03/19/2015 4:17PM

Yonkers: Dancin Yankee makes 2015 debut in Levy Memorial

Derick Giwner
Dancin Yankee faces Foiled Again in race seven at Yonkers Raceway on Saturday.

It’s that time of year when the winter begins to fade away and spring ushers in a great series to Yonkers Raceway. The George Morton Levy honoring the founder of Roosevelt Raceway has been the stop for the top aged pacers for many a year and what’s exciting about the series is the renewal of rivalries. With five $50,000 divisions of the first leg on the 12-race program on Saturday, racing fans will get their first opportunity in 2015 to see defending champions collide. This year’s first round is highlighted by race seven as the $6.9 million winning Foiled Again looks for his third Levy title as he begins his 11-year-old season.

This year’s Levy, though it did have 35 in the box, will be quite different than in the past with no trainer permitted more than one horse in any division. This didn’t curtail trainer Ron Burke from sending out four others from his stable in addition to Foiled Again, but it may have helped to create a better product on the racetrack.

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Trainer Josh Green recently returned from a suspension and he’ll send out Dancin Yankee for the fourth consecutive year in the Levy series. The son of Yankee Cruiser, originally purchased by his dad in Ohio, has shown improvement each season in the series but has yet to hit the board in the lucrative final. Green is hopeful that this could be the year his horse arrives.

“It’s a marathon, not a sprint,” said Green about the Levy series. The conditioner is well aware that five preliminary legs leading to a final on the sixth consecutive Saturday are grueling for most horses and he’s concerned about keeping Dancin Yankee in prime condition.

“I think he was tired at the end of last year,” said Green, reflecting on the 29-race campaign where the horse nearly doubled his career earnings and went over the $1 million mark. “The Buters did a great job with this horse.”

Last year was the turning point in Dancin Yankee’s racing career as the one-time closer began to acclimate better to a different style of racing. “Last year was the first year you could race him on the front end with confidence,” said Green. The difference showed up with the horse capturing 18 of 29 starts including a 1:47 2/5 world record mile at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs.

Green served the time for positive tests on two of his horses, missing eight months of action and losing a majority of his stable. He’s upbeat nonetheless as he opens a new chapter in his career and does so on Saturday with one of his favorite horses.

The trainer seemed equally happy with the knowledge that Brett Miller will be in the sulky behind Dancin Yankee this week and likely many more. “Brett and I go way back to starting out with our dads in Ohio. He’s a great guy and a great driver,” said Green. Miller has garnered tremendous attention at the Meadowlands this winter but without question he can drive on a half-mile track and that should be a major asset for Dancin Yankee throughout the series and beyond.

While Dancin Yankee (post five) and Foiled Again (post seven) will be making their first starts of 2015 in this Levy leg, they will face the one-two finishers in last year’s Levy final namely P H Supercam (post one) and Apprentice Hanover (post two). P H Supercam has been first or second in his last four starts—all at Yonkers—working his way into shape for a possible Levy repeat. The eight-year-old gelding will be driven by Jason Bartlett.

Apprentice Hanover, now five, returns to Yonkers after some prep work at Woodbine over the last month. The Ben Wallace trainee was a key player in last year’s preliminary legs and figures to be even stronger from the experience. World traveler Jody Jamieson is listed to drive Apprentice Hanover.

PH Supercam’s stablemate, Mach It So, had an impact in the Levy as well last year but perhaps at four didn’t have the toughness to prevail. Mach It So makes his five-year-old debut from the rail in the tenth race and final of the five Levy divisions with Tim Tetrick returning to Yonkers for the drive.

The Levy divisions are carded as races four, six, seven, nine and ten. First post at Yonkers on Saturday night is listed at 7:10 p.m.

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