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Preliminary round action in the MGM Borgata Pacing Series concluded on Monday night (April 12) at Yonkers Raceway with a trio of $40,000 divisions that were won by Backstreet Shadow, Mach N Cheese, and Leonidas A. It was also another well-received program on the wagering front, as the handle on the ten-race card checked in at $951,089. Backstreet Shadow (Yannick Gingras) took full advantage of the pole position in the first split, going to the lead and putting up fractions of 27.3, 56.1, and 1:24.1 over a surface that was rated "good" and a second off. Western Joe (Dexter Dunn) took up the chase by going first-over out of third in the backstretch, but he couldn't make any headway on the outside, allowing Backstreet Shadow to turn into the lane with a clear advantage. Once they hit the stretch, Western Joe suddenly hit top gear and began to gain on Backstreet Shadow, but Backstreet Shadow was able to get to the wire half a length to the good in a 1:52.1 mile. Tyga Hanover (Jason Bartlett) came in third. BACKSTREET SHADOW REPLAY   A 6-year-old gelding by Shadow Play, Backstreet Shadow is trained by Ron Burke for owners Burke Racing Stable LLC., Weaver Bruscemi LLC., Larry Karr, and J&T Silva- Purnel & Libby. Backstreet Shadow, who won twice in the MGM Borgata Pacing Series, now has a record of 26-12-6 from 64 starts, and he has earned $910,162. The 3-5 favorite, Backstreet Shadow paid $3.40 to win and was atop an $8.90 exacta and a $107.50 trifecta. In the second grouping Semi Tough (George Brennan) cut out panels of 27.3, 57, and 1:25.1, but Mach N Cheese (Joe Bongiorno), who had come first-over from fourth before the half, made steady progress on the rim into second on the far turn. In the lane Mach N Cheese forged his way by Semi Tough, then held off a three-wide bid from pocket-sitter Western Fame (Dan Dube) to score by three-quarters of a length in 1:54 flat. Semi Tough held third over Mac's Jackpot (Dunn). MACH N CHEESE REPLAY   Mach N Cheese, who picked up his first triumph in the series, is trained by Edwin Quevedo for owner Save The Day Stable. A 6-year-old gelded son of Betterthancheddar, Mach N Cheese is now a 16-time winner in his career, and he has put away $283,512. Sent off at 9-2, Mach N Cheese returned $11.20 to win and keyed a $56.50 exacta and a $138.00 trifecta. Leonidas A (Austin Siegelman) left from post one and lined up the field in post position order right out of the gate in the last section, then led through an easy tempo of 28.4, 57.4, and 1:25.2. Leonidas A's two main rivals in the field, Hesa Kingslayer N (Jim Marohn Jr.) and This Is The Plan (Gingras) were in fifth and sixth, respectively, until beginning to advance first-over and second-over in the third turn. Though they made gains after pulling, Leonidas A had the jump on them and stayed in front, prevailing by a length and a quarter in 1:53.3. This Is The Plan kicked home widest in the stretch to get up for second over Hesa Kingslayer N. LEONIDAS A REPLAY   Finishing four-for-four in the preliminary rounds of the MGM Borgata Pacing Series, Leonidas A is a 6-year-old Mach Three gelding trained by Sheena Mcelhiney for owner Jesmeral Stable. Leonidas A now has 29 career wins, and he has banked $311,848. He was the 3-5 favorite and paid $3.20 to win. The exacta kicked back $6.10, and the trifecta was worth $11.80. Unofficially, the eight horses that advanced to the $514,000 MGM Borgata Pacing Series final were: Leonidas A (300 points), Western Joe (283), This Is The Plan (275), Hesa Kingslayer N (262), Backstreet Shadow (250), Rockapelo (230), Mach N Cheese (220), and Lyons Steel (192). Both the MGM Borgata Pacing Series final and the $232,800 Blue Chip Matchmaker Series final will take place next Monday (April 19), and the draws for those two races will occur on Tuesday afternoon (April 13). Stakes action continues this week at Yonkers Raceway on Wednesday (April 14), as three $20,000 splits of the final leg of the John Brennan Trotting Series will go behind the gate in races six, seven, and eight. For full race results, click here. From Yonkers Raceway

