Levy Series Soars With Five Splits; Matchmaker Mares In Motion; Miami Pick 4 In Play
Round two at Yonkers Raceway this Friday and Saturday keeps the senior pacers cooking in five more divisions of the George Levy Memorial Pacing Series for (males) nd the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series (mares). We are features-bound from here on as the stakes season eventually presents this year’s Grand Circuit cast of characters from all divisions. For now, the graduates into the aged ranks and the veterans take center stage.
TwinSpires’ exclusive horses-to-watch list (H2W) is here again, refreshed with potent contenders rarely mentioned by any other handicapping source. As proved again last weekend, the H2W features valued win, place, show and exotics’ payoffs across North America.
To launch the weekend, we start Thursday with two of our own chosen “features,” again this week from Saratoga Harness. Remember—“Think outside the oval.”
Saratoga /March 24
Two in this field merit attention as outside contenders, especially since the morning-line favorite does not seem to have much going for him but a second try at a recent failed step down (Grey Ice). From the inside out, Psyched takes to a conditioned event after failing in an optional claimer. Two back, from December of 2015, he was very good at 13-1 in a conditioned/claimer. He should play a role in the finish.
Three outside of Psyched is My Friend Charlie. He won’t go off near the 5-2 he was sent away with last time. He raced well there, finishing third and that was a dip from some Saratoga classes late last year with purses double the size of this affair. This race starts a Pick-3 stream.
Saratoga /March 24
Another trot with a full field includes a mystery morning-line choice in the rail horse, One True Friend. From Buffalo, this mare comes off a strong qualifier that was necessary following two failed qualifiers and a pair of breaking performances. For value here you have to trust post 8, where Under The Stars makes his third start of the year. His first finished on the bottom of the purse grid but he needed that mile coming back since November. Last week at 16-1 in a claimer/conditioner class he became aggressive and finished second in a just-missing-the-win mile.
We return with a Miami Valley Pick 4 this Friday, March 25. This week’s sequence Races 9—12, has the potential to provide us with a great hit.
Sallee Ride and Jetting Around both return to the conditioned claiming level in the first leg, Race 9. Winning off a first-over trip, Sallee Ride has proven she can compete at a higher level, having won against non-winners of four in her previous start. The runner-up to her last week, Jetting Around, was sent off the favorite. She frequently positions herself within a stalking spot towards the leader but narrowly misses capitalizing off the trip. However, Sallee Ride appears to be her closest rival here, so a redeeming mile is possible.
Fillies and mares gather for a claiming handicap event in leg two, Race 10. We’ll head in three directions here: Cenaltafirecracker, moving up in class off a wire-to-wire performance as the favorite, Gran Gabriel, making her first start off a claim after going off the favorite at this level, and Ginger Spice N, who has sharp miles on her record if her most recent outing is negated. Of the trio, the best price may come from Ginger Spice N, but Gran Gabriel may be ignored slightly because of her draw.
Conditioned trotters compete in round three, Race 11. The obvious horse to include on this ticket is the morning-line-choice Tinder, the only trotter entered showing any sort of consistency at this company. But, while Tinder could easily be a single in this leg, Team Zordin should not be discounted. Dropping to this level last week, Team Zordin rode a pocket trip to finish third by less than a length as the favorite. He should not have a problem getting away towards the top, since he trails a class-dropper with some gate speed and also has the option to follow Tinder off the gate.
Capping the sequence is Race 12, a conditioned pacing event for fillies and mares. Contenders Addys Way and Game Of Dreamers are the sole mares entered with any experience competing at a tougher class level—the Open. However, Addys Way dropped from the Open to the conditioned level below this, winning as the favorite in wire-to-wire fashion, while Game Of Dreamers was put into a claimer. But, Game Of Dreamers has raced well in the claiming ranks when a soft pace is set, so she could bounce back with an off-the-pace effort if the leader sets a modest tempo.
