Blue Chip Matchmaker and Levy series enter round two

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Ted Black

March 21st, 2019

While the NCAA Men's Basketball tournament field of 68 will be whittled down to a "Sweet 16" by the end of this weekend, the contingent of pacers competing in the lucrative Blue Chip Matchmaker series for pacing fillies and mares and those in the George Morton Levy Memorial series for Free-For-All male pacers will remain largely in tact for this weekend's second round of action.

On Friday night, 31 of the 34 pacing mares who competed in the opening round are back and there is one "new shooter" to partly offset the three defectors. With three rounds still to follow, the total purse of the Blue Chip Matchmaker final will easily eclipse $400,000 and could reach $425,000. Likewise, the Levy final pot should range from $660,000 to nearly $700,000 depending on how quickly several horses defect. There is one "new shooter" in the mix this Saturday, but five of first 45 participants passes on round two.

In the opening round of the Blue Chip Matchmaker, post positions may have hindered several mares from doing well and three of them drew into the opening split on Friday. Amateur Hour (Brent Holland), Lakeisha Hall (George Brennan) and Newborn Sassy (Tim Tetrick) will start from posts one, two and three, respectively, this week after they had posts seven, six and six, respectively, last week in three different divisions. Rockstar Angel A (Scott Zeron) and Dont Think Twice A (Jason Bartlett) were both second last weekend in divisions won by Apple Bottom Jeans and Shartin N, respectively.

Speaking of Apple Bottom Jeans (Corey Callahan), the impressive opening round winner drew post eight this week in a light division. Lispatty (Mark MacDonald) drew the rail after getting post seven last week and should improve here, while both Write Me A Song (Jordan Stratton) and Twinkle (Zeron) drew well again and could enhance their chances of reaching the final from posts two and three, respectively, here.

Two races later in the third split, opening round winner Ideal Lifestyle A (Brennan) drew post three while Bettor Joy N (Tetrick), runner-up at 2-5 last week in her split, gets post five. Caviart Cherie (Joe Bongiorno) has a right to improve considerably while getting the coveted rail one week after drawing post seven against Ideal Lifestyle A. Camera Lady (Matt Kakaley) could improve in this spot for trainer Ron Burke with a favorable pace scenario.

Then one race later in the fourth and final split, reigning BCMM heroine and opening round winner, Shartin N (Tetrick), drew the dreaded eight hole for trainer Jim King, Jr., and certainly has her work cut out for her in a group that also includes Delighfulmemphis N (Bartlett) and Seaswift Joy N (Jim Marohn, Jr.) who also tallied in the opening leg. Obvious Blue Chip (Zeron) drew the rail this week after being burdened with post seven in the opening round split won by Shartin N.

Saturday night's six divisions of the Levy series gets under way early as dominant opening round winner, Western Fame (Daniel Dube), drew post three against railbound Duplicated N (Tetrick), a gritty runner-up to Rodeo Rock last week. Western Fame, who capped his 2018 campaign with a victory in the $100,000 Potomac Pace at Rosecroft Raceway in his first start for trainer Rene Allard, looms the future book favorite to capture the Levy prize following his six-length score in 1:51.1 last weekend.

Speaking of Rodeo Rock (Andrew McCarthy), three races later he will face opening round hero More The Better N (Zeron) in the division that features lone newcomer, Major Crocker A (Dube). Former Levy final champ and series fixture, Bit Of A Legend N (Stratton) gets the coveted rail this week for trainer Peter Tritton after drawing the dreaded eight hole in round one and should be a major player throughout in this split.

One race later in the third Levy split, opening round winner Anythingforlove A (Bongiorno) seeks his third straight overall and fifth score in eight tries this year for trainer Jenn Bongiorno. The well traveled Endeavor (Tetrick) gets the rail this week for Jeff Cullipher one week after he had post six and excess cover in the split won by The Wall. Dr J Hanover seeks the return of form that made him a major player in the series last year, while Nocturnal Blue Chip will debut after scratching sick last week.

Then one race later in the fourth split, opening leg hero Ideal Jimmy (Brent Holland) seeks his second score while moving out two spots from the rail to post three. Lockton Luck A (Kakaley) and Bellows Binge (Bartlett) drew more favorably this week, while Mach It So finished third behind Western Fame last weekend and gets a reprieve from him this time. Bettor Memories drew better this week but will likely lose Bartlett, while Always At My Place (Brennan) and Rockathon (Stratton) will need to improve this weekend despite unlucky draws.

One race later in the fifth Levy division, opening round hero The Wall (Bongiorno) once again got the coveted rail and will seek to prove his 20-1 upset last week was not entirely draw and trip fortuitous. Beckhams Z Tam (Tetrick) has the most to prove, however, after he settled for fourth as the 7-20 choice despite a pocket trip. Rodeo Romeo (Bartlett) finished third from post eight last week and gets the two hole this weekend and should be in prime position throughout.

Then one race later in the final Levy second round split, four opening round runner-ups - Somebaddude (McCarthy), Imarocnrollegend N (Brennan), Somewhere In L A (Bartlett) and Mac's Jackpot (Marohn) will all seek to join the list of series winners. Mar Nien A (Greg Merton) will have to rebound from his dismal eighth-place effort at 9-5 last week, while Don Domingo N (Kakaley) drew post seven for a second straight week but does not have to face Western Fame again this time around.

Maryland-bred mares Twinkle, Newborn Sassy and Dudesalady will look to climb the leader board of the BCMM series on Friday, while fellow Maryland-bred Bellows Binge will look to improve his chances of success down the road in the Levy series. Western Fame, Duplicated N and Endeavor all capped their previous campaigns by competing in the $100,000 Potomac Pace at Rosecroft.