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YONKERS, NY, Saturday, April 21, 2018 - Foiled Again has company. Favored Keystone Velocity (Dan Dube, $7) successfully defended his harness racing title Saturday night (Apr. 21st), winning Yonkers Raceway $532,000 of the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series. The 31st Levy, a Free-For-All event honoring the memory of the harness-racing visionary and Hall of Fame founder of Roosevelt Raceway, wrapped its annual six-week sojourn on a brisk, (theoretically) spring evening. At the outset, it was pole-sitting Western Fame (Mark MacDonald) seating everyone, including next-door neighbor Dr. J Hanover (Brett Miller). However, Keystone Velocity wasn't happy with that arrangement. Away third from post position No, 3, he moved to the lead right at a :26.4 opening quarter-mile. He then rated a :29.3 next subsection (:56.2 half), which would serve him well. Somewhere in L A (Jason Bartlett) was the first to move, taking out of fifth before the intermission. Mach it So (Dave Miller) and Bit of a Legend N (Jordan Stratton) found themselves second- and third-over, respectively. It was Keystone Velocity maintained the lead in and out of a 1:23.4 three-quarters, his job made easier when Western Fame backed up in the pocket and right into the lap of Dr. J Hanover. The lead was a length-and-a-quarter entering the lane, and Keystone Velocity wasn't seriously threatened. Somewhere in L A hung in there, Mach it So dove inside and Bit of a Legend N rallied late, though too late. The final margin for Keystone Velocity was a length in a season's-best 1:52. Bit of a Legend N (now a double-millionaire) did get into second, with Somewhere in L A third. Mach it So and a compromised Dr. J Hanover settled for the remainder, while Evenin' of Pleasure (Joe Bongiorno), Western Fame and Rockin' Ron (Yannick Gingras) rounded out the order. So, Keystone Velocity, the 'old man' of the octet who needed a win in last week's final preliminary leg just to make the final, joined Foiled Again (2009-10) as back-to-back Levy champions. For Keystone Velocity, a 10-year-old son of Western Hanover co-owners (as Allard Racing) by (trainer) Allard, Kapildeo Singh, Earl Hill Jr. and VIP Internet Stables, it was his second win in six seasonal/series starts. The exacta paid $39, the triple returned $224.50 and the superfecta paid $1,161. The $266,000 winner's share raised Keystone Velocity's career earnings to $1,644,413. "He's tough horse," Dube said. "I think he's better when he's racing from behind, but he drew well and we were able to get a breather, it was good." "He doesn't know he's 10," Allard said. "There are just so many people who work with him that deserve the credit. Me? I was more nervous last season, so I'm able to enjoy this one." After some R&R, Keystone Velocity 'is staked to pretty much everything," Allard said. Members of the Levy family, including George Morton Levy's son, Robert, and daughter, CeCe, made the winner's circle presentation. Frank Drucker

As in the years in past, CeCe Levy and her brother, Bobby Levy, will be presenting the harness racing trophy to the winner of the George Morton Levy, a race named in the honor of their father. This year joining them in the presentation at Yonkers Raceway will be Bobby's children Tristin and Gavin. The accomplishments of George Morton Levy are too many to mention and if he had not existed our sport may not have, too. Levy invented harness racing as we know it when he opened Roosevelt Raceway introducing pari-mutual and night time racing. He would also later introduce the mobile starting gate which would revolutionize the sport. Some of his other accomplishments include the implementation of the International Trot and the single heat racing. There is also a funny story from a few years ago. While on their way to the winners circle the Levy family members who were to present the trophy to the winner got separated from the Yonkers PR people and ended up on the outside of the winners circle and the security guard would not let them in to present the trophy. Later they were photo-shopped into the winning photo. CeCe said that she and her family are grateful beyond words to Yonkers Raceway for staging the George Morton Levy and honoring her father. CeCe also made a prediction that this year's race will be won by Tony Alagna's horse, Dr J Hanover. Pictures CeCe Levy & Freddie Hudson CeCe Levy, Freddie Hudson & Bobby Levy Wally Hennesey, CeCe Levy & Jim Morrill CeCe Levy at Goshen HOF CeCe and Dave Miller By Fred Hudson

YONKERS, N.Y. – Harness racing trainer Ron Burke will start one horse each in the Blue Chip Matchmaker and George Morton Levy Series Finals at Yonkers Raceway on Saturday night (April 21) and both will start from a disadvantageous post position. In a random draw, Lakeisha Hall and Rockin Ron both burdened with post eight. Despite the bad luck, Burke is keeping a positive attitude and isn’t surrendering before races even begin. “It’s awesome,” Burke said with a laugh. “I race in a lot of big races, so sooner or later you always have it, but you hate to start the year off with it. If anything, we’re going to err on the side of aggressiveness. I’d rather be parked and sit last and get nothing. If I get parked, maybe find a hole fourth or fifth, maybe upset the apple cart, but the idea of sitting eighth doesn’t appeal to me in either race. I’m not just going out there to take a ride around the track. I want to give my horses a chance.” George Brennan will drive the Lakeisha Hall, a 15-1 shot in the $373,000 Matchmaker Final, carded as race nine on the loaded 12-race program. In post position order, they will face Shartin, the 8-5 favorite, Sell A Bit, Medusa, Lady Shadow, Motu Moonbeam, Dudesalady, and Twinkle.  Lakeisha Hall’s path to the Matchmaker Final included a fifth in week one in her first start off the bench, a second to last year’s Matchmaker champion Mackenzie in leg two, a pair of victories in weeks three and four, and a third last week to rivals Dudesalady and Lady Shadow. Except in her first start, she’s been forwardly placed in all her races thus far. “She’s a very good mare and I’ve been very happy with her until her last start,” Burke said. “She had a little tie up issue last week and we got her through it, but I think it took just a little of the sharpness off her. I look for her to bounce back and be super this week. I thought, I’ve done the right thing to prep for this race, this is her home, so I have her ready to go.” Burke purchased Lakeisha Hall as a weanling with ambitions of her becoming a Kentucky Sire Stakes Champion. The daughter of Third Straight out of the Art Major mare Lantana accomplished that mission, winning the $175,000 KYSS Finals at ages 2 and 3. Now a 5-year-old, she’s exceeded expectations, earning 21 wins and $491,043 in 53 starts. The Matchmaker Final will be the biggest race of her career thus far. “We set out with a plan to win the Kentucky Sire Stakes those two years and we went out and bought three weanlings. We looked them over, broke them for a month, and then sold the other two and decided to try to keep the best one,” Burke explained. “The plan worked to perfection. She was 2- and 3-year-old champ and has been more than just a Kentucky Sire Stakes horse, so we were thrilled. “She really doesn’t have many stakes other than this and for her to draw the eight hole, that hurt, but it is what it is,” Burke continued. “Try to move on, at least get something. Crazy things will happen in these races, there’s a lot of money up for grabs. There will be constant movement in here, even if I have to be the one making the movement.” In the $532,000 Levy Final one race later, Yannick Gingras will drive Rockin Ron. The 20-1 morning line shot’s road to the series final was shaky. He posted a pair of victories in legs one and two and finished second by a nose to Western Fame in leg three before finishing fifth beaten 4 lengths in week four. Burke gave Rockin Ron the last week off and narrowly made the final. With 230 points earned, Rockin Ron was ranked eighth in the standings, only six points ahead of Missile J in ninth. “I thought I did the right thing and I had to sweat it out with Rockin Ron. I gave him last week off,” Burke said. “Usually, you do what’s right for the horse and they do race well for you in the long run. I had a great feel going into the race, I thought, if I can draw in the right spot we can be competitive. We got the eight, I said, ‘you’ve got to be kidding me.’ ” Although his races look good on paper, Burke doesn’t feel Rockin Ron, a $1.1 million earner who twice beat Wiggle It Jiggleit at 4, has been up to par in any of his races in the series. Burke was more impressed with the 6-year-old son of Real Desire’s qualifier and seasonal debut at the Meadowlands in February than his series wins. “Honestly, I haven’t been happy with any of his races. The race that he really raced well was the race he was second in. The next week, I didn’t feel like at any point he had pace, Burke said. “I pulled blood, I didn’t like his blood. I haven’t liked his stomach since he came back. That’s why I made the decision, sink or swim, I’m giving him the week off and going to try and get him right and get him ready for the final.  “We’ve done a lot of work on him the last couple weeks and I do think that he will be better,” Burke continued. “I look for him to be way improved this week.” In post-position order, Western Fame, Dr J Hanover, defending series champion Keystone Velocity, Evenin Of Pleasure, Somewhere In L A, Mach It So, and 2016 series champion Bit Of A Legend will start to Rockin Ron’s inside in the Levy Final.  First post time Saturday night is 6:50 p.m. For entries to the million-dollar card, click here.   By Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY

If Western Fame were human, harness racing driver Mark MacDonald could envision him fidgeting with his necktie while bemoaning a lack of respect. A multiple-stakes-winning pacer, Western Fame has not been the favorite in his most recent six victories (five at odds of 9-2 or higher) and has been the betting public's top choice only five times in his past 39 races. When he was the favorite during that span, he produced three wins and missed a fourth by a nose. In his past three starts, all in preliminary rounds of the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series at Yonkers Raceway, Western Fame won twice and finished second by a half-length. On Saturday, the 5-year-old stallion competes in the $532,000 Levy championship, leaving from post No. 1 with MacDonald driving for trainer Jimmy Takter. Western Fame is 7-1 on the morning line. "He's always been a little bit of a Rodney Dangerfield; no one gives him a whole lot of respect," MacDonald said. "I don't think people realize what a nice horse he is. He's always been a little under the radar." Western Fame has won 12 of 46 career races and earned $750,618 for breeder/owner Brittany Farms. Last year, he won the Prix d'Ete and Confederation Cup, and in 2016 he won a heat of the Little Brown Jug (where he was second to Betting Line in the final), a division of the Bluegrass Stakes, and an elimination of the Breeders Crown. In addition to his runner-up Jug finish in 2016, he was second in the Matron Stakes (at 23-1), Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship (from post seven at 29-1) and a division of the Tattersalls Pace (by a neck at 9-2). "He's been a lot of fun," MacDonald said. "He didn't race much at 2 and didn't really start coming into his own until September of his 3-year-old year. He's a lightly raced horse and he's really turned into a nice racehorse." Prior to this year, Western Fame was a horse that needed to be raced aggressively from the start. Half of his wins were gate-to-wire and only twice was he worse than second at the race's midpoint. This season, he has not led prior to the stretch and only once was he better than third after three-quarters. "I found that as a 3- and 4-year-old he was kind of a one-trick pony; he really liked to be on the front," MacDonald said. "He's matured and is more versatile now. He seems to really have the will to go forward and likes a target. He's won all different kinds of ways. I really like the way he's coming into the race." The Levy brings together a number of harness racing's top older male pacers. Last year's divisional Dan Patch Award winner and defending series champion Keystone Velocity is the race's 5-2 morning-line favorite, followed by Mach It So at 4-1, Dr J Hanover at 9-2, and Somewhere In L A at 5-1. Evenin Of Pleasure follows Western Fame, at 8-1. New Zealand-bred Bit Of A Legend, who won the 2016 Levy championship, topped the points at the end of the five preliminary rounds. He drew post seven for the final and is 9-1. Rockin Ron -- who joined Bit Of A Legend, Somewhere In L A, Dr J Hanover, Mach It So, and Western Fame as multiple winners in the prelims -- will start from post eight. "It's wide open," MacDonald said. "There are not too many horses in that race that you could say would be a total head-scratcher if they won. If any horse can win from the outside, it would be Bit Of A Legend. Rockin Ron got the eight hole, but he's a good horse too. That race is so competitive. "At the end of the day it's going to come down to whoever gets the best trip or a lucky break. That's it. Whoever can work out the best trip is going to win." Also on Saturday's card is the $373,000 Blue Chip Matchmaker Series championship for older female pacers. New Zealand-bred Shartin, who posted a series-best three wins in the preliminary rounds, is the 8-5 morning-line favorite from post No. 1 with Tim Tetrick driving for trainer Jim King Jr. Racing begins at 6:50 p.m. (EDT) with the Matchmaker championship carded as race nine and the Levy as race 10 on the night's 12-race card. For complete entries, click here. Ken Weingartner

YONKERS, NY, Monday, April 16, 2018 - Post positions have been drawn for North America's two richest races of the harness racing season to date, Yonkers Raceway's $532,000 final of the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series and $373,000 final of the Blue Chip Matchmaker. The finales, set for Saturday night (Apr. 21st), wrap up their respective six-week sojourns and highlight a 12-race card worth just over $1.3 million. First post is the usual 6:50 PM. The events, for the sport's leading older pacers of both gender, go 'ladies first,' with the Matchmaker as the ninth race and the levy as race No. 10. The field for the 10th Matchmaker is...1-Shartin N (Tim Tetrick), 2-Sell a Bit N (Jordan Stratton), 3-Medusa (Yannick Gingras), 4-Lady Shadow (Jason Bartlett), 5-Motu Moonbeam N (Brent Holland), 6-Dude'salady (Scott Zeron), 7-Twinkle (Eric Goodell), 8-Lakeisha Hall (George Brennan). The 31st Levy rolled off the autodraw showroom as such...1-Western Fame (Mark MacDonald), 2-Dr. J Hanover (Brett Miller), 3-Keystone Velocity (defending series champ, Dan Dube), 4-Evenin' of Pleasure (Joe Bongiorno), 5-Somewhere in L A (Bartlett), 6-Mach it So (Dave Miller), 7-Bit of a Legend N (2016 series champ, Stratton), 8-Rockin' Ron (Gingras). At first glance, the intriguing storyline for the Matchmaker is Shartin N. After easily winning her first three Matchmaker starts-and getting a subsequent week off-she returned as the 3-10 favorite last Friday night (Apr. 13th), unable to get out of own way, breaking right before the start and again at the half. At least the bridge jumpers stayed dry, since the Raceway eliminated show wagering. "We couldn't find anything wrong with her," trainer Jim King Jr. said this past weekend. "Regroup and try again." The final of the Levy is flush with inside speed, with the first half of the gate probably just as comfortable with someone on their backs as someone in back of them. A pair of consolations, worth $100,000 (Levy) and $75,000 (Matchmaker), are also included in the Saturday card. This story shall be updated. