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Series Finals Top Grand Circuit Weekend

Published: April 19, 2017 12:17 pm ET

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This Week: Blue Chip Matchmaker and George Morton Levy series finals and consolations, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y.

Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit at Yonkers this week features the $529,000 final and the $100,000 consolation of the George Morton Levy series for open pacers, as well as the $310,600 final and $75,000 consolation in the Blue Chip Matchmaker series for open pacing mares. All four races will take place on Saturday (April 22).

Complete entries for the races can be found by clicking on this link.

Last time: The time to impress the judges concluded Saturday night (April 15), with preliminary-round competition ending for Yonkers Raceway’s George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series. Round Five saw three $50,000 divisions go at it.

Favoured Somewhere In L A (Jason Bartlett, $4.10) became the sport’s newest millionaire, easily winning the third event in front-end fashion. From post position five, he never had any angst, especially after a cheap half with the splits of :28, :56.4, 1:24.3, and 1:51.3.

The final margin was 1-3/4 lengths over a second-up Clear Vision (Brett Miller), with Guantanamo Bay (Scott Zeron) lasting for an uncovered third. All Bets Off (Matt Kakaley) and tiring-pocket Wakizashi Hanover (Tim Tetrick) settled for the remainder.

For Somewhere In L A, a six-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding trained by Richard Banca for co-owners D’Elegance Stable IX, Carmen Iannacone, T L P Stable and The Gandolfo Stables, it was his sixth win in 13 seasonal starts and he is two-for-five in this series.

Defending series champ Bit Of A Legend N (Jordan Stratton, $4.40) threw down the gauntlet for the finale, going down the road from the pole with fractions of :27.1, :56.1, 1:25, and 1:51.3 as the people’s choice in the night’s second event.

After stuffing Rockin Ron (Yannick Gingras) in behind, he whipped that rival by three-quarters of a length, note the :26.3 kicker in the final panel, while Blood Brother (Bartlett) was a first-up third. Great Vintage (Mark MacDonald) and Missile J (Tetrick) earned the minors.

For Bit Of A Legend N, an eight-year-old Down Under son of Bettors Delight owned by Harry von Knoblauch Stable and trained by Peter Tritton, it was his second win in seven seasonal starts and he is two-for-five in the series.

Saturday night’s first Levy grouping had a first-over favourite in McWicked (Kakaley, $4.30), from post position two, edge past pace-setting Caviart Luca (George Brennan) after that one’s intervals of :27.2, :56.4 and 1:24.4.

McWicked vacated the three-hole, engaged Caviart Luca in and out of the final turn and prevailed by three-quarters of a length in 1:51.4 and again, note the :26.3 last quarter. First leader Mach It So (Tetrick) held for third, with Santa Fe Beachboy (Bartlett) and Provocativeprincen (Stratton) getting the smaller change.

McWicked, a six-year-old son of McArdle trained by Steve Elliott for owner S S G Stables, is now three-for-seven this season and is one-for-five in this series.

Grand Circuit Standings: In 2017, 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 2017 Grand Circuit awards.

Here are the leaders following the past weekend at Yonkers:

Drivers: 1. Jason Bartlett – 128; 2. Matt Kakaley – 81; 3. Jordan Stratton – 71; 4. Tim Tetrick – 49; 5. Daniel Dube - 39.

Trainers: 1. Richard Banca – 76; 2. Peter Tritton – 67; 3. Rene Allard – 39; 4. Ron Burke – 34; 5. Scott DiDomenico - 32.

Owners: 1. Harry von Knoblauch Stable – 58.5; 2. Fred Monteleone Stable – 32; 3. S S G Stables – 20; 4t. Carmen Iannacone – 19.2; 4t. D’Elegance Stable IX – 19.2; 4t. T L P Stable – 19.2.

Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place next weekend at Freehold Raceway, with $48,000 (est.) Dexter Cup eliminations (if necessary) for three-year-old open trotters on Saturday (April 29).

(with files from the Grand Circuit)


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