Saturday Harness Preview for 4/26/2014

Profile Picture: Molly Jo Rosen

Molly Jo Rosen

April 26th, 2014

by Ted Black

While much of the nation is already getting a hint of Kentucky Derby fever, serious and novice standardbred fans alike will assuredly venture to a standardbred track or simulcast facility this evening to catch the stellar card at Yonkers Raceway.

Tonight's 12-race card at Yonkers Raceway is worth well in excess of $1 million in total purses, with two events accounting for the vast majority of that sum - the $567,000 George Morton Levy Series final for aged pacing males and the $370,000 Bluechip Matchmaker final for pacing fillies and mares. Each race also offers a consolation, the Levy going for $100,000 and the Matchmaker set at $75,000.

In the eighth race on the card, the $75,000 Bluechip Matchmaker consolation, the Ron Burke-trained tandem of Camille and Charisma Hanover will garner plenty of support but the entry is clearly worth playing against.

Camille and Charisma Hanover will start from posts six and seven, respectively, and they are winless from nine combined starts this year. Camille finished second twice in five Matchmaker legs, while Charisma Hanover could do no better than third in four starts and missed last week. Both will be hard pressed to complete the exacta.

Any one of three distaffers should eventually prevail in the Matchmaker consolation, although two of them drew ideally while the other was unfortunate enough to get the dreaded eight-hole on the Yonkers half-mile oval.

Ramalama finished second once and third three times in five Matchmaker tries and was the victim of difficult, overland trips in four of those starts. She was third in each of the last three prelims, attempting to rally from far back in her most recent and then first over two starts back into a 55-second back half. She has the rail this evening and should finally be able to work out a good trip.

Just to her outside is Ideal In Vegas, a leg winner three starts back who was unable to rally into a good back half last week. She has enough speed to control the tempo from post two and will be tough to overtake, although Ramalama can nail her with a decent trip.

Clearly the unlucky mare in this event is Shelliscape, a leg winner two starts back who drew the eight-hole for the consolation. Last year's Breeders Crown champion for this division, Shelliscape was unlucky throughout the series, starting from post six twice and post seven once and now post eight this evening. Her luck will likely improve in subsequent starts elsewhere.

One race later on the card, the $370,000 Bluechip Matchmaker final figures to be an exceptional affair. The Burke entry of Rocklamation and Summertime Lea will attract support, as will the PJ Fraley tandem of Anndrovette and Krispy Apple. But the two best pacing mares in this event also happened to draw posts one and two, respectively, and they could be almost inseperable at the wire.

Somwherovrarainbow won the first two legs of the series and then finished second and third, respectively, in each of her last two tries after skipping the third leg. The four-year-old Sombeachsomewhere mare out of the sensational Rainbow Blue, the 2004 horse of the year, has been the odds-on favorite in each of her four starts and figures to get serious backing again this evening while starting from the rail.

Leaving alongside her is Yagonnakissmeornot, a five-year-old daughter of The Panderosa trained by Rene Allard who won four of five legs, including the last three after finishing second to Somwherovrarainbow in leg two on March 28. Yagonnakissmeornot has won on the lead, from the pocket and in first over fashion and she wasn't always lucky in the draw either.

Expect Somwherovrarainbow to leave alertly and look to control the tempo from the halfway station home, but Yagonnakissmeornot appears to be the better mare right now. A first- or second-place check will elevate Somwherovrarainbow to millionaire status this evening, but look for Yagonnakissmeornot to nail her in the lane in a battle of Delaware-bred mares.

One race later on the card, Yonkers will offer the $100,000 George Morton Levy series consolation for older pacers. While the two entries might appear vulnerable in the Matchmaker consolation, the Burke tandem looks invincible in the Levy consol.

Easy Again and Clear Vision would be the top two pacers in almost any other trainer's barn, but the deep Burke brigade relogated this pair to the consolation. Easy Again won three legs of the series and looked poised for the final after two of those scores. But he made a break early in the fourth leg that cost him any chance of earning a spot in the lucrative final.

As luck would have it, Easy Again drew the rail for the consolation and his main competition will come from his stablemate and entrymate, Clear Vision. Approaching $2 million in career earnings, Clear Vision won only one leg of the Levy series but was second three times. He captured the $200,000 Robert Quillen Memorial at Harrington Raceway last fall and will get more chances to race for lucrative pots this spring, summer and fall.

Then in the 11th race, the $567,000 George Morton Levy Memorial final for older pacers, all eyes will be on the older of them all - Foiled Again.

The stronger half of another Burke entry that will rule as the post time favorite, Foiled Again won his first four starts against Levy rivals this year before finishing a nondescript seventh in last week's prelim in what appeared to be nothing more than a training mile for the reigning aged pacer of the decade. The 10-year-old Dragon Again gelding will leave from most three this evening and he will likely be on the lead early in the mile.

But the Burke tandem of Foiled Again and Bettor's Edge, a three-time Levy leg winner, is hardly a lock to take home the lion's share of the pot this evening.

Trainer PJ Fraley will send out a formidable entry of his own in PH Supercam and Mach It So. PH Supercam notched his first Levy score last week after finishing second once and third three times in earlier rounds, while Mach It So won three of five legs and finished second in each of the other two. PH Supercam drew post two, but Mach It So will be hindered by the dreaded eight hole.

Two other Levy finalists also appear poised for upset poosibilities despite outside draws. Apprentice Hanover won once in four Levy legs and then was a good third despite a first over trip last week after skipping week four. He was genuinely unlcuky in each of the first two legs while first over before finally getting into contention earlier in the third leg when he outlasted Mach It So and Clear Vision.

Perhaps the best value play on the card is Dancin Yankee, who will start from post seven one week after overcoming that same slot to notch his first Levy leg tally. The six-year-old Yankee Cruiser stallion trained by Josh Green had finished second in each of his two prior outings before last week's score on nights when he was hindered by slow fractions up front while attempting to corrale lone speed horses Easy Again and Foiled Again.

In fact, Dancin Yankee perhaps delivered the two best efforts of any horse in the series in his two setbacks on April 5 and April 12. In the first one, he attempted to rally third over behind excess dull cover into a fierce 55.3 back half cut out by Easy Again and still managed to get second. Then on April 12 he nearly overhauled Foiled Again despite racing first over into a 54.2 back half uncorked by the aged champ. With a hint of racing luck tonight, Dancin Yankee could post an 8-1 upset in the Levy final.