Homeracing

Yonkers Raceway hosts lucrative George Morton Levy, Bluechip Matchmaker finals

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Ted Black

April 22nd, 2016

This Saturday night Yonkers Raceway in New York will host both the $600,000 George Morton Levy Memorial Series final for older Free-For-All male pacers and $300,000 Bluechip Matchmaker final for Free-For-All pacing fillies and mares on a stellar 13-race card in which the reigning horse of the year can not garner top billing.

Just before the midway point of the card, Foiled Again (Yannick Gingras) drew the rail for a secondary Levy consolation after failing to reach the final for a second straight year. At age 12 Father Time may have finally caught up with the sports richest pacer, who made his 250th lifetime start last week and tried to wire the field in a Levy elim.

Only two of the eight starters in this event appeared in all five Levy legs, but the logical plays are Te Kawau N and Sunfire Blue Chip. Te Kawau N is part of the stellar New Zealand contingent that includes series star Bit Of A Legend N, having raced very well in each of the last two legs. Sunfire Blue Chip dropped out of the series and won an overnight race two starts back while being plagued with poor post positions throughout the series.

Two races later in the $300,000 Bluechip Matchmaker final for pacing fillies and mares, defending champion Venus Delight drew post seven and entry mate Krispy Apple, arguably the sharpest horse in the event, was even unluckier with post eight. So those looking to cash should look inside.

Lady Shadow (Corey Callahan) drew the rail and has ample speed to take advantage of the fortuitous draw. Both Sell A Bit N (Jordan Stratton) and Yagonnakissmeornot (Daniel Dube) will start from posts three and four, respectively, and should be in ideal striking position throughout.

Al Raza N (David Miller) won the first three legs of the series then faded to fifth after a first over bid in round four and then bypassed the final leg. She also drew post five for the final and might be compromised by excess cover.

Then one race later in the $100,000 George Morton Levy Memorial consolation, reigning horse of the year Wiggle It Jiggleit (Montrell Teague) will start from post seven after just missing earning a spot in the lucrative final. Wiggle It Jiggleit bypassed the first two rounds, was second to All Bets Off in round three, won round four easily then dead-heated with Bit Of A Legend N (Jordan Stratton) last week in the best race of the year anywhere.

Those looking to upend Wiggle It Jiggleit can try inside foes Melmerby Beach, Santa Fe Beachboy and Domethatagain, last year's final hero. Evenin Of Pleasure has raced well during the series and Ideal Cowboy won leg four before bypassing the last round.

Then one race later in the main event of the spring at Yonkers, a field of eight - condensed into five betting interests - will clash in the $600,000 George Morton Levy Memorial Series final for Free-For-All pacers. Despite the fact that neither Wiggle It Jiggleit or Foiled Again made the final, this race garners top billing for the first one-third of the year anywhere in harness racing.

After winning all five of his preliminary legs - four outright and one by dead-heat - Bit Of A Legend N (Stratton) arrives as one of the sport's budding stars and he drew post two for the final. Bit Of A Legend N has won seven of nine starts this year and has displayed versatility and a strong closing kick in along the way. Along with entry mate Texican N, Bit Of A Legend N looms as the favorite to capture the final.

Just to his inside is Take It Back Terry (George Brennan) who will start from the rail after winning three times in four Levy leg tries and then bypassing the fifth round. Take It Back Terry finished second in last year's Levy final for trainer Ron Burke and certainly rates as the main threat to prevent Bit Of A Legend N from enjoying a completely perfect run through the series. Like 'Legend', Take It Back Terry will also have an entry mate in to final in All Bets Off, who won a leg of the series over 'Wiggle' but also proved no match for the 'Legend' in another.

Joining those two solid entries is the tandem of PH Supercam (Jason Bartlett) and Mach It So (Tim Tetrick) who will start from posts three and seven, respectively, for trainer Jeff Bamond, jr. PH Supercam won the series final two years ago then drew poorly last year for the final after winning four legs of the series. Mach It So has always done well in the prelims, but he has been unfortunate in the final draws and was dealt an outer stall for a third straight year.

Two other Levy finalists will race as single wagering propositions. Texas Terror N won an opening leg in fast clocking while benefiting from a wicked early pace, while Lucan Hanover won the first two legs before being unlucky in the post draw in rounds three and four before bypassing the last leg. Texas Terror N will start from post six, while Lucan Hanover drew the dreaded eight hole.

Bit Of A Legend N certainly is the horse to beat after winning all five legs, dead-heating in one of them with Wiggle It Jiggleit. He has overcome bad posts and slow fractions to win each round and gets post two for the final and should be in ideal position throughout to unleash his patented late kick.

Take It Back Terry has the rail and won three series legs in four tries and is the logical horse to complete the exacta. But he missed last week and his short price underneath is worth playing against.

Both halves of the Bamond entry raced last week and both performed well and either could complete the exacta under Bit Of A Legend N at a generous price.
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