Another mare that would benefit from a soft pace is Paige Moon Dancer. Having a talent for closing, her best efforts have been in races where the final quarter of a mile is slow. While she would have a lot more leeway if she secured a spot within the top half of the field, chances are she’ll be racing from the back of the pack. If Addys Way, the likely pacesetter, does not have much left in the stretch, then Paige Moon Dancer could be sweeping into contention for a massive upset.
MAKE ME A MATCH
Another trio of divisions are the highlight at Yonkers on March 25. Matchmaker divisions are Races 6—8.
In Race 6, seven return from the first leg and there is one debut. Remember Carolsideal? She was hot for a while in top conditioners last season and she shows up here as a rank outsider (morning line 20-1) in post 7. She has a lot of racing to do, since five of the six to her left are gaining confidence after good starts.
Venus Delight was about 5-1 last in leg one, racing hard on the outside only to lose by a hair to 39-1 Mach It A Par. The great mare and defender of the Matchmaker title may have it easier this time, even if there is speed to three-quarters, where it collapsed last week. As well, she may also offer a similar price, as the public backs “Mach,” Hazmatt and the Ron Burke mare getting post 1 this week, Request For Parole. She was our second choice in that division last week but she did not even try from post 7. She is a danger in the exotics here.
In division two, Race 7, femme-star pacer Androvette joins the series. She’s nine now and did not end last year with grace, scratching from the Breeders Crown. We liked Sandbetweenurtoes last week after Krispy Apple in her division but “Sand” fought too hard early, dueling and fading badly. “Krispy” could only get second as another longshot took advantage of the early lick that dried out late. Sand in this spot could be best if she takes it easy early, perhaps letting Androvette burn out in her season’s first race, which is likely. The morning-line choice is Skippin By, Burke’s mare, getting the rail after a dismal performance in the Krispy-Sand division last week.
The nightcap division is Race 8. Of this group, Lady Shadow raced best in leg one, making a victory out of controlling the pace. But she won’t be alone on the engine, as Krispy Apple will challenge her even if it means letting the backfield get feisty in the stretch. That will benefit Al Raza N, who made a win out of tiring leaders last week. But the true outsider with a shot here is Delightful Dragon. In the Al Raza N mile, “Dragon” gained on the outside but didn’t save enough to ward off “Raza.” But, Dragon got fourth while gaining ground, a sure sign she was not done. From post 3 she could have a perfect stalking trip to do the job late at the biggest Matchmaker price of the night.
LEVY LOG #2
Five Levy divisions fire this week—March 26—for leg two of the series. It starts with Race 5 and seven, including new entry Te Kawau N, who starts his season on the rail. Still, he is bound to need this mile, where morning-line choice (7-5) Lucan Hanover looks for his fourth straight of the season. We had him last week but we also had Texican N, who finished second and goes here four to the left of “Lucan.” Some speeding is expected and it could benefit the outside post, which will give a big shot to Let’s Drink On It.
Race 7 is the second division of the evening. The $100 winner, Texas Terror N, is here hoping for another debilitating speed duel that allows him to cruise to victory easily in the last furlong. The morning-line maker has Foiled Again as the choice (8-5) but with Michaels Power entering the series and getting the rail, this could be another speedball sanctuary that favors Texas Terror N but surprises with Melmerby Beach. Three seconds this year could be all the credentials he needs to dowse the speed late at a top price.
There are 8 Levy leavers in Race 8, with leg-one winners Bit Of A Legend and Mach It So favored to fill the win pool. But our failed favorite from last week, Santa Fe Beachboy, a victim of an early duel, will offer more than last week and is in the perfect post for a tireless trip that should offer a decent payoff.
Another 8 go in Race 9 and look where PH Supercam drew—post 8. Just when we thought we may not get more of a price on him than when we buried his number last week at 5-1, along comes a draw that may get us more dough. Ditto for our comments coming into leg one with “PH” because he is always in the race and even the worst post at Yonkers won’t phase his performance. If we are lucky enough to get more than odds on, we will take PH, who won the series two years back, over any to his left.
