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YONKERS, NY, Saturday, April 21, 2018 - She went from dominant to doubting in just one start. It took just one more start to restore the reputation. Odds-on harness racing fave Shartin N (Tim Tetrick, $3.80) gave nothing else a chance Saturday night (Apr. 21st), winning Yonkers Raceway $373,000 final of the Blue Chip Matchmakerfor Open Mares A week after a confounding, double-break performance, Shartin N-who had won her first three series preliminaries before taking the subsequent fourth round off-had something to prove. An unhurried fourth after winning the draw, Shartin N saw Sell a Bit N (Jordan Stratton), Medusa (Yannick Gingras) and eight-holer Lakeisha Hall (George Brennan) all leave in front of her. It was Sell a Bit N leading through pokey intervals of :27.2 and :57 before Shartin N began her assault. Moving with purpose, she engaged the leader right at the half, then rolled by. A 27-second third quarter (1:24 three-quarters) gave her the lead, which she widened to 3½ lengths entering the lane. The final margin was 4½ lengths in a spiffy 1:52.2. Sell a Bit N did save second over 49-1 outsider Motu Moonbeam N (Brent Holland), with Dude'salady (Scott Zeron) and Lady Shadow (Jason Bartlett) settling for the minors. Medusa, Twinkle (Eric Goodell) and Lakeisha Hall rounded out the order. For Shartin N, a 5-year-old daughter of Tintin in America co-owned by Richard Poillucci & Jo Anne Looney-King and trained by Jim King Jr., it was his eight win in 10 seasonal starts. The exacta (two wagering choices) paid $8.70, with the All-Kiwi triple returning $87. "I wasn't racing her to win," Tetrick said. "I was racing her to make money. If she broke again, we'd get nothing, so I wanted to be careful getting out of there." "She's been fussy at times, and she was last week, but she was very good tonight," Tetrick said. "She has every attribute to be a good horse, you just have to keep her calm like she was tonight. She's learning how to be an 'American' horse, to stop and start and relax." "We did a lot of work with her, changed some things right up until the race and added a Murphy blind (right side)," King said. "I also warmed her up hard to get some of the sting out of her. I'm glad it worked out. It's a better feeling than last week, I can say that." Tetrick won his second Matchmaker, eight seasons after Ginger and Fred (2010). A pair of series consolations, worth $100,000 (Levy) and $75,000 (Matchmaker), were won by Always at My Place (Brennan, $47) in 1:53.1, and Mackenzie A (Stratton, $4.50), also in 1:53.1. Frank Drucker

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

Kiwis will be able to enjoy the feature harness racing card from Yonkers, New York this Sunday.   Trackside will broadcast the first nine races live, with Race 10 the Levy Final (featuring Bit Of A Legend) to be replayed when possible.   Trackside 1 will take the action until 12noon, then it will move over to Trackside 2.   The time-honoured Levy Final has previously been won by great horses such as Falcon Seelster, Jaguar Spur, Dragon’s Lair and Foiled Again (twice).   Although he just missed a spot in the Levy Final, Christen Me has drawn barrier one in the consolation which is Race 8, due off at 1.35pm New Zealand time.   The programme features a host of expat Kiwi horses, with the rich mares feature – the Matchmaker Final – consisting of Shartin, Sell A Bit and Motu Moonbeam.   Please note that due to the nature of North American racing and start times these races may go later than advertised so there may be instances where races will be played in a replay situation.   The start times and Kiwi horses are as follows:   Race 1 – 10.52am - featuring Sammy The Bull Race 2 – 11.13am – featuring Texican, Highview Conall, Franco Rayner, Simply Susantional (em) Race 3 – 11.38am – featuring Torrid Bromac, Dream Out Loud Race 4 – 12.02pm – featuring Mach Time, American Boy (first US start) Race 5 – 12.26pm – featuring Gina Grace, Eclipse Me Race 6 – 12.49pm – featuring Statesman Race 7 – 1.12pm – Matchmaker Consolation – featuring Shesjustadelight Race 8 – 1.35pm – Levy Consolation –featuring Christen Me, Luciano Race 9 – 1.58pm - $373,000 Matchmaker Final – featuring Shartin, Sell A Bit, Motu Moonbeam Race 10 – 2.12pm (Replay) – $532,000 Levy Final – featuring Bit Of A Legend Race 11 – 2.44pm (No TV) Race 12 – 3.17pm (No TV) – featuring Alberto Contador, Texas Terror   Jess Smith

