East Rutherford, NJ --- The Whata Baron Series for pacing horses and geldings opened with a pair of $22,500 divisions on Saturday night (April 5) at Meadowlands Racetrack. The track was fast and temperature seasonal when the first split went away as race six with Wake Up Peter redeeming himself and his backers after a pair of losses as the 3-5 favorite. Starting from the rail for driver Scott Zeron, Wake Up Peter protected his position through the first turn then responded to Zeron’s guidance to take the lead past the half in :55.3. Facing no challenges around the final bend, Wake Up Peter sprinted clear in early stretch and held safe for the 1:51 win. Sky Is The Limit was second and Ima Giggity Fool finished third. The winner is trained by the Remmen stable for owner Bradley Grant of Ontario. In the second division favored Captive Audience was an impressive 1:49 winner, leading all the way for Andy Miller. Sent through a quick :26.3 opening split, Miller did not welcome the early move from highly-regarded Pompano invader Prairie Jaguar passing the three-eighths, a move that was quickly aborted by his pilot Jim Morrill, Jr. Captive Audience continued through honest fractions of :55 and 1:22.2 before a credible :27.3 into the wind closed it out. Scott Rocks sat the pocket throughout and held second with Summer Smackdown third. Corey Johnson trains the winner for Debbie Element and Mac Nichol of Ontario. In the $30,000 final of the Dash For The "C" Note for C-1 pacers, Valentino and driver Andy Miller were able to lead the field from start to finish to win in 1:51.2. A game I'm Banksy (John Campbell) was second with Verdad (Mike Wilder) third. Trained by Nick Surick for the KDM Stables and JL Benson Stables, it was the second win this year for Valentino, a seven-year-old stallion by Rocknroll Hanover. He paid $4.40 to win. by Nick Saliv, for the Meadowlands
East Rutherford, NJ: Beginning on Saturday, March 22 The Meadowlands will host a six week tournament for drivers that pits the sport's established stars against the emerging new talent. Each Saturday night through April 19 (five legs) a point tally determined by each driver's order of finish will be kept over the course of the entire race card and the top point earner for each of those two groups will be awarded $2,000 for their efforts. The tournament will conclude on April 26 with a final in which the top point earners over the course of the five preliminary legs will compete in a series of races on the card. The winner of the final will be awarded $15,000, second place is worth $5,000, third $3,000 and all other finalists will receive $1,000. This event is jointly sponsored by Jeff Gural and The Meadowlands with no effect on the purse account. "During the Levy Series at Yonkers I thought this would be an opportunity to reward those drivers who remain loyal to the Meadowlands and at the same time create an opportunity for the younger drivers to earn some extra money," said Meadowlands Chairman Jeff Gural. "With increased competition for the handle looming we feel the need to generate promotions that will hold the interest of our customers. "I think this is also a great chance for out of town drivers to show off their skills at the sport's most competitive racetrack during a time when there will be increased opportunity for them to get drives. We welcome those young drivers that would like to try their luck at The Meadowlands." There will be no specifically dedicated races for this contest. All drivers will be competing for their own interests, there is no team element other than to determine the top point earners for the purpose of awarding the prizes. The contest will consist of all races on each of the Saturday programs and the process will remain as it normally is so far as entering horses and driver selections. The trainers will enter their horses listing the driver of their choice. The drivers will make their choices with the judges by scratch time and trainers will be required to call the judges and react to those choices, then name whomever they wish if their first choice has gone elsewhere. The "Legends" will be comprised of Yannick Gingras, David Miller, Corey Callahan, Tim Tetrick, Andy Miller and John Campbell (who expects to return to the sulky on March 28). The "Phenoms" will include Scott Zeron, Andy Mc Carthy, Joe Bongiorno, Marcus Miller, Jimmy Marohn, Jr, and Tyler Smith among others. Any drivers not listed above who race at The Meadowlands on the tournament Saturdays will compete as members of the "Phenoms" and are eligible for any prize awarded to that group. The drivers named above and any others will compete of their own volition, as their personal schedule allows. They may compete in as many or as few of the preliminary legs as they choose. Contact Nick Salvi at (607) 972-5500 with inquiries.
