Yonkers, NY — Three longshots — Semi Tough, Poseidon Seelster, and Funatthebeach N — and two favorites — Leonidas A and Nicholas Beach — were victorious in the five $50,000 divisions of the third leg of the MGM Borgata Pacing Series on Monday night (April 4) at Yonkers Raceway.
In the first grouping, I’ll Drink To That (Dexter Dunn) blasted from post one and forced Semi Tough (Yannick Gingras), who had also fired out from post five, into the pocket. Once the dust settled, American History (Todd McCarthy), the 1-5 favorite, came out of third and he would take over control from I’ll Drink To That after a :26.2 opening quarter.
American History continued to lead to the :54.4 half and 1:23 three-quarters, but Semi Tough went on the attack first-over before the latter station and forged his way into second on the final bend. In the lane Semi Tough dispatched a fading American History for good and then went on to prevail by a length in 1:51.2. Town Gossip (Joe Bongiorno) was the runner-up from second-over, and Dean B Hanover went from sixth to third in the final quarter.
Semi Tough is a 6-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding trained by Ron Burke for owners Burke Racing Stable, Frank Baldachino, J&T Silva- Purnel & Libby, and Weaver Bruscemi. This was his 19th career victory, and he has now earned $794,340. Sent off at 10-1, Semi Tough paid $22.60 to win and led a $213.50 exacta and $976.00 trifecta.
Leonidas A (Austin Siegelman) missed out on racing last Monday when he was late for Lasix, but he was on time and on target in Monday night’s second section, winning in 1:51.2.
None Bettor A (Matt Kakaley) and Covered Bridge (Gingras) tussled for the early lead, with Covered Bridge wrestling away the front beyond a :26.2 opening quarter. Leonidas A was hot on Covered Bridge’s heels though, and Gingras and Covered Bridge yielded to sit in the pocket behind the 2-5 choice.
After he got to the engine, Leonidas A reached the half in :55.3 and the three-quarters in 1:23.3, and easily dealt with a first-over try by Sonny Weaver N (Tim Tetrick) in the third quarter and onto the last turn. In the lane Sonny Weaver N faded for good, allowing Covered Bridge to tip out of the pocket to try and mount a challenge to Leonidas A. It was to no avail, though, as Leonidas A had plenty left and prevailed by 1-1/2 lengths. Covered Bridge had to be satisfied with second and Im Sir Blake A (Marcus Miller) rallied for third.
The victorious 7-year-old gelding by Mach Three is trained by Sheena Cohen for owner Jesmeral Stable. Leonidas A made his 38th appearance in the winner’s circle and he has now pocketed $574,187. Leonidas A returned $2.80 to win. The exacta and trifecta were worth $5.70 and $21.20, respectively.
Nicholas Beach (Bongiorno), coming off a third and a fifth in two MGM Borgata Pacing Series tests, delivered as the even-money choice in the third split in 1:51.1.
Nicholas Beach left from post six and was able to get by Bee Two Bee (Gingras) prior to the :27.2 opening quarter. Nicholas Beach then maintained the front through a :56 half and 1:23.2 three-quarters, with Pat Stanley N (Jordan Stratton) commencing a first-over move out of fourth in the third quarter.
On the final bend Pat Stanley N picked up cover from a pocket-pulling Bee Two Bee, as they both tried to make gains on Nicholas Beach. Feeling the closers coming, Bongiorno called on his charge through the stretch drive, and while Pat Stanley N surged late, it wasn’t enough, as Nicholas Beach held firm to tally by a nose. Bee Two Bee ended up third.
A 6-year-old gelding by Somebeachsomewhere, Nicholas Beach is trained by Jenn Bongiorno and also co-owned by her in partnership with John Lengacher and Michael Cote Gagnon. Nicholas Beach is now a 17-time winner in his career, and he pushed his bankroll to $372,746. He paid $4.10 to win and keyed an $18.40 exacta and $39.20 trifecta.
Poseidon Seelster and driver George Brennan pulled off a 13-1 surprise in the night’s fourth Borgata battle, delivering in 1:51.
Tattoo Artist (Dexter Dunn) had command of the race from the pole position, chopping out panels of :26.4, :55.2, and 1:22.4 while opening up a gap on the others going to three-quarters and onto the far turn. Meanwhile, Poseidon Seelster had a second-over trip behind American Dealer N (Scott Zeron), but when American Dealer N stalled out in third, Brennan had to cut Poseidon Seelster three-wide midway through the final bend.
Despite his cover not really carrying him all that close and Tattoo Artist having a big jump on him, Poseidon Seelster was full of pace in the lane and blew by the pacesetter late in the going on his way to a half-length victory. Western Joe (Tim Tetrick) grabbed a third-place result.
Nik Drennan trains Poseidon Seelster, a 5-year-old gelded son of Sunshine Beach, for owners Donald Lindsey, Paul Kleinpaste, William Alempijevic, and Garth Bechtel. Poseidon Seelster has now compiled a record of 12-7-8 from 46 trips behind the gate and he has now put away $280,921. He returned $29.60 to win, the exacta kicked back $138.50, and the trifecta was good for $683.00.
Funatthebeach N (Stratton), dispatched at 29-1, then beat fellow New Zealanders Nandolo N (Jason Bartlett) and Jack’s Legend N (Kakaley) in the final flight of the night.
Jack’s Legend N went to the top from post three and had the lead through fractions of :27.3, :56.4, and 1:24.2. Nandolo N, who came into the race two-for-two in the series and got away third from post five, was challenging Jack’s Legend N from first-over at three-quarters, with Funatthebeach N latched onto Nandolo N’s cover from second-over.
The duel between Nandolo N and Jack’s Legend N continued around the last turn and into the lane, and although Nandolo N won the battle over Jack’s Legend N after wearing him down in deep stretch, he didn’t win the war, as Funatthebeach N surged three-wide and nailed him at the wire to score by a nose in 1:51.4.
Jeff Gillis and Mark Ford are the winning trainer-owner combination behind Funatthebeach N, an 8-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding. This was Funatthebeach N’s 27th lifetime tally, and he now shows a bankroll of $432,539. He paid $60.50 to win and headed a $184.50 exacta and $314.00 trifecta. By virtue of his victory, Monday night’s 50-cent Pick-5 also returned a robust $9,105.75.
Overall, wagering topped the seven-figure mark for the second straight Monday card, ending up at $1,158,111.
Stakes action continues at Yonkers this week on Wednesday (April 6) and Friday (April 8). On Wednesday, there are five $25,000 splits of the opening round of the John Brennan Trotting Series, and Friday’s program is headlined by a trio of $40,000 divisions of the fourth leg of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series.
Yonkers is currently operating on a Monday-Friday live racing schedule with post time at 6:55 p.m.