Day At The Track

Levy, Matchmaker series feature at Yonkers

12:56 AM 28 Mar 2019 NZDT
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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 harness racing divisions on Friday (March 29) in the third round of the Blue Chip Matchmaker series for open pacing mares. The Saturday (March 30) card at Yonkers will see five $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: Saturday night's (March 23) second round of Yonkers Raceway's George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series didn't do a whole lot to establish a clear favorite, though some of the contenders did indeed state their cases. Another half-dozen, $50,000 Free-For-All groups were contested, with a pair of repeaters leading the way.

Odds-on Rodeo Rock (Andrew McCarthy, $3.50) - from post position five - 'ran down' loose leader Gokudo Hanover (George Brennan), prevailing first-up by a head in 1:52.1. The 13-1 latter had open lengths through intervals of :26.4, :56.1 and 1:24. Rock The Nite (Mark MacDonald), More The Better N (Scott Zeron) and Major Crocker A (Dan Dube) picked off the remainder, while an amiss Bit Of A Legend N (Jordan Stratton) lost tough from a pole-sitting pocket and finished sixth.

For Rodeo Rock, a 6-year-old Rock N Roll Heaven gelding owned by Royal Wire Products and trained by Robert Cleary, it was his third win in as many seasonal starts (two-for-two in series).

Ideal Jimmy was a 1:53.3 winner in the second leg of the Levy Series.   - photo Mike Lizzi

"I was hoping Scotty (Zeron) with More The Better N would pull from third, but he was happy where he was and I just had to go on with it," McCarthy said. "It was a long way (from fifth) in the wind, but he was actually more comfortable tonight than in last week's race."

After wiring his opening-leg rivals at 9-1, favored Ideal Jimmy (Brent Holland, $4.10) had more acquaintances at the windows. From post three, it couldn't have been less simple (:28, :57.4, 1:26, 1:53.3), going the distance by 3-1/4 lengths. Polester Lochton Luck A (Matt Kakaley), as the 29-1 outsider, and Bellows Binge (Jason Bartlett) finished the tickets, while Always At My Place (Brennan) and Bettor Memories (Jim Marohn Jr.) settled for the remainder.

For Ideal Jimmy, a 6-year-old homebred Western Ideal gelding owned by D R Van Witzenberg and trained by Erv Miller, it was his fifth win in 10 tries in 2019.

"I thought he should have been the favorite last week," Holland said. "He's very handy and I'm not surprised he's stepped up in this series."

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

Grand Circuit Standings: In 2019, 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 2019 Grand Circuit awards.


Here are the leaders following this past weekend at Yonkers:

Drivers: 1. George Brennan - 56; 2. Tim Tetrick - 52; 3. Jason Bartlett - 48; 4. Scott Zeron - 42; 5. Andrew McCarthy - 27.

Trainers: 1. Jim King Jr. - 37; 2. Richard Banca - 21; 3t. Robert Cleary - 20; 3t. Ross Croghan - 20; 3t. Dylan Davis - 20; 3t. Erv Miller - 20.

Owners: 1t. Royal Wire Products - 20; 1t. D R Van Witzenburg - 20; 3t. Tahnee Camilleri - 15; 3t. Robert Cooper Stables - 15; 5. Jo Ann Looney-King - 14.3.

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 20.


Paul Ramlow

Internet News Manager

U.S. Trotting Association 



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