Blue Chip Matchmaker Prelims Conclude

Racine Bell winning at Yonkers Raceway
Published: April 15, 2022 10:40 pm EDT

Racine Bell stamped herself as the one to beat in the $381,000 Blue Chip Matchmaker Series final set for April 25 with a powerful performance, capturing the second of three $40,000 divisions at Yonkers Raceway on Friday night (April 15) in 1:51.2, the second fastest leg victory in all five preliminary rounds.

Sent off as the 1-10 favourite from the pole position, Racine Bell saw McMarkle Sparkle and Andy Miller leave boldly to take control into the first turn. Lit De Rose and Pat Lachance also pressed forward in the early stages and was parked nearly to the quarter for the front. Bartlett had Racine Bell on the move before the quarter, and the five-year-old by So Surreal crossed to command at the :26.4 opening fraction, then never looked back.

Racine Bell cruised to the half in :56.1 and then Bartlett let the talented mare shift gears going around the third turn. A :27.1 third quarter kept a first-over Blue Ivy and Tyler Buter well at bay as the outer tier struggled to keep pace. Racine Bell separated from the field on the final turn and Bartlett urged her confidently in the 28-second flat sprint to the wire. McMarkle Sparkle rallied for the place spot, with Lit De Rose settling for third.

Now a winner in three of the four legs she competed in, Racine Bell returned $2.20 to win and keyed a $14.40 exacta and $42 triple. Owned by Chris and Dale Lawton, Racine Bell won for the 25th time in her career for trainer David Dewhurst.

Gias Surreal won an intense stretch drive in the first $40,000 Blue Chip Matchmaker division with Bartlett getting the better of favoured Miss You N and driver Dexter Dunn right on the wire in a 1:52.1 clocking. The six-year-old by So Surreal was racing in just her third leg of the series, and despite the victory, is destined for the Monday, April 25 consolation.

Miss You N blasted from the pole position, with Gias Surreal settling in the pocket late on the opening bend. Miss You N carved out fractions of :27.1 and :55.3 for the opening half before taking on just mild pressure from Best Head West approaching three-quarters. Before Best Head West could cover her up, Bartlett pulled Gias Surreal from the pocket into the final turn and went on the offensive following the 1:24 three-quarters clocking.

Dunn worked hard to preserve the win with the pacemaker Miss You N, but Bartlett shook the lines repeatedly, and the Ed Hart-trained Gias Surreal responded when it mattered most to post the mild upset at 9-5. Miss You N held second, with Best Head West and Keep Rockin A following the top pair across the wire.

Gias Surreal is owned by James Graham, Edward Peron and Lee Winters, and won for the first time in 2022 in just her third start. Gias Surreal returned $5.90 and keyed an exacta of $10.80 with the favourite and a triple worth $29.60.

Karma Seelster and driver Jordan Stratton pulled a minor upset (4-1) after chasing down 1-10 favourite Drama Act and getting the better of that one in a series-best 1:51.1 clocking in the third and final division.

Drama Act took control for George Brennan off the opening bend and was stalked by Man Dontforget Me, Karma Seelster and Dragon Roll through fractions of :27.4, :55.2 and 1:23.1. Stratton pulled the five-year-old daughter of Sportswriter to the outside past the three-quarter pole and Karma Seelster picked up the bit and made up ground in a hurry on leader Drama Act through the final turn.

In the homestretch, Brennan worked feverishly behind Drama Act, but the daughter of Well Said couldn't hold on to the lead, was narrowly passed in the shadow of the wire and had to settle for second. Tyler Buter rallied Dragon Roll to the outside and that mare flew home to be a close third, lapped on the top pair, with pocket-sitter Man Dontforget Me and Dexter Dunn squeezing between horses late and settling for fourth.

Owned by Karen Hauver and trained by Andrew Adamczyk, Karma Seelster won for the second time in the series and returned $10.20 as the second choice. The exacta with the favourite paid $10.20 and the trifecta was worth $52.50.

Unofficially, the eight mares advancing to the $381,000 Blue Chip Matchmaker Series final are:

Drama Act (312 points)
Racine Bell (275)
Karma Seelster (267)
Miss You N (242)
Easy To Please (225)
Best Head West (224)
Mystical Carrie (212)
Keep Rockin A (211)

The fifth and final round of preliminary action for the MGM Borgata Series will be the feature of a dozen races on Monday night's Yonkers Raceway card. There are three $50,000 divisions on the program.

(Yonkers Raceway)

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