Levy, Matchmaker Finals And Consolations, Adorn Yonkers Program; Philly Exotic Challenges; Miami Fillies A-Flying
A quick and cold five weeks since the beginning of The Grand Circuit’s older pacer series at Yonkers—the George Morton Levy and the Blue Chip Matchmaker series—is still cold in parts of North America but we are hoping to cease reporting the weather in our preview-blog intros and move into an all-climate atmosphere for the remainder of the season.
This weekend those older pacers at Yonkers crown their series’ king and queen on April 21, while we add a personal feature for April 19 and cover some local features for April 20.
TwinSpires exclusive horses-to-watch (H2W) list for hot prospects continues to present serious considerations for bettors in any of the bets they engage, so do your own handicapping and then consider our H2W selections.
PARTNERS FOR PICKS
Philly / Races 7, 8, 9, 10
Thursday, April 19
Our personal feature this week takes us to Philadelphia on Thursday, where a Pick 4 (50-cent based) may offer a strong return at the recently opened meet.
Leg one, Race 7
This is an uppity conditioned trot with drawn posts based upon class. The favorite on the outside, NF Happenstance (some of you may remember Hambletonian day a few years back—the Parkers had just purchased this guy and we called him while on site during our exclusive coverage at the Meadowlands—and at huge odds, second to the big favorite returned a juicy exacta) has been on fire this year and will be bet heavily. His longshot days are over. Use him, sure, but add outsider Go Byem. Coming in from good wins at Dover, he may be up to taking on this class
Leg two, Race 8
Another trot, this one more common than leg one, brings back BWT Taj, who last week appeared in the H2W list for the first time. He has raced better than his odds in lower company but should not be penalized for his first race at Philly last week. He has back class from Yonkers last year and will be kind to supporters.
Guard Your Hearts should go off far less than his morning line (ML) and rightfully so. She is firmly of this ilk and steps back into it after a lower-class prep and an easy qualifier win.
Leg three, Race 9
The third trot in the PFP could be upset by Watkins, a gelding with bright half-mile track experience at Yonkers against arguably better conditioned foes. He’s looking for his first win in 11 starts this season but there is no evidence he cannot be one for a dozen when this is over.
Leg four, Race 10
The all-trot PFP concludes late in the afternoon with a bottom-level conditioner. Hanks Tank is the ML choice but it is debatable the beaten favorite is worth 9-5 or so. From post 6 is Lazy Bones, freshened with a good qualifier after tanking at this level in December with a firm excuse. He should be in the mix but well out of public favor, pumping up the Pick-4 return in any combination.
The $40,000 James Hackett Memorial is the feature at Miami Valley on Friday, April 20. Nine Ohio-bred soph-filly pacers line up.
Two-for two wins from Kay Again should make her the crowd choice, though Just Zip It has twice the earnings from six more races this season than any other filly here.
The third choice could do it, she being Up Front Flor Ida. Tim McKoy’s filly is looking good in the early matches of her soph season and may race faster as the season ensues.
An outside chance must be given to Grant Me This, though being a student of Brian Brown with Ronnie Wrenn, Jr. driving will send some bettors her way.
Some mares involved in the series who did not make the final or the consolation, show up in a pair of Matchmaker-conditioned events on Saturday, April 21. Six battle in the Matchmaker-Series-eligible $40,000 free-for-all. It’ll be a shame if Gina Grace N comes alive from the rail after failing us with a few disappointing performances, especially if the crowd bets her down against this short and dull field.
That being a possibility, if “Gina” is a short price, look for Newborn Sassy to get her first win of the season. After cashing some checks in the series, she is in a good spot to suck along and do some last-minute pacing that gets her the top check. Watch the betting.
A $75,000 consolation for Matchmaker participants in the legs’ divisions puts eight mares on the bill. One of the field is the series’ projected winner who failed to make the final, Mackenzie A. There should be little argument that she is the best mare in this field and probably still the best of the series—all things being equal. However, all things are never equal in this sport, so you have to admit if she was a standout against tonight’s Matchmaker Final at Yonkers, then she shines here. Good for bettors is that she may not be the drop-dead gorgeous favorite of the crowd, putting her in a valued position. What price you feel she is worth, then, should guide your betting or passing this event.
The $373,000 Matchmaker Final at Yonkers on April 21, may not feel like the best event to handicap considering the rail launching of Shartin N, the series’ best until a break ruined her mile in the last leg. This becomes a typical Yonkers affair if she is flat and not sucked into a duel that would have to be torridly fast to stop her from winning, if only by a hair.
More than a single dueling challenge, however, could benefit an upset chance. Lakeisha Hall gets post 8 but most certainly needs to be sent early to increase any chance of her getting Shartin N. Of couse, Lady Shadow is here and she enjoys an early departure from the gate, as may Twinkle and any other that could surprise us with a slight change in strategy.
