Racine Bell earns millionaire status in Matchmaker win

Yonkers, NY — Racine Bell and driver Jason Bartlett found room to the inside in the stretch and forged to the front late to capture her $40,000 second-leg division of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series at MGM Yonkers Raceway on Friday night (March 24). A 6-year-old mare by So Surreal, Racine Bell scored in 1:52.3 and became harness racing’s newest millionaire with the victory.

First-leg winner Karma Seelster and Delitfulcatherin N both left outside the rail-starting Racine Bell, and Bartlett allowed Karma Seelster to clear the lead off the opening bend, with Delitfulcatherin N and Jordan Stratton content to tuck in third. Bartlett, driving the 3-5 favorite, did not look to regain and instead took his chances behind Karma Seelster and Matt Kakaley, and that pair led the field through fractions of :27.1 and :56.3. Stratton put pressure on the pacesetter when he put Delitfulcatherin N in motion at the half, and the pace accelerated to the tune of 1:24.4 at three-quarters, with the leaders racing head-to-head.

On the final turn, it appeared that Bartlett might regret not retaking the lead as Delitfulcatherin N appeared to be surging by, but she made a costly break in mid-stretch. Karma Seelster also bore out enough to give Racine Bell clearance, and the veteran mare knew exactly what to do. In posting her 30th career triumph, Racine Bell defeated Incaseyoudidntknow and Dougs Babe A, with Karma Seelster fourth across the wire.

Racine Bell’s win in the second round of the Matchmaker Series propelled her over $1 million in career earnings. Mike Lizzi photo.

Trained by David Dewhurst, Racine Bell is owned by Chris and Dale Lawton. Racine Bell returned $3.40 to win.

Amazing Dream N was the only repeat winner in the second round of the series, rolling past defending Matchmaker champion Drama Act in the stretch on her way to a 1:52 mile and her second win in as many starts in 2023. Yannick Gingras guided the Bettor’s Delight-sired 7-year-old for trainer Linda Toscano.

Amazing Dream N and Drama Act took turns on the lead in the first turn, with the latter surging to control off the bend for George Brennan. From there, it was a two-mare contest through fractions of :26.4, :56 and 1:23.4, with Brennan trying to separate from the pocket sitter. Gingras kept Amazing Dream N interested, and once in the homestretch she blew right past the 3-5 favorite. Drama Act settled for second, with Morning Has Broken and Easy To Please following in third and fourth.

Owned by Enviro Stables, Gutnick, Pontone and Lozito Jr., Amazing Dream N, who won for the 28th time overall and pushed her earnings to $1,290,486, returned $5.70 to win.

In the night’s first $40,000 Matchmaker division, Lydeo and driver Scott Zeron converted on a pocket trip, overtaking pacesetter Mabalene N late in the homestretch for her first win in six 2023 starts. The 4-year-old by Sweet Lou stopped the clock in 1:52.3.

Mabalene N and Bartlett assumed quick command as the gates opened, with odds-on favorite Wahs Fire Bug N resisting a quarter move and settling in third. Lydeo and Zeron held the pocket as Mabalene N cut fractions of :28.1 and :57 for the opening half. When Wahs Fire Bug N and driver Tyler Buter pulled to attack off the third turn, Bartlett asked the leader for speed, and Mabalene N paced a third quarter in :27.2, giving the favorite the cold shoulder and limiting the chances of McMarkle Sparkle in the second-over position.

There was ample room for Zeron to pull at head-stretch, and Lydeo shifted gears quickly, powering on past Mabalene N in the :28.1 final quarter. Alta Madeira N gained third along the pylons. Favored Wahs Fire Bug N settled for fourth.

Trained by Ed Hart, Lydeo, who made her seventh trip to the winner’s circle and has now put away $161,201, is owned by Randy Bendis, Reed Broadway and Pollock Racing LLC., and as a 7-1 offering she returned a flat $16.00.

Driver Braxten Boyd, behind Lucky Artist A, grabbed the pocket early and then pounced on speedster Sweet Treasure before the three-quarters in a powerhouse performance, capturing the second $40,000 Matchmaker division. The 10-year-old imported daughter of Artistic Fella won for the fourth time in 2023 with a seasonal best 1:51.4 mile.

Boyd’s aggressiveness early worked for two reasons. Not only was Lucky Artist A able to work out a solid pocket trip, but Sweet Treasure and driver Andrew McCarthy worked hard to gain control from the pole position and then the leader was hard to control. Sweet Treasure set opening fractions of :27 and :56, with Boyd recognizing her vulnerability before the 1:24.1 three-quarters and getting an edge over Goththegreenlight and Gia’s Surreal, the two mares who got into action off the third turn. Once in control, Boyd was confident with the Ricky Bucci-trained mare, with Lit De Rose and Pat Lachance scooting up the inside for the place spot. Gothegreenlight faded to third with Gia’s Surreal fourth.

Owned by Flatland Racing, Lucky Artist A, who now has a record of 36-22-25 from 160 efforts and a bankroll of $488,177, returned $5.30 to win.

Stakes action at MGM Yonkers Raceway will resume on Monday night (March 27) with four $50,000 sections of the second leg of the MGM Borgata Pacing Series, for free-for-allers, on the 12-race program. To complement the Borgata, the Empire Terrace dining room will be open 6-10 p.m. on Mondays through 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. (EDT).

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