Yonkers hosts fourth round of Matchmaker, Levy series

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Ted Black

April 6th, 2018

With the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament and the outset of the Major League Baseball season behind us, serious and novice harness racing fans can focus their attention on the fourth rounds of the Blue Chip Matchmaker and George Morton Levy Series for Free-For-All pacers on Friday and Saturday evenings.

Friday's Blue Chip Matchmaker will be without defending champion Mackenzie A, who has won two legs of the series and will be among the favorites for the $400,000 final on April 21. Her main competition, Shartin N, who has won her first three legs of the series for trainer Jim King, Jr., also gets this week off and will be among the favorites for the final. Another two-time series winner, Twinkle, the top Maryland-bred in the group as of now, also gets the week off and will prep for the final in the last leg next week.

Friday's three BCMM prelims are right at the midway point of the card. In the first division, Lady Shadow (Jason Bartlett) will look to regain her winning ways when she leaves from post four following consecutive fourth-place finishes after winning an opening leg. Railbound Vintage Babe (Brent Holland) will need to improve this week for trainer Paul Blemunfeld, while Eclipse Me N (Daniel Dube) arrives having finished third twice in the series despite poor posts and unlucky trips and should be a major player in the late stages.

Then one race later in the second BCMM split, Wishy Washy Girl (Bartlett) will seek her second series score in three tries, but gets post six here. Railbound Dewar N Sod (Tim Tetrick) and Clear Idea (Mark Macdonald) represent the Maryland-bred contingent looking to keep their hopes live of reaching the consolation or final, while Call Me Queen Be (Scott Zeron) has ample class to be a factor here with a good trip.

Then one race later in the third BCMM split, railbound Motu Moonbeam N (Holland) will seek her second series win in four tries, while Lakeisha Hall (George Brennan) seeks her second straight series tally for trainer Ron Burke. Safe From Terror (Jordan Stratton) has been second in each of her last two starts and looms a contender here, as does Maryland-bred Dudesalady and Shesadelight N (Ron Cushing) who both make their fourth series start.

Then one night later on the Saturday card at Yonkers, 2016 Levy final champion Bit Of A Legend N (Stratton) will seek his second series score after settling for second last week following a long, gritty first over bid into a sharp back half. Chumlee A (Larry Stahlbaum), Long Live Rock (Dube), Caviart Luca (Brennan) and Mister Daytona N (Zeron) will need to improve considerably in order to have any chance of consolation or finals.

Then two races later in the second Levy split, railbound Somewhere In L A (Bartlett) will seek his second straight series score for Banca after a pair of second-place efforts, while two-time leg winner Rockin Ron (Yannick Gingras) gets post three and Missile J (Tetrick), a sharp winner last week, multiple leg winner last spring and beaten favorite in the 2017 final, gets post six. Evenin of Pleasure (Joe Bongiorno) gets post eight for a second straight week after winning in the second leg.

Then one race later in the third Levy split, defending Levy hero Keystone Velocity (Dube) will really have to improve quickly to have any chance or reaching the final. He was a dismal sixth last week after appearing washed out in the post parade. Mach It So (David Miller) also disappointed last week as the 1-2 choice and will need a better effort here to have any chance of reaching the final. Always At My Place (Brennan) won an opening leg for Burke but has been fifth in each of his two subsequent starts, while Bettor Memories has been second twice and third once in three outings but gets post seven here.