At Last! Yonkers Set For Levy and Matchmaker Finals!

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For the last five weeks, we have journeyed across the steepest of valleys, the driest of deserts, withstood the most tumultuous of tremors and cashed on a few nine-to-one shots. Now, our adventures draw to a close. Our lives are soon to be incomplete, requiring a new project to temporarily occupy the emptiness, all because Saturday, April 22, marks the end of the George Morton Levy and Blue Chip Matchmaker Series.

I know, I know… we could not wait for the end of this series. We joked about how it would never end, but those were different times. Those were innocent times; and now we must face that this is truly the end of a saga… until next year, anyway.

Kicking off Yonkers’ stakes action on Saturday is the $75,000 Blue Chip Matchmaker Consolation, headlined by Krispy Apple fresh off of two failed wire-to-wire efforts and two more failed pocket trips. She’s not totally out of the mix; however, if bet down to be the heavy favorite as suspected, we could snag some value out of others.

The most interesting of the seven that compete here is Sell A Bit N. Popping during the series last year, she has not been inexcusably awful over the last five preliminaries. With the right setup (a potential pocket trip), she could be sitting off a contested pace and fly into the mix late — and she draws perfectly for that situation.

Following the Matchmaker Consolation is the $310,600 final, featuring the match-up between series leaders Mach It A Par and Regil Elektra. But they’re the obvious contenders. We want the outsider!

Calm down, I got you, and I have two candidates to post the upset. The first, Lispatty, might not be a great price because she draws the rail and retains Brian Sears. Yet, being in competition with the two standout choices might negate those otherwise price-deteriorating factors. She’s an off-the-pace type in a race that should have an aggressive front, so it will come down to if she’s able to position herself and find room to pace. Anything above 9-1 is worth taking on Lispatty.

Given a similar trip, Medusa could play a large role in the late stages of the mile at a likely gargantuan price. Though she lagged behind the field in the last prelim to sweep into fourth, she should be in the prime-striking position with her outside draw, assuming she asserts herself for mid-pack positioning. She also could have the capability to make a move for the front and obtain a pocket trip from there to get involved. I can’t exactly predict what will happen here, but Medusa is definitely capable to winning and doing so at a great price.

Once we finish with the mare pacers, we direct our attention to the males and the $100,000 George Morton Levy consolation. This race features weak favorites Mach It So and Rockin Ron, both of whom are in positions which have proven volatile for them in the past. Mach It So has failed to claim victory from either on the lead or off the pace, while Rockin Ron is at a massive disadvantage because he will be starting from post eight. You better believe we’re pouncing on this like an overweight lion pounces on a feral ice cream truck.

Bomb time in this race will most likely initiate once Great Vintage crosses the wire first. As long as Rockin Ron shows speed from his post, Great Vintage could receive the ideal stalking trip that could finally pay off in victory. He has been launching home in the last four preliminaries, but has no wins to account for it. However, he’s in against the rejects of the Levy series and was losing to the not-rejects of the Levy series, meaning, via the law of relative numbers, he has no excuse here. He may as well retire and be a birthday horse clown for ten-year-olds should he lose this race.

Do not discount Clear Vision here, either. If sent off as the third choice, he could also provide value here, though he is also somewhat reliant on a speedy pace destroying the front. In his three appearances in this series, he has been either grinding or flying his way into contention, hitting the board in all tries. He is as capable here as Great Vintage.

After all the fun, not to mention the wheelbarrows we’ll need to rent to haul our money to our 1996 Cadillac Escalades, we’ll double-down and put everything we’ve won on the $529,000 George Morton Levy final (I am, of course, exaggerating).

I’d be shocked if Missile J is not the favorite against these. He has dominated this series for all but one start — but even when finishing fifth, he did so impressively. How many fifth-place finishers are impressive?

Still, if all is right in the world (which is obviously not the case, but we will assume it to be), Missile J will take a majority of the play, but will that necessarily make him an underlay? That I will leave up to you, loyal reader.

If you’re in the market for a truly outside contender, try Blood Brother starting from the inside. His best performances come from rail trips, and he could be sitting behind a pace fast enough to alter the Earth’s rotation. If so, as long as he has room, he has the ability to close.

Preview Review

Friday, April 14 was a chalk fest. Mach It A Par and Regil Elektra won the two divisions of the Blue Chip Matchmaker. Our contenders, Divas Image (third, 9-1) and Medusa (fourth, 8-1) failed to seriously contend. Sad!

Saturday, April 15 was a continuation of being wrong. Provocativeprincen (fifth, 7/2) in division one failed to capitalize off a stalking trip while Mcwicked won as the predicted favorite, going off even-money.

Great Vintage (fourth, 16-1) again was too late with his bid, though he was chasing horses home in a :26.3 final quarter. Missile J also raced conservatively, settling in last, but flying home to finish fifth.

Still, after all of that, we were the greatest handicappers on the planet when Somewhere In L A ($4.10; $3.70; $3.00) wired the field as suspected over our two price contenders Clear Vision ($6.90; $4.70) and Guantanamo Bay ($6.80). The exacta returned $22.20 for $2 and the trifecta paid $95.00 for $2.

Ray Cotolo
Ray Cotolo is a seasoned handicapper and harness writer. At 17-years-old, he has worked in the harness racing industry for approaching a decade. Known for his creativity, humor, and eccentric personality, he works to promote harness racing while also entertaining. He is also known as the son of harness-racing guru Frank Cotolo and focuses primarily on the pari-mutuel side of the sport, invested in seeking value.

Ray hosts the weekly radio show “North American Harness Update,” which combines his talents to both entertain and aid the public in discovering overlay contenders from the highest-stake harness races to the cheapest overnights at Truro Raceway. He strives to put on the greatest show possible for all audiences along with his co-host, Mike Pribozie. It airs from 9-11pmEDT on SRN One.

Outside of racing, Ray is a playwright, writer, and, debatably, a comedian. He has performed and written sketch comedy while attending high school, as well as plays and varying side projects. He continually updates his Twitter account, @RayCotolo, with thoughts either pertaining to or not pertaining to harness racing.

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