Freehold, NJ --- Harness racing driver Austin Siegelman went into the Friday (April 9) card on a hot streak. He had won four races on each of the last three race days at Freehold Raceway. This Friday, he did one better, with five victories.   His biggest victory came in the Preferred Handicap trot, where he guided Levitation to victory. Coming off a win in the A.H.D.C. Amateur Trot, Levitation was the 8/5 favorite in the field of eight. Siegelman sent him to the early lead, but Winneress wrestled back control and cleared to the front just after the opening quarter. Undeterred, Siegelman kept his drive in the pocket, letting Winneress set the pace.   Siegelman's plan worked to perfection. As they turned for home, he angled Levitation off the inside for clear sailing, and he got by in the last few strides for a half-length victory. The final time was 1:57.   LEVITATION REPLAY       Levitation has now won twelve times from 69 career starters, with earnings of more than $177,000. He's owned and trained by Franz Wolf.   Siegelman began his day with a win in race 1, scoring on Betziesbookinit for trainer Travion Jones. He took race 3 on Perseverance, for trainer Robert Baggitt Jr, then won a pair of trainer Mike Kimelman, scoring in race 4 with Loud Brazilian and race 8 on Sweet You.   Siegelman has a comfortable lead in the driver standings, with 74 wins.   Live racing at Freehold continues on Saturday (April 10) with an 11-race card starting at about 12:30 PM.   For full race results, click here.   From Freehold 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

Hesa Kingslayer N improved to three-for-three, Rockapelo repeated impressively, and Western Joe picked up his initial triumph in the event in Monday night's (March 29) trio of $40,000 divisions of the third leg of the MGM Borgata Pacing Series for free-for-allers at Yonkers Raceway. Driven by Jim Marohn Jr. in the opening section, Hesa Kingslayer N was able to get into the pocket from post four and had a great view of a battle for the lead between Pat Stanley N (Jordan Stratton) and a parked-out None Bettor A (Todd McCarthy). Pat Stanley N gave None Bettor A the cold shoulder through fractions of 27, 56.4, and 1:25, and when None Bettor A began to back up on the final turn, that gave Marohn Jr. and Hesa Kingslayer N the escape route to the outside they needed. Once he had clear sailing, Hesa Kingslayer N pounced on Pat Stanley N, going by him in upper stretch on his way to a 2 1/4 length victory in 1:53. This Is The Plan (Yannick Gingras) was also on the outside throughout in the second-over position and checked in as the runner-up after going three-high on the final bend, and Pat Stanley N held third. HESA KINGSLAYER N REPLAY    Trainer Mike Deters also co-owns Hesa Kingslayer N, an 8-year-old gelding by Christian Cullen, with partner Joel Warner. Hesa Kingslayer N is now a 20-time winner in his career, and he has now earned $189,962. The 2-5 favorite, Hesa Kingslayer N paid $2.80 to win and led an $8.40 exacta and a $24.00 trifecta. In the next split, Rockapelo (George Brennan) motored directly to the lead from post three and fronted his rivals through opening-half stations of 27 and 55.2. Mach N Cheese (Joe Bongiorno) watched the early proceedings from the three-hole, then came with a quick burst off the third turn that nearly put him on even-terms with Rockapelo as three-quarters went on the board in 1:23.2. Rockapelo was able to fend off Mach N Cheee's bid, though, and when Rockapelo kicked it into another gear entering the lane, Mach N Cheese couldn't match strides with the pace-setter, who went on to an impressive 2 1/4 length victory in 1:51.2. Mach N Cheese did end up second over San Domino A (Todd McCarthy). ROCKAPELO REPLAY   The victorious 6-year-old Rock N Roll Heaven gelding is trained by Ron Burke and owned by Burke Racing Stable LLC., Weaver Bruscemi LLC., and Phil Collura. Rockapelo now has a record of 21-19-11 from 83 appearances, and he has banked$491,106. Rockapelo, the 2-1 favorite, returned $6.60 to win and was atop a $72.50 exacta and a $148.50 trifecta. Monday night's final flight saw leg one winner Lyons Steel (Austin Siegelman) charge out to early command from post two, but round two victor Backstreet Shadow (Tim Tetrick) was out and on the move from third, and Backstreet Shadow landed on the point after the quick 26.3 opening quarter. Backstreet Shadow would go on to the half in 55.3, with Ostro Hanover (Tyler Buter) coming first-up from fourth prior to that marker and Western Joe (Dexter Dunn) grabbing the cover to sit second-over. Ostro Hanover advanced on the rim into second before the 1:23.2 three-quarters, but that was as far as he could get as Backstreet Shadow rebuffed any further headway. Meanwhile, Western Joe had gapped on the third turn and into the backstretch, but after being high-lined along by Dunn, he caught back up to Ostro Hanover entering the far turn before going three-wide. Backstreet Shadow still looked good as he turned into the lane first, but Western Joe had a full head of steam on the far outside, and he powered by Backstreet Shadow on his way to a two length score in 1:51.4. Backstreet Shadow came in second, a nose better than Lyons Steel. WESTERN JOE REPLAY   Western Joe is a 7-year-old Western Ideal gelding trained by Chris Choate for co-owner/breeder Anthony Ruggeri and co-owner Richard Tosies. Western Joe picked up lifetime win 32 from 104 trips behind the gate, and he has now put away $761,858. Western Joe, sent off as the 2-1 second choice, paid $6.40 to win and keyed a $10.20 exacta and a $37.20 trifecta.   The MGM Borgata Pacing Series has two preliminary rounds remaining on Monday, April 5 and Monday, April 12. The final is scheduled to take place on Monday, April 19. Stakes action continues at Yonkers Raceway later this week. On Wednesday (March 31), there are four $20,000 divisions of the first leg of the John Brennan Trotting Series, with early season stars Some Chapter (race four, Dexter Dunn/Anette Lorentzon) and Get Legs (race seven, Andy Miller/Julie Miller) among the entrants. On Friday (April 2), two $35,000 splits of the fourth round of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series for pacing mares will take place. Leg one winner Blue Ivy (post five, Tyler Buter/Todd Buter) heads the first section (race two), and then in the second flight (race three), Machnhope (post four, Andrew McCarthy/Noel Daley), a two-time victor in the event, returns from a one-week break to battle with Snobbytown (post three, George Brennan/Ron Burke), who scored in Matchmaker action a week ago. For full race results, click here. From Yonkers Raceway

