by John Furgele, Harness Racing 228
We all love a great upset and we all love drama when it comes to sporting events. But sometimes, that doesn’t happen and last night was a classic example as the two feature events at Yonkers Raceway—the Bluechip Matchmaker for fillies and mares and the Levy for colts and geldings—went the favorite’s way.
In the Bluechip Matchmaker, the favorite was Shartin N—she romped.
In the Levy final, the favorite was Western Fame—he romped.
We will start with the Levy final. In my earlier piece, I was wondering what tactic Ideal Jimmy would take from the unkind 8 post and to my surprise, Jimmy went for it. He darted out strongly, tucked in nicely and then made a real attempt in the third quarter to win the race. For that I commend him. He ended up fourth, good enough to collect over $53,000 for his efforts, but driver Brent Holland certainly could have settled in and moved up late to get a third or second.
The race was never in doubt. Western Fame, who looked the best in the five legs leading up to the final, was, as they say, much the best. He secured the lead at the quarter, where he sawed off a 26.4 and was never headed. As we stated, Ideal Jimmy gave it a whirl on the backstretch, but the Daniel Dube driven/Rene Allard trained 6-year old rambled home in a stakes record time of 1:50.4. Rodeo Rock sat back and was able to pass tiring horses to get second, with More The Better securing show honors. At $664,000, the Levy is the richest race to date on the harness racing calendar and here are your cashers.
Western Fame $332,000
Rodeo Rock $166,000
More Than Better $79,968
Ideal Jimmy $53,120
The Wall $33,200
The $100,000 Levy Consolation featured a stirring stretch drive between the mercurial Somewhere in LA and Pacing Major with ‘LA” prevailing in the shadow of the wire. Say this about the 8-year gelded son of the legendary Somebeachsomewhere; when he wants to run, he can still run.
The Matchmaker final was no contest at all as Shartin N became the first lady to repeat in the race’s 11-year history. She took her time at the start and sat fourth through an opening quarter of 27.2, then went to work. After a 55.2 half, she cruised home in 57 seconds to win by almost a full second. Bettor Joy N was second with Apple Bottom Jeans the show horse. The envelope collectors….
Shartin N $201,300
Bettor Joy N $100,650
Apple Bottom Jeans $48,312
Don’t Think Twice $32,208
Seaswift Joy N $20,130
In the $75,000 Bluechip Consolation, Newborn Sassy wired the field to win in 1:54, collecting $37,500 for the effort.
If you like to see greatness, you saw it in both of the big races. The Levy was a man against the boys and the Matchmaker was woman against the girls, and often that’s a good thing. A dominating performance can be good for any sport. Moments like these resonate and if you watched on Saturday evening, you saw greatness in dominating fashion.
We will see a lot of Western Fame going forward. Trainer Rene Allard told Yonkers PR man Frank Drucker in the Winner’s Circle that the horse is “pretty much staked out everywhere this year.” That is good to hear and will be even better to see.
Shartin N has been on the scene and dominating for a few years now. She was great in 2018 and with five wins in six starts this year, she is just getting started. In 42 career starts, she has 30 wins and $1.39 million in earnings. Can you say Superhorse?
It was good day at the betting windows as Yonkers cracked the often elusive $1 million mark with $1,047,856 handled over the 12-race card that featured $1,531,600 in purses.
The next big stakes race at Old Hilltop is the $300,000 Art Rooney Pace on May 25.