Opening round of the MGM Borgata Pacing Series drawnMarch 14, 2023,
Yonkers, NY — The 2023 edition of the MGM Borgata Pacing Series will begin on Monday night (April 20) at MGM Yonkers Raceway with four $50,000 first-round divisions on the 12-race program.
Australia’s Lochinvar Art A tops the first grouping (race three) and drew post five for the driver/trainer tandem of Lauren and Shane Tritton. Lochinvar Art A, who earned over $1 million Down Under, has been victorious in all three of his U.S. appearances thus far, including a 1:51 win at Yonkers on March 6. He’ll take on a field that includes an MGM Borgata Pacing Series finalist from a year ago in Jack’s Legend N (post seven, Matt Kakaley).
Jimmy Freight (post two, Scott Zeron), a track record holder at Yonkers, returns to Westchester in the second flight (race four). Jimmy Freight, who boasts lifetime earnings of over $1.6 million, won his 2018 Messenger Stakes elimination in 1:50.3, which still stands as the quickest mile by a 3-year-old pacing colt in the oval’s history, and has a victory and a third in two prep races at the Meadowlands so far this year. His competition includes former Adios champion Hellabalou (post one, Yannick Gingras), and Backstreet Shadow (post five, Matt Kakaley), who won two legs and made the MGM Borgata Pacing Series final in 2021.
As was the case in the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series, the top two finishers from last year’s final drew in the same first-leg tilt (race six), with champion Funatthebeach N (post five, Jordan Stratton) and runner-up Leonidas A (post seven, Austin Siegelman) among the eight horses.
Funatthebeach N has won four of his seven starts so far in 2023, and Leonidas A has taken back-to-back editions of the Open Handicap Pace at Yonkers. It’s not just a two-horse race, though, as they will meet millionaires None Bettor A (post three, Kakaley) and Tattoo Artist (post four, Dexter Dunn), and 2021 MGM Borgata Pacing Series victor and $2.9 million earner This Is The Plan (post eight, Yannick Gingras).
Nandolo N (post four, Jason Bartlett) is harness racing’s fastest performer to date this year by virtue of his 1:48.3 tally at the Meadowlands on Jan. 22, and he competes in the last section on Monday night (race nine). Nandolo N was also an MGM Borgata Pacing Series finalist in 2022 after winning two preliminary legs. He’ll lock horns with the likes of 2021 MGM Grand Messenger Stakes champion American Courage (post two, Kakaley), and Semi Tough (post three, Gingras), who was third in the MGM Borgata Pacing Series final a year ago.
The MGM Borgata Pacing Series continues for five consecutive weeks before a $200,000-added (est. $500,000) final on April 24. That card will also include the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series final, as well as consolation events for both races. MGM Yonkers Raceway will also offer the MGM Borgata Pacing Series champion a “win-and-you’re-in” opportunity to both the $200,000 Battle of Lake Erie at MGM Northfield Park on June 10 and the $200,000 MGM Aria Pace at Yonkers on MGM Yonkers International Trot Day (Sept. 23).
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).
The full fields for Monday’s four MGM Borgata Pacing Series races are as follows with listed drivers and trainers:
Division 1 – Race 3
1. Soaring Now (Andy McCarthy/Noel Daley)
2. Bad Tothe Bone N (Jason Bartlett/Hunter Oakes)
3. Rockin Withelvis A (Yannick Gingras/Jared Bako)
4. Casual Cool (Dexter Dunn/Daniel Renaud)
5. Lochinvar Art A (Lauren Tritton/Shane Tritton)
6. Dean B Hanover (Jordan Stratton/Jeff Gillis)
7. Jack’s Legend N (Matt Kakaley/Travis Alexander)
8. Bee Two Bee (Yannick Gingras/Ron Burke)
Division 2 – Race 4
1. Hellabalou (Yannick Gingras/Ron Burke)
2. Jimmy Freight (Scott Zeron/Brett Pelling)
3. Diamondbeach (Braxten Boyd/Ricky Bucci)
4. Belmont Royale N (David Miller/Nifty Norman)
5. Backstreet Shadow (Matt Kakaley/Travis Alexander)
6. Oakwoodnittowinit IR (Scott Zeron/Jared Bako)
7. Anothrmastrpiece N (Jason Bartlett/Shane Tritton)
8. The Ideal Dancer N (Andy McCarthy/Andrew Harris)
Division 3 – Race 6
1. Priceless Beach (Matt Kakaley/Jared Bako)
2. Im Sir Blake A (Marcus Miller/Marvin Aguilar)
3. None Bettor A (Matt Kakaley/Travis Alexander)
4. Tattoo Artist (Dexter Dunn/Chris Ryder)
5. Funatthebeach N (Jordan Stratton/Jeff Gillis)
6. American Dealer N (Joe Bongiorno/Linda Toscano)
7. Leonidas A (Austin Siegelman/Matthew Medeiros)
8. This Is The Plan (Yannick Gingras/Ron Burke)
Division 4 – Race 9
1. Burnham Boy N (Dexter Dunn/Chris Ryder)
2. American Courage (Matt Kakaley/Travis Alexander)
3. Semi Tough (Yannick Gingras/Ron Burke)
4. Nandolo N (Jason Bartlett/Shane Tritton)
5. Idealsomemagic A (Jordan Stratton/Cory Stratton)
6. Hemsworth N (Matt Kakaley/Jared Bako)
7. Covered Bridge (Jordan Stratton/Jeff Gillis)
8. Undrthsouthrnsun N (Joe Bongiorno/Jenn Bongiorno)