03/26/2015 1:02PM

Yonkers: Warrawee Needy in top form for Levy series

Sean Hamrock
Warrawee Needy has won four of seven starts in 2015.

When you race a stable year round as Mark Ford does, it’s hard to get too high or too low after any one performance. The racing world and Ford have been patiently waiting for world champion Warrawee Needy to return to the brilliant form he held as a two and three-year-old. Finally over the winter, the six-year-old son of E Dees Cam has shown up with more wins than losses on his card including his last victory, the most significant to date.

“He took advantage of everybody looking for an easy race,” said Ford in looking back on the 1:52 1/5 victory by Warrawee Needy in one of five divisions of the opening round of the George Morton Levy Series at Yonkers Raceway.

Warrawee Needy returns for second leg action on Saturday night with just four $50,000 divisions carded and the Ford trainee in the most contentious of the lot.

“I think he’s a better horse coming from off the pace,” said Ford. “I think this week he’s going to get a chance to race from behind.”

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Ford had obviously seen the draw that saddled Warrawee Needy with post seven, the furthest away from the rail from all of the contenders in the evening’s eighth race. Inside Warrawee Needy are two of last week’s opening leg winners, the import Polak A (post one) and Michaels Power (post five). Sandwiched between that pair is none other than Foiled Again (post two), a solid second in his seasonal debut for trainer Ron Burke and driver Yannick Gingras.

The struggles for Ford and Warrawee Needy have been long and hard and the trainer is hoping a more consistent horse has finally emerged. “He’s had throat issues his entire career,” said Ford. “Dr. Ducharme at Cornell operated on him last August and I have to give him 90 percent of the credit for helping to turn the horse around.”

Perhaps the other 10 percent Ford issued to the horse’s regular pilot. “I think Mark (MacDonald) understands this horse and knows how to race him.”

In seven starts this year, Warrawee Needy has won four times and finished second on one occasion. He’s nearly doubled his earnings from a year ago and obviously has plenty of big money ahead.

What’s interesting about Warrawee Needy this year is his success over the half mile track. “When I got him he really wasn’t that good on the half-miler,” said Ford, “But now the older he’s gotten the more manageable he is around the turns.”

While there’s still plenty of time left in the Levy before the rich final, this week’s second round may begin to shed some light on the stars of 2015. Polak A was the fastest of the five Levy division winners last week pacing to a 1:52 mile in his first pari-mutuel start on the continent. The Tony O’Sullivan-trained seven-year-old loses Gingras this week, but picks up Brian Sears and again has the pole position to his advantage.

Foiled Again got the front in week one but just couldn’t hold off the charge of last year’s champion P H Supercam in his 2015 debut. Gingras may have a difficult time sprinting around Polak A, but there’s no doubt Foiled Again will make his presence felt in this division.

Michaels Power and the red-hot Dan Dube, put in what had to be as impressive a mile as there was in the opening round. Much like Warrawee Needy, this six-year-old appears to have found his form this year for trainer Mark Silva. The 2012 Little Brown Jug winner didn’t clear the lead until late on the second turn after getting parked through a 26 2/5 opening quarter. He then took on severe third quarter pressure but refused to buckle in the homestretch. Jeffrey Snyder owns and bred the son of Camluck.

The Levy divisions are carded as races seven through ten. P H Supercam has post four looking for back-to-back leg victories in the seventh race $50,000 division. Clear Vision (post five) makes his second start of the campaign in this division and appears to be a main contender.

Mach It So (post five) was trapped in too long and cleared late to finish third in opening round action. Tim Tetrick hopes to find the winner’s circle in race nine’s third division.

Dancin Yankee will look to improve upon his third-place finish in last week’s debut. Brett Miller guides the veteran from the pole in the tenth race final division.

First post for Yonkers Raceway’s 12-race program is 7:10 p.m.