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International Trot, Red Mile stakes share Grand Circuit spotlight
Wednesday, October 07, 2015 - by Paul Ramlow, publicity director, The Grand Circuit

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This Week: Red Mile Grand Circuit, The Red Mile, Lexington, Ky. and International Trot, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y.

Schedule of events: The second week of Grand Circuit action at The Red Mile kicks off on Wednesday (Oct. 7) with four divisions in the $268,000 International Stallion Stake for 2-year-old filly trotters. The Thursday (Oct. 8) card features five divisions in the $264,000 International Stallion Stake for 2-year-old colt trotters. On Friday (Oct. 9) The Red Mile will host four divisions in the $272,000 International Stallion Stake for 2-year-old colt pacers and three splits in the $224,100 International Stallion Stake for 2-year-old filly pacers. On Saturday (Oct. 10), The Red Mile will offer the $527,000 Kentucky Futurity, the third leg of Trotting’s Triple Crown for 3-year-olds, the companion $262,500 Kentucky Filly Futurity for 3-year-old filly trotters, the $450,000 Tattersalls Pace for 3-year-old colt pacers, two divisions in the $232,000 Glen Garnsey Memorial for 3-year-old filly pacers, the $148,000 Allerage for open pacers, the $134,000 Allerage for open trotters, the $79,000 Allerage for older pacing mares and the $66,000 Allerage for older trotting mares.

Yonkers Raceway on Saturday afternoon (Oct. 10) will feature the $1 million International Trot for older trotters.

Complete entries for the races are available at this link.

Last time: Despite howling winds, at times reaching 30 miles per hour, as well as intermittent rain showers all day and night, the two Grand Circuit races at Hollywood Dayton Raceway this past Friday night (Oct. 2) produced track records on both the trot and pace. Native Ohioan and Hall of Fame driver David Miller was behind both winners.

Conrad photo
Il Sogno Dream, sent off at 14-1 odds, upset Shake It Cerry in the $135,750 Dayton Trotting Derby.

Il Sogno Dream upset favored Shake It Cerry (Yannick Gingras) in the $135,750 Dayton Trotting Derby, establishing a track record for 4-year-olds of 1:53.2.

In a post-race interview, Miller revealed that trainer Chris Beaver (also from Ohio) had told him the horse was in top form and "don't be afraid to race him aggressively."

Miller obliged with a first-over journey that resulted in racing over a half-mile side-by-side with odds-on favorite Shake It Cerry before pulling away in the final strides. Southwind Pepino (Hugh Beatty) garnered the show dough.

Il Sogno Dream's owners Bill and Dan Manes and Leonard and Randy Christopher benefited from Beaver and Miller's confidence as they were rewarded with their horse's 12th career win and one of his largest paydays.

Miller used a much different strategy in the $138,500 Dayton Pacing Derby, sending favored State Treasurer directly to the front and never looking back in an all-age track record 1:48.4 performance. Shamballa (Rick Zeron) raced gamely to finish second, with Let's Drink On It (Travis Seekman) next across the line.

The winning 6-year-old son of Real Desire now has nine seasonal wins, including the Graduate Series final and the U.S. Pacing Championship in addition to the Dayton Derby. Sally and Paul MacDonald own the sport's current top-rated older pacer and entrust his training to Dr. Ian Moore.

The opening week of Grand Circuit racing at The Red Mile featured many memorable moments. On a blustery, frigid Saturday (Oct. 3) evening, Mission Brief was simply dazzling in her $72,000 division of the Bluegrass Stake for 3-year-old filly trotters.

Sent off the deserving 1-9 favorite in the first race on the card, the superstar easily dispatched of her rivals by 4-3/4 lengths with regular pilot Yannick Gingras barely moving a muscle in the bike.

As is her custom, Mission Brief led her colleagues through a half-mile in :57.2 and three-quarters in 1:26.3. As she hit the top of the stretch, she began to place distance between herself and the other fillies. From there the outcome was never in doubt and the filly would be feted for her triumph in the winner’s circle. She paid $2.10 for the win and completed her mile in 1:54.4. Classical Annie trotted her heart out to come home second and Speak To Me came from far back to finish third.

The daughter of Muscle Hill and Southwind Serena is owned by Burke Racing Stable, Our Horse Cents Stables, J&T Silva Stables and Weaver Bruscemi. The second place finisher and elimination winner in the Hambletonian saw her seasonal record climb to 10-8-2-0, with earnings of $764,992.

Hambletonian Oaks winner Wild Honey did not trot as swiftly as Mission Brief but she collected the purse money for her $72,000 Bluegrass division with the same sort of ease. Sent off the 1-5 choice in the evening’s second race, the daughter of Cantab Hall and U Wanna Lindy began her journey from post position seven with the sport’s all-time winningest driver John Campbell at the lines. With Campbell not even asking for her best, the filly continued to roll down the homestretch and stopped the clock in 1:55.4 without any extensive exertion. Lilu Hanover at 71-1 closed from far back to get up for second and Lady Winona at 18-1 trotted very well to nab the show spot.

Wild Honey is owned by Christina Takter, John Fielding, Herb Liverman and Jim Fielding, and is trained by Christina’s husband Jimmy. Her seasonal record now improves to 12-5-5-0 with $685,432 in the bank and a lifetime mark of 1:52.2 set when she took the Hambletonian Oaks.

Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website.

Grand Circuit Standings: In 2015, 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 Farm is the sponsor for the 2015 Grand Circuit awards.

Here are the leaders following the past week’s action:

Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras – 1,131; 2. David Miller – 766.5; 3. Tim Tetrick – 749; 4. Brian Sears – 517; 5. Brett Miller – 441.

Trainers: 1. Ron Burke – 1,391; 2. Jimmy Takter – 1,033; 3. Tony Alagna – 432.5; 4. Jeff Bamond Jr. – 330; 5. Ake Svanstedt – 251.

Owners: 1. Burke Racing – 306.85; 2. Weaver Bruscemi – 271.15; 3. Bamond Racing – 265; 4. George Teague Jr. Inc. – 170; 5. Christina Takter – 166.25.

Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place next weekend at Woodbine Racetrack and Vernon Downs. Woodbine will host Breeders Crown eliminations for 2-year-old, 3-year-old and older horses of both sexes and gaits. Vernon will offer the Simpson Stakes for 2-year-olds of both sexes and gaits.

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