East Rutherford, NJ -- The first round of payments are in for the major Grand Circuit stakes to be raced in 2014 at The Meadowlands and the big news is the dramatic increase in the number of horses nominated to the $750,000e Meadowlands Pace. A total of 58 three year old colt pacers were named to the race, nearly double the 2013 figure of 30, and boast the most accomplished freshmen from last season and a few upstarts among the nominees. The eligibles include the recently named 2013 Dan Patch Award winning two year old colt pacer He's Watching, Breeders Crown winner Luck Be With You, Metro hero Boomboom Ballykeel and Governor's Cup champ JK Endofanera. Both colts that won divisions of the Buddy Gilmour series so impressively on Saturday, Capital Account and National Debt, have been paid in as well. Several tweaks in the payment formula resulted in greater participation by nominators. The most noticeable change was the reduction in the nomination fee from $1,000 to $500. Another is the inclusion of a tiered entry fee replacing a flat fee of $6,000 to enter the elimination round to $2,500 to start in the elimination race and then $5,000 to continue on into the final. Other changes are being implemented going forward which include for the first time a two year old payment of $400 due March 15 on foals of 2012 which will result in a reduction of $2,000 in the sustaining payments for the 2015 Pace. The goal is to maintain and eventually increase the purse of the race while at the same time reducing the burden on the nominators By mere association the Mistletoe Shalee filly companion stake leaped nearly 40%from 29 to 41. Meadowlands General Manager and CEO Jason Settlemoir voiced his approval, "It's gratifying to see our signature race experience such a resurrection. It took some thought by the racing department Pete Koch, Darin Zoccali and Nick Salvi to revise a payment plan that was no longer working. The improvement is welcome and appreciated. "With better weather ahead and the stakes season on the horizon, there is certainly cause for optimism. Saturday past the place felt alive, the crowd was not only large but also engaged. There was definitely the type of buzz in the building that we are expecting for the new grandstand." Across the board on the stakes menu results were mixed. Substantial increases were realized in the Peter Haughton Memorial and Merrie Annabelle, a few more trotters were nominated to the Cashman Memorial and the TVG Trotting Championship. Those names include two noteworthy mares, Horse of the Year Bee A Magician and world record holder Maven. The older pacing mare stakes were up a bit as well. The Del Miller for sophomore filly trotters took the biggest hit, down a third and several of the stakes for open older pacers also declined appreciably while the quality of the nominees held up nicely. Nominations for all the races are now posted on The Meadowlands website. Keep in mind that these lists are subject to omission/correction.http://www.meadowlandsracetrack.com/StakesNominations.aspx From the Meadowlands Media Relations Dept.
A few significant reductions have been made to the cost of nominating and sustaining your pacing colts to The Meadowlands Pace for 2014 and beyond. Recognizing the high cost of staking and the increased opportunities that exist for the three year old pacing colt division, the nominating and sustaining payments for the 2014 Meadowlands Pace have been reduced by nearly 20%. Chief among these cuts is the price to nominate having been slashed in half, from $1,000 to $500. Another new wrinkle for 2014 is a tiered declaration fee, dropping the cost of entry in the elimination races from the single declaration fee of $6,000 to $2,500 for the elimination and then $5,000 to go in the final (if eliminations are not needed, the cost to race in the final will be $7,500). It will cost $5,000 less than 2013 for a horse to put his nose on the gate in a Meadowlands Pace elimination. This should allow more owners to take a crack at one of the classics and a chance to earn the cost of the final declaration fee while racing in the elimination. The purse for the 2014 Meadowlands Pace is estimated to be $750,000 with the eliminations to go for $50,000. Looking ahead, the Meadowlands Pace is being transitioned from an Early Closer, which requires no nomination until the year in which the race will be contested, to a stake with payments due in prior years. To begin, a two year old nomination payment of $400 on the foals of 2012 to race in the 2015 Pace is due on March 15, 2014. After this initial fee, the nominated horse will be eligible to be sustained to the 2015 Pace by making $2,000 February 15 and $2,500 March 15 payments. The total payments then represent a further reduction of 25% versus the cost in 2014. "The Meadowlands Pace is the signature event at The Meadowlands," said Chairman Jeff Gural. "These three year old pacers have a lot of options now, more than ever before, and we feel it is important to make this event as affordable and attractive as possible. It's what the horsemen deserve and it's what The Meadowlands Pace deserves. I truly hope the horsemen respond with their nominations." "This is a big step for The Meadowlands Pace," said Director of Racing Operations, Darin Zoccali. "Our team in the racing department has been working on this concept for a year. I want to thank Peter Koch and Nick Salvi for their creativity and ingenuity in coming up with a game plan that we all believe will make The Meadowlands