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Trio of tracks to host Grand Circuit stakes this weekend
Wednesday, September 05, 2018 - by Paul Ramlow, publicity director, the Grand Circuit

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This Week: Jim Ewart Memorial and Jug Preview, Scioto Downs, Columbus, Ohio; Champlain Stakes, Simcoe Stakes and William Wellwood Memorial and Peaceful Way eliminations, Woodbine Mohawk Park, Milton, Ontario; and Miss Versatility, Tioga Downs, Nichols, N.Y.

Schedule of events: Grand Circuit action kicks off on Friday (Sept. 7) at Woodbine Mohawk Park with a trio of divisions in the C$210,321 Champlain Stakes for freshman pacing males and a pair of races in the C$191,476 Champlain Stakes for 2-year-old pacing fillies. The Saturday (Sept. 8) card is highlighted by two divisions in the C$166,684 Simcoe Stakes for 3-year-old pacing males, a single split in the C$150,996 Simcoe Stakes for 3-year-old filly pacers, two C$30,000 eliminations in the William Wellwood Memorial for 2-year-old open trotters and two C$30,000 eliminations in the Peaceful Way for 2-year-old filly trotters.

Grand Circuit racing at Tioga Downs will also be held on Friday (Sept. 7) with a $40,000 leg of the Miss Versatility for trotting mares.

On Saturday (Sept. 8), Scioto Downs will host the $225,000 (est.) Jim Ewart Memorial for older pacers and the $125,000 (est.) Jug Preview for 3-year-old colt pacers.

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

Last time: Stay Hungry moved one step nearer the Pacing Triple Crown with a win in Saturday’s Messenger Stakes at Yonkers Raceway while trainer-driver Ake Svanstedt enjoyed a record-setting night in trotting stakes action for 3-year-olds by capturing the Yonkers Trot with Six Pack and Hudson Filly Trot with Plunge Blue Chip.

Plunge Blue Chip won the $129,014 Hudson in 1:53.1, the fastest trotting mile in Yonkers history and equaling Frau Blucher’s world record for a 3-year-old female trotter on a half-mile track, set in 2013 at the Delaware County Fair in central Ohio. Six Pack won the $500,000 Yonkers Trot in 1:54, the fastest Yonkers Trot ever at Yonkers.

 
Mike Lizzi photo
Stay Hungry won the $500,000 Messenger Stakes for 3-year-old pacers by a neck over favorite Jimmy Freight in 1:52.1.

Stay Hungry won the $500,000 Messenger Stakes for 3-year-old pacers by a neck over favorite Jimmy Freight in 1:52.1. Topville Olympian was third.

The Messenger Stakes is the second jewel in the Pacing Triple Crown. Stay Hungry won the first, the Cane Pace, on Aug. 4 at the Meadowlands and can complete the sweep of the Crown races with a win in the Little Brown Jug on Sept. 20 at the Delaware County Fair.

Stay Hungry, driven by Doug McNair for trainer Tony Alagna, was among four horses racing for the early lead in the Messenger, with Winston, Babes Dig Me, and Jimmy Freight. Stay Hungry, who started from post six, got to the front as the field reached the opening quarter-mile in :27.1 and remained in front from there, but not without a fight.

Jimmy Freight, who started from post eight, came after Stay Hungry as the horses made their way around the second turn and headed to the half-mile point. The two raced together to the half in :55.3 and three-quarters in 1:23 and continued to battle down the stretch and to the wire.

Stay Hungry has won four of 10 races this year and 10 of 19 in his career, good for $1.15 million in purses. The colt, a son of Somebeachsomewhere out of My Little Dragon, is owned by Brad Grant and the Irwin Samelman Estate.

In the Yonkers Trot, Six Pack took the lead from Lindsey’s Pride prior to the quarter-mile point and was never threatened the rest of the way. He won by 7-3/4 lengths over Helpisontheway, with Lindsey’s Pride finishing third.

The Yonkers Trot is the second jewel in the Trotting Triple Crown. Atlanta won the first, the Hambletonian, but was not eligible to the Yonkers Trot. The third jewel is the Kentucky Futurity, Oct. 7 at Lexington’s Red Mile.

A son of Muscle Mass out of Pleasing Lady, Six Pack has won six of nine races this year and 10 of 17 lifetime. He has earned $849,840 for owners Svanstedt, Little E LLC, Stall Kalmar FF, and Lars Berg.

In the Hudson, Plunge Blue Chip led from start to finish, but had to hold off Supergirl Riley by a nose at the wire. Lucky Ava finished third. A daughter of Muscle Mass out of Dunk The Donato, Plunge Blue Chip has won four of nine races this year and 13 of 19 in her career. She has earned $732,316. Svanstedt, Blue Chip Bloodstock Inc., Tomas Andersson, and Rick Zeron Stables own the filly.

Another 1-5 favorite, Alexis Faith, won the $112,904 Lady Maud for 3-year-old female pacers by a half-length over Solitary in 1:53.4. Jewels Forreal finished third. Alexis Faith is a daughter of American Ideal out of Cannae Cammie. She has won four of 11 races this season and 10 of 20 in her career, with purses totaling $455,198. Alexis Faith was driven by Jim Morrill Jr. for trainer Casie Coleman.

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 – 798.5; 2. Yannick Gingras – 780.5; 3. David Miller – 509.5; 4. Scott Zeron – 370; 5. Jordan Stratton – 288.

Trainers: 1. Ron Burke – 687.5; 2. Jimmy Takter – 609; 3. Tony Alagna – 383; 4. Jim Campbell – 256; 5. Erv Miller – 245.

Owners: 1. Fashion Farms – 169; 2. Burke Racing Stable – 153; 3. Weaver Bruscemi – 148; 4. Brittany Farms - 132.4; 5. Robert Key – 120.

Looking ahead: Grand Circuit racing will be taking place next week at Woodbine Mohawk Park and Tioga Downs. Woodbine Mohawk will host finals in the Canadian Trotting Classic, Elegantimage, Peaceful Way and William Wellwood Memorial, as well as eliminations in the Milton, Metro Pace, and She’s A Great Lady. Tioga Downs will card the third leg of the Kindergarten Series for freshman trotters and pacers.


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