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After his mare went four-for-four in the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series preliminary races, owner Tom Pollack wasn't about to get too technical about Alexa Skye's chances in Monday's (April 19) $232,800 final for older female pacers at Yonkers Raceway. "If luck's shining on you, it is. And if it isn't, it isn't," surmised Pollack of Pollack Racing LLC, which owns the horse along with trainer Jeff Cullipher. "Just as long as you put your best foot forward, and I think she will. "Obviously, we'd love to see her finish the deal on Monday night and win this series. But we're just hoping for a good effort, that's all you can do." The 4-year-old drew post six and is the 5-2 second choice on the morning line behind Blue Ivy at 2-1. Pollack admitted that things broke right for Alexa Skye in her four races in the series as she was able to take charge in the short fields. "She's made her mark right at the beginning and that kind of garnered the respect of the other ones in there," Pollack said. "We've been able to get to the lead fairly easily and kind of dictate the races. From that standpoint it's been great." In Monday's eight-horse final, Blue Ivy will start from post three. She won three times and finished second twice in the preliminary rounds. Machnhope, a two-time winner in the series, is 4-1 from post one while Siesta Beach, also a prelim winner, is 5-1 from post two. "Obviously when the money's on the line, that's why they hold the race," Pollack said. "Anything can happen. All eight horses can probably win. We're going to have to earn it, for sure." Speaking of earnings, Alexa Skye has already garnered a career-high $117,250 this year by winning seven of nine starts and finishing second by a head and a nose in the other two. She has already tied her career-best seven wins (in 17 starts) from last year and far surpassed her purse money of $63,430. The mare, by Somebeachsomewhere out of Pirouette Hanover, was bought by Pollack on Feb. 17. She had already won three of four races when the transaction was completed. Pollack was contacted by an agent he hadn't previously worked with and was immediately interested after having seen Alexa Skye at The Meadowlands last year and seeing her dominance early this season. "We want to be in the game," the western Pennsylvania native said. "We're not huge yearling players outside of Indiana, we're more into the aged racehorse game. Having a chance to get one that's eligible to all these Grand Circuit races and performing at that level, she was too good to pass up. The fact she comes from a good family and has some breeding value when she's done racing made it even easier to pull the trigger." After being off for three weeks, she finished second by a nose for her new owners before rolling through the Matchmaker prelims. Pollack estimates he and Cullipher own around 70 horses together and each one has their responsibility. "I'm the legs of finding and acquiring," he said. "That's my forte. He sticks more toward training them. But when I find horses, he's watching replays or talking to folks he knows who might have been associated with the horse. That's kind of the way our partnership works." And the duo appears to have nailed it with this latest acquisition. Pollack hoped she would be good, but is pleasantly surprised about the success so far. "Obviously, you could have never predicted we'd be racing in five- or six-horse fields in the Matchmaker (prelims) for $35,000 a week and then the $230,000 final after that. It kind of looks like I knew what I was doing in buying her, with her kind of being one of the top dogs in this series." Alexa Skye is staked to the Grand Circuit in the U.S. this year, but her connections will skip Canadian stakes due to the uncertainty around COVID-19 protocols, and also because of the length of the six-week Matchmaker. But she will be a busy mare and appears ready for the grind. Asked what he likes most about the horse, the owner noted two specifics. "Number one, the fact she is so versatile; she can win at Yonkers or the Meadowlands," Pollack said. "And number two is her toughness. She's kind of all business. She's a sweetheart to be around in the barn but once she gets on the track, she's all business. Hopefully, she's ready with her A game Monday, that's all you can ask." Racing begins at 7:15 p.m. (EDT) Monday at Yonkers. The Matchmaker final is race seven on the card, which also includes the $514,000 final of the MGM Borgata Pacing Series for older males (race eight) as well as consolations for both series. For complete entries, click here. by Rich Fisher, for the USTA  

