Nandolo N repeated his first leg victory, Scott Zeron guided Whichwaytothebeach and American Dealer N to triumphs, Ostro Hanover pulled off a major upset, and Jacks Legend N turned a pocket trip off hot fractions into a win in the five $50,000 divisions of the second round of the MGM Borgata Pacing Series on Monday night at Yonkers Raceway.
Driven by Jason Bartlett in the opening split, Nandolo N sat in third while Elver Hanover (Yannick Gingras) and Poseidon Seelster (George Brennan) left in front of him. Elver Hanover got to the point from post seven off the first turn, but Brennan wanted the front with Poseidon Seelster and got him there after a :26.3 opening quarter. Poseidon Seelster would go on to reach the half in :55.1 and the three-quarters in 1:23.1, but Nandolo N had attacked first-over on the third turn and was up to engage the tempo-setter at three-quarters.
After a battle around the last turn, Nandolo N put Poseidon Seelster away in the lane, then pulled clear to prevail by 2-1/2 lengths in 1:51.4. Dean B Hanover (Jordan Stratton) rode Nandolo N's cover and wound up second, and Poseidon Seelster had to settle for third.
Shane Tritton and Team Tritton Inc are the winning trainer-owner combo with Nandolo N, an eight-year-old Betterthancheddar gelding. Nandolo N, the 1-2 favourite in tonight's race, now has 17 career victories, has stashed away $338,211, and paid $3.10 to win.
In the first leg Whichwaytothebeach was hampered by an outside draw, but he started from the inside tonight and took advantage to score in 1:52.4. Captain Barbossa (Bartlett) shot straight to the front from post six, but Whichwaytothebeach, sent off as the 9-5 favourite, vacated the pocket to take control prior to the :27.3 opening quarter. From there, Zeron backed down the fractions to :57 at the half and 1:24.2 at three-quarters and was left on a clear lead when Town Gossip (Joe Bongiorno) made no headway after going first-over from third.
Whichwaytothebeach wasn't out of the woods in the lane, though, as Pat Stanley N (Stratton) gained on the inside after sitting on pylons and Captain Barbossa loomed to the outside after tipping out of the pocket, but neither one could get by Whichwaytothebeach, who lasted to tally by a head over Pat Stanley N. Captain Barbossa was the third-place finisher.
Whichwaytothebeach is a four-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding trained by Nifty Norman for owner Gino Toscani. Whichwaytothebeach now has a record of 13-7-6 from 31 lifetime efforts, and he has pocketed $576,954. He returned $5.70 to win.
It looked like déjà vu in the next section as American Dealer N and Zeron, also getting relief at the draw after starting from post seven a week ago, tallied on the engine in 1:53. American Dealer N, dispatched as the 7-5 favourite, carved out fractions of 27.4, 57.2, and 1:25, then dug in when needed in the lane to beat pocket-sitter Splash Brother (Tyler Buter) by a length and a quarter. Groovy Joe (Tim Tetrick) sat on the cones in third and ended up finishing in that position.
Linda Toscano trains the victorious five-year-old American Ideal stallion for owners Enviro Stables Ltd. and Ken Jacobs. This was American Dealer N's 12th triumph from 38 appearances, and he pushed his bankroll to $269,911. The 9-5 favourite, he paid $4.90 to win.
Favourites had been eight-for-eight over the two weeks of the MGM Borgata Pacing Series through tonight's third division, but that changed in a big way in the fourth flight as 21-1 Ostro Hanover (Bongiorno) knocked off 1-2 choice This Is The Plan (Gingras) in a 1:53 mile. Ostro Hanover, who raced from off-the-pace from post six last Monday, left quickly from post four, then yielded to a two-wide This Is The Plan prior to the opening quarter in :28.
This Is The Plan kept the tempo comfortable, hitting the half in just 57.3 and the three-quarters in 1:24.4, and it figured to be tough to get by him from there. Ostro Hanover had other ideas, though, as Bongiorno guided him through a seam on the inside in the lane and out-kicked This Is The Plan, the defending series champion, to score by half a length. This Is The Plan had to settle for second, and Tattoo Artist (Dexter Dunn) turned a second-over trip into a third-place result.
The upset winner is trained by Jenn Bongiorno for the ownership group of Ben Mondello and JB Racing. Ostro Hanover, a seven-year-old gelded son of Betterthancheddar, made his 26th appearance in the winner's circle, and he has now earned $556,881. He returned $44.00 to win.
Like Whichwaytothebeach, American Dealer N, and Ostro Hanover had before him, Jacks Legend N (Matt Kakaley) delivered after getting post relief tonight, rallying past a tiring pace-setter American History late to win tonight's final MGM Borgata Pacing Series test in 1:51.2. Kakaley left from post four with Jacks Legend N, but he was overtaken by American History (Todd McCarthy) off the first turn, and then American History opened up a big lead through fast fractions of :26.2, :54.4, and 1:21.3.
American History was still up by open lengths on the last turn and entering the lane, but the finish line wouldn't come in time for him, as Jacks Legend N steadily reeled him in on the inside and then got by in the last couple of strides to get the decision by a head. Im Sir Blake A (Marcus Miller) collected third.
Trainer Josh Green also co-owns Jacks Legend N, an eight-year-old Bettors Delight gelding, with partners Rich Lombardo Racing LLC., David Kryway, and Eric Good. Jacks Legend N is now a 32-time winner in his life, and he has stashed away $731,877. The 3-1 third choice, Jack's Legend N paid $8.90 to win.
Wagering was active throughout the 12-race card and handle totalled $1,044,491.77, giving the oval another “Million Dollar Monday” in that department.
Stakes action continues through the week at Yonkers. On Tuesday night (March 29), the $57,800 final of the MGM Rewards Gents Pacing Series will take place, in addition to a $30,000 consolation, and on Wednesday night (March 30), the $56,400 championship of the MGM Rewards Ladies Pacing Series will top the marquee.
Last, but certainly not least, is the third preliminary round of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series on Friday (April 1). Mystical Carrie and Easy To Please, who improved to two-for-two in the series a week ago, are both off this week, but the likes of Miss You N, Drama Act, Dragon Roll, Karma Seelster, Blue Ivy, Scarlett Hanover and Racine Bell are in action in a trio of $40,000 divisions.
Yonkers is currently on a Monday-Friday live racing schedule with post time each night at 6:55 p.m.