident going in. I look forward to the whole series. Let the games begin.” Yonkers Raceway features live harness racing Monday through Friday with a first post time of 7:15 p.m. For entries to the races, click here. By Brandon Valvo, for the SOA of NY

43-1 shot Big Bad Bill said 'bombs away' in the final leg of Thursday night's (March 11) Pick 5 sequence at Yonkers Raceway, rallying to win in 1:54.3. As a result of that big upset, there will be a carryover of $4,313.12 and a guaranteed pool of $15,000 the Pick 5 on Friday night's (March 12) card. The guaranteed pool in the Pick 5 is part of the United States Trotting Association's Strategic Wagering Program, and free past performances will be available here. Yonkers Raceway's Pick 5, which begins in race five, has a reduced takeout rate for 2021 of 20 percent, as do the nightly Pick 4's and Pick 6. The Pick 6, which starts in the third race, also went unsolved on Thursday, triggering a carryover of $1,569.21 into Friday. There is stakes action both tomorrow and Monday night (March 15) at Yonkers, with three $35,000 divisions of the first leg of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series up first, and then five $40,000 splits of the MGM Borgata Pacing Series to start out next week's slate of action. Both programs get underway at 7:15 p.m. From Yonkers Raceway

This Week: Blue Chip Matchmaker and MGM Borgata Pacing series opening legs, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y. This is the opening event of the 2021 Grand Circuit harness racing season. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit at Yonkers features three $35,000 divisions on Friday (March 12) in the first round of the Blue Chip Matchmaker series for open pacing mares. The Monday (March 15) card at Yonkers will see five $40,000 divisions in the opening round of the MGM Borgata Pacing series for open pacers. Each series offers five preliminary rounds leading to the finales, both set for Monday (April 19). Complete entries for the races can be found by clicking on this link. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2021, 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 2021 Grand Circuit awards. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will continue with legs of the Blue Chip Matchmaker and MGM Borgata over the next four weeks. The finals for both events will be held on April 19. For more information and the complete 2021 Grand Circuit schedule, click here. by Paul Ramlow. publicity director, the Grand Circuit

Wednesday night's (Mar. 10) card at Yonkers Raceway featured three $15,000 divisions of the second round of the M Life Rewards Gents Pacing Series for colts and geldings. Dragon Said and Scootnroll both repeated their victories from the first leg, while Diamondbeach took the night's fastest flight. Dragon Said (Joe Bongiorno) was the 1-5 favorite in the opening group and didn't disappoint, winning in 1:54.3. Away second from post two, Bongiorno brought Dragon Said to the outside coming off the first turn, and he would go around early pace-setter Cigar Smoking Tony (Jason Bartlett) for the top spot after the 28.1 quarter. Dragon Said continued to show the way to the half in 57.4 and the three-quarters in 1:26.3, but Rolling With Sam (George Brennan) put some first-over pressure on him at that latter marker. Rolling With Sam stayed game on the rim around the last turn and continued to menace Dragon Said turning for home, but Dragon Said kicked it into another gear in the stretch and went on to win by a length and a half. Rolling With Sam held second, followed by Cigar Smoking Tony.       Trained by Jenn Bongiorno for owner Robert Devine, Dragon Said is a 4-year-old Well Said gelding. This was his sixth career win, and he has now earned $46,232. Dragon Said paid $2.60 to win and headed a $9.40 exacta and a $19.40 trifecta. The outside post was no issue for Diamondbeach (Austin Siegelman) in the second split as he went right down the road to tally in a life's-best clocking of 1:52.3. Siegelman sent Diamondbeach from the seven-hole, and he was able to get in front of Odds On Brexit (Tyler Buter) well before the 28.1 opening quarter. Diamondbeach marched on to the half in 57 seconds and the three-quarters in 1:24.3, then slammed the door with a 28 second final kicker, downing Odds On Brexit by 4 1/4 lengths. Trevor's Ace (Jordan Stratton) collected third.       Ricky Bucci owns and trains Diamondbeach, a 4-year-old gelded son of Somebeachsomewhere. Diamondbeach is now a five-time winner from 18 appearances, and he has banked $44,116. Diamondbeach, a 3-1 shot, returned $8.30 to win and topped a $49.00 exacta and a $132.00 trifecta. In the final section, Sailboat Hanover (Brennan) and Salt Life (Mark MacDonald) tussled early on, with Sailboat Hanover getting to the front in a 26.4 opening quarter. He was able to back down the pace to 56 seconds at the half, but 4-5 favorite Retour Au Jeu (Stratton) was out and on the move from fourth prior to that marker, giving Got The Mojo (Matt Kakaley) a second-over trip and Scootnroll (Buter) the third-over ride. Retour Au Jeu, who was a round one winner, forged his way around Sailboat Hanover just after the 1:24.2 three-quarters. Despite losing his cover, Got The Mojo continued on and battled with Retour Au Jeu on the final turn, with Scootnroll going three-wide off the bend. Retour Au Jeu dug in determinedly and managed to hold off Got The Mojo, but he couldn't do the same with Scootnroll, as he powered by late to win by a neck in 1:53.4. Retour Au Jeu had to settle for second, and Got The Mojo ended up third.       A 4-year-old gelding by Roll With Joe, Scootnroll is trained by Todd Buter for owners Rick and Geoff Howles. Scootnroll posted his 12th victory from 22 trips behind the gate, and he has pocketed $71,764. Scootnroll, sent off at 7-1, paid $16.40 to win. The exacta returned $40.00, and the trifecta was good for $282.50. The M Life Rewards Gents Pacing Series has one additional preliminary round next Wednesday (March 17), and the final will go on March 24. Stakes action resumes at Yonkers Raceway on Friday (March 12) when the track rolls out the red carpet for 18 pacing mares in three $35,000 divisions of the first leg of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series. Post time for the 10-race program is 7:15 p.m. For full race results, click here. From Yonkers Raceway

