03/09/2017 8:22PM

Yonkers: Nominations released for Levy, Matchmaker

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Nominations were announced on Thursday (3/9) for the George Morton Levy Memorial and Blue Chip Matchmaker series at Yonkers Raceway. A total of 40 older pacers paid the $5,000 fee to be part of the Levy while 28 pacing mares signed on for the Matchmaker.

The Levy total represented a 20% decrease from the 50 that nominated in 2016 despite the fact that Pacer of the Year Always B Miki was retired and runner-up Wiggle It Jiggleit announced he would skip the annual event.

The Matchmaker saw an slight increase as 27 paid the $4,000 admission price to participate.

Topping the list of entrants for 2017 is Bit Of A Legend N. The returning Levy champion swept the series in 2016 for trainer Peter Tritton and driver Jordan Stratton. The conditioner also entered Provocativeprincen, a winner of three straight at Yonkers this year.

The Levy also lured double millionaires Clear Vision and All Bets Off, as well as 2015 North America Cup winner Wakizashi Hanover and 2013 Little Brown Jug champion Vegas Vacation.

One name not on the list, for the first time since 2008, is Foiled Again. The ageless wonder with just shy of $7.5 million earned in his career, will stick to overnight events rather than tackle the sport’s best for a ninth straight year.

There will be a new champion this year in the Blue Chip Matchmaker as Yagonnakissmeornot has begun a career as a broodmare. Post position will likely play a huge role in the outcome in what looks like a wide open event.

Hoping for the Spring series sweep, Tritton also has a pair of mares in the Matchmaker. Sell A Bit N finished second in the Matchmaker last year and will be joined by recent Down Under import Mackenzie N.

The Levy and Matchmaker preliminary legs will be contested every Friday and Saturday starting March 17 for five weeks. Levy legs go for a purse of $50,000 each while the Matchmaker offers $40,000 per leg to the top five.

The leading point-getters will return on April 22 for the Finals.

With 40 horses nominated and $200,000 added to the purse by the track, the pool for the Levy final will start at $400,000, with it growing by $1,000 every time a horse races in one of the preliminary legs.

The Matchmaker final starts at $237,000 and grows by $800 for each horse that races.

Both races will offer a consolation on the same night as the final.