Homeracing

Yonkers hosts fourth round of Levy series elims

Profile Picture: Ted Black

Ted Black

April 8th, 2018

On a day when thoroughbred racing fans were focused on the three-year-olds of both genders, harness racing fans paid close attention to the fourth leg of the prestigious and lucrative George Morton Levy Series for Free-For-All aged pacers seeking early fame and fortune later this month in the $540,000 final.

In the first of the three Levy splits on Saturday, Bit Of A Legend N (Jordan Stratton) lived up to his billing as the 1-9 favorite when he left to gain command from Chumlee A (Larry Stahlbaum) before a modest 28-second opener, got a breather by the half in 57.2, shook off token pressure down the backside then held sway through the lane under confident handling to score by just over a length in 1:53.2.

A nine-year-old Bettor's Delight stallion trained by Peter Tritton for the late Harry Vonknoblauch, Bit Of A Legend N notched his second win in four series tries and now owns 43 wins and nearly $1.98 million banked from 123 lifetime tries. With the victory he vaulted past the idle Dr J Hanover to become the series leader briefly. Chumlee A benefited from a pocket trip to secure the place spot and kept his hopes alive of reaching the Levy consolation.

Two races later in the second Levy fourth leg split, Somewhere In L A (Jason Bartlett) left alertly to secure good early position behind longshot leaver Evenin Of Pleasure (Joe Bongiorno), retook before the opener in 26.4, got a breather by the half in 56.3, raced unpressed down the backside and by three-quarters in 1:25 and edged clear in the lane to score by three lengths in 1:53. A seven-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding trained by Richard Banca, Somewhere In L A notched his second straight series score and overtook Bit Of A Legend N to claim the lead in the points standings through four legs.

Longshot Evenin Of Pleasure overcame post eight to gain command early, sat a loose pocket and secured the place spot for trainer Jen Bongiorno. Christen Me N rallied inside late to finish third, just ahead of Rodeo Rock. Two-time winner Rockin Ron (Gingras) offered nothing first over and finished fifth, just ahead of Missile J (Tetrick), who appeared flat while second over.

Then one race later in the third Levy fourth leg division, Mach It So (David Miller) benefited from an inside draw to leave and protect position, yielded to Keystone Velocity (Daniel Dube) before the opener then retook on the far turn, got a breather to the half in 56.4, raced unpressed down the backside and by three-quarters in 1:25 then held sway through the lane to score by nearly two lengths in 1:53.1.

An eight-year-old Mach Three gelding owned and trained by Jeffrey Bamond, Mach It So notched his second win in four Levy legs ad now sports 42 wins and $2.5 million banked from 124 career outings. Keystone Velocity benefited from a pocket trip to secure the place spot and keep his feint hopes alive of reaching the final, while Bettor Memories rallied strongly around dull cover to finish third and is well within range of making the final.

Through four legs of the series, Somewhere In L A is now the points leader with 250, followed by Bit Of A Legend N (237), Rockin Ron (230), Dr J Hanover (225), Mach It So (212), Evenin Of Pleasure (200), Missile J (187) and Western Fame (183) rounds out the top eight. Bettor Memories (174), Chumlee A (166), Always At My Place (160), Keystone Velocity (158), Luciano N (145), Long Live Rock (145) and Mister Daytona N (133) look destined for the consolation, although Bettor Memories has raced very well throughout the series and could reach the final with another good performance next weekend.

One race prior to the opening Levy split, Great Vintage (Gingras) exited the series and lived up to his role as the overwhelming 1-9 favorite in a non-winners of $20,000 last five starts class when he brushed to command from third before the half, raced unpressed down the backside and through the far turn and edged clear late to score in 1:53.1. A 10-year-old American Ideal stallion trained by Jimmy Takter, Great Vintage recorded his second win in five starts this year and now boasts 42 wins and nearly $1.2 million banked from 153 career tries.

One race earlier in a similar class, Sunfire Blue Chip (Mark Macdonald) easily lived up to his role as the 1-5 favorite in a non-winners of $20,000 last five starts class from the rail when he left to secure good early position behind Dojea Solo (Tetrick) through the first turn, quarter moved to command, got a breather by the half in 56.4, raced unpressed down the backside and three-quarters then drew clear in the lane to a three-length score in 1:52.4.

An eight-year-old American Ideal stallion trained by Jimmy Takter, Sunfire Blue Chip notched his second win in three starts this year and now sports 27 victories and earnings of nearly $1.3 million from 92 lifetime outings. Sunfire Blue Chip has now earned $20,300 in his last five outings so it will be interesting to see if he gets any preferential treatment next week in the form of an oddly-written condition race.

Just past the midway point of the card in the $40,000 Open Handicap for older trotters, Melady's Monet (Jason Bartlett) left from between horses to gain command in a solid 27.4 opener, got a breather by the half in 58 flat, met token pressure from Money Maven down the backside, shook loose on the far turn and drew clear late to score by two lengths in 1:55.3. A nine-year-old Revenue S gelding trained by Kevin McDermott, Melady's Monet notched his second straight victory and now boasts 50 wins and nearly $1.3 million banked from 161 lifetime outings.

One night earlier it was the pacing fillies and mares that had their chance to garner the spotlight in the diluted fourth round of the Blue Chip Matchmaker series for Free-For-All distaffers. Shartin N, winner of the first three legs, defending Matchmaker final heroine Mackenzie A and Twinkle, both of which won twice in the first three weeks, were all idle on Friday and likely set to return this Friday for round five and a tuneup for the $375,000 final.

In their absence, Lakeisha Hall (Brennan) vaulted to the top of the BCMM points standings when she captured the third division in 1:54.1 for trainer Ron Burke. One race earlier on the card, Medusa (Gingras) led throughout to score in 1:54 to move into fifth in the standings and one race prior it was Scandalicious (Tetrick) who rallied from well off the pace to prevail in 1:53.4 to vault into sixth in the standings. The top eight mares will earn a spot in the final, while the next eight (9-16) will compete in the $100,000 consolation.

Motu Moonbeam N, who finished second for the second time in the series, sits third in the standings, with Lady Shadow, fourth on Friday, just ahead of the idle Mackenzie A. Clear Idea rallied to finish second on Friday and is ninth and on the bubble of reaching the final. With one week remaining in BCMM prelims, Maryland-bred mares Twinkle (fourth), Lady Shadow (seventh), Clear Idea (ninth), Dudesalady (14th), Dewar N Soda (16th), Vintage Babe (20th) and Newborn Sassy (23rd) have combined for three wins and five second-place finishes in the series thus far.
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