Star Trotters Return; Levy Night Drama Emerges In Jam-Packed Weekend

Profile Picture: Frank Cotolo

April 23rd, 2015

Friday, April 24, some great trotting stars return to the track to compete in the Meadows Maturity, a $51,000 mile for trotting mares that includes the great Shake It Cerry. Three-year-old filly pacers show their faces in the Do Me Honor feature on the same program. More soph-filly pacers, these sired in Ohio, take flight in the $38,000 James Hackett Memorial at Miami Valley on Friday.

The George Morton Levy Memorial and Blue Chip Matchmaker finals engulf the Yonkers program on April 25 along with consolations and a “Levy”-eligibles mile. Across the river at the Meadowlands the Whata Baron goes 1 1/8 miles and the Grand Circuit Reynolds presents glamour-boy pacers.

A slew of overnight action adorns the ovals and our exclusive horses-to-watch (H2W) list has again scanned for serious contenders that promise to profit your across-the-board/exotic. As well, TwinSpires teams with Hoosier Park again for another season of player perks. Click here to check it out.

A spring special offers free harness past performances through June. Click here to take advantage of the deal.

Meadows Maturity Stars

With Ron Pierce recovering from surgery, Meadows hero Dave Palone gets the call to handle the return of the great trotter Shake It Cerry. At three we stood by her and made great money as the tide of popular opinion turned on her and she went on to devour a good crop of sophomore filly trotters, as well as she shone in her freshman season.

In this, her four-year-old debut, she faces older mares and must prove her age matters not when it comes to pounding the limestone. It will be difficult to bet against her under any circumstances but we can always hope that she is once again disrespected—even with Palone up—and will offer decent odds, perhaps as a second or third choice. Ken Weingartner reported that trainer Jimmy Takter is happy with Shake It Cerry’s prep. “She had a soft qualifier,” Takter said, “but she felt great.” Takter drover her. As for racing with the older group now, Takter told Ken, “I’m sure she can go with them. Of course sometimes those mares are a little tougher. They’ve been through a little bit more.”

The buzz on Classic Martine is loud and although she leaves from post 9 she will be gunning for “Cerry” and raring to dominate the mile while backed strongly. However, we’ll take Cerry and add Cowgirl Hall for an exacta (“Martine” could complete a great triple). Cowgirl Hall jumped and recovered last out is a sharp competitor.

Do The Honor

Soph-filly pacers enjoy a large purse target for the first time this season in the Do The Honor feature, which precedes the “Maturity” on the Meadows’ program. We expect the obvious favorites to be within the range of the morning lines but look to post 6 for the race contender most likely to be dismissed. Somewhere Fameous comes off a terrific mile where she brushed and dueled for the lead but tired. The three that passed her are all here and we should back the scenario that does not allow them to take advantage of “Fameous” here. The price should be the motivation and it should be available.

Miami Friday Feature

These state-bred fillies are tough to evaluate so early in the season but that could mean some prices worth the attention of a slick punter. The name brands here are Brian Brown-trained Friskie Lil Devil and Corner Girl, the bookends in the eight-horse field.

It seems Indian Spirit could get the call as favorite but we are going to think outside of the obvious box and take Ollie Pop. This could be a money score for driver Aaron Merriman and us if his lack of credentials turns off the bettors (a high probability). He could very well be as good as any of these, making his freshness a plus and a good pay.

Reynolds Rousers

The Grand Circuit’s season is launching slowly and the $47,306 Reynolds Stake at the Meadowlands on April 25 stakes glamour-boy pacers to begin the Saturday program. There’s a Ron Burke duo here which will attract dollars but we like the Joe Holloway product, Fast Movin Train. Even as a second choice, Joe’s colt should be worth it, already having proven he may be in for a great soph season.
Whata Baron Briefs

The Whata Baron’s $22,500 purse will be well contested by a dozen older pacers. Last week we hit with Bettorever in the second division. He is in deeper here, with four Burke students and three fro Linda Toscano’s barn, including the highly regarded Jk Patriot.

We need to take Ideal Cowboy as seriously as any of the name brands. A Whata Baron division last week was his first race at four and he was marvelous at 10-1. Quick from the gate he got the top in a duel, being the outsider, He took second and stayed there, gaining a bit while finishing behind Rediscovery, who leaves from post 10 here. This fine New York bred was sharp in state affairs at three and it looks as if he intends to make some major money at four. So can you if we are correct about the flow of the public’s money.

Matchmaker Final

Another full field of eight appear in this feature, the final for the Matchmaker, worth $261,000. Carolsideal has beaten the finalists and deserves to be the top choice here with nine wins in 10 starts this year and a great spot to launch, post 4. Her two strongest competitors are on the outside (Krispy Apple, post 7, Camille, post 8) and that is why there is a chance for Venus Delight to surprise.

Perfectly positioned from the wood, the improving mare can stalk Carolsideal and have a whisker to a head left late, which would be enough to take the cake.

