Bluechip Matchmaker Series

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Ted Black

April 6th, 2016

Much like the George Morton Levy Memorial series for older males pacers that the track offers each Saturday night, the Bluechip Matchmaker for Free-For-All pacing fillies and mares is heading into round four of five preliminaries with a lucrative final set for April 23.

Much like the Levy, the Matchmaker has also become a war of attrition for the pacing distaffers as this Friday's round includes only 20 fillies and mares split into three divisions. Of the 20 participants, only 13 have competed in each of the three previous legs and one mare, Rockn Ruby N, is actually making her series debut this week.

Of the six pacing fillies and mares who were contest the first split, four have actually been in each of the three previous legs. But oddly enough the race includes only one mare that has won only one previous leg - Mach It A Par. Hazmatt arrived as the 'now horse' having won five straight races heading into the series, but she finished third and fifth, respectively, in two legs before bypassing round three.

Nevertheless, the race features defending Matchmaker final champion, Venus Delight (Jason Bartlett), who also garnered the title of champion pacing older filly or mare last year after concluding her 2015 campaign with an 8-3-4 slate and $600,000 bankroll from 19 starts for trainer Jeff Bamond, Jr. She finished second in round one, was fourth in the second leg then was a sharp second after a prolonged first over bid into a quick back half last week chasing Sell A Bit N and should notch her first seasonal tally here.

One race later the second Matchmaker split looms the deepest. Sell A Bit N (Jordan Stratton) has won her last two legs for trainer Peter Tritton, whose 'down under' wonder Bit Of A Legend N has won three legs of the Levy series. Yagonnakissmeornot (Daniel Dube) won the second leg of the series for trainer Rene Allard and boasts 36 wins and $1.15 million banked from 119 lifetime outings.

But clearly the most accomplished mare in this field is Anndrovette (Tim Tetrick), another Bamond trainee who has finished third in each of her first two series starts while racing very well in the latest. A nine-year-old daughter of Riverboat King, Anndrovette boasts a stellar 44-21-27 slate and career earnings approaching $3.5 million while sporting a lifetime mark of 1:48 three years ago at age six.

Then in the third Matchmaker split, opening round winner Lady Shadow (Corey Callahan) draws the rail after missing last week. This five-year-old Maryland-bred daughter of Shadow Play has won 17 of 37 lifetime starts and earned over $760,000, but she will likely yield the favorite's role to the lone three-time winner in the series.

Al Raza N (David Miller) has displayed a stellar closing kick to win all three previous rounds for trainer Agostino Abbatiello and sports four wins in five starts this year. With Stratton opting for For The Ladies N and likely staying with Sell A Bit N for the final, Abbatiello tabbed Miller for the drive this week and throughout the series. Al Raza N will likely attempt to circle foes from the back of the pack again after drawing post seven, but she has virtually secured a berth in the final and can afford to settle for minor spoils this week.

The same cannot be said, however, for Krispy Apple, Cinnamony, Galliebythebeach and Delightful Dragon, who are clearly on the outside looking in with regards to a possible berth in the lucrative final. Krispy Apple has finished second twice for Bamond and was the beaten favorite last week, so she has a genuine license to improve. Galliebythebeach was second in round one, missed round two and then was fifth last week. Both Cinnamony and Delightful Dragon are hoping to reach the consolation.

This Saturday night Yonkers will host round four of the ultra-competitive Levy series which again will offer four divisions, comprised of 28 pacers, down from 32 last week. Three-time winners Take It Back Terry and Bit Of A Legend N will start in the first and third splits, respectively, while reigning horse of the year Wiggle It Jiggleit drew the rail in the second division and Mach It So garnered the rail for the fourth division. Foiled Again will bypass this week after a dull effort in round three.