Day At The Track

Trio of tracks to host Grand Circuit action

02:02 AM 25 Jul 2019 NZST
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McWicked, harness racing
McWicked stopped the timer in 1:50.4
Melissa Simser-Iovino Photo

Harness Racing This Week: Delvin Miller Adios final, Adioo Volo and Arden Downs, The Meadows, Washington, Pa.; Hambletonian Oaks, Jim Doherty Memorial and Peter Haughton Memorial eliminations and Reynolds Memorial, Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, N.J.; and Spirit of Massachusetts and Clara Barton, Plainridge Racecourse, Plainville, Mass.

Schedule of events: Grand Circuit action kicks off this Friday (July 26) at The Meadows as the track will feature three divisions in the $60,000 Arden Downs for 2-year-old filly trotters and three divisions in the $60,000 Arden Downs for 2-year-old colt trotters. The Saturday (July 27) card at The Meadows features the $400,000 Delvin Miller Adios final for 3-year-old colt pacers, two divisions in the $120,000 Adioo Volo for 3-year-old filly pacers, three divisions in the $63,000 Arden Downs for 2-year-old colt pacers, two divisions in the $53,468 Arden Downs for 3-year-old filly trotters, two divisions in the $47,970 Arden Downs for 2-year-old filly pacers and a single $40,000 division in the Arden Downs for 3-year-old colt trotters.

Meadowlands Racetrack will offer three sets of elimination races this week, with finals slated for the Hambletonian card of Saturday (Aug. 3). On Friday, the Meadowlands will host three $20,000 eliminations in the Jim Doherty Memorial for 2-year-old filly trotters and two $20,000 eliminations in the Peter Haughton Memorial for 2-year-old colt trotters. On Saturday the program will feature two $50,000 eliminations in the Hambletonian Oaks for 3-year-old filly trotters as well as a single $81,200 W.N. Reynolds Memorial division for 3-year-old male trotters.

Action concludes on Sunday (July 28) at Plainridge with the $250,000 Spirit of Massachusetts for older trotters and the $100,000 Clara Barton for older pacing mares.

Complete entries for the races are available at this link.

Last time: The defending Horse of the Year McWicked (McArdle) came to town for the first time on Saturday night (July 20) to compete in the $260,000 Joe Gerrity Jr. Memorial Pace at Saratoga Casino Hotel.

The Casie Coleman-trained McWicked earned more than $1.5 million in his award-winning 2018 campaign but recorded only one win in his first five starts in '19 before heading into the season's richest race at the Spa.

Hall of Famer Brian Sears was in to drive McWicked and gave the classy 8-year-old pacer a second-over trip. With the race's favorite This Is The Plan (Yannick Gingras) on the front end and rival None Bettor A (Joe Bongiorno) in the pocket spot, McWicked fanned off his cover after the three-quarter time popped up in 1:23.1.

This Is The Plan faced a two-pronged challenge in the stretch and it was McWicked who proved fastest of all, securing the biggest win of his season by stopping the timer in 1:50.4. This Is The Plan was the runner-up while None Bettor A had to settle for third.

McWicked, who is owned by S S G Stables of North Boston, N.Y., became the 11th winner of the Joe Gerrity Jr. Memorial since it was started in 2009.

Complete recaps of all the weekend 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 - 527; 2. Yannick Gingras - 396; 3. Dexter Dunn - 257; 4. David Miller - 244; 5. Jason Bartlett - 226.

Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 443; 2. Tony Alagna - 237; 3. Jim King Jr. - 209; 4. Ake Svanstedt - 169; 5. Marcus Melander - 160.

Owners: 1. Fashion Farms - 112; 2. Brad Grant - 95.7; 3. Howard Taylor - 77.1; 4. Jo Ann Looney-King - 75.3; 5. Burke Racing Stable - 74.2.

Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next weekend at Meadowlands Racetrack. The track will host ten Grand Circuit events, led by the $1 million Hambletonian, the first leg of Trotting's Triple Crown for 3-year-olds, and the $300,000 Cane Pace, the first leg of Pacing's Triple Crown for 3-year-olds.

Paul Ramlow

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