Day At The Track

Delaware kicks off big Grand Circuit week

01:26 AM 24 Sep 2020 NZST
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Harness racing this week: Delaware Grand Circuit, Delaware County Fair, Delaware, Ohio; Caesars Trot, Hoosier Park Pacing Derby, Jenna's Beach Boy, Kentuckiana Stallion Management Stakes, Moni Maker, The Elevation and The Madison County, Hoosier Park, Anderson, Ind.; Mohawk Million, Metro, She's A Great Lady and Milton, Woodbine Mohawk Park, Milton, Ontario; and Kindergarten Series, The Meadowlands, East Rutherford, N.J.

Schedule of events: Grand Circuit action kicks into full gear on Wednesday (Sept. 23) at Delaware with the $237,725 Jugette for 3-year-old filly pacers, two divisions in the $82,200 Buckette for 3-year-old filly trotters, the $39,406 Standardbred for 2-year-old filly pacers and the $43,506 Standardbred for 2-year-old filly trotters. The Thursday (Sept. 24) card at Delaware is highlighted by the $559,000 Little Brown Jug for 3-year-olds. Also on tap that day is the $87,500 Miss Versatility final for older trotting mares, the $83,800 Old Oaken Bucket for 3-year-old open trotters, the $54,206 Standardbred for 2-year-old colt pacers and the $47,006 Standardbred for 2-year-old colt trotters.

Grand Circuit racing at Hoosier Park will be held on Friday (Sept. 25) with the $221,000 Kentuckiana Stallion Management stakes for 2-year-old filly trotters, the $220,000 Kentuckiana Stallion Management stakes for 2-year-old filly pacers, the $150,000 Caesars for Open trotters, the $140,000 Hoosier Park Pacing Derby for Open pacers, the $100,000 Jenna's Beach Boy for 3-year-old colt pacers, the $105,000 Moni Maker for 3-year-old filly trotters, the $120,000 Elevation for 2-year-old colt pacers and the $40,000 Madison County for 2-year-old colt trotters.

Also on Friday, The Meadowlands hosts the second leg of the Kindergarten Series for 2-year-old pacers and trotters. There will be two $20,000 divisions for all four classes - colt and filly trotters and colt and filly pacers.

Grand Circuit action at Woodbine Mohawk will be held on Saturday (Sept. 26) with the US$1 million Mohawk Million for 2-year-old colt trotters, the C$720,000 Metro final for 2-year-old open pacers, the C$455,000 She's A Great Lady final for 2-year-old filly pacers and the C$215,000 Milton final for older pacing mares.

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: A scramble finish with multiple breakers saw Chestnut Hill at 60-1 shoot up the rail to a stunning victory in the C$560,000 Canadian Trotting Classic on Saturday night (Sept. 19) at Woodbine Mohawk Park.

Chestnut Hill at 60-1 shot up the rail to a stunning victory in the C$560,000 Canadian Trotting Classic at Woodbine Mohawk Park. New Image Media photo.

All eyes were on heavy-favorite Ready For Moni (Yannick Gingras) in the rich event for 3-year-old trotters. The Nancy Takter trainee made the front in the second quarter and appeared poised to close out the victory coming down the lane, but a rare miscue in the final eighth opened the door for several closing rivals.

Chestnut Hill (Andrew McCarthy) had been following along sixth and had dived down to the rail for his late bid. The Nifty Norman trainee was full of trot late and somehow was able to avoid losing all momentum when squeezing by the breaking Ready For Moni, reaching up by a half-length in 1:53.2.

"Pretty close," laughed McCarthy when asked about how close he was to danger when avoiding the breaking horse. "I kind of yelled out to let Yannick (Gingras) know there was someone on the inside of him.

"It worked out that he heard me and didn't want to crash into me, so he did a good job getting that horse out of the way safely and it worked out good for me and I got to sneak up there."

Play Trix On Me (Jody Jamieson) made the first-up bid on the far turn and nearly came through for the victory, finishing second in the middle of several rivals. HP Royal Theo (Louis Philippe-Roy) was charging on the outside in the lane when he also made a break, finishing third placed sixth for a lapped on break.

Jula Trix Treasure (Chris Christoforou) was moved up to third, while Threefiftytwo (Bob McClure) jumped up to fourth.

A son of champions Muscle Hill and Poof She's Gone, Chestnut Hill was coming into Saturday off a win in the Pennsylvania Sires Stakes consolation and now has three wins in 11 starts this season and five wins overall. He is owned by Mel Hartman, David McDuffee and Little E LLC.

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

Grand Circuit Standings: In 2020, 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 2020 Grand Circuit awards.

Here are the leaders following this past weekend:

Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 615; 2. Andrew McCarthy - 389; 3. Tim Tetrick - 306.5; 4. Bob McClure - 297; 5. Dexter Dunn - 266.

Trainers: 1. Nancy Takter - 459.5; 2. Tony Alagna - 416; 3. Ron Burke - 403; 4. Ake Svanstedt - 289; 5. Marcus Melander - 263.

Owners: 1. Determination - 185; 2. Brad Grant - 152.6; 3. S R F Stable - 115.3; 4. Caviart Farms - 98.6; 5. Crawford Farms Racing - 97.3.

Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next week at Lexington's historic Red Mile. There will be eight Bluegrass stakes for 2- and 3-year-olds of both sexes and gaits. Hollywood Dayton Raceway will also be hosting a trio of Grand Circuit events for older Standardbreds - the Dayton Pacing Derby, the Dayton Distaff Derby and the Dayton Trotting Derby.

by Paul Ramlow, for The Grand Circuit

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