This Week: The Carl Erskine, Monument Circle, Hoosier Park Pacing Derby, Elevation and Circle City, Hoosier Park, Anderson, Ind.; John Simpson Stakes, Vernon Downs, Vernon, N.Y; Messenger and Lady Maud finals, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y.; and American-National eliminations, Balmoral Park, Crete, Ill.
Schedule of events: Hoosier Park will host a monster Grand Circuit card on Friday (Nov. 1) featuring the $286,500 Carl Erskine (formerly the Oliver Trot) for 3-year-old trotters, the $250,000 Monument Circle for 3-year-old pacers, the $223,500 Hoosier Park Pacing Derby (formerly the Indiana Pacing Derby) for free for all pacers, the $157,100 Elevation for 2-year-old colt pacers, two divisions of the $80,600 Circle City for 3-year-old filly trotters and two divisions of the $65,600 Circle City for 3-year-old filly pacers.
Vernon Downs will host four John Simpson Stakes events for 2-year-olds on Friday. There will be two divisions in the $26,542 Simpson for 2-year-old colt trotters and single divisions in the $25,716 2-year-old filly trot, $25,341 2-year-old colt pace and $24,516 2-year-old filly pace.
Yonkers Raceway on Saturday (Nov. 2) will host the $450,000 Messenger Stake final, the third and final leg of Pacing’s Triple Crown for 3-year-olds. The companion Lady Maud for 3-year-old pacing fillies will carry a purse of $178,684.
Balmoral Park will host a pair of Grand Circuit stakes events on Saturday with American-National eliminations for 2-year-old colt and filly pacers.
Complete entries for the races are available at this link.
Last time: The Kindergarten Classic Series finals for 2-year-old male and female trotters were contested on Friday night (Oct. 25) at Vernon Downs. Southwind Spirit was a winner in the $217,500 contest for the boys while Goddess captured the $206,000 finale for the girls.
|Southwind Spirit (Yannick Gingras) was a wire-to-wire winner in the Kindergarten male final, scoring in a time of 1:55.|
Southwind Spirit (Yannick Gingras) was a wire-to-wire winner in the male final, scoring in a time of 1:55 over a track rated "good." Owned by Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi and Stable 45, Southwind Spirit is a son of Muscle Hill-Spice On Ice. The win was his sixth in 12 trips to the post, with his share of the purse lifting his 2013 bankroll to $310,925.
In the $206,000 filly division of the Kindergarten, Goddess and driver John Campbell reclaimed the lead heading to the three-quarter pole and drew off in the stretch for a 1:56.3 victory. The winner is a daughter of Donato Hanover-Macaria Hanover, owned by Kelley Racing Stable, Joe Sbrocco and William Weaver III. The $110,000 yearling posted her fourth win in 11 season's starts, improving her earnings to $155,825.
Hoosier Park continued the Grand Circuit stakes action with an exciting 14-race card on Saturday (Oct. 26). In its 20th season of live harness racing, Hoosier Park hosted divisions of the Madison County and Circle City Stakes for 2- and 3-year-olds for the first time ever.
Among the dozen Grand Circuit races contested were three $31,000-plus splits of the Circle City Stakes for 3-year-old trotting colts and it was King Mufasa who reigned supreme with a 1:56.3 romp in his contest. With Hall of Famer Dave Palone in the sulky, King Mufasa extended his win streak to five in his Hoosier Park debut. Sired by Powerful Emotion, King Mufasa is trained by Mike Brink and owned by Mystical Marker Farms and H.W. Wright.
Saturday night also saw Yonkers Raceway host eliminations for both the Messenger Stakes and its companion event, Lady Maud Pace. Ten 3-year-olds tried the Messenger, while 14 sophomore ladies went at in the Lady Maud.
Sunfire Blue Chip and Lucan Hanover were the winners in the Messenger eliminations, while Charisma Hanover and Scandalous Hanover were victorious in the Lady Maud eliminations.
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 – 1,605; 2. Tim Tetrick – 1,400; 3. David Miller – 1,003; 4. Brian Sears - 654.5; and 5. Ron Pierce – 632.5.
Trainers: 1. Ron Burke – 1,524.5; 2. Jimmy Takter – 1,076.5; 3. Linda Toscano – 468.5; 4. Jonas Czernyson – 417.5; and 5. Tony Alagna – 401.
Owners: 1. Burke Racing – 343.1; 2. Weaver Bruscemi – 321.15; 3. Brittany Farms – 235.1; 4. Frank Bellino – 228.5; and 5. WJ Donovan – 222.75.
Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place next weekend at Balmoral Park and Dover Downs. Balmoral will host a total of eight American-National events for 2-year-old colt and filly pacers, 3-year-olds of both sexes and gaits and older pacers and trotters. Dover will host eight sets of Matron Stake eliminations for 2- and 3-year-olds of both sexes and gaits.