This Week: TVG Free For All Trot, Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, N.J. and Ben Franklin Pace,Beal Jr. Memorial, Max C. Hempt Memorial and James M. Lynch Memorial eliminations, Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, Wilkes-Barre, Pa.
Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit spotlight will shine on Meadowlands Racetrack on Friday (June 20) with a $50,000 leg of the TVG Free For All Championship Series for older trotters. A field of seven will go to the post in race 11.
Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs will host four sets of stakes eliminations on Saturday (June 21). There will be two eliminations in the Ben Franklin for older pacers and theBeal Jr. Memorial for 3-year-old male trotters and three eliminations in the Max C. Hempt Memorial for 3-year-old male pacers and the James M. Lynch Memorial for 3-year-old filly pacers.
Complete entries for the races can be found by clicking on this link.
Last time: Last weekend's Grand Circuit action was highlighted by the $920,000 Pepsi North America Cup for 3-year-old pacers at Mohawk Racetrack.
JK Endofanera, with driver , roared down the stretch to take the Cup, Canada's richest harness race, in 1:48.4. It was the second Cup win for Sears, who took the 2005 edition with , but the first for trainer and owner 3 Brothers Stables (Alan, Steven and Ronnie Katz) of New York City.
Dismissed at 12-1 odds, JK Endofanera, leaving from post nine, came from well out of it, collaring He's Watching and favored Tellitlikeitis deep in the lane. The winning margin was 1-1/2 lengths over Tellitlikeitis, with He's Watching third and McWicked fourth.
Mohawk also hosted four other lucrative stakes events on the Saturday evening program. Trixton, the 1-9 choice in the $250,332 Goodtimes Stakes for 3-year-old trotters, kicked off the evening and lived up to his billing with another facile triumph. Trained and driven by , Trixton romped as his odds reflected, scoring by six lengths in a stakes, track and Canadian record time of 1:51.3. Trixton took over from Harper Blue Chip after a half in :55, got to three-quarters in 1:22.4 and floated home in record time. Il Sogno Dream wound up second and Harper Blue Chip was third.
Classic Martine snapped Perfect Alliance's attempt at a perfect season by capturing the $244,720 Armbro Flight Stakes for older trotting mares. After following in third, Classic Martine found open racetrack at the top of the stretch. Thetrainee dug in, trotting past Perfect Alliance just strides before the wire to win by a length. The mare stopped the clock in 1:52.1, which was a fifth of a second off the stakes record. Perfect Alliance finished second and Rockin With Dewey was third.
The classy veteran pacing mare Anndrovette showed she was all heart by completing the three-peat in the Roses Are Red stakes. Anndrovette was pushed hard off the gate by driver and got to the front near the quarter pole. Leading the group of mares in the $303,600 event, Anndrovette took the field down to the three-quarter pole in 1:21.4 with Somwherovrarainbow and driver pressuring first-over. The two mares would then hook up in the stretch with Somwherovrarainbow taking a slight lead, but Anndrovette was dead game, fighting back on the inside to retake the lead and win the Roses Are Red in 1:49.1. Rocklamation wound up third in the mile.
Trainer scored his second stakes wins on the card with Uffizi Hanover in the $420,900 Fan Hanover final for 3-year-old pacing fillies. Into the lane, Uffizi Hanover was angled out of the pocket spot by driver . Nat A Virgin and Uffizi Hanover battled for the lead and it was Uffizi Hanover who was victorious by 1-1/4 lengths. The 8-5 favorite stopped the timer in 1:50.4. Nat A Virgin was second and Take That Hanover was third.
The $100,000 Meadowlands Maturity Pace was the feature of last Friday night's card at the Meadowlands and served as the stage for the successful return to the races of two-time defending Pacer of the Year Captaintreacherous.
Saddled with post ten for his seasonal debut, Captaintreacherous was sent away from the gate by , improving to a mid-field tuck in fifth as first Word Power and then Apprentice Hanover led past the opening quarter in :26. Tetrick tipped Captaintreacherous at about the three-eighths mark and within a few strides had the lead at the half in :54. A :28.2 breather in the third panel was all he needed to get home as Captaintreacherous responded to Tetrick'a urging when Sunfire Blue Chip approached head-stretch and then held stablemate Odds On Equuleus safe by a length in 1:49.2. Dovuto Hanover was 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.
Owners: 1. Bamond Racing - 146.5; 2. Burke Racing - 112.3; 3. Weaver Bruscemi - 104.8; 4. 3 Brothers Stable - 82; 5. Brad Grant - 49.5.
Looking ahead: Next weekend Grand Circuit action will be taking place at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs and Mohawk Racetrack. Pocono will have the finals for the Ben Franklin (older pacers),Beal Memorial (3-year-old male trotters), Max Hempt Memorial (3-year-old male pacers) and James Lynch (3-year-old filly pacers) on Saturday (June 28). On Monday (June 30), Mohawk will host a leg of the Miss Versatility for older trotting mares.
by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit