Levy Series Heads into Third Round

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Ted Black

March 31st, 2016

While many sports enthusiasts will be closely monitoring the NCAA Men's Basketball two semifinal games on Saturday night, serious standardbred racing fans will hardly want to miss the third round of the George Morton Levy Memorial Series for Free-For-All pacers as the remaining combatants all look to earn a berth in the Levy's elite eight final on April 23.

Two weeks ago the Levy began with six divisions of seven pacers, then was reduced to five divisions last week. But this weekend only enough combatants remain to fill four divisions, with reigning harness horse of the year, Wiggle It Jiggleit, making his series debut after winning a $60,000 Invitational at Dover Downs on Monday in his four-year-old debut. Wiggle It Jiggleit, who won 22 of 26 starts and nearly $2.2 million last season en route to a trio of postseason honors, will start from post seven in the third division of this week's third Levy leg.

Saturday's sixth race is the first of four consecutive Levy third round divisions and the race features Melmerby Beach and Foiled Again, who were one-two last week in their eliminations, as well as series newcomers Great Vintage and  Lettucerockthem A, who were one-two in an overnight race later on the card.

After finishing a dull fourth in his 12-year-old debut in round one, Foiled Again showed more glimpses of his past youth when he cut the fractions last week then was overhauled late by a gritty, first over bid from Melmerby Beach. They could be headed for another epic battle this weekend, although the 'old man' should be a little tighter now with two races under his belt and gets the nod to succeed.

Railbound Bettorever certainly has a chance to improve after two outside draws to open the series. The Real One has the outside slot and will have to be aggressively handled early in order to finish well and have any hopes of making the final or consolation.

The seventh race is the second division of round three of the Levy and the race features Bit Of A Legend N, who has looked superb in two leg scores. But the Peter Tritton trainee drew the eight hole and will probably take back early and then look to pick up the pieces late. He appears headed for the lucrative final regardless of how he fares in this leg.

Opening leg winner PH Supercam suffered an eight-hole fate last week, but drew post four and should be in ideal striking position throughout. Evenin Of Pleasure has been a good second in each of his two prelim outings, while Railbound Phil Your Boots should improve after two outside draws to start the series.

Saturday's eighth race is the third division of the third round of the George Morton Levy series and this race features reigning horse of the year, Wiggle It Jiggleit. A four-year-old Mr Wiggles gelding trained by George Teague, Jr., previously of Rainbow Blue fame, Wiggle It Jiggleit makes his series debut this weekend after winning his seasonal bow on Monday evening in a $60,000 Invitational events at Dover Downs.

Last year Wiggle It Jiggleit (Montrell Teague) won 22 of 26 starts and banked nearly $2.2 million en route to being named champion three-year-old male pacer, pacer of the year and horse of the year. Along the way he won the Meadowlands Pace, the Battle of the Brandywine, the Little Brown Jug, the Matron Stakes and the Hap Hansen Progress Pace. He bypassed the first two legs of the Levy, so he will have to virtually win out over the last three rounds to earn a berth in the lucrative final on April 23 or at least make the consolation that night.

Wiggle It Jiggleit drew post seven in the lightest division of the quartet, although the race includes defending Levy final hero, Domethatagain, who won last week from the rail and courtesy of a pocket trip, identical to the one he enjoyed in the Levy final a year earlier. Bettor Rock On N has been second in each of his first two legs for trainer Andrew Harris, while All Bets Off was a solid second to Bit Of A Legend N in round one before finishing sixth last weekend. Ideal Cowboy was second last week after taking third the week before, but he looked rough finishing last weekend and gets post eight this week.

While the third division is essentially Wiggle It Jiggleit and the others, the fourth Levy split is clearly the toughest. Take It Back Terry has won two legs in sharp fashion for Burke, while Lucan Hanover has also scored twice for Harris. Railbound Texas Terror N and Mach It So each own one win in the series, while Texican N and Doctor Butch have each finished second once, while Scott Rocks has been third in each of the first two rounds.

Take It Back Terry recorded one of the sharper scores in the Levy series last week, but he could get a mild breather this weekend. Texas Terror N recorded the fastest clocking in round one, benefiting from wicked early fractions up front and then raced well last week into a quick back half. Mach It So was a sharp round one winner, was unlucky last weekend and should be handled much more aggressively from the outset and Texican N will be on the engine early looking to garner more points toward a possible berth in the final but a likely spot in the consolation.