Day At The Track

Top flight Grand Circuit racing heading our way!

12:34 AM 15 May 2014 NZST
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This week: Arthur J. Cutler Memorial final, Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, N.J.; Laverne Hill Memorial, Scioto Downs, Columbus, Ohio; Miss Versatility first leg, Woodbine Racetrack, Toronto, Ontario; and Historic Series, Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit at Meadowlands Racetrack this week will feature the $175,000 Arthur J. Cutler Memorial final for older trotters on Saturday (May 17). Also on Saturday, Scioto Downs will host the $50,000 Laverne Hill Memorial for older pacing mares.

Heading into the early part of next week, Woodbine will host their first Grand Circuit race of the year on Monday (May 19) with the $40,000 (est.) first leg of the Miss Versatility Series for older trotting mares. Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs will host a pair of Historic Series events with the $65,000 (est.) Ladyship for three-year-old filly pacers on Tuesday (May 20) and the $60,000 (est.) Dickerson Cup for three-year-old colt trotters on Wednesday (May 21).

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

Last time: Meadowlands Racetrack was the site for all the Grand Circuit action this past weekend and the eliminations for the Arthur J. Cutler Memorial took center stage.

Sebastian K had a memorable North American debut as he equaled the all-age world record of 1:50.1 for trotters on a mile track.

Swedish champion Sebastian K made his debut on American soil in the first $40,000 Cutler Memorial elimination for trainer/driver Ake Svanstedt and the result was a world record equaling and track record 1:50.1 that was accomplished with remarkable ease. The winner is owned by Knutsson Trotting, Inc.

Prepped with a single qualifier after being away from racing for eight months, Sebastian K got away third for Svanstedt through the early fractions of :26.4 and :55.1, then was edged out to challenge early leader Modern Family around the final turn.

As they straightened up, Sebastian K forged past that one and moved clear with nary a nudge from his driver to equal the all-age world record for trotters on a mile track and reduce the Meadowlands track record for older trotting horses of 1:51 set by Misterizi back in 2008. Modern Family held well for the place while Intimidate actually closed into that mile nicely for third. Archangel and DW's NY Yank finished fourth and fifth, respectively, to advance to this week's $175,000 final.

Market Share won the second elimination in a career best equaling 1:50.3. The winner is trained by Linda Toscano and owned by Richard Gutnick, TLP Stable and Bill Augustine.

Settled in fourth early by Tim Tetrick, Market Share wound up third over, fanning off the cover of Arch Madness and edging past that rival in the shadow of the wire to win by a length. Undercover Strike rallied from well back to take third with Sevruga and Possessed Fashion occupying the other two positions in this week's final.

Also on that Meadowlands card was the first TVG Free For All Championship Open Pace of the season for a purse of $50,000 which drew a strong ten horse field of fast horses.

The fastest on this night was clearly Sweet Lou, who easily defeated this accomplished group by open lengths in an eased-up 1:48.3. Ron Pierce had the call for trainer Ron Burke. Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, Larry Carr and Phil Collura share ownership of the winner.

After settling in behind Bolt The Duer through the :26.2 opener, Pierce tipped Sweet Lou back around to the front and that, for all intents and purposes, was that. He widened to a clear lead into the stretch and the :26 final quarter made him a three-plus length winner. Stablemate Foiled Again was second after an overland, uncovered trip which he endured nobly to save the place and Bolt The Duer held for third.

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

Grand Circuit Standings: In 2014, 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 2014 Grand Circuit awards.

Here are the leaders following the past weekend.

Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 246; 2. Tim Tetrick - 155; 3. George Brennan - 129.5; 4. Brian Sears - 87; 5. Jason Bartlett - 79.

Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 320.5; 2. PJ Fraley - 135; 3. Joe Holloway - 92; 4. Rene Allard - 70; 5. Jimmy Takter - 40.

Owners: 1. Bamond Racing - 118.5; 2t. Burke Racing - 81.4; 2t. Weaver Bruscemi - 81.4; 4. Ted Gewertz - 34.75; 5. Brad Grant - 34.5.

Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place at four different racetracks next weekend. Meadowlands Racetrack will host another leg of the TVG FFA Pace on Saturday (May 24); Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs has Historic Series races on both Saturday (May 24) and Sunday (May 25); Yonkers Raceway offers eliminations in the Art Rooney and Lismore on Saturday (May 24); and Harrah's Philadelphia will hold the Betsy Ross for pacing mares and the Maxie Lee Memorial for trotters on Sunday (May 25).

by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit

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