Day At The Track

Grand Circuit season opens this weekend

03:32 AM 15 Mar 2018 NZDT
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The Grand Circuit, Harness Racing
The Grand Circuit

Harness Racing This Week: Blue Chip Matchmaker and George Morton Levy series opening legs, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y. This is the opening event of the 2018 Grand Circuit season.

Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit at Yonkers features four $40,000 divisions on Friday (March 16) in the first round of the Blue Chip Matchmaker series for open pacing mares. The Saturday (March 17) card at Yonkers will see five $50,000 divisions in the opening round of the George Morton Levy series for open pacers.

The Matchmaker and Levy both feature five preliminary rounds followed by added-money finals April 21. A horse receives 25 points each time he or she races in the preliminary rounds. Points are also awarded based on finish, with 50 points for a win, 25 for second, 12 for third, eight for fourth, and five for fifth.

The opening round of the Matchmaker will include Australian-bred defending champion Mackenzie and New Zealand-bred Sell A Bit. Mackenzie and Sell A Bit are trained by Peter Tritton.

Sell A Bit was the runner-up in the 2016 Matchmaker championship, but failed to advance to last year's final. Sell A Bit heads to this season's event with three wins in her past four starts, all in the open handicap for fillies and mares. Mackenzie, who won four of her last five races of 2017, is making her seasonal debut.

The Matchmaker fields also include multiple-award-winners L A Delight and Lady Shadow, 2017 championship runner-up Medusa, millionaires Call Me Queen Be and Regil Elektra, and near-millionaire Safe From Terror, whose brother Foiled Again won two Levy titles.

Saturday's Levy action will feature Bit Of A Legend, who is making his seasonal debut in the fifth division. He made history by going unbeaten in the 2016 Levy. He finished fourth in last year's championship, but counted the Molson, Gerrity, and Quillen among his victories. Peter Tritton is his conditioner.

There is no shortage of other big names or familiar faces in the Levy, with defending champion and Dan Patch Award-winner Keystone Velocity leading the group. Others ready for the opening round include stakes-winners such as All Bets Off, Dr J Hanover, Evenin Of Pleasure, Great Vintage, Mach It So, Missile J, Rockin Ron, Somewhere In L A (a half-brother to L A Delight), and Western Fame.

Complete entries for the races can be found by clicking on this link.

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.

Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will continue with legs of the Blue Chip Matchmaker and George Morton Levy over the next four weekends. The finals and consolations for both events will be held on April 21.

Paul Ramlow

Grand Circuit Publicity Director

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