by Frank Carulli
April 24, 2018
Keystone Velocity almost didn't have a chance to defend his title in the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series at Yonkers Raceway. Given the opportunity, however, the 10-year-old didn't disappoint.
By winning in the final elimination heat of the month-long series the previous week, Keystone Velocity became eligible for the $532,000 Levy final.
His driver, Daniel Dube, was intent on dictating the tempo in the one-mile race. Keystone Velocity pulled out of third early and cleared rail-sitter Western Fame (Mark MacDonald) near the quarter-mile mark in :26.4. He slowed it down through a :29.3 second quarter, while Somewhere in L A (Jason Bartlett) bid first-over, followed by Mach It So (Dave Miller) and Bit of a Legend N (Jordan Stratton) in the outer flow.
As Keystone Velocity reached the 3/4 mark in 1:23.4, Western Fame back-pedaled in the pocket, slowing the progress of Dr. J Hanover (Brett Miller). He held safe for a one-length victory in a season's-best 1:52. Bit of a Legend N got up for second to eclipse $2 million in lifetime earnings and complete a $39 exacta with the 5-to-2 winner.
“He’s tough horse,“ Dube said. “I think he’s better when he’s racing from behind, but he drew well and we were able to get a breather, it was good.”
Keystone Velocity bumped his lifetime earnings to $1.64 million and joined harness racing's richest horse, Foiled Again, as back-to-back Levy champions. Trainer Rene
Allard co-owns the son of Western Hanover along with Kapildeo Singh, Earl Hill Jr. and VIP Internet Stables.
"He doesn’t know he’s 10,” Allard said. “There are just so many people who work with him that deserve the credit. Me? I was more nervous last season, so I’m able to enjoy this one.”
SHARTIN N REBOUNDS, WINS MATCHMAKER
Shartin N established herself as the horse to beat in Yonkers Raceway's Blue Chip Matchmaker series by winning three consecutive preliminary legs. But she broke stride twice in her final tune-up, leaving some doubt heading into Saturday's $373,000 final.
Carefully handled by Tim Tetrick, she erased all doubts with a 4-1/2-length victory in 1:52.2 and rewarded the loyal backers who made Shartin N the odds-on favorite.
Shartin N settled in fourth off the gate, while pace setter Sell a Bit N (Jordan Stratton), Medusa (Yannick Gingras) and Lakeisha Hall (George Brennan) all left in front of her. She engaged the leader as they reached the half in :57, then assumed total command through a :27 third-quarter split. Sell A Bit N did well to hold second over 49-1 longshot Motu Moonbeam (Brett Holland).
“I wasn’t racing her to win,” Tetrick said. “I was racing her to make money. If she broke again, we’d get nothing, so I wanted to be careful getting out of there. She’s been fussy at times, and she was last week, but she was very good tonight."
Jim King Jr. trains the 5-year-old mare for co-owners Richrd Poillucci and Jo Anne Looney-King. Shartin N improved to 15-for-23 lifetime.
“We did a lot of work with her, changed some things right up until the race and added a Murphy blind (right side),” King said. “I also warmed her up hard to get some of the sting out of her. I’m glad it worked out. It’s a better feeling than last week, I can say that.”