Defending champ Drama Act opens curtain on Matchmaker Series

Yonkers, NY — The Blue Chip Matchmaker Series, for open pacing mares, picked up exactly where it left off in 2022, as defending champion Drama Act captured the first of three $40,000 first-leg divisions of the series at MGM Yonkers Raceway on Friday night (March 17). George Brennan guided the Ron Burke-trained mare, sent off at odds of 1-5, to an imposing 1:51.3 victory.

The action was hot and heavy at the outset as second choice Racine Bell and driver Jason Bartlett blitzed the gate from post seven to secure the front on the opening bend. Wahs Fire Bug N tucked behind her while Brennan took his time with Drama Act, assuming control before the :27 opening panel. From there, the leaders went in single file through fractions of :56.1 and 1:24.1 before Brennan called on the Well Said mare for an in-hand :27.2 final quarter. Racine Bell easily held the place spot while Wahs Fire Bug N and Alta Madeira N completed the top four finishers.

Drama Act, champion of the 2022 Matchmaker Series, picked up right where she left off with a devastating 1:51.3 win in first-round action of the series’ 2023 renewal. Mike Lizzi photo.

Owned by The OK Corral, Drama Act, who now has 33 career victories and earnings of $858,972, won for the fourth time in five 2023 starts and returned $2.60 to win.

Amazing Dream N showed the way for Yannick Gingras as the 4-5 favorite in the second division. The Bettor’s Delight import set early fractions of :27.2 and :57.1 for the opening half as Easy To Please and Jordan Stratton stalked from the pocket and second favorite Lit De Rose sat third. Amazing Dream N accelerated off the easy half, hitting three-quarters in 1:25 as Lit De Rose edged off the pylons to challenge from a distance. Gingras let the Linda Toscano-trained mare pace in the homestretch, and she kicked home in :27.3, completing the mile in 1:52.3 in her 2023 and Yonkers debut. Easy To Please held off Lit De Rose for the place spot, with Annerie N following in fourth.

Owned by Enviro Stable, Richard Gutnick, Tom Pontone and Joseph Lozito Jr., Amazing Dream N returned $3.90 to win. Amazing Dream N made her 27th appearance in the winner’s circle, and she has now pocketed $1,270,486.

The third Matchmaker division saw heated competition from start to finish, and Karma Seelster and Matt Kakaley rallied off a third-over trip to post a 7-1 upset following a thrilling stretch drive.

Sweet Treasure and driver Andy McCarthy blasted from post eight and secured the front late on the opening turn, looping favorite Gia’s Surreal (driven by Jason Bartlett) and forcing another leaver, Lucky Artist A, to tuck in fourth.

Bartlett eventually seized control, but Gia’s Surreal needed a :26.4 first quarter to do so. Bartlett slowed the pace slightly, but the half was still a solid :55.3 when Delitfulcatherin N and Jordan Stratton began their offensive, followed by Lucky Artist A and Karma Seelster in the outer tier.

The top two were on even terms through three0quarters in 1:23.4, and heading into the final turn, Kakaley sent Karma Seelster three-wide. She carried her move to the finish line while Braxten Boyd found clearance with Lucky Artist A early enough to make a race of it to the wire. In the end, Karma Seelster prevailed in 1:52.4, winning for the third time in seven starts this year for trainer Andrew Adamczyk. Lucky Artist A finished second, with Delitfulcatherin N holding third gamely after her overland journey. Gotthegreenlight was a solid fourth after clearing late in the mile.

Karma Seelster is owned by Karen Hauver and Shady Hill Racing Stable. The 6-year-old daughter of Sportswriter returned $16.60 to win. Karma Seelster has a lifetime record of 18-15-14 from 70 tries, and she pushed her bankroll to $752,948.

Preliminary action in the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series will continue through Friday, April 14, and will conclude with a $125,000-added final that should go for at least $250,000 on April 24. The final of the MGM Borgata Pacing Series and companion consolation races for both events will also occur that night.

The 2023 edition of the MGM Borgata Pacing Series, for free-for-all pacers, will begin on Monday night (March 20) at MGM Yonkers Raceway with four $50,000 first-round divisions on the 12-race program. To complement the MGM Borgata Pacing Series, the Empire Terrace dining room will be open 6-10 p.m. on Mondays from March 20 to April 24. Owners and fans are invited to attend the races and enjoy food from an a la carte menu. No reservations are required.

MGM Yonkers Raceway is currently operating on a Monday-through-Friday live racing schedule with post time at 7 p.m. (EST).

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