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, April 14, 2018 - Yonkers Raceway Saturday night (April 14th) concluded the harness racing preliminaries, with the fifth round of the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series . A trio of windy, $50,000 events featured many of the best Free-For-Allers in their final shot to be social climbers. First Division - Pole-sitting Long Live Rock (Dan Dube, $16), victimized by a series of bad-fortune trip through the series, took matters into his own hooves here. He stuffed his rival in behind in post-position order, then finished his rounds (:27.3, :57.2, 1:25.3, 1:53.3). Long Live Rock, repelling an early pocket pull by Bettor Memories, owned a length-and-a-half lead into the lane. He held off a first-up Western Fame (Mark MacDonald) by a half-length. Missile J (Tim Tetrick) rallied, losing the place photo as the 6-5 favorite. For fourth choice Long Live Rock, a 9-year-old Rocknroll Hanover gelding owned and trained by Rene Allard, it was his third win in a nine seasonal starts (1-for-5 in series). The exacta paid $71, with the triple returning $216.50 Second Division - Driver and trainer doubled their pleasure as Keystone Velocity (Dube, $4.50), the defending series champ, prevailed. Winning the draw, he sat pocketed to Evenin' of Pleasure (Joe Bongiorno) and that one's handiwork of :27.2, :56.2 and 1:24.2. Keystone Velocity engaged the leader early in the final turn, then went by. He defeated Christen Me N (Tetrick) by a length-and-a-half in 1:52.1, with Mach it So (Dave Miller) third. Evenin' of Pleasure faded to fourth. For Keystone Velocity, a 10-year-old son of Western Hanover co-owners (as Allard Racing) by (trainer) Allard, Kapildeo Singh, Earl Hill Jr. and VIP Internet Stables, it was his first win in five seasonal/series starts. The exacta paid $28.80, with the triple returning $64.50. Third Division --- A down-the-road Killer Martini (Yannick Gingras, $16.40) was quite good in getting off the series schneid. From post No. 2, he didn't give much else a shot (:27.1, 56.2, 1:24.2, season's-best 1:52.4). Opening 3½ lengths in and out of the final turn, Killer Martini defeated a from-last Bit of a Legend N (Jordan Stratton) by 3¾ lengths. Dr. J Hanover (Brett Miller), as the 4-5 choice, was a conservatively-raced third. For Killer Martini, a 6-year-old Camluck gelding owned and trained by Ricky Bucci, the fourth choice is now 3-for-12 this season (1-for-4 in series). The exacta paid $133.50, with triple returning $271.50. Saturday night's $40,000 Open Handicap Trot, where half the octet misbehaved, was won by In Secret (George Brennan, $13.40) in 1:57.4. The final Levy prelim standings accompany this release. Be advised these are not necessarily the entrants for the Saturday, Apr. 21st final (purse $532,000) and consolation ($100,000). Those participants shall be determined by the race office in accordance with the conditions of the series and in advance of Monday afternoon's (Apr. 16th) draw. A friendly reminder from Yonkers Raceway that Monday evening’s (April 16th) Pick 5 wager starts with a carryover of $7,066.26 and a $20,000 guaranteed pool. The guarantee is in conjunction with the U.S. Trotting Association’s Strategic Wagering Program. The Pick 5 is a 50-cent base wager comprising races 7 through 11. It has no consolation payoff, meaning if no one selects all five winners (as was the case Saturday night), the entire pool (minus takeout) moves to the next racing program. Monday‘s program may be downloaded at http://www.empirecitycasino.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/mon_program.pdf. Yonkers Raceway George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series 2018           April 14, 2018                      Name 1st Leg 2nd Leg 3rd Leg 4th Leg 5th Leg 25 pts/start Total    Bit Of A Legend N 50 12 25 50 25 125    287.0 Somewhere In L A 25 25 50 50 0 125    275.0 Dr J Hanover 50 50 50   12 100   262.0 Mach It So 50 12 0 50 12 125    249.0 Evenin Of Pleasure 25 50 0 25 8 125    233.0 Keystone Velocity 8 25 0 25 50 125   233.0 Western Fame 8 50 50   25 100   233.0 Rockin Ron 50 50 25 5   100    230.0 Missile J 25 12 50 0 12 125   224.0 Long Live Rock 12 0 25 8 50 125   220.0 Bettor Memories 12 25 25 12 8 125   207.0 Always At My Place 50 5 5 0 8 125   193.0 Chumlee A 25 8 8 25 0 125   191.0 Luciano N 8 25 12 0 5 125   175.0 Christen Me N 12 0 0 12 25 125   174.0 Killer Martini 0   12 12 50 100   174.0 Mister Daytona N 25 0 8 0 0 125   158.0 Caviart Luca 5 5 12 0 5 125   152.0 Another Daily Copy 0 12 12 0 0 125   149.0 Simply Susational N 0 0 5 5 5 125   140.0 Change Stride N 8 0 5 5   100   118.0 Bungalow Bill N 5 5 0 0   100   110.0 Franco Rayner N 8 8 0     75   91.0 All Bets Off 12 0 0     75   87.0 Theartofconfusion A 0 8 0     75   83.0 Thisjetsabookin 0 5 0     75   80.0 Waikiki Beach A 0 0 0     75   75.0 Rodeo Rock     8 8   50   66.0 Great Vintage 5   8     50   63.0 Orillia Joe   8 5     50   63.0 Western Dynasty 12 0       50   62.0 Bakersfield 5 0       50   55.0 Artmagic 0 0       50   50.0 Blood Brother 0   0     50   50.0 Mac's Jackpot       8   25   33.0 Awesomeness 5         25   30.0 Hug The Wind N 0         25   25.0 Sports Column     0     25   25.0 Gokudo Hanover           0 0.0             0 0.0             0 0.0             0 0.0             0 0.0             0 0.0                 ADDED MONEY 1st Leg 2nd Leg 3rd Leg 4th Leg 5th Leg Nom. Fees Total      $34,000 $30,000 $32,000 $22,000 $19,000 $195,000    $332,000                $200,000             Total $532,000 Frank Drucker

YONKERS, N.Y. – Last year, Keystone Velocity used a victory in the George Morton Levy Series as a springboard to a successful harness racing season. In addition to the Levy, Keystone Velocity posted wins in the Ben Franklin Final and the Potomac Pace. His accomplishments ultimately earned him the Dan Patch Award for Older Pacing Male.  “He definitely had a great year from start to finish. He’s definitely a very nice horse. We love the horse,” said trainer Rene Allard, who also won the Levy Final in 2015 with Domethatagain. Allard pointed Keystone Velocity to a similar start to his 2018 campaign. However, unlike last year when Keystone Velocity won two legs of the Levy to secure a spot in the final early in the series, this year the son of Western Hanover is winless in his first four starts. After a fourth and two runner-up finishes in the first four preliminarily legs of the Levy, Keystone Velocity is ranked 12th by points heading into tonight’s last leg. The top eight earn a spot in the final. “This year, he’s had a little bit of a slow start, but he had a little bit of a virus and I think it just took a little something out of him,” Allard said. “It seems like he’s getting better, feeling better this week. We definitely need a win to make the final.” Although Keystone Velocity is now 10 years old, Allard hasn’t seen any signs of aging from his star pacer. Keystone Velocity missed almost two years of racing between 2014 and 2016 and has 114 lifetime starts. He’s won 27 and earned $1,353,413 for Allard and partners Kapildeo Singh, Earl Hill Jr., and VIP Internet Stable. “He trained down really good. He’s just a very classy horse. He does everything you want, very happy going, just loves his work. That’s one thing about him, he just loves to do his work and that makes him great,” Allard said. “He doesn’t show any signs of getting older or slower. If you have a bad day, you just go jog him and it makes you feel better. It’s nice to have him around, that’s for sure.” After posting a 9 ¼-length, 1:52.1 win in a Pocono Downs qualifier March 6, Keystone Velocity made his seasonal debut in the series the following week. After starting from post seven, he led at every call, but faded in the stretch to finish fourth. In week two, Keystone Velocity closed from an 8 ¼-length deficit to finish third and was later placed second by the judges. He suffered from the effects of a virus when he finished a disappointing sixth in leg three and last week, rebounded with a second-place finish to Mach It So, who scored a wire-to-wire win off a :56.4 half. “I think he should be bouncing back, I’m hoping. He’s not racing horrible. Last week, he sat the two-hole, finished second, I thought with a trip like that, he would have a little bit more punch coming home, but it was really slow fractions,” Allard said. “For a horse like Mach It So to get fractions like that, it’s tough to catch them. Hopefully he keeps improving and best-case scenario, if he wins (tonight), we might be able to get in the final.” Keystone Velocity will start from post one in tonight’s $50,000 Levy split, the second of three on the 12-race program. To help ensure a top performance in tonight’s race and give Keystone Velocity the best chance of making the final, Allard opted to make a change to glue-on shoes. Keystone Velocity wore glue-on shoes in his Levy Final, Ben Franklin, and Potomac Pace wins last year. “Usually, we just glue them on for the final, but we need to try to get a win tomorrow, so we’re going to glue his front shoes on. It seems like he’s always way better with glue-ons, but we just can’t do it every start,” Allard explained. “He’s always had a history of feet a little bit. Every horse has his little things, his feet can get a little sensitive here and there. We always take good care of his feet, but when you glue the shoes on, it always seems like he’s a little better.” Keystone Velocity will start from post one tonight with regular driver Dan Dube in the sulky. The inside draw made him a 5-2 morning line chance. Mach It So is the 9-5 morning line favorite from post three while Evenin Of Pleasure is a 9-2 shot from post four. Simply Susational, Christen Me, and Another Daily Copy complete the lineup. “That was very exciting that he got the rail because he has a shot. He has Mach It So and Evenin Of Pleasure in there as his two main competition I think in this race,” Allard said.  “We definitely appreciate what the horse has done for us and we’re just going to take care of the horse. We’ve still got to decide his schedule from here on, but he’s doing really good. If there was a reason for him not to race, we wouldn’t be racing in the Levy, but he’s definitely feeling really good right now. I think he’s going in the right direction.” First post time tonight is 6:50 p.m. For entries to the card, click here.  By Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY  

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

When harness racing trainer Jeff Bamond Jr. looks at Mach It So this season at age 8, he sees a horse that looks a lot like the one he saw a year ago at age 7. Considering that Mach It So established a career high for purses in 2017, the similarity is enough to bring a hopeful smile to Bamond’s face. Mach It So earned $759,871 last year, when he won his second William R. Haughton Memorial in three years and finished the campaign with a victory in the TVG Series championship. He finished second in the Joe Gerrity Jr. Memorial and Bobby Quillen Memorial and was third in the Breeders Crown and Sam McKee Memorial. For his career, Mach It So has won 42 of 124 races and earned $2.50 million. “He’s the same as he’s always been,” said Bamond, who owns Mach It So with his father as Bamond Racing LLC. “He likes to do his work; he doesn’t moan about it. It’s the same as it’s been every year. Hopefully his year goes the same. If it goes half as good I’d be happy.” Mach It So is off to a strong start this year, with two wins in four starts in the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series at Yonkers Raceway. The final preliminary round of the Levy is Saturday, with Mach It So competing in the second of three divisions. The gelding is the 9-5 favorite on the morning line, starting from post three in a six-horse field. David Miller is his driver. The eight highest point-earners from the Levy’s five preliminary rounds advance to the April 21 championship. Mach It So is fifth in the standings, trailing Somewhere In LA, New Zealand-bred Bit Of A Legend, Rockin Ron, and Dr J Hanover. A horse receives 25 points each time he races in the preliminary rounds. Points are also awarded based on finish, with 50 points for a win, 25 for second, 12 for third, eight for fourth, and five for fifth. Mach It So’s division Saturday includes only one other horse in the top eight, sixth-place Evenin Of Pleasure. Defending series champ Keystone Velocity, who is 12th in points, also is in the field. Saturday’s first division features the four horses that are seventh through 10th in points: Missile J, Western Fame, Bettor Memories, and Australian-bred Chumlee. Long Live Rock, who will start from the rail, is tied for 13th. The third division includes Somewhere In LA, Bit Of A Legend, and Dr J Hanover. Somewhere In LA and Bit Of A Legend are two-time winners in the series while Dr J Hanover is undefeated in three series starts. Also in the third division is Always At My Place, who is 11th in points. Rockin Ron, who has two wins in the series, is idle. “The series is always competitive,” said Bamond, who with his father owned 2014 Levy winner P H Supercam and is hoping to guide Mach It So to his fourth appearance in the championship. “It’s always about where you draw. Some horses don’t draw well and they probably deserve to be in the final and the other way around. The final is just about whoever draws the best and gets the best trip.” Mach It So’s best finish in a Levy championship was fifth in 2015, but he has never drawn better than post seven in his three previous finals. Bamond might be looking for a change in Mach It So’s luck, but not much else. “He’s off to a good start this year,” Bamond said. “I’m very happy. “He’s a little quirky, but he’s a pretty cool guy.” BLUE CHIP MATCHMAKER SERIES Friday at Yonkers features the fifth and final preliminary round of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series for female pacers. There are three divisions, with points-leader Lakeisha Hall leading the opening group. The first division also includes New Zealand-bred Motu Moonbeam (third in points), Lady Shadow (seventh), and Australian-bred defending champion Mackenzie (eighth). New Zealand-bred Shartin, who is second in points thanks to going 3-for-3 before taking off last week, is the morning-line favorite in the third division, which also includes ninth-place Clear Idea. Fourth-place Twinkle is the favorite in the second division, which also includes Medusa (fifth), Scandalicious (sixth), and Safe From Terror (10th). For Saturday’s complete Yonkers entries, click here. For the complete Levy standings, click here. For Friday’s complete Yonkers entries, click here. For the complete Matchmaker standings, click here. Racing at Yonkers begins at 6:50 p.m. (EDT). by Ken Weingartner, USTA Media Relations Manager 

