BY FRANK DRUCKER, Publicity Director, Empire City @ Yonkers Raceway
YONKERS, NY, Saturday, April 22, 2017—When the 92-year-old boss flies in from San Diego, you don’t want to disappoint him.
Good thing Mackenzie A (Jordan Stratton, $12.80) held up her end of the bargain Saturday night (Apr. 22nd), winning Yonkers Raceway’s $310,600 final of the Blue Chip Matchmaker.
Sitting chilly from post position No. 4, Mackenzie A watched as Lispatty (Brian Sears) leave hard from the pylons, with Shesjustadelight N (Ron Cushing) second and 9-10 choice Mach it a Par (Jason Bartlett) third…all three away in post position order.
Meanwhile, Regil Elektra (Yannick Gingras) and Bedroomconfessions (Scott Zeron) tried to leave, only to get parked for their troubles (the latter badly compromised by the former).
It was Lispatty leading at the :26.4 opening quarter-mile before Mach it a Par move to take the baton approaching the :55.1 intermission. Down the backside, Shesjustadelight N took out of third, with Mackenzie A third and Medusa (Matt Kakaley) staying in.
Mach it a Par was seemingly in control in and out of a 1:23.4 three-quarters, with the uncovered rival pacing in place, forcing Mackenzie A wide.
It was Mach it a Par owning a length-and-half lead into the lane, but company was coming. Mackenzie A blew on by, widening to win the ninth Matchmaker by 2¾ lengths in in life-best 1:53.1. Medusa, who had left the cones, failed to match strides with the winner but was a rallying second, with 81-1 rank outsider Diva’s Image (Joe Bongiorno) a closing third.
That one found her way into the final after original eight-holer Empress Deo came up ill. Mach it a Par faded to fourth, with Shesjustadelight N fifth and Lispatty, Regil Elektra and Bedroomconfessions bringing up the rear.
For co-second choice Mackenzie A, a 5-year-old Down Under daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven co-owned by the nonagenarian Harry von Knoblauch (a fine TV interview) and his daughter, Ellen Kinser and trained by Peter Tritton, it was her second win in eight seasonal starts. The exacta paid $167, the triple returned $6,251 the superfecta paid $19,960 (base $2 payout).
"I thought I have to race her from off the pace,” Stratton said. "The trip worked out perfect for us. I knew there were horses behind and I wanted to move." Stratton won the inaugural edition of the race in 2009 with Pancleefandarpels.
A $75,000 series consolation was won by Hidden Land (Bartlett, $9.50) in 1:54.1.
Saturday night’s $55,000 Open Handicap Trot was won by Barn Doll (Jeff Gregory, $4.70) in 1:56.4.