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Borgata Final To This Is The Plan

Published: April 20, 2021 12:05 am ET

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This Is The Plan was able to overcome starting from the outside post eight with a blitz off the gate and then never let anybody get close to him after that in winning Monday night's $514,000 MGM Borgata Pacing Series final at Yonkers Raceway in 1:50.4.

This Is The Plan, driven by Yannick Gingras and one of three in the final sent out by trainer Ron Burke, was dispatched at odds of 11-1.

Rockapelo (George Brennan), Hesa Kingslayer N (Jim Marohn, Jr.), Mach N Cheese (Joe Bongiorno), Western Joe (Dexter Dunn), Backstreet Shadow (Tim Tetrick), and This Is The Plan all showed speed at the start of the race, but it was This Is The Plan who was able to go from six-wide early on the bend to leading over stablemate Rockapelo by the time they entered the backstretch for the first time. Everybody else then got down to the cones except for Backstreet Shadow, who was left on the outside as the first quarter rang up in :26.4.

On the second turn, 6-5 favourite Western Joe, who had landed in fourth, flushed Hesa Kingslayer N out of third, and they made some progress towards This Is The Plan at the :55.1 half, but then the pace dramatically quickened past that marker as Gingras stepped on the accelerator and This Is The Plan responded by opening up a gap on the rest of the field in a third quarter that went on the board in :27.

After building up that advantage on his pursuers, This Is The Plan was not about to relinquish it, as he paced home in :28.3 to seal the deal by a length and a half over Rockapelo, who went off at 13-1. Mach N Cheese saved ground on the inside and finished third at 32-1, and 26-1 offering Lyons Steel (Corey Callahan) also stayed on the pylons and wound up fourth. Leonidas A, the 5-2 second choice, got away last from post seven, could never get involved, and had to settle for fifth.

"That was the plan for sure, at least plan A. I wasn't going to sit eighth. Maybe I was going to be parked the whole mile, but I was going to leave as hard as I could. The horse has great gate speed, and I thought I had the best horse, so I had to get him into the race somehow,” said Gingras. "I was four-wide for a ways there, and I was just telling Ronnie (Burke), 'the plan became catch me if you can at the half.' I knew the backfield would be coming, but I figured I'd just take off and make them try to catch me.”

A six-year-old gelding by Somebeachsomewhere, This Is The Plan is owned by Burke Racing Stable LLC, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, J&T Silva- Purnel & Libby and Larry Karr. This Is The Plan is now a 16-time winner in his career, and the winner's share of the purse made him harness racing's newest double millionaire, as his lifetime earnings now stand at $2,073,700. This Is The Plan paid $24.40 to win.

"When they came out with the nominations for the series, I thought 'this is the best horse.' He's got $2 million made. He's a true free-for-aller," said Burke. "Even before the race, I was like, 'I think he can make the top from the eight-hole,' and [co-owner] Mark (Weaver) was like, 'Do you think he can clear from there?' and I was like, 'I think he can clear from there.' The only thing that almost stopped him was Backstreet (Shadow) having a leg underneath him when he hit the turn. When you come away with first and second out of that, it's a lot of money."

Western Fame (Dan Dube), who won the MGM Borgata Pacing Series final the last time it was held in 2019, was victorious in tonight's $100,000 consolation event. He pulled out of the pocket going to the 1:22.4 three-quarters, wore down leader San Domino A (Todd McCarthy) and prevailed by two lengths in 1:51.2. Macs Jackpot (Tim Tetrick) was the runner-up from second-over, and Raukapuka Ruler N (Jordan Stratton) got up for third.

Purchased in an online auction earlier this month, Western Fame, an eight-year-old Western Ideal stallion, scored in his second start for trainer Daniel Renaud and owner Dune Road Stables LLC. Western Fame is now a 30-time winner in his career, and he has banked $1,882,775. Western Fame returned $4.80 to win as the favourite.

Monday night's card at Yonkers Raceway drew plenty of attention on the wagering front from start to finish, as the handle on the 10-race program went into seven-figure territory, ending at $1,121,424.

Stakes action resumes at Yonkers Raceway on Wednesday night (April 21) with the $69,000 John Brennan Trotting Series final and $30,000 consolation. Get Legs is the favourite on the morning line in the final, as he looks to add to his two victories in the preliminary rounds.


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