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Matron 3-year-old races open this weekend's Grand Circuit stakes
Wednesday, November 09, 2016 - by Paul Ramlow, publicity director, the Grand Circuit

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This Week: Matron Stakes, Dover Downs, Dover, Del.; TVG Series finals, Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, N.J.; and Fall Four eliminations, Woodbine Racetrack, Toronto, Ont.

Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit returns to Dover Downs this Thursday (Nov. 10) for four Matron Stakes for 3-year-olds of both sexes and gaits. The 3-year-old colt trot carries a purse of $178,650, the 3-year-old colt pacers will race for $160,200, the purse for the 3-year-old filly trot is $149,000 and the 3-year-old filly pacers will race for $148,400.

The Saturday (Nov. 12) card at Meadowlands Racetrack features the four TVG Series finals for older pacers and trotters. The older horse pace and older horse trot each carry a purse of $400,000, while the older mare pacers and older mare trotters will race for $200,000 each.

On Friday night (Nov. 11) Woodbine Racetrack will host eliminations in two of the Fall Four events for pacers and trotters. There will be a pair of C$25,000 eliminations in the Valley Victory for 2-year-old male trotters and the Three Diamonds for 2-year-old filly pacers. Eliminations were not required for the Governor’s Cup for 2-year-old male pacers and the Goldsmith Maid for 2-year-old filly trotters.

Complete entries for the U.S. races are available at this link, while the Woodbine races are available at this link.

Last time: Fresh off a win in the $500,000 Breeders Crown final for 3-year-old trotting colts, Bar Hopping was back in the spotlight as he ventured to Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Friday (Nov. 4) to turn in a dominant performance and take home top honors in the featured event of the evening on a stakes filled card, the $220,000 Carl Erskine Trot for 3-year-old trotting colts.

Linscott Photography
Bar Hopping and Tim Tetrick established a new track record in the $220,000 Carl Erskine Trot.

With Tim Tetrick in the bike, Bar Hopping staged a big rally late in the lane to hold off all rivals in 1:53.4 and establish a new track record in the process. The previous track record for 3-year-old trotting colts was a 1:54.3 mark established by Creatine and David Miller in the 2013 edition of the Carl Erskine Trot.

Leaving from post two in a talented field of 10, Bar Hopping left alertly but Andy Miller had Sutton firing off the gate from post three to grab the early lead through the opening panel in :27.1. Bar Hopping was content to sit in the pocket while Bridge To Jesse’s and John DeLong were next in line third. Dayson and Yannick Gingras were unable to find a spot along the rail and pressed on to the lead to reach the front just before the half in :56.2.

Dayson continued to call the shots at the three-quarter clocking in 1:26.2 but Tetrick had Bar Hopping on the attack first-over. As the field turned for home, the stage was set for a battle to the wire. Tetrick asked his mount for more and Bar Hopping utilized a :27 final quarter to get the win by a quarter-length over a game Dayson. Sutton held on for third place honors. As the 1-5 heavy betting favorite, Bar Hopping returned $2.60 at the betting windows.

Trained by Jimmy Takter, the millionaire trotter has now won nine of 18 seasonal starts while bankrolling $1,171,795 in purse earnings. The Muscle Hill-Cocktail Hour colt recorded his third consecutive victory and tenth lifetime win for his connections of Christina Takter, Hatfield Stables, Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld.

Breeders Crown champions Walner ($2.10) and Someomensomewhere ($2.80) came back to capture their Kindergarten Classic Series finals with flair on Saturday (Nov. 5) evening at The Meadowlands.

In the $200,600 Kindergarten final for 2-year-old trotting colts and geldings, the impressive Walner used the first seven-sixteenths of the mile to work clear, striding clear of Limerence (Åke Svanstedt) just before completing a :55.4 half-mile. The son of Chapter Seven and Random Destiny would go on to hold off a first-over challenge from his stablemate Eastern Promise (John Campbell) on the far turn before accelerating away from the field at Tim Tetrick’s first asking. Walner amassed seven lengths of clearance over Simply Volo (Corey Callahan), who rallied off third-over cover to take second. Fly On (Andy Miller) hooked wide from around a wall of horses to save third.

Walner’s 1:53.2 mile earned him a seventh career win in eight starts for owner Kenneth Jacobs and trainer Linda Toscano.

Someomensomewhere narrowly prevailed in the $149,100 Kindergarten final for 2-year-old pacing fillies, just reaching up to collar Caviart Ally at the end of a 1:51.2 mile.

Marcus Miller settled the daughter of Somebeachsomewhere and Omen Hanover just off the top trio on the first turn before angling out to stalk the live cover of Caviart Ally (Andy McCarthy) through the far turn. As Cavairt Ally wore down pacesetter Gurl Band K (Joe Bongiorno), Someomensomewhere mounted her late bid after losing cover, chasing down the filly she stalked through the far turn for the narrow win. No Chaser (Andy Miller) checked in third, some 5-3/4 lengths detached.

Erv Miller trains four-time winner Someomensomewhere for the Nick Surick Stable and Howard Schneidler’s KDM Stables.

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 – 1,563.5; 2. David Miller – 1,295; 3. Tim Tetrick – 1,189.5; 4. Scott Zeron – 621.5; 5. Brett Miller – 589.5.

Trainers: 1. Ron Burke – 1,499.5; 2. Jimmy Takter – 1,423.5; 3. Tony Alagna – 578; 4. Ake Svanstedt – 476; 5. Erv Miller – 472.

Owners: 1. Burke Racing Stable – 340.67; 2. Weaver Bruscemi – 283.67; 3. Marvin Katz – 273.3; 4. Tom Hill – 229; 5. Al Libfeld – 221.8.

Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place next week at Woodbine Racetrack with the Fall Four finals for 2-year-olds -- the Governor’s Cup, Valley Victory, Three Diamonds and Goldsmith Maid.

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