Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit schedule gets underway on Friday afternoon (July 4) at Historic Track with a total of nine Landmark Stakes events for 2- and 3-year-olds of both sexes and gaits. On Saturday (July 5), the Meadowlands has the $484,850 Hambletonian Maturity for 4-year-old trotters, a pair of $50,000 Meadowlands Pace eliminations for 3-year-old pacers and a lone $25,000 elimination in the Mistletoe Shalee for 3-year-old filly pacers.
Complete entries are available at this link.
Last time: Last weekend’s Grand Circuit action was led by the Sun Stakes Saturday card at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs.
Sebastian K opened the featured portion of Sun Stakes Saturday with the fastest trotting mile in history and McWicked, Sweet Lou, and Father Patrick followed by putting their names into the record book with stakes victories.
Sebastian K won the Sun Invitational for older trotters in 1:49, setting the tone for a fast night of world-record efforts. McWicked captured the $500,000 Max C. Hempt Memorial for 3-year-old pacers in 1:47.3, Sweet Lou won the $500,000 Ben Franklin Pace for older pacers in 1:47 and Father Patrick closed the stakes portion of the card with a 1:50.2 triumph in the $500,000 Earl Beal Jr. Memorial for 3-year-old trotters. Fancy Desire won the $300,000 James M. Lynch Memorial for 3-year-old female pacers in 1:49.2, which equaled the stakes record.
|Curtis Salonick photo|
|Sweet Lou captured the Ben Franklin Pace by a neck over stablemate Bettor’s Edge in a world record time of 1:47.|
Sweet Lou extended his win streak to five by capturing the Ben Franklin Pace by a neck over stablemate Bettor’s Edge in 1:47, which broke the previous world record of 1:47.2 for the fastest ever by a pacer on a five-eighths-mile track. Foiled Again was third as trainer Ron Burke swept the top three spots.
Father Patrick made a 1:50.2 mile look easy, as he was all alone at the wire to win the $500,000 Earl Beal Jr. Memorial Trot. The mile was a world record for 3-year-old trotting colts on a five-eighths-mile track and it was one-fifth of a second off the all size world record. Father Patrick was alone at the wire, finishing the mile in front by 2-3/4 lengths. Nuncio was second and Datsyuk third.
McWicked was McBest in winning the $500,000 Max C. Hempt Memorial in 1:47.3, a world record for 3-year-old pacing colts on a five-eighths-mile track. At Press Time made a mild rally in the stretch, but it was not enough to get past McWicked, who won by 2-1/4 lengths. At Press Time was second and All Bets Off was third.
Fancy Desire and driver George Napolitano Jr. grabbed the lead early and held off Sayitall BB by a head to win the Lynch Memorial in 1:49.2. Uffizi Hanover finished third.
Complete recaps of the weekend races 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. Yannick Gingras – 390; 2. Tim Tetrick – 364; 3. Ron Pierce – 250; 4. Brian Sears – 170; 5. George Brennan – 164.5.
Trainers: 1. Ron Burke – 628.5; 2. Jimmy Takter – 285; 3. PJ Fraley – 189; 4. Joe Holloway – 137; 5. Julie Miller - 110.
Owners: 1. Bamond Racing – 146.5; 2. Burke Racing - 145.75; 3. Weaver Bruscemi – 134.5; 4. 3 Brothers Stable – 82; 5. Father Patrick Stable – 50.
Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next weekend at the Meadowlands, Mohawk Racetrack, Balmoral Park and Yonkers Raceway. Action begins on Friday at the Meadowlands with the third leg of the Miss Versatility for older trotting mares and at Mohawk with eliminations in the Maple Leaf Trot for older open class trotters. The power-packed Saturday card at the Meadowlands features the Meadowlands Pace final for 3-year-olds, the William Haughton Memorial for free for all pacers, the Mistletoe Shalee final for 3-year-old filly pacers, the Stanley Dancer for 3-year-old male trotters, the Delvin Miller for 3-year-old filly trotters, the Golden Girls for open pacing mares, and a leg of the TVG Series for open trotters. Also holding Grand Circuit Stakes on Saturday will be Balmoral Park (Hanover events for 3-year-old colt pacers and 3-year-old filly pacers) and Yonkers Raceway (Sheppard eliminations for freshman pacers).