Harness Racing This Week: Blue Chip Matchmaker and MGM Borgata Pacing series finals and consolations, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit at Yonkers on Monday (April 19) features the $514,000 final of the MGM Borgata Pacing series for open pacers and the $232,800 final of the Blue Chip Matchmaker series for open pacing mares. The card will also have the $100,000 MGM Borgata Pacing series consolation and the $60,000 Blue Chip Matchmaker consolation. Complete entries for the races can be found by clicking on this link. Last Time: 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. Backstreet Shadow was able to get to the wire a half-length to the good in a 1:52.1 mile. Chris Brokate photo. 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 a half-length to the good in a 1:52.1 mile. Tyga Hanover (Jason Bartlett) came in third. A 6-year-old gelding by Shadow Play, Backstreet Shadow is trained by Ron Burke for owners Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, 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. Alexa Skye and driver Todd McCarthy served notice in the fifth and final preliminary round of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series at Yonkers Raceway with an imposing 1:52.3 victory in their $35,000 division on Friday night (April 9). The fleet-footed 4-year-old by Somebeachsomewhere had to work just a bit to gain control at the quarter, but from that point, her four rivals chased her in vain. Alexa Skye left the gate along with Monica Gallagher (Jason Bartlett) from the inside, with Siesta Beach (Matt Kakaley) between those two into the opening bend. Siesta Beach settled along the pylons, but McCarthy pushed Alexa Skye to the top and cleared passing a :27.4 opening fraction. Alexa Skye maintained the lead after that, setting fractions of :56.3 and 1:24.4, with Siesta Beach moving to the outside into the final turn as Monica Gallagher lost contact with the pacesetter. McCarthy let his mare do the talking, and Alexa Skye spoke volumes, cruising home effortlessly with a :27.4 kicker to win by open lengths. Siesta Beach held down the place spot, with Soho Burning Love A (Austin Siegelman) showing decent late foot for third. Sent off as the 1-5 favorite in the field, Alexa Skye paid $2.40 to win. Alexa Skye won all four of the Blue Chip Matchmaker preliminary legs she participated in for Pollack Racing LLC and Jeff Cullipher. Now a winner in seven of nine starts on the season, Alexa Skye moves into the $232,800 final on April 19 as the clear horse to beat. Complete recaps of all the races are available at 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 4-12-21): Drivers: 1. Todd McCarthy - 60; 2. Austin Siegelman - 56; 3t. Andrew McCarthy - 49; 3t. George Brennan - 49; 5. Tyler Buter - 44. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 109; 2t. Jeff Cullipher - 40; 2t. Todd Buter - 40; 2t. Sheena McElhiney - 40; 5. Nicholas DeVita - 38. Owners: 1t. Jesmeral Stable - 40; 1t. Renee Bercury - 40; 3. Eric Prevost - 38; 4t. Burke Racing Stable - 31.1; 4t. Weaver Bruscemi - 31.1. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place on April 24 at Freehold Raceway with the Dexter Cup eliminations for 3-year-old open trotters. by Paul Ramlow, for The Grand Circuit

Harness racing betting favorites Get Legs and Timon AS won for the second straight week, and Tad Krazy Hanover pulled a 25-1 upset in the three $20,000 divisions of the third and final leg of the John Brennan Trotting Series on Wednesday night (April 14) at Yonkers Raceway. Get Legs (Andy Miller), dispatched at odds of 1-9, started from post one in the second flight, and he raced in fourth to the 28.2 opening quarter before Miller brought him to the outside late on the second turn. Get Legs moved up into second as Lady Jeter (Yannick Gingras) reached the half in 58 seconds, then took over command past that marker. Get Legs cruised over to three-quarters in 1:26.3, negotiated the final turn without incident, and kicked away in the lane to prevail by 4 1/2 lengths in 1:55.3. Lady Jeter held second over Mcmatters (Mark MacDonald), who raced in the first-over position after Get Legs hit the front. GET LEGS REPLAY   Julie Miller trains Get Legs, a 4-year-old son of Muscle Hill, for owners Andy Miller Stable Inc. and Michael Anderson. Get Legs has earned $86,010 to go with his 10-0-2 record from 12 starts, and he paid $2.10 to win, place, and show. The exacta returned $4.30 and the trifecta was worth $13.20. Timon AS (Tyler Buter) went off as the even-money choice in the third split and after leaving quickly from post three, he would be overtaken and put in the pocket by Grinder (Greg Merton) before the 29 second opening quarter. Grinder then proceeded to give a parking ticket to a two-wide Look In My Eyes (Jordan Stratton), who had fired out from post eight, through the 58.4 half and the 1:28 three-quarters. It looked like Timon AS was in big trouble at three-quarters and on to the last turn as he was stuck on the pylons and Look In My Eyes was hanging around enough to keep him pinned in. Then, Lifetime Royalty (Dan Dube) moved out three-wide from second-over, giving Timon AS even more traffic to deal with. Fortunately for Timon AS, his connections, and his backers at the windows, Grinder drifted out in the lane and couldn't keep the inside closed, giving Timon AS a seam to shoot through. Once he had the space, Timon AS had the trot to go with it, getting up to tally by half a length over Grinder in a final time of 1:57. Lifetime Royalty could only finish evenly and had to settle for third. TIMON AS REPLAY   A 5-year-old Lionhunter gelding, Timon AS is trained by Melanie Wrenn for owner Michael Guest. Timon AS picked up his 21st career victory, and he has put away $121,280. Timon AS returned $5.10 to win and was atop a $13.40 exacta and a $33.60 trifecta. Back in the opening section, 4-5 favorite Windsong Pioneer (Brent Holland) figured to be tough after he put up comfortable fractions of 28.3, 58.1, and 1:27, but driver Scott Zeron moved Tad Krazy Hanover out three-wide late on the far turn after following Kasha V (Jason Bartlett) from second-over, and Tad Krazy Hanover kicked home strongly to chase down and defeat Windsong Pioneer by a head in a 1:56 mile. P L Notsonice (Renaldo Morales III) tracked Tad Krazy Hanover's cover and finished well for third. TAD KRAZY HANOVER REPLAY   Tad Krazy Hanover, a 5-year-old Donato Hanover mare, is owned by Barbara Terranova. Tad Krazy Hanover is now an eight-time winner in her career, and she has pocketed $76,262. Tad Krazy Hanover paid $52.00 to win and keyed a $151.00 exacta and a $539.00 trifecta. The John Brennan Trotting Series will conclude next Wednesday (April 21) with a $69,000 final and a $30,000 consolation. Nobody had six-of-six in Wednesday's Pick 6 sequence at Yonkers, so when action resumes on Thursday (April 15), there will be a $2,355.38 carryover in that wager. The Pick 6 will begin in the third race.  Stakes action picks back up at Yonkers Raceway on Monday (April 19) with the $514,000 MGM Borgata Pacing Series final and the $232,800 Blue Chip Matchmaker Series final. There are also consolation events for both series, with the MGM Borgata consolation carrying a purse of $100,000 and the Blue Chip Matchmaker consolation going for $60,000. For full results, click here. From Yonkers Raceway

