BY FRANK DRUCKER, Publicity Director, Empire City @ Yonkers Raceway
YONKERS, NY, Saturday, April 8, 2017—With points leader Missile J getting a week off for good behavior, the Saturday night marquee was available for rental during Round 4 of Yonkers Raceway’s George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series.
Three, $50,000 divisions—down from four the first three weeks—went at it.
Stablemates Blood Brother (Jason Bartlett, $6.10) and Somewhere in L A (Bartlett again, $7.80) won the second and third events in 1:52.1 and a season’s-best 1:51.3, respectively.
Blood Brother, from post position No. 2 after a pair of no-shot seven-holes the previous two tries, picked up pace-setting polester McArdle’s Lightning (Matt Kakaley) after that one laid down the law (:27.4, :56.3, 1:24.1), It was 8-5 fave Keystone Velocity (Dan Dube) trying it first-up from fourth, pressing the leader to the lane.
Blood Brother ducked inside and prevailed by half-length over McArdle’s Lightning, with Keystone Velocity hanging in for third. Te Kawau N (Tim Tetrick) and Provocativeprincen (Jordan Stratton) rounded out the payees.
For second Blood Brother, a 5-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding trained by Richard Banca for co-owners D’elegance Stable IX, Carmen Iannacone, T L P and P T Stables, it was his second win in 11 seasonal starts (1-for-4 in series). The exacta paid $23, with the triple returning $36.
Somewhere in L A, from post No. 3, did it first-up, He engaged pole-siting Mach it So (Tetrick) as that one led through intervals of :27, 56.1, 1:23.3. Somewhere in L A won the stretch battle, picking off Mach it So by a head.
Great Vintage (Mark MacDonald) tracked the the winner and wound up third, with Soto (Dube)—a fourth pocket trip in as many series starts—and 7-5 choice Bit of a Legend N (Stratton) settling for the minors.
For second choice Somewhere in L A, a 6-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding trained by Banca for co-owners D’elegance Stable IX, Carmen Iannacone, T L P and Gandolfo Stables, it was his fifth win in a dozen seasonal starts (1-for-4 in series). The exacta paid $32.40, the triple returned $153 and the superfecta paid $318.50.
"I didn't want to get tortured again with him," Bartlett said of Somewhere in L A and his early-series spped tries. “I had him to relax for the first three-eighths and he did the rest. There's no bottom to him."
Saturday night’s first Levy grouping had a first-over Clear Vision (Brett Miller, $8.90), from post No. 2, gut out a nose win over McWicked (Kakaley). The latter rolled through subsections of :27.2, :56.3 and 1:24, leading every step but the last one.
Third went to a pocketed Guantanamo Bay (Stratton), with slight 2-1 choice Wakizashi Hanover (Tetrick) and Caviart Luca (George Brennan) grabbing the smaller envelopes.
For third choice Clear Vision, an 11-year-old Western Hanover gelding co-owned by Robert Santagata & Jennifer Lappe and trained by John Kokinos, it was his second win in nine ’17 starts (1-for-2 in series). The exacta paid $48.40, with the triple returning $202.
"He's one of my favorite horses of all-time," Miller said. "He won first-over for me in the (2014) Battle of Lake Erie (Northfield). A lot of people don't care for him because he's won’t go by the final horse (though he did tonight). If he did, he’d have made $5 million (he’s now at $2.6 million).”
Saturday night’s $55,000 Open Trot was won by favored Not Afraid (Dube, $5.40) down-the-road in 1:56.1.
Special props to the inimitable Foiled Again (Kakaley, $3.90), who notched career win No. 94 in the $27,000, fi opener (1:53.2), going past the $7.5 million earnings plateau ($7,508,033).
The evening’s Pick 5, buoyed by a double carryover of more than $12,500, attracted $28,524 of new investments, resulted in a winning combination of 2/3/1/2/5, paying $1,579.50 for every correct half-a-buck wager.