Trois-Rivieres, QC - Following the same as Yonkers Raceway, management at the Quebec Jockey Club has announced that they are removing the passing lane at the Hippodrome 3R for the 2018 harness racing season that gets underway on Sunday, April 29. "We starting looking at the wagering on Yonkers around the end of January after they did away with their passing lane," said Murielle Thomassin, general manager at the Hippodrome 3R. "and we continued to look at their increasing numbers in February. "Sometimes there is no need to re-invent the wheel," Thomassin explained. "Of course, Yonkers did other changes that contributed to the rise in wagers, but this change was a no-brainer, we need to at least try it and see if our clients like it. The entire dynamic of the races will have to change. The strategies the driver's use will have to be much different and thought of. No more waiting in the hole until the passing lane to come out and steal the win." The passing lane was first installed at the Hippodrome 3R in the late 1980's. Track superintendent, Sylvain Blais, and his team has already begun working on restoring the old home stretch. "We were able to locate the old lane in the stretch," Thomassin said. "and it is still in the ground from 18 years ago. We just need better weather and soft grounds to complete the change. "We had more snow Wednesday, but it melted and now it's raining. Our fingers are crossed that Mother Nature cooperates this week and it looks like it will with warming temperatures and some sunshine to dry up the mess we have so we can do more work on the track." Thomassin said she has talked to various horsemen and when told about getting rid of the passing lane they have been very positive about it. "They understand that we are trying to better the sport and race quality," Thomassin added. "That additional purse money coming from the increase in wagering will mean purse increases in the future for them." There are new post times at the Hippodrome 3R this season. Sunday's afternoon program will begin at 12:50 pm and the Tuesday evening racing will start at 6:30 pm. For more information, visit www.quebecjockeyclub.com. From the Quebec Jockey Club        

YONKERS, NY, Thursday, April 19, 2018 - Sometime about a decade ago, a meeting of the minds took place. The purpose of the skull session was to put an end to rampant equine gender discrimination and 'invent' a harness racing companion event for Yonkers Raceway's George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series. The Levy, honoring the memory of harness-racing visionary and Hall of Fame founder of Roosevelt Raceway, was and remains a staple stop for the sport's best Free-For-Allers. The event, started in 1978 (as a one-dash affair), had been resurrected in 2007 after a decade-long hiatus, and the brain trust decided there was no reason the guys should have all the fun. Accordingly, Yonkers Raceway race secretary Steve Starr reached out to the good folks at Blue Chip Farms in not-too-far-away Wallkill, NY, with the idea of putting together a 'ladies only' Levy companion event for standout pacing mares. Hence, 2009 saw the beginning of the Blue Chip Matchmaker. It was/is as long (five preliminary legs) as the Levy Series, also for serious coin ($40,000 per division, per leg) with an rich, added-money final. Then, there's the 'Matchmaker' part of the equation, a lovely carrot at the end of the stick where the first three finishers in the final get a free breeding to one of the farm's pre-selected roster of world-class stallions. The winner gets first choice, runner-up gets second choice, third gets third. With this Saturday night's (Apr. 21st) $373,000 final going as the 10th Matchmaker, what better time-with apologies to Mr. Peabody and Sherman-to make use the WABAC Machine? It was the first Saturday in May, 2009, merely hours after Mine That Bird pulled off a 50-1 stunner in the Kentucky Derby. The first Belle of the Ball turned out to be a 5-year-old daughter of Noble Ability named Pancleefandarpels. "First time I drove her came after Jason (Bartlett) picked off in an Open Handicap here," Jordan Stratton said. "She was a fairly big mare who could take air and was easy on herself." Stratton and Pancleefandarpels won consecutive local distaff derbies-the latter from an assigned eight-hole-leading into the '09 Matchmaker. Competing in the all five prelims, the duo went 1-3-1-5-1 before drawing post position No. 3 in