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Saturday, March 23, 2013

And Now For Something Completely Different

Let's talk about horses. George Morton Levy Memorial horses specifically.

It has been awhile, but today we are going to talk about the six legs of the Levy Memorial at Yonkers Raceway. As you may be aware the Levy is sort of a two directional pacing series. For those horses who have been racing all winter, the Levy represents their own version of the Breeders Crown; one last chance to earn the big money before the stars of the division return in force. For the precocious FFA horses, the Levy is the start of their season, many making their first starts of the season; not as much concerned as being ready week one but hope to work their way up into top form early enough to qualify for the lucrative $500,000 final. Every once in a while we find that winter horse growing into true FFA stock, able to compete with the sport's best during the prime time of the racing meet.

The key is to be able to identify which horses are coming from both directions are able to take down the top prize in these preliminary legs; in particular the opening leg which is tonight. Well, after taking a look at tonight's divisions, we take a look at coming up with the winners.

Race 5 - Roadway (#2, Pantaleano, 4-1) looks to be the local horse with the best chance to take down the morning line favorite. He has been racing well for the most part at the Old Hilltop this early part of the year. While there have been only two wins thus far, his best efforts of late are from coming from behind which should be an advantage as Versado (#7, Sears, 9-5) comes over from the Meadowlands, winning the weekly feature last week with a wire to wire victory. While Versado may not be able to easily get the lead, expect him in front from the quarter pole on taking the field the whole way, possibly getting caught in the stretch by my top pick. Aussie Reactor A (#6, Brennan, 10-1), needs to step up his game but get a driver change which should be helpful for the eight year old Aussie import. He may be able to get the show position and add some value to the trifecta.

Race 6 - This race has no show wagering. Annieswesterncard (#5, Gingras, 8-5) picks up the services of Gingras after winning the Open Handicap last week from the seven whole. Considering he move in to the five hole, he looks hard to beat. Classic Rock Nroll (#3, Goodell, 4-1) opens up his campaign after two qualifiers, the last a winning 1:55.1 effort at Woodbine. While he looks ready to give a good account of himself, I am assuming he will need to get a race under his belt returning to the half mile oval. In Commando (#1, Brennan, 8-1), move over from the Meadowlands where he was competing in the Aquarius series (4yos) with little luck. He tries his luck on the half mile and from the rail, may be able to get into the number.

A possible longshot is One More Laugh (#2, Tetrick, 5-1) whose last efforts at Yonkers were dull to say the least, perhaps being over raced (31 starts last year). With some time off and a race under his belt, a return to the half mile oval may be what the doctor ordered. Those doubting his ability on the half mile should note OML had a victor in an Invitational at Batavia going against Hypnotic Blue Chip.

Race 7 - Clear Vision (#2, Gingras, 9-5) looks ready to make his pari-mutuel debut for 2013 a winning one with two qualifiers under his belt at the Meadowlands, his last a 1:52.2 mile including a :26 final quarter. Second best is Electrofire (#6, Sears, 4-1), who has been racing consistently well in the weekly Open Handicaps. He stands likely to take the top spot if the favorite falters. Flipper J (#3, Bartlett, 6-1) was a winner an a lower class last week but is another one who is tough from the inside posts. He may be good enough to pick up the pieces.

Longshot Play is Heza Trick N (#4, Chiodo, 10-1). This New Zealand import by way of Australia bombed in his first American start, a B-1 pace at the Meadowlands but he had been racing in the FFA ranks down in the land of Oz. Of particular interest is his December 23 start at Tabcorp Park Melton in the SEW-EURODRIVE POPULAR ALM FFA, a Group 3 race at 2,240 meters where he finished second behind Smoken Up NZ one of the better horses down under. He failed in Group 2 and up races, but despite the purse, the Levy is probably equivalent to a Group 3 event. If he can return to his southern hemisphere efforts, he could be an upset play. That being said, I would want double digits odds to give him a play.

Race 8 - The first of two Superfectas in the Levy divisions. A wide open race. Sapphire City (#2, Holland, 5-1) is my pick to score the minor upset. His last race was a toss coming the outer posts. The horse shows an ability to race competitively from the inner posts and figures to be riding the rails in the pocket, taking his chance in the passing lane and likely will be trying to catch Something For Doc (#3, Gingras, 9-5); a Burke trainee who has finished fifth in two starts from the eight hole in the open handicaps. Moving to the inside he will be formidable to catch. Bet On The Law (#1, Sears, 6-1), ships in from Pompano Park and picks up the service of Brian Sears after winning his first two starts of the year in Sunny Florida. He will likely end up racing at Pocono Downs; how soon depends on how he does in this series. Completing the ticket is Safe Harbor (#7, Brennan, 8-1). Quite honestly, this pacer would rate higher in my predictions if not for post position seven. Racing well for the most part in the winners over class, he is likely to make the ticket.

Race 9 - A two horse race in my estimation. Atochia (#6, Gingras, 8-5) kicks off his 2013 campaign coming off two qualifiers. His last qualifier was a second place finish behind Clear Vision, so watch the 7th race for guidance. If he is ready, he will be hard to catch, but if anyone is going to bring him down it will be Code Word (#7, Sears, 6-1) who has been alternating between the Meadowlands and Saratoga of late, winning the top open class at Saratoga in 1:53 in preparation for this race. Taking advantage of the rail is Sea Venture (#1, Brennan, 6-1) who returns from a seven month layoff finishing second in a non-winners of $25,000 event finishing second. He may need a race but I am looking to add a little value to the triple.

Race 10 - The final division of the Levy offers a Superfecta but no show wagering. Razzle Dazzle (#4, Sears, 6-1) made his seasonal return in a fifth place finish in an A1-Preferred handicap at the Meadowlands finishing fifth. He figures to be tighter this go around so I give him an advantage over Foiled Again (#1, Gingras, 4-5) who is making his first start of the season after a 1:52.4 qualifier at the Big M, especially considering how he finished second behind the morning line favorite in the Indiana Pacing Derby at Indiana Downs. Being a little tighter may be enough to turn the tables on the favorite. River Shark (#7, Dube, 8-1) has been racing well in the top class at the Meadowlands but the post position here will compromise his chances for the top two positions. Completing the Superfecta is Our Cullenscrown N (#5, Tetrick, 8-1). This son of Christian Cullen had no chance last week from post seven in the open handicap; a move to the middle should permit him to give a better account of himself; completes the Super.

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