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Levy and Matchmaker once again in Grand Circuit spotlight
Wednesday, March 28, 2018 - by Paul Ramlow, publicity director, the Grand Circuit

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This Week: Blue Chip Matchmaker and George Morton Levy series third legs, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y.

Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit at Yonkers this week features four $40,000 divisions on Friday (March 30) in the third round of the Blue Chip Matchmaker series for open pacing mares. The Saturday (March 31) card at Yonkers will see four $50,000 divisions in the third round of the George Morton Levy series for open pacers. Complete entries for the races can be found by clicking on this link.

Last time: Yonkers Raceway this past Saturday night (March 24) offered the second round of the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series. A quartet of $50,000 events again brought together many of the marquee Free-For-Allers. The result was three, down-the-road winners, including two series repeaters. The encore performers were faves Dr J Hanover (Brett Miller, $4.10) and Rockin Ron (Yannick Gingras, $2.30) in the bookend divisions.

Mike Lizzi photo
Dr J Hanover was a 1:52.4 winner in his Levy division.

Dr J Hanover won the draw for the second consecutive start and put his rivals to sleep for the second consecutive start. A cheapy (:27.4, :57.3) half served him well after another first-leg winner, Always At My Place (George Brennan), offered a hard, first-up challenge. That one was disposed after a :27 third quarter (1:24.3), while Dr J Hanover swelled up to two lengths entering the lane.

The final margin was 2-1/2 lengths in 1:52.4. Chumlee A (Larry Stalbaum) lost touch in the pocket, crossed the line second but was set down to fourth for cutting some cones. That placed Keystone Velocity (Dan Dube) second and Bit Of A Legend N (Jordan Stratton) third.

For Dr J Hanover, a 5-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding co-owned by Brad Grant, Robert Leblanc, Steven Wienick and Irwin Samelman and trained by Tony Alagna, it was his second win in three seasonal starts.

Rockin Ron, from post position two, wanted no part of an early pocket. He took over from pole-sitting Luciano N (Brent Holland), then -- with another pedestrian early portion -- held that rival at bay (:26.3, :57, 1:24.4, 1:53.2). The margin was three-quarters of a length. Mach It So (Tim Tetrick), after last week’s win, turned in a solid, two-move effort for third from behind the eight-ball.

For Rockin Ron, a 6-year-old Real Desire gelding co-owned as Burke Racing by trainer Ron Burke, Weaver Bruscemi, RTC Stables and J&T Silva Stables, it was his second win in four seasonal starts.

Complete recaps of the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website.

Grand Circuit Standings: In 2018, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2018 Grand Circuit awards.

Here are the leaders following this past weekend at Yonkers:

Drivers: 1. Tim Tetrick – 48; 2. Jason Bartlett – 44; 3. Jordan Stratton - 42; 4. Yannick Gingras – 37; 5. Brent Holland - 26.

Trainers: 1. Richard Banca – 39; 2. Ron Burke – 37; 3. Peter Tritton – 32; 4t. Paul Blumenfeld – 22; 4t. Jim King Jr. – 22.

Owners: 1. Vonknoblauch Stable - 27; 2t. Friendship Stables – 15; 2t. Gestion J Y Blais Inc. – 15; 4t. Bamond Racing – 12; 4t. Richard Poillucci – 12.

Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will continue with legs of the Blue Chip Matchmaker and George Morton Levy over the next two weekends. The finals and consolations for both events will be held on April 21.

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