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

Freehold, NJ --- Freehold Raceway harness racing fans have known how good Lyons Steel is for a long time. He's won four of his last five races over this track, including a perfect 2-for-2 mark in 2021.   In recent times, Lyons Steel has enjoyed great success elsewhere as well. The six-year-old gelded son of Rock N Roll Heaven won the winners-over pace at the Meadowlands February 20, for his second straight win at that track. On Monday night (March 15), he won a division of the first leg of the MGM Borgata series at Yonkers Raceway.   This Saturday, he returns to Freehold, for the Preferred Handicap pace. He's been assigned the outside post position eight, for trainer Dennis Watson. Austin Siegelman, who drove him to victory on Monday at Yonkers, will be in the sulky.   Lyons Steel will face an interesting field of top-level pacers. Two mares have entered: Dongal Rundlscrk N, for trainer Shaun Vallee, and Best Honey Hanover, trained by Edwin Quevedo. Dongal Rundlscrk N was fourth in the Fillies & Mares Preferred Handicap at Yonkers last out, and won three races in a row at that track earlier in the year. Best Honey Hanover has won three of her last six between the Meadowlands and Yonkers. They were assigned the inside two post positions, respectively.   The field also includes three recent Freehold winners. Tisadream N, from post position three, has been on a hot streak. He's won his last three races at Freehold, including a narrow win at the non-winners of $8,000 last 5 pace last out. Tom Fanning is his trainer.   Soho Chelsea A won at the non-winners of $8,000 last 5 level two starts back, for trainer Travis Kolaczynski. Both of his wins this year have come at Freehold. He'll leave from post position four. Capozzo won a non-winners of $6,000 last 5 pace gate-to-wire last out, for trainer Tom Shay. He was assigned post position five.   Two of the top trainers in harness racing, Jenn Bongiorno and Ron Burke, entered a horse. Hot Deuce, making his second start of the year for Team Bongiorno, will leave from post position six. Yankee Roller A represents the Burke Brigade, having won five of his seven races on the year. He was assigned post position seven.   The Preferred Handicap will go as the ninth race on the card, with a scheduled post time of 3:10 PM.   The first of thirteen races at Freehold on Saturday is scheduled for 12:30 PM.   From Freehold Raceway      

