Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit spotlight will once again be on Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs this Saturday night (June 28) as the track will host four lucrative stakes finals in the $500,000 Ben Franklin for older pacers, the $500,000 Earl Beal Jr. Memorial for 3-year-old trotters, the $500,000 Max C. Hempt Memorial for 3-year-old pacers and the $300,000 James M. Lynch Memorial for 3-year-old filly pacers.
Mohawk will host a $40,000 (est.) leg of the Miss Versatility for older female trotters on Monday (June 30).
Last time: Last weekend’s Grand Circuit action opened up on Friday night (June 20) at Meadowlands Racetrack with a $50,000 TVG Free For All Trotting Series leg and Sebastian K scored another dominating win in 1:50.3, leaving an accomplished field in his wake.
|Sebastian K posted another dominating win in 1:50.3.|
Trainer-driver Ake Svanstedt sent his stable star away fast from post five and he had the front instantly, crossing over and taking up by the quarter in :27.3. Left alone on the lead, Svanstedt rated Sebastian K through a :56 half and 1:24.1 three panels before sprinting again with a 26.2 close to the mile. Archangel drafted along in the pocket and held the place while Market Share tried to advance on the outside from the half to no avail and stayed on for third.
This was his third win in as many tries since landing on U.S. soil for Sebastian K, owned by Knutsson Trotting, Inc. of Vero Beach, Fla.
Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs hosted 10 Grand Circuit races on Saturday, all eliminations for this week’s Sun Stakes Saturday card. Grabbing the headlines were the older pacers in the Ben Franklin eliminations.
The first of two $25,000 eliminations was billed as “Captaintreacherous vs. Foiled Again,” as the two-time defending Pacer of the Year squared off against the richest horse of all time for the first time in 2014. But nobody told Domethatagain.
Driven perfectly by Simon Allard, Domethatagain, a son of Bettor's Delight, rallied up the inside to just catch Captaintreacherous by the scantest of margins in 1:48, ahead of Bettor’s Edge, the game first-over Foiled Again, and fifth-placed Sunshine Beach, the faster of the Franklin fifth-place finishers and thus a Franklin finalist.
Track geometry was never proven more important as Domethatagain (post one), Bettor’s Edge (post two), and Captaintreacherous (post four) left in tandem, with Bettor’s Edge forced to retreat to the inside and Captaintreacherous forced to go up past the :26 opener to get the lead, posting splits of :53.2 and 1:21 as he resisted the raw bid of Foiled Again. Turning for home, Captaintreacherous seemed to have clear sailing, but Allard rallied Domethatagain up the Pocono Pike to just catch the favorite in the shadow of the wire, returning $60.20 to his scattered backers. Rene Allard conditions the upsetter for Allard Racing, Robert Hamather, and Bruce Soulsby.
|Curtis Salonick photo|
|Sweet Lou won his fourth straight race, scoring in a time of 1:47.4.|
In the second Franklin elim, Sweet Lou, who has been the most consistent free-for-all pacer lately, restored order to the handicapping universe as the 1-2 favorite by crushing his field in 1:47.4, equaling his life mark.
Sweet Lou tucked before the :26.4 quarter, then moved frontward and had reached the lead by the :54 half. The son of Yankee Cruiser smoked a :26.4 backside, then cruised home in :27 unurged by driver Ron Pierce to win by four lengths over earlier leader Bolt The Duer, Captive Audience, and Allstar Legend for the ownership of Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi, Larry Carr, and Phil Collura.
Complete recaps of the weekend races, including the other eight Pocono stakes eliminations, are available at the Grand Circuit website.
Grand Circuit Standings: In 2014, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again 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). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2014 Grand Circuit awards.
Here are the leaders following the past weekend.
Drivers: 1. Tim Tetrick – 354; 2. Yannick Gingras – 345; 3. Ron Pierce – 230; 4. Brian Sears – 170; 5. George Brennan – 164.5.
Trainers: 1. Ron Burke – 568.5; 2. Jimmy Takter – 250; 3. PJ Fraley – 189; 4. Joe Holloway – 137; 5. Julie Miller - 110.
Owners: 1. Bamond Racing – 146.5; 2. Burke Racing - 124.5; 3. Weaver Bruscemi – 114.5; 4. 3 Brothers Stable – 82; 5. Brad Grant – 49.5.
Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next weekend at Historic Track and Meadowlands Racetrack. Historic Track will host eight Landmark Stakes events for 2- and 3-year-olds on Friday (July 4). The Meadowlands will contest the $400,000 Meadowlands Maturity for trotters, along with eliminations for the Meadowlands Pace, William Haughton Memorial and Mistletoe Shalee on Saturday (July 5).