Bluechip Matchmaker Second Round Produces Three New Winners

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Ted Black

March 25th, 2017

While many thoroughbred racing enthusiasts were eagerly looking forward to the Saturday morning Dubai World Cup card at Meydan Race Course, standardbred fans were focused on the second round of the Bluechip Matchmaker Series for Free-For-All pacing mares, a trio of events that produced three different winners from week one.

In the opening Bluechip split, opening round winner Shesjustadelight N (Ron Cushing) drew the rail for the second straight week and was made the 8-5 second choice, while yielding the favorite's role to Divas Image (Joe Bongiorno), who had been fifth from post eight in the opening round split won by Regil Elektra. Neither of them would find the winner's circle on Friday and only one of them raced well.

When the gate folded in the opening Matchmaker division, Empress Deo (Matt Kakaley) left rapidly from between horses to gain command through the clubhouse turn and then yielded to Shejustadelight N past the opener in 27.2, with Divas Image away in third and willing to sit there throughout. Shesjustadelight N led the field by the half in 56.4, raced unpressed down the backside and by three-quarters in 1:26, but was overhauled in the lane by the pocket-sitting Empress Deo who posted an 11-1 upset in 1:54.

A six-year-old Rocknroll Hanover mare trained by Wayne Givens for the Legacy Racing Stable, Empress Deo notched her first win in 10 starts this year and pushed her seasonal earnings toward $80,000. More importantly, she now sports one win and one second-place finish in two series legs and looks well on her way to earning a spot in the $200,000 final on April 22. Shesjustadelight N settled for second in a good effort and also owns one win and one second-place finish in two Bluechip outings and appears in line for a spot in the final.

One race later in the second Bluechip Matchmaker second round division, Mackenzie A (Jordan Stratton) displayed good early speed from along the pylons through the first turn, quarter moved to command, led the field by the half in 56.4, fended off a brief challenge from Hidden Land down the backside and held safe series newcomer Wrangler Magic (Daniel Dube) in 1:53.2. A five-year-old Rock N Roll Heaven mare trained by Peter Tritton for owners Harry von Knoblauch and Ellen Kinser, Mackenzie A recorded her first win in four starts this year and now owns one win and one fourth-place finish in two series outings.

Opening round winner Mach It A Par (Jason Bartlett) offered little as the 4-5 favorite, but newcomer and Canadian invader Wrangler Magic raced well in her return. Wrangler Magic had won the F-M Open here on January 27 then ventured north and won the F & M Preferred at Woodbine Raceway in Canada on March 3 & 10 before returning to the New York half-mile oval. Betabcool N (Mark MacDonald) finished third for the second straight week in series action.
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In the third and final second round division of the Matchmaker series, Bedroomconfessions (Scott Zeron) recorded the fastest clocking of the six splits thus far when she gained command before the opener in 27.3, got a breather by the half in 57 flat then unleashed a 55.3 back half that included a 27.1 kicker to romp home four lengths clear in 1:52.3. Second and beaten just a nose by Mach It Par in a series opener, Bedroomconfessions notched her third win in six starts this year and owns one win and one second-place finish in two legs. Opening round winner Regil Elektra (Bartlett) overcame post seven to finish third.

One night earlier at Dover Downs, All The Cookies (Yannick Gingras) delivered the most memorable win on the card when he gained command early, yielded to favored Tip It On Back (Bret Brittingham) before the half, sat a loose pocket trip down the backside and through the far turn, then rallied willingly and relentlessly along the passing lane to prevail by a neck in 1:50.4 in a non-winners of $100,001 lifetime class for pacers five-years old and under.

A four-year-old Rocknroll Hanover gelding out of an Artsplace mare, All The Cookies recorded his third straight victory and fourth win in his last five starts for trainer Kenneth Mitchell, who is battling cancer and was unable to attend. His mother, Katherine Mitchell, passed away earlier in the week. All The Cookies recorded the third-fastest clocking of the card and now owns 10 wins and $103,000 banked for owner Richard J. Stansbury of Barclay, Maryland, and the four-year-old pacing gelding won his way out of the class, as did runner-up Tip It On Back.

One race earlier on the card, Major Uptrend (Tony Morgan) easily gained command soon after the start and led throughout to post a length victory as the 6-5 choice in the $30,000 Open Handicap. A six-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding trained by Tim Crissman for owner Mildred Ventriglio, Major Uptrend prevailed for the fourth time in his last five starts and now owns a 5-1-1 slate and $53,000 bankroll this year and 29-14-5 slate and $314,000 banked from 89 career tries.

Two races earlier on the card, Blazing Bobby Sox (Art Stafford, Jr.) benefited from a second over journey behind Captive Audience (Corey Callahan) and eventually wore down 3-5 choice Emeritus Maximus (Gingras) in 1:50.3 in the $27,500 Delaware Special. Three races earlier, Henry The Dragon (Montrell Teague) tuned up for next week's Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund series for sophomore pacing colts by prevailing in 1:51.3 in his seasonal debut for owner-trainer-breeder George Teague, Jr. Henry The Dragon won five of six starts and banked $115,000 last fall as a freshman, although his lone blemish came in the $100,000 DSBF final at Dover in mid-November.