Day At The Track

Grand Circuit week opens at The Meadows

01:24 AM 30 Jul 2020 NZST
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Harness Racing This Week: Delvin Miller Adios, Adioo Volo and Arden Downs, The Meadows, Washington, Pa. and Hambletonian, Peter Haughton Memorial and Jim Doherty Memorial eliminations, Tompkins-Geers and Miss Versatility, Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, N.J.

Schedule of events: Grand Circuit action begins this Wednesday (July 29) at The Meadows with two divisions in the $38,244 Arden Downs for 2-year-old filly trotters and two divisions in the $37,644 Arden Downs for 2-year-old colt trotters.

The Saturday (Aug. 1) card at The Meadows features the $375,000 Delvin Miller Adios for 3-year-old male pacers and also includes the $107,320 Quinton Patterson Adioo Volo for 3-year-old filly pacers, three divisions in the $59,688 Arden Downs for freshman colt and gelding pacers, and the $35,690 Arden Downs for 2-year-old filly pacers.

Grand Circuit racing at The Meadowlands begins on Friday (July 31) with two $20,000 eliminations in the Jim Doherty Memorial for 2-year-old filly trotters and a single $20,000 elimination in the Peter Haughton Memorial for 2-year-old colt trotters.

On Saturday (Aug. 1), The Meadowlands will contest a pair of $50,000 Hambletonian eliminations for 3-year-old open trotters, plus the $84,800 Tompkins-Geers for 3-year-old colt pacers, the $53,100 Tompkins-Geers for 3-year-old filly pacers and the $40,000 fourth leg of the Miss Versatility for older trotting mares.

Complete entries for the races are available at this link.

Last time: Manchego put on a display of devastating speed in a gate-to-wire victory in the $250,000 Spirit of Massachusetts Trot at Plainridge Park on Sunday (July 26) and set a new world record for older trotting mares over a five-eighths-mile track when she tripped the timer in 1:49.3.

Manchego broke her own world record of 1:50.1 set at Hollywood Dayton Raceway in 2019. The time also smashed the all-age track trotting record at Plainridge Park, besting the 1:51.2 set by JL Cruze in the 2017 Spirit Trot.

Manchego proceeded to the wire under no urging at all to win wrapped-up by 2-1/2 lengths. Tom Melanson photo.

Dexter Dunn had Manchego revved up off the gate and shot right for the lead with Atlanta (Yannick Gingras) dropping in the pocket from post seven as the race passed the quarter in a blistering :25.2. The field remained in single file as Manchego marched to the half in :53.3 and the three-quarters in 1:21 with Atlanta in deliberate pursuit.

As the pair trotted away from the field around the last turn, Gingras pulled Atlanta off the pylons to take her best shot at the leader. But as soon as she pulled, Manchego accelerated, opened up two lengths and proceeded to the wire under no urging at all to win wrapped-up by 2-1/2 lengths. Atlanta held on for second and Run Director (David Miller) closed fast to finish third.

It was the 31st career win for Manchego ($3.00) and pushed her lifetime earnings to $2,342,705. The 5-year-old daughter of Muscle Hill-Secret Magic is owned by Black Horse Racing and is trained by Nancy Takter.

One race earlier in the $100,000 Clara Barton Distaff Pace, Shartin N made herself right at home again at Plainridge as she broke the all-age track record of 1:49.1 that she set just last year.

Tim Tetrick put Shartin N on the point immediately as Kissin In The Sand (Gingras) left from post four and followed closely with the two-hole trip. After the quick :26.2 quarter and with no pressure at all, Tetrick backed down the second panel to :28.1 and the race seemed well in control for him at that point.

By the five-eighths, Gingras pulled Kissin In The Sand and tried to draw alongside Shartin N, but never got closer than a length around the far turn. Tetrick eased the lines a bit and gave Shartin N her head and the mare swelled up down the lane, opening up 2-1/4 lengths in a :27 last panel and won in 1:48.1. Stablemate Soho Burning Love A (Jordan Stratton) rallied late to finish second and 38-1 shot Philly Hanover (Dexter Dunn) completed the board.

This was the 44th career victory for Shartin N ($2.60) who has now earned $2,244,946 for owners Richard Poillucci, Jo Ann Looney-King and Tim Tetrick. The 7-year-old daughter of Tintin In America-Bagdarin is trained by Jim King Jr.

Complete recaps of 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 - 217; 2. Brian Sears - 152; 3. Dexter Dunn - 117; 4. Andrew McCarthy - 110; 5. Tim Tetrick - 102.

Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 229; 2. Nancy Takter - 150; 3. Marcus Melander - 124; 4. Ake Svanstedt - 109; 5. Tony Alagna - 77.

Owners: 1. S R F Stable - 55; 2. Burke Racing Stable - 46.9; 3. Courant Inc. - 45; 4. Brad Grant - 41.1; 5. Weaver Bruscemi - 40.9.

Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next weekend at Meadowlands Racetrack. The track will host 10 Grand Circuit events, led by the $1 million Hambletonian, the first leg of Trotting's Triple Crown for 3-year-olds, and the $300,000 Cane Pace, the first leg of Pacing's Triple Crown for 3-year-olds.

by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit


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