Levy series heads into final leg

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Ted Black

April 16th, 2015

This Saturday will mark the fifth and final round of the prestigious and lucrative George Morton Levy Memorial Series for aged pacers, with eight spots up for grabs for the $500,000 final on April 25 and another eight pacers seeking minor spoils in the $100,000 consolation that evening.

Saturday's fifth race in the first division of the final Levy leg and the event could impact both the final and the consolation. Of the seven starters in this event, Polak A, who missed last week, is currently seventh in the standings, while Sapphire City, a modest fourth last week, is currently in eighth. Railbound Heez Orl Black N, a 13-1 upset winner last week, sits in 10th, followed closely by Bettor's Edge in 11th, Mach It So in 14th, with Warrawee Needy (20th) and Dancin Yankee (21st) still with a chance to make the consolation.

Bettor's Edge, Mach It So and Dancin Yankee have underachieved in the series at this point, but Mach It So showed signs of life last week with a good, first over try in the split won by Windsong Jack. Trainer Jeff Bamond, Jr. already has two pacers in the top eight in series leader and defending champ, PH Supercam, and Fat Mans Alley (5th), but Mach It So is no stranger to Levy success. Another sharp effort out of him could actually enable him to leapfrog past Fat Mans Alley and the idle Michael's Power and into the final.

Dancin Yankee failed to deliver as the heavy favorite in two straight legs when he had the rail, then skipped last week. His best efforts in the past have typically been from off the pace, so Dancin Yankee could at least secure a berth in the consolation with a win in this leg. A second-place finish in this event could also land him a spot in the consolation, but anything below that might have him seeking a different venue on April 25.

The second split features the two Levy leaders, PH Supercam and Beach Memories, both of which sat out last week and will use this weekend's race as an ideal prep for the final. In fact, since both have already secured a berth in the final, their potential short prices seem worth playing against.

Among the participants, Lucan Hanover is clearly worth backing. Last week he was parked seven-eighths of the mile and still lasted for third despite being rebuffed by Clear Vision in an insane 54.1 half. Lucan Hanover displayed signs of life the week before when he cut honest fractions early before being overhauled by PH Supercam in the lane. Right now he is sitting 12th in the standings, but a win would assure him a spot in the final and a second-place finish might also elevate him into the elite eight.

National Debt, the lone Maryland-bred in the series, has finished second and third in each of the last two legs and another similar effort could secure his spot in the consolation.

Then in the third and final split, Take It Back Terry is virtually assured a spot in the final for trainer Ron Burke, whose older pacers Bettor's Edge, Clear Vision and Foiled Again, idle in the last two legs, have been moderate disappointments at best. Take It Back Terry has won twice in three Levy legs and another win this weekend would set him up nicely for the final and perhaps redeem the Burke barn.

Both Fat Mans Alley (5th) and Windsong Jack (6th) are good candidates for the final, but both could be overtaken by horses in the second tier right now. Domethatagain (9th) is clearly on the bubble, but draws the rail and could earn enough points to get in. Both Texican N (18th) and Mcerlean (19th) will likely be elsewhere next weekend.