Top Older Pacers Launch Series-Stakes Season At Yonkers With ‘Levy’ And Matchmaker
This week our official stakes-and-series season begins with the George Morton Levy and and Matchmaker series at Yonkers (March 17 and 18th). Older pacers of both sexes will battle it out for five weeks in prelim legs and face off for a big final. The legs for horses are $50,000 each and $40,000 for mares.
Thorough the stakes-ands-series season, we will add races featuring our Power Plays concept, along with some personal features, so watch for them (this week we begin Thursday at Monticello). Always accompanying our features, regardless, is our special group of suggested contenders listed on the H2W (horses-to-watch) list. Do your own handicapping, and then compare and consider our selections when betting.
Monticello/ Races 6,7,8
Thursday, March 16
Morning Line (ML) choice Ooby Dooby races awfully hard to get second and third but cannot seem to get home first. This leads us to believe looking elsewhere in Race 6 may be a good start to this Pick 3. Three races ago, Bullvilleblast was a dead-on choice in a tad higher company and comes into the lowest par he has seen since ’16. Those two will look brave but Duke Did It, at best the third public choice, may steal the affair on top. His new trainer/driver may want to control the fractions in order to win, which would be the gelding’s first in more than a year (good price assured) and a great win for supporters.
Race 7, leg two, a few entrants have rights to forecast winning trips. However, their obvious statures will hopefully mask the good chances of Can’t It Be Me and we will get a great price. Having two failures after a win in this company, Can’t It Be Me could stalk the others with a mid-pack cover trip and nail them late.
Race 8, leg three, could be the perfect spot for another AJ Destiny win. His recent race (while campaigning at Saratoga) was exceptional, just missing, and before that he won off of a break at the gate. Going into this race alive in the exotic would not hurt the price, even if AJ Destiny wins as one of the top three choices.
MATCHMAKER MARES, LEG ONE
Race 4 on Friday, March 17 presents the opening of the Blue Chip Matchmaker series. Eight older pacing mares lead the charge. As will be the case in this series and the Levy, some cast members from the 2016 episodes will be aboard for the rides. One of them is Al Raza N.
She was third in last year’s final and along the way battled gallantly, picking up some checks. Making her first start of the season, she is book-ended by the two Morning Line (ML) choices; Shesjustadelight N on the rail and Tessa Seelster in the dreaded Yonkers 8 hole. “Tessa” is from the Ron Burke stable and will get more-than-usual support for one at her outside post (she is three wins for six starts already this season and gets local hero George Brennan to guide her).
Al Raza N, however, won’t need much urging from post 2 and may be able to suck along and glide freely when it counts most, getting the season off to a great start at a good price. The aforementioned ML choices should be in the mix, the best prices putting Tessa before the 1.
Race 5 sends the second Matchmaker field of eight into flight. A notable huge choice here is Mach It A Par, followed by Bedroomconfessions. From post 7 goes good ole Krispy Apple. But, from the rail, going her second trip of the season is Sail To The Beach. She is dangerously available to go wire to wire here if she can time a lead or draft behind “Mach.” Also bound to be ignored is Betabcool, in a good spot to be engaged in exotics.
The Matchmaker nightcap is Race 6, with another eight launching a $40,000 mile. The two obvious choices get the ML advantages—Regil Elektra and Nike Franco N—but we support the outsider Medusa. Although this could be considered a bit of a hike in class, she has been extremely competitive, off the board just once, and may be able to earn a batch in this series if she rises to the class. Also outside the box, look for a decent race from Sell A Bit N as she revs for the new season.
G.M. LEVY LAUNCH
Saturday, March 18 at Yonkers, four divisions of the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series adorn the program and the first, Race 5, presents the basic problems of the early season, which could also be beneficial to getting a price. Fired up for the first round, most of these stalwart pacers have been doing well so far but the public will be keyed in on the obvious contenders and brand names.
Not as prominent as a Burke or Brennan is Dan Renaud, who sends out Guantanamo Bay, who may use his productive come-from-behind style—strange for Yonkers—to capture this first division. It’s fascinating to see a Yonkers horse do so well coming from behind but already this season “Bay” had won with it three times, twice in the best company.
In division two, Race 6, Burke sends out another of his Levy barrage, All Bets Off in a season debut. Last year, in the series second leg, we landed a big price with Melmerby Beach and here he is again, this time in only his second outing for the season. The crowd will no doubt give a bunch of win-pool support to McWicked, who has been primed for this series with two wins, one at Yonkers. His speed is always over-rated, as has been his career, and he could take far too much money here, giving Melmerby Beach a huge shot at a much more fair price.
Race 7, division three, presents Rockin Ron for Burke. We gave him to you in last week’s prep and no one was surprised, as the odds proved, to see him raring to go at five. But to his inside he must deal with a lot of speed, including Mach It So and Americanprimetime. Take a good look at Texas Terror N, who surprised the betting public last year in this series with one win that was the product of catching short speed. It’s so early that perhaps the three speedballs will wilt a bit and allow “Texas” to terrorize the stretch and win at a great price.
The nightcap division, Race 8, presents last years event champ, Bit Of A Legend N. The 2016 final and the race that got him there were opportunistic miles. It’s a stretch to think he will repeat, no less make it to the final this year. Former champ PH Supercam is back but gets the 8 hole for his first series division and so far this year he is zero wins for eight starts and hard to endorse. Another opportunistic entry, Wakizashi Hanover, could take some money, maybe too much. The speed here may be the only speed here—Somewhere In LA. He gets a complement to his early foot by leaving from post 4 after four 8-post launches (one of them a win). He may go off higher than most will forecast, which is raw meat for us.
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.
3/17/17, +Red Roll R2; +High Resolution R6; Well To Do R8; +May Day Jojo R10
3/17/17, Smoke Eater R9; +Lincoln R11
3/18/17, +Manifique R6; Mikeleh R10
3/18/17, Barossa Blue Genes R6; Noodles R8; Meajka Road R10
3/16/17, Rocket Da Red R5; Western Young Gun R12
3/18/17, +Skyflex R8
3/17/17, Promontory Jo R2
3/16/17, +Flowing James R2; +Santanna Sam R3; +Italian Rebel R4; +Modern Look R5
3/18/17, +Terrorize The Moon R3
3/17/17, +Drunken Terror R3; +Sheeza Shark N R7
3/18/17, +Bettor Memories R1; +Somesizesomestyle R5; +Blush Hanover R8; Fearless Leader N R12
3/18/17, +DGs Justlikethat R4; +Bombay Away R10
3/16/17, Vinnies Valentine R2
3/20/17, Lastchancelilly R4; Paydaze On The Way R8
3/18/17, +Esteemed Members R6; +Barbra Carol Lynn R6; +Rolling Going Gone R10
3/18/17, Dimes N Dollars R2
3/18/17, +Topcornerterror R2; Amora Beach R6; Haileysgonedancing R9; +Wind Of The North R12
3/16/17, +Ella V Horse R9; +Island Adventure R8
3/17/17, +Cabo San Lucas R3; +Full Grown Man R8
3/17/17, Winter Storm R1; St Lads Sundance R2; Maid Of Silver R6
3/18/17, Chevals Clivesdale ae R4