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International Trot in Grand Circuit spotlight
Wednesday, October 12, 2016 - by Paul Ramlow, publicity director, the Grand Circuit

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This Week: Yonkers International Trot, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y.; and John Simpson Stakes, Harrah’s Philadelphia, Chester, Pa.

Schedule of events: This week’s marquee event on the Grand Circuit is the $1 million Yonkers International Trot, which will be held on Saturday (Oct. 15) at Yonkers Raceway. A field of 10 top trotters will head to the gate in the Yonkers International.

Also on tap this week will be the John Simpson Stakes at Harrah’s Philadelphia. Trotters will be in the spotlight on Friday (Oct. 14) with two $40,000 divisions for both the 3-year-old colts and 3-year-old fillies. The Sunday (Oct. 16) card will feature the $47,000 (est.) 3-year-old colt pace and the $40,000 (est.) 3-year-old filly pace.

Complete entries for the races are available at this link.

Last time: Scott Zeron had no game plan when it came to driving Marion Marauder in this past Sunday’s Kentucky Futurity.

USTA/Mark Hall photo
Marion Marauder became the ninth horse to win the Trotting Triple Crown and first since Glidemaster in 2006.

It turned out to be a winning strategy.

Starting from the second tier’s post No. 11, with the Trotting Triple Crown on the line, Zeron and Marion Marauder worked out a trip that saw the duo emerge from behind horses in the stretch to chase down rivals Bar Hopping and Southwind Frank and win the $431,000 Kentucky Futurity by a head in 1:52.3. Southwind Frank finished second and Bar Hopping was third.

Marion Marauder, who became the ninth horse to win the Trotting Triple Crown and first since Glidemaster in 2006, won the Hambletonian -- the Crown’s first jewel -- by a nose over Southwind Frank. He won the second jewel, the Yonkers Trot, by a head over Smalltownthrowdown.

Marion Marauder raced on the outside for the entire mile and was no better than seventh place through three-quarters of the race. He followed 9-5 favorite Bar Hopping, who started in the second tier’s post No. 12 in the 12-horse field, in the outer flow and those two eventually drafted behind the cover of second-over Southwind Frank.

As the field made its way down the stretch, horses fanned six wide across the track with the focus on Southwind Frank, Bar Hopping and the late-charging Marion Marauder, who trotted the last quarter-mile in :26.4.

Marion Marauder has won 10 of 13 races this year and earned $1.47 million for owners Marion Jean Wellwood, who is trainer Paula Wellwood’s mother, and Devin Keeling, who is the son of the trainer. Marion Marauder is a son of stallion Muscle Hill, the 2009 Horse of the Year, out of the Nova Award-winning mare Spellbound Hanover.

Making his move for the top midway down the backstretch, Always B Miki set fast fractions before driver David Miller implored him through the stretch, advancing to win the $138,000 Allerage Farms Open Pace in an all-time record mile of 1:46 on Sunday at The Red Mile.

Always B Miki broke the old world record of 1:46.1, set by Cambest in a time trial at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield in 1993. The previous race mark of 1:46.4 was shared by four horses -- Holborn Hanover, Somebeachsomewhere, Warrawee Needy and He's Watching.

Always B Miki got away third as Shamballa was sent to the lead through a :26.1 opening quarter. David Miller showed Always B Miki the whip and he rushed first over to claim command to the half, timed in :52.2. He continued his sprint around the far turn, passing three-quarters in 1:19.4 before being chased home by Shamballa and All Bets Off in the stretch.

A 5-year-old horse by Always A Virgin out of the Artsplace mare Artstopper, Always B Miki won his 27th race in 50 career starts, earning $2,296,368 for owners Bluewood Stable, Roll The Dice Stable and Christina Takter. He is trained by Jimmy Takter.

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

Grand Circuit Standings: In 2016, 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 2016 Grand Circuit awards.

Here are the current leaders:

Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras – 1,246.5; 2. David Miller – 985; 3. Tim Tetrick – 948.5; 4. Brett Miller – 492.5; 5. Scott Zeron – 471.5.

Trainers: 1. Jimmy Takter – 1,157.5; 2. Ron Burke – 1,093.5; 3. Tony Alagna – 492; 4. Ake Svanstedt – 411; 5. Julie Miller – 335.

Owners: 1. Burke Racing Stable – 245.37; 2. Marvin Katz – 226.75; 3. Weaver Bruscemi – 208.02; 4. Tom Hill – 184; 5. Al Libfeld – 178.75.

Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place next weekend at Meadowlands Racetrack with Breeders Crown eliminations set to take place on Friday (Oct. 21) and Saturday (Oct. 22).

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