This Week: Kindergarten Series, The Red Mile, Lexington, Ky.; W.N. Reynolds Memorial, Tioga Downs, Nichols, N.Y; Canadian Trotting Classic final, William Wellwood Memorial final, Peaceful Way final and Milton Stake elimination, Mohawk Racetrack, Campbellville, Ontario.
Schedule of events: Grand Circuit action kicks off on Thursday (Sept. 12) at The Red Mile with four $10,000 divisions in the Kindergarten Series for 2-year-old filly trotters and three $10,000 divisions in the Kindergarten Series for 2-year-old colt trotters.
The Saturday (Sept. 14) program at Tioga Downs features two divisions in the $74,216 W.N. Reynolds Memorial for 2-year-old colt pacers and two divisions in the $70,016 W.N. Reynolds Memorial for 2-year-old filly pacers.
Grand Circuit action at Mohawk will be held on Saturday with the C$686,000 Canadian Trotting Classic final for 3-year-old open trotters, the C$374,000 Peaceful Way final for 2-year-old filly trotters, the C$365,000 William Wellwood Memorial for 2-year-old open trotters and a single C$35,000 elimination in the Milton Stake for older pacing mares.
Last time: The Grand Circuit spotlight was on Vernon Downs this past Friday with the Credit Winner for open trotters and the Muscle Hill for trotting mares. Intimidate captured the $214,000 Credit Winner with a 1:51 performance, the fastest mile by a trotter in the 60-year history of the track. D’Orsay powered to a 1:52 triumph to win the $202,000 Muscle Hill contest and become the swiftest 4-year-old trotting mare at Vernon.
|Intimidate captured the Credit Winner with a 1:51 performance, the fastest mile by a trotter in the 60-year history of Vernon Downs.|
Hall of Famer Ron Pierce did the teaming behind Intimidate in Friday’s Credit Winner, closing from fourth in a :27.4 final quarter to catch and defeat the game Sevruga by a half-length. The time trimmed a fifth of a second off the previous all-time track trotting mark, set by San Pail in 2011.
One race earlier, D’Orsay, competing as part of a two-trotter Jonas Czernyson stable entry, led early, caught a breather in second-place during the middle portion of the mile, and then rallied in the final stages of the contest to defeat the pacesetting Beatgoeson Hanover by three lengths.
Mohawk Racetrack had several Grand Circuit races during the week. Among the most noteworthy, Vegas Vacation, driven by Brian Sears, set a new Simcoe Stakes record of 1:48.3 for 3-year-old pacing males on Saturday (Sept. 7). Vegas Vacation received a perfect pocket trip behind Sunshine Beach through panels of :26.4, :55 and 1:22.2, before getting the better of Sunshine Beach in deep stretch en route to the victory. Sunfire Blue Chip finished third.
Also at Mohawk on Saturday, Your So Vain and Master Of Law won their respective $38,400 Canadian Trotting Classic eliminations. Your So Vain, with Scott Zeron, pulled off a major upset in the first elim, rallying from last to blow past the pacesetting Hambletonian winner and 2-5 favorite Royalty for Life near the wire to score by 1-1/4 lengths in 1:52.4. Smilin Eli was third, another length back. Master Of Law, also driven by Zeron, challenged the pacesetter Corky around the far turn and then prevailed in a stiff drive, holding off a late bid from Punxsutawney for the neck win in 1:53.4. Wheeling N Dealin was third, 1-3/4 lengths behind, while Corky faded to fourth.
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 – 964; 2. Tim Tetrick – 930; 3. David Miller - 607; 4. Brian Sears - 483.5; and 5. Andy Miller – 450.
Trainers: 1. Ron Burke – 993.5; 2. Jimmy Takter – 590.5; 3. Linda Toscano – 406.5; 4. Ray Schnittker – 234; and 5. Julie Miller – 229.
Owners: 1. Burke Racing – 219.15; 2. Weaver Bruscemi – 201.45; 3. Frank Bellino – 148.5; 4. Brittany Farms – 145.9; and 5. WJ Donovan – 128.25.
Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next week at the Delaware County Fair, Balmoral Park, The Red Mile, Mohawk Racetrack and Hoosier Park. Delaware will be hosting ten Grand Circuit events, led by the Little Brown Jug, the second leg of Pacing’s Triple Crown for 3-year-olds; Balmoral will race American-National events for 2-year-old colt and filly trotters; The Red Mile will feature another leg of the Kindergarten Series for 2-year-old colt and filly trotters; Mohawk will feature the final of the Milton Stake for pacing mares; and Hoosier will host the Kentuckiana Stallion Management for freshman filly pacers and the Pride In Progress for open trotters.