Speeding through the first splashes of this season’s Grand Circuit, it is already time for the George Morton Levy Pacing Series and the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series finals at Yonkers Raceway. On April 22 these older-pacer events mark their champions, along with those winning wealthy consolation event for each. Friday, April 21, and Saturday at Miami, sophomores race in James Hackett finals, early-season divisional affairs for the divisions.


On Thursday, April 20m there are some Philly “Power Plays” for your attack on common wagers (win, place, show) and single-race exotics. We leave you to pursue which wagering types to make. Power Plays report suggested contenders that keep in mind the exotics involved. We encourage multiple plays per minimum exotic wager in a pursuit of a big score. So pay close attention to our suggested contenders in Power Plays races, as well as those simply listed in the weekly H2W (the horses-to-watch) list. Do your own handicapping, and then compare and consider our selections when betting.

POWER PLAYS

FEATURES~FEATURES~FEATURES

Philadelphia/ Race 3
Thursday, April 20

Three single-race exotics are offered in this afternoon adventure for three- and four-year-old filly and mare pacers, as 2017 sophs get wound up for a big season. Morning Line (ML) favorites split the inside and outside posts, with the 8 horse, Freakonomics, looking best of the pair. The other, Dr J’s Kiss, leaves from post 4 after winning at first crack at Philly last week off of hot qualifiers and efforts at Pompano.

Freakonomics may go off reasonably higher than if he had a post closer to the wood and Dr J’s Kiss may be all out to take it wire to wire. However, two others deserve attention for good reasons other than their prospective prices.

Moments Of Joy, from the rail, did not race at two but her first effort, at Dover, was impressive. As with all good first-time starters, especially those winning at first crack, no one ever knows just how much better he or she can perform. The Western Terror filly is more likely to improve than otherwise but off of that win and with her post she has a great chance of being in the exotic mix even with a mile less impressive than her win.

Deeply outnumbered in popularity will be Fidanas Fastbreeze, who starts her four-year-old season off after two mediocre qualifiers at Pocono but returns to the site of her profitable ’16 check-cashing campaign.

This quartet may produce some fine prices for the single-race exotics in this Power Plays mile.

JAMES HACKETT SOPH PACERS

Miami offers Ohio-bred soph-filly pacers a shot at a $40,000 purse on Friday, April 21 in the James Hackett Memorial Late Closer. Nine go behind the gate. The probable favorite, Rosemary Rose, is unbeaten in four races and has the biggest bankroll early on in this long season. She is one of two trained by Ron Burke. Also sending two are Brian Brown and Ron Potter.

Certainly in the mix but bound to be unpopular with bettors is Won For Gigi. Trainer Joe Seekman sends this one from the rail. She has one show in two starts but could be much better in her third start and continue to improve.

Saturday, April 22, nine soph-colt pacers race for $40,000 in their “Hackett” affair. Productive Ohio trainer Christopher Beaver sends out Heracer, who has won twice and placed twice in five starts and is the second highest earner in the group. The top earner is Rich Gillock’s Indigo Art, with nine starts and a pair of wins, places and shows for the efforts. And Brian Brown has a pair that includes Mcraven, who makes this race his second of the season. Brown’s other contender is White Jet, first and second, respectively in the pair of his 2017 starts.

Our outside contender, hopefully dismissed by the crowd, is Major Nemesis, a Mike Medors-conditioned colt. Major Nemesis has won his only outing at three and that, as we mentioned in our analysis of contenders in our Philly feature of April 20, leaves us with the mystery of his true ability. He could be so much better than we know and that is what we should bank upon, especially since he could go off of a great price because the majority judges—with no particular evidence—that he is far worse than his only start. In his defense, consider that only two horses in this field have won more than a single race and that number for both is two. The disparity in the available payoffs of those two and that of Major Nemesis makes the latter a lucrative prize.

CONSOLATIONS

Having raced hard in legs of the Matchmaker and Levy series, there are two consolations for point-earners that did well but not well enough to make the finals. First, the Matchmaker Consolation ($75,000) finds Betabcool N on the wood, where she can totally dominate for her first win in the journey of the series (even though she collected many checks). You may judge, however, that Hidden Land is coming into perfect form to win and her odds should be far better than Betabecool N. We chose Hidden Land last week and she was a good second, beating Divas Image, who is stuck here in the 7 hole.

