P H Supercam has clearly been the best horse among the many who have gone in the preliminary legs of the Levy series, but the final is always a race where luck is more important than talent. After going 4 for 4 in the prelims, the unlucky 8-year-old gelding drew post eighth for tonight’s $529,000 Levy final at Yonkers. To make matters worse, his stablemate from the Bamond barn, Mach It So, drew post seven.
“What are the odds of drawing the seven and eighth? Pretty remote,” said owner Jeff Bamond Sr.
P H Supercam won the Levy final last year from post six, but that’s a lot easier spot to start from at Yonkers than the eight post. The eight post is winning at the current meet at a rate of just 4.6 percent.
The draw was the first dose of bad news for the veteran pacer since the series began. He has won all four of his starts in the series, while skipping one leg. The worst he had drawn prior to this was the five post. He also benefitted from a rare weak showing from the Ron Burke barn, whose big gun Foiled Again did not make the final.
“It’s going to be tough for us,” Bamond Sr. said. “If P H Supercam does it he’s really going have to earn it. It will all come down to the trip. Jason (Bartlett) is going to do what he’s going to do. There will be no instructions from us other than do whatever you think you have to do. I do know he can’t win from last.”
Bamond would like to see Yonkers adopt a system that rewards those who do well in the prelims when it comes to draw time.
“Maybe the points winners should be in a draw for posts one through four, which would make it more fair,” he said. “Is it disappointing? Yes, it’s very disappointing to have a horse you think is the sharpest horse in the series and you draw the eighth with him and the seven with our other horse.”
The way the draw unfolded will definitely create a more interesting betting race as it looks like five or six horses have legitimate shots. That list includes Beach Memories, who has been in the Scott Di Domenico barn for only a few weeks. Because no trainer is allowed to have more than two horses in the finals trainer Ron Burke shifted horses around and advised the owners of Beach Memories to turn the gelding over to Di Domenico. Ironically, Burke has only one horse in the final, Take It Back Terry.
Beach Memories won his first two starts in the series before finishing second for Di Domenico and then fifth. The trainer said the horse was “a little sick last week.”
Should Beach Memories win this would be the biggest win, purse-wise, of Di Domenico’s career. He drew post four and has picked up the services of Yannick Gingras as previous driver Daniel Dube will go with Domethatagain.
“When I saw the draw I was tickled. I was ecstatic, “Di Domenico said. “Yannick is in a spot where he could go either way with him. We’re in a good spot. I think he’s as good as anyone in there. Seeing P H Supercam draw the eighth and Take Back Terry draw outside of us (in the five hole) gives Yannick a clear shot to go whichever way he thinks is best. To win this race, especially after the way this horse came into my barn, would be awesome.”
From post five and with George Brennan in the bike, Take It Back Terry could go off as the favorite. He’s won three in a row in the series. The field also includes Polak A., who got off to a roaring start with two straight Levy wins after arriving from Australia. But he’s cooled off since, finishing seventh and third in his last two starts.
The night’s festivities at Yonkers will also include the $261,000 Blue Chip Matchmaker for pacing mares. Trained by Rene Allard, Carolsideal has won all four of her starts thus far in the series and drew well getting the four post, The main threat may be Venus Delight, who drew the one for the Bamond team and won in her last Matchmaker try.