The nightcap division, Race 10, should get the wagering the morning line supposes, with Burke’s rail horse, Take It Back Terry, the beloved. But we will stay with Roland N Rock from post 2 for the win (and a partner in any exotics). Last week, “Roland” was a bit steppy and still maintained a strong pace. If he sits kindly behind “Terry” in a template Yonkers parade, he could swoop out and leave Terry in the dust of a closing herd. Roland does not deserve to be dismissed after last week. He is up to this class and he is going to pop before his odds decline. Take ‘em again.
Champion Wiggle It Jiggleit won’t join the “Levy” fray this week but you can see him go Monday, March 28 at Dover Downs. The 2015 Horse of the Year is coming off of the fastest qualifier ever recorded at Dover, 1:50.1. He has post 5 in Race 10 on Monday, facing four-year-olds and up for the first time as his four-year-old season begins. He can be beaten and he may need this race to tighten for the Levy foes. Watch out for Bettor’s Edge, who can fully take advantage of the step or two that “Wiggle” may not have at the wire.
Review our choices and follow the wagering at the prescribed track. These are possible contenders we have judged from reviewing races. The horses’ names are listed beneath the name of the track after the date they will be racing. The race in which they are entered (R and race number) follows. If a + is in front of a horse’s name it means it is appearing on the list for the second (and last) time because it failed to win the first time it appeared. An “ae” signals the horse is entered on the also-eligible list. If a horse is listed twice, refer to the entries on the night of the race since a horse may enter in more than one race. Types of wagering on any of the H2W listed horses are based on your judgment. If you have any questions, email us at TwinSpires.
3/25/16, +Gabby Hayes R7
3/26/16, B Evas Lucky Lad R3; In The Clear R5; Catch The Wave R7; The Dominant One R8; Avantage R8; Just Frank R9
3/25/16, Red Star Wild One R9; Willey Bite R10
3/26/16, One And Only R3; Lislea Bonita R4
3/25/16, Tajmealover R1; +Jet Hot Stuff R1; +Thats Witty R9; +Royal Clash R9; +Cowboys Dirtyboots R11
3/26/16, Lizard King R2
3/28/16, Bettor’s Edge R10
3/24/16, +Hetties Commander R10
3/25/16, +Scarlet V R4; +Pureform Bella R5; +Fast Lane Firebolt R6; +Pureform Goodtogo R7; +Coin Vault R8; +Hosisahos R8
3/27/16, Kokanee Seelster R3; +Thieving Magpie R8; +Tahuya Know R9|
3/24/16, Mr Big Load R6
3/25/16, Mias First Time R4; +Taxed To The Max R7
3/25/16, +Magglio R3
3/26/16, No Reason At All R1
3/26/16, +Official Stripes R9; Southwind Voltage R13; Major Monet R14
3/25/16, +Caseofthesillies R2
3/24/16, +Just Like Tiger ae R7
3/28/16, +CSI Whats My Name R4
3/26/16, Umygeorgia Hanover R12; Common Creed R12
3/28/16, +Mantaculator R14
3/25/16, +Elzane R10; Onelesslonleygirl R11
3/26/16, +Dibando R1; +JB Oui Oui R3
3/27/16, +Chip Chip Page R2
3/25/16, +Volcanic Matter R9
3/26/16, +Townline Shadow R2; JK Panache R7
3/26/16, Veal Marsala R1; Whipmeintoshape R6; West River Text R8
3/27/16, Panbien R3; Explosiveafternoon R7
3/25/16, Nor Star Renegade R3; Tymal Fireitup R4; +Maid Of The Money R7
3/25/16, Justcallmeronald R4; Lady Ping R8; +Oaklea Wyatt R8
3/26/16, +Summit City Nate R5; +Read The Proposal R7
3/26/16, Keystone Honor R2; BJs Guy R3
3/28/16, Well Well Well R3
Ray Cotolo contributes to each edition