Pace better than ever. We have strong confidence that these changes will yield more nominations, more horses sustained throughout the payment process and more horses entered in the Eliminations. The end result will be a deeper, more competitive field and a higher purse, which is in the best interest of the horsemen and The Meadowlands Pace itself." An announcement regarding the 2016 Meadowlands Pace and beyond along with its payment schedule will be made public in the near future. The application for the 2014 Meadowlands Pace nomination can be found here: http://meadowlandsracetrack.com/uploadedFiles/Horsemen/Harness_Stakes_Applications/2014%203YO%20early%20closing%20program_pace.pdf The application for the two year old nomination for the 2015 Meadowlands Pace can be found here: http://meadowlandsracetrack.com/uploadedFiles/Horsemen/Harness_Stakes_Applications/meadowlands%20pace%20stakes%20ad.pdf by Darin Zoccali for The Meadowlands
As is my annual tradition, it's time for my annual 'Things to be Thankful For' list. I am sure I am missing some people so forgive me ahead of time. Here is this year's list with the entries in no particular order. Captaintreacherous and Bee A Magician - Who would think we would be at the conclusion of the 2013 racing campaign and still have a debate about who may be the recipient of Horse of the Year Honors? Sure, Bee A Magician right now is in front, but a victory by Captaintreacherous in the TVG FFA Series Final against older horses would result in the Captain taking the honors away from this fantastic filly at the last possible moment TVG and the Meadowlands for the TVG FFA Series - With all due respect to the Cleveland Classic, without this partnership of TVG and the Meadowlands, most of the top FFA horses would have called it a season after the Breeders Crown. This partnership is giving us two great races and shows what can happen when ADWs and tracks work together. I could mention the Gural team at the Meadowlands for their efforts in bringing Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment to fruition but it is time we mention someone within Team Gural for praise. For that reason, we are thankful for Nick Salvi, a man without a title but is everywhere. In addition to his duties at the three Gural-operated tracks, he write press releases for the Breeders Crown, The Red Mile, and is seen at the sales and of course Lexington. Did I mention that Nick is also Vice-President of the Grand Circuit? Nick may not have made his mark as a driver/trainer, but the sport is richer having Nick on the business-side of the industry. Once again, we are thankful for John Manzi - Not only does he attempt to keep racing in the forefront as much as possible at Monticello Raceway, Manzi is another Press Release King. Let's see from memory, in addition to writing press releases for Monticello Raceway, he writes press releases for the CKG Billings Series, NAADA, USHWA Monticello-Goshen Chapter, Historic Track and others. If there is a press release to be written, they know who to call, John Manzi. Brett Boyd, President of the MHHA - The situation in Michigan is becoming worse every year and most people wouldn't want to be stuck in a position of leadership, yet Boyd keeps fighting the battle on behalf of Michigan Harness Horsemen no matter how poor the odds are. The horsemen in Michigan should be thankful they have someone like Boyd fighting for them and maybe he will be able to pull victory out of the lions mouth. We should be thankful as well. Dave McCaffrey - The leader of the Illinois Harness Horsemen Association has been put through the screws this past year with the fight over ADW wagering in the Prairie State. Would you like to be the leader of a group facing the possibility of only 13 days of racing in 2014 if the politicians can't be won over? Neither would I but we are thankful McCaffery still is working on leading the harness industry in his state to a renaissance. . Bob Marks - Now a man without a portfolio since Peretti Farms has had its dispersal sale, we can say how much racing has been blessed to have Marks on our side. From Top Trotter, to writing articles for Hoof Beats, to marketing Peretti stallions and yearlings, he has done it all. Marks may be talking about life outside of racing but I don't think having Marks outside of racing is in our best interests. While we are thankful for what Marks has done, hopefully someone ropes him in, at least on a part time basis, so he remains in racing. Heather Vitale - Ms. Sunshine is a wonderful spokesman for the sport with her hosting and producing Post Time and co-hosting PA Harnessweek with her partner in crime Steve Ross. Despite being run down in the effort of putting together her Post Time show, she maintained her good nature. When she is not producing these shows, she takes care of her two children and volunteers with non-profit organization. Heather gives it all for the sport and the time has come for this regional treasure to be given national exposure, perhaps working the Hambletonian and Breeders Crown. Jodie Doherty - In addition to raising children and being the backbone behind a small family stable, this young lady spends her time educating people on the plight of unwanted race horses and about those looking to take advantage of those good-natured people trying to help them. She doesn't just talk the talk, she also walks the talk as she has her own barn of pensioners, including a thoroughbred horse. There are others who do similar work be it running