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

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

Leonidas A, who scored a Grand Circuit harness racing win in the Potomac Pace at Rosecroft Raceway last year, kicked off his 2021 campaign with a 1:55.4 victory in the $30,000 Open Pace on Monday night at Yonkers Raceway. Driven by Austin Siegelman, Leonidas A got away in the sixth spot and watched as Moonshine Kisses (Mark MacDonald) carved out fractions of 27.4 and 57.2 for the opening half. On the third turn, driver Joe Bongiorno tipped out first-over from fourth with Rollwithpapajoe, giving Carlisimo (Scott Zeron) a second-over journey and Leonidas A the third-over ride. Rollwithpapajoe and Moonshine Kisses were on even terms at the 1:26.4 three-quarters, and though Rollwithpapajoe got an advantage on the far turn, he was unable to clear. Meanwhile, Siegelman moved Leonidas A out four-wide on the bend, with Carlisimo ready to strike three-wide. In the lane, Carlisimo had first crack at the leaders and went by them to take a narrow advantage in upper stretch, but Leonidas A was kicking home even better on the far outside, and it would be Leonidas A prevailing by a length. Carlisimo was a solid second, and Ostro Hanover (Tyler Buter), who was also making his first start of the year, advanced from seventh to third in the last quarter. Fine Diamond (Brent Holland) and Rollwithpapajoe rounded out the top five.   Sheena Mcelhiney trains Leonidas A, a 6-year-old gelding by Mach Three, for owner Jesmeral Stable. Leonidas A has now won 25 times from 51 career starts, and he pushed his earnings to $231,848. Sent off as the 4-5 favorite, Leonidas A paid $3.90 to win. The 6-5 exacta with Carlisimo returned $27.00, and the trifecta of 6-5-7 kicked back $277.50. Live racing resumes at Yonkers Raceway on Tuesday night at 7:15 p.m., and the 10-race card features three divisions of the first leg of the M Life Rewards Ladies Pacing Series. For full results, click here.  From Yonkers Raceway

Trenton, NJ — After hitting career highs in wins and earnings in 2019, Austin Siegelman seemed on his way to breaking both of those marks again last year until the COVID-19 shutdown hit. He still finished with strong numbers, and has carried that momentum into this season. Racing predominantly at Yonkers during the week and Freehold on weekends, Siegelman has won 54 races in 2021, a total that ranks 10th in North America. He is the leading driver at Freehold Raceway, where his 43 victories put him 18 ahead of second-place Jim Marohn Jr. “I think it’s been a good start,” said Siegelman, who won the driving title at Freehold last year. “I wish I won a few more races at Yonkers to start, but that’s all right.” Nonetheless, he is happy with the progress he’s made over the years, which includes winning the $100,000 Potomac Pace Invitational last year with Leonidas A. “It’s getting to a point where I’m extremely confident on the racetrack,” he said. “I’m starting to get a little more finesse than I used to have and getting a little more polished than I used to be.” Siegelman, who turns 29 on Saturday, has been steadily climbing the ladder since receiving the 2013 Rising Star Award from the Monticello-Goshen chapter of the U.S. Harness Writers Association. That was his first full year of driving and he won 90 races and earned $538,079 in 752 starts. From there, he would win over $1 million each of the next four years. He cracked 300 wins and $2 million in earnings for the first time in 2018 and exploded in 2019 with career-highs in starts (2,587), wins (323), and earnings ($3.63 million). He seemed ready to surpass those marks last year before the pandemic hit. “It was pretty disappointing to finally get rolling and to get shut down like that but, it happens, so no big deal,” the laidback driver said. “I didn’t find it hard to get back in a rhythm when we started again, but it was definitely different. There was less work available, less purse money. Just a lot of less.” In 2018, Siegelman’s main track was Monticello, and he began to drive at Freehold toward the end of the year with hopes of getting steady drives at Yonkers. That schedule slowly morphed into becoming a regular at Yonkers during weeknights and at Freehold on Fridays and Saturdays. He is hoping to get some drives at The Meadowlands, and possibly The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono and Harrah’s Philadelphia. “My Saturdays just opened up; Yonkers changed its schedule, so they picked up Wednesday instead of Saturday a few weeks ago,” he said. “I’ve been throwing around the idea of racing in Pennsylvania and still doing Yonkers at night.” Siegelman will remain at Freehold, where he won 85 times in 2019 to capture the driving title. “Doing it at Freehold is a little different,” he said. “Usually, you’re driving for different people every race and it’s not just one barn, so that’s always nice.” When it comes to getting on a roll like that, Siegelman said, “You’re just thinking how to win the next one.” There is, however, some confidence that starts to build. “Oh yeah, absolutely,” he said. “Once you start to win a few, it kind of helps the train get rolling a little bit.” Siegelman began driving at Freehold since its day racing fit well with his schedule. It has turned into a nice little haven for him. “I feel very comfortable over at that track,” he said. “The atmosphere is a little more laid back.” He is now looking to conquer Yonkers the way he has at Freehold. “I like Yonkers, it’s tough,” he said. “I consider Yonkers my main track now. Even though I don’t win five a night at Yonkers, I’m there every night.” Siegelman, who lists winning the Potomac Pace last year and “just making it this far,” as some of his biggest accomplishments, says his goal this year would be to get 100 wins at every track he races regularly. But for the most part, he is taking it drive by drive. “Right now, I’m happy with where I’m at,” Siegelman said. “I drive for the overnight guys now. But when I’m ready (for stakes races), I’ll be ready for that.” Austin is the son of trainer James Siegelman, who he still goes to for advice. “We’re living in two separate places right now, but he still helps me out a lot,” Siegelman said. “I talk to him every night. He’ll criticize me every night or tell me I did good every night.” Slowly but surely, he’s earning more praise with each of those talks. by Rich Fisher, for the USTA

