Day At The Track

Trio of tracks host Grand Circuit this weekend

01:36 AM 24 May 2018 NZST
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Decoy, harness racing
Decoy and David Miller winning at Yonkers Raceway
Mike Lizzi photo

This Week: Camluck Classic, The Raceway at Western Fair District, London, Ontario; Art Rooney and Lismore, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y.; and Maxie Lee Memorial, Commodore Barry and Betsy Ross, Harrah's Philadelphia, Chester, Pa.

Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit will take place at three locations this weekend.

Action begins on Saturday (May 26) at The Raceway at Western Fair District with the C$150,000 Camluck Classic for free for all pacers.

Also on Saturday, Yonkers Raceway will host the $300,000 final of the Art Rooney Pace (3-year-old colts/geldings) and the $111,444 Lismore Pace (3-year-old fillies).

Harrah's Philadelphia will host three Invitational events on Sunday (May 27), each with a purse of $150,000, in the Maxie Lee Memorial for older trotters, the Commodore Barry for older pacing males and the Betsy Ross for older mare pacers.

Complete entries for the Yonkers and Harrah's Philadelphia races can be found by clicking on this link. Western Fair entries can be found by clicking on this link.

Last time: Yonkers Raceway's foggy Saturday night (May 19) featured eliminations for both the Art Rooney and Lismore Paces. With 10 3-year-old boys entering the Rooney and nine sophomore girls in the Lismore, it was three games of 'musical chairs' to determine next week's finalists.

Odds-on favorite Decoy (David Miller, $2.20) made short work of his four foes in the first $40,000 elimination for the Rooney. Unhurried from post position three, he rolled to the lead past the half, then rolled away. The final margin over a 'good' surface was 8-1/2 lengths in 1:54. Minnie Vinnie (Brett Miller) closed for second as the 32-1 rank outsider, with Major Authority (Brian Sears) third and early leader Jimtastic (Jason Bartlett) fourth. Matinee Fashion (George Brennan) eliminated himself with a break down the backside the second time.

For Decoy, a son of Somebeachsomewhere co-owned by Brixton Medical Inc., R A W Equine and Joe Sbrocco and trained by Jimmy Takter, it was his second win in three seasonal starts.

Saturday's other 40-large elim for the Rooney saw Trump Nation (Bartlett, $9) hold off both 4-5 choice Springsteen (Sears) and Babes Dig Me (Brett Miller) by a head and a neck, respectively. Pole-sitting Trump Nation took over from early leader -- and subsequent breaker -- Handsoffmychips (Brennan), then finished it off in 1:53.3, his fastest purse mile of the season. Kwik Talkin (Jordan Stratton) wound up fourth.

Third choice Trump Nation, a statebred son of Betterthancheddar co-owned by trainer Andrew Harris and Evan Katz, is now two-for-three this season.

The evening's lone $20,000 elimination for the Lismore was won by Jewels Forreal (Dan Dube, $5.20, part of entry) in a life-best 1:55.1. Pocketed from post four, Jewels Forreal was able to get out when entrymate Python Blue Chip (Brennan) made a bad, first-over break in the final turn. Pass Line Bluechip (Bartlett) cut the mile but could not last, beaten a head. Checkered Past (Mark MacDonald) was third, with Solitary (Brent Holland), Alexa's Power (Stratton), Believe In Me (Sears), Reign On Me (Brett Miller) and a recovering Python Blue Chip also qualifying for the final. Krushed Apple (David Miller) was outrun.

For second choice (part of three-headed entry) Jewels Forreal, a daughter of So Surreal co-owned as Burke Racing by trainer Ron Burke and Weaver Bruscemi, it was her first win in seven 2018 tries.

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

Grand Circuit Standings: In 2018, 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 2018 Grand Circuit awards.

Here are the leaders following the past weekend.

Drivers: 1. Tim Tetrick - 179; 2. Yannick Gingras - 149; 3. Jordan Stratton - 134; 4. Jason Bartlett - 109; 5. Daniel Dube - 75.

Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 138; 2. Peter Tritton - 102; 3. Jim King Jr. - 99; 4. Richard Banca - 75; 5. Rene Allard - 70.

Owners: 1. Vonknoblauch Stable - 87; 2. Richard Poillucci - 44; 3. Jo Ann Looney-King - 40; 4t. Burke Racing Stable - 35.3; 4t. Weaver Bruscemi - 35.3.

Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place at Northfield Park and Mohawk next weekend. Northfield will host the Battle of Lake Erie for open pacers and Mohawk will feature the Somebeachsomewhere for 3-year-old colt pacers and the second leg of the Graduate for 4-year-old open pacers and trotters.

by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand CIrcuit


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