rescues or have a higher profile to speak from but Doherty's pretty effective just the same. Horse Rescues (legitimate) - Harness racing and for that fact all of racing should be thankful for their respective rescues. Yes, there is a flood of unwanted race horses but these rescues do their part by saving as many horses they can while constantly fundraising and struggling to pay the bills. It's a thankless job but they are doing it. We thank these rescues and those who volunteer their time helping them. A thank you to their donors needs to be said as well. Monica Thors - She had put her racing stable on hiatus for the past three years working on a labor of love, the documentary I Am a Harness Racing Horse. She battles to get this film telling the story of harness racing and its equine stars despite running into roadblocks when she shouldn't have to. As the film is now in post production, she is slowly ramping up her racing stable for its return to the racing wars. We are thankful for her spirit to never say no. Those tracks and horsemen groups which go the extra mile and support efforts to promote those groups who support horse rescue. Yes, things are tight these days but there are ways to help bring attention and funds to these groups and even get some publicity out of it. Yet it is surprising how many groups when asked to make a relatively small donation to help promote these groups say no. I just hope those who say 'No' when asked are doing their part in other ways. Otherwise, shame on them. Finally, we are thankful to all those who are doing what they can for Anthony Coletta who is battling to recover from a nasty accident at Harrah's Philadelphia. From those who have the resources to do a lot to those who don't have the resources to do much, we are thankful that you are doing what you can. Allow me to wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving. by Allan Schott from View From the Racetrack Grandstand firstname.lastname@example.org
After five preliminary legs that began at The Meadowlands on August 2 then wound through Tioga Downs and The Red Mile on their way to Vernon, the Kindergarten Trotting Classic finalists will vie for over $400,000 in total purses at Vernon Downs on Friday night. It is ladies first in the eighth race where Yoga (Muscles Yankee) leads the way for trainer / driver Jimmy Takter from post six. She comes into the race as the point leader off of her four wins in series action, including last week's Vernon leg. Yoga will attempt to bring the winner's share of the $206,000 purse home to her owners Christina Takter and John & Jim Fielding. The colt division (race nine) is also led by a Takter pupil, as Trixton is at the top of the charts and starts from post two for Jimmy on Friday. From the first crop of Muscle Hill, Trixton was a $360,000 yearling purchase by Brixton Medical Ab and Christina Takter and seeks the biggest payday of his young career in the $217,500 final. The competition is deep with recent world record setter Outburst leaving from inside Trixton and Southwind Spirit, beaten a short nose in Outburst's record mile and fourth in the Breeders Crown leaving from post four. As the end of the Vernon racing season draws near, fan appreciation is a priority and there are several promotions offered along with the races. Fans will receive a 60th Anniversary racing season hooded sweatshirt while supplies last. They can also register to win a snow blower, courtesy of Clinton Tractor. Vernon Downs will also be conducting its Fall Fever Handicapping Contest for on-track guests with a first place prize of $500. Entry is free in the handicapping contest. Post time is 6:45 pm and all the pertinent info is available on the Vernon website. by Nick Salvi for Vernon Downs
The fifth and last preliminary leg of the Kindergarten Classic series, a Grand Circuit event, will be raced this Friday, October 18 at Vernon Downs. Two divisions each of fillies and colts will go for $10,000 and perhaps more importantly, valuable points toward the $200,000e final for each next Friday. In with a puncher's chance, needing a win to advance, is the speedy Odds On Amethyst (race 4) who was second in his only series appearance back in August. An impressive 1:54.2 winner in the Bluegrass at The Red Mile, he lost all chance in his Breeders Crown elimination with an early break, so Plan B has been instituted by the connections. Dan Daley drives this well bred Muscle Hill gelding in a reunion of sorts as Dan trained him for Robin Schadt and owner Odds On Racing for a spell not long ago. Recent world record setter and double Red Mile Grand Circuit winner Outburst heads up the other colt division (race 6)for owner/trainer Noel Daley. This Explosive Matter gelding won an exciting Bluegrass split in Lexington in 1:53.1 for the record. He has won five of eight over $130,000 this season for Noel and partners Adam Victor & Son and Mirva Bogucki. Lightning Force, Myolinist, Hillustrious and Chocolate Day are also in town to pursue a final berth. They currently occupy positions 10-14 in the standings, just beyond the nine accepted. On the filly side, Yoga (Muscles Yankee) sits atop the standings having won all three of her Kindergarten starts and will defend her throne in the evening's second race. Hall of Famer Jimmy Takter trains and drives her for Christina Takter, John and Jim Fielding from post two. Cee Bee Yes looks like the logical favorite in division two (race 11) based on her consistent form which has resulted in $168,785 in seasonal earnings for Jason & Douglas Allen. She is conditioned by Julie Miller and husband Andy will be in for the drive. Red Hot Spicy, Bikini So Teeny and Fashion Huntress are currently just outside the limit and will be looking to secure a spot in the final with a high placing on Friday. All things Kindergarten, including the above mentioned series standings, may be found on the Vernon Downs website. Post time on Friday is 6:45pm. by Nick Salvi for Vernon Downs
