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Grand Circuit action resumes this weekend at Yonkers
Wednesday, March 21, 2018 - by Paul Ramlow, publicity director, the Grand Circuit

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This Week: Blue Chip Matchmaker and George Morton Levy series second legs, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y.

Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit at Yonkers this week features five $40,000 divisions on Friday (March 23) in the second round of the Blue Chip Matchmaker series for open pacing mares. The Saturday (March 24) card at Yonkers will see four $50,000 divisions in the second round of the George Morton Levy series for open pacers. Complete entries for the races can be found by clicking on this link.

Last time: Yonkers Raceway’s George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series for Free-For-Allers began Saturday night (March 17), with five $50,000 divisions.

From post position two, season-debuting Mach It So (Tim Tetrick) threw down an early series gauntlet, retaking from Chumlee A (Larry Stalbaum) en route to a handy 1:53.3 win. Chumlee A chased, beaten 1-3/4 lengths, with pole-sitting Bettor Memories (Kyle Husted) a three-hole third. For Mach It So, an 8-year-old Mach Three gelding owned by Bamond Racing and trained by Jeffrey Bamond Jr., it was a 41st career victory as he nears $2.5 million in career earnings.

It was first-up and first home for Always At My Place (George Brennan) in the second division. From post two, he engaged last season’s series winner Keystone Velocity (Dan Dube) after that one’s intervals of :27.2, :56.4 and 1:24.3. Always At My Place forged by late, beating a pylon-skimming Mister Daytona N (Jordan Stratton) by a head in 1:54. Christen Me N (Tetrick), angling from the pocket as Keystone Velocity tired, was third, beaten a neck. Always At My Place, a 7-year-old Always A Virgin gelding, is co-owned (as Burke Racing) by trainer Ron Burke, Weaver Bruscemi, Larry Karr and Phil Collura.

Mike Lizzi photo
Dr J Hanover won by 1-3/4 lengths in 1:55.

Polester Dr J Hanover (Brett Miller) took one step forward and the rest of the field deferred. The result (:28.2, :58.1, 1:26.4, 1:55) was nary more than a public workout. Dr J Hanover won by 1-3/4 lengths, with Somewhere In L A (Jason Bartlett) a first-up second and favorite All Bets Off (Yannick Gingras) a loose-pocket third. For second choice Dr J Hanover, a 5-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding co-owned by Brad Grant, Robert Leblanc, Steven Wienick and Irwin Samelman and trained by Tony Alagna, it was his first win in a pair of seasonal starts.

Odds-on Rockin Ron (Gingras) -- from post four -- rebounded from a poor effort in his final pre-series overnight event and went the distance (:27.1 :56.4, 1:24.3, 1:53). Evenin Of Pleasure (Joe Bongiorno) chased the winner in a good try, beaten three-quarters of a length. Western Dynasty (Bartlett) sat a three-hole and picked off the rest. For Rockin Ron, a 6-year-old Real Desire gelding co-owned (as Burke Racing) by trainer Burke, Weaver Bruscemi, RTC Stables and J&T Silva Stables, it was his first win in three seasonal starts.

Bit Of A Legend N (Stratton) seemed to be minding his own affairs in his 2018 purse debut, when things worked out quite well for him. From post three, the 2016 Levy champ worked out a second-over trip behind 1-2 favorite Missile J (Tetrick) and won by a neck in 1:53.3. Long Live Rock (Dube) rallied for third. For fourth choice Bit Of A Legend N, a 9-year-old Down Under son of Bettor’s Delight owned by Vonknoblauch Stable and trained by Peter Tritton, it was his 42nd career win (earnings of $1.93 million).

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

Grand Circuit Standings: In 2018, 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 2018 Grand Circuit awards.

Here are the leaders following the opening weekend at Yonkers:

Drivers: 1. Tim Tetrick – 32; 2. Jordan Stratton - 25; 3. Jason Bartlett – 22; 4t. George Brennan – 12; 4t. Yannick Gingras – 12.

Trainers: 1. Ron Burke – 22; 2. Peter Tritton – 20; 3. Richard Banca - 17; 4. Jim King Jr. – 12; 5t. Tony Alagna – 10; 5t. Jeff Bamond Jr. – 10; 5t. Ross Croghan - 10; 5t. Scott DiDomenico - 10.

Owners: 1. Vonknoblauch Stable - 20: 2. Bamond Racing – 10; 3. Richard Poillucci – 7; 4t. Burke Racing Stable – 5.5; 4t. Weaver Bruscemi – 5.5.

Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will continue with legs of the Blue Chip Matchmaker and George Morton Levy over the next three weekends. The finals and consolations for both events will be held on April 21.

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