Homeracing

Yonkers, Meadowlands and Pocono Downs offer solid Saturday cards

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Ted Black

April 7th, 2019

On the day the NCAA Men's College Basketball Tournament fans found out which teams would be playing in the National Title game on Monday and thoroughbred racing fans watched a trio of Kentucky Derby prep races at three different ovals, Yonkers, Meadowlands and Pocono Downs offered solid overnight cards.

In one of the early races on the Yonkers card in which a quartet of George Morton Levy Memorial Series divisions were contested, Bellows Binge (Jason Bartlett) easily lived up to his role as the 4-5 favorite when he brushed to command past the opener, got a breather to the half in 56 flat, raced unpressed by three-quarters in 1:24.2 then edged clear to a three-length score in 1:52.

A Maryland-bred, five-year-old Bettor's Delight gelding owned and trained by Richard Banca, Bellows Binge notched his third win in nine starts and pushed his seasonal earnings past $63,500. Having finishing third once, fourth once and fifth once in three Levy legs, Bellows Binge dropped out of the series briefly to crush conditioned foes on Saturday and equaled his lifetime mark in the process.

Then two races later in the first of four Levy splits, JJ Flynn (Tim Tetrick) just lived up to his role as the 4-5 favorite when he gained command in a 26.4 opener, got a breather to the half in 57 flat, met token pressure from Pacing Major N (Jordan Stratton) down the backside and through the far turn then outlasted the late surge of Major Crocker A (Daniel Dube) to score by a head in 1:52.2.

A six-year-old Western Ideal gelding trained by Josh Green, JJ Flynn notched his second win in three starts in the series and punched his ticket to the final. Major Crocker A rallied strongly for the place spot and now owns a second- and a third-place finish in the series in just three outings and still looks live for a spot in the consolation. Pacing Major N was game first over pacing into a solid back half and should find his way into the consolation, while Endeavor (Bartlett) had nothing to offer despite a pocket trip.

Two races later in the second Levy split, Bettors Fire N (Ron Cushing) gained command in a 27.4 opener, got a breather to the half in 57.4. met token pressure from I'm Some Graduate (Matt Kakaley) down the backside, shook loose from that one on the far turn and held safe the pocket-sitting Anythingforlove A (Joe Bongiorno) to score in 1:53.2. An 11-year-old Bettor's Delight gelding trained by Heidi Gibbs, Bettors Fire N notched his second win in nine starts this year and sports one win and one third-place finish in four Levy legs.

One race later in the third Levy split, The Wall (Joe Bongiorno) benefited from a ludicrous speed duel between The Downtown Bus (Scott Zeron) and Lyons Steel (Stratton) through torrid early fractions of 26.4 and 53.3, rallied widest of all on the far turn and overhauled Ideal Jimmy (Brent Holland) near the wire to score in 1:51.2. A five-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding trained by Nick Surick, The Wall virtually punched his ticket to the final with his second win in four Levy legs, while Ideal Jimmy secured his berth in the final.

Then two races later in the fourth Levy split, Western Fame (Daniel Dube) easily lived to his role as the 1-5 favorite when he gained command in a 27.2 opener, got a breather by the half in 56 flat, rolled by three-quarters in 1:23.4 then sprinted clear from the pocket-sitting Gokudo Hanover (George Brennan) to score by four lengths under wraps in 1:50.4, equaling the fastest mark in the series thus far.

A six-year-old Western Ideal stallion trained by Rene Allard, Western Fame notched his second straight score and third win in four series outings and looms the odds-on future book favorite to capture the $660,000 final on April 20. Hero of the $100,000 Potomac Pace at Rosecroft Raceway in his 2018 finale, Western Fame now owns a 19-15-8 slate and $1.13 million banked from 72 career outings. He will be the odds-on choice in the April 20 unless he draws posts seven or eight.

That same evening at the Meadowlands, Alotbettor N (Vincent Ginsburg) rallied from well off the pace and widest of all to nail McThriller (Corey Callahan) in the lane for a neck score in 1:49.3 in the non-winners of $17,500 last five starts class. An eight-year-old Bettor's Delight gelding trained by Jenn Bongiorno, Alotbettor N recorded his third win in 10 starts this year and now owns 25 wins and nearly $260,000 banked from 88 career tries. McThriller just missed while seeking his second straight tally and third win in four tries.

Then two races later in the first half of the non-winners of $12,500 last five starts class for older pacers, Mach N Cheese (Corey Callahan) rallied second over through the far turn and three-wide in the lane to forge a 28-1 shocker in 1:50. A four-year-old, Maryland-bred son of Betterthancheddar trained by Christopher Choate, Mach N Cheese prevailed in his seasonal debut and now owns a 10-3-5 slate and $123,000 banked from 27 career tries and lowered his lifetime mark by nearly four seconds in the process.

Two races later in the other half of the non-winners of $12,500 last five starts for pacers,

Also on Saturday night at Pocono Downs, Division Bell (Jim Morrill, Jr.) quarter moved to command, got a breather by the half in 56.2, rolled by three-quarters in 1:24.3 then held safe R U Talkin (Anthony Napolitano) for a length score in 1:52 in the first division of the Bobby Weiss Series for pacers. A three-year-old Sweet Lou gelding trained by Ron Burke, Division Bell recorded his first win in five lifetime tries and pushed his career earnings toward $17,000.

Then two races later in the second Weiss split, Sports Legend (Jim Morrill, Jr.) lived up to his role as the 1-9 favorite when he brushed to command passing the wire the first time, rolled by the half in 55.1, raced unpressed down the backside then outkicked the pocket-sitting Under Paid (Anthony Napolitano) for a neck score in 1:52.3. A four-year-old Sportswriter gelding trained by Jenn Bongiorno, Sports Legend notched his third win in four starts this year and now owns a 4-4-3 slate and $135,000 banked from 26 career tries.

Then several races later in a non-winners of $22,500 last five starts class for pacers, Gillys Boy (Anthony Napolitano) benefited from a pocket trip behind even-money choice Stars Align A (Simon Allard) through the first three calls, angled out of the two-hole at the head of the lane and wore down the favorite late for a length score in 1:50.3 as an overlooked 6-1 shot. A five-year-old Cam's Card Shark gelding trained by Burke, Gillys Boy has won all three of his starts this year and now owns 14 wins and nearly $155,000 banked from 51 lifetime starts.

One race later in the third Weiss split, Turbo Hill (Hunter Oakes) easily lived up to his billing as the 1-9 favorite when he overcame post seven to gain command in a 27.4 opener, got a ludicrous breather by the half in 58 flat, met token pressure by three-quarters in 1:26.2 then held safe Dakota Ole (Tyler Buter) for a two-length score in 1:54.2. A four-year-old American Ideal stallion trained and driven by Oakes, Turbo Hill notched his fifth straight victory and seventh win in eight lifetime tries and looms one of the serious threats for the final.

One night earlier in the fourth leg of the Blue Chip Matchmaker series for pacing mares, Bettor Joy N (Tetrick), Shartin N (Tetrick) and Don't Think Twice A (Bartlett) all recorded victories in races scattered by a severe storm. Both Shartin N and Bettor Joy N are both expected to miss the fifth round and return for the $400,000 final on April 20 and both Don't Think Twice and Feelin Red Hot also appear destined for the lucrative final.
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