the $229,000 final. Stratton, who hadn't turned 22 years of age, remembered that night. "There was an early breaker (2-5 favorite Chancey Lady [Cat Manzi]) and I had to go a bit wide," he said. "I was able to get in (fourth), then moved first-up. "As I said, she could take air. She put away the leader (Omen Hanover [Eric Abbatiello]) and was sharp." Pancleefandarpels defeated Double Dream N (Brent Holland) by a length-and-a-quarter in 1:54.4, becoming the first name in the annals. After winning his second Matchmaker last season with Mackenzie A, Stratton tries for the hat trick Saturday with Sell a Bit N from post position No. 2. Now an 'over-the-hill' 30, Stratton has fond memories of Pancleefandarpels. "It was my first big stakes win, so definitely" he said. "People sort of forget about her, but she was very talented." Pancleefandarpels, a Peter Pan Stables homebred trained by Erv Miller, raced through 2012, ending her career with 35 wins and earnings of $1,057,244. This Saturday's Matchmaker goes as the ninth of a dozen races, right before the 31st finale of the Levy, worth $532,000. First post for the $1.3 million card is the usual 6:50 PM. Frank Drucker

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, N.Y. – Although trainer Ron Burke has sent out more than 40,000 starters who have earned more than $194 million in purses, he’s never had the opportunity to work with a French trotter. That will change this spring when Burke, Mike Lachance, and Ray Schnittker travel to France to purchase 24 trotters for the French American Trotting Club, the Standardbred Owners Association of New York’s pioneering effort to bring a contingent of European horses to compete at Yonkers Raceway. “Going over there, it will be a completely new thing for me. That I’m excited to see,” Burke said. “I’ve heard the training centers there are incredible, like nothing we have over here. I’ve never been to France, so I’m excited to go there, meet the people, see a different way of racing. I’m anxious to see it.” The Club will see the 24 selected horses randomly distributed to 24 registered owners and trainers. A few months after the horses arrive in New York, they will be eligible to compete in a multi-leg series with a $100,000 final. The program is aimed at strengthening the trotting fields on Yonkers Sunday programs, which are simulcast to France. “I love the whole idea of the program,” Burke said. “I think it’s forward-thinking and exciting. It really is interesting to bring the horses over here, see how they adapt, and see who does the best with them, and how they’re received by both the American public and by the French. They may bet even more on them because they know the horses.” The trio of American representatives will travel to France in late May to select the horses from a sale organized by LeTrot. Each of the 24 trotters selected will be a gelding aged 4-year-old and up of comparable talent. The ability to navigate the half-mile oval at Yonkers will be the biggest factor in selecting the trotters, Burke said. “The biggest things you’re going to look for are gait and some semblance of speed, that they show some ability to trot fast at least for a piece,” Burke explained. “But the biggest thing, you don’t want to go over there and buy bad-gaited horses, horses that are bred more for distance and less for speed. You’re going to look for horses that will like the American game even better.” In addition to the inspections typical of most sales around the world, the trainers will also have the ability to train each horse before deciding which ones to bring across the Atlantic. Burke feels getting hands-on with the horses will play to his strengths.  “Getting to watch them is great, but for me, sitting behind them is such a bigger advantage,” he said. “I do think I have a good feel for that. I probably train more horses than any guy in the country just due to the fact that I have such big barns and I train a lot. I spend a lot of time sitting behind trainers, so I’m actually excited to go over there and see if I can help in that way to pick out the horses that are competitive.”  