Turnthefrownaround improved to two-for-two in this year's M Life Rewards Ladies Pacing Series for harness racing fillies and mares at Yonkers Raceway with a 1:56.4 victory in Tuesday night's (March 9) last of three splits. The other divisional winners were Paige's Girl and Pettycoat Business. Driven by George Brennan, Turnthefrownaround worked out a second-over trip behind Break The Deal (Scott Zeron) and was sent three-wide on the last turn. Turnthefrownaround rallied steadily after being fed the clear racetrack, and she would get up in the lane to win by half a length. 27-1 shot Avaya Hanover (Joe Bongiorno) turned a pocket trip from the outside post seven into a runner-up finish, and Pray The Rosary (Jim Marohn Jr.), who led through fractions of 27.3, 57.4, and 1:26.1, wound up third.       The winner is a 4-year-old daughter of Roll With Joe and is trained by Ron Burke for owners Burke Racing Stable LLC., Weaver Bruscemi LLC., and Phil Collura. Turnthefrownaround scored her sixth victory in her 31st trip behind the gate, and she has now banked $137,160. Turnthefrownaround returned $3.10 to win as the 1-2 favorite and headed an exacta that paid $108.50, and a trifecta that kicked back $302. Brennan also scored with 3-5 choice Pettycoat Business in the second flight. Positioned fourth at the 28.2 opening quarter and the 57.3 half, Brennan sent Pettycoat Business out first-over just beyond the latter marker. She hustled up quickly into second on the outside, but leader Sound Idea (Zeron) proved a stubborn foe, and Pettycoat Business and Sound Idea would duel to the 1:25.4 three-quarters, around the final turn, and into the lane. Pettycoat Business finally got the measure of Sound Idea for good through the drive, and the favorite would score by half a length in 1:54.3. Sound Idea was a game second, and Dragon Roll (Jason Bartlett) took third from the pocket.       A 4-year-old Art Major mare, Pettycoat Business is trained by Scott Di Domenico for co-owner/breeder Michael Robinson and his ownership partners Robert Mondillo, R.B.H. Ventures Inc., and Gilbilly Stable. Pettycoat Business now has a record of 4-5-4 from 18 tries, and she has earned $138,473. Pettycoat Business, who paid $3.20 to win, led a $5.60 exacta and an $8.70 trifecta. Paige's Girl (Scott Zeron), the 5-2 second choice, won Tuesday night's opening section after leading from start to finish. She darted to the point from post four, posted stations of 28.3, 57.4, and 1:25.3, and held sway in a 28.4 final kicker, prevailing by a head in 1:54.2. Rable (Jordan Stratton) rallied three-wide in the lane after sitting third and was second, and Somebeachsomefra (Brennan) checked in third after stalking the winner from the two-hole.       Lance Hudson trains Paige's Girl, a 4-year-old by Captaintreacherous, for owner William Hartt. Paige's Girl is now a seven-time winner from 18 lifetime efforts, and she has pocketed $56,941. Paige's Girl returned $7.20 to win and topped a $14.00 exacta and a $26.20 trifecta. The M Life Rewards Ladies Pacing Series has one more preliminary round next Tuesday (March 16) before the final on March 23. Stakes action continues on Wednesday night's (March 10) ten-race program at Yonkers with the second leg of the M Life Rewards Gents Pacing Series. Three splits, carded as races three, five, and seven, will take place. First post is at 7:15 p.m. EST. From Yonkers Raceway

