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Yonkers, NY – Desperate Man and Rocknroll Runa A improved to two-for-two in this year’s MGM Borgata Pacing Series by taking their respective $50,000 divisions of the second leg on Monday night (March 25) at MGM Yonkers Raceway. Collecting wins in the other sections were Dunkin’ and Whats Stanley Got A.

The big showdown of the program came in the second section as round one victors Linedrive Hanover, Covered Bridge and Desperate Man were all entered. Covered Bridge (driven by Jordan Stratton) got to the lead on the first turn, but he was looped by Linedrive Hanover (Scott Zeron), who would then yield to sit in the pocket behind Desperate Man (Matt Kakaley) after the :27.1 opening quarter. Desperate Man was then able to back down the half to :56 seconds flat before Covered Bridge tried a first-over move out of third coming to the 1:23.4 three-quarters.

On the last turn, Covered Bridge’s bid stalled out, and then he faded in the stretch, giving Zeron clearance to angle out with Linedrive Hanover. Linedrive Hanover did gain to the wire, but it wasn’t enough, as Desperate Man, the 2021 Horse of the Year in Canada, stayed three-quarters of a length in front. Covered Bridge was third and Sumomentsomwhere A wound up fourth after following Covered Bridge from second-over.

“He was scary good again. He was super last week and even more impressive tonight,” remarked Kakaley. “I was outside of the other two, so I kind of just played how the first turn was looking. Jordan got around Scotty pretty easy, so I didn’t want them to get down there too cheap and be first-up into a big back-half. I wanted to be aggressive. Scotty re-moved and then I got around him. My horse was very, very good.”

Trained by Travis Alexander for owner Kathy Cecchin, Desperate Man, who was bred by Winbak Farm, is a 6-year-old gelded son of Shadow Play. He made his 18th trip to the winner’s circle, he has now banked $1,039,439 and he returned $4.20 to win as the even-money second choice. The ($2) exacta was $6.40 and the ($2) trifecta $11.00.

Rocknroll Runa A (Mark MacDonald) went right to the front from post four in the third Borgata battle and got away with soft opening-half panels of :27.3 and :56.4 before he stepped up the pace to three-quarters in 1:24.3. Behind Rocknroll Runa A, Pleaseletmeknow (Kakaley) pulled out of the pocket past three-quarters, giving cover to Semi Tough (Gingras) and Strengthfromabove (Stratton), but none of them were a match for Rocknroll Runa A to the wire, as he used a :27.2 final kicker to slam the door to triumph by a length and a half. Coaches Corner (Jason Bartlett) closed well on the inside to get second from Pleaseletmeknow, with Semi Tough and Strengthfromabove behind them.

Rocknroll Runa A, owned by trainer Larry Stalbaum, is a 7-year-old gelding by Rock N Roll Heaven. He is now a 29-time winner in his life, sent his earnings to $397,092 and paid $13 to win as a 5-1 offering. He led a $41.80 ($2) exacta and a $135 ($2) trifecta.

Back in the night’s first split, Dunkin’ (driven by Tim Tetrick) fired to the front from post two and put up opening-half fractions of :27.2 and :56.1. Late on the third turn, Hemsworth N (Joe Bongiorno) rolled first-over out of the fourth spot, and he made steady progress towards Dunkin’ heading to the 1:24 three-quarters and provided cover to Backstreet Shadow (Kakaley).

Dunkin’ and Hemsworth N continued to duel around the final bend and through the stretch drive, but Dunkin’ was game and held sway over Hemsworth N, defeating him by a length in a 1:51.4 mile. Backstreet Shadow was third in his 2024 debut, followed by last year’s MGM Borgata Pacing Series champion Hellabalou (Gingras).

A 4-year-old Pet Rock gelding, Dunkin’ is trained by Scott Di Domenico for owner Betty Clegg. This was his 30th career victory, he has now pocketed $298,502 and he returned $6.50 to win as the 2-1 second choice. The ($2) exacta was worth $31 and the ($2) trifecta kicked back $99.50.

In the final flight, 2021 MGM Borgata Pacing Series champion This Is The Plan (Gingras) went to the front in a :27.2 quarter, and while This Is The Plan was still in command at the :56.4 half, 2022 series hero Funatthebeach N (Stratton) was moving uncovered after going first-up on the second turn.

This Is The Plan and Funatthebeach N were fully locked in a clash prior to the 1:24 three-quarters, but Funatthebeach N wore This Is The Plan down past that point, cleared, and was able to drop down to the rail. That left Whats Stanley Got A and driver George Brennan first-over, but despite losing cover, Whats Stanley Got A didn’t lose interest. He sustained his bid around the final bend, vaulted around Funatthebeach N in the stretch and went on to tally by a length and a quarter in 1:52. Funatthebeach N was a valiant second, and I Did It Myway (Tetrick), the 4-5 favorite, had to settle for third.

Trainer Cory Stratton sent out Whats Stanley Got A, an 8-year-old gelding by Heston Blue Chip who picked up his 14th career victory and has now put away $210,201, for owners VIP Internet Stable LLC. and Stratton Stable Inc. Whats Stanley Got A, who paid $17.60 to win as a 7-1 offering, keyed a $115.50 ($2) exacta and a ($2) $228.50 trifecta.

Preliminary round action in the MGM Borgata Pacing Series continues through Monday, April 15, with the $200,000 added final slated to take place on Monday, April 22. This year’s MGM Borgata Pacing Series final will also have a “win and you’re in” feature for the $125,000 Birthday Invitational Pace in May to celebrate 125 years of MGM 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 (March 26), the draw for the third leg of the MGM Borgata Pacing Series will take place. The entry box closes at 3 p.m. (EDT).

Friday night’s (March 29) program at MGM Yonkers Raceway will be headlined by a trio of $40,000 splits of the third leg of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series for pacing mares and will feature battles between prelim winners Tony’s Mom and Lit De Rose in the second flight (race 10) and Incaseyoudidntknow and Mikala in the finale (race 11). Those fields will line up as follows:

Division 1 / Race 4

1-Jive Dancing A
2-Karma Seelster
3-True Blue Hanover
4-Coachellabound N
5-Dougs Babe A

Division 2 / Race 10

1-Tony’s Mom
2-Creme Delight
3-Sale El Sol
4-Avf Claire
5-Lit De Rose
6-Easy To Please

Division 3 / Race 11

1-Delitfulcatherin N
2-Racine Bell
3-Treacherous Penny
5-Man Dontforget Me

The opening rounds of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series will continue through Friday, April 12 with the $125,000 added final on Monday, April 22.

MGM Yonkers Raceway is currently operating on a Monday-Friday live racing schedule with post time each night at 7 p.m. (EDT).