04/21/2017 11:48PM

Yonkers: Missile J the one to beat in $529,000 Levy Final

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Mike Lizzi
Missile J was installed as the 4-1 third choice in Saturday's Levy Final.

While the morning line might have you believe otherwise, the $529,000 George Morton Levy Final for older pacers at Yonkers Raceway on Saturday night goes through Missile J.

A $115,000 Tattersalls January Mixed Sale purchase by John Mcgill and Brian Carsey, Missile J has already paid his way by earning $110,700 while winning seven of nine starts this year for his new connections. On Saturday the 4-year-old will start from post three with a confident Tim Tetrick back in the sulky.

“I think I have the best horse,” said Tetrick. “There are five or six in there that have a chance, but I drew a good spot and should have plenty of options.”

[VIDEO ANALYSIS: Derick Giwner & Matt Rose handicap the Levy and Matchmaker Finals]

In his first three starts in the Levy preliminaries, Missile J hasn’t exactly been in great spots as the fields turned for home. Twice he was sixth at the head of the stretch approximately four lengths off the leader, yet he was able to uncork a powerful late brush to sweep the field, something that typically proves to be a difficult task on the Yonkers half-mile oval.

“It really is mindboggling where he’s closed from to win,” said Tetrick.

Even while finishing just fifth last week, Missile J charged home with a 26-second final quarter to gain three lengths in the final quarter from an impossible spot. It was the expected trip from an outside post for a horse that was already guaranteed a place in Saturday’s rich final.

With three horses coming into the Final off wins and half the eight-horse field sporting multiple wins in the five-leg series, Tetrick may have to come up with new tactics to keep Missile J a bit closer to the pace this week.

“He can actually do whatever I want,” said Tetrick about the gelding’s versatility. “I think he is best at passing horses, but he is capable of leaving and really is a push-button horse. Ever since Scott (DiDomenico, trainer) put a dog chain on him, I’ve been able to rate him and do what I want.”

Series point-leader and 2-1 morning line favorite Somewhere In L A seeks his third straight win in the Levy starting from post five with Jason Bartlett at the controls. Other notables in the tenth race feature include 2016 champion Bit Of A Legend N (post six, Jordan Stratton) and Mcwicked, who drew the coveted pole position for driver Matt Kakaley.

While Tetrick’s horse scratched out of the $310,600 Blue Chip Matchmaker Final, he will be in action in consolations for both stakes. In race seven he’ll steer Krispy Apple and race nine sees him behind Mach It So.

Krispy Apple has been stopping badly on the lead in recent weeks and might be in line for a different trip this time around. “They thought she would be better last week,” said Tetrick, who agreed that off-the-pace tactics might be a good change for her. “We all know what she can do when she is right.”

Mach It So never finished less than 1-1/2 lengths off the winner in any of the five Levy preliminaries but couldn’t find his way into the winner’s circle. “He just hasn’t been on his game. Maybe it is because he is a year older,” said Tetrick, who hasn’t lost confidence in the $1.7 million career winner. “We have the rail and he can use his early speed from there. I expect him to come back to his old form.”

The Saturday action kicks off at Yonkers at 7:10 p.m. for a 12-race card. Race 7 features a $3,206 pick five carryover.