There's good news for the fans of horse racing and auto racing as New York will open the events to spectators beginning April 23, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday said. The move will first pave the way for the meet at Belmont Racetrack to begin later this month. Upstate, this will allow racing to take place at Saratoga as well as at Watkins Glen. Spectators will be limited to 20% of capacity at the outdoor venues in line with other sporting events in New York, Cuomo said. Horse and auto racing events barred fans from attending in person last year during the COVID-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, the 11 p.m. bar and restaurant curfew will be extended to midnight starting next Monday. by Nick Reisman for the City of Albany

On Tuesday afternoon (April 13), the harness racing draws were held for the $514,000 MGM Borgata Pacing Series final and $232,800 Blue Chip Matchmaker Series final, both of which will take place on Monday, April 19 at Yonkers Raceway. In addition to the finals, there will also be consolation races in both events. Leonidas A finished with the most points in the MGM Borgata Pacing Series, but the draw for the final was not kind to him, as he will start from post seven in the eight-horse field. Austin Siegelman will be in the bike behind the Sheena Mcelhiney-trained and Jesmeral Stable-owned 6-year-old Mach Three gelding. Trainer Ron Burke has a powerful trio in the MGM Borgata final, as he will send out Rockapelo, Backstreet Shadow, and This Is The Plan. Rockapelo drew the coveted pole position for driver George Brennan, while his stablemates Backstreet Shadow (Tim Tetrick) and This Is The Plan (Yannick Gingras) weren't as fortunate in the draw, as Backstreet Shadow has post six and This Is The Plan the eight. Western Joe, driven by Dexter Dunn for trainer Chris Choate, and Hesa Kingslayer N, piloted by Jim Marohn Jr. for trainer Mike Deters, both scored multiple victories in the prelims, and they will start from posts five and two, respectively. Rounding out the group are Mach N Cheese (post three, Joe Bongiorno/Edwin Quevedo) and Lyons Steel (post four, Corey Callahan/Dennis Watson). Mach N Cheese secured a spot in the final by winning in the final round of the event, while Lyons Steel picked up his lone victory back in the opening leg. In the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series final, Alexa Skye, who went four-for-four in the preliminary rounds she entered, got post six for driver Todd McCarthy, trainer/co-owner Jeff Cullipher, and co-owner Pollack Racing LLC. Her main rival, Blue Ivy, who raced in all five legs, scoring three victories and two second-place finishes, will leave from post three for driver Tyler Buter, trainer Todd Buter, and owner Renee Bercury. Trainer Nick Devita has a pair of finalists in the Blue Chip Matchmaker final in Siesta Beach (post two, Matt Kakaley) and Caviart Cherie (post seven, Austin Siegelman). Siesta Beach picked up one victory in the preliminaries, while Caviart Cherie checked in second three times. Ron Burke will also be represented in the Blue Chip Matchmaker final as he has Snobbytown in the race. Snobbytown, who had one win, one second, and one third-place result in four starts, will depart from post five with George Brennan at the lines. Machnhope, who will be driven by Andrew McCarthy for trainer Noel Daley, started the Blue Chip Matchmaker two-for-two before finishing second and third in her last two appearances. She had the best luck in the draw for the final, as she will start from post one. Completing the entrants in the Blue Chip Matchmaker final are Monica Gallagher (post four, Jason Bartlett/Chris Height) and My Ruebe Star N (post eight, Jordan Stratton/Shane Tritton). Neither mare was able to get a win during the preliminary rounds, but they did score points in each leg they entered. Monday's card gets underway at 7:15 p.m., with the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series final going as race seven and the MGM Borgata Pacing Series final following it in race eight. The $60,000 Blue Chip Matchmaker Series consolation is the fifth dash on the ten-race card, and the $100,000 MGM Borgata Series consolation comes up after that in race six. From Yonkers Raceway

