by Frank Carulli
April 16, 2018
Yonkers Raceway will host the two richest races thus far in 2018 on Saturday night. If the final round of preliminary heats is an indication, it's anybody's race when the $532,000 George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series and $310,600 Blue Chip Matchmaker spring into action.
Long Live Rock (Dan Dube, $16) and Killer Martini (Yannick Gingras, $16) clouded the Levy picture with upset victories in last Saturday's $40,000 prelims. Bit Of A Legend and Somewhere In L A accumulated the most points through the month-long series and Dr. J Hanover was the only three-race series winner.
Shartin N loomed a solid favorite in the Matchmaker series before she broke stride as the 1-to-5 favorite in her final tune-up for the finals. L A Delight (Gingras), Dude'salady (Tim Tetrick, $27.80) and Sell A Bit N (Jordan Stratton, $8.50) seized the moment as all three favorites lost in the final round of eliminations. Lakeisha Hall emerged as the series point leader with two series wins.
IN THE XPRESSLANE: Favorites dominated at the Meadowlands last weekend, winning 14 of the 20 races. None were as impressive as Apple Bottom Jeans (Victor Kirby), who won by 2-3/4 lengths in 1:50.1 to head into this Saturday's $54,500 Burning Point series final as the one to beat. ... Andrew McCarthy won 21 races at the Big M in the last month to emerge as leading driver. ... For the fourth consecutive year, purses for the Breeders Crown 2-year-old races will increase. When Pocono Downs hosts this year's Breeders Crown on Oct. 27, the four freshman races will carry a record $600,000 purse. ... Night Pro (Dale Decker) posted a front-end victory in 1:51.4 in the $24,000 Craig Colston Memorial at Miami Valley Racing. ... Texas Terror N (Bruce Aldrich), still going strong at age 10, won his third consecutive open pace at Saratoga Raceway. ... The newly renamed -- and renovated --Woodbine Mohawk Park began its 55th season of live racing last week and will now be the permanent home of Woodbine Entertainment's year-round Standardbred schedule. Woodbine Mohawk Park will host 168 race cards in 2018. "We've invested more than $10 million into the facility to create a best-in-class guest experience," said track president Jessica Buckley.