03/14/2017 10:03AM

Yonkers: Matchmaker, Levy ready to kick off stakes season

Mike Lizzi
All Bets Off will start from post six in his Levy preliminary leg.

The unofficial start of the Harness Racing stakes season commences Friday (3/17) and Saturday (3/18) as the Blue Chip Matchmaker and George Morton Levy Memorial series get underway at Yonkers Raceway. The six-week event concludes with two rich Finals on April 22.

Three $40,000 divisions of the Matchmaker for older pacing mares featuring eight horses each are scheduled as races four through six on the Friday program. While the series lacks a clear standout on paper, that should lead to some competitive races.

Of the notables, in the middle leg, $404,200 winner from 2016 Mach It A Par draws inside (post two) for the first time in 2017. She has yet to finish off the board in three starts this year. Down Under import Nike Franco N ships in from Dover for trainer Jim King Jr. After compiling seven wins in 13 starts in 2016 for over $135,000, she took the majority of December through March off only to return with a solid second-place finish versus the boys in the Open at Dover on March 2.

Four $50,000 splits of the Levy take center stage as races five through eight on the Saturday card. The opening leg features eight millionaires looking to pick up valuable points with a strong showing.

Race six sees an early series battle between 2014 Breeders Crown winner Mcwicked and one of the most consistent older pacers in the game, All Bets Off, a 22-time career winner and only double millionaire in the opening round. Mcwicked drew post five with Scott Zeron litsed to drive while All Bets Off starts just to his outside with Matt Kakaley.

Post time at Yonkers is 7:10 p.m. for both nights.