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

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

With two horses already guaranteed spots in the harness racing final of the MGM Borgata Series for older male pacers, trainer Ron Burke will look to add a third on Monday (April 12) when Yonkers Raceway hosts the last preliminary round of the six-week event. Based on points accumulated in the series, the Burke Brigade's Rockapelo and This Is The Plan are among five horses to have already secured places in the eight-horse final on April 19. The others are Western Joe, Hesa Kingslayer N, and Leonidas A. Burke's Backstreet Shadow is in the best position to join that group, pending the outcomes in Monday's last preliminary divisions of the series. Backstreet Shadow, sixth in points, is the 8-5 morning-line favorite in the first of the last three Borgata splits, starting from post one. The six-horse field also includes four of the five horses directly behind Backstreet Shadow in the standings: San Domino A and Lyons Steel, who are tied for seventh, ninth-place Raukapuka Ruler N and 11th-place Tyga Hanover. The remaining horse in the field is series leader Western Joe. Other horses that could bolster their chances of making the final with wins on Monday are Mach N Cheese and Mac's Jackpot, who are both in the second division, and Ostro Hanover, who is in the third. None are morning-line favorites. Backstreet Shadow has a win and two seconds in the Borgata. A trainer can start only one horse in a division, and Burke has four horses in the series, so Backstreet Shadow sat out last week's leg after coming up sick in his second-place finish on March 29. "He had a legitimate excuse his last start," said Mark Weaver, who is among the owners of Backstreet Shadow, as well as Rockapelo and This Is The Plan. "We had to give someone the week off, so it just made sense for it to be him. We expect him to be pretty good this start and then hopefully even better in the final." Backstreet Shadow, a 6-year-old gelding, has won 25 of 63 career races and $890,162. Last year, he won the Roll With Joe Stakes and hit the board in the Breeders Crown, TVG Open Pace Series championship, Sam McKee Memorial, and Allerage Farms Open Pace. "I think Backstreet Shadow and This Is The Plan are two of the top five or six aged pacers," Weaver said. "They've been factors the last several years. Hopefully, they are again, all season long. This is just the start of a long year, hopefully, for them." This Is The Plan, a 6-year-old gelding with $1.8 million in career purses, has a win and three seconds in the Borgata. He is the 2-1 second choice in Monday's third division. Rockapelo, a 2018 New York Sire Stakes champion who has been lightly tested on the Grand Circuit, is sitting out Monday's action. The 6-year-old gelding has two wins, a second, and a fifth in the series. Nine of his most recent 12 victories have come at Yonkers. "He's kind of a Yonkers specialist, a grinder," Weaver said. "He's surprised us. This will be his Super Bowl, so to speak, for the year. After this, it will be back to overnights." The Burke Stable has traditionally been deep with talented older male pacers. The returning group this season also includes a past Dan Patch Award winner, Dorsoduro Hanover, as well as millionaire Filibuster Hanover, Elver Hanover, The Greek Freak, and Covered Bridge. "The aged division is kind of our bread and butter," Weaver said. "If you get a couple good ones, you can really do some damage. "We try to treat them like a baseball team where you've got some major leaguers, but you're always looking to develop your minor league system. At some point, they're going to get called up to the big leagues. We're constantly trying to keep the pipeline going. Hopefully, we have some that can fill the void when the time comes." Racing begins at 7:15 p.m. (EDT) Monday at Yonkers. For complete entries, click here. For the Borgata standings, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA   