Although he’s reached the pinnacles of the sport over the last 10 years, Burke hasn’t become complacent. He is excited for the rare opportunity to work collaboratively with and learn from mentors Lachance and Schnittker. “That was part of the draw to me was Ray and Mike. They are two very good horsemen who are also two of the best guys in the game,” Burke said. “To me, it’s one of the best parts of it. For me to go over there, it’s a chance to learn more from the best guys in the sport and two of the best personalities. To me, I’m very excited for that part of it.” Burke also hopes to study the differences between American and French training and racing. After a weeklong trip to Sweden proved influential on the conditioner, he is excited to discover unfamiliar techniques and methods that can be applied to the horses competing the Club and beyond. “Once you stop learning, you stop winning,” he said. “You’ve got to learn from everybody and these are two of the best and we’re going to meet the best French trainers. The time I went to Sweden, I learned so much in just the week I was there and saw things done totally different than we did over here. A lot of the stuff I do now, I justify like, ‘if it works over there, why can’t it work here?’  “Over there, nobody wears boots hardly. They just take them off. They end up taking shoes off,” he continued. “Why can they do it and we can’t? They strip the horses down compared to what we do. It was a completely different outlook.” Burke sees the French American Trotting Club as a great opportunity to try something new with minimal risk. In addition to its potential to spur more competitive trotting fields and encourage stronger international wagering, he feels the Club keeps the sport fresh and fun. “It’s a great idea, I don’t see a downside to it,” he said. “I think there’s a lot of owners and trainers who are really going to enjoy this and that’s the thing about the game. I want to make money, but the other thing about that game is it has to be fun and this is going to be fun, it’s going to be interesting, it’s going to be different. I’m excited to be a part of it.” In March, a total of 24 different owners each made a deposit of $10,000 to participate in the French American Trotting Club and acquire a trotter. Those owners are reminded that the balance of $18,000 is due on or before April 26. Le Trot will present horses for selection to the American trainers on the week of May 28 and the horses will be shipped back to New York and go through quarantine in mid-June. By Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY

For the second consecutive day the Hungarians and the NAADA members competed in inclement weather in round two of their international amateur driving competition which was presented at Yonkers Raceway on Tuesday, April 16. And like in the contest yesterday at Monticello Raceway, each country emerged victorious in the two event races. In the first contest -race 2 on the betting card -the Hungarian's Ferenc Leanyfalvi rallied Multitaskr Hanover to a come-from behind neck triumph in 1:59.2 while in the other division--race 4- Dr. John Kokinos used the overland route from the half with Lucky Colby and held on for a nose victory in a 1:58.3 clocking. In his contest, Leanyfalvi ducked to the pylons as the wings of the mobile gate folded and was content to follow the leaders until they approached the back stretch the second time around where he moved Multitaskr Hanover to the outside and they began to move up. Fifth, as they passed the third stanza Leanyfalvi and his trotter were in third place as the field headed for paydirt. Then in the lane, under mild urging, Multitaskr Hanover passed the race leader I'm Fabulous (USA-Joe Lee) and at the wire they collared Powerful Yield driven by Hungary's Krisztian Takas for a neck triumph. I'm Fabulous faded and finished third. The winner, a 5-year Explosive Matter gelding, is owned and trained by Jennifer Lappe. He paid $11.80 for win. It was Multitaskr Hanover's 6th win in just 11 seasonal starts. For Doctor John the Medicine Man his journey was similar to Leanyfalvi's in that he had to also come from behind. After starting from the seven-hole Kokinos angled Lucky Colby to the pylons and was in fourth position as the USA's Joe Lee showed the way with Springback Sam N. As the field approached the half Kokinos moved his charge first-up and they ground their way forward picking up horses until they had command as the fielded home. In the deep stretch Dr. John was after his tiring trotter and looking for the wire. It came just in time because Hungary's Ferenc Leanyfalvi was charging with Madhatter Blue Chip only to fall short of victory by a nose. "I wasn't much more than a passenger behind Lucky Colby tonight," Kokinos said. "Actually, he knows how to win more than I do!" Andrea Fazekas, a division winner yesterday at Monticello, finished third with Cresurrey. Lucky Colby, an 8-year-old Jailhouse Jessie gelding, is owned and trained by Gilbert Garcia-Herrara. He returned a $13.60 win mutuel. The final event in the Hungary v NAADA competition will be at Saratoga Raceway on Thursday afternoon. by John Manzi        

