Mikala Doubles Up In Matchmaker Series

Mikala winning at Yonkers Raceway

Mikala, driven by George Brennan, marched to the front past the quarter and never looked back on the way to her second victory in the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series, scoring as the favourite in the first of two $54,054 divisions of the fourth leg on Friday, April 5 at MGM Yonkers Raceway.

Coachellabound N, driven by Yannick Gingras, sprinted from the gate to take control over True Blue Hanover and Matt Kakaley on the first turn and had command until Brennan unleashed Mikala before the quarter pole with a burst of speed to clear the front past the snappy :27.3 opening fraction.

Mikala looked relaxed but was pacing strongly through the half in :56.3 and continued to speed down the pike. A :27.4 third quarter brought her to three-quarters in 1:24.2 and left second choice Dougs Babe A, who was first-over with Dexter Dunn, at a disadvantage heading into the final turn.

Gingras pulled with Coachellabound N on the final turn and appeared ready to threaten the favourite, but Brennan called on Mikala through the stretch and the daughter of Always B Miki hung on gamely to score by a neck in 1:53. Coachellabound N settled for second, with Dougs Babe A closing the margin through the stretch but finishing third. Incaseyoudidntknow rallied for fourth for Andrew McCarthy.

Trained by Nik Drennan, Mikala earned her 18th career win and now has $668,992 banked through 50 lifetime starts. She is owned by Brad Shackman of Calgary, Alta. along with American partners Joseph Davino, Anthony Perretti Farms and Drennan Stable.

As the favourite, Mikala returned $4.20 to win, keying a $16 exacta, a $37.60 triple and a $3.65 superfecta for a 10-cent ticket.

In the second Blue Chip Matchmaker section, Jason Bartlett and Racine Bell prevailed by a nose, winning for the first time in 2024 while gamely holding odds-on favourite Lit De Rose at bay after a thrilling stretch drive.

Bartlett left with intent from post four and seated Man Dontforget Me and Dexter Dunn late on the opening turn. Delitfulcatherin N and Jordan Stratton also tried to leave but were forced to wedge into a four-hole off the first turn and wait to move again later.

Bartlett had Racine Bell on the front in a :27.3 opening quarter, but he applied the brakes in the second quarter and that got some of the back a bit antsy. Prior to the :57.1 half-mile fraction, Stratton had pulled Delitfulcatherin N to the outside as a cue to Lit De Rose and Pat Lachance, though Lachance didn’t appear keen on moving too early.

Past the half, Racine Bell picked up the pace and Lit De Rose went on with a solid challenge moving towards the leader. Delitfulcatherin N didn't have the sprinting power to keep with her cover on the backstretch and that allowed Easy To Please, with Gingras, to gain second-over cover right before the 1:25.2 three-quarters was passed first by Racine Bell.

In the stretch, it was a two-mare contest as Racine Bell fought on the inside and Lit De Rose challenged to her flank but was unable to pass, losing in a tight photo in a mile timed in 1:54.3. Easy To Please gained slowly in the stretch to secure the third spot, with Man Dontforget Me along the inside in fourth.

Owned by New York's Chris and Dale Lawton and trained by David Dewhurst, Racine Bell was a winner for the 38th time in her million-dollar career while getting off the schneid in 2024 with her first win in six attempts.

As the second choice, the seven-year-old So Surreal mare returned $9.70 to win, leading a $30.40 exacta with the favourite. The triple paid $112 and the 10-cent superfecta was worth $20.40.

The fifth and final preliminary leg for the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series is slated for Friday, April 12, with the $125,000 USD added final going on Monday, April 22.

Stakes action continues at Yonkers on Monday night with the fourth leg of the MGM Borgata Pacing Series offering three $50,000 USD divisions on the 12-race program. After a delay due to the cancellation on Wednesday, April 3, the John Brennan Trotting Series also begins next week with five $25,000 USD splits of the opening round on the Wednesday, April 10 card.

Yonkers is currently operating on a Monday through Friday live schedule with post time each night at 7 p.m. (EDT).

(With files from Yonkers Raceway)

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