Freehold, NJ --- Harness racing driver Austin Siegelman further asserted his dominance at Freehold Raceway on Saturday (February 6), winning five races on the 13-race card.   He won for the first time in race 4, with a perfectly-timed drive on Mike Posner's Atomic Rei. He surged in the stretch to get up at the wire over Somesurfsomewhere by a nose. In race 5, he sat a great pocket trip with Proven Desire, trained by Chris Height, and got another win.   Siegelman completed the hat trick in the 7th race, going gate-to-wire on favorite Its Just Too Much, for trainer Allie Reynolds. He scored another front-running win in race 10 behind Ultimate Flyer N, for trainer Mark Infante. In race 12, he completed the five-bagger with Ane DePietro trainee Shaving Mug.       After winning the driving title in 2020, Siegelman is off to a fast start in 2021. He's won 34 races from 162 drives, putting him in first place in the standings by a comfortable margin.   Live racing resumes at Freehold on Friday (February 12) starting at 12:30 PM. There will be a pick 5 carryover, starting in race 5, worth $1,285.70.   From Freehold Raceway    

Freehold, NJ --- Austin Siegelman continued his driving dominance at Freehold Raceway on Friday (December 4). He won four races on the 11-race harness racing card, the third consecutive racing day he's won at least that many.   Siegelman got things started in race 2, as Rock the Baby won with a powerful brush to the lead heading up the backstretch the final time. Brandon Mongiello was the winning trainer. In race 6, Siegelman dominated the competition, as Sweet You won going away for trainer Michael Kimelman.   One race later, Siegelman completed the hat trick. Masster Blue rallied wide on the turn and got up to win, for owner/trainer John Novello. The grand slam was completed in race 10, as Stonebridge Honey wore down Southwind Tsunami with a strong first-over grind. Bruce Lauer trains that winner.   Rock the Baby   With six days left of racing at Freehold in 2020, Siegelman has established a solid lead in the driver standings. He's won 70 races on the year, seven more than runner-up Vinny Ginsburg. He's done his best work since the resumption of racing on August 28. During that three-month stretch, he's won 57 races, the most of any driver by 24 dashes. With eleven drives on the Saturday card, Siegelman will have plenty more chances to extend his lead.   Live racing continues at Freehold on Saturday (December 5), with a scheduled first post time of 12:30 PM.      

Freehold, NJ --- After his five-win afternoon on Friday, harness racing driver Austin Siegelman didn't rest on his laurels on Saturday. He continued his driving dominance, winning four races on the 12-race card.   Siegelman's aggressive driving paid off in race 2, as he hustled Windsong Jack to the lead and held on, for trainer Chris Height. Siegelman won two more races on the front end, guiding Keystone Honor to victory in race 5, and Mach it So to a race 7 score. Height also trains Mach it So, while Keystone Honor is trained by Richard Johnson.   After those big wins, Siegelman was hungry to get a fourth, and he got it in the 11th race. He kept Shaving Mug in the three-hole early on, then moved him to the lead and drew off for his fourth win of the afternoon, for trainer Ann DePietro.   Siegelman's nine-win weekend extended his total to 64 Freehold wins on the calendar year. He ends the month of November with sixteen wins at Freehold, from 69 drives.   Live racing resumes at Freehold on Friday (December 4), with a scheduled first post time of 12:30 PM.    