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, April 7, 2018 - Yonkers Raceway Saturday night (Apr. 7th) hosted a formful fourth of five harness racing preliminary rounds in the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series. A trio $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. First Division - It was nary more than a qualifier for money for people's puny parimutuel 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-second 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 a length-and-a-quarter 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 Von Knoblauch Stable and trained by Peter Tritton, it was his second win in four seasonal / series starts (career earnings more than $1.97 million). The exacta (two wagering choices) paid $4.10, with the triple returning $18.60. Second Division - 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 and T L P & Gandolfo Stables and trained by Richard Banca, it was his fourth win in six seasonal starts (2-for-4 in series). The exacta paid $216, the triple returned $2,105 and the superfecta (Rodeo Rock [Eric Goodell]) paid $4,585. Third Division - Odds-on Mach it So (Dave 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 (: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. For Mach it So, a 9-year-old Mach Three gelding owned by Bamond Racing and trained by Jeffrey Bamond Jr., he's 2-for-4 this season/series. The exacta paid $13.60, with the triple returning $35. Saturday night's $40,000 Open Handicap Trot was won by a down-the-road fave Melady's Monet (Bartlett, $3) in 1:55.3 for a 50th career victory. Frank Drucker

Harness Racing This Week: Blue Chip Matchmaker and George Morton Levy series fourth legs, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit at Yonkers this week features three $40,000 divisions on Friday (April 6) in the fourth round of the Blue Chip Matchmaker series for open pacing mares. The Saturday (April 7) card at Yonkers will see three $50,000 divisions in the fourth 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 deferred to the ladies on Friday (March 30), offering the third round of the Blue Chip Matchmaker. Four $40,000 events again brought together many of the best pacing mares. If Tim Tetrick has asked series leader Shartin N at any point during the first three weeks, he did it in private, as the femme fatale made it look simple again. Chilly early from post four she watched pole-sitting Lady Shadow (Jason Bartlett) take over from Scandalicious (Yannick Gingras). The intervals were soft enough (:28, :57.4) when Shartin N moved from third. She used a :27.2 third quarter (1:25.1) to dispose of Lady Shadow, taking a 1-1/2 length lead in and out of the final turn. Shartin N finished it off by a length in 1:53.3, remaining the Matchmaker's lone unbeaten mare. Safe From Terror (Jordan Stratton) lost her tow when the winner cleared, but continued well to be second. Eclipse Me N (Dan Dube) was third. For Shartin N, a 5-year-old Down Under daughter of Tintin In America co-owned by Richard Poillucci and Jo Ann Looney-King and trained by Jim King Jr., it was her seventh win, fourth consecutive, in eight 2018 tries. Yonkers Raceway used the last day of March, Saturday (March 31), to feature the third round of the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series. Four $50,000 events comprised the free-for-all foray. Odds-on from post four, Dr J Hanover (Brett Miller) did what he did in the first two legs. He made an immediate -- and 'cheap' -- lead, then again made his rivals pay (:28.3, :58, 1:26; 1:53.3). Bit Of A Legend N (Jordan Stratton) fought the good fight with a two-move second, but missed by a half-length. Another Daily Copy (Jason Bartlett) was a pylon-pocket third. For Dr J Hanover, a 5-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding co-owned by Brad Grant, Robert Leblanc, Steven Wienick and Irwin Samelman and trained by Tony Alagna, it was his third win in four seasonal starts (3-for-3 in 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 - 73; 2. Jordan Stratton - 62; 3. Jason Bartlett - 58; 4. Yannick Gingras - 47; 5. Brett Miller - 30. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 54; 2. Richard Banca - 51; 3. Peter Tritton - 47; 4. Jim King Jr. - 37; 5. Tony Alagna - 30. Owners: 1. Vonknoblauch Stable - 37; 2. Brittany Farms - 20; 3. Jo Ann Looney-King - 17.5; 4. Richard Poillucci - 17; 5t. Burke Racing Stable - 15; 5t. Diamond Creek Racing - 15; 5t. Friendship Stables - 15; 5t. Gestion J Y Blais Inc. - 15; 5t. Weaver Bruscemi - 15. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will continue with the final leg of the Blue Chip Matchmaker and George Morton Levy next weekend. The finals and consolations for both events will be held on April 21. Paul Ramlow

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, March 31, 2018 - Yonkers Raceway used the last day of March to feature the fourth round of the harness racing George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series. Four, $50,000 events comprised the Free-for-All foray. First Division - After a pair of less-than-stellar series trips, Missile J (Tim Tetrick, $7.30) came to play. From post position No. 3, he threw down the gauntlet (:27.3, :56 1:24.1, 1:52) en route to the fastest local mile of the season. Missile J rebuffed an attempted early hostile takeover from 1-2 favorite Mach it So (Dave Miller), the defeated a good, first-up Bettor Memories (Kyle Husted) by a length. Caviart Luca was third, while Mach it So went the wrong way late, fading to sixth. For second choice Missile J, a 5-year-old American Ideal gelding co-owned by Brian Carsey & John McGill and trained by Scott DiDomenico, it was his fourth win in seven seasonal starts (1-for-3 in series). The exacta paid $40.60, with the triple returning $123. Second Division - Odds-on from post No. 4, Dr. J Hanover (Brett Miller, $3.90) did what he did in the first two legs. He made an immediate-and 'cheap'-lead, then again made his rivals pay (:28.3, :58, 1:26.0; 1:53.3). Bit of a Legend N (Jordan Stratton) fought the good fight with a two-move second, but missed a half-length. Another Daily Copy (Jason Bartlett) was a pylon pocket third. For Dr. J Hanover, a 5-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding co-owned by Brad Grant, Robert Leblanc, Steven Wienick & Irwin Samelman and trained by Tony Alagna, it was his third win in four seasonal starts (3-for-3 in series). The exacta (two wagering choices) paid $8.30, the triple returned $29 and the superfecta (Mister Daytona N [Scott Zeron]) paid $134. Third Division --- Pole-sitting Western Fame (Mark MacDonald) snapped 4-5 fave Rockin' Ron (Yannick Gingras) at the (1:52.4) wire. The latter led through intervals of :27.3, :56.4 and 1:25, taking a couple of lengths into the lane. However, he could not join Dr. J Hanover as a three-peater, faltering in a photo. Third went to Killer Martini (Bartlett), beaten four lengths. Meanwhile, last season's series winner, Keystone Velocity (Dan Dube) did not distinguished himself this night. The second choice was away a loose third, then backpedaled first-up as a never-factoring sixth. For third choice Western Fame, a 5-year-old homebred son of Western Ideal owned by Brittany Farms and trained by Jimmy Takter, he's 2-for-4 this season (2-for-3 in series) . The exacta paid $23.20, the triple returned $124 and the superfecta (89-1 outsider Rodeo Rock [Eric