Day At The Track

Matron Stakes in Grand Circuit spotlight

06:42 AM 09 Nov 2017 NZDT
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The Grand Circuit, Harness Racing
The Grand Circuit

Harness Racing This Week: Matron Stakes, Dover Downs, Dover, Del.

Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit returns to Dover Downs this Thursday (Nov. 9) for four Matron Stakes for 2-year-olds of both sexes and gaits. The 2-year-old colt pace carries a purse of $211,300, the 2-year-old colt trotters will race for $203,900, the purse for the 2-year-old filly pace is $174,700 and the 2-year-old filly trotters will race for $173,000.

Complete entries for the races are available at this link.

Last time: Fresh off the heels of a successful Breeders Crown weekend, Grand Circuit racing action was back in the spotlight at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Saturday (Nov. 4). The evening's 12-race card was highlighted by the $140,000 Crossroads of America for 3-year-old filly trotters, the $125,000 USS Indianapolis Memorial for 3-year-old pacing fillies, the $235,000 Carl Erskine for 3-year-old colt trotters, and the $245,000 Monument Circle Pace for 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings, many of which featured rematches from the Breeders Crown finals.

The final stakes race of the evening was the $245,000 Monument Circle for 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings and it was Downbytheseaside who avenged his runner-up finish in the $527,500 Breeders Crown final in a big way. With Chris Page in the bike, Downbytheseaside was untouchable down the stretch, stopping the timer in 1:48.3.

The 1:48.3 clocking established a new lifetime best for the Brian Brown trainee and was also just a fifth of a second off the track record for 3-year-old pacing colts, a record set by Freaky Feet Pete in 2015.

Downbytheseaside settled along the rail in third through the opening quarter in a snappy :26.2 set by Miso Fast and Matt Kakaley. Page gave Downbytheseaside the green light just before the half and he ranged up to grab the lead at the second station in :53.1.

The swift pace continued through the three-quarters in 1:20.2 as Downbytheseaside braced for the stretch drive. Funknwaffles and Corey Callahan were on the attack first-over with the rest of the field closing in. Page asked his mount for more and Downbytheseaside responded with a :28.1 final panel to hold off a late surge from Filibuster Hanover and David Miller. Rock N Tony and Trace Tetrick also rallied well late to get up for a third place finish. As the 8-5 favorite, Downbytheseaside returned $5.40 at the betting windows.

"That was a big mile," Page noted after the win. "I was a little nervous turning for home, I knew we were going a good clip but this horse is so game. He's everything you want in a horse. He's beautiful; you can do anything you want with him, and he's very, very game."

The 3-year-old son of Somebeachsomewhere-Sprig Hanover is conditioned by Brian Brown and owned by Country Club Acres, Joe Sbrocco, Richard Lombardo, and Diamond Creek Racing Stable. Downbytheseaside has now won 19 of 32 lifetime trips behind the gate while amassing $1,903,028 in lifetime purse earnings.

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

Grand Circuit Standings: In 2017, 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 2017 Grand Circuit awards.

Here are the leaders through and including the races on Nov. 4.

Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 1,549.5; 2. David Miller - 1,298; 3. Tim Tetrick - 1,043; 4. Scott Zeron - 707; 5. Corey Callahan - 510.

Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 1,404.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 1,214.5; 3. Brian Brown - 492; 4. John Butenschoen - 491; 5. Erv Miller - 438.

Owners: 1. Burke Racing Stable - 323.8; 2. Weaver Bruscemi - 280; 3. Determination - 271; 4. Emerald Highlands Farm - 250; 5. Diamond Creek Racing - 212.8.

Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place next week at Dover Downs and The Meadowlands. Dover will host the four Matron Stakes for 3-year-olds, while The Meadowlands will have eliminations for the Fall Four for 2-year-olds -- the Governor's Cup, Valley Victory, Three Diamonds and Goldsmith Maid.

Paul Ramlow

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