Schedule of events: An extremely busy week of Grand Circuit action kicks off on Monday (Aug. 11) at the Illinois State Fair with the $35,900 Review Stake for 2-year-old trotters, the $21,450 Review Stake for 2-year-old colt pacers and the $18,800 Review Stake for 2-year-old filly pacers. The Tuesday (Aug. 12) program features the $30,500 Review Stake for 3-year-old pacers and the $28,600 Review Stake for 3-year-old trotters.
The Indiana State Fair will host one day of Grand Circuit racing on Wednesday (Aug. 13) with the feature being the $55,462 Fox Stake for 2-year-old colt pacers. The co-featured event is the $36,080 Ralph Wilfong for 2-year-old colt trotters. The Hoosier Stakes for 2-year-olds will see two divisions each in the $26,920 2-year-old colt pace, the $26,632 2-year-old filly pace, the $25,928 2-year-old filly trot and the $22,404 2-year-old colt trot. The Horseman Stakes for 3-year-olds features single divisions in the $36,028 3-year-old colt pace, the $33,664 3-year-old filly pace, the $32,728 3-year-old filly trot and the $32,156 3-year-old colt trot.
Then on Friday (Aug. 15), Northfield Park will host the $400,000 (est.) Carl Milstein Memorial for 3-year-old colt pacers and a $100,000 (est.) consolation in the same event.
Red Shores Racetrack & Casino will host the C$60,000 (est.) Gold Cup and Saucer final for older pacers on Saturday (Aug. 16) and a C$20,000 (est.) consolation on Friday (Aug. 15).
Also on Saturday, Saratoga Casino and Raceway will feature the $260,000 Joe Gerrity for open pacers and Mohawk Racetrack will contest the C$245,000 (est.) Nassagaweya for 2-year-old colt pacers and the C$215,000 (est.) Eternal Camnation for 2-year-old filly pacers.
Grand Circuit action concludes on Sunday (Aug. 17) at Tioga Downs with Tompkins-Geers stakes for 3-year-olds of both sexes and gaits, as well as the 2-year-old colt and filly trotters. These events carry purses estimated from $53,000 for the 3-year-old filly pacers to $85,000 for the freshman colt trotters.
Last time: Sweet Lou, driven by Ron Pierce, paced the fastest mile in Hoosier Park history with a 1:47.2 score in the $250,000 Dan Patch Invitational on Friday (Aug. 8).
|Sweet Lou defeated stablemate Bettor's Edge in 1:47.2 in the Dan Patch.|
In a talented group of nine, Pierce sent Sweet Lou away from the gate firing, but stablemate Bettor’s Edge and Ricky Macomber Jr. were quickest off the car and reached the opening panel in a speedy :25. Carol’s Comet and Aaron Merriman were well-placed in the pocket second with the 1-5 favorite, Sweet Lou, next in line in third.
Pierce, sensing the outer flow starting to form, gave Sweet Lou the green light and he easily reached the front at the second station in a blazing :52.4.
Heston Blue Chip and Corey Callahan had the daunting task of beginning the first-over charge down the backside and had reached the leader’s wheel at the three-quarter mark in 1:20.1. With the torrid pace taking its toll, Bettor’s Edge and Sweet Lou settled into a match race and paced away from the rest of the field.
Using a :27.1 final panel, Sweet Lou was able to hold off his stablemate by a half-length to score his ninth win of the season and first Dan Patch Invitational win. Bettor’s Edge was a game second while Carol’s Comet finished third as the longest shot on the board at 53-1. Sweet Lou returned $2.40 to his backers at the window.
Trained by Ron Burke, Sweet Lou won for the 31st time in 67 lifetime starts for owners Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, Larry Karr, and Phil Collura. The victory pushed his career earnings over $3 million to $3,033,961. The 5-year-old has now paced a record six consecutive winning miles under 1:48.
Complete recaps of all the 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 – 646; 2. Tim Tetrick – 502; 3. Ron Pierce – 369; 4. David Miller – 290; 5. Brian Sears – 245.
Trainers: 1. Ron Burke – 1,016.5; 2. Jimmy Takter – 529; 3. PJ Fraley – 204; 4. Ray Schnittker - 189; 5. Ake Svanstedt – 172.
Owners: 1. Burke Racing - 233.05; 2. Weaver Bruscemi – 211.8; 3. Bamond Racing – 156.5; 4. 3 Brothers Stable – 112; 5. Knutsson Trotting – 105.
Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next week at Mohawk Racetrack and Tioga Downs. Mohawk Racetrack with contest eliminations in the Canadian Pacing Derby for older pacers, the Metro for 2-year-old colt pacers and the She’s A Great Lady for 2-year-old filly pacers on Saturday (Aug. 23). The Sunday (Aug. 24) card at Tioga Downs will offer eliminations for the Cane Pace for 3-year-olds and the second leg of the Kindergarten for 2-year-old colt and filly trotters.