Get Legs entered last week's opening round of John Brennan Trotting Series at Yonkers Raceway with eight wins in nine starts at the Meadowlands, but miscued over the sloppy going and had to settle for rallying for third. He made no such miscues this Wednesday, though, cruising to a 1:55 2/5 harness racing victory. Driver Andy Miller didn't hustle Get Legs away from post two in Wednesday's final $20,000 division, but he didn't tuck on the inside, either, letting his horse move steadily up on the rim to get the lead from Lady Jeter (Scott Zeron) after the 28.4 opening quarter. From there, Get Legs put up the half in 57.2 and the three-quarters in 1:26.2, navigated the far turn without any issue, and pulled away impressively in the lane on his way to defeating Lady Jeter by 5 1/2 lengths. P L Notsonice (Renaldo Morales III) came in third after a first-over try. Julie Miller trains Get Legs, a 4-year-old son of Muscle Hill, for owners Andy Miller Stable Inc. and Michael Anderson. Get Legs has earned $76,010 to go with his 9-0-2 record from 11 starts, and he paid $2.10 across the board. The exacta returned $4.70 and the trifecta was worth $14.00. GET LEGS REPLAY   In other John Brennan Trotting Series action, Tyler Buter had a pair of winners in Stinglike A B K and Timon AS. Competing in the night's first split, Stinglike A B K raced in third through opening half fractions of 28.1 and 57.3, then made a first-over move past the half that carried him into second behind leader Swiss House Onfire (Austin Siegelman) at the 1:26.4 three-quarters. Stinglike A B K and Swiss House Onfire battled around the final bend and into the lane, but Stinglike A B K gained a narrow advantage and was able to hold sway to the wire, downing a gaining Lifetime Royalty (Dan Dube) by a neck in 1:56.3. Swiss House Onfire wound up third. STINGLIKE A B K REPLAY   Stinglike A B K is a 5-year-old Andover Hall stallion owned and trained by Nicole Dicostanzo. Stinglike A B K is now a nine-time winner in his career, and he has banked $97,054. Stinglike A B K, the 2-1 second choice, returned $6.00 to win and was atop a $45.40 exacta and a $112.50 trifecta. Two races later, Buter guided Timon AS to a 1:57 decision. Timon AS pocketed up behind Look In My Eyes (Jordan Stratton) and stalked that foe through a 29.1 opening quarter and a 58.1 half, then pulled out of the two-hole as they trotted to the 1:27.2 three-quarters. Timon AS wore down Look In My Eyes coming into the stretch, then drew clear, prevailing by a length and three-quarters. Look In My Eyes held second over Blue And Bold (Brent Holland). TIMON AS REPLAY   A 5-year-old Lionhunter gelding, Timon AS is trained by Melanie Wrenn for owner Michael Guest. Timon AS now has a record of 20-3-1 from 55 attempts, and he has put away $111,280. Timon AS was the 3-2 second choice and paid $5.10 to win. The exacta kicked back $59.00 and the trifecta was worth $728.00. Buter nearly nabbed another win with first-over attacker Grinder in the second section, but Windsong Pioneer (Holland), who put up stations of 27.3, 57.1, and 1:25.3, kept Grinder at bay in game fashion, hitting the wire a nose to the good in a 1:56.1 mile. Guilty Desire (Stratton) got third after a second-over journey. The victorious 5-year-old E L Titan gelding is trained by Paul Stafford for owner Thomas Ceraso Jr. Windsong Pioneer picked up his 14th career win, and he boosted his bankroll to $110,932. Windsong Pioneer, dispatched at 7-2, returned $9.00 to win and led a $24.40 exacta and a $66.50 trifecta. The John Brennan Trotting Series has one preliminary leg remaining next Wednesday, April 14, before the final on Wednesday, April 21. Stakes action continues at Yonkers on Friday (April 9) and Monday (April 12) as the final preliminary rounds of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series and MGM Borgata Pacing Series are held. There are two $35,000 divisions in the Blue Chip Matchmaker, one a non-wagering affair and the other race two on the pari-mutuel program, and a trio of $40,000 splits of the MGM Borgata are slated as races four, five, and six. For full race results, click here. From Yonkers Raceway