For $100,000, the Levy consolation gathers eight, with unfortunate speed on the mid-field to outside draws—Great Vintage, Wakizashi and Rockin Ron—apt to be ruined by three-quarters. This would be due to the strong speed also on the inside—Mach It So on the wood. The speed factors may, however, make “Mach” short late and clearly set up the stretch for Clear Vision and Caviart Luca. Both have been sitting on wins, especially the latter.

MATCHMAKER FINAL

The final is a whopping $310,600 contest with no easy solution or scenario to trust. A lot of backing for Regil Elektra is expected but Mach It A Par and Shesjustadelight N are to her inside and threaten to take powerful command early. Bedroomconfessions will take some money and attempt to make amends for a terrible showing as the favorite last week. Mackenzie A broke and never had a shot, which was uncharacteristic.

Medusa has been getting better and won impressively when we supported her in the April 7 leg. She could get a strong cover trip and mow down the speedy ones starting at three-quarters. Her price should encourage support for that scenario because otherwise, the Matchmaker will produce the public’s choice, as has been the trend this year.

LEVY’S FINAL CHALLENGE

We can only hope the public is again enamored by Mcwicked, so that the best horse can win this final and the biggest chunk of the $529,000 purse. Of course that is Missile J, who was only out of commission once, last week, when stymied with post 8 and a charge beginning too late for this short stretch. Scott Di Domenico’s pacer has been mighty in this series otherwise. He has won commandingly each time except for one and that loss is the anomaly.

Don’t expect a huge price just because Missile J faltered last week. His presence has loomed boldly over the series. His seven wins in nine starts this season (one show) tell a promising story to start the long season for older pacers. And, of course, there is the fact, as we see it, he is a far better all around horse than any in this field. Every now and again, the best horse does win. Judge the value of the price, be it small, based on our endorsement.

H2W Legend

Review our choices and follow the wagering at the prescribed track. These are possible contenders we have judged from reviewing races. The horses’ names are listed beneath the name of the track after the date they will be racing. The race in which they are entered (R and race number) follows. If a + is in front of a horse’s name it means it is appearing on the list for the second (and last) time because it failed to win the first time it appeared. An “ae” signals the horse is entered on the also-eligible list. If a horse is listed twice, refer to the entries on the night of the race since a horse may enter in more than one race. Types of wagering on any of the H2W listed horses are based on your judgment. If you have any questions, email us at TwinSpires.

H2W LIST

Buffalo
4/21/17, Barry Hanover R1

Cal Expo
4/22/17, +Cantoria R6; +Musician R9; +Nutmegs Desire R11

Century
4/22/17, Pocket Novel R8; Skade R9

Freehold
4/21/17, Why Not Dream R1; Catalyst R5
4/22/17, +Cheyenne Oxe R7

Hoosier
4/20/17, +Lindsays Possessed R1
4/21/17, +Scary Harry R4

Meadowlands
4/22/17, JDs Brent N Sheree R5; Artful Way R6; Polak A R8; +Northern Assassin R11

Meadows
4/22/17, American Gal R6; Gossip Boy R7

Miami
4/21/17, Colossal Casanova R5; +Whoyoucallinafool R6

Mohawk
4/22/17, +Nirvana Seelster R5

Monticello
4/20/17, +Vinnies Valentine R3; Lolas Cruiser R3

Northville
4/21/17, +Nirvana Gear R2; Black Water Road R4

Philadelphia
4/20/17, Crombie A R1; Dreamfair Bogart R4; Glenferne Dreamer R6; +Bluenose Gal R9; Hanks Tank R10
4/21/17, +Reigningblackswan R6

Plainridge
4/20/17, Mergatroid R6; +Uglk Stik R8; Road Show Vic R9; +Kennel Browser R10

Pocono
4/22/17, +In Commando R1
4/23/17, +Haileysgondancing R14

Rosecroft
4/23/17, Seaforth R4; Pop Pop Joe R4; Egosnattitudes R6; Cabbies Delight R8; JW Renegade R10

Saratoga
4/22/17, Italian Rebel R1; Shanghai Warrior R6

Scarborough
4/22/17, Rocknalltheway R7
4/23/17, American Plan R2; Camtizzy R5; Selena R8

Yonkers
4/20/17, +Western Young Gun R11
4/21/17, +Manwithamission R2; +For The Ladies N R5; +Rock My World R9
4/22/17, +Lord Of Misrule R6; Santa Fe Beachboy R12; +Always At My Place R12
4/24/17, Northern Matador R2