Yonkers Hosts Third Levy leg

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Ted Black

April 2nd, 2017

One night the pacing fillies and mares battled through the rain in the third leg of the Bluechip Matchmaker Series, the older pacers who clashed in the George Morton Levy series on Saturday evening competed under almost ideal conditions.

In the first of the four Levy divisions, Soto (Matt Kakaley) left alertly to protect the pocket behind favored Somewhere In LA (Jason Bartlett), sat a loose pocket to the half and a tight pocket down the backside, angled to the passing lane and overhauled the leader late for a head score in 1:51.4.

A five-year-old Rock N Roll Heaven stallion trained by Eric Ell for owners Kenny Wood, William Dittmar and Steve Iaquinta - the same connections of 2015 champion older trotter J L Cruze - Soto has won six of 11 starts this year and now owns two wins and a third-place finish in three Levy legs.

Somewhere In LA finished second in a good effort, while Wakizashi Hanover overtook Rockin Ron late to finish third while Mach It So was fifth. Somewhere In LA has been second twice and third once in three Levy legs, while Wakizashi Hanover has been second once, third once and fourth once.

One race later in the second Levy split, favored Missile J (Tim Tetrick) rallied third over and widest of all to sweep past the leaders in the lane to a two-length score in 1:51.3. A four-year-old American Ideal gelding trained by Scott DiDomenico, Missile J remained perfect in three Levy legs and now boasts seven wins in eight starts this year and 15 wins in 27 career outings and looms the future book favorite for the $600,000 Levy final on April 22.

In a field that was largely devoid of serious Levy final potentials save the winner, Great Vintage finished second in a good try while Levy newcomer Clear Vision finished third in a good effort following a four-week break.

One race later in the third Levy third leg split, Keystone Velocity (Daniel Dube) lived up to his role as the 1-2 favorite when he sat a pocket trip behind Caviart Luca (George Brennan) and angled to the passing lane and outkicked Provocativeprince N for a neck score in 1:51.3. PH Supercam (Brett Miller) finished third, while Caviart Luca faded to fourth.

A nine-year-old Western Hanover stallion trained by Rene Allard, Keystone Velocity has won two straight Levy legs and appears destined for the final. Provocativeprince N rallied well for the place spot for trainer Peter Tritton, while PH Supercam kept his hopes alive for a berth in the $100,000 consolation.

Then in the fourth Levy third leg split, defending Levy final hero Bit Of A Legend N (Stratton) notched his first win of the current series when he overcame a long, first over bid and quick back half to prevail easily in 1:52.4 as the 7-5 choice.

An eight-year-old Bettor's Delight stallion trained by Tritton, Bit Of A Legend N notched his first win in three Levy legs after a pair of gritty second-place efforts and looks destined to return for the final later this month.

McWicked benefited from a pocket trip behind Guantanamo Bay and rallied wide late to gain the place spot, while Always At My Place closed moderately along the rail to edge Guantanamo Bay for the show spot.

Through three legs of the series only Missile J sports three victories and clearly leads the point standings with 225 with two more prelims remaining. Dual winners Soto (187) and Keystone Velocity (180) are next, followed by Bit Of A Legend N (175), Rockin Ron (158), Provocativeprince N (150), Somewhere In L A (137), Melmerby Beach (130), Long Live Rock (125) and Wakizashi Hanover (120) round out the top 10. Only eight make the $500,000 final and eight others make the $100,000 consolation.