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

Blue Ivy didn't get all of the respect on the toteboard, but the 5-year-old mare had her say in a powerhouse performance, capturing the first of two $35,000 Blue Chip Matchmaker harness racing divisions on Friday night at Yonkers Raceway. Sent off as the surprising 7-5 second choice, Tyler Buter put Blue Ivy into the three-hole entering the first turn as 3-5 favorite Keep Rockin A made the lead easily for Tim Tetrick and marched to the quarter in 27.4. With just five in the field, Tetrick was able to back down the pace with the Jim King Jr.-trained import, who was in search of his first series victory. The slow half didn't shake Buter in the least as he waited to midway down the backstretch to energize Blue Ivy. It didn't take more than 50 yards for Blue Ivy to engulf and dispose of Keep Rockin A, as that mare slowed markedly into the final turn. After three-quarters in 1:25, Blue Ivy kicked home in 28 seconds flat and scored by open lengths in a 1:53 mile. Monica Gallagher (Jason Bartlett) was able to come up the pylons late to secure the place spot, with Caviart Cherie (Matt Kakaley) third in the mile. BLUE IVY REPLAY It was Blue Ivy's second win in the series, to go along with two second-place finishes, for trainer Todd Buter. Owned by Renee Bercury, Blue Ivy, a 5-year-old daughter of Captaintreacherous, paid $4.80 for the victory. The exacta with 32-1 shot Monica Gallagher in the place spot was worth $54, and the triple came in at $158.50. The upsets continued in the second Blue Chip Matchmaker division as Siesta Beach (Matt Kakaley) rallied from last on the final turn and rolled past the betting favorites to score her first series victory in a 1:54.3 clocking. Snobbytown and driver George Brennan out-left two others to gain control nearing the opening quarter, as Bettors Heart N and driver Dexter Dunn yielded the front. Snobbytown had the lead in 27.4, and Brennan was keen to back things down, reaching the half in 57.3 as Bettors Heart N lagged behind her in second. Dbldelitebrigade N and Todd McCarthy pulled on the third turn to challenge, towing the 1-5 favorite Machnope with her, but the cover wasn't worth much as Snobbytown marched off with a snappy 28.1 third quarter. The acceleration forced driver Andrew McCarthy to send two-leg winner Machnhope three-deep passing three-quarters to gain into contention. Siesta Beach and Kakaley used that cover through the final turn and tipped wider into the homestretch to gain a clear chance. It was a thrilling finish, with Snobbytown and Brennan working hard to maintain the lead, but powerless to stall the closers, with Siesta Beach, a 5-year-old daughter of American Ideal, doing the best work late for the win. Machnope had to settle for the place, with Snobbytown third. SIESTA BEACH REPLAY Trained by Nicholas Devita and owned by Eric Prevost, Siesta Beach returned $15 to win. The exacta with the heavy chalk paid $26.60 and the triple was an even $63. It was the third win on the season for Siesta Beach, who entered the fourth round of the series with three straight third-place finishes. Preliminary round action in the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series concludes next Friday (April 9), with the final slated for Monday, April 19. The fourth round of the MGM Borgata Pacing Series will be the feature on Monday (April 5) at Yonkers Raceway, with three $40,000 divisions highlighting the 10-race program. Leonides A is a heavy favorite to win his third straight leg in one of the splits.  Favorites were victorious just twice during Friday night’s (April 2) Pick 6 sequence at Yonkers Raceway, meaning there were no tickets with six out of six. As a result, there will be a carryover of $7,067.60 and a guaranteed pool of $15,000 in the wager on Monday night’s (April 5) program. The guarantee is being offered as part of the United States Trotting Association’s Strategic Wagering Program. Free past performances for the Pick 6, courtesy of TrackMaster, are available here. The Pick 6 at Yonkers Raceway offers a takeout rate of 20 percent, as do the nightly Pick 4’s and Pick 5. Monday’s Pick 6 will include all three $40,000 divisions of the fourth leg of the MGM Borgata Pacing Series, as well as a $27,500 Preferred Pace. Post time is at 7:15 p.m., and the Pick 6 will begin in race three. For full results, click here.   From Yonkers Raceway

Monticello, NY -- After having to cancel its first seasonal leg last week due to unsafe track conditions this years North American Amateur Drivers Association Trotting Series finally got underway with two $8000 legs at Yonkers Raceway on April 1st and when the judges posted the official signs John Calabrese and Matt Zuccarello each emerged victorious in their respective splits. Calabrese's victory came behind the veteran Cantab Hall gelding when Calabrese darted Dark Pool to the lead from the pole position and after being overcome by Golden Kronos (Tony Ciuffetelli) Calabrese quickly retook command after the quarter was trotted in :28.4. And once on top Calabrese played catch me if you can and no one in the short five-horse field could as Calabrese kept the pedal to the metal and the field lined-up behind him. Dark Pool led his competition by the half in :59.1 and they had a length and a half on Golden Kronos as they trotted by the third stanza in 1:29.1. In the lane it was all Dark Pool with Golden Kronos following in second and Noble Warrawee (Mike Polanski) five lengths farther back in third in the non-wagering event. It is often said that there are horses for courses and that some steeds perform well for certain drivers and that can be said about Stealing and driver Matt Zuccarello who scored hi second consecutive triumph with the 5-year-old Yankee Glide gelding. After a come-from-behind triumph in a dead-heat last week Zuccarello and Stealing were all alone in the win column tonight in the NAADA trot.. And as their previous victory Stealing again came from off the pace to score the 2:01.1 victory. In tonight's other contest Paul Minore sent If I Must to the lead in :30. seconds as Zuccarello settled in along the pylons in fourth position. Minore showed the way past the half in 1:01.2 as Marianna Monaco moved Hot Summer Knight off the pylons followed closely by Zuccarello and Stealing. If I Must had command by the three quarters just a nose ahead of Hot Summer Knight. But when the field headed for home Zuccarello had Stealing in high gear and they trotted by If I Must and rallied to a two-length triumph over the pace-setter. Joe Faraldo took home the show dough with Presidente Zette. "I waited patiently to the half and flushed out cover and when I asked him to go down the back side he had plenty of trot and cleared down the lane.,"Zuccarello explained. " I love driving him and he makes me look good. He is a nice horse." Stealing is owned by Winners Circle Racing, John Campanuolo and Latz A Luck Stable and trained by John Grasso. A couple of upsets during the sequence, one by 13-1 shot Checkered Past (Jordan Stratton) in race three and another by 9-1 offering Bronskimackenzie A (Todd McCarthy) in race seven, led to the Pick 6 not being hit on Thursday night (April 1) at Yonkers Raceway.  As a result, there will be a carryover of $4,002.80 on Friday night's (April 2) program. The Pick 6, which has a takeout rate of 20 percent, will kick off in race three. Friday night's 10-race card at Yonkers features two divisions of the fourth leg of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series for pacing mares in races two and three.  Leg one winner Blue Ivy (post five, Tyler Buter/Todd Buter) heads the first section, and then in the second flight, 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. Post time at Yonkers Raceway is 7:15 p.m. For full race results, click here. by John Manzi, for the North American Amateur Drivers Association

