BY FRANK DRUCKER, Publicity Director, Empire City @ Yonkers Raceway
YONKERS, NY, Saturday, March 18, 2017—Yonkers Raceway’s George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series for Free-For-Allers began Saturday night, with a quartet of $50,000 divisions over a ‘good’ surface.
The opening event saw 3-2 choice Missile J (Tim Tetrick, $5) charge from sixth in the lane to win going away in 1:54.1. Unhurried from post position No. 2, he rolled late, whipping a pocketed Blood Brother (Jason Bartlett) by a length-and-a-half. Third went to a rallying Guantanamo Bay (Scott Zeron), with 78-1 Burning N (Ron Cushing) and a pace-setting Keystone Velocity (Dan Dube) settling for the remainder.
For Missile J, a 4-year-old American Ideal gelding trained by Scott DiDomenico for Hoosierland co-owners John McGill and Brian Carsey, it was his fifth win in six seasonal starts. The exacta paid $22, with the triple returning $76.50.
Saturday night’s second Levy grouping saw Long Live Rock (Dube, $38.60) author a decisive, first-over upset. Moving from fourth (from post No. 2), he dismissed 1-2 favorite McWicked (Zeron), then drew off to win by three lengths in 1:54.1. Season-debuting All Bets Off (Matt Kakaley) couldn’t match the winner’s tow but finished second, with 62-1 shot Mattamerican (Mark MacDonald) third.
Santa Fe Beachboy (Jordan Stratton) and Melmerby Beach (Tetrick) grabbed the minors. McWicked, caught three-deep early, wound up a badly-beaten seventh.
For fifth choice Long Live Rock, an 8-year-old Rocknroll Hanover gelding owned and trained by Rene Allard, it was his first win in six seasonal starts. The exacta paid $232, with the triple returning $3,014.
The evening’s third series soiree has Provocativeprincen (Stratton, $5.70)—from post No. 2—prevail in a blanket finish. Away third, he engaged Bettor’s Edge (Brett Miller), then outgamed a pocketed, 8-5 fave Rockin’ Ron (Yannick Gingras) by a head in 1:54.2.
Mach it So (Tetrick) in his first seasonal start, was third, beaten a neck, with Bettor’s Edge and 77-1 Texas Terror N (MacDonald) earning the lesser loot.
For second choice Provocativeprincen, an 8-year-old Down Under Grinfromeartoear gelding owned by Harry von Knoblauch and trained by Peter Tritton, he’s now 4-for-4 to begin the season. The exacta paid $16.60, with the triple returning $62.50.
“`He’s done nothing wrong since I’ve sat behind him,” Stratton said,.
The first round’s final foray offered the fastest feet as Soto (Kakaley, $14) from the pocket was able to get ‘first run’ against defending series champion Bit of a Legend N (Stratton). The former, from post No. 3, whipped the latter by a half-length in 1:53.3.
Bit of a Legend N, as the 2-5 choice, was second-up and may have waited a tad too long. Pace-setting Somewhere in L A (Bartlett), Wakizashi Hanover (Tetrick) and a Always at My Place (Gingras) rounded out the payees.
For third choice Soto, a 5-year-old son of Rock N Roll Heaven trained by Eric Ell for co-owners Kenneth Wood, William Dittmar Jr. and Stephen Iaquinta, it was his fifth win in nine ’17 starts. The exacta paid $23, the triple returned $55 and the superfecta paid $198.
“He’s just a versatile horse,” Kakaley said. “I would have been happy either cutting the mile or sitting second. It may have been different had Bit of a Legend N been first-up, but my horse was very good.”
The Saturday night Pick 5, buoyed by a carryover in excess of $3,100, was taken down by one bettor. A winning combination of 2/3/8/7/3 returned $13,468.25 for that 50-cent wager.
Reminder that Sunday’s live all-trot ‘French’ card begins at 12:30 PM, the final Sunday card until the end of May.