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Real Nice upsets in Levy; Foiled Again third

April 30, 2011

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Real Nice (George Brennan) was all that and more Saturday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $495,000 final of the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series in 1:51.2.
The 24th (and richest-ever) Levy for free-for-allers began with Real Nice swooping to the lead from post  position five. He was in command well before the :26.4 opening quarter-mile. This Is Wyatt (Eric Goodell) was pocket-protecting, with Gallant Yankee (Tim Tetrick) away third and two-time defending series champ Foiled Again (Yannick Gingras) floating in for a four hole.
Real Nice gave himself a bit of a breather (:28.4) with a :55.3 intermission before Gallant Yankee moved from third. That one prompted a :27.2 backside (1:23 three-quarters), with Foiled Again--the stronger half of the 3-4 favored entry--ambling up from second-up.
Real Nice worked from a length-and-a-half lead into the lane. Pocket-sitting "Wyatt" came up empty, Foiled Again kept challenging, and a way-out-wide Giddy Up Lucky (Dan Dube) was showing up late as the 31-1 rank outsider.
In end, it was a real tough Real Nice hanging tough to earn the win by a neck. Giddy Up Lucky snapped second with Foiled Again third and Gallant Yankee fourth.
For Real Nice, a 6-year-old Real Artist gelding trained by Rich Banca for co-owners Beverly and Gary Paganelli and Anthony Scussel, he returned $20.80 (fourth choice) for his sixth win in 10 seasonal efforts (earnings in excess of $341,000). The exacta paid $244, with the triple returning $892.
"His game is speed," Brennan said. "He drew poorly in the first two legs and had no shot. He won the next two week (from the inside and the six-hole), and even though he was beaten last week, he raced well.
"Tonight, I knew I'd have to pay a price to get the lead, and when I saw Gallant Yankee moving, I couldn't have him smothering me, so I picked it up again. He was just incredibly game tonight. Rich (Banca) had him on his toes."
A $100,000 series consolation was won by Mr. Massimo (Brennan, $9) in 1:51.2. (Yonkers)
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