Day At The Track

Final Matchmaker & Levy legs in spotlight

05:03 AM 12 Apr 2018 NZST
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The Grand Circuit, Harness Racing
The Grand Circuit

Harness Racing This Week: Blue Chip Matchmaker and George Morton Levy series fifth legs, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y.

Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit at Yonkers this week features three $40,000 divisions on Friday (April 13) in the fifth and final round of the Blue Chip Matchmaker series for open pacing mares. The Saturday (April 14) card at Yonkers will see three $50,000 divisions in the fifth and final round of the George Morton Levy series for open pacers. Complete entries for the races can be found by clicking on this link.

Last time: Yonkers Raceway Saturday night (April 7) hosted a formful fourth of five preliminary rounds in the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series. A trio of $50,000 events comprised the Free-For-All foray, which was guaranteed a different look as series (3-for-3) leader Dr J Hanover 'stole' a week off.

It was nary more than a qualifier for money for people's puny pari-mutuel preference Bit Of A Legend N (Jordan Stratton, $2.30). From post position No. 2, he worked around pole-sitting Chumlee A (Larry Stalbaum), then waltzed though a flat :28 opening quarter-mile and :57.2 intermission.

Long Live Rock (Dan Dube) tried it first-up from third, but even that didn't sufficiently up the tempo (1:25.3 three-quarters). Bit Of A Legend N opened a couple of lengths in and out of the final turn, winning by 1-1/4 lengths in a season's-best 1:53.2. Chumlee A saved second, with Killer Martini (Jason Bartlett) third.

For 2016 series champ Bit Of A Legend N, a 9-year-old Down Under son of Bettor's Delight owned by Vonknoblauch Stable and trained by Peter Tritton, it was his second win in four seasonal/series starts (career earnings more than $1.97 million).

Pole-sitting favorite Somewhere In L A (Bartlett, $4.40) retook from 96-1 rank outsider Evenin Of Pleasure (Joe Bongiorno) right at a :26.4 opening quarter-mile, then held that one at bay (:56.3, 1:25, 1:53). Christen Me N (Stratton) was a ground-saving third. Second and third choices Rockin Ron (Yannick Gingras) and Missile J (Tim Tetrick) were non-factors from first- and second-over, respectively.

For Somewhere In L A, a 7-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding co-owned by D'Elegance Stable IX, Carmen Iannacone, T L P Stable and The Gandolfo Stables and trained by Richard Banca, it was his fourth win in six seasonal starts (2-for-4 in series).

Odds-on Mach It So (David Miller, $3.80) rebounded from a failed retake a week ago. From the pole, he played early leapfrog with defending Levy champ Keystone Velocity (Dube) before finishing his appointed rounds (:27, :56.4, 1:24.3, season's-best 1:53.1). Mach It So held off the pocket pursuer by a length, with Bettor Memories (Tetrick) third.

Mach It So, a 9-year-old Mach Three gelding owned by Bamond Racing and trained by Jeffrey Bamond Jr., is 2-for-4 this season/series.

Complete recaps of the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website.

Grand Circuit Standings: In 2018, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2018 Grand Circuit awards.

Here are the leaders following the past weekend at Yonkers:

Drivers: 1. Tim Tetrick - 87; 2. Jordan Stratton - 74; 3. Jason Bartlett - 72; 4. Yannick Gingras - 57; 5. George Brennan - 34.

Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 64; 2. Richard Banca - 63; 3. Peter Tritton - 57; 4. Jim King Jr. - 39; 5. Scott Di Domenico - 34.

Owners: 1. Vonknoblauch Stable - 47; 2. Bamond Racing - 22; 3t. Brittany Farms - 20; 3t. Friendship Stables - 20; 3t. Gestion J Y Blais Inc. - 20.

Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will continue with the finals and consolations of the Blue Chip Matchmaker and George Morton Levy on April 21.

Paul Ramlow

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