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Yonkers Stakes Center On Grand Circuit

Published: April 1, 2021 9:46 am ET

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This Week: Blue Chip Matchmaker and MGM Borgata Pacing series fourth legs, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y.

Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit at Yonkers features two $35,000 divisions on Friday (April 2) in the fourth round of the Blue Chip Matchmaker series for open pacing mares. The Monday (April 5) card at Yonkers will see three $40,000 divisions in the fourth round of the MGM Borgata Pacing series for open pacers.

Each series offers five preliminary rounds leading to the finals, both set for Monday (April 19).

Last Time: Hesa Kingslayer N improved to three-for-three in Monday night’s (March 29) third leg of the MGM Borgata Pacing Series for free-for-allers at Yonkers Raceway.

Driven by Jim Marohn Jr. in his $40,000 section, Hesa Kingslayer N was able to get into the pocket from post 4 and had a great view of a battle for the lead between Pat Stanley N and a parked-out None Bettor A.

Pat Stanley N gave None Bettor A the cold shoulder through fractions of :27, :56.4 and 1:25, and when None Bettor A began to back up on the final turn, that gave Marohn and Hesa Kingslayer N the escape route to the outside they needed.

Once he had clear sailing, Hesa Kingslayer N pounced on Pat Stanley N, going by him in upper stretch on his way to a two-and-a-quarter length victory in 1:53. This Is The Plan was also on the outside throughout in the second-over position and checked in as the runner-up after going three-high on the final bend, and Pat Stanley N held third.

Trainer Mike Deters also co-owns Hesa Kingslayer N, an eight-year-old gelding by Christian Cullen, with partner Joel Warner. Hesa Kingslayer N is now a 20-time winner in his career and he has earned $189,962.

Alexa Skye was expected to face her toughest test of the year in the second of two $35,000 divisions of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series on Friday night (March 26) at Yonkers Raceway. However, when two mares were scratched prior to the race, reducing the field to just five, the task was made considerably easier for driver Todd McCarthy.

Nevertheless, it took two early moves for the four-year-old daughter of Somebeachsomewhere to secure the front, but the rest was once again quite easy as Alexa Skye made it three-straight victories in the series, scoring by a comfortable margin in 1:53.4.

My Ruebe Star N left alertly, as did Blue Ivy. The pair were directly inside Alexa Skye, the betting favourite, and McCarthy settled in third as My Ruebe Star N seated Blue Ivy and marched towards the opening quarter.

Alexa Skye moved before the quarter had been passed, secured the lead after the :27.4 quarter, and from there was in control. After a :29.4 second quarter, McCarthy and Alexa Skye had all of the rest time they needed and quickly marched off with a :28 third quarter, gaining some separation from My Ruebe Star N as Buter and Blue Ivy moved to the outside to try to track down the leader.

McCarthy felt the urgency of the posing threat from Blue Ivy, a first-leg winner, and began to urge Alexa Skye on coming off the final turn. He kept active in the bike, and it certainly woke up the sharp mare as she sprinted off with a :28.1 kicker, keeping Blue Ivy at bay, with Siesta Beach closing strongly late for third.

Trained and co-owned by Jeff Cullipher, along with Pollack Racing, Alexa Skye was a winner for the sixth time in 2021 and is just $250 shy of the $100,000 mark in seasonal earnings. This was her 15th victory overall and she now has banked $209,890 lifetime.

Grand Circuit Standings: In 2021, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2021 Grand Circuit awards.

Here are the leaders (through the races on 3-29-21):

Drivers: 1. Todd McCarthy – 50; 2. Andrew McCarthy – 42; 3. George Brennan – 40; 4. Austin Siegelman – 34; 5. Tim Tetrick – 30.

Trainers: 1. Ron Burke – 75; 2 (tie). Jeff Cullipher – 30; 2 (tie). Mike Deters – 30; 4 (tie). Noel Daley – 20; 4 (tie). Todd Buter – 20; 4 (tie). Sheena McElhiney – 20.

Owners: 1 (tie). Burke Racing Stable – 21.9; 1 (tie). Weaver Bruscemi – 21.9; 3 (tie). Jesmeral Stable – 20; 3 (tie). Renee Bercury – 20; 5. Brad Grant – 15.

Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will continue with the final leg of the Blue Chip Matchmaker and MGM Borgata next week. The finals for both events will be held on April 19.

(Grand Circuit)

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