Day At The Track

Dover and Meadowlands in Grand Circuit spotlight

02:34 AM 22 Nov 2018 NZDT
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This Week: Fall Four and TVG finals, Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, N.J. and Hap Hansen Progress Pace elimination, Dover Downs, Dover, Del.

Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit returns to Dover Downs this Wednesday (Nov. 21) for a $35,000 elimination in the Hap Hansen Progress Pace for 3-year-old open pacers. A field of 10 will compete for eight spots in the final slated for Nov. 29.

On Saturday night (Nov. 24) Meadowlands Racetrack will host finals in each of the Fall Four events for freshman pacers and trotters and the TVG series for open pacers and trotters. The Fall Four features the 435,900 Valley Victory for 2-year-old male trotters, the $490,000 Goldsmith Maid for 2-year-old filly trotters, the $469,300 Governor's Cup for 2-year-old male pacers and the $391,250 Three Diamonds for 2-year-old filly pacers. The TVG finals consist of the $350,000 Open Pace, the $350,000 Open Trot, $175,000 Mare Pace and the $175,000 Mare Trot.

Complete entries for the races are available at this link.

Last time: A pair of longshots in This Is The Plan and The Downtown Bus stole the show in the $193,750 Matron Stakes for 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings on Thursday (Nov. 15) at Dover Downs, tag-teaming in deep stretch to nose out Jimmy Freight in a 1:49.1 dead heat.

This Is The Plan and The Downtown Bus emerged in the final stride to simultaneously nose out Jimmy Freight in a dead heat. Fotowon photo.

After Ontario standout Jimmy Freight was tasked with the heavy lifting through strenuous fractions and sternly dismissed the challenge of 4-5 local favorite Lather Up, This Is The Plan ($17.00, Tim Tetrick) and The Downtown Bus ($20.60, Corey Callahan) emerged in the final stride to simultaneously nose out Jimmy Freight in a dead heat in the glamour boys' division of the Matron.

Jimmy Freight and driver Scott Zeron let This Is The Plan clear before taking charge midway on the first turn and reeling off a :25.3 initial quarter. A determined advance from Lather Up (Montrell Teague) out of fourth with a circuit to go kept the pace hot through a :54.4 half, but Jimmy Freight remained undeterred with three-eighths to go and shrugged off that rival. Meanwhile, This Is The Plan remained close from the pocket and The Downtown Bus followed the three-wide cover of Breeders Crown winner Dorsoduro Hanover (Matt Kakaley) past three-quarters in 1:22.1.

Turning for home, Dorsoduro Hanover stalled and Jimmy Freight was driven out to maintain a two length lead, but it began to shrink in the final sixteenth. This Is The Plan lunged up the open stretch and The Downtown Bus surged widest of all, and they both reached the winning post simultaneously in 1:49.1, a nose better than Jimmy Freight. Dorsoduro Hanover found more in the stretch, but missed by a neck to finish fourth.

Ron Burke trains This Is The Plan, a six-time winner by Somebeachsomewhere, for Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, Silva Purnel & Libby, and Larry Karr.

Trainer Jeff Gillis co-owns 11-time winner The Downtown Bus with Ellen Ott.

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 - 1,487.5; 2. Yannick Gingras - 1,480; 3. David Miller - 1,209.5; 4. Scott Zeron - 724; 5. Andrew McCarthy - 658.5.

Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 1,399.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 1,170; 3. Tony Alagna - 726.5; 4. Julie Miller - 481; 5. Jim Campbell - 442.

Owners: 1. Fashion Farms - 325; 2. Diamond Creek Racing - 294.6; 3. Burke Racing Stable - 293.1; 4. Weaver Bruscemi - 271.6; 5. Bill Donovan - 241.2.

Looking ahead: The 2018 Grand Circuit season comes to a close on Nov. 29. Dover Downs will host the final stake of the season in the $260,000 (est.) Hap Hansen Progress Pace for 3-year-old male pacers.

by Paul Ramlow, for The Grand Circuit

 

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