Levy Contenders Head Into Final Leg at Yonkers

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Ted Black

April 15th, 2017

Saturday night will offer owners and trainers of participants in the George Morton Levy Series for free-for-all pacers one last chance to earn a berth in either the $500,000 final or $100,000 consolation on April 22, while Rosecroft Raceway fans will have a rare chance to witness a live card one night before the Easter Sunday holiday.

Saturday's three divisions of the fifth and last preliminary round of the Levy series at Yonkers will be conducted as consecutive races during the middle of the card and realistically 19 of the 20 scheduled starters will have a chance to either return for the final or the consolation one week later. Only Cooperstown, who makes his belated series debut on Saturday, can not earn a spot in either.

All six starters in Saturday's opening division, slated as the fifth race on the card, have competed in all four prior round of the series and four of them - McWicked, Provocativeprince N, Long Live Rock and Mach It So - could still earn a berth in the final. Provocativeprince N (Jordan Stratton), who won an opening leg split back on March 18 and has finished second once, fifth once and seventh once in three tries since, has the best chance to make the final of this group, currently 30 points ahead of McWicked, Long Live Rock and Mach It So.

McWicked (Matt Kakaley) raced against the bias in each of his first two series tries, but he has finished second in each of his last two prelims and has enough speed to get around railbound Caviart Luca (George Brennan), who could sneak into the consolation with a victory. Long Live Rock won an opening round split as an 18-1 shot, but has not duplicated that form in two subsequent outings. Mach It So has been a fixture in the final the past three years, but he has yet to win a leg this year. He finished second from the rail last week, but gets post six this weekend and would have to beat Provocativeprince N, McWicked and Long Live Rock to reach the final.

Only four of the seven starters in the second Levy split have competed in the previous four elims, but three-time series winner Missile J (Tim Tetrick), who sat out last week, leads the points standings heading into the final round and is already assured of reaching the final. Just to his inside is Keystone Velocity (Daniel Dube), a two-time series winner who is also guaranteed of a spot in the final, while just to his inside is Cooperstown (Scott Zeron) the lone series newcomer who has no chance to reaching the final or consolation.

Railbound Bit Of A Legend (Stratton), the defending Levy final hero, is also headed for the final for Tritton and could play a spoiler role for several foes looking to join him, Missile J and Keystone Velocity. Blood Brother (Jason Bartlett), who won his prelim last weekend, looks poised to make the final with another decent outing. But Rockin Ron (Yannick Gingras), who missed last week, and Great Vintage (Mark MacDonald) are both squarely on the bubble and either one - but not both - could vault into finals consideration with a victory.

Five of the seven starters in the third Levy split have competed in all four prior rounds, but only one of them - round four hero Somewhere In L A (Bartlett) - has already earned a berth in the final. Railbound Wakizashi Hanover (Tetrick) is squarely on the bubble for making the final and would need to win and a setback from Rockin Ron in the previous elim to reach the final. He has not displayed a genuine fondness for the New York half-mile oval in his four outings, but having the rail on Saturday night could enhance his chances considerably.
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Guantanamo Bay and PH Supercam - a former Levy final hero - both are vying for spots in the consolation, as is Clear Vision, who has finished first and third in two Levy rounds after bypassing the first two. All Bets Off, runner-up in last year's Levy final, has finished second once, third once and sixth once in three legs and is simply hoping to find a berth in the consolation, as is McArdles Lightning, who finished second last week after four dull tries to begin the series after handing Missile J the one setback of his current campaign at Dover Downs in March.

Rosecroft Raceway will offer the first of only three live Saturday night cards - the other two on Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes Day - and the program has several quality pacers looking to join the conversation for horse of the meet.

In the opener, a non-winners of $2500 last five starts class for older pacers, former horse of the meet titlists Caviart Tyler (Jonathan Roberts), Arpeggio Hanover (Russell Foster) and Diamondkeeper (Roger Plante, Jr.) all get some serious class relief while starting from posts two, three and eight, respectively, while Stimulus Spending (Jared Moyer) ascends from a sharp score against bottom-level conditioned foes last Sunday.

Four races later in a non-winners of three races lifetime class for younger pacers, Little T J (John Mackinnon) will seek his third straight score for his trainer-driver, having unleashed a stellar closing kick to win his last two local tries. Then just past the midway point of the card in a non-winners of $6000 last five starts class for older pacers, J W Renegade (Mackinnon) seeks his second straight score while double jumping in class.

But former horse of the meet Hi Sir (Foster) exits the Open for only the second time at the meet, as does another former track champion Concert Artist (Richard Still) and both Movie Idol (Frank Milby) and Hickory Aloha (Timmy Offutt). Both Go Big Spinder (Allan Davis) and Coaster (Kim Vincent) ascend to this level off sharp scores last Sunday at the non-winners of $4000 last five starts class, while Rockin Glory (Plante) was second at that level last weekend.

In the penultimate race on the card, railbound Cousin Brucie (Milby) will seek his third straight score for trainer Trevor Stafford, while BP Burner (William Carter) moves up one class after rallying from last to defeat non-winners of $2500 last five foes. Boardwalk Gangster has been second in each of his last two starts and three of his four local tries for owner-trainer Amanda Malone, while Said No One (Justin Vincent) seeks his second local tally after three good efforts at this level.