03/18/2017 9:08PM

Yonkers: George Morton Levy Series begins with a familiar look

Mike Lizzi
A muddy Jordan Stratton was flashing a big smile after Provocativeprincen bagged his Levy Series division

The George Morton Levy Series began sort of where it left off a year ago as driver Jordan Stratton and trainer Pete Tritton found the winner's circle again at Yonkers Raceway on Saturday night.

The pair teamed up early with Provocativeprincen, who is now four-for-four in 2017 after an impressive head victory in 1:54 2/5 over the off track. This $50,000 division of the Levy saw Bettor's Edge regain command from favorite Rockin Ron after the 27 3/5 opening quarter.  Bettor's Edge and driver Brett Miller took the field to the half in 56 2/5, with Stratton sitting third and very comfortable there until midway down the backstretch. At that point Provocativeprincen got engaged and was on track to collar the leader after the 1:25 1/5 three-quarters. The stretch drive heated up big time as Stratton urged his horse to the lead but had company on the outside with Mach It So making a solid bid and Rockin Ron utilizing the passing lane to the fullest.  In the end, Provocativeprincen got the job done, winning by a head.

A gelded son of Grinfromeartoear, Provocativeprincen paid $5.70 as the second choice.

"He dug in when it counted," said Stratton following the race.

Defending Levy champion Bit Of A Legend N saw his streak in the series come to an end, losing in a stretch battle to Soto in the fastest mile of the four Levy divisions, a 1:53 3/5 effort. Soto left the gate briskly before yielding to Somewhere In L A in a slick 27 1/5 opening quarter. Soto, a 5-year-old son of Rock N Roll Heaven driven by Matt Kakaley, sat the pocket behind the pacemaker through fractions of 56 4/5 and 1:24 4/5 before gaining clearance to the inside in the stretch and rallying to victory. Bit Of A Legend N followed solid cover provided by Always At My Place from the half and waited to come wide in the stretch where he finished sharply. Somewhere In L A settled for third after cutting the mile.

Eric Ell trains Soto, now a five-time winner in 2017.

Missile J stepped his game up in a big way as one of just two 4-year-olds in the series, rallying off cover and scoring as the 3-2 choice. Trainer Scott DiDomenico's charge sat patiently off a contested pace as Blood Brother and Keystone Velocity made several early moves, setting a 56 3/5 opening half. Caviart Luca made a minor move on the backstretch, giving cover to the winner, but never reaching the leader. Missile J and Tim Tetrick rallied wide in the stretch and overpowered rivals in 1:54 1/5, with Blood Brother clearing inside from the pocket for second and Guantanamo Bay flying on the far outside for third.

Dan Dube guided Long Live Rock on a major first-over grind to a stunning victory in the second Levy division. The veteran son of Rocknroll Hanover, trained by Rene Allard, moved to the outside to attack odds-on choice McWicked on the backstretch and rolled right by after the 1:25 3/5 three-quarters before drawing clear of runner-up All Bets Off in a 1:54 1/5 mile. All Bets Off, a $2.2 million career earner, followed the winner but was no threat, with Mattmamerican rallying late for third.

Sent off at 18-1, Long Live Rock won for the first time in 2017 in six starts.