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Stratton Struts In Levy's Third Round

Published: March 31, 2019 1:35 am ET

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Jordan Stratton’s Saturday night began with some bad news, as former George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series winner Bit Of A Legend N was scratched with what trainer Peter Tritton described as “a serious quarter crack" that is "going to take some time.” Undaunted, Stratton went on to win two of the evening’s five $50,000 third-round events, both with certified Free-For-All bombardiers.

Here’s what happened in not quite real-time, with none of the names redacted…

First division—A second-over, 67-1 Pacing Major N—from post position three—held off a third-over, 58-1 The Wall by a half length in 1:52.3.

The race unfolded with The Downtown Bus, a winner from fourth over a week ago, leaping over his six inside rivals to make the first lead. He looped 3-5 favourite Endeavor, the latter eventually moving past right at the :27.1 opening quarter-mile.

It was a speedy :55.3 intermission before Beckhams Z Tam moved from third. Pacing Major N latched on to that tow, getting in range by the 1:24.2 three-quarters as Endeavor was being chased along.

Endeavor owned a diminishing-length lead out of the final turn but company was coming. After the rank outsiders finished 1-2, Major Crocker A, Endeavor and a shuffled The Downtown Bus rounded out the payees.

For seventh choice Pacing Major N, a six-year-old son of Art Major owned by Von Knoblauch Stables and trained by Peter Tritton, it was his first board finish in six seasonal starts and three Levy tries. Jordan Stratton drove the $136.50 winner. The exacta paid $1,630, the triple returned $15,607 (both local exotic highs) and the superfecta paid $16,299 (base $2 ticket, 10-cent ticket worth $814.95).

Third division—Last week, JJ Flynn was 20-1 when he went up and over an odds-on Western Fame. This time, 10-1 Lyons Steel—from post four—went up and over 1-4 JJ Flynn after that one’s early intervals of :27 and :55.3.

Lyons Steel then threw down a :26.4 third quarter (1:22.4), opening four and a half lengths in and out of the final turn. The final margin, over JJ Flynn, was the same four and a half lengths in 1:50.4—the fastest local mile of the season and matching his 2019 and life-best effort.

Control Tower, Always At My Place and Bellows Binge settled for the remainder.

For third-choice Lyons Steel, a four-year-old Rock N Roll Heaven gelding owned by Bryan Dzugan and trained by Dennis Watson, he’s now 2-for-9 this season (1-for-3 in Levy). Jordan Stratton drove the $22.40 winner. The exacta paid $76, the triple returned $246.50 and the superfecta paid $572.

“I’ve always thought (Pacing Major N) had the ability, but he tends to crossfire (hit right rear and left front legs) on the last turn,” Stratton said. “He didn’t have any problem tonight and the trip couldn’t have been better.

“I didn’t know anything about (Lyons Steel), other than he’s beaten my horses a few times here some non-winners races. I just asked him down the back and he put them away.”

Second division—Western Fame (Dube, $4.20), from post five, went around Dr J Hanover, then went the distance through fractions of :27.1, :56.2 and 1:24.2 in progress to a 1:51.4 win. He whipped that pursuer by a comfortable couple of lengths, with Rodeo Rock a first-up third.

Nocturnal Bluechip and Luciano N completed the cashers.

For second-choice Western Fame, a six-year-old son of Western Ideal owned by Go Fast and B&I Stables, Stephen Klunowski & Gilbert Short and trained by Rene Allard, it was his second win in four seasonal tries (2-for-3 in Levy). Dan Dube drove the $4.20 winner. The exacta paid $28.20, the triple returned $50 and the superfecta paid $142.50.

Fourth division—Pocketed from post two, tepid choice More The Better N stalked pole-sitting leader Anythingforlove A through subsections of :27.4, :56.2 and 1:23.4.

The leader was tiring as More the Better N edged out and went by. He defeated a second-over Im Some Graduate by a half-length in a season’s-best 1:52.1. Anythingforlove A, Bettors Fire and Duplicated N were relegated to the minor moolah.

For More The Better N, a six-year-old son of Bettors Delight owned by Robert Cooper Stables and trained by Ross Croghan, it was his second win in a pair of seasonal starts (2-for-3 in Levy). Scott Zeron drove the $6.30 winner. The exacta paid $24.40, the triple returned $149.50 and the superfecta paid $530.

Fifth division—Pole-sitting Macs Jackpot went first-up from third, disposing of early leader Windsong Leo before that one subsequently stopped after posting splits of :26.3 and :56.1.

Macs Jackpot then hit three-quarters in 1:24.1, opened a pair of lengths in the lane, then offed a fast-closing Ideal Jimmy by a neck in 1:52.4. Rodeo Romeo, Rockathon and Lockton Luck A picked off the remainder.

For second-choice Macs Jackpot, a five-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding co-owned by Howard & Michael Ouriel and trained by Jeff Smith. he’s now 1-for-4 this season (1-for-3 in Levy). Matt Kakaley drove the $7.30 winner. The exacta paid $33, the triple returned $99 and the superfecta paid $388.

Saturday night’s $44,000 Open Handicap Trot was won by a repeating New Heaven in a season’s-best 1:55.1. Jordan Stratton drove the $16.80 winner.

“I hope (trainer) Eric (Abbatiello) stays at the Meadowlands,” Stratton said a week after he won this race at 31-1.

(with files from Yonkers Raceway)

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