The time to impress the judges concluded tonight with preliminary round competition ending for Yonkers Raceway’s George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series.
Round 5 saw three $50,000 divisions go at it.
Somewhere In L A winning tonight at Yonkers. (Mike Lizzi photo)
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 cheapy half (:28., 56.4, 1:24.3, 1:51.3).
The final margin was a length and a quarter 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 Wakazashi 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 and Gandolfo Stables, it was his sixth win in a 13 seasonal starts (2-for-5 in series).
As mentioned at the outset, Somewhere In L A is now a career seven-figure performer ($1,022,456). He started his career in the stable of breeder/trainer Bob McIntosh before moving to the Jimmy Takter and then Ron Burke barn.
"I thought I might have an easy lead," Bartlett said. "He deserved it, he's been used hard a lot throughout the series.
“He can get bit rank sometimes, but he was very good tonight. The fractions certainly helped.”
Somewhere In L A is a half-brother to double O'Brien Award winner and last year's Jugette champ, L A Delight, a winner of $1.4 million over her two seasons of racing.
Defending series champ Bit Of A Legend N (Jordan Stratton, $4.40) threw down the gauntlet for next week finale, going down the road from the pole (:27.1, 56.1, 1:25, 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), while Blood Brother (Bartlett) was a first-up third. Great Vintage (Mark MacDonald) and Missile J (Tetrick) earned the minors, with Missile J, already with three series win in his pocket, getting a ‘don’t get hurt’ trip from his outer venue.
For Bit Of A Legend N, an eight-year-old son of Bettors Delight owned by Harry von Knoblauch and trained Peter Tritton, it was his second win in seven seasonal starts (2-for-5 in series).
"Two weeks ago (winning), I could see he was his old self," Stratton said. "With the final next week some guys drove conservatively.”
As far as any concern that his last quarter was too brisk a week before the final, “No. He had a lot left.”
Saturday night’s first Levy grouping had a first-over fave McWicked (Kakaley, $4.30), from post 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 ‘Luca’ in and out of the final turn and prevailed by three-quarters of a length in 1:51.4 (again, note the :26.3 last quarter). First leader Mach It So (Tetrick) held for third, with Santa Fe Beachboy (Barlett) and Provocativeprincen (Stratton) getting the smaller change.
For McWicked, a six-year-old son of McArdle trained by Steve Elliott for owner S S G Stables, he’s now 3-for-7 this season (1-for-5 in series).
The purse for the final of the Levy has been calculated at $529,000 (sum of added money, nominating and starting fees), pending conformation by those who keep track of such things.
Saturday night’s $55,000 Open Handicap Trot was won by Meladys Monet (Miller, $6.10) in 1:54.4, fastest local mile of the season.