Day At The Track

Meadowlands, Dover in Grand Circuit spotlight

04:12 AM 21 Nov 2013 NZDT
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Shebestingin, harness racing
Shebestingin won the Matron Stakes in 1:49.1

This Week: TVG FFA Series legs, Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, N.J. and Progress Pace elimination, Dover Downs, Dover, Del.

Schedule of events: Meadowlands Racetrack will unveil their new grandstand this Saturday with a card featuring the final preliminary legs of the TVG series for older pacers and trotters. Eliminations were also scheduled in the Governor's Cup for 2-year-old colt pacers, the Three Diamonds for 2-year-old filly pacers, the Valley Victory for 2-year-old colt trotters and the Goldsmith Maid for 2-year-old filly trotters, but will not be required. Those races will go directly to their lucrative finals on Nov. 30.

On Sunday night (Nov. 24), Dover Downs will feature a $35,000 elimination in the Progress Pace for 3-year-old male pacers. The top eight pacers in the nine horse elimination will advance to the $330,000 (est.) Progress Pace final on Dec. 1.

Last time: Eight Matron Stakes finals were featured on the Sunday (Nov. 17) program at Dover Downs. The biggest night in Delaware harness racing history featured multiple track records in the Matron events with more than $1.32 million in purses at stake.

Among the horses setting a track record was 3-year-old filly pacer Shebestingin, who scored in 1:49.1, besting Ms Caila J Fra (Andy Miller) to the wire in a final quarter of :27.4. Joe Holloway trains the Bettor's Delight-Armbro Tussle filly for Ted Gewertz, L&L DeVisser and Val D'or Farms. She won for the 11th time this season and has earned $554,876.

Matt Kakaley moved All Bets Off into the lead after a :26.1 opening quarter and was never headed, collecting a 1:50 triumph in the $154,575 Matron 2-year-old colt pace final, breaking the former track mark of 1:50.4 shared by Heston Blue Chip and If I Can Dream. Ron Burke trains the winner for Frank Baldachino, Rosemary Shelswell, The Panhellenic Stable and Burke Racing Stable.

Nuncio knocked two seconds off Explosive Matter's freshman track mark of 1:55 with a powerful 1:53 decision in the $166,650 2-year-old male trot. John Campbell was at the controls as the Andover Hall-Nicole Isabelle youngster record his fifth victory in nine starts. Scott Andrews conditions the winner for Stall TZ Inc.

Maywood Park hosted four Grand Circuit stakes on their Friday night (Nov. 15) card and Word Power did all the talking in the Windy City Pace, coming up the inside lane to capture Maywood's premiere event in 1:51.4.

Scott Zeron steered the 3-year-old son of Western Ideal-Lush Limbaugh for trainer Larry Remmen and owner Brad Grant. Unraced at 2, Word Power pushed his career earnings to $375,804 in securing his seventh lifetime victory in 17 trips postward. Lucan Hanover picked up second-place money, while Apprentice Hanover held on for show honors.

Grand Circuit Standings: In 2013, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will 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). Hanover Shoe Farms is the sponsor for the 2013 Grand Circuit awards.

Here are the leaders following the past weekend:

Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 1,772; 2. Tim Tetrick - 1,523; 3. David Miller - 1,123; 4. Brian Sears - 701.5; and 5. Ron Pierce - 672.5.

Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 1,706.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 1,131.5; 3. Linda Toscano - 493.5; 4. Tony Alagna - 466; and 5. Jonas Czernyson - 447.5.

Owners: 1. Burke Racing - 388.5; 2. Weaver Bruscemi - 364.05; 3. Frank Bellino - 268.5; 4. Brittany Farms - 263.05; and 5. WJ Donovan - 242.75.

Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will once again take place next weekend at Meadowlands Racetrack and Dover Downs. The Meadowlands will host eight stakes, the TVG FFA Series finals for trotters and pacers; the Governor's Cup, Valley Victory, Three Diamonds and Goldsmith Maid for 2-year-olds; the Moni Maker for 3-year-old filly trotters; and the Nadia Lobell for 3-year-old filly pacers. Dover will host the final in the Progress Pace for 3-year-old pacing colts.

by Paul Ramlow for the Grand Circuit


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