Goodell]) paid $806. Fourth Division - Somewhere in L A (Stratton, $6.30) needed two moves to prevail. Away fourth from post No. 6, he saw Franco Rayner N (Joe Bongiorno) give his backers an early (:27.3, :56.1) thrill. Somewhere in L A went past that one before the 1:23.4 three-quarters, opening 2½ lengths in in and out of the final turn. He whipped a troubled-trip Long Live Rock (Dube) by a length in 1:53, with Luciano N (Brent Holland) third. Long Live Rock's angst was caused in large part by 3-2 choice All Bets Off (Yannick Gingras). After getting away from the pole, he was in disarray second-over, forcing pursuer Long Live Rock wide very early. All Bets Off wound up seventh, beaten 10 lengths. For second choice Somewhere in L A, a 7-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding co-owned by D'Elegance Stable IX, Carmen Iannacone and T L P & Gandolfo Stables and trained by Richard Banca, it was his third win in five seasonal starts (1-for-3 in series). The exacta paid $28, with triple returning $137. Saturday night's $40,000 Open Handicap Trot was won by a first-up Rubber Duck (Bongiorno, $12.40) in 1:56.1. A reminder that there is no horse race wagering permitted in New York State Easter Sunday (Apr. 1st), including the Raceway and Empire City Bets. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, N.Y. – As the leading driver at Yonkers Raceway in each of the past four seasons, including last year when horses he drove earned $10.4 million, harness racing driver Jason Bartlett finds himself in an unusual position three months into the 2018 season: in second place. Although his 104 victories at the meet are 36 more than George Brennan’s 68 wins, Bartlett trails Jordan Stratton by nine wins with a quarter of the season in the books. Although he calls it a slow start by his standards, Bartlett’s competitive mindset looks forward, not back. “I had a real slow winter meet, but everything is picking up now,” Bartlett said. “My main barns weren’t racing a lot of horses. It happens, I guess. There’s some things you can’t control and that’s one of them. I guess it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.” One of the main trainers Bartlett drives for, Rich Banca, went 6-for-61 in January, the stable heated up as the Matchmaker and Levy series approached, going 25 for its next 135 through March 28. Bartlett will drive in all eight of this weekend’s Blue Chip Matchmaker and George Morton Levy series divisions and he drives for Banca in six of them. As the Blue Chip Matchmaker and George Morton Levy Series continues into their third legs this weekend, Bartlett continues to be impressed by the competitiveness of each series. Six different horses have won the first seven division of the Matchmaker while seven unique horses captured the first nine Levy splits. “The great thing about it this year is you have your top-level horses in there, but some of the horses who are maybe not as talented can beat the better horses because of the post positions, the bad draws, bad spots,” he explained. “I think both the Matchmaker and the Levy are great this year because right now it’s been post position draws that have won the races. It’s going to be interesting. Now more so than most years, because there’s so many different horses winning, the wins really matter. Coming down to the wire, it’s going to be very interesting.” Bartlett gave his thoughts on each horse he will drive in the series. Friday March 30, 2018: Blue Chip Matchmaker Series Third Leg Race 6 – Division One #5 Mach It A Par 7-2 (Tr. Rich Banca) A 39-time winner and earner of $783,847, Mach It A Par is a two-time finalist of the Matchmaker Series. She was unplaced in her first three starts of the year, but strung together consecutive wins in a $25,000 overnight and a $30,000 Filly and Mare Preferred entering the series. After finishing fourth from post seven in leg one, Mach It A Par finished second to L A Delight in leg two. She will get a rematch with that rival tonight. “She’s been good. All year she’s been pretty consistent. In the right spots, she’s done her job. She’s the best she’s been in a long time. I was very happy the way she finished up last week. We’re in kind of a tough spot on the outside of the gate, so if we can work out a trip with her, second- or third-over, she could be pretty good. Last week was very good seeing her like that again.” Race 7 – Division Two #1 Lady Shadow 5-2 (Tr. Rich Banca) Champion mare Lady Shadow joined the Banca ranks last fall and made her seasonal debut a winning one when she captured leg one of the Matchmaker wire-to-wire in 1:53.4. Although $1.9 million earner finished fourth as the odds-on favorite last week, Bartlett believes the trip got the better of her after he brushed her to the lead in a :55.4 half. Lady Shadow will face Shartin N this week, who is 2-for-2 in the Matchmaker. “Last week I used her a little bit too hard. We were going a pretty quick clip and then it slowed down real fast and I heard a little commotion behind me, so I had to move there or come first-over a little bit later. I decided just to move her to the front and she got a little tired there. If they would have gone a little bit faster to the half, I would have never moved her. They forced my hand. They went :26.1 and we were going really slow into the paddock turn and I didn’t want to shut her off, so I had to move her. We got the rail this week and it doesn’t look like we’re going to have to go :26.0, that’s for sure.” Race 8 – Division Three #6 Wishy Washy Girl 3-1 (Tr. Rich Banca) Five-year-old daughter of Roll With Joe returned with a lackluster sixth March 9, just a week before the series began. She skipped leg one of the series in favor of a $20,000 overnight March 16 and won by 6 ¾ lengths in 1:54.2. Last week, Bartlett drove her to a wire-to-wire score in the Matchmaker second leg, where she beat first leg winner Twinkle. “If you’re going into that series, you’re going to want to be kind of sharp. It was a step up for her anyways. For her to jump right in there not off a great race the week before, that would be asking a lot of her. We threw her in an overnight to see if she was going to be able to go with them and she proved that she could. Last week, she drew the rail and the good thing about her is she can leave the car really fast and then she’s really handy afterwards. Last week, we had the horse to beat on our back and was able to not let them out. That’s what she can do; she’s able to put better horses in bad spots because she’s so handy. Do I think I would I have been able to beat that hose if I hadn’t been in front of her? Probably not. She’s just handy on the half-mile track, she can do anything you want her to do. It looks like a tough spot this week. We have some horses inside that can leave. I’m just going to read the gate and go from there.” Race 9 – Division Four #2 All About Madi 9-2 (Tr. Brittany Robertson) Daughter of Brandon’s Cowboy was unplaced in the first two legs of the series after putting together a string of on the board finishes in open company earlier this season. Bartlett will drive her for the first time since January 19 when she faded to finish fourth as the even-money favorite in a $25,000 overnight. “I think she’s been pretty good. I haven’t driven her since the beginning of the year, went off favored, put her on the front, she was no good. That’s really not her gig, racing her on the front probably wasn’t the best idea. She’s got a good spot. I’ve seen her a couple times, she’s been coming up the rail near the wire, she’s had a lot of pace. She’s one of those horses that you need a helmet and she’ll give you a good kick