It will be an MGM Borgata Pacing Series bonanza on Monday night (March 15) at Yonkers Raceway as 40 free-for-all pacers entered for the first leg, necessitating five $40,000 divisions. The MGM Borgata Pacing Series events will go as races three through seven. Let It Ride N (post four, Dexter Dunn/Nifty Norman) by Rock N Roll Heaven brings his six-for-six record since coming to the United States into the first flight. If he wants to make it a perfect seven, he'll have to defeat the likes of This Is The Plan (post one, Yannick Gingras/Ron Burke) by Somebeachsomewhere, who won the $125,000 contest for MGM Borgata Pacing Series eligibles at Yonkers on November 28 of last year, 2019 Breeders Crown Open Pace champion American History (post three, Andrew McCarthy/Tony Alagna) by American Ideal, and Rodeo Rock (post six, McCarthy also listed for trainer Robert Cleary) by Rock N Roll Heaven, who won two legs and was second in the final of this series in 2019. American Mercury (post two, Andrew McCarthy/Nifty Norman) by American Ideal, the winner of the Messenger final at Yonkers in 2019, makes his 5-year-old debut in the second split. He will match up against foes such as Lyons Steel (post three, Austin Siegelman/Dennis Watson) by Rock N Roll Heaven, who took a preliminary round of this series in 2019 in 1:50.4, and None Bettor A (post six, Todd McCarthy/Nancy Takter) by Bettors Delight, who has scored in the Open at Yonkers multiple times during his career. None Bettor A's stablemate San Domino A (post four, Todd McCarthy/Nancy Takter) by Somebeachsomewhere has made plenty of appearances in the winner's circle at Yonkers after winning Opens, and he headlines the third MGM Borgata Pacing Series section. Rockapelo (post eight, George Brennan/Ron Burke) by Rock N Roll Heaven won a New York Sire Stakes final over the track back in 2018 and has gone on to have success in the Open as an aged horse, and Pat Stanley N (post five, Jordan Stratton/Shane Tritton) by Western Ideal and Mach N Cheese (post six, Tyler Buter/Edwin Quevedo) by Betterthancheddar have also raced well at high levels in Westchester before. Hesa Kingslayer N by Christian Cullen won an Open at Yonkers on January 18 of this year, and he has the pole position for driver Jim Marohn Jr. and trainer Mike Deters in the fourth MGM Borgata Pacing Series battle. Ideal Jimmy (post two, Brent Holland/Erv Miller) by Western Ideal had success in this series in 2019, taking three legs and finishing fourth in the final, Ostro Hanover (post five, Tyler Buter/Daniel Renaud) by Betterthancheddar has won many times in the Open at Yonkers and was second to This Is The Plan in the $125,000 tilt for series eligibles last November, and Ana Afreet (post seven, Andrew McCarthy/Jeff Cullipher) by Bettors Delight has been sharp for an extended period of time, racing mainly at the Meadowlands. A deep group goes in Monday's final showdown. Western Fame (post two, Daniel Dube/Shane Tritton) by Western Ideal won four legs and the final of this series in 2019 and also won two preliminary rounds in 2018, Backstreet Shadow (post four, Tim Tetrick/Ron Burke) by Shadow Play has over $850,000 in the bank and won last year's Roll With Joe final, and Leonidas A (post five, Austin Siegelman/Sheena McElhiney) by Mach Three won the Open at Yonkers on March 1 and picked up a Grand Circuit credit by taking the 2020 Potomac Pace. Ashley Locaz N (post six, Dexter Dunn/Chris Ryder) by Bettors Delight, who was third in the prestigious Group 1 New Zealand Trotting Cup last year, will be making his U.S. debut in this race, as well. The MGM Borgata Pacing Series has five preliminary rounds, and they will take place on March 15, 22, 29, and April 5 and 12. The final is scheduled to take place on Monday, April 19. Post time for Monday night's program at Yonkers is 7:15 p.m EST. From Yonkers Raceway

