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Homeracing

Yonkers’ ‘Levy’ Series Launches Top Seasonal Events With Sextet Of Splits For Stalwart Stallions

Profile Picture: Frank Cotolo

March 17th, 2016

It’s that time of the year when the big switch (without baiting) takes place. The TwinSpires harness blog begins to headline the sport’s top races in all of the divisions with, mostly, counter offers for contenders.

So, it’s off to Yonkers Raceway for the lucrative George Levy Memorial Pacing Series for older pacing males and the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series for older pacing mares. The femmes go in each division for $40,000, while the men go their miles for $50,000. This Saturday, March 19, six $50,000 “Levy” miles adorn the Yonkers program, featuring last year’s champ, Domethatagain, and later in the five-week series, 2015 Horse of the Year Wiggle It Jiggleit, returning at four. Matchmaker mares meet in a trio of divisions.

Although the number of splits lessens over weeks of events for each sex, the prizes per mile don’t change until the bulk of participants are reduced to a pair of fields—the finals of each series on April 23. We will analyze every lucrative episode for both sexes in their openings this weekend and as both series progress.

TwinSpires’ signature horses-to-watch list (H2W) continues through the stakes season, so aside from the main features in the sport we analyze, the potent contenders rarely mentioned by any other handicapping source in print or on line will parade on our main blog weekend and produce valued win, place, show and exotics’ payoffs across North America. This week we add recently opened tracks with harness meetings, including Pocono Downs, Century Downs, Northville Downs and Rosecroft Raceway.

We have tossed in two of our own chosen “features” as a bonus, since we like warming the weekend up with plays on Thursdays; we zero in on Saratoga for that action. What follows are our analysis’s of the big weekend in chronological order. Remember—“Think outside the oval.”

FEATURE
Saratoga /March 17
Race 4

Here’s a race that could provide a slammer of a profit for a few reasons. It’s St. Patrick’s Day and any number of people will be ready to put win money on Saint Paddy’s Doll for the wrong reason—her name. She clearly fits in this spot but she will be overplayed for the hope-filled “sign readers” or such. Then there’s the morning-line (ML) favorite, Alternat Thursdays, who aside from his name doesn’t seem to adhere to the schedule, as well as he burns money as a failed favorite. Even second-ML choice

Who, however, could predict that Volcanic Matter, a blue-blooded trotter on both sides, will once again gallop? It’s not as obvious as it looks; such mishaps often disappoint those who dismiss such a horse. Volcanic Matter, who has even jumped in a qualifier that made him have to qualify again, may be working the stride out and jog to the front here with ease as step the rest of the way locking eyes open because a horse this well-bred needs only one race to mark his territory, blow out the tote board and never be dismissed again. Certainly turning five and starting at this level could do the trick.

Also, beware of the 9 horse, Exteme Yankee, and older but wiser trotter coming from Monticello. This gelding, also well-bred but six years the senior of our first choice, still has some stamina left and looks better than the top two ML choices. Good exotic stuff for this exacta/triple/superfecta affair.

FEATURE
Saratoga /March 17
Race 10

This is an even-steven $6,000 tag mile and we cannot look beyond the strong conditioner ABC Banker. Just entering the “older” ranks, this trotter was keenly respected at Monticello and paid off for it. His first mile here on March 10 included a slow start but good enough gain to make the purse grid, finishing fourth. He was around 4-1 then and should have been less, so in this he may also offer fine value, considering the crowd will wager fistfuls on the obvious (6-5 ML) Feel The Power, who may not be worth the tag, no less the odds offered.

MATCHMAKER DOSSIER

The mares’ journey for Matchmaker history begins with three divisions, Races 6—8. In Race 6, newcomer and undefeated-this-year Hazmat. She is also the only four-year-old in the first group and she meets a caliber of pacin’ women she has yet to face. Among them is series’ veteran Krispy Apple, who may lose betting support to a number of younger entries and a flat 2016 launch at Yonkers. But counting her out on this track, in this series, is dangerous, especially if she is reduced to third or more choice. She is one of Yonkers’ classiest stock of gals and has earned more last year (including checks from this series) than any involved here. The second best earner is Sandbetweenurtoes, who has started this season strongly at Woodbine. She may wind up supported better than Krispy Apple but she should be in the stretch call.

In division two, Race 7, last year’s champ, Venus Delight, doesn’t get the ML respect she deserves at 4-1, second to ML choice, Secrets Are Out at 7-2. That tick separating them is surely due to the presence of driver Brian Sears behind Secrets Are Out, a call we refuse to acknowledge is worth any ticks. Venus Delight, also a Breeders Crown placer last year, is ready to lock this race into a race for place and if you are getting a better price on her than Sears’ drive, you don’t even have to buckle up to rush and make that bet. A quirky exotic could include Ron Burke’s Request For Parole, who is here to make money and could close on burned-up speed to make the purse grid.

Race 8 is the Matchmaker nightcap and the four-year-old debuts of Bettor And Better and The Show Returns. Opening her five-year-old campaign is Breeders Crown-placed Lady Shadow, coming off of two excellent qualifiers at Dover, which, along with post 7 and Corey Callahan driving, may make bettors shy. However, starting at five, Gallie Bythe Beach has shown a streak of maturity that could forecast a big year for her. This race is a superfecta and we would be comfortable with the quartet we mentioned but for the win and the value, we key Gallie Bythe Beach.

LEVY LOG #1

Six Levy divisions parade on week one of the series. There are some veterans of the track and the series and some just-turned-four male pacers about to “feel their age,” so to speak. Race 8, a Preferred Pace, separates the divisions, beginning with Race 4 on March 19.