home, so that’s probably what I’ll try to do is get her on the right helmet and go from there.” Saturday March 31, 2018: George Morton Levy Series Third Leg Race 7 – Division One #5 Blood Brother 6-1 (Tr. Rich Banca) The 6-year-old son of Somebeachsomewhere is a 23-time winner, a $739,380-earner, and made the final of the series last year. Bartlett drove him to consecutive wins at the $20,000 level in the weeks leading up to the series, one in wire-to-wire fashion in 1:53.1 and one from off the pace in 1:54.2. Blood Brother finished a disappointing seventh beaten 11 lengths in the first leg of the series and skipped last week. Series standouts Mach It So and Missile J drew to his inside. “He’s just been ok this year so far. He was sick last week, so we gave him the week off. I really don’t know what to expect from him. He’s a nice little horse, he’s handy. I’ll just have to trip him out. It’s a pretty tough field of horses, it’s a pretty tough group.” Race 8 – Division Two #1 Another Daily Copy 4-1 (Tr. Rich Banca) Dismissed at odds of 25-1 last week, the 5-year-old son of Somebeachsomewhere rallied up the inside to finish third to Evenin Of Pleasure by 2 ¼ lengths in 1:53.3. He draws favorably this week and Bartlett looks to get an ideal trip behind Dr J Hanover, who won the first two legs of the series after setting slow half-mile fractions of :58.1 and :57.3, respectively. “Finished really well last week. I never left the rail with him, he kind of battled on. He came up the inside and actually had a lot of pace at the wire. Looks like hopefully we’ll get a decent trip again this week and he can be right there. He’s another horse that can beat some nice horses with a decent trip. I’ll probably push the rail and try and sit behind ‘Dr J.’ Dr J Hanover is a great horse obviously, but he hasn’t had to work for anything yet. We’ll see what happens when he has to work a little bit. The horse can leave with the car, sometimes the car can’t get out of the way fast enough, so that’s part of his game, leaving fast, shutting it down, and sprinting home. Looks like a good horse to follow.” Race 10 – Division Three #5 Killer Martini 6-1 (Tr. Ricky Bucci) Teamed with Bartlett to score two upset victories in the Open Handicap Pace in February before posting a string of four straight losses, including in leg one of the series March 17. The 6-year-old son of Camluck was scratched sick in leg two. He draws outside Western Fame, a winner in the series last week, Keystone Velocity, the series’ defending champion, and Rockin Ron, who is 2-for-2 to start the series. “We got a couple good races there in the Open two weeks in a row. We got fast halves, great trips, so that was good. He’s a nice little Yonkers horse, makes a lot of money. No gate speed, so we’re just going to be dependent on how the race develops and take it from there.” Race 11 – Division Four #5 Somewhere In L A 3-1 (Tr. Rich Banca) Finished second beaten a head by Keystone Velocity in the $529,000 final of the Levy Series last year, Somewhere In L A is a $1.4 million earning son of Somebeachsomewhere. Although his form tailed off at the end of 2017, Somewhere In L A returned a wire-to-wire winner in a $20,000 overnight March 3 and posted another pace-setting win the following week in a sharp 1:52.4. He finished second to Dr J Hanover in week one of the series and second to Western Fame last week. Bartlett was happy with the former effort, but blames himself for the most recent loss. “He qualified great, he raced great. The first race with ‘Dr J,’ I just didn’t want to get into a speed duel with that horse, so I elected to come first-over. I knew it was going to be a slow half, but he still grinded out a second, which is great. Last week, I think I lost the race. I shouldn’t have raced the horse on the backside as much as I did. I felt I had him beat. I think it was my fault, but he raced really well. He is a tough horse and he just doesn’t quit. He might not be the most talented, but he has a big heart and he’s pretty versatile. He’s just a nice horse all around. I think he might have caught one of the cheaper groups this week. All Bets Off had the outside the first week and we beat him. I’m not sure, he can go both ways, but he likes to be placed forward, so we’ll see.” By Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY

Brad Grant was focused on the future when he and his harness racing partners purchased Dr J Hanover for a sales-topping $280,000 at the 2017 Tattersalls January Select Mixed Sale. After two preliminary rounds of this year's George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series, the now is looking pretty good too. The Levy is a six-week series for older male pacers at Yonkers Raceway. Five-year-old Dr J Hanover is 2-for-2 in the event, including a 1:52.4 victory last week that was the fastest of four divisions. On Saturday, the Tony Alagna-trained gelding is the 9-5 morning-line favorite in the second of four splits, leaving from post four with driver Brett Miller. "Tony had him pointed to this series and drawing the rail the first two legs is always nice," Grant said, referring to Dr J Hanover starting from post No. 1 in each of the previous rounds. "If you look at his 3-year-old year, he did pretty well at Yonkers. Tony always said he could get around this track pretty good. It seems to fit him, which is great. "We're going to keep our fingers crossed that he can continue, but there are a lot of tough horses in there. There is a group of them that can win on a given night depending on how the race goes and the draw. But it looks like (Dr J Hanover) matured and filled out a little over the winter. He looks great and seems a little stronger." As a 3-year-old, Dr J Hanover raced at Yonkers eight times, winning six. For his career, he has won 10 of 22 starts at the Hilltop and hit the board a total of 15 times. Last season -- his first year with Grant and partners Robert Leblanc, Steven Wienick, and Irwin Samelman -- Dr J Hanover won five of 23 races and earned $169,807. His top moment came in a division of the Graduate Series at Mohawk Racetrack, where he won in 1:46.4 to set the record for the fastest pacing mile in Canadian history. The previous year, at 3, Dr J Hanover was third in the Little Brown Jug and Messenger Stakes as well as a division of the Tattersalls Pace. The son of Somebeachsomewhere-So Perfect has won 15 of 45 career races and $551,580. "When I bought him, I bought him for the long haul," Grant said. "I think last year was a good year, but I thought he left some money on the table in some of his races. "Again, in the long run, I think he's got longevity and can be a great aged pacer. I think as a 5- and 6-year-old he could really prove his worth. Tony thinks he can go with the big boys. He's staked up pretty good. I think he can compete with the best of them. But there's a tough bunch of aged pacers. They're hard sluggers." Dr J Hanover is not the only horse with a 2-for-2 record in the Levy. Six-year-old Rockin Ron, who is the 9-5 favorite in Saturday's third Levy division, also is perfect thus far for trainer Ron Burke and driver Yannick Gingras. Other Levy winners last week were Evenin Of Pleasure and Western Fame. Other winners in the first round, which consisted of five divisions, were New Zealand-bred Bit Of A Legend, Mach It So, and Always At My Place. The Levy and companion Blue Chip Matchmaker Series, which is for older female pacers and continues with its third round Friday night, both feature five preliminary rounds followed by added-money finals April 21. A horse receives 25 points each time he or she races in the preliminary rounds. Points are also awarded based on finish, with 50 points for a win, 25 for second, 12 for third, eight for fourth, and five for fifth. "I don't think any trainer wants to race five or six weeks in a row because it's tough," Grant said. "It's a tough call for a trainer to decide whether to take a week off. The points are valuable this year, and they're going to be right down to the end, I think." For Saturday's complete entries at Yonkers, click here. For the Levy standings, click here. For the Matchmaker standings, click here. Ken Weingartner Media Relations Manager