Freehold, NJ --- Austin Siegelman is no stranger to big days at Freehold Raceway. He added another one to his big meet on Friday (November 27), winning five races on the eleven-race harness racing card.   Siegelman got his first win of the day on the front end, guiding Woodmere Ultimate to a gate-to-wire win in race 2 for trainer Laurie Molnar. He worked a pocket trip to victory in race 4, with Sweet You for trainer Michael Kimelman.   The hat trick was completed in race 6. With a surge at the wire, Siegelman and Little Honeybadger won a photo, for trainer Mike Posner. Siegelman booted home another Posner winner in race 7, as King Cast surged to the lead on the final turn and drew off.   Siegelman got the five-bagger, and a natural hat trick, with a heads-up drive on Princess Holly N in race 8. Leaving from post eight, he aggressively sent his mare to the front, cleared to the top without too much trouble, and held off a host of challengers to win. Mike Fiumenero was the winning trainer in that race.   On the calendar year, Siegelman has 62 wins from 409 drives, making him the top driver at the track. This is the second time since Freehold's restart on August 28 that he's won five races; he also pulled off the feat on October 2.   Live racing continues at Freehold on Saturday (November 28), with a scheduled first post time of 12:30 PM. There will be a pick 5 carryover, worth $592.45.   Publicity Freehold Raceway  

Freehold, NJ --- Harnes racing drivers Jack Pelling and Austin Siegelman both had a day to remember at Freehold Raceway this Saturday (October 31).   Pelling, the son of trainer Brett Pelling, won his first race as a driver in race 3, on Cote Keim-trained Jackamino. Sent off as the favorite from the inside post, Pelling kept Jackamino in the pocket early on, watching the action unfold in front of him. As they turned for home, Pelling steered his horse into clear sailing, and he won by 1 3/4 lengths.       Pelling, 25, got his provisional license earlier in the year, and began driving in qualifiers in June. He drove in his first pari-mutuel race last Friday at Harrah's Philadelphia.   Siegelman, meanwhile, continued a scary good Halloween weekend. After winning four races at Freehold on Friday, he won four more on Saturday. He got his first win in dominant fashion, scoring on favored Haymitch in race 4 for trainer Vincent Stallworth. He then won race 7 on Bettor BB, surging late to win a four-horse photo. Scott DiDomenico was the winning trainer.   After that, Siegelman went back-to-back guiding Vasari to a strong win for owner/trainer Mike Posner. In the 12th race, Siegelman wrapped up the grand slam on Bill Height-trained Momma's Artist.   Eight members of the America Harness Drivers Club congregated in Freehold to compete in a $9,000 leg of the group's 2020 series and when the dust settled Pearly Allen was victorious with the veteran Mugshot Jess in 1:59.2. Allen gave his trotter a perfect drive following cover from the half and then rallying in the deep stretch to hold off John Calabrese's Shoemaker Hanover When the starter said "go"Dave Offenberg gunned Fiji to the front and they had command as the quarter mile timer flashed :28.4. Still on the lead as the field passed the halfway point in :58.2 the trailers moved out to challenge and at the three quarters Joe Faraldo and Always a Good Time got first call. But right there on the outside was Mugshot Jess and in the deep stretch Allen's charge sprinted to the lead and finished a 1-1/2 length victor over John Calabrese's Shoemaker Hanover who rallied late. Always A Good Time held o for the show dough. It was the third seasonal triumph for Mugshot Jess and 54th victory of his illustrious career.and the 13-year old trotter has amassed purses of over $660,000. And for Allen it marked his second seasonal triumph and 35th of his amateur career Mugshot Jess is owned and trained by Taylor Gower. He paid $4.20 for win. Live racing resumes at Freehold on Friday (November 6), with a scheduled first post time of 12:30 PM.   From Freehold Raceway and John Manzi  

Freehold, NJ --- On Halloween Eve, harness racing driver Austin Siegelman had a scary good afternoon at Freehold Raceway. He drove four winners on the Friday (October 30) program.   He got his first win of the afternoon on Sheeza Shark N in race 2, winning a stretch battle to win on the Bill MacKenzie-trained mare. He got the double in race 7, guiding Twin B Friendly to the score for trainer Shaun Vallee.       Siegelman got the hat trick in race 9, as Massive Talent trotted to victory for trainer Jeff Smith. After a near-miss in race 10, Siegelman completed the grand slam on Odds on Daytona in the 11th race, who was indeed the odds-on favorite for trainer John Wyatt.   On the calendar year, Siegelman has 44 wins, good for fourth place in the driver standings. Since the resumption of racing on August 28, Siegelman's 31 wins are best among Freehold drivers.   Live racing continues at Freehold on Saturday (October 31) with a 12-race card, starting at about 12:30 PM. There will be a pick 5 carryover, starting in race 5, worth $428.57.   From Freehold Raceway    

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