The fifth and last preliminary leg of the Kindergarten Classic Series will be raced on Friday, October 18th at Vernon Downs. The box will close on the morning of Tuesday, October 15 at 9:00 am. You may phone entries into the Race Office at (315) 829-6825 and access the condition sheet and series standings toward the October 25 final at the Vernon Downs website. by Nick Salvi for Vernon Downs
Two-year-old trotting colts and pacing fillies will race for nearly a half million dollars in purses in the Grand Circuit International Stallion Stakes on Friday at The Red Mile. Outsourced returns to the scene of his world record effort of last week in Friday's fourth race. The Explosive Matter gelding set the fastest mark of any male freshman trotter in the sport's history when he converted a perfect Ron Pierce drive into a narrow 1:53.1 win in the Bluegrass stakes. He faces a slightly less accomplished group of seven in this quest to double up for trainer Noel Daley who owns him in partnership with Adam Victor & Son Stable and Mira Bogucki. Pierce is listed to drive from post four. Odds On Amethyst spins right back after a dominant four length 1:54.2 romp in the Bluegrass. He's a Muscle Hill first cropper from the great Mystical Sunshine and he had the look of a contender last week. Tim Tetrick has the drive (and quite possibly the warm up call) again for trainer Robin Schadt and Dana Parham's Odds On Racing in the third race. The final division (race 8) holds great promise, with a couple of lightly raced but royally bred colts. E L Titan is a Muscle Hill from Courtney Lobell and he's been brought along carefully by trainer / driver Riina Rekila. Among his just three starts is an impressive second to division star Father Patrick (who sits this one out) in the Champlain stakes. Erkki Laakkonen bred and retains ownership of this top prospect. Also in the field is Muscleprinctonian, Jules Siegel's homebred result of pairing his 2009 Hambletonian Oaks winning mare, Broadway Schooner with 2009 Hambo winner Muscle Hill. He looked great in his Meadowlands qualifiers and had a few lackluster starts in Jersey Sires Stakes competition before trainer Jim Campbell gave the colt some time off. He qualified very nicely in 1:56.3 for John Campbell here last week. The pacing fillies are carded in races five, six and ten with the best saved for last. Division leader Precocious Beauty hooks up with Uffizi Hanover, who won her Bluegrass division from an impossible spot last week. Precocious Beauty (Art Major) has a five race winning streak including the season's top dollar race to this point, the She's A great Lady and won her Bluegrass split in 1:51- last Friday. She sports a pair of 1:50.2 wins and over $400,000 on the year for breeder/owner Jim Avritt and trainer (father) Gregg McNair and driver (son) Doug McNair. Uffizi Hanover had lost a few photos before breaking her maiden in the Bluegrass, coming from tenth and last at the three quarters call blasting home in 26.1 to win in 1:50.3 for Dave Miller. She is by first crop sire Well Said and is indicative of the late season bloom by his get. Jimmy Takter trains her for Al Libfeld, Marvin Katz and Sam Goldband. Post time is 1:00 pm on Friday and through the meet's end on Sunday. The Lexington Selected Standardbred Yearling sale began at 7:00 pm tonight at the Fasig-Tipton pavilion. by Nick Salvi for the Grand Circuit
Daytime Grand Circuit racing returns to The Red Mile on Thursday, October 3 with post time set for 1:00pm, as will be the case through the balance of the meet. Three divisions of the $266,500 International Stallion Stakes for two year old trotting fillies are the Thursday feature, with two of the three winners returning from last week's Bluegrass tests. Struck By Lindy took a record of 1:53.1 here at The Red Mile last week and returns in race five on Thursday for her connections. From the impressive first crop of Explosive Matter, she has won half of her eight career starts and amassed over $160,000 this season for owners Mel Hartman, RAW Equine, Inc. and Adam Victor & Son Stable. Dave Miller is listed to drive for trainer R. "Nifty" Norman. Chivaree Hanover is also looking to complete the "Lexington Double" by winning on both weeks of the Grand Circuit stand in Kentucky. She is from Muscle Hill's first crop and has exhibited both speed and consistency over the course of her young racing career for owner / trainer Gregg McNair. She has won three times in six outings and earned a 1:56.3 mark to go along with her rapidly escalating bankroll of $92,113. Doug McNair is back in town to drive the family horse in the tenth and final race of the day. In between those two, race nine appears to be a handicapping puzzle, with several promising fillies looking to make their mark while in Lexington. Heaven's Door has blazing speed and impressed many with her Merrie Annabelle elimination effort where she finished third after an early break. Trainer Ross Croghan gave her time to collect herself after The Meadowlands meet and spoke of her eccentricities in an interview