Yonkers, NY-- After being sidelined recently because of weather problems, the granddaddy of all amateur harness racing programs, the CKG Billings Harness Driving Series, finally got a clear evening and presented another contest on Monday (March 8) at Yonkers Raceway. And when the judges hung the official sign after that race, Bob "the Headhunter" Hechkoff and Pound Sterling emerged victorious when they vanquished five others en route to a 2:00 victory. In the short 6-horse field, Hechkoff, who has driven 107 winners in his amateur career, knows that if you have the best horse in the race, send him to the front -- and that's just what he did after starting from the two-hole. But Hechkoff didn't have an easy time of it when "Mighty Matt" Zuccarello sent his charge, Stealing, for the lead when the wings of the mobile gate folded, and they kept pressure on Pound Sterling as they trotted by the first stanza in a swift :28.3. Still eye-to-eye with Zuccarello's charge, Hechkoff had little choice but to keep the pedal to the metal, and the two were battling head-to-head as they trotted by the half in :58.2. They were still heads apart as they headed toward the third split in 1:29.1, but unfortunately for Zuccarello, his trotter made a bobble which eliminated his chances After that miscue by Zuccarello's trotter, Pound Sterling still had pressure and braced for a late charge from Fiji and Dave "the Rave" Offenberg as they trotted into the final turn. And although they were heads apart as they headed for paydirt, Pound Sterling held gamely for a neck triumph over Fiji. Just a length behind the top two was Hot Summer Knight in rein to "Mighty" Marianna Monaco. The winner of the non-wagering affair was the 8-year-old Muscle Hill gelding who is owned by R B H Ventures and Spagnola Racing LLC and trained by Kyle Spagnola. by John Manzi, for the Billings Series

With stalwarts like Kissin In The Sand, Shartin N, and Caviart Ally now retired, the open pacing mares division is search of new faces at the top, and a group of 18 will look to take a step forward in Friday's first leg of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series at Yonkers Raceway. The first Grand Circuit harness racing event of 2021, the Blue Chip Matchmaker will start with three $35,000 splits, slated as races two, three, and five on Friday's 10-race program in Westchester. New Zealand import My Ruebe Star by Falcon Seelster (Jordan Stratton/Shane Tritton) has won three editions of the local Fillies and Mares Open since coming to the United States, and she has the pole position in Friday's first flight. She will meet up with the likes of fellow Kiwi Bettors Heart by Bettors Delight (post five, Dexter Dunn/Nifty Norman), who was victorious in an the Open that took place at Yonkers on December 10 of last year, and Machnhope by Mach Three (post three, Andrew McCarthy/Noel Daley), a regular at the top level at tracks across the Northeast. Machnhope prepped for the Blue Chip Matchmaker with a 1:52 win at the Meadowlands last Friday. Friday's opening group also includes Caviart Cherie by Well Said (post two, Matt Kakaley/Nick Devita), who raced in the Blue Chip Matchmaker in 2019, Dbldelitebrigade N by Bettors Delight (post four, Jason Bartlett/Tom Fanning), who has picked up checks in her three starts in the Open over the last couple of months, and Alii Nui by Captaintreacherous (post six, Stratton also listed for trainer Erv Miller). Alexa Skye by Somebeachsomewhere (post four, Todd McCarthy/Jeff Cullipher), who has a record of 3-2-0 from five starts this year, tops the second section. Alexa Skye scored in the Open at Yonkers on January 14 and has been second in two subsequent tries over the half-mile oval. Seaswift Joy N by Bettors Delight won three legs and was fifth from post eight in the final in the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series in 2019, and she will take another shot in the event this season, starting from post one for Andrew McCarthy and trainer Tony Alagna. The Stratton/Tritton combo have another entrant in this group with Maczaffair N by Mach Three (post six), and the connections behind Shartin N - owner Rich Poillucci, trainer Jim King Jr., and driver Tim Tetrick - have a new shooter in Keep Rockin A by Rock N Roll Heaven (post three). Keep Rockin A, who will be making her U.S. debut, was Group 1 and Group 2 placed in her native country. Also competing will be Monica Gallagher by Mach Three (post two, Austin Siegelman/Chris Height), who scored in a non-winners $20,000 last five race on March 4 at Yonkers, and Parisian Blue Chip by Bettors Delight (post five, Daniel Dube), a newcomer from Canada for trainer Peter Tritton. Parisian Blue Chip raced several times in the Preferred at Woodbine Mohawk Park in 2020 and took a mark of 1:50.2. A trio of mares with multiple wins in the Open level at Yonkers during their careers - Snobbytown by Nob Hill High (post two, George Brennan/Ron Burke), Siesta Beach by American Ideal (post three, Matt Kakaley/Nick Devita), and Lady Dela Renta A by Well Said (post four, Jordan Stratton/Shane Tritton) - meet up with a couple of sharp invaders in Soho Burning Love A by Auckland Reactor N (post one, Tim Tetrick/Jim King Jr.) and Blue Ivy by Captaintreacherous (post five, Tyler Buter/Todd Buter) in the final Matchmaker ensemble. The other mare entered in that race, Kaitlyn N by American Ideal (post six, Kakaley also listed for trainer Paul Blumenfeld), has credentials of her own, having won a round of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series in 2019 before coming in sixth from first-up in the final. The Blue Chip Matchmaker Series has five preliminary rounds, occurring March 12th, 19th, and 26th, and April 2nd and 9th, and the final will take place on Monday, April 19. First post for this Friday's program at Yonkers is 7:15 p.m. From Yonkers Raceway

