Older Male Pacers Step Forward in Levy

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Ted Black

April 9th, 2017

Several hours after thoroughbred racing fans witnessed a trio of Kentucky Derby prep races at three different tracks, a handful of older pacers enhanced their chances of earning a berth in the April 22 George Morton Levy Series final.

Right at the midway point of the Saturday night card at Yonkers Raceway, Clear Vision (Brett Miller) overcame a brief, first over bid and wore down pacesetting McWicked (Matt Kakaley) to capture the first Levy fourth leg division in 1:52.1. Guantanamo Bay benefited from a pocket trip to finish third, while Wakizashi Hanover settled for fourth after gapping cover second over.

An 11-year-old Western Hanover gelding trained by John Kokinos, Clear Vision recorded his first series win in two tries and kept his chances alive for earning a berth in the $100,000 consolation. The durable, classy aged pacer owns two wins from nine starts this year and sports a solid 35-45-38 slate and $2.6 million bankroll from 208 lifetime starts.

One race later in the second Levy split, Blood Brother (Jason Bartlett) benefited from a pocket trip behind McArdles Lightning (Kakaley) through modest fractions and angled to the passing lane and surged past the leader late for a length score in 1:52.

A five-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding trained by Richard Banca, Blood Brother notched his first win in four series tries and vaulted into position to make the $500,000 final. Blood Brother had been doomed by poor posts in his two previous outings, but his inside draw enabled him to receive a perfect trip on Saturday night.

Two-time series winner Keystone Velocity (Daniel Dube) finished third after a modest, first over effort and remained on target for the final, while Provocativeprince N (Jordan Stratton) had little to offer racing third over.
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Then one race later in the third Levy fourth leg split, Somewhere In LA (Bartlett) settled into third early as railbound Mach It So (Tim Tetrick) carved out sharp early fractions of 27 flat and 56.1, angled out first over and pressed the leader down the backside and by three-quarters in 1:23.3 and finally wore that one down late in 1:51.3. Great Vintage rallied second over for third, while two-time winner Soto (Dube) settled for fourth after a pocket journey.

A six-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding trained by Banca, Somewhere In LA notched his first win in four Levy legs after finishing second twice and third once in the others and now is on target for the lucrative final. Mach It So displayed serious speed and ample signs of life for the first time in four Levy tries and looks destined for the consolation.

After four rounds of the Levy, Missile J, who was idle this week after winning each of his first three legs, still tops the standings with 225 points, followed by Soto (220), Keystone Velocity (217), Somewhere In LA (212), Bit Of A Legend N (205), Provocativeprince N (180), Blood Brother (180) and RockinnRon (158), also idle in round four, rounding out the top eight.

Wakizashi Hanover (153), Long Live Rock (150), Mach It So (150), McWicked (150), Great Vintage (142), Guantanamo Bay (137), Bettor's Edge (133) and Melmerby Beach (130) who bypassed round four, comprise the next eight who would contest the consolation right now, but one more round of eliminations will take place next Saturday.

McArdles Lightning (125), PH Supercam (124), Santa Fe Beachboy (121), Caviart Luca (113), All Bets Off (112) and Clear Vision (112) all have chances to make the consolation.

Former Levy fixture Foiled Again (Kakaley) enhanced his bankroll slightly by winning the opening race on the Saturday card at Yonkers when he rallied second over to score in 1:53.3 in a non-winners of $15,000 last five starts class for trainer Ron Burke.

A 13-year-old Dragon Again gelding out of an Artsplace mare, Foiled Again has won three of 11 starts this year and banked $38,000 and he now sports a stellar 94 wins and $7.508 million banked in 284 career outings in his Hall of Fame career. Foiled Again will have to double jump into the winners over $25,000 last five class next weekend and he will likely make his 300th lifetime start and attain his 100th career triumph sometime this summer and perhaps on the same night.