Harness racing: Focus on Yonkers pacing series

Profile Picture: Frank Cotolo

April 8th, 2021

The TwinSpires Harness Blog’s selected features complement the fifth leg of the Yonkers pacing series — the Matchmaker and Borgata — on Friday and Monday, respectively.

Plus, the never-ending TwinSpires horses-to-watch list (H2W) offers suggestions for enhancing exotic combinations and fair win, place, and show wagers.

Matchmaker's mono

Leg five of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Pacing Series at Yonkers on April 9 is down to a single, five-mare, $35,000 division.

In this mile for the mares, four decent competitors from the other four legs will most likely race for the place, counting their steps of defeat to Alexa Skye.

In order to lose, the mighty impressive mare Alexa Skye must display the most unusual performance of her division — ever. No one in this series has come close to heading her, and unless she is banned from betting (unlikely, but perhaps the show pool will be unavailable), she will step lively to the finish in front.

For any reasonably acceptable exacta, using Alexa Skye as the key, there is Soho Burning Love A.

Features, features, features

Friday, April 9: Miami Valley, Race 12

The $25,000 Fillies & Mares Open H. brings 10 of the best ole gals on the premises to post. Fans will gather at the windows, so to speak, for Ron Burke’s Pace Baby Pace, the top money winner in the group.

Not us.

We like the step-up courage of Rocking Zoe. She comes to this level after winning a conditioned allowance with aplomb. As the second choice (by merely 60 cents), she brushed four lengths to the front by the half and won by a neck. She has hit the board in five of her last nine races, a better percentage than Burke’s five for her last 10.

Rocking Zoe has a good post and will not be the second choice here, which makes it a valuable play.

Saturday, April 10: Meadowlands, Race 4

In this simple conditioner, toss out the April 3 race from Cliffhanger, and you have this horse coming off of a cool win at the Meadowlands, in this company and in commanding fashion. He should get many calls during the mile, maybe all of the early ones.

Stonedust will step down to the conditions of his most recent win and should be in the mix, by racing in the top three or four throughout. He may be a challenge to Cliffhanger, launches faster, and has a slight post advantage.

Viva Borgata

A triptych of $40,000 Borgata divisions is the series’ fifth leg at Yonkers, Monday, April 12.

Race 4

Six stalwart pacers will go in the first division.

With the two probable favorites in outside posts — and those two not the most popular in the series so far — we have to look to last week. There, we finished second, at 12-1, with Raukapuka Ruler N. We pushed him in the series, but trouble, posts, and horses too much better thwarted his chances. He could race as he did last week, find the catbird seat early, and suck along, but this time, he may be assisted by a duel in front of him and catapult into first down the stretch.

Such a scenario could also benefit Backstreet Shadown, unless he decides to park out the favorites and partake in a three-way duel. We’re going with the “Ruler.”

Race 5

Another sextet of Borgata battlers should favor the inside probable favorites.

Here, though, we must go out on a limb for Chief Mate, the horse we backed last week. His finish in sixth is forgivable.

He left slowly from the abominable Post 8, 11 lengths behind. Still, he made up a bit more than six lengths to get there. He'll leave from the outside again, but it is only Post 6, and he should be able to fire quickly.

Against these third-tier Borgata boys, he could be the surprise of the night and the last of the Borgata longshot possibilities.

Race 6

This last division of the last leg pits two of the most accomplished in the Borgata cast — Leonidas A and Hesakingslayer N. Those are two veteran half-mile specialists from Bee Gees land that have traveled far, suffered no racing scars for the trip, and have taken to Yonkers like it was Albion or any number of four-turn raceways Down Under.

It is our opinion, regardless of the posts (Leondas A has the rail, and "Slayer" has Post 5), and even though "Slayer" has raced twice as much with as many wins (four), Leonidas A is the better pacer.

With both top contenders for the final here, along with last week’s gate-to-wire winner This Is The Plan, who will get some backing based on speed, Leonidas A could be the second choice, at a better price than any of his four wins this season.

H2W legend

Review our choices and confirm the wagers available at the prescribed track. H2W offers possible contenders researched from reviewing races.

Horse names are listed beneath the name of the track, with the date of their race and the race number (R6) following. If a "+" is in front of a horse’s name, it appears on the list for the second time (horses are listed twice only if, at first, they failed to win). An “ae” signals also-eligible. Types of wagers to make are based on your judgment.

H2W list


4/10/21, +Private Equity R6; Stratosphere R7


4/10/21, Crookshanks R2; +Latoka R3

Hoosier Park

4/9/21, +Shamwow R13


4/9/21, +Moon Doggie R4
4/10/21, Anne Bonney N R1; Island Of The Sea R2


4/8/21, +Bugger Bruiser R5; +John Paul R5

Miami Valley

4/10/21, Loutenant R5; Tough As Tuff R13; RJs Dragon R13


4/8/21, Im A Gift R5; Southern Swan R7; Burning Desire R10

Northfield Park

4/10/21, Astra R9; BJs Rocket R12; Smiley Dragon R14; Champagne Shower R15

Northville Downs

4/9/21, +Skyway Bebop R2


4/8/21, Draven Hanover R5; Regal Prince R7
4/9/21, Rydia Hanover R10
4/11/21, +Moonwards Hanover R2


4/10/21, +Melanies Tedy R4
4/11/21, Boaster Coaster R4; Six O’clock News R5; Nextroundsonme R11
4/12/21, More More More R3; +Infinite Zette R6

Pompano Park

4/11/21, Fashionwoodchopper R1; Risk N R5


4/8/21, +Alii Nui R5
4/9/21, Waves Of Fire A R1