Day At The Track

Messenger & Maple Leaf head Grand Circuit

12:42 AM 22 Aug 2019 NZST
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The Grand Circuit.jpg

This Week: Messenger eliminations, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y.; Nassagaweya, Eternal Camnation, and Maple Leaf Trot eliminations, Woodbine Mohawk Park, Milton, Ontario; and W.N. Reynolds Memorial, Tioga Downs, Nichols, N.Y.

Schedule of events: This Saturday (Aug. 24), Yonkers Raceway will host a pair of $40,000 eliminations in the Messenger Stakes for sophomore pacers, the second leg of the sport's pacing Triple Crown. The top four horses in each elimination will return for the $500,000 final on Aug. 31.

Also on Saturday, Grand Circuit action at Woodbine Mohawk Park will feature a single division in the C$228,100 Nassagaweya for 2-year-old pacing colts, two divisions in the C$224,478 Eternal Camnation for 2-year-old pacing fillies; and a pair of C$40,000 eliminations in the Maple Leaf Trot for older trotters.

On Sunday (Aug. 25), Tioga Downs will card four sets of W.N. Reynolds Memorial events for freshman pacers and trotters.

Complete entries for the races at the U.S. tracks are available at this link. Entries for the Mohawk races are available at this link.

Last time: Greenshoe (Brian Sears) rebounded from his defeat in the Hambletonian to win the $330,000 Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial for 3-year-old open trotters on Saturday night (Aug. 17) at Vernon Downs.

Greenshoe rebounded from his loss in the Hambletonian to win the $330,000 Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial. Fotowon photo.

Marseille (Ake Svanstedt) assumed the lead heading to the first quarter in front of Don't Let'em (Yannick Gingras) who took up position in second, with Sears waiting patiently in third with Greenshoe ($2.30). Mareseille set a modest first quarter of :27.1 before rationing out the speed to the half in :56.3, where Greenshoe made his move first-over heading into the final turn.

Turning for home Marseille had a short lead past three-quarters in 1:25.1, but he could not fend off the pressure from Greenshoe who powered past through the stretch to a convincing six length victory. Greenshoe's stablemate, Green Manalishi S (Tim Tetrick) finished second, while Marseille held on for third.

Greenshoe is trained by Marcus Melander for owners Courant Inc., Morten Langli, Hans Backe, and Lars Granqvist. For the Father Patrick sired 3-year-old, it was his sixth win in eight starts this season.

The Ice Dutchess (Yannick Gingras) scored a victory in the co-featured $135,000 Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial for 3-year-old trotting fillies.

Starita (Dexter Dunn) jumped to the front out of the gate parking The Ice Dutchess ($5.80) to the first quarter of :27.1. After seizing the lead, The Ice Dutchess controlled the tempo to the half in :56.2. Evident Beauty (David Miller) was the first to make a move on the leader heading to the three-quarter pole (1:25.1), but that challenge was repelled by The Ice Dutchess who was two lengths in front turning for home.

The Ice Dutchess faced no other challengers through the stretch and won by a decisive 1-3/4 lengths in 1:52.4. Evident Beauty held on for second, while Starita had to settle for third.

The Ice Dutchess is owned by Coyote Wynd Farms and is trained by Nancy Johansson. The Muscle Hill sired filly now has four wins on the season and nine career victories.

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 - 731; 2. Yannick Gingras - 566; 3. David Miller - 444; 4. Dexter Dunn - 409; 5. Brian Sears - 344.

Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 673; 2. Tony Alagna - 282; 3. Marcus Melander - 279; 4. Jim King Jr. - 274; 5. Ake Svanstedt - 231.

Owners: 1. Fashion Farms - 182; 2. Burke Racing Stable - 127.1; 3. Courant Inc. - 122.5; 4. Weaver Bruscemi - 114.6; 5. Jo Ann Looney-King - 101.2.

Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next week at Yonkers Raceway and Woodbine Mohawk Park. Yonkers will feature the Yonkers Trot, Messenger Stakes, Hudson Filly Trot and Lady Maud. Woodbine Mohawk will offer the Canadian Pacing Derby and Maple Leaf Trot, as well as Simcoe Stakes for 3-year-old colt pacers and Champlain Stakes for 2-year-old colt and filly trotters.

by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit


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