Day At The Track

Second week of Red Mile Grand Circuit begins

10:00 AM 06 Oct 2016 NZDT
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Harness Racing This Week: The Red Mile Grand Circuit, Red Mile, Lexington, Ky.

Schedule of events: The second week of Grand Circuit action at Red Mile kicks off on Thursday (Oct. 6) with five divisions in the $280,000 International Stallion Stake for 2-year-old colt trotters. The Friday (Oct. 7) card features four divisions in the $255,000 International Stallion Stake for 2-year-old filly trotters. On Saturday (Oct. 8) Red Mile will host four divisions in the $262,000 International Stallion Stake for 2-year-old colt pacers and four divisions in the $260,000 International Stallion Stake for 2-year-old filly pacers. On Sunday (Oct. 9), Red Mile will offer the $500,000 (est.) Kentucky Futurity, the third leg of Trotting's Triple Crown for 3-year-olds, the companion $300,000 (est.) Kentucky Filly Futurity for 3-year-old filly trotters, the $500,000 (est.) Tattersalls Pace for 3-year-old colt pacers, the $300,000 (est.) Glen Garnsey Memorial for 3-year-old filly pacers, a pair of $150,000 (est.) Allerage races for both open pacers and open trotters, and $70,000 (est.) Allerage races for older pacing mares and older trotting mares.

Complete entries for the races are available at this link.

Last time: The clubhouse was sold out, the denizens of the apron stood shoulder-to-shoulder despite the deluge the area had withstood 14 of the last 24 hours and before the first race went off on the card at Hollywood Gaming Dayton Raceway on Friday (Sept. 30) all people could discuss was how fortunate they were to witness live the most elite equine athletes on the continent.

Wiggle It Jiggleit repaid their reverence and homage with a dazzling photo finish triumph in a track record 1:49.1 by a head over Always B Miki. The public's sentimental selection, Freaky Fete Pete, checked in 1-3/4 lengths behind in third.

As the crowd chanted his name, Wiggle It Jiggleit and pilot Montrell Teague prepared to leave from post position five. The second choice at odds of 6-5, the defending Horse of the Year was unhurried at the start and settled into fourth behind race leader Luck Be Withyou (Eric Goodell), third selection Freaky Feet Pete (Trace Tetrick) and even money favorite Always B Miki (David Miller).

After establishing fractions of :26.2 and :54.4 in their first tour around the track, Miller decided he had waited long enough and sent Always B Miki first-over. Teague immediately grasped the golden opportunity for live cover and pulled Wiggle It Jiggleit from his position to follow Always B Miki's assault on the top two.

After ranging alongside Luck Be Withyou momentarily, Always B Miki took control after three-quarters in 1:22.1 with Wiggle It Jiggleit right on his flank. This locked Freaky Feet Pete in along the rail and shuffled him to fourth with Luck Be Withyou in second and Wiggle It Jiggleit in third as the drive for the wire ensued at the top of the homestretch.

As Always B Miki appeared poised to pull ahead and never relinquish the lead, Wiggle It Jiggleit loomed menacingly on the outside. Those two once again waged war through the length of the homestretch and at the finish line, and left the exhilarated crowd puzzling over which horse captured the battle.

Within minutes, that seemed much more like hours, Wiggle It Jiggleit was declared the victor and the fans demonstrated their appreciation for his monstrous effort with a round of cheers that drowned out any other sound.

Conditioned by Clyde Francis, Wiggle It Jiggleit paid $4.40 to win. The 4-year-old gelding has now amassed a staggering $3.68 million lifetime and posted his 37th win from 49 career trips to the post for owners George Teague Jr. Inc. and Teague Racing Partnership.

One race prior to yet another fantastic showdown between Always B Miki and Wiggle It Jiggleit, Obrigado made his own strong statement by emphatically capturing the $160,000 Dayton Trotting Derby for conditioner and co-owner Paul Kelley.

With regular reinsman Mark MacDonald holding the lines, the public's second wagering selection (8-5) behind only Shake It Cerry, commenced trotting from post position five and swiftly settled into second place behind Homicide Hunter (Eric Goodell).

As Homicide Hunter set all the fractions heading into the stretch, clicking off panels of :26.3, :56.2 and 1:24.2, Obrigado was content to remain in the pocket for the entire journey.

As Wind Of The North (Matt Kakaley) made his first-over bid heading into the lane, Obrigado was briefly overtaken, but that is when MacDonald pushed the button. At that juncture, the rest of the field was only competing for second place as the gelding glided to the wire to stop the clock in 1:53.2.

Centurion ATM (Aaron Merriman) closed from the clouds to finish second, 2-1/4 lengths behind the winner, while Wind Of The North was relegated to third after his early move.

Also owned by SRF Stable, Linwood Higgins and Stable 45, Obrigado increased his bankroll to $1.36 million with his 40th lifetime win.

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

Grand Circuit Standings: In 2016, 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 Farm is the sponsor for the 2016 Grand Circuit awards.

Here are the current leaders:

Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 1,131.5; 2. David Miller - 885; 3. Tim Tetrick - 828.5; 4. Brett Miller - 452.5; 5. Scott Zeron - 401.5.

Trainers: 1. Jimmy Takter - 1,042.5; 2. Ron Burke - 978.5; 3. Tony Alagna - 447; 4. Ake Svanstedt - 341; 5. Linda Toscano - 269.

Owners: 1. Burke Racing Stable - 222.87; 2. Marvin Katz - 198.8; 3. Weaver Bruscemi - 185.52; 4. Tom Hill - 184; 5. Al Libfeld - 157.05.

Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place next weekend at Yonkers Raceway and Harrah's Philadelphia. Yonkers will offer the Yonkers International Trot for free-for-all trotters and Harrah's Philadelphia will host Simpson Stakes races for 3-year-olds of both sexes and gaits.

Paul Ramlow

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