Levy Series Provides Four Varying Results

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Ted Black

March 26th, 2017

While many thoroughbred racing fans were still trying to comprehend the last-to-first performance delivered by Arrogate in the Grade I, $10 million Dubai World Cup at Meydan earlier in the day, standardbred fans were eager to witness the second round of the George Morton Levy Memorial Series at Yonkers Raceway for older free-for-all pacers.

One week after a rain-soaked "good" track hindered speed horses and dulled final clockings by three full seconds, warmer, drier, fast conditions prevailed in Saturday night for the second round of the Levy.

In the opening Levy second round split, Keystone Velocity (Daniel Dube) overcame a tough, first over trip to eventually overhaul favored Bettor's Edge (Brett Miller) to score in 1:51.3, while pocket-sitting Dr J Hanover (Scott Zeron) was third in a good try.

One week after finishing fifth after cutting the fractions against the bias, Keystone Velocity notched his first win in three starts this year for trainer Rene Allard and looms a player in the series. Bettor's Edge finished fourth last week racing against the bias and was a solid second in defeat.

One race later in the second Levy second round split, Rockin Ron (Yannick Gingras) gained command soon after the start, got a modest breather by the half in 56 flat then rebuffed a serious bid from defending Levy final hero Bit Of A Legend N (Jordan Stratton) around the final turn and through the lane to score in 1:51.1, the fastest split of the series thus far.

A five-year-old Real Desire gelding trained by Ron Burke, Rockin Ron recorded his third win in five starts this year and now owns 23 wins and $560,000 banked from 61 lifetime tries. He has been first once and second once in two Levy legs and is Burke's top representative right now.
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Bit Of A Legend N settled for second for the second straight week, but the Peter Tritton trainee still looms a threat throughout the series. Soto (Matt Kakaley), who won an opening leg split in 1:53.3, settled for the show spot in a good try for trainer Eric Ell. Mach It So (Tim Tetrick) finished fourth after a second over journey, while Guantanamo Bay (Scott Zeron) rallied belatedly to finish fifth.

Two races later in the third Levy second round split, Missile J (Tetrick) rallied from just off the pace and second over to overtake Somewhere In L A (Jason Bartlett) for a neck score in 1:51.3. Missile J has now won his first two Levy legs and six of seven starts this year for trainer Scott DiDomenico.

Somewhere In L A overcame post seven to gain command, rebuffed an early brush bid from favored Provocativeprince N (Stratton) before the half and down the backside then battled bravely with Missile J before being overtaken late. Long shots P H Supercam and Texas Terror N were third and fourth, respectively.

Then in the fourth Levy second leg division, Melmerby Beach (Bartlett) rallied from midpack for a 12-1 upset in 1:52, the slowest of the quartet. Wakizashi Hanover (Tetrick) closed well for the place spot, while All Bets Off (Kakaley) faded late as the 1-5 favorite despite getting a soft 57 flat half.

Melmerby Beach won for the first time in three starts, while Wakizashi Hanover has been second twice in four starts this year and was fourth in the first round. All Bets Off, runner-up in last year's final and second last week, was third in a so-so try.

Through the first two legs Missile J tops the standings with 150 points, followed by Rockin Ron (125), Soto (112), Melmerby Beach (105), Keystone Velocity (105), Bit Of A Legend N (100), Provocativeprince N (100), Long Live Rock (100), All Bets Off (87) and Somewhere In L A (87) round out the top 10. The top eight make the $500,000 final and the next eight clash in the $100,000 consolation on April 22.