Day At The Track

Meadowlands hosts big Grand Circuit program

03:08 AM 21 Nov 2019 NZDT
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This Week: Fall Four and TVG finals, Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, N.J. and Hap Hansen Progress Pace elimination, Dover Downs, Dover, Del.

Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit returns to Dover Downs this Wednesday (Nov. 20) for a $35,000 elimination in the Hap Hansen Progress Pace for 3-year-old open pacers. A field off 10 will compete for eight spots in the final slated for Nov. 27.

On Saturday night (Nov. 23) Meadowlands Racetrack will host finals in each of the Fall Four events for freshman pacers and trotters and the TVG series for open pacers and trotters. The Fall Four features the $505,050 Valley Victory for 2-year-old male trotters, the $475,100 Goldsmith Maid for 2-year-old filly trotters, the $401,850 Governor's Cup for 2-year-old male pacers and the $411,000 Three Diamonds for 2-year-old filly pacers. The TVG finals consist of the $350,000 Open Pace, the $350,000 Open Trot, $175,000 Mare Pace and the $175,000 Mare Trot.

Complete entries for the races are available at this link.

Last time: Breeders Crown winner Gimpanzee and Hambletonian Oaks winner When Dovescry added another Grand Circuit title to their respective résumés with victories in the Matron Stakes for 3-year-old trotters on Thursday (Nov. 14) at Dover Downs.

In the $208,300 Matron for sophomore trotting colts and geldings, Gimpanzee ($2.80) and Brian Sears sprinted to the early lead before yielding control to Chin Chin Hall (Dexter Dunn) at the completion of a :27 first quarter. The son of Chapter Seven was relegated to third as Don't Let'em (Yannick Gingras) brushed aggressively from midfield to clear with a circuit to go, but angled first-over to attack soon after stalking a :54.4 half.

On the backstretch, Gimpanzee sustained a strong attack on Don't Let'em, taking charge effortlessly past three-quarters in 1:23 and drawing away at will for a 1:51.1 score. Chin Chin Hall emerged up the open stretch to take second, four lengths back, while Pilot Discretion (Andy McCarthy) rallied off cover for third.

Marcus Melander trains 17-time winner Gimpanzee for Courant Inc. and the S R F Stable.

The $176,150 Matron for 3-year-old trotting fillies saw Simon Allard send When Dovescry ($7.60) clear of Beautiful Sin (Ã…ke Svanstedt) and Only Take Cash (Tim Tetrick) into the first turn before controlling splits of :27, :56.1 and 1:23.4. With three-sixteenths to go, When Dovescry faced a bid from Evident Beauty (David Miller), who circled stalled cover to challenge on the final turn.

The daughter of Muscle Hill successfully held her ground, holding off a late stand-side rally from Only Take Cash by a half-length in 1:52.2. Evident Beauty stayed on between fillies to maintain third.

Rene Allard trains 10-time winner When Dovescry for the Go Fast Stable, Yves Sarrazin, Kapildeo Singh and Lawrence Dumain.

After Dancin Lou snapped his four-race win streak in the Breeders Crown, Bettor's Wish ($3.20) got back in the win column with a 1:49.2 score in the $248,350 Matron Stakes for 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings.

Bettor's Wish worked clear of American Mercury (Tyler Buter) just beyond a :27 first quarter, but faced immediate pressure from Dancin Lou (Andy McCarthy) with a circuit to go and on toward a :53.2 half. With a quarter-mile to go, Bettor's Wish began to scamper away, turning aside Dancin Lou past three-quarters in 1:21.3.

The son of Bettor's Delight was kept to task through the final furlong, and he maintained 1-3/4 lengths of clearance over American Mercury. Aflame Hanover (Corey Callahan) angled off the pegs at head-stretch to chase and just missed the runner-up spot.

Trainer Chris Ryder co-owns Bettor's Wish, an 18-time winner and an earner of more than $1.8 million, with Bella Racing Ltd., Fair Island Farm Inc. and Bettors Wish Partners. Bettor's Wish has finished first or second in all 18 of his starts this season.

Following a runner-up finish to Warrawee Ubeaut in the Breeders Crown, Tall Drink Hanover ($13.20) rode the pocket to victory in the $165,900 Matron for 3-year-old pacing fillies, reeling in her arch-rival in the process.

Andy McCarthy put Tall Drink Hanover in play from the outset to seize early control, only to yield to prohibitive favorite Warrawee Ubeaut (Yannick Gingras) just behind a taxing :26 first quarter. After stalking a :54.2 half, Tall Drink Hanover found herself boxed as Sunny Dee (Brian Sears) offered first-over pressure up the far side.

Off the home turn, Tall Drink Hanover angled to the open stretch and eclipsed the dueling leaders, beating Sunny Dee by three-quarters of a length in 1:50.2. Treacherous Reign (Dunn) lifted from third-over to narrowly take third over the engulfed Warrawee Ubeaut, who missed the board for the first time this year in her Matron defeat.

Tony Alagna trains 15-time winner Tall Drink Hanover, a daughter of Captaintreacherous, for Alagna Racing, Marvin Katz and Riverview Racing.

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

Grand Circuit Standings: In 2019, 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 2019 Grand Circuit awards.

Here are the leaders following this past weekend:

Drivers: 1. Tim Tetrick - 1,366.5; 2. Yannick Gingras - 1,278; 3. Dexter Dunn - 1,019; 4. David Miller - 940; 5. Andrew McCarthy - 808.

Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 1,292; 2. Tony Alagna - 877; 3 Nancy Johansson - 672; 4. Ake Svanstedt - 637; 5. Marcus Melander - 623.

Owners: 1. Courant Inc. - 284.5; 2. Brad Grant - 267.1; 3. Burke Racing Stable - 238.7; 4. Robert Key - 226; 5. Fashion Farms - 224.5.

Looking ahead: The 2019 Grand Circuit season comes to a close on Nov. 27. Dover Downs will host the final stake of the season in the $300,000 (est.) Hap Hansen Progress Pace for 3-year-old male pacers.

by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit

 

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