Day At The Track

Sophomore Matron stakes head Grand Circuit

02:18 AM 14 Nov 2019 NZDT
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This Week: Matron Stakes, Dover Downs, Dover, Del. and Fall Four eliminations, Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, N.J.

Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit returns to Dover Downs this Thursday (Nov. 14) for four Matron Stakes for 3-year-olds of both sexes and gaits. The 3-year-old colt pace carries a purse of $248,350, the 3-year-old colt trotters will race for $208,300, the purse for the 3-year-old filly trot is $176,150 and the 3-year-old filly pacers will race for $165,900.

On Saturday night (Nov. 16) Meadowlands Racetrack will host a single elimination in the Fall Four events for freshman pacers and trotters. There will be one $20,000 elimination in the Three Diamonds for 2-year-old filly pacers. Eliminations were not required in the Valley Victory for 2-year-old male trotters, the Governor's Cup for 2-year-old male pacers and the Goldsmith Maid for 2-year-old filly trotters.

Complete entries for the races are available at this link.

Last time: After being disqualified from first in the Breeders Crown at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Oct. 25, David McDuffee's Papi Rob Hanover ($2.40) found redemption in the $186,000 Matron Stakes for 2-year-old pacing colts and geldings, held Thursday (Nov. 7) at Dover Downs.

Papi Rob Hanover found redemption in the $186,000 Matron Stakes for 2-year-old pacing colts and geldings. Fotowon photo.

The son of Somebeachsomewhere and Panera Hanover eclipsed the $500,000 mark in career earnings with an effortless 1:50 win, the fifth of his career.

"I was just waiting to be the last one to the front," said driver David Miller, who yielded to Cattlewash (Yannick Gingras) and Put To Right (Andy McCarthy) in a :27.1 quarter before brushing to the top with a circuit to go. After clearing the lead just before a :55 half, Papi Rob Hanover found no further challengers, coasting to three-quarters in 1:22.4 before drawing away by 5-1/4 lengths with plenty in reserve.

"He's very sharp; he's ending up the year very well," concluded Miller. "He was strong tonight, and just a real nice horse."

Cattlewash gave futile chase to protect second, while Father Nuno (Brian Sears) emerged off cover to take third.

In the $181,600 Matron for juvenile male trotters, Breeders Crown winner Amigo Volo ($2.20) proved a similarly easy winner, clearing from the outside post six under Dexter Dunn and controlling splits of :27.3, :56.1 and 1:24.3 before drawing away to a 6-1/2 length victory over Patriarch Hanover (Matt Kakaley) and Moveoutofmyway K (Gingras) in 1:52.4, a new world record for a freshman trotting gelding on a five-eighths-mile track.

Richard 'Nifty' Norman trains the gelded son of Father Patrick and Margarita Momma for the Pinske Stables and David J. Miller.

Tim Tetrick swept the Matrons for 2-year-old fillies, taking the $176,400 pace with Lyons Sentinel ($2.40) and the non-wagering $147,600 trot with Next Level Stuff.

In the filly pace, Lyons Sentinel stalked a blistering :26.1 first quarter from third behind Lady Lou (McCarthy) before brushing to the fore with a circuit to go. After out-sprinting Lady Lou through a :54.2 half and keeping a first-over attack from Hen Party (Gingras) at bay through three-quarters in 1:22.3, the Captaintreacherous-Tutu Hanover filly worked clear to a 1:50.3 victory. Perfect Storm (Sears) rallied into second, 2-1/4 lengths back, while Hen Party faded to third.

Jim King Jr. trains Lyons Sentinel for Threelyonsracing.

Next Level Stuff coasted to a pillar-to-post 1:53.2 win in the filly trot. The daughter of Sebastian K S and Nantab cleared Queen Of The Hill (Gingras) through a :27.2 first quarter and remained unchallenged through middle splits of :56.1 and 1:25.1. Next Level Stuff began to edge clear on the final turn, and she defeated Queen Of The Hill by 2-1/2 lengths. Luv U Bye Click (Steve Smith) finished third, beaten by 25-1/4 lengths.

Jim Campbell trains the Runthetable Stables homebred.

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 - 1,356.5; 2. Yannick Gingras - 1,268; 3. Dexter Dunn - 984; 4. David Miller - 930; 5. Andrew McCarthy - 783.

Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 1,292; 2. Tony Alagna - 847; 3 Nancy Johansson - 662; 4. Ake Svanstedt - 637; 5. Marcus Melander - 603.

Owners: 1. Courant Inc. - 274.5; 2. Brad Grant - 267.1; 3. Burke Racing Stable - 238.7; 4. Robert Key - 226; 5. Fashion Farms - 224.5.

Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place next week at The Meadowlands with the finals for the Fall Four for 2-year-olds - the Governor's Cup, Valley Victory, Three Diamonds and Goldsmith Maid - along with the TVG finals for older trotters and pacers of both sexes. In addition, Dover Downs will host eliminations for the Progress Pace for 3-year-old male pacers.

by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit


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