Levy series second round review

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Ted Black

March 29th, 2015

Through the first two rounds of the prestigious, lucrative George Morton Levy Memorial Series at Yonkers Raceway, the cream is beginning to rise to the top and several of the contenders are still on the outside looking in in regards to the $400,000 final and $100,000 consolation on April 25.

In the first of four Levy second round divisions on Saturday night, defending Levy final hero PH Supercam (Jason Bartlett) rallied from an improbable spot to capture his second straight leg of the series for trainer Jeffrey Bamond, Jr. One of the five opening round winners, PH Supercam got away third and stayed in when the outer tier formed at the half as longshot Heez Orl Black N (Shaun Vallee) led the field through the first three calls and faced serious pressure from Clear Vision down the backside and by three-quarters.

When Heez Orl Black N wilted under the pressure at the top of the lane and eventually faded to last, Clear Vision surged to command at the top of the lane but the Ron Burke trainee hardly dominated the contest from there. In fact, Frankies Dragon (George Brennan) and PH Supercam both found room toward the inside and closed willingly in the lane. PH Supercam displayed the best closing kick and got up late to down Frankies Dragon, who was fourth in the opening round, while Clear Vision (Yannick Gingras) settled for third for the second straight week.

One race later, first round winners Polak A (Brian Sears) and Michael's Power (Daniel Dube) controlled the tempo from the outset and would eventually finish one-two, while the formidable, durable, indefatigable Foiled Again settled for third after a prolonged first over journey. Michael's Power made the top before the quarter, yielded to Polak A before the half and then Foiled Again (Gingras) angled out first over. Polak A kept the aged warrior at bay down the backside and through the far turn and the sport's richest pacer could never go by the top pair as Polak A scored in 1:52.4.

Then one race later on the card, Beach Memories (Gingras) left to gain command from Sapphire City (Bartlett) before the quarter, got a breather to the half in 57 and kept favored Mach It So (Tim Tetrick) at bay down the backside and through the lane to prevail in 1:53 for his second victory in the series. In fact, Beach Memories is currently trainer Ron Burke's leading contender for the final, while stalwarts Foiled Again and Clear Vision are third and fourth, respectively, among his trainees.

Sapphire City, like Foiled Again, now owns a second- and third-place finish in two Levy legs while Mach It So has now finished third in each of his first two preliminary rounds. Speckled Door, the lone "new shooter" in the second round of the Levy, finished a respectable fourth in the third split for trainer Jake Leamon, while Smooth Criminal, Capozzo and Apprentice Hanover have yet to look as though they belong in this series for the first two rounds. Apprentice Hanover won a leg last year en route to finishing second in the final.

Then in the fourth division of the Levy second round, Bettor's Edge (Gingras) rebounded from a dull, sixth-place finish in the opening weekend to lead throughout and capture his split by a neck in 1:53.3 for Burke, giving the conditioner two series wins on the card. Dancin Yankee (Brett Miller) finished a sharp second as the 1-5 favorite for Josh Green after finishing third in the opening leg one week earlier and will have to improve somewhat over the next three weeks to earn a spot in the lucrative final.

While National Debt represents the lone Maryland-bred pacer in the Levy series and slightly overmatched in there, Eighteen (Bartlett) represents the best Maryland-bred pacer on the New York circuit right now. In the second race on the Saturday card, Eighteen overcame post six and a week absence to lead throughout through honest splits of 27, 56.3 and 1:25 for the first three calls to hold safe Bigrisk (Dube) and Stolen Car (Eric Carlson) for a length score in 1:53.4 in a non-winners of $18,000 last six starts class.

A seven-year-old Cam's Card Shark stallion trained by Paul Fusco for owner Jodi Siamis, Eighteen now owns two wins and seasonal earnings in excess of $30,000 from nine starts on the campaign. Last year Eighteen posted an 8-5-7 slate and $135,000 bankroll from 34 outings while taking a new lifetime mark of 1:49.3 at Pocono Downs in Pennsylvania. Eighteen now sports 30 wins and earnings approaching $675,000 from 142 lifetime starts and he poised for another solid campaign in conditioned events at Yonkers and Pocono Downs.