Day At The Track

$260,000 Hansen Pace is Grand Circuit Finale

05:51 AM 29 Nov 2018 NZDT
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Captain Crunch
Captain Crunch and driver Scott Zeron won the $469,300 Governor's Cup for 2-year-old male pacers by 3-3/4 lengths over Mac's Power in 1:50.3.
Lisa Photo

Harness racing this week: Hap Hansen Progress Pace final, Dover Downs, Dover, Del.

Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit returns to Dover Downs this Thursday (Nov. 29) for the $260,000 final in the Hap Hansen Progress Pace for 3-year-old open pacers. Elimination winner Jimmy Freight heads a field of eight in the Hap Hansen, the final stake of the 2018 Grand Circuit season.

Complete entries for the race are available at this link.

Last time: Captain Crunch and driver Scott Zeron tipped three wide coming off the final turn and powered through the stretch to win the $469,300 Governor's Cup for 2-year-old male pacers by 3-3/4 lengths over Mac's Power in 1:50.3 on a wet Saturday night (Nov. 24) at the Meadowlands Racetrack. Blood Money finished third.

The Governor's Cup was one of the Fall Final Four events for 2-year-old pacers and trotters at the Big M. Southwind Avenger won the $435,900 Valley Victory for male trotters while Sonnet Grace captured the $490,000 Goldsmith Maid for female trotters and Prescient Beauty claimed the $391,250 Three Diamonds for female pacers.

All of the races were contested over a sloppy track as the result of persistent rain.

In the Governor's Cup, Captain Crunch was fifth through the first half of the race as Escapetothebeach and Mangogh each took a turn on the lead. Captain Crunch followed the cover of Semi Tough around the final turn before moving to the front in the stretch and cruising to victory.

Captain Crunch, a son of Captaintreacherous out of Sweet Paprika, has won six of 10 races this year and earned $616,113 for owners 3 Brothers Stables, Christina Takter, Rojan Stables, and Caviart Farms. The colt, who last month won the Breeders Crown, is trained by Nancy Johansson. He was bred by Walnridge Farm and Sherri Meirs.

"We really took our time with him," Johansson said. "He's a big growthy colt and there is a lot of money to be made toward the end of the season. We just figured we would take our time and let him come into his own."

Johansson purchased Captain Crunch, then known as Captain Bean, for $85,000 at the 2017 Standardbred Horse Sale at the urging of her then 12-year-old daughter, Ella.

"She said, 'Whatever you do, you have to buy Captain Bean,'" Johansson said, adding with a laugh, "Great. No pressure.

"Luckily I have a good group of owners behind me and we were able to put together a group and purchase the colt and it's been a fairy tale story ever since."

Captain Crunch, the 9-5 favorite, paid $5.80 to win.

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. Yannick Gingras - 1,525; 2. Tim Tetrick - 1,509.5; 3. David Miller - 1,254.5; 4. Scott Zeron - 754; 5. Andrew McCarthy - 668.5.

Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 1,446.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 1,200; 3. Tony Alagna - 726.5; 4. Julie Miller - 481; 5. Ake Svanstedt - 449.

Owners: 1. Fashion Farms - 325; 2. Diamond Creek Racing - 304.6; 3. Burke Racing Stable - 300; 4. Weaver Bruscemi - 278.5; 5. Bill Donovan - 241.2.

Looking ahead: The 2018 Grand Circuit season will conclude after this week; the 2019 Grand Circuit schedule will be released in January.

Paul Ramlow

Grand Circuit Publicity Director

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