04/24/2014 9:16AM

Yonkers: Dancin Yankee hopes to upend Foiled Again in Levy final

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Mike Lizzi
Dancin Yankee is the 5-1 second choice on the morning line in the $567,000 Levy Memorial on Saturday night.

The storyline entering Saturday’s $567,000 George Morton Levy Series final for those not in Foiled Again’s camp is whether the seven other horses are in fact racing for second money. After the champ landed post three in Tuesday’s draw, the odds of him winning obviously were increased. Yet those that have witnessed races with this much firepower understand that sometimes the plot and final outcome are not in sync.

One person hoping that conclusions don’t get drawn too early is Josh Green, trainer of Dancin Yankee, a horse he’s been around pretty much since birth. The Ohio-bred son of Yankee Cruiser has perhaps never been sharper during his impressive racing career than he’s been over the last few weeks.

“He’s a streak kind of horse,” said Green, “When he gets on a roll he’s just really good week-in-week-out.”

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Dancin Yankee landed post seven in Saturday’s 11th race Yonkers feature and needless to say, that didn’t please his trainer. “Obviously I wish he’d drawn inside,” said Green. Yet at the same time there’s reason for a good deal of optimism.

Dancin Yankee, unlike some others in the field, has proven during the course of the series to be equally adept no matter what trip he’s been handed.

While Green admitted that his six-year-old came into the series probably needing a race, Dancin Yankee’s third-place finish grinding without cover against Mach It So and Clear Vision was more than encouraging.

So encouraging that driver Ron Pierce elected not to be a sightseer in the second leg and took on all comers. Dancin Yankee set torrid fractions under intense pressure from Sweet Lou and eventually tired after cutting a 1:23 1/5 three quarters over a rain-soaked surface.

In the third leg, Pierce elected to race him off the pace and the pair were hopelessly out of it after soft fractions. Nevertheless, Dancin Yankee responded with a vicious last quarter and earned second prize behind a well-rated Easy Again.

It would be safe to say that no horse has raced better in the last two weeks of Levy preliminary action than Dancin Yankee. In the fourth leg he took on Foiled Again while racing without cover into a :54 2/5 final half and was beaten a short head in the 1:51 mile.

Last week Pierce showed full confidence, going down the road with the horse and scoring in 1:51. The driver would later reveal that he left something in the tank.

Green makes no secret of the fact that he’s had horrible luck in big money races. More candidly, he doesn’t want to be a driver. “I won’t be telling Ron Pierce what to do. If that’s what you’re asking,” Green said in response to how he sees Saturday night’s contest being played out.

While Green hasn’t had much luck in big races, his Hall of Fame driver most definitely has. Pierce has shown an uncanny knack for putting contenders in position to win when the money is on the line.

Navigating Saturday’s contest for horses that expect to be coming from off the pace, a critical aspect will be what kind of early pace is set. Most agree that should Foiled Again get an easy early lead, he’ll be very difficult to pass.

“He’s a great horse. I love that horse,” said Green of Foiled Again.

The draw didn’t make Foiled Again a lock to get the front. With P H Supercam, part of the P J Fraley stable entry, landing post two, and Sapphire City, a solid half-mile track specialist, landing the rail, Foiled Again and driver Yannick Gingras may not receive an easy pass in the early stages. P H Supercam’s accomplished entrymate Mach It So landed post eight, but his driver Tim Tetrick figures to be right on the gate at the outset.

If there’s a wild card in the field, Apprentice Hanover and driver Jody Jamieson may elect to mix it up a bit. Jamieson has been a little careful negotiating the first turn in the preliminary legs of the series, but if he can’t motivate his four-year-old early, he could end up at the back of the bus in a field of this caliber.

For Dancin Yankee, Green hopes that he gets a good trip that’s not too taxing. Already a winner of six races in 11 starts this year, the trainer had a different battle plan for his horse following this series.

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“Last year I staked him in many of the big races and he just didn’t do as well as we expected. This year it’s going to be overnights and Invitationals,” said Green. Essentially Saturday’s purse is the biggest one Dancin Yankee will race for this season.

It’s a tall order but don’t be surprised to see him fighting to the finish.

“He’ll give you everything he has,” said Green.