This Week: Metro final, Canadian Pacing Derby final, She’s A Great Lady final, Champlain Stakes and Simcoe Stakes, Mohawk Racetrack, Campbellville, Ontario; Cane Pace and Shady Daisy, Tioga Downs, Nichols, N.Y.; and Historic Series, Harrah’s Philadelphia, Chester, Pa.
Schedule of events: Grand Circuit action kicks off on Thursday (Aug. 29) at Mohawk Racetrack with three divisions in the C$271,581 Champlain Stakes for 2-year-old filly trotters. The Friday (Aug. 30) card at Mohawk features three divisions in the C$271,593 Champlain Stakes for 2-year-old colt trotters. The big Saturday (Aug. 31) program is highlighted by the C$683,000 Metro final for 2-year-old colt pacers, the C$651,000 Canadian Pacing Derby final for open pacers, the C$451,000 She’s A Great Lady final for 2-year-old filly pacers and two divisions in the C$243,474 Simcoe Stakes for 3-year-old colt trotters. The Monday (Sept. 2) Mohawk program features the C$205,000 (est.) Simcoe Stakes for 3-year-old filly pacers and the C$205,000 (est.) Simcoe Stakes for 3-year-old filly trotters.
Grand Circuit action heads to Pennsylvania on Friday (Aug. 30) at Harrah’s Philadelphia with three divisions in the $99,323 Historic-Goshen Cup for 2-year-old colt pacers and two divisions in the $86,124 Historic–Debutante for 2-year-old filly pacers.
On Monday (Sept. 2), Tioga Downs will host a pair of Grand Circuit events, led by the $360,212 Cane Pace, the first leg of the Pacing Triple Crown for 3-year-olds. Tioga will also feature the $100,000 (est.) Shady Daisy for 3-year-old filly pacers.
Last time: The Grand Circuit spotlight was on Vernon Downs this past Sunday with Zweig Memorial races for 3-year-old trotters.
|Royalty For Life was a 1:53.1 winner in the Zweig Memorial.|
Hambletonian champion Royalty For Life came up big again by capturing the $360,000 Zweig Memorial for 3-year-old colt and gelding trotters in 1:53.1.
Leaving from the outside number nine post, Royalty For Life went right to the front for driver Brian Sears and cut soft fractions of :27.1, :58 and 1:26 without any serious challenges from his eight top-shelf competitors. Then, when Corky came calling entering the final furlong, the powerful 3-year-old colt shifted into another gear and spurted to a 1-1/2 length triumph. Pine Credit was third.
It marked the fifth victory in nine season’s starts for the bay son of RC Royalty-Bourbon ‘N Grits, who has earned $874,850 this season. The lion’s share of the purse increased his career winnings to more than $1.2 million for trainer George Ducharme and owners Alfred Ross, Raymond Campbell, Jr. and Paul Fontaine.
Mistery Woman won the $150,000 Zweig Memorial Filly Trot in 1:52.1. Mistery Woman started cautiously for driver David Miller, remaining in fifth place to the half, timed in :55.3. The bay sophomore daughter of Donato Hanover-My Dolly’s Dream rallied on the outside from there, advancing to fourth entering the last quarter and cranking out a :28 final split to defeat entrymate Shared Past by one length. Frau Blucher was third.
Sunday’s career-best score improved the steady-striding filly’s current summary line to 3-2-3 after 10 trips to the track and hiked her career winnings to $329,200 after 15 lifetime starts for trainer Jonas Czernyson and owners Misty Miller, William Donovan, Millstream Inc. and Aldebaran Park.
Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website.
Grand Circuit Standings: In 2013, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Hanover Shoe Farms is the sponsor for the 2013 Grand Circuit awards.
Here are the leaders following the past weekend:
Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras – 894; 2. Tim Tetrick – 778; 3. David Miller - 552; 4. Brian Sears – 428.5; and 5. Andy Miller – 405.
Trainers: 1. Ron Burke – 958.5; 2. Jimmy Takter – 530.5; 3. Linda Toscano – 376.5; 4. Ray Schnittker – 224; and 5. Jonas Czernyson – 203.5.
Owners: 1. Burke Racing – 212.45; 2. Weaver Bruscemi – 197.25; 3. Frank Bellino – 128.5; 4.WJ Donovan – 118.25; and 5. Brittany Farms – 117.85.
Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next week at Vernon Downs and Mohawk Racetrack. Vernon will host the Credit Winner for open trotters, the Muscle Hill for trotting mares and Reynolds Memorial events for 2-year-old trotters. Mohawk will offer the Simcoe Stakes for 3-year-old colt pacers, Champlain Stakes for 3-year-old colt and filly pacers and eliminations for the Canadian Trotting Classic for 3-year-olds and William Wellwood and Peaceful Way for 2-year-olds.