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Round Two Of MGM Borgata Complete

Published: March 22, 2021 10:30 pm ET

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Leonidas A and Hesa Kingslayer N repeated and trainer Ron Burke prevailed with Backstreet Shadow and Rockapelo in Monday night's four $40,000 divisions of the second leg of the MGM Borgata Pacing Series at Yonkers Raceway.

Driven by Austin Siegelman, Leonidas A landed in the pocket from post one early in the third section, then moved around fellow round one winner San Domino A (Todd McCarthy) for command passing the :28-second opening quarter. After that, Leonidas A got away with a soft, :57-second half, and it was pretty much over once that happened as Leonidas A kicked into high gear, pacing a :55-second back-half to win by 2-1/4 lengths in 1:52. San Domino A held second over Chief Mate (Scott Zeron).

Sheena McElhiney trains Leonidas A, a six-year-old Mach Three gelding, for owner Jesmeral Stable. Leonidas A posted his 27th career win, and he has earnings of $271,848. Leonidas A, sent off as the 2-5 favourite paid $2.90 to win.

This Is The Plan (Yannick Gingras) rolled to the lead in the last split, and he would lead through fractions of :27.3, :56.2, and 1:24, with Hesa Kingslayer N (Jim Marohn, Jr.) going first-up from third prior to three-quarters. Hesa Kingslayer N advanced into second on the final turn, then sustained his bid through the stretch, wearing down This Is The Plan on his way to the victory by half a length in 1:51.4. Stars Align A (Todd McCarthy) was the third-place finisher after a pocket trip. Let It Ride N (Dexter Dunn) saw his seven-race undefeated streak in the U.S. end in this race as he couldn't get involved from post eight and had to settle for coming in a dead-heat for sixth.

Trainer Michael Deters also co-owns Hesa Kingslayer N, an eight-year-old gelded son of Christian Cullen, with Joel Warner. Hesa Kingslayer N now has 19 career triumphs, and he has put away $169,962. Hesa Kingslayer N, who was dispatched at 9-2, returned $11.20 to win.

While second-best with This Is The Plan in that event, Burke had already scored earlier decisions with Backstreet Shadow (Tim Tetrick) and Rockapelo (George Brennan). Backstreet Shadow made it look pretty easy in the first grouping, going to the front from post five, leading his six foes through panels of :27, :55.4, and 1:23.3, and kicking home in :27.4 to win by a length and three-quarters in 1:51.2. Raukapuka Ruler N (Dan Dube) worked out a pocket trip at 58-1 and was second, with Rodeo Rock (Andrew McCarthy), the 1-2 favourite, third from second-over.

Burke Racing Stable LLC., Weaver Bruscemi LLC., Larry Karr, and J&T Silva- Purnel & Libby own Backstreet Shadow, a six-year-old Shadow Play gelding. Backstreet Shadow picked up his 25th lifetime victory, and he pushed his bankroll to $880,162. Backstreet Shadow was the 8-5 second choice and paid $5.20 to win.

Rockapelo and Brennan picked up a hard-fought 1:51.1 win over Western Joe (Zeron) in the second MGM Borgata battle. Tyga Hanover (Jason Bartlett), Rockapelo, and Western Joe duelled three-wide for the lead after the start, with Western Joe forging his way into the top spot in a quick :26.2 first quarter. Western Joe continued on the engine through a :55.3 half and a 1:23.3 three-quarters and turned for home first, but Rockapelo attacked out of the pocket midway on the final bend. Western Joe dug in gamely when called on, but Rockapelo was unrelenting in his own right and got by just before the wire to score by a nostril. Tyga Hanover wound up third.

The victorious six-year-old Rock N Roll Heaven gelding is owned by Burke Racing Stable LLC., Weaver Bruscemi LLC, and Phil Collura. Rockapelo now has a record of 20-19-11 from 82 appearances, and he has earned $471,106. Rockapelo, the 2-1 second choice, returned $6.80 to win.

The MGM Borgata Pacing Series now has three remaining preliminary rounds, with the last one scheduled for Monday, April 12. The final will be held the following Monday (April 19).

Stakes action continues at Yonkers tomorrow night (March 23) with the $57,800 final and the $25,000 consolation of the M Life Rewards Ladies Pacing Series for fillies and mares, and on Wednesday night (March 24) as the M Life Rewards Gents Pacing Series for colts and geldings concludes with a $58,400 final and a $25,000 consolation.

After the curtain comes down on those races, the pacing mares in the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series will be in action in two $35,000 divisions of the third leg of that event on Friday (March 26). Seaswift Joy N (post two, Andrew McCarthy/Tony Alagna), Blue Ivy (post five, Tyler Buter/Todd Buter), and Alexa Skye (post six, Todd McCarthy/Jeff Cullipher) have all won during the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series thus far, and they will lock horns in Friday night's second split (race seven), giving a new face a chance to collect a victory in race six's opening flight. Machnhope, who was victorious both weeks of the series, is idle this time.


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