Alexander Students Sweep Borgata Fourth Leg

Desperate Man
Published: April 8, 2024 11:51 pm EDT

Desperate Man, Pleaseletmeknow and Backstreet Shadow gave driver Matt Kakaley and trainer Travis Alexander victories in the three $67,568 divisions of the fourth round of the MGM Borgata Pacing Series that were held at MGM Yonkers Raceway on Monday night (April 8).

In the first grouping, Dunkin (Tim Tetrick) and Torrid Saint A (Matthew Athearn) both made breaks before the start, allowing Desperate Man to make a fairly easy lead in a :27 opening quarter. Although unchallenged, Kakaley kept the tempo pretty strong with Desperate Man, as he got to the half in :55.1 and the three-quarters in 1:23, but he had plenty left in reserve and cruised home in a :28 final quarter to tally by 3-1/2 lengths in 1:51, improving to four-for-four in the series in the process. Covered Bridge (Jordan Stratton) was up for second, followed by Idealsomemagic A (George Brennan).

Trained by Alexander for owner Kathy Cecchin of Arthur, Ont., Desperate Man, who was bred by Winbak Farm, is a six-year-old gelded son of Shadow Play. The former Canadian Horse of the Year made his 20th trip to the winner's circle and he has now banked $1,382,137.

He paid $2.40 to win as the 1-5 favourite. The exacta was $6.30 and the trifecta $58.50.

Pleaseletmeknow and Kakaley gunned out from the pole position in the second flight and hooked up in an early duel with a leaving Funatthebeach N (Stratton). They battled side-by-side through a :26 opening quarter and a :54.1 half, and then as Funatthebeach N began to tire, This Is The Plan (Yannick Gingras) went three-wide on the third turn to get by Funatthebeach N and take up the first-over position and the clash with Pleaseletmeknow prior to the 1:23 three-quarters.

Despite the battles and the contested pace, Pleaseletmeknow was unrelenting and actually kicked away from the others through the stretch drive to prevail by a length and three-quarters in 1:52, with Leonidas A (Austin Siegelman) second and This Is The Plan third.

A former MGM Grand Messenger Stakes champion over the track, Pleaseletmeknow is a five-year-old American Ideal gelding bred and owned by Fiddler's Creek Stables of Naples Florida. He has a summary of 18-6-8 from 46 appearances and pushed his earnings to $754,542.

Pleaseletmeknow returned $3.90 to win as the 4-5 favourite and was atop a $14.40 exacta and a $65.50 trifecta.

Backstreet Shadow then captured the final section from first-over in 1:51.3. Aiming for his third series leg win, Rocknroll Runa A (Mark MacDonald) moved out of the pocket before the :27 opening quarter and wrestled command away from defending champion Hellabalou (Gingras) past that marker.

Rocknroll Runa A then put the half on the board in just :56, but Backstreet Shadow launched his attack out of third beyond the half and took charge on the outside before the 1:23.4 three-quarters was reached. Backstreet Shadow continued to show the way on the rim around the final bend and was able to hold sway to the finish line, defeating a gaining Coaches Corner (Jason Bartlett) by a neck. Hellabalou collected third.

New York's Bob Di Nozzi owns Backstreet Shadow, a nine-year-old gelding by Shadow Play. Bred by Karen Carroll of Shedden, Ont., Backstreet Shadow is now a 45-time winner and has pocketed $1,662,198.

He paid $6.70 to win as the 2-1 second choice. The exacta kicked back $28.60 and the trifecta was worth $70.

The MGM Borgata Pacing Series prelims end next Monday, April 15, with the $200,000 USD added final slated to take place on Monday, April 22. This year's series final will also have a "win and you're in" feature for the $125,000 USD Birthday Invitational Pace in May to celebrate 125 years of Yonkers Raceway, the Battle of Lake Erie at MGM Northfield on June 8 and the Aria Invitational at Yonkers scheduled for Sept. 7.

On Tuesday, April 9, the draw for the final leg of the Borgata Series will take place. The entry box closes at 3 p.m. (EDT).

The John Brennan Trotting Series will be added to the current mix of ongoing stakes races at Yonkers on Wednesday, April 10 with five $25,000 USD tilts to get that event underway. The Brennan Series, which has three prelims prior to the $55,000 USD added final on April 31, is named in honour of the longtime Standardbred Owners Association of New York horsemen's representative who passed away from complications of COVID-19 in March 2020. The series is for three-year-olds and older who were non-winners of six pari-mutuel races or $200,000 USD through Feb. 1, 2024, with winners over $250,000 USD as of that date not eligible.

The Friday, April 12 program at Yonkers will be headlined by two $40,000 USD splits of the last round of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series for pacing mares. Tonys Mom (post two) and Incaseyoudidntknow (post eight) each seek their second win in the prelims in the first division (race five), while the other section (race nine) has leg winners Lit De Rose (post one), Dougs Babe A (post two), Delitfulcatherin N (post four) and Racine Bell (post seven). The $125,000 USD added final of the Matchmaker Series is also slated to take place on Monday, April 22.  

Live harness racing takes place at Yonkers on a Monday through Friday schedule with post time each night at 7 p.m. (EDT).

(With files from Yonkers Raceway)

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