All we can do here is hope for multiple duels that tire the obvious horses and allow Motu Moonbeam N to use whatever she has in her to take advantage of them. She has been better than anyone—except this blog—expected in the series. There is no reason with the right scenario, one which ruins enough of the mile for Shartin N, Motu Moonbeam N surprises the crowd and lights up the toteboard. As we mentioned as the series began six weeks ago, Motu Moonbeam N is a serious contender and would be racing better than she had in this year’s Matchmaker.
G.M. LEVY CONSOLATION
Every one of the eight pacers not making the Levy series that appears in this $100,000 consolation belongs here and not in the final, except Missile J. He was the best last season but lost that final to Keystone Velocity and he was disappointingly short in some division miles this year. But here, he is the best, though it merely shows in the season’s earnings and his four wins in 11 starts. The second best resumes come from a few here that could not compare to Missile J in their finest miles. So what happens here?
Again, the best horse, per se, may wind up with far greater odds than his chances. The crowd may spread out their support, indicating they don’t feel Missile J towers in talent over the others. We are going to support Missile J if he does not turn out to be the public choice because any other status he achieves in the wagering will be worth the win bet.
G.M. LEVY FINAL
The $532,000 George Morton Levy Final has a field of eight across the gate and may have a similar problem as the Matchmaker Final. There is speed on the inside, in the middle and on the outside, suggesting that a winner could emerge from between what cracks too much speed may cause to top contenders.
This possibility makes the race far more enticing to bet than most any kind of race at Yonkers, no less one of its premier events. We have to, then, whittle the field down to those chasing in the first three-quarters.
Last year’s champ, Keystone Velocity, won that with the advantage of the open stretch lane, which is gone. He was 11-1. Somewhere In LA almost caught him after a much tougher trip that began three wide in a fast opening quarter. Bit Of A Legend, the champ two years back, was 1-5 when he took control of the race just after the first quarter and was much the best. Western Fame gets the rail. You may have caught him at a double-digit price in a Little Brown Jug division we supported two years back and a few other high-priced wins in his next season. He will have to use speed, else be buried as challengers strain to make advances.
Smack in the middle of the field is Somewhere In LA, whose amazing race last year got him second only due to the open stretch. He could go off with strong odds considering the presence and posts of Dr J Hanover, Mach It So, and the strengths of Bit Of A Legend and Rockin Ron from the outside. He is the highest earner of the eight but that won’t be enough weight for the crowd to focus on him alone.
Review our choices and follow the wagering at the prescribed track. These are possible contenders we have judged from reviewing races. The horses’ names are listed beneath the name of the track after the date they will be racing. The race in which they are entered (R and race number) follows. If a + is in front of a horse’s name it means it is appearing on the list for the second (and last) time because it failed to win the first time it appeared. An “ae” signals the horse is entered on the also-eligible list. If a horse is listed twice, refer to the entries on the night of the race since a horse may enter in more than one race. Types of wagering on any of the H2W listed horses are based on your judgment. If you have any questions, email us at TwinSpires.
4/21/18, +Nesh Cruiser R5; +Spring Terror R7
4/20/18, Indio Azteca R1; Feeling Fancy Free R5; Army Of One R9
4/21/18, +Little Emma R8
4/21/18, Remember Terror R2
4/20/18, +Full Explosion R1
4/21/18, +Deny Deny Deny R8
4/19/18, PL Leeroy R4; Machlicious R6; Oceanview Deb R10
4/23/18, Transitioning Joy R2; Shane Adam R4; JK Onaroll R9
4/19/18, +Dontcloseyoureyes R4
4/21/18, PH Kenny R6; His Excellence R9; Modern Xhibit R12
4/23/18, +Olympic Son R1
4/20/18, Joyfulintriumph R6; Keene Santanna R9; Big Bad Jane R12
4/20/18, +Walela R5; +Keystone Rocco R7
4/21/18, +Noble Prince R6; Son Of J Lo R8; Dastardly Dick R9
4/21/18, Jetomatt R2; Paisley Sky R4
4/19/18, Lucan Hanover R5
4/20/18, Tidquist R1; +Possessed Fashion R13; Odds On Miami R14
4/19/18, One Swan For All R4; Dial A Chic R6; Roadshow Vic R7; Egosnattitudes R9
4/21/18, Sir Pugsley R6
4/19/18, Oncoming Storm R12
4/20/18, +Moonshine Bliss R9
4/21/18, Up Front Napoleon R4; Freedom Reigns R8
4/21/18, +Four Starz Louie R7; Lucky Mac R11
4/20/18, Irish Kate R3; Granite State R6; Painite R7
4/21/18, Sweet Talkin Satin R4