Matchmaker Consolation

The mares pace for $75,000 in the series consolation event, with Anndrovette coming back into the mix and a pair of Burke gals. Last week, at 24-1, Palm Patrol lugged around four turns from the outside post of six. We’ll give her that race and go back to her here.

Anndrovette will be all out for a wire-to-wire win but Palm Patrol could suck along easily in the catbird seat, come out and pick up a handsome win check to add to her earnings, which are already better than anyone in this field for the season.

Levy Left Behinds

For a purse of $50,000, horses that took part in any or all of the Levy legs get this race to earn some money for their participation. There are no gifts, however, each is still asked to go a mile to cash a check. There are eight here, including one of our three-times disappointments in the series, Machs Beach Boy. He continues to show up in races where he looks all the best and does so again in this event. So, we will take him, since the crowd will probably bet too much on Clear Vision and Warrawee Needy.

Levy Consolation

It’s a whopping $100,000 for the Levy Consolation, with a full field of eight, represented by eight different trainers. There is a lot of speed here and we imagine it will be used early to get control. Michael’s Power, Dancin Yankee, Sapphire City and National Debt have nothing to lose if they leave quickly, yet it could mean a fast half that benefits Heez Orl Black N. We nabbed him in a division leg when he out-paid all in the series to that point. It could also benefit Bettor’s Edge and Fat Mans Alley but we will stick with “Heez,” hoping the crowd bets heavily on the early foot.

The Last Levy

It’s come to the big bucks, $529,000 for the final Levy mile. You couldn’t have written a more exciting finale scenario including the series’ dominant member, also last year’s champ, PH Supercam than to have given him post 8. Dramatically, there would be a happy ending as the great “PH” overcomes the adversity. Though life may imitate art because PH is simply the best of this lot, no one can write life. We can, however, handicap it. 

PH either shoots from the gate to get the front easily or gets it with difficulty. PH shoots from the gate and duels a foe, losing the duel and hanging badly enough to tire; or winning the duel and blowing the field away (or winning by a whisker). Whatever scenario may apply, it is PH’s race to lose. You need to decide if the price he offers to win is worthy of the chances he has to win.

In the coveted post 5 is Ron Burke’s Take It Back Terry, who will inherit some of the win pool that PH gives up due to their posts. Burke has a bone to pick with this final, in that his famous Foiled Again was terrible in the few divisions he raced and never got to the final, a race he has won multiple times. So, “Terry,” who has earned more this year than PH (who recently became a millionaire in career earnings), will do everything to take advantage of the PH trial from post 8.

That leaves the rest of the field, all racing in chaos behind the two mentioned, hoping for circumstances that can write a surprise ending to the event. If we were to write such a scenario, it would find Polak A getting the benefit of all miscues, mistakes and misfortunes of the better horses. If using Polak A, I would include PH in a exactas, to boost their prices because even if beaten, PH should be at the wire with whomsoever becomes the final’s star.

H2W Legend

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.


4/24/15, +Tremendous Hit R11; +The Mexican R11; Ol Man River R12
4/25/15, Terlingua R8; +Kennairn Buckwheat R8; +Tymal Torch R9; +Southwind Whiski R11; Arts Delight R12
Cal Expo
4/26/15, Lexies Delight R9

4/25/15, JC Kingdom R9

4/24/15, +Always Dee One R3; +My Hope R10
4/25/15, Skyway Billy R3; Maddysonofagun R4; Alequash Hanover R6; Some Kinda Beach R9;

4/23/15, +Morwyn Hanover R6; +I Brizel The Shizel R7
4/24/15, +Dakota Run R1; Regal Honor R2; Ataway Samantha R3; TJs Rocky R7; +Cantholdmebackmack R10; Fox Valley Bobbijo R12

4/24/15, Flyhawk El Durado R6
4/25/15, +Doo Wop Hanover R11

4/24/15, +Sweet Talie R1; Jetta Dough R2; I’m Notbad Hanover R3

4/23/15, Parkers Passion R4

4/23/15, +Hartwell R2; Wakinyan R4; Valcyon Days R9
4/23/15, +Jettin Jamie R8; +Countless Gold R11

4/24/15, Benns Clearout R7
4/25/15, +Lord Rave R4; No Dialogue R6; +Soap Suds R10
4/24/15, +Flirt The Issue R4
4/26/15, Giant Slayer R2

4/23/15, Simply Stella R3

4/25/15, +Bestnotlie Hanover R7
4/26/15, R Sam R4; Rockers Alley R5; +Afaceinthecrowd R10; Lizzies Dream R11

4/25/15, +Four Star Kyle R3
4/25/15, Tricky Artist R10
4/23/15, +Twist Of Faith R2
4/24/15, +Babes Chip R4
4/25/15, +Puzzlement R3; Winslow Hustler R5; Star Dancer R6; Ridin Solo R9
4/24/15, +Escada De Vie R4; Sweet Kix R6
4/25/15, Jk Panache R2; Here Comes Thunder R9

Ray Cotolo contributes to each edition.