Division one finds Take It Back Terry (last year second to Domethatagain in the final), one of the Ron Burke crew in this menagerie of males. He will get a ton of action from post 3. Michael’s Power makes his 2016 debut from post 7. Scott Rocks joins the series and should attract some dollars, already having success this season. Texican N returns to the series despite no headlining success in it before, drawing post 1. If he can sit in a tight pocket and get going quickly in the fourth turn, he could have a path to the finish line, especially since there is a lot of early speed and most of it could come up short this early in the campaign.

Division two, Race 5, presents last year’s champ, Domethatagain. He was no dynamo during the series but he got a winning trip in the final and that was all that mattered. He gets post 7 but that doesn’t change a think about his style, he will wait for a path; he never takes command. So, Foiled Again, in his umpteenth season, will try to steal this. But one of our hot ones from 2015, Lucan Hanover, who cashed some big checks and began this season with spark, could foil “Foiled” and make no road to victory for “Dome.” Lucan Hanover has grown into his part as a better older pacer.

Division three, Race 6, features some busy boys in 2016, except for the Burke entry, Always At My Place, who debuts. He will be a top choice, regardless, and another projected pace commander. Of this year’s active, Santa Fe Beachboy (post 3) has a great percentage per start and rolls along in a great spot with a probable price worth the backing. 

Race 7, division four, is the debut of Mach It So (we scored with him last year in a few well-paying wins). Older and maybe faster, he could own post 1 and the race. But he may be heavily played and if you don’t want him as a key, you could try to upset him with Roland N Rock. We hooked this guy up a few times at three as he chased the best glamour boys of the season. He came into this season with more than we thought he ever had, maturity and class shining, and he will suffer support to Polak A and Bettor Rock On N, which is good for the price.

Race 9 is the penultimate division of the night, with 2014 champ, PH Supercam, in his second start this season. How he lost the final last year to the inferior Domethatagain is, again, a trip situation. “PH” is always prepared for a spectacular performance—he’s in love with winning, especially at Yonkers, doing it usually late, which is so impressive on this short stretch. Also here is our Little Brown Jug choice (and winner) from a few years back, again grappling with the big boys, Limelight Beach (for Burke). None of the others have the credentials of PH, no less the experience and success, so there is no reason to dismiss PH from post 7 when all the others need special trips to beat him. He may very well go all the way again in the series, even if he is half as powerful as he was the last two years. The outside post and first-race-of-the-year loss may help him offer a tick or two higher than he deserves.

The division nightcap is Race 10, with Levy veteran-trio Let’s Drink On It, All Bets Off and Somewhere In LA. They played each other well last year, one defeating the other in the series and outside of it. Burke’s All Bets Off usually paid the least under both circumstances. “Drink” and “Bets” both beat PH in that one’s opener.

Trainer Peter Tritton has a few Levy horses, including one here, Bit Of A Legend N, a horse with, so far, no ceiling of class. He has moved up a level after each mile this year and has not been shaken by any of the competition. He comes here as a twice-beaten favorite in the hikes but each time bet heavily and finishing second. He also has a dual style and it fits well here. He will give you a price, as the three mentioned above and adding Aslan, should make the public’s top quartet. 

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.

H2W LIST

Buffalo
3/18/16, Ali De Vie R1; Fast Fool R4; Gabby Hayes R7; Secluded Island R8

Century
3/19/16, Royal Clash R5; Cowboys Dirtyboots R6; Crash My Party R7; Thats Witty R8; Jet Hot Stuff R10

Dover
3/21/16, +Bs Weddie R9

Flamboro
3/20/16, Lyons Levi Lewis R4; +Thrift Shop R5

Fraser
3/18/16, Pureform Goodtogo R2; Fast Lane Firebolt R7; Scarlet V R7; +Incognito Cowboy R9; +Shes All That R12; Pureform Bella R12
3/20/16, Tahuya Know R2; Coin Vault R3; +Cajun Beat R3; Hosisahos R5; Thieving Magpie R7; Need You So Bad R9; Moonlight Spice R10; +Lefty Malone R10; +My Camalina R11

Freehold
3/17/16, +Palms Beach R2
3/18/16, Taxed To The Max R3; Mias First Time R4

Meadowlands
3/18/16, +Southwind Venus R4; +Depth More Depth R12
3/19/16, +Art Of The West R12

Meadows
3/19/16, +Rayaltyhasarrived R6; +Exactly Black R15

Miami
3/18/16, +It’s Jesse Time R5; +Tinder R5; +Ken Doll J R11;  +Paige Moon Dancer R11; +Ginger Spice R13; +All That Jazz De Vie ae R13

Northfield
3/19/16, +Call Me Elizabeth R2

Northville
3/18/16, Elzane R4; Mantaculator R6; My Fleet Three R7

Pocono
3/19/16, Dibando R1; Reigningblackswan R2; +JB Oui Oui R5; Dull Roar R10; Meadowbranch Lulu R14

Pompano
3/19/16, Chip Chip Page R2; Body Double R8

Saratoga
3/17/16, +TJs Rocky R9
3/19/16, +Jolly Jubiter R6

Woodbine
3/17/16, +In The Shadows R7; Dorabella R9
3/18/16, Ainsleynoelle R4; +Invest In Art R4; Summit City Nate R5; Oaklea Wyatt R5; War Filly R6; Sports Expert R10
3/19/16, Read The Proposal R1; Our Hot Majorette R5; +Mego Moss R6

Yonkers
3/18/16, +Girllookatthatbody R9
3/19/16, Cheyenne Jeffery R1
3/20/16, +Soul Train R3

Ray Cotolo contributes to each edition

 

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