After watching Machnhope win her first two starts in the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series for older female harness racing pacers, trainer Noel Daley held the mare out of last week's action. As she prepares to return for Friday's fourth round, Daley is happy with the decision. Machnhope is the 8-5 morning-line favorite in the second of two $35,000 divisions of the Matchmaker at Yonkers Raceway. Ten mares were entered this week, with three of the top-seven in points including unbeaten Alexa Skye sitting out. Blue Ivy, who has a win and two seconds in the series, is the 9-5 favorite in the first division. "I figured some of the good ones might take this week off, so I took last week off," Daley said. "I think it worked out as the right thing to do. We ended up with two five-horse fields and no Alexa Skye. I'm happy enough with that decision. "It doesn't work out all the time, but we can look smart occasionally," he added with a laugh. Machnhope, a 6-year-old daughter of Mach Three out of Hope For Life, has won three of eight races this year and hit the board on three other occasions, earning $54,765 for owners Daley, Deo Volente Farms, Tom Pontone, and L.A. Express Stable. Daley's group purchased the mare last July after she spent five months with the trainer following her arrival from Canada, where she had raced most recently for owner-trainer Gary Lance. Machnhope was an Ontario Grassroots Series champion at age 3. For her career, she has won 29 of 101 starts and $392,044. "She's a big, strong, good-looking mare," Daley said. "She can be a bit of a cantankerous old thing, but I'm real happy with her. She's done well for the guys that bought into her. They've gotten their money back, so that's good." Machnhope has raced consistently since the sport returned from last spring's COVID-19 related shutdown. She has started at least twice in every month since then and hit the board in all but four of her past 23 races. She brings a three-race win streak to Friday's Matchmaker start. "We don't do much with her during the week," Daley said. "She has a bit of a canter and seems to keep herself fresh enough. She looks great and is acting great. She's pretty much the same mare every week. She's just always there. "Everything will depend on the draw the next several weeks, but this girl has handled the racing pretty well. She should be fine for the next three weeks in a row." The six-week Blue Chip Matchmaker Series concludes April 19. Following are the top 10 mares in points through three rounds of the series. The top eight will qualify for the final. 1. Alexa Skye 225, 2. Blue Ivy 175, 3. Snobbytown 158, 4. Machnhope 150, 5. Caviart Cherie 135, 6. Seaswift Joy N 125, 7. My Ruebe Star N 113, 8. Siesta Beach 109, 9. Monica Gallagher 95, 10. Maczaffair N 93. Racing begins at 7:15 p.m. (EDT) on Friday at Yonkers. For complete entries, click here by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