YONKERS, NY, Monday, April 16, 2018--Yonkers Raceway's Monday evening's (April 16th) Pick 5 harness racing wager figured to get some extra ganders, and indeed it did. The gimmick, which carried over from Saturday (Apr. 14th), started with $7,066.26 of unclaimed coinage. The $20,000 guaranteed pool (in conjunction with the U.S. Trotting Association's Strategic Wagering Program) was easily hurdled when $36,288 of new investments chimed in. After new-money takeout, there was a pool of $34,282.75. The single winning combination of 4/3/6/6/1 returned that season-high $34,282.75, as one ticket took down the pool. Legs 1,2 and 5 in the sequence were driven by Joe Bongiorno. The Pick 5 is a 50-cent base wager comprising races 7 through 11 every racing program (for cards that have at least 11 races, otherwise races 6 through 10). 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. Frank Drucker

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, NY, Friday, April 13, 2018 - Yonkers Raceway paid homage to Friday the (April) 13th, wrapping the preliminaries with the fifth round of the harness racing Blue Chip Matchmaker. Three, $40,000 events again brought together many of the best pacing mares in the last chance to impress the electorate. First Division - A first-up toughie, but Dude'salady (Tim Tetrick, $27.80) prevailed in a blanket finish. Early leader Lakeisha Hall (George Brennan) gave it up to Lady Shadow (Jason Bartlett), with the latter setting early intervals of :27.3 and :56.4. From post position No. 2, Dude'salady took out of fourth, with 11-10 favorite Mackenzie A (Jordan Stratton) towed from second-over. Dude'slady found her best stride after a 1:24 three-quarters, though Lady Shadow owned a length-and-a-quarter lead in the lane. The pursuer surged late, whipping the pace-setter by a neck in a life-best 1:52.4. Lakeisha Hall found inside room but was photoed for second. Call Me Queen Be closed well for fourth, while Mackenzie A wound up a flat fifth, the quintet of payees separated by just a half-length. "I thought she was good last week (third), so I wasn't surprised she dug in," Tetrick said. For fifth choice Dude'salady, a 4-year-old daughter of Shadow Play co-owned by First Staters M&L of Delaware & Victoria Dickinson and trained by Bruce Saunders, it was her fifth win in a dozen seasonal starts (1-for-5 in series). The exacta paid $131.50, with the triple returning $629. Second Division - Pole-sitting Sell a Bit N (Stratton, $8.50) went the distance (:27.1, :56.3, 1:25.1, season's-best 1:53.1). She stuffed Medusa 19-10 fave (Yannick Gingras) in behind, then dealt with a first-up Twinkle (Eric Goodell). The latter could have been a tad better 'front ma'am' for Newborn Sassy, who herself was gapping a bit. Newborn Sassy rallied wide and did get into second. Sell a Bit N owned a three-quarter length lead in and out of the final turn, maintaining that margin to the wire. Medusa was third, with Twinkle fourth. For third choice Sell a Bit N, an 8-year-old Down Under daughter of Julius Caesar owned by Von Knoblauch Stables and trained by Peter Tritton, it was her fifth win in 10 '18 tries (2-for-4 in series). The exacta paid $42.40, with the triple returning $155.50. Third Division --- Well, this was a surprise. Series domimnatrix Shartin N (Tetrick), who had won all three of her Matchmaker starts before getting a week off, couldn't get out of her own way. The 3-10 choice broke right at the start, caught the field, then jumped it off again at the half. While this hard-to-believe was happening, pole-sitting L A Delight (Gingras) retook from Clear Idea (Mark Mark MacDonald), then held the other three in-range lasses at bay (:28.2, :57.4, 1:25.1, season's best-matching 1:53.2). Clear Idea was second, beaten a length-and-a-half, with Shesjustadelight N (Ron Cushing) third. Shartin N wound up last among the octet. "Just wasn't her night," Tetrick said. "There have been times when she's been fussy with her mouth, and I don't know if that's what happened. She jogged back to the paddock and seemed sound, so we have to see. " For second choice L A Delght, a 5-year-old daughter of Bettor's Delight owned by Diamond Creek Racing and trained by Nancy Johansson, she's now 2-for-4 this season (2-for-3 in series). The exacta paid $59.50, with triple returning $298. The final standings accompany this release. Be advised these are not necessarily the entrants for the Saturday, Apr. 21st final (purse $373,000) and consolation ($75,000). 