Harness Preview for 4/5/2014

Profile Picture: Molly Jo Rosen

Molly Jo Rosen

April 5th, 2014

by Ted Black

Perhaps it seems fitting that this weekend should offer standardbred fans and owners the first genuine signs of spring as Yonkers Raceway, The Meadowlands and Rosecroft offer cards that could certainly heat things up on the track.

Yonkers Raceway will host the third round of the George Morton Levy series for aged pacers and while trainer Ron Burke appears to be holding the upper hand in the series and should have two horses in the final and another pair in the consolation, there are several other pacers in the group that could spoil the dominance of the Burke brigaid.

In the fourth race tonight, the first division of the Levy third leg, the Burke-trained tandem of Hillbilly Hanover and Easy Again will undoubtedly rule as the odds-on favorite. Easy Again was the sharpest winner of the opening leg two weeks ago, but last week he settled for third after attempting to make a wide, backside brush past the leaders. Hillbilly Hanover was second in one leg but looks destined for the consolation at best.

Looking to foil the Burke tandem are two horses that need a win to get back in the hunt for a berth in the April 26 final. Texican N rallied late inside last week to get second, while Dancin Yankee was fourth after being used hard early last week and was first over the week before. He is actually much better racing from off the pace and will likely do so while starting from post six this evening and merits respect in exotic plays.

One race later in the fifth, the second division of the Levy third leg, the Burke-trained entry of Bettor's Edge and Aracache Hanover will again loom as the odds-on favorite and both horses drew the two inside slots. Bettor's Edge is one of three Burke trainees to boast wins in each of the first two legs and he should be poised for his third straight tally. Word Power and Malak Uswaad N will look to complete the exacta.

Several races later in the ninth, the third division of the Levy, a pair of entries will draw the most attention. The Burke-trained tandem of Itrustyou and Clear Vision will be the solid choice, while the PJ Fraley entry of Here We Go Again and Mach It So will be the second choice. Both Itrustyou and Mach It So boast a pair of victories in the series and look destined for the final.

But that race also features the best play of the night. Apprentice Hanover has been second in each of his first two starts in the series and is virtually in a must-win situation heading into tonight if he has any intentions of making the lucrative final. Apprentice Hanover raced first over in the opening leg against Foiled Again and last week was used hard while making two moves and finishing second to Mach It So and ahead of Easy Again. He is the play here at 3-1.

Then two races later in the 11th, the final division of the Levy, all eyes will again be on the Burke entry and more specifically on Foiled Again, who drew the outside slot. Already the richest pacer in the history of the sport with over $6 million banked, Foiled Again has won the first two legs of the series and sports 78 career victories in 200 lifetime starts. He will have his work cut out for him tonight, especially with another entry in the field.

Fraley also a tough tandem in PH Supercam and Validus Deo. PH Supercam has been getting better with each start and drew the rail and will be in prime position throughout for a possible upset over Foiled Again. Bet On The Law returns to the Levy after dropping out last week to get a confidence booster in the Preferred over this strip and he may benefit from the abundance of early action between the two entries.

Across the Hudson River at The Meadowlands on Saturday evening, a pair of series will take center stage and one of them certainly bears watching.

In the sixth, the first half of the opening round of the Whata Baron series for pacing geldings that have not won four races or earned $100,000 lifetime, Wake Up Peter gets the nod following his third-place effort in the Clyde Hirt series final last week. Wake Up Peter, who will start from the rail this evening, had post 10 last weekend and raced very wide on both turns and through the lane and closed ground to just miss finishing second in the Clyde Hirt final and should save ample ground this evening.

Then one race later in the other Whata Baron split, look for Prairie Jaguar to prove victorious in his Meadowlands debut. Although his nine-race win streak came to an end last weekend at Pocono Downs against much tougher, Prairie Jaguar should find this series to his liking. He dominated the Open pacers at Pompano Park over the winter, eclipsing the 1:50 barrier four times over the Florida five-eighths mile oval.

At Rosecroft Raceway on Saturday evening, a pair of horses, one trotter and one pacer, look like good value plays.

In the fourth, a non-winners of two races lifetime class for trotters, look for Be The Best to finally be the best in this event for trainer-driver Jackie MacLeod of Dakota Express fame. Last week Be The Best raced third over in a lively outer flow and settled for second behind 3-5 Madam T after trotting a solid back half. He should be ready for his first win in four starts this season.

Then several races later in the seventh, a non-winners of $3000 last five starts class for pacing fillies and mares, expect Romantic Escape to garner her first win in five tries on the campaign. Second once and third twice in four previous outings for trainer-driver Brian Burton, Romantic Escape was first over while third behind 1-2 winner All Hope last week and should be primed for her tally of the season in this event.