Harness racing this Week: Blue Chip Matchmaker and George Morton Levy series third legs, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit at Yonkers this week features four $40,000 divisions on Friday (March 30) in the third round of the Blue Chip Matchmaker series for open pacing mares. The Saturday (March 31) card at Yonkers will see four $50,000 divisions in the third 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 this past Saturday night (March 24) offered the second round of the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series. A quartet of $50,000 events again brought together many of the marquee Free-For-Allers. The result was three, down-the-road winners, including two series repeaters. The encore performers were faves Dr J Hanover (Brett Miller, $4.10) and Rockin Ron (Yannick Gingras, $2.30) in the bookend divisions. Dr J Hanover won the draw for the second consecutive start and put his rivals to sleep for the second consecutive start. A cheapy (:27.4, :57.3) half served him well after another first-leg winner, Always At My Place (George Brennan), offered a hard, first-up challenge. That one was disposed after a :27 third quarter (1:24.3), while Dr J Hanover swelled up to two lengths entering the lane. The final margin was 2-1/2 lengths in 1:52.4. Chumlee A (Larry Stalbaum) lost touch in the pocket, crossed the line second but was set down to fourth for cutting some cones. That placed Keystone Velocity (Dan Dube) second and Bit Of A Legend N (Jordan Stratton) third. For Dr J Hanover, a 5-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding co-owned by Brad Grant, Robert Leblanc, Steven Wienick and Irwin Samelman and trained by Tony Alagna, it was his second win in three seasonal starts. Rockin Ron, from post position two, wanted no part of an early pocket. He took over from pole-sitting Luciano N (Brent Holland), then -- with another pedestrian early portion -- held that rival at bay (:26.3, :57, 1:24.4, 1:53.2). The margin was three-quarters of a length. Mach It So (Tim Tetrick), after last week's win, turned in a solid, two-move effort for third from behind the eight-ball. For Rockin Ron, a 6-year-old Real Desire gelding co-owned as Burke Racing by trainer Ron Burke, Weaver Bruscemi, RTC Stables and J&T Silva Stables, it was his second win in four seasonal starts. 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 this past weekend at Yonkers: Drivers: 1. Tim Tetrick - 48; 2. Jason Bartlett - 44; 3. Jordan Stratton - 42; 4. Yannick Gingras - 37; 5. Brent Holland - 26. Trainers: 1. Richard Banca - 39; 2. Ron Burke - 37; 3. Peter Tritton - 32; 4t. Paul Blumenfeld - 22; 4t. Jim King Jr. - 22. Owners: 1. Vonknoblauch Stable - 27; 2t. Friendship Stables - 15; 2t. Gestion J Y Blais Inc. - 15; 4t. Bamond Racing - 12; 4t. Richard Poillucci - 12. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will continue with legs of the Blue Chip Matchmaker and George Morton Levy over the next two weekends. The finals and consolations for both events will be held on April 21. Paul Ramlow Grand Circuit Publicity Director

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, March 24, 2018 -- Yonkers Raceway Saturday night (March 24th) offered the second round of the harness racing George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series. A quartet of $50,000 events again brought together many of the marquee Free-For-Allers. The result was three, down-the-road winners, including two series repeaters. The encore performers were faves Dr. J Hanover (Brett Miller. $4.10) and Rockin' Ron (Yannick Gingras, $2.30) in the bookend divisions. Dr. J Hanover won the draw for the second consecutive start and put his rivals to sleep for the second consecutive start. A cheapy (:27.4, :57.3) half served him well after another first-leg winner, Always at My Place (George Brennan), offered a hard, first-up challenge. That one was disposed after a 27-secomd third quarter (1:24.3), while Dr. J Hanover swelled up to two lengths entering the lane. The final margin was 2½ lengths a season's-best (purse start) 1:52.4. Chumlee A (Larry Stalbaum) lost touch in the pocket, crossed the line second but was set down to fourth for cutting some cones. That placed Keystone Velocity (Dan Dube) second and Bit of a Legend N (Jordan Stratton) third. "He surprised me," Miller said. "After that third quarter, he just opened up." For Dr. J Hanover, a 5-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding co-owned by Brad Grant, Robert Leblanc, Steven Wienick & Irwin Samelman and trained by Tony Alagna, it was his second win in three seasonal starts. The exacta paid $21, with the triple returning $91.50. Rockin' Ron, from post position No. 2, wanted no part of an early pocket. He took over from pole-sitting Luciano N (Brent Holland), then--with another pedestrian early portion--held that rival at bay (:26.3, :57, 1:24.4, 1:53.2). The margin was three-quarters of a length. Mach it So (Tim Tetrick), after last week's win, turned in a solid, two-move effort for third from behind the eight-ball. For Rockin' Ron, a 6-year-old Real Desire co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Burke, Weaver Bruscemi, RTC and J&T Silva Stables, it was his second win in four seasonal starts. The exacta paid $4.60, with the triple returning $19.20. Saturday night's third down-the-pike series winner was another wagering choice in Evenin' of Pleasure (Joe Bongiorno, $3.20). From post No. 3, he took no prisoners (:26.2, :56.1, 1:24, 1:53.1). A wide-closing Bettor Memories (Kyle Husted) was second, with Another Daily Copy (Jason Bartlett) third and an out-the-mile Orillia Joe (Stratton) fourth. For Evenin' of Pleasure, a 8-year-old son of Dragon Again owned by Gestion J Y Blais and trained by Jennifer Bongiorno, it was her first win in a pair of seasonal starts. The exacta paid $31.40, triple returned $173 and the superfecta paid $558. The night's only off-the-pace series winner, a second-over Western Fame (Mark MacDonald, $11), was also the only non-winning second-round favorite. From post No. 5, he parlayed a perfect tow behind Somewhere in L A (Bartlett), to whip that one by a length in 1:53.1. Missile J (Tetrick), the 9-10 choice, did not retake from polester Caviart Luca (Brennan) after that one led through intervals of :27, 57.1 and 1:24.3. For this race, the soft fractions caved, effectively burying Missile J. He did end up a non-threatening third, beaten two lengths. For third choice Western Fame, a 5-year-old homebred son of Western Ideal owned by Brittany Farms and trained by Jimmy Takter, he's now 1-for-3 this season. The exacta paid $40.20, the triple returned $85.50 and the superfecta (Franco Rayner [Bongiorno]) paid $275.50. Saturday's $40,000 Open Handicap Trot was won by Mostinterestingman (Bartlett, $6) in 1:56.2 The 12-race handle was $1,007,866, the Raceway's first 'non-French' seven-figure wagering card of the season. Monday night (March 26th) offers the $62,000 final of the Petticoat Pacing Series for 3- and 4-year-old fillies and mares. Frank Drucker

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