last week. She responded with another strong effort, putting up some pretty fancy numbers on the lead for driver John Campbell and holding sway for the place behind Struck By Lindy, who sat the pocket and sailed by for the win. Heaven's Door was timed in 1:54.1 there and if John is able to settle the Muscle Hill filly into slightly less frenetic fractions she could get her first win for Let It Ride Stable, Robert Cooper and J & T Silva Stables. The Grand Circuit meet continues with matinee racing at 1:00pm through Sunday, culminating with the Kentucky Futurity on closing day. Visit The Red Mile website for further details. Clubhouse dining reservations may be made by calling (859) 233-0814. The Lexington Selected Yearling Sale starts on Tuesday evening at 7:00pm and the catalog is brimming with potential winners.by by Nick Salvi for the Grand Circuit
The Red Mile Grand Circuit concludes week one with a thirteen race matinee card on Sunday. The program features five divisions of the Bluegrass Stakes for sophomore trotters, three colt divisions and a pair for the fair sex. A pair of eliminations for the Allerage Farms Open stakes, containing the stars of the mature set, highlight the program. When Racing Secretary Billy Perkins opened the box at 10am this morning, he found an overflow of declarations in both events, necessitating several byes being offered to get both fields down to ten starters. On the pacing side, top seasonal earner and division leader Pet Rock was the first to have the option to accept a free pass into next Sunday's $175,000 final on the strength of his 2013 bankroll of $644,070. His connections, trainer Virgil Morgan, Jr. and owner Frank Bellino, accepted the offer and he will join the top nine finishers from this Sunday's elimination in the final. Left to battle for the remaining berths are the titans of the division including no less than five from the Ron Burke stable headed up by the razor sharp Clear Vision. A Rocknroll Dance, Bolt The Duer, Sweet Lou and Golden Receiver (returning from a month long freshening) are chief among the contenders. Thirteen were declared for the Allerage Open Trot and the bye process took more effort to implement, as several trainers chose to bypass the free roll and race in the elimination. The pot is sweetened by the chance to win the right to select their post position for next week's final with a victory in this race. At the end of the process, Guccio, Southwind Pepino and Wishing Stone will go directly to the $170,000 final next Sunday. That left an awfully good field of horses to race for the remaining seven slots. Leading seasonal earner Sevruga leaves from post four with Andy Miller set to drive for owner KDM Stables Corporation. Market Share is also racing and will start just outside Sevruga as he makes his bid for the win. Tim Tetrick has driven him in each of his eight seasonal starts and will again call the shots for trainer Linda Toscano and owners Richard Gutnick, TLP Stable and Bill Augustine. The fun starts at 1:00pm and the weather forecast remains positive with a warm early fall afternoon predicted. Be reminded that The Red Mile clubhouse will be open each racing day and you may reserve a table by calling (859) 233-0814. Parking is free and admission is a mere $2 for a great day of harness racing. The Lexington Selected Yearling Sale begins on Tuesday, October 1st at the Fasig-Tipton sales pavilion. Find further sale info at their website. by Nick Salvi for the Grand Circuit
The Red Mile Grand Circuit race meet begins tonight and the Clubhouse dining room will be open and serving a selection of culinary delights for each racing program. The setting is trackside with a view of the racing along with televisions to follow the action. Hosts Angie & Matt Falcone of Bayou Bluegrass Catering have developed quite a following in the Lexington market with their events and catering service. The cuisine is a fusion of those cultures and it is an interesting and eclectic mix. Among the most popular items are Chef Matt's delicious BBQ brisket, country style green beans and Kentucky corn puddin'. The dessert station offers several cakes and pies, bread pudding with bourbon sauce and their "Famous Blue Ribbon Banana Pudding". Reservations may be made by calling (859) 233-0814, walk-ins are welcome. Visit their website for more details. by Nick Salvi for the Grand Circuit
Saturday's Grand Circuit card at The Red Mile features the glamor boy division and "The Captain" is in to go. On a night when two and three year old pacing colt stakes dominate the ten race card for total purses in excess of $650,000, the weather man is predicting favorable conditions for a speed filled program. Captaintreacherous will face a solid group of six in the $95,500 Bluegress Stakes event titled for his sire Somebeachsomewhere. He will begin from post five in the third race with Tim Tetrick aboard the pride of Captaintreacherous Racing for trainer Tony Algna . "The Captain" had a few weeks away from racing after his Cane Pace win, then had a good tightener last week at Hoosier Park. The winner of the 2013 Meadowlands Pace, North America Cup and Max Hempt Memorial, he is harness racing's top seasonal money earner with just a hair less that $1.5 million and a career total of $2.374 million in the bank. A second division of the Somebeachsomewhere goes for $96,500 in the eighth race with Little Brown Jug heat winner Resistance Futile facing Battle of the Brandywine champ Sunshine Beach. Resistance Futile has