04/22/2012 8:46AM

Yonkers: Real Nice completes 5 for 5 showing in Levy series

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Tom Berg
REal Nice paces the mile in 1:52 2/5 to win the fifth leg of the George Morton Levy series at Yonkers.

The connections of Real Nice could have taken the easy way out of Saturday’s fifth and final preliminary leg of the George Morton Levy series at Yonkers Raceway. Instead they elected to take the hard way in and were rewarded.

That’s because last year’s final winner managed to make it through the grueling series with an unblemished 5-for-5 record, no small feat. Real Nice did so, as has been his pattern, with instant acceleration at the start and outright determination at the finish. Regular pilot Jason Bartlett had to deal with two-leg winner Strand Hanover at his back the entire mile and for a moment in early stretch that rival seemed to have Real Nice in his sights. But Real Nice responded to the whip kindly scoring in 1:52 2/5, tied for the slowest of the four $50,000 divisions.

Only one of the other three leg winners will advance to the final. Art Z earned his spot with a kindly-rated 1:52 2/5 score holding off finalists Fitz’s Z Tam and Atochia (fourth) along the way. Brett Miller has been on board for all three victories in the series.

The two fastest Levy miles of the night went to horses that will not be contesting the $455,000 final on Saturday. Brian Sears made the correct choice in opting off rail-starting Flipper J for a post 7 starting spot behind Razzle Dazzle. A 5-year-old by Real Desire, Razzle Dazzle went a bruising trip, leaving for an early spot and then braving it without cover. Razzle Dazzle, winless in three Levy legs,  overpowered Flipper J denying that rival a spot in the final in a wicked 1:51 1/5 mile.

The victory placed Razzle Dazzle in a tie for the last available spot in the $100,000 consolation. According to series rules, the point total tie between Razzle Dazzle and Power of Tiara will be settled via a drawing by lot unless one of the top 17 point earners elects not to drop in the entry box on Tuesday.

Driver Cat Manzi got the most out of Valentino in the other Levy leg. The 5-year-old Valentino made a regaining move at the quarter and never looked back losing his rivals in a stunning 1:51 clocking that was one-fifth of a second off the track record. It was .just the first victory in seven starts this year for Valentino, a son of Rocknroll Hanover.

With the preliminary rounds in the books the eight point leaders for the Levy are Real Nice (375), Art Z (312), Foiled Again (275), Fitz’s Z Tam (270), Strand Hanover (263), Atochia (258), Nob Hill High (245), and Blatantly Good (242). All eight must declare by 4 p.m. on Tuesday for the final and consolation, with the race office limiting stables to two spots.

Sizzling final half-mile in Blue Chip Matchmaker

The Yonkers half-mile oval was as fast as ever on Friday night. In the storied racetrack’s history there has never been a final half-mile paced faster than in one $40,000 leg of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series. Krispy Apple got away to a lethargic 1:00 2/5 opening half. Surprisingly, she survived windburn on the third turn when Western Silk made one of the most electrifying sprints to blow by the leader. George Brennan engineered the move that had his mare on the lead past the three-quarter pole in 1:27 flat. From there the impressive sprint continued with Krispy Apple regaining her composure and securing the victory in 1:53 4/5. The final half was a jaw-dropping 53 2/5.

Billmar Scooter converted a pocket trip to a spot in this Saturday’s $297,000 final with Eric Goodell urging the 4-1 shot past pacesetting Mystical Diva. The favorite Chancey Lady finished third while not putting forth her best performance in the 1:52 2/5 mile.

See You At Peelers continued to shine for trainer Jimmy Takter and driver Brian Sears scoring in 1:53 3/5. She’s a perfect 9-for-9 racing at Yonkers during her impeccable career. A New York-bred daughter of Bettors Delight, See You At Peelers is already a conqueror of males in last year’s Art Rooney at Yonkers. She will have her first chance to beat all of the top mares in Saturday’s final.

Rocklamation will be in that group after her easy 1:52 3/5 score in the last Matchmaker division. Her stablemate Ginger And Fred was not among the top eight point earners but could earn a berth in the final, since trainer PJ Fraley can only enter two of his three top eight performers.

The final point leaders for the Blue Chip Matchmaker are: Rocklamation (325), Anndrovette (295), See You At Peelers (279.5), Chancey Lady (274.5), Western Silk (250), Krispy Apple (247), Billmar Scooter (237), and Fox Valley Sage (237).