This Week: The Grand Circuit is off this week. Harness Racing will resume June 2 at Hoosier Park in Indiana. Last time: The 2012 Grand Circuit season opener took place last week at Freehold Raceway with the $138,300 Dexter Cup for 3-year-old colt trotters and two divisions in the $77,700 Lady Suffolk for 3-year-old filly trotters.
The Dexter Cup went to Not Afraid, who led from gate-to-wire to win by a head in a career-best time of 1:55.4. Frost Bites K was second and On The Podium third. Ron Pierce drove for trainer Jimmy Takter and owners Christina Takter, John Fielding and Goran Anderberg.
Winning driver Ron Pierce said the tenor of the race changed when the heavily favored (2-5) Market Share made a break on the lead at the quarter-mile mark.
“The whole key to the race was getting everybody behind us except for Jeffrey’s (Gregory) horse (Market Share),” Pierce told Harness Racing Communications’ Ellen Harvey after Not Afraid’s victory. “When he tipped over, that gave us the race more or less. He was kind of hyper; he relaxed just enough to where he kept a good hold of the bit, so I was able to get him around there.
“He’s maturing very nicely. Today, if you watched him outside the winner’s circle there, coming back and walking up the hill, he knows he did something. He’s got the idea. 1:55.4 -- that’s doing something on a half (-mile track) for a 3-year-old colt this early in the year.”
Not Afraid, a son SJ’s Caviar-Beverly Crusher, increased his earnings this year to $124,520. He has won two of 11 lifetime starts.
The first $38,850 Lady Suffolk division went to Bluestone Farms’ For A Dancer in a time of 1:58.3. Jeff Gregory drove the-Fluttering Wings filly for trainer Joe Holloway.
The other $38,850 Lady Suffolk split went to Tony and Linda Schadel’s Cocktail Attire with a wire-to-wire effort in a time of 1:57.4. Trained by Linda Schadel, Tony Schadel was in the bike behind the daughter of-Doitwithclass.
Grand Circuit Driving Standings: Jeff Gregory has the early lead in the Grand Circuit driving standings with two victories in 2012. Ron Pierce and Tony Schadel are tied for second with one win each.
Looking ahead: The Grand Circuit’s next stop will be at Hoosier Park in Anderson, Indiana. The featured event will be the $200,000 (est.) Dan Patch for free for all pacers, slated for the Saturday (June 2) program.
The remaining 2012 schedule for the Grand Circuit is as follows.
Hoosier Park--June 2
Historic Track (Goshen)--June 29-July 1
Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs--June 30-July 7
Tioga Downs--July 19-July 22
Meadows--July 23-July 28
Meadowlands--August 2-August 4
Illinois State Fair (Springfield)--August 13-August 19
Harrah’s Chester--August 16-August 19
Indiana State Fair (Indianapolis)--August 17
Indiana Downs--August 22-August 25
Mohawk--September 1-September 8
Delaware, Ohio County Fair--September 16-September 20
The Red Mile--September 27-October 7
Breeders Crown at Woodbine--October 19-October 27
Balmoral Park--November 3-November 10
Maywood Park--November 16
by Paul Ramlow, Grand Circuit Publicity Director