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

YONKERS, N.Y. – In some respects, Timon As is one of the most accomplished horses entering the first leg of the John Brennan Trotting Series, which begins Wednesday night (March 31) at Yonkers Raceway. His 19 wins, including six so far this year, make him the winningest of the 32 first leg entrants. However, the 5-year-old gelding by Lionhunter has only seen a half-mile track once in his career and it didn’t go well. Timon As started at Northfield Park July 20, 2019 and missed the gate by about 2 lengths. After taking back from post seven, Timon As went offstride around the first turn and was distanced from the field for the rest of the mile. “If he’s good and he gets around the track, he’s going to be a contender,” said trainer Melanie Wrenn. “If he doesn’t like the track, then we’re going to be out of luck.” Timon As has come a long way since that start at Northfield Park. He joined the Wrenn stable in the fall of 2019 and things started to click. Timon As won three straight overnights at Pompano Park by a combined margin of 9 lengths from Nov. 27, 2019 to Dec. 10, 2019. However, as Timon As moved up the class ladder following those wins, he lost confidence and started making breaks again. “Peter (Wrenn) has done a really nice job brining this horse along. He was pretty green when we got him. Racing him the way that he’s raced him, I think he’s helped make that horse who he is,” Melanie Wrenn said. “Mentally the horse was very immature. We were winning all these races and all the sudden, he had to step up in class. He was just like, no thank you. Peter was very patient with him. He does a pretty nice job putting him in the right spots.” The Wrenns campaigned Timon As primarily at Hoosier Park throughout 2020 and a result other than a win or a break in stride was a rarity. Timon As went 7-for-20 last year, but also broke in seven starts. However, after returning to Pompano Park this winter, things started to click again. Timon As has stayed flat and has seven wins in his last 13 starts dating to Dec. 21. The Wrenns raced Timon As in the $30,000 claiming handicaps at Pompano throughout the winter, and Timon As crossed the wire first in three straight tries at the level Feb. 8 thorugh Feb. 22 (although he was placed second in one start). Not wanting to lose him, Timon As stepped up to the $11,500 open trot and won in a lifetime best 1:53.1 March 2. After two off-the-board finishes from outside posts, Timon As will make his way to Yonkers for the series. “Honestly, it seems like he’s been overachieving. He got down (to Pompano) and he really seemed to like it. He’s just been racing really well,” Wrenn said. “His last start before the open, he went pretty big. Peter didn’t want to lose him. In the beginning, we thought if we got $30,000 for him, that’s pretty good. But after he won a couple nice starts, we thought we better not give this horse away,” she continued. “We tried the open and he went that really big start. Then, we drew bad. Peter took him off and he sort of lost interest. He deserves a shot to try a nice series with some nice horses out there and go for some good money.” Previously the SOA of NY Bonus Trotting Series, the John Brennan Trotting Series was renamed to honor the longtime SOA of NY horsemen’s representative who passed away from complications of COVID-19 in March 2020. The series is for 3-year-olds and older who were non-winners of six pari-mutuel races or $100,000 through Feb. 1, 2021, with winners over $150,000 as of that date not eligible. The series features three preliminary legs March 31, April 7, and April 14 with a $50,000 added final and a consolation April 21. Wednesday’s first leg features four divisions, each with four entrants. Timon As is the 3-1 morning line favorite in the second division (race five) with Tyler Buter set to drive for the first time. “We race a couple horses here and there out at Yonkers. Why not give him a chance? Why not give him a shot and see how good of a horse he is. It’s pretty much trial by fire. Even at Sunshine Meadows, the inside track is a five-eighths. We really haven’t had him on a small track,” Wrenn said. “He likes going into the last turn and floating around there and zooming by everyone at the end. He won’t have quite as much room to get that done on a half. If it doesn’t work out, we’ll just bring him back to Hoosier. “I just hope he has some luck because his owner, Mike Guest, is a super nice guy. It would be fun for him to have a nice horse go out there and do some good,” Wrenn continued. “Over the years, we’ve usually had a couple for him. We’ve had quite a bit of luck. We had Perfect Chapter As with him and he won a lot of races. He keeps one or two with us, generally. This is the only one we have right now. Maybe he’s just a lucky guy, we’ll see.” 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

The fourth leg of the MGM Borgata Pacing Series is set to take place on Monday, April 5 at Yonkers Raceway. Twenty horses dropped in the box, meaning there will be three $40,000 divisions (races four, six, and seven). After taking last night (March 29) off, round one winner Let It Ride N (post five, Dexter Dunn/Richard "Nifty" Norman) returns and headlines the first flight. Let It Ride N saw his undefeated streak in the United States end on March 22 when he couldn't get involved from post eight, but has an improved draw this time. He will be up against the likes of This Is The Plan (post four, Yannick Gingras/Ron Burke), who has finished second in all three of his MGM Borgata Pacing Series attempts. In the second section, Rockapelo (post four, George Brennan/Ron Burke) will look to build on his two straight victories in the series. Western Joe (post seven, Dexter Dunn/Chris Choate) picked up his first win in the event last night and will get another chance at Rockapelo after finishing just a nose behind him when they battled on the 22nd of March. Leonidas A (post four, Austin Siegelman/Sheena Mcilhiney) also bypassed the third leg, but will be back in action in Monday's last split. Leonidas A won in the series on both March 15 and March 22 and looks like he's sure to be a heavy favorite. Lyons Steel (post two, Siegelman also listed for trainer Dennis Watson) has a win and a third-place result in his two series attempts, and while he'll likely need a new driver, he certainly has the credentials to threaten. Additional stakes action at Yonkers Raceway will be held prior to the MGM Borgata Pacing Series. 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. Then, on Friday (April 2), there are two $35,000 splits of the fourth round of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series for pacing mares. 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. Yonkers races on a Monday-Friday schedule with first post at 7:15 p.m. From Yonkers Raceway

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