Dragon Said and Retour Au Jeu picked up new harness racing lifetime marks in winning their respective $15,000 splits in the first leg of the M Life Rewards Gents Pacing Series on Wednesday night (March 3) at Yonkers Raceway. Driven by Joe Bongiorno in the final division, Dragon Said moved out of the pocket to take the lead away from Sailboat Hanover (George Brennan) going to the 28.3 opening quarter. Dragon Said, sent off as the 8-5 second choice, continued on the engine to the half in 58 seconds and the three-quarters in 1:26.1, then drew off powerfully in the final quarter, widening to prevail by seven lengths in 1:53.1. Sailboat Hanover wound up second, and favored My Pal Joe (Alek Chartrand) had to settle for third after stalling out from first-up on the last turn.   Trained by Jenn Bongiorno for owner Robert Devine, Dragon Said is a 4-year-old Well Said gelding. This was his fifth career win, and he has now earned $38,732. Dragon Said paid $5.50 to win. The exacta was worth $20.00, and trifecta returned $28.00. Retour Au Jeu (Jordan Stratton) raced in the second section, and he watched from fourth as Odds On Brexit (Tyler Buter), Rolling With Sam (Brennan), and Got The Mojo (Matt Kakaley) all had a turn on the front through a snappy 27 second opening quarter. Once the dust settled, Stratton guided Retour Au Jeu to the outside, and he was able to brush to the point before the 56.1 half. Retour Au Jeu then successfully withstood a first-over try from Odds On Brexit to the 1:24.2 three-quarters before he paced away to a 2 1/2 length verdict in 1:53.4. Rolling With Sam was up for second, and Trevor's Ace (Scott Zeron) got third at 64-1. Dennis Laterza trains Retour Au Jeu, a 4-year-old He's Watching gelding, for owner Latz A Luck Stable. Retour Au Jeu now has a record of 8-5-6 from 24 lifetime starts, and he has banked $48,768. Retour Au Jeu, the 3-2 favorite, returned $5.00 to win. The exacta returned $19.80, and the trifecta kicked back $259.50. Even-money second choice Scootnroll (Buter) turned a second-over trip into a 1:56.1 triumph in the first flight. He beat Panther Time (Joe Bongiorno), who led through panels of 28.2, 58.4, and 1:27.4, by a length and a half, and Gonnahaveonemore (Brett Holland) saved third after a pocket trip. A 4-year-old gelded son of Roll With Joe, Scootnroll is trained by Todd Buter for owners Rick and Geoff Howles. Scootnroll is now an 11-time winner from 21 trips behind the gate, and he has pocketed $64,264. Scootnroll paid $4.20 to win. The exacta returned $10.60, and the trifecta was good for $18.00. Rounding out Wednesday night's winners in the M Life Gents Pacing Series was Lou's Sweetrevenge (Brennan). After racing in fourth through stations of 27.1, 56.2, and 1:24.2, Brennan had Lou's Sweetrevenge off the cones before three-quarters. Lou's Sweetrevenge gained into third on the last turn, rallied past tiring leader Cigar Smoking Tony (Jason Bartlett) in the stretch, and hit the line a length and three-quarters to the good in 1:54. Diamondbeach (Zeron) advanced from last to second in the back-half of the mile, and Cigar Smoking Tony wound up third. Lou's Sweetrevenge is a 4-year-old Sweet Lou gelding trained by Ron Burke for owners Burke Racing Stable LLC., Phil Collura, J&T Silva- Purnel & Libby, and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. Lou's Sweetrevenge posted his sixth win in his 36th lifetime effort, and he now shows earnings of $98,403. Lou's Sweetrevenge, who returned $5.30 to win as the 8-5 second choice, headed a $21.80 exacta and a $51.00 trifecta. The M Life Gents Pacing Series continues with preliminary round action the next two Wednesdays (March 10 and 17), and the final is slated for March 24. For full race results, click here. From Yonkers Raceway

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