Levy series heads into fourth leg

Profile Picture: Ted Black

Ted Black

April 9th, 2015

This Saturday evening's fourth leg of the prestigious, lucrative George Morton Levy Memorial Series for aged pacers at Yonkers Raceway will certainly reflect the war of attrition that can impact the quality and quantity of competitors looking to secure berths in the $350,000 final and $100,000 consolation on April 25.

PH Supercam, the defending Levy final hero and the lone three-time series winner and overall points leader, has been given the week off by trainer Jeff Bamond. PH Supercam has won all three of his Levy legs in sharp fashion and has already secured a berth in the final later this month. He will likely return for the fifth leg on April 18, using that mile as a tuneup for the final.

But PH Supercam is not the only notable absence this weekend. Beach Memories, who won the first two rounds for trainer Ron Burke before moving to Scott DiDomenico's barn last weekend and finishing a sharp second, is also idle this week having likely secured a berth in the final. Polak A, another two-time series winner, is also idle. Foiled Again, the durable Burke trainee who boasts nearly $7 million in career earnings, will bypass this weekend's action after failing as the favorite again last week. He has finished second once and third twice in three outings and will be more likely for the consolation than the final, as will Dancin Yankee, who also skips this weekend after fading to third last weekend.

After 34 pacers dropped into the box for the opening round, necessitating five divisions, only 18 horses will compete in three Levy splits this weekend. With PH Supercam, Beach Memories, Foiled Again and Dancin Yankee all absent, this weekend will offer the remaining horses on the bubble a chance to possibly climb the points standings and earn a spot in the final or the consolation. Two others, Capital Account and Big N Bad, opted for overnight races on the card rather than the fourth leg of the Levy.

Saturday's fifth race features a trio of Levy leg winners, Bettor's Edge (Yannick Gingras), Domethatagain (Daniel Dube) and Warrawee Needy (Mark MacDonald), who also drew the three outside slots in the compact field of six. Bettor's Edge was fourth last week as the 3-5 choice, fading late despite coasting by the half-mile mark in 57 flat. Domethatagain rebounded from two dull efforts to start the series by overpowering Bettor's Edge in first over fashion last week, while Warrawee Needy, an opening round winner, has been unlucky in the draw in subsequent outings. He had post seven in each of his two previous starts and gets post six this weekend.

Railbound Windsong Jack (Brian Sears) finished second in the opening leg, third one week later then was sixth while starting from post seven last week. He is squarely on the bubble between the final and the consolation. Mach It So (Tim Tetrick) has been another disappointment in the series, failing as the favorite twice and then finishing fifth last week at 7-2. He will start from post two this weekend and needs a win to secure any spot in the either the final or consolation. Machs Beach Boy (Pat Lachance) has been third once and fourth twice and could make the consolation.

Saturday's sixth race, the second Levy split, features a pair of leg winners from last weekend - Take It Back Terry (George Brennan) and Fat Mans Alley (Jason Bartlett). Take It Back Terry finished second in an opening round leg behind Polak A, then skipped the second round before returning last weekend to overhaul Dancin Yankee in the lane in 1:51.2 for Burke. He will start from post two this evening and another first- or second-place finish would propel him into the final.

Fat Mans Alley, another Bamond trainee, benefited from a pocket trip last weekend to win his Levy split in a pedestrian 1:53.4. He had finished second in an opening round split then was seventh the following weekend. Texican N (Eric Carlson), who draws the rail this weekend, was third last week after being fourth in each of his first two opening legs. Yonkers specialist Sapphire City (Bartlett) will start from post six, but has ample speed to overcome that spot. He has been second in each of the two previous legs after finishing third in round one and is on the bubble for making the lucrative final.

The third Levy split, carded as race seven on the program, will see the speedy Michael's Power (Dube) leave from the rail after finishing second in each of his last two legs after opening the series with a win over Foiled Again in round one. This durable Mark Silva trainee has already won four times in nine starts over the track this season and now looms a serious contender for the final, a prospect that would aided by another top-two finish here.

But the likely winner of this split - and he may not be the favorite since Michael's Power has the rail - is Lucan Hanover. Last week, Lucan Hanover delivered one of the three best performances in the series when he set the early fractions of 27.1, 56 flat and 1:23.2 only to be overhauled late by the pocket-sitting PH Supercam in 1:51.2. Lucan Hanover had been second to Michael's Power in their first round encounter, then this Andrew Harris trainee finished a nondescript sixth from post eight in the second round. But last weekend the series welcomed back the real Lucan Hanover and a win or second-place effort here would vault him into the lucrative final.

In this group, Clear Vision has been the biggest disappointment, finishing second once, third once and fourth once in three dull outings for Burke. National Debt, the only Maryland-bred in the series, rallied to finish third last weekend, but looks overmatched against Free-For-Allers right now, as does Validus Deo and Heez Orl Black N who will soon be looking for overnight races on the subsequent Saturday cards to regain their winning ways.