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. Saturday night (Apr.14th) offers a trio of $50,000 divisions of Free-for-Allers in the fifth (final) round of the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, N.Y. – If Mackenzie gets a chance to defend her harness racing title in the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series Final April 21, no one will be able to say she didn’t earn it. A streak of outside post positions and an unplanned absence from leg four of the series for open pacing mares means Mackenzie is ranked eighth by points heading into the last preliminary leg. Although she drew post seven again this week, trainer Pete Tritton is keeping a positive attitude. “My first reaction was, ‘well, if she gets into (the final), that’s one more chance she’s got to draw good,’ so I always try to look on the bright side,” he said. “It’s a great series and you’ve got to have luck and ability. We knew that when we went in.” After finishing second to Lady Shadow in her lone qualifier March 9, Mackenzie started the 2018 season by finishing last in the opening leg of the Matchmaker from post seven. She overcame the same post in leg two, circling the field to score a 1:53.1 victory March 23. In her most recent effort March 30, Mackenzie started from post six and sustained a first-over bid from 8 1/4 lengths behind to wear down Newborn Sassy by a measured half-length in 1:54.1 with regular driver Jordan Stratton in the sulky. “I always thought she was a good mare, but she was a bit rank early and Jordan really looked after her when we raced her last year,” Tritton said. “I think she’s a lot stronger this year, a lot more versatile. I’m pretty impressed with her. She is staked to all the big races all over America, so I’ve got a lot of confidence in her. She’s very strong.” Outside draws aren’t the only obstacle Mackenzie will have to overcome to make it back to the Matchmaker Final. A scare in the barn last week caused the daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven to miss a chance to race in leg four of the series. Tritton has trained her since the incident and feels she is ready for this week’s race. “She just got a little bit of a bump on her tendon, which has been looked at and it’s alright. I think she just must have whacked it in the stall or out in the field. Hopefully that won’t come back to haunt her at all,” Tritton explained. “I didn’t plan to take the week off because she didn’t get any points the first time. You’ve got to deal with the cards you’ve got and she drew bad, so we just hope that she can overcome it with her ability and she has no more problems.” Mackenzie is the 5-2 morning line favorite in the first of three $40,000 Matchmaker divisions Friday night (April 13). Motu Moonbeam, third in the standings, will start from the rail while series leader Lakeisha Hall drew post three. Seventh-ranked Lady Shadow will start from post four and will also look to secure her spot in the final. “She’ll be fine for Friday night, she’s just probably going to have to do a little work and have a hard run to get it done because it looks like there’s a lot of speed inside her and she’s going to have to come from the back again, which does make it hard,” Tritton said. “I’ll leave it to Jordan, who’s done a good job from the bad draws to get it done the last two weeks, so I’m hoping that everything will work out. “I still don’t think she’s at her top. I think if we can get her through this week, we’ll have her right at the top for the following week,” Tritton continued. “She’s the whole package. She’s very strong, she keeps going, but she does have tremendous speed. Jordan tries to look after her and not really ask her for top speed, but when she has to, she can really go fast.” Tritton will also try to qualify Sell A Bit for the Matchmaker Final Friday night. Ranked 15th in the standings and in need of a victory to have a chance at making the main event, the 8-year-old daughter of Julius Caesar will start from the rail in division two. After