Harness racing: Yonkers series finals set

Profile Picture: Frank Cotolo

April 15th, 2021

TwinSpires Harness Blog’s selected features takes you through the weekend of racing at Yonkers, for the finals and consolations of the Matchmaker and Borgata pacing series Monday.

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

Matchmaker final

The $232,800 Blue Chip Matchmaker Pacing Series Final at Yonkers on Monday is nothing less than dangerous if you are trying to upset Alexa Skye.

It is an understatement to say any other mare in the series had a chance to win. This race is for second and third.

The most likely candidate for the place is Blue Ivy, though the price may not please anyone. We suggest, if you wish to go with any exacta or trifecta, to use Monica Gallagher and Snobbytown.

Expect a track record for the win.

Consolation Matchmaker

The $60,000 Blue Chip Consolation includes eight from the gate and is a more appealing wagering event than the final.

We'll endorse Maczaffair N. Shane Tritton’s mare did not live up to expectations in the series but is tuned up for this, after a good qualifier. Though she lost to Parisian Blue Chip (who leaves two posts to her left and is a good exotic offering) in the qualifier, the prep should not indicate the value of the two in this event.

Borgata final

The $514,000 Borgata Pacing Series Final also takes place at Yonkers on Monday.

Although the reigning division and series leader, Leonidas A, drew post 7, Hesa Kingslayer N proved to us in the last leg what we thought all along — Leonidas A is superior.

The post, however, may upset some bettors who feel the two main contenders will perform as well as their posts. That may give Leonidas A some worthy points. Also, action for Rockapelo could add a bit more value to Leonidas A, as well decent support for series point leader Western Joe.

Borgata consolation

The $100k Borgata Consolation is a wide-open affair.

Nancy Takter’s San Domino A may show his best at a decent price. Let It Ride N has done best in the series but mostly when he is in command of the pace, something that may not happen in this field. Western Fame’s rail spot gives him a launching pad to take the lead, and a great spot for San Domino A to suck along and let loose on the final turn.


Friday, April 16: Miami Valley, Race 8

The $40,000 James Hackett Memorial features nine gals for the final. The filly with the best record for the year so far, Shameful Eyes, will go for the third time, with two of those starts a win and a place, and has the healthiest bankbook of the bunch.

Ball Diamond comes off a tiring outside trip on the half-mile track at Northfield, a race to ignore for the trip, but will be in hot pursuit for exotic wagering purposes, at least.

Free Thinker comes off a fine March qualifier at the Meadows for trainer Dan Charlino. She appears in fine shape to handle this group. Chris Beaver will send Margin Of Error back to the track, after a decent qualifier in March at Miami Valley. Three from Ron Burke are included, each from some time off with qualifiers as preps.

Saturday, April 17: Miami Valley, Race 8

The $40,000 James Hackett Memorial for pacers features eight for the final.

Atop the field should be favorite Charlie May, who won the second elimination with one fell swoop and some cover.

Burke’s Heart Of Chewbacca, the second choice, followed him home and will get action for that effort. Still, the pairing won’t offer a worthy price, compared to their chances.

Official Bean, who finished third in the elim at 58-1, will come out of post 5 in the final. That was the most impressive trip in that field and a huge overlay for the entry with the most money and the most races won of the final’s field. We will back him for what should be an upset price.

For significant value, use Just Playing in exotics. He has hit the board in each of his three races this season.

Power plays

Saturday, April 17: Meadowlands

We’re shooting for a Pick 3 at the Meadowlands, with a smaller ticket aimed at a bigger return than usual, as we note some outsiders may be overlooked. Remember, all of our suggested contenders qualify for multi- and the single-race exotics, as well as win, place and show wagers.

Race 4

A bad break ruined Reign Of Honor last week, at a tougher level, where he was still an even-money favorite. He may not be the favorite here, where Double Account will have his say in the action.

Quiksilvr Bluechip, with trainer/driver Victor Kirby at the reins, is our choice as the best outsider.

Race 5

Here is one reason we like this Pick 3 — a three-year-old conditioned pace. It’s that time of the year where this division is known to pull off some surprises.

On last week’s H2W list, South Beach Star enters off of a good first start at three. He’s a Brett Pelling-trained son of Somebeachsomewhere and has matured to do much better at three than at two.

Another outsider is Whole Lotta Lou. Off a win as the favorite, he may offer a good price against some other fan favorites to his inside.

Race 6

The Preferred Handicap trot completes the trio. The two outside horses should get all the action, which leaves some pretty prices available from foes to their left.

Two others are attractive to us. A rare Jack Parker Jr. trotter, Morairtime enters off a good first race at Meadowlands from his home at Dover, where he has earned well. Also in for his second try in Jersey is Carmen Auciello’s Ontario sharpie, Buck Dancer.

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


4/17: Before I Die R1; Kings Treasure R2; +Stratosphere R7; Littlebitofabrat R11


4/16: Rock To Glory R2
4/17: +Crookshanks R4


4/16: +Anne Bonney N R9
4/17: +Stonedust R7; Island Of The Sea R11

Miami Valley

4/16: +Rocking Zoe R11
4/17: +RJs Dragon R6; +Tough As Tuff R13


4/15: +Tinos Pulse R2; My Last Chance R5; +Southern Swan R5; Always Hotspeed R6; +Burning Desire R15


4/17: Shady Madam R15


4/16: Fire Eye R7
4/17: Rocks And Things R10; The Great I Am R12; Brave World R12


4/15: +Draven Hanover R6
4/16: +Rydia Hanover R4


4/15: Easteriffic R2; Hired Luck R4; Rys Red Rocket R8
4/16: Royal Pride R2; L Dees Yoyo Ma R3; Northern Sultan R4


4/18: +In Dulce Decorum R5


4/18: Risk N R3


4/17: Schwarber R5; Under The Bus R9


4/16: +Waves Of Fire A R1