Day At The Track

Three days of Grand Circuit racing

03:13 AM 27 Aug 2020 NZST
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Woodbine Mohawk Park, harness racing
Woodbine Mohawk Park

Harness Racing This Week: North America Cup, Fan Hanover, Armbro Flight, Roses Are Red, Nassagaweya, Eternal Camnation, Casual Breeze, Champlain and Goodtimes eliminations, Woodbine Mohawk Park, Milton, Ont.

Schedule of events: A busy weekend of Grand Circuit action at Woodbine Mohawk Park kicks off this Thursday (Aug. 27) with two divisions in the C$187,519 Champlain Stakes for 2-year-old colt trotters and two divisions in the C$172,329 Champlain Stakes for 2-year-old filly trotters.

On Friday (Aug. 28), Mohawk Park features two divisions in the C$162,811 Casual Breeze for 3-year-old filly trotters and a pair of C$30,000 eliminations in the Goodtimes for 3-year-old colt trotters.

The Saturday (Aug. 29) Mohawk Park card is led by the C$1 million North America Cup final for 3-year-old male pacers. Also on the program will be the C$400,000 Fan Hanover final for 3-year-old filly pacers, the C$290,000 Roses Are Red for older pacing mares, the C$220,000 Armbro Flight for older trotting mares, two divisions in the C$234,058 Nassagaweya for 2-year-old colt pacers and three divisions in the C$214,914 Eternal Camnation for 2-year-old pacing fillies.

Complete entries for the races are available at this link.

Last time: A break in stride by Sorella quashed the chances of a showdown between the Hambletonian and Hambletonian Oaks winners in the $160,140 Harry M. Zweig Memorial for 3-year-old trotting fillies on Friday (Aug. 21) at Vernon Downs. But Ramona Hill ($2.40), the 2020 Hambletonian winner, added another jewel to her crown with a 1:52 score in the Miracle Mile's signature distaff event, while Hambletonian runner-up Ready For Moni captured the $330,000 Zweig 3-year-old open division.

Hambletonian champion Ramona Hill was an easy winner in her Zweig Memorial at Vernon Downs.

With Sorella's break before the start leaving only four to materially contest the race, Ramona Hill had no trouble securing the early lead from the pole, and she traveled uncontested through splits of :28, :56.3 and 1:24.3. Off the home turn, Hypnotic AM angled out of the pocket to give chase, but Ramona Hill and driver Andy McCarthy once again proved too tough, accelerating through a :27.2 final sectional to win by a measured 1-1/2 lengths. Tricky Sister rallied mildly for third.

Tony Alagna trains Ramona Hill, a winner of four consecutive races and a total of 10 in her career, for Brad Grant, Crawford Farms Racing, Robert LeBlanc and In The Gym Partners.

In the Zweig for 3-year-old open trotters, Hambletonian runner-up Ready For Moni ($3.30) followed the cover of Back Of The Neck onto the backstretch and surged to the fore shortly thereafter en route to a 1:51.1 triumph.

With regular driver Yannick Gingras slated to compete in the Toronto area for the coming weeks, Matt Kakaley gained the drive aboard the son of Ready Cash for trainer Nancy Takter. Kakaley placed Ready For Moni second-over behind Back Of The Neck with five-eighths to go, but the pair were left to face the breeze after a :56 half. Ready For Moni strode strongly to the lead before reaching the far turn and threw down a :27.1 third sectional before being driven out to widen his lead gradually in the stretch. In the end, Ready For Moni defeated Back Of The Neck by two lengths, while King Alphonso finished another 7-1/4 lengths back in third.

John Fielding, Lindy Farms of Connecticut, Herb Liverman and Bud Hatfield own seven-time winner Ready For Moni, whose 1:51.1 Zweig performance was a lifetime mark.

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

Grand Circuit Standings: In 2020, 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 2020 Grand Circuit awards.

Here are the leaders following this past weekend:

Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 347; 2. Tim Tetrick - 284; 3. Andrew McCarthy - 257; 4t. Dexter Dunn - 239; 4t. Brian Sears - 239.

Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 316; 2. Nancy Takter - 295; 3. Tony Alagna - 237; 4. Marcus Melander - 223; 5. Ake Svanstedt - 209.

Owners: 1. Brad Grant - 93.7; 2. S R F Stable - 87.5; 3. Courant Inc. - 82; 4. Crawford Farms Racing - 67.2; 5. Burke Racing Stable - 66.3.

Looking ahead: Grand Circuit racing will be taking place next week at Woodbine Mohawk Park and Goshen Historic Track. Mohawk Park's week will feature the Canadian Pacing Derby for older pacers, the Maple Leaf Trot for older trotters and the Goodtimes for 3-year-old open trotters. Historic Track will host eight Landmark Stakes events for 2- and 3-year-olds.

Paul Ramlow

Internet News Manager

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