long displayed high speed and seemed to put it all together winning the fastest "Jug' heat in 1:49.3, only eliminate himself from contention in the second heat by going off stride while gaining ground on the final bend. Corey Callahan retains the drive for trainer Blair Burgess, who owns the Real Desire colt in partnership with JH Walker and Deo Volente Farms. Sunshine Beach is the only horse to finish in front of Captaintreacherous this season when he hung a narrow defeat on that one in their memorable world record "Battle" of the Brandywine at Pocono Downs. This Somebeachsomewhere colt has been raced sparingly by trainer Mark Steacy and comes into this race three weeks stale after skipping the "Jug" due to a minor health issue. John Campbell gets the drive for owners Hudson Standardbred Stables, Conrad Leber and Diane Bertrand. Supporting the sophomore stars are four divisions of the Bluegrass Stakes for two year old pacing colts where the likes of recent Delaware star On Golden Ponder, NJSS champ and Metro runner-up Western Vintage and PASS stars Limelight Beach and Sometimes Said will try their luck over the red clay carpet. Three year old filly pacers will go in a single eleven filly division of the Bluegrass for $122,000 in the ninth race. The good Bettor's Delight filly Shebestingin is the likely choice in this one off a strong season that has seen her pick up over $300,000 on the strength of seven wins for Val D'Or Farms, Ted Gewertz and L & L Devisser. Joe Holloway trains and David Miller will drive the speedy lass. Saturday post time is 7pm, the last of the night cards for 2013. Sunday racing has a 1pm post time and that will continue through the balance of the meet. Find more at http://www.theredmile.com./ by Nick Salvi for the Grand Circuit
Grand Circuit racing continues on Friday at The Red Mile with three divisions each of the Bluegrass Stakes for two year old colt trotters and filly pacers. Those freshmen will compete for total purses well in excess of a half million dollars and the "top of the crop" for each group are among the entrants. The colt trotters will compete in the Walnut Hall Limited Cup, carded as races five, seven and ten, each a seven colt field for a purse of $90,100. Father Patrick has been nothing short of sensational this season. The Cantab Hall colt has won the Peter Haughton Memorial at The Meadowlands by ten lengths and more recently the William Wellwood Memorial at Mohawk, where he established a new Canadian record for baby trotters of 1:53.4 in a five length romp. A winner of $436,507 this year, the only loss in Father Patrick's eight start career was a photo out in an overnight at The Meadowlands. Jimmy Takter trains the colt for the Father Patrick Stable and Yannick Gingras will steer him as he has in every start this season. On the distaff side, the fillies will race for just shy of $260,000 split three ways, race eight, nine and eleven. The "Belle of the Ball" thus far has been Jim Avritt's homebred Art Major filly Precocious Beauty. From his mare Precious Beauty, who produced North America Cup champ Sportswriter, Jim kept the filly he has described as "a perfect specimen" and she has lived up to his vision and then some. A winner of four straight in Ontario including the She's A Great Lady final and Eternal Camnation stakes, Precocious Beauty has amassed just shy of $360,000 on the strength of five wins and a pair of seconds from seven starts. Her 1:50.2 speed badge puts her just a fifth off the current world record for the division. Top Canadian conditioner Gregg Mc Nair developed the filly and sends her out on Friday with her regular pilot, one of racing's brightest young stars, his son Doug. Friday post time will be 7pm. The Red Mile is available at a simulcast venue near you or you may view the races by opening an account with their account wagering platform. by Nick Salvi for the Grand Circuit
The fortnight of Grand Circuit racing at The Red Mile in Lexington, Kentucky gets underway with the Bluegrass Stakes for two year old filly trotters on Thursday, September 26. This group has had a remarkable season to this point with a bounty of talented debutantes re-writing the record books throughout the summer. Three divisions of freshman fillies will race over the clay with the first split carded as race five for a purse of $95,200. Several of the entrants have been in town for the Kindergarten Classic legs, including Anonyme Hanover who was a winner her last two in that series. The Explosive Matter lass has displayed an affinity for the surface but will have to move her game up appreciably to extend that skein given the caliber of Thursday's competition. Brett Miller will continue to drive for Burke Racing, Weaver / Bruscemi and Matt Kakaley. Race eight is the next stake with nine fillies dueling for $96,200. Cee Bee Yes is perhaps the most accomplished of this group with a win in the New Jersey Sires Stakes final heading her resume. The Muscles Yankee filly has won three of seven this season on her way to banking over $140,000 for Jason & Douglas Allen. Her personal best of 1:55.1 was taken over the Red Mile two weeks back. Julie and Andy Miller handle the training and driving duties. The tenth and final race of the evening is clearly the most contentious, pitting the PA Sires champ Designed To Be against the brilliantly fast Cooler Schooner and Merrie Annabelle winner Shake It Cerry for $96,200. Designed To Be has won half of her six career outings including a comfortable five length romp in the $260,000 PA final in 1:54.3. The Donato Hanover filly is a winner of nearly $240,000 for Al Libfeld and Marvin Katz. She aslo resides in the Julie Miller barn and will have Andy aboard. Cooler Schooner shocked the harness world with her transcendent 1:51.3 world record tour of Pocono Downs last month. The Broadway Hall filly is wickedly fast and just might put up some dazzling numbers over the clay carpet. John Campbell is her regular driver for trainer Jim Campbell and owner the Fashion Farms. Shake It Cerry has crowded a lifetime of accomplishment into her short five race career thus far. The Donato Hanover filly is a homebred, raised and raced by the Solveig Partners and she got off to an astounding start at The Meadowlands this summer. She looked ferocious in her morning trials for trainer Jimmy Takter and waltzed to a pair of Pennsylvania wins before capturing the Merrie Annabelle in a track and stakes record 1:53.3. In her next start she caught the above mentioned buzz saw and followed Cooler Schooner under the wire, trotting her mile in 1:51.4 which would have sealed her reputation as one of the best freshman fillies of all time, if there wasn't another filly a length ahead of her. Most recently, Shake It Cerry went off stride while looking every bit a winner in the Peaceful Way eliminations at Mohawk. She looks to rebound here with her regular driver Ron Pierce listed for Thursday's race. The Red Mile will race nights Thursday through Saturday with first post at 7pm. Visit the track website for further information on the Grand Circuit race meet which continues through Kentucky Futurity Day, October 6. by Nick Salvi for the Grand Circuit
The Red Mile played host to the fourth and penultimate leg of the Kindergarten Trotting Classic series on Thursday evening. Conditions were ideal, as they often are in Lexington, KY, and seven divisions of the freshmen trotters were performing before a crowd of their human counterparts for a purse of $10,000 per split on “College Night” at the track. Noel Daley has made a tidy living by being patient with his young stock and that program is again paying dividends. The Explosive Matter two year old gelding Outburst won for the third time in six outings, finishing a comfortable 1:59- mile with a 27.4 final quarter for driver Charlie Norris. A $33,000 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale purchase by Daley, Adam Victor & Son and Mirva Bogucki, Outburst has the look of a contender for the late season stakes, which are many and lucrative this year. Speak The Truth is another making his first few career starts and he also looks like a player in the division. He is from Muscle Hill’s first crop from the accomplished race mare Tady’s Comer and cost Richard Gutnick $65,000 at Harrisburg last fall. He’s now won two of three and now has a record of 1:55.3. Brett Miller was in for the card and drove for trainer Linda Toscano. Great Society, another Muscle Hill, flashed willing late foot to be second. The first of four filly divisions came next and Goddess made amends for disappointing her legion backers last week by trotting a strong 1:57.2 mile for driver Randy Jerrell. The Donato Hanover lass cost trainer Paul Kelley and his partners Joe Sbrocco and new Hall of Famer Bill Weaver $110,000 but looks like a bargain at the price. She now won half of her six outings and sports a 1:56.1 record from earlier this summer in a Kindergarten division at The Meadowlands. Trixton was the highest priced trotting yearling sold at auction last fall when the Muscle Hill colt from a family of champions required a commitment of $360,000 from Brixton Medical and Christina Takter to bring him home. After a string of successes, he bounced back nicely after feeling the sting of defeat for the first time in last week’s Kindergarten and took his division in 1:56-. More impressive than the time on a perfect Lexington evening was the visual presence the colt displayed, moving beautifully under no encouragement from trainer/driver Jimmy Takter. He is a magnificent looking specimen ....Trixton that is. Takter came right back in the next event with one for the hunch players, as the moon was full on Thursday night and his eighth race charge is named Moonlight In Miami. The public knows and sent the Muscles Yankee filly away as the 6/5 choice. She rewarded their confidence with a maiden breaking 1:55- win, held just off the fast fractions until the time was right. Takter trains the $100,000 Harrisburg purchase for the Ontario power brokers, Katz, Libfeld & Goldband. Anonyme Hanover won right back for the Burke Stable equaling the 1:56.3 mark she took last week in the process. The Explosive Matter filly held off the late rally of race favorite Cee Bee Yes for Brett Miller and owners Burke Racing, Weaver / Bruscemi and Matt Kakaley who gave $47,000 for her at Harrisburg. Takter tripled up with the 1/5 fave Yoga in the last race. The Muscles Yankee filly was a bargain at $31,000 for Christina Takter and long-time patrons John & Jim Fielding. She was rated behind fast fractions and sailed by under her own power in 1:55- for Jimmy in the night cap. The Red Mile will host the Grand Circuit in a week, beginning Thursday, September 26 with a 7pm post time. Over $6 million in purses will be offered over the two weeks of top caliber stakes. Visit The Red Mile’s website for more information. The Kindergarten series will resume on Friday, October 18 with the finals a week later at Vernon Downs. Check the point standings here. Nick Salvi