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Busy week on the Grand Circuit
Wednesday, June 06, 2018 - by Paul Ramlow, publicity director, the Grand Circuit

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This Week: Currier & Ives, The Meadows, Washington, Pa.; Armbro Flight, Goodtimes, Pepsi North America Cup, Fan Hanover and Roses Are Red eliminations, Woodbine Mohawk Park, Milton, Ontario; Charlie Hill Memorial, Scioto Downs, Columbus, Ohio; and Graduate Series third leg, Tioga Downs, Nichols, N.Y.

Schedule of events: Grand Circuit action this week began on Tuesday (June 5) at The Meadows with three divisions in the $73,835 Currier & Ives for 3-year-old filly trotters. Looking For Zelda rolled home in a stakes record 1:54.1 in her division, while Nixie Volo and Bill’s Lady captured the other splits.

On Wednesday (June 6) The Meadows will offer two divisions in the $110,260 Currier & Ives for 3-year-old male trotters.

Action resumes on Friday (June 8) at Woodbine Mohawk Park with two C$35,000 eliminations in the Armbro Flight for trotting mares and two C$30,000 eliminations in the Goodtimes for 3-year-old trotting colts. The Saturday (June 9) card at Mohawk features a trio of C$50,000 eliminations for the Pepsi North America Cup for 3-year-old pacing colts, two C$35,000 eliminations in the Roses Are Red for pacing mares and two C$35,000 eliminations in the Fan Hanover for 3-year-old pacing fillies.

Scioto Downs will also host Grand Circuit racing on Saturday as the central Ohio oval features the $200,000 Charlie Hill Memorial for older trotters.

Tioga Downs will round out a busy Grand Circuit week on Sunday (June 10) with $75,000 (est.) third leg contests in the Graduate Series for 4-year-old open pacers and trotters.

Complete entries for the U.S. races can be found by clicking on this link. Mohawk entries can be found by clicking on this link.

Last time: The road to the Pepsi North America Cup made a final stop on Saturday (June 2) at Woodbine Mohawk Park for the Somebeachsomewhere Stakes. A group of 28 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings competed over three $46,200 divisions with 19 of the 28 competitors eligible to the Pepsi North America Cup.

 
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Burning Midnight paced home in :27 to hit the wire first in 1:50.4.

The first division saw Burning Midnight and driver Trevor Henry pull off a 28-1 stunner in a wild finish that had six horses across the track. Nutcracker Sweet, the 6-5 favorite, cleared early-leader Hidden Delight entering the backstretch and led the field through middle-half fractions of :54.2 and 1 22.1. The speedy Summer Travel left from post 10 and was parked the entire mile, grinding away first-over, while eventual winner Burning Midnight was in that outside flow sitting ninth and fourth-over turning for home.

In the stretch, Hidden Delight popped from the two-hole and took the lead, but couldn’t hold off rivals on his outside. Simple Kinda Man angled from a buried spot and came flying, but the fastest of them all was Burning Midnight, who paced home in :27 to hit the wire first in 1:50.4. Simple Kinda Man was second, while Grand Teton got third despite a quick mid-stretch break. Hidden Delight settled for fourth.

A gelded son of Mach Three, Burning Midnight came into Saturday’s contest off a third-place finish in an Ontario Sires Stakes Gold event for his season's debut. The Corey Giles trainee went three-for-eight during his rookie campaign, posting a mark of 1:51.3. The Somebeachsomewhere victory gives Giles his first career Grand Circuit score.

Burning Midnight now has $107,292 in career earnings for owners Brad Gray and Denise Guerriero, who will be making the starting fee payment this Saturday to take a shot at the Pepsi North America Cup.

Lather Up remained undefeated in 2018 with an easy victory in the second Somebeachsomewhere division. Driven by Montrell Teague, Lather Up got 1-9 favorite respect and called all the shots. The son of I’m Gorgeous posted fractions of :27, :55.4 and 1:23.4, before pacing off on his rivals and winning in 1:50.3. St Lads Neptune delivered a strong final quarter charge to finish second, beaten 1-1/4 lengths, while Scouts Report and Stock were six-plus lengths back rounding out the top four.

Trained by Clyde Francis, Lather Up is now four-for-four as a 3-year-old and eight-for-11 overall in his career. Saturday’s score increased his career earnings to $133,015 for owners Gary and Barbara Iles.

The final division was captured by Jimmy Freight. Driven by Louis Philippe Roy, Jimmy Freight was fired out to the lead and never looked back. The Richard Moreau trainee posted fractions of :26, :55.2 and 1:22.4, before pacing home in :27.3 to win by 4-1/2 lengths in 1:50.2. Metro Pace champion Lost In Time was forced to come first-up and struggled on the far turn. The Jimmy Takter trainee lost significant ground on the leader, but kept battling in the lane and fought off rivals to finish second. When You Dance finished third, Chocolate Swirl was fourth.

Owned by Adriano Sorella, Jimmy Freight is now three-for-four this season with all three wins by more than three lengths. The son of Sportswriter was not paid into the Pepsi North America Cup. Jimmy Freight now has 10 wins and a career bankroll of $211,524.

Complete recaps of the weekend 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 – 269; 2. Yannick Gingras – 184; 3. Jordan Stratton – 154; 4. Jason Bartlett – 139; 5. Daniel Dube - 75.

Trainers: 1. Ron Burke – 213; 2. Peter Tritton – 122; 3. Jim King Jr. – 119; 4. Richard Banca – 75; 5t. Jimmy Takter – 70; 5t. Rene Allard - 70.

Owners: 1. Vonknoblauch Stable - 107; 2. Richard Poillucci - 54; 3t. Burke Racing Stable – 52.9; 3t. Weaver Bruscemi – 52.9; 5. Jo Ann Looney-King – 50.

Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will again take place at Mohawk next weekend as the track will host its five stakes finals, led by the C$1 million Pepsi North America Cup, on Saturday night (June 16).


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