posting a wire-to-wire win in leg one and consecutive fourth-place finishes in legs two and three, the 27-time winner and $746,506-earner is a 7-2 morning line chance. “I was a little but disappointed last time. She got a good trip and just battled to the line. Her other runs have been good, but she’s had a little bit of an issue in one foot,” Tritton explained. “I trained her the other day and I thought she worked better than she ever did since I’ve had her, so I’m quietly confident that she’ll be right there on Friday night and be a contender to get back into the final. If not, the consolation, but she’s really good at the moment and I think that week off has done her a world of good.” While Mackenzie and Sell A Bit are under pressure to make the Matchmaker Final, Tritton won’t feel the same stress with Bit Of A Legend in the final preliminary leg of the George Morton Levy Series Saturday night (April 14). After posting an impressive 1:53.3 win in week one and a 1:53.2 win last week, the 2016 series champion is ranked second by points. “I’m definitely sure he’s better than he was at this time last year. I think if he draws reasonable and luck goes his way, he’ll be really, really hard to beat,” Tritton said. “I’m sure there’s no better horse in it and you’ve just got to have luck in the draws and luck in running, but I’m fairly confident with him if he draws good because he’s very versatile. He can sit and sprint, he can do a lot of work, he’s got good gate speed. “I’m confident that the horse is 100-percent right and right on his game,” he continued. “Now we’ve got to get the other things to fit into place, but that’s racing. It’s exciting to be involved and to think you’re a chance. Hopefully it works out. It doesn’t always, like last year, but it’s good to be a chance.” Tritton is happy to have Bit Of A Legend back in the barn this year. Although retirement to stallion duty was floated for the $1.9 million earning son of Bettor’s Delight at the end of the 2017 racing season, Tritton and the Vonknoblauch family, who owns Bit Of A Legend, Mackenzie, and Sell A Bit, consider themselves racers first and are happy to keep their star on the track for as long as he continues to enjoy his work. “I think he’d be a nice stud horse, particularly because he’s so good-gaited and he’s got no problems, he wears no boots. I think he’d be a good sire for New York to race on the smaller tracks in the stakes races,” Tritton said. “But he keeps turning up and winning five- or six-hundred-thousand every year and he doesn’t seem to have any lameness issues and he enjoys his work. “I keep thinking every year we’ll probably retire him, but it’s a tough business being a stallion, too. He’ll keep racing while I think he’s going as good as he is now. We’re here to race horses, we’re not really breeders. Same with Mackenzie. We got offered a lot of money for Mackenzie as a broodmare back in New Zealand last year after she won the Matchmaker, but as I say, we race them.” Bit Of A Legend is a 7-2 morning line chance from post seven in the third and final Levy preliminary Saturday night. Series leader Somewhere In L A will start to his immediate inside while fourth ranked Dr J Hanover drew post five. For Tritton, the prospects of Mackenzie and Bit Of A Legend each earning a chance to win their second titles in Yonkers’ signature races for older pacers is humbling. Achieving these feats at his home track is made better by his partnership with Stratton. “It’s very satisfying and it’s helped Jordan as well, which is great because he’s a great guy and a great driver. These races are not easy. A lot goes into it. It’s been very satisfying, and we’ll take it as it comes and hopefully we can get a good result again this year,” Tritton said. “Before I lived up here, I used to train in Delaware and I’d ship them up. I got a few into the finals over the years, I won a few preliminaries of the Levy, but the final was always beyond me,” he continued. “It does mean a lot because the main reason I moved up here was to race at Yonkers and these are the two signature races with my horses, so it’s very satisfying.” First post time Friday and Saturday night at Yonkers is 6:50 p.m. To view entries to Friday’s races, click here. For entries to Saturday’s races, click here. By Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY

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 

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