Yonkers, NY — This Is The Plan, Western Joe, and Leonidas A scored 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 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, Weaver Bruscemi, 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 paid $5.00 and was atop a $51.50 exacta and $126.50 trifecta.
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 $54.50 trifecta.
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 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 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 $19.20 trifecta.
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).