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Yonkers, Woodbine Mohawk, Tioga to host Grand Circuit stakes
Wednesday, August 22, 2018 - by Paul Ramlow, publicity director, the Grand Circuit

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This Week: Messenger eliminations, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y.; Nassagaweya, Eternal Camnation, Casual Breeze and Maple Leaf Trot eliminations, Woodbine Mohawk Park, Milton, Ontario; and W.N. Reynolds Memorial divisions, Tioga Downs, Nichols, N.Y.

Schedule of events: This Saturday (Aug. 25), Yonkers Raceway will host a pair of $40,000 eliminations in the Messenger Stakes for sophomore pacers, the second leg of the sport’s pacing Triple Crown. The top four horses in each elimination will return for the $500,000 final on Sept. 1.

Also on Saturday, Grand Circuit action at Woodbine Mohawk Park will feature three divisions in the C$276,381 Nassagaweya for 2-year-old pacing colts, three divisions in the C$251,347 Eternal Camnation for 2-year-old pacing fillies and a pair of C$40,000 eliminations in the Maple Leaf Trot for older trotters. On Friday (Aug. 24) Woodbine Mohawk will host a single C$136,000 division in the Casual Breeze for 3-year-old filly trotters.

On Sunday (Aug. 26), Tioga Downs will card four sets of W.N. Reynolds Memorial events for freshman pacers and trotters of both sexes.

Complete entries for the races at the U.S. tracks are available at this link. Entries for the Woodbine Mohawk races are available at this link.

Last time: Met's Hall (Andy Miller) won an exciting $350,000 Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial Trot for 3-year-olds at Vernon Downs on Friday (Aug. 17).

Fotowon photo
Met's Hall won by a nose in a personal best time of 1:52.

Met's Hall ($27.60) went straight to the lead from the eight hole. He took the first quarter in :26.4. Six Pack (Ake Svanstedt) followed in the pocket with Manchego (Yannick Gingras) following along in third.

Andy Miller slowed the second quarter to a crawl of :30.1 as Met's Hall hit the half in :57. Six Pack would pull the pocket just before the half. The two would then battle nose to nose and wheel to wheel all around the final turn. Neither horse would give an inch as they hit three-quarters in 1:25.2.

Manchego, who was the only filly in the race, sat in third watching the other two battle it out around the turn. She then went three-wide at the top of the stretch. In an amazing stretch drive, Met's Hall would dig in and get ready for the late charge from Manchego. In the end Met's Hall would win by a nose in a personal best time of 1:52. Magnificent as she was, Manchego had to settle for second best. The gutsy Six Pack would finish third.

Met's Hall is a 3-year-old colt by Cantab Hall. Trained by Julie Miller for owners Stroy Inc. and Andy Miller Stable Inc., it was his second win in six starts this season. He now owns seven career victories.

Super Girl Riley (Marcus Miller) shocked the field in the $180,000 Zweig Memorial for 3-year-old trotting fillies.

The big favorite Plunge Blue Chip (Ake Svanstedt) carved out all the early fractions (:28, :57.2, 1:26.3). Basquiat (Yannick Gingras) followed in the pocket before going on a break at the three-quarter pole. Perfect Summer K (David Miller) would then inherit second.

Super Girl Riley ($17.20) came first-over from third in the stretch. She ran down Plunge Blue Chip to win in a career best of 1:54.3. Plunge Blue Chip had to settle for second money. Perfect Summer K finished third.

Owned by Paymaq Racing, George Golemes, and Harvey Eisman and trained by Erv Miller, the 3-year-old filly by Muscle Mass won for the second time in 2018. It was her sixth career victory.

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 past weekend.

Drivers: 1. Tim Tetrick – 703.5; 2. Yannick Gingras – 693.5; 3. David Miller – 374.5; 4. Jordan Stratton – 288; 5. Corey Callahan – 273.5.

Trainers: 1. Ron Burke – 660.5; 2. Jimmy Takter – 504; 3. Tony Alagna – 271; 4. Erv Miller – 220; 5. Jim Campbell – 216.

Owners: 1. Burke Racing Stable – 144.9; 2. Weaver Bruscemi – 139.9; 3. Fashion Farms – 129; 4. Vonknoblauch Stable - 117; 5. Robert Key – 115.

Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next week at Yonkers Raceway and Woodbine Mohawk Park. Yonkers will feature the Yonkers Trot, Messenger Stakes, Hudson Filly Trot and Lady Maud. Woodbine Mohawk will offer the Canadian Pacing Derby and Maple Leaf Trot, as well as Simcoe Stakes for 3-year-old colt and filly trotters and Champlain Stakes for 2-year-old colt and filly trotters.


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