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Harness Racing This Week: The 2018 Grand Circuit season has come to a close. The 2019 schedule will be released in January. Last time: This Is The Plan, steered by Tim Tetrick, snuck up the inside several hundred yards from the finish line to best Jimmy Freight (Scott Zeron) by a head in 1:50.2 in the $260,000 Hap Hansen Progress Pace final on Thursday (Nov. 29) at Dover Downs. This Is The Plan stopped Jimmy Freight by a head in 1:50.2 in the $260,000 Hap Hansen Progress Pace final. Fotowon photo. This Is The Plan, who dead-heated with The Downtown Bus to capture the $193,750 Matron Stakes final over this very same oval, broke on top from post position three. After establishing a first quarter-mile fraction of :26, the son of Somebeachsomewhere-That's The Plan yielded the lead to Jimmy Freight and settled in the pocket spot while that rival posted splits of :55 and 1:22.3. After Jimmy Freight repelled the first-over bid of Breeders Crown victor Dorsoduro Hanover (Matt Kakaley), it appeared the Sportswriter-Allamerican Summer colt would cross the wire in front. Tetrick and This Is the Plan, however, had other intentions. Tetrick shifted his charge to the pylons after being shuffled back slightly to third from Dorsoduro Hanover's advance. The colt responded by striding past Jimmy Freight with a last quarter of :27.3 to collect his triumph. Dorsoduro Hanover, after a tough overland journey, was a strong third. Owned by Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, Silva, Purnel & Libby and Lawrence Karr, This Is The Plan paid $5.40 to his supporters as the public's second selection. This Is The Plan, who was third in the $35,000 elimination for this contest behind Jimmy Freight a week prior, boosted his career bankroll to $642,540 and his lifetime record to 33-7-8-7. Complete recaps of all the 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 final leaders. Drivers: 1. Tim Tetrick - 1,529.5; 2. Yannick Gingras - 1,525; 3. David Miller - 1,254.5; 4. Scott Zeron - 764; 5. Andrew McCarthy - 668.5. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 1,471.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 1,200; 3. Tony Alagna - 726.5; 4. Julie Miller - 481; 5. Ake Svanstedt - 449. Owners: 1. Fashion Farms - 325; 2. Burke Racing Stable - 306.3; 3. Diamond Creek Racing - 304.6; 4. Weaver Bruscemi - 284.8; 5. Bill Donovan - 241.2. Looking ahead: The 2019 Grand Circuit schedule will be released in January. by Paul Ramlow, publicity director, The Grand Circuit

This Week: Fall Four and TVG finals, Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, N.J. and Hap Hansen Progress Pace elimination, Dover Downs, Dover, Del. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit returns to Dover Downs this Wednesday (Nov. 21) for a $35,000 elimination in the Hap Hansen Progress Pace for 3-year-old open pacers. A field of 10 will compete for eight spots in the final slated for Nov. 29. On Saturday night (Nov. 24) Meadowlands Racetrack will host finals in each of the Fall Four events for freshman pacers and trotters and the TVG series for open pacers and trotters. The Fall Four features the 435,900 Valley Victory for 2-year-old male trotters, the $490,000 Goldsmith Maid for 2-year-old filly trotters, the $469,300 Governor's Cup for 2-year-old male pacers and the $391,250 Three Diamonds for 2-year-old filly pacers. The TVG finals consist of the $350,000 Open Pace, the $350,000 Open Trot, $175,000 Mare Pace and the $175,000 Mare Trot. Complete entries for the races are available at this link. Last time: A pair of longshots in This Is The Plan and The Downtown Bus stole the show in the $193,750 Matron Stakes for 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings on Thursday (Nov. 15) at Dover Downs, tag-teaming in deep stretch to nose out Jimmy Freight in a 1:49.1 dead heat. This Is The Plan and The Downtown Bus emerged in the final stride to simultaneously nose out Jimmy Freight in a dead heat. Fotowon photo. After Ontario standout Jimmy Freight was tasked with the heavy lifting through strenuous fractions and sternly dismissed the challenge of 4-5 local favorite Lather Up, This Is The Plan ($17.00, Tim Tetrick) and The Downtown Bus ($20.60, Corey Callahan) emerged in the final stride to simultaneously nose out Jimmy Freight in a dead heat in the glamour boys' division of the Matron. Jimmy Freight and driver Scott Zeron let This Is The Plan clear before taking charge midway on the first turn and reeling off a :25.3 initial quarter. A determined advance from Lather Up (Montrell Teague) out of fourth with a circuit to go kept the pace hot through a :54.4 half, but Jimmy Freight remained undeterred with three-eighths to go and shrugged off that rival. Meanwhile, This Is The Plan remained close from the pocket and The Downtown Bus followed the three-wide cover of Breeders Crown winner Dorsoduro Hanover (Matt Kakaley) past three-quarters in 1:22.1. Turning for home, Dorsoduro Hanover stalled and Jimmy Freight was driven out to maintain a two length lead, but it began to shrink in the final sixteenth. This Is The Plan lunged up the open stretch and The Downtown Bus surged widest of all, and they both reached the winning post simultaneously in 1:49.1, a nose better than Jimmy Freight. Dorsoduro Hanover found more in the stretch, but missed by a neck to finish fourth. Ron Burke trains This Is The Plan, a six-time winner by Somebeachsomewhere, for Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, Silva Purnel & Libby, and Larry Karr. Trainer Jeff Gillis co-owns 11-time winner The Downtown Bus with Ellen Ott. Complete recaps of all the 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 - 1,487.5; 2. Yannick Gingras - 1,480; 3. David Miller - 1,209.5; 4. Scott Zeron - 724; 5. Andrew McCarthy - 658.5. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 1,399.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 1,170; 3. Tony Alagna - 726.5; 4. Julie Miller - 481; 5. Jim Campbell - 442. Owners: 1. Fashion Farms - 325; 2. Diamond Creek Racing - 294.6; 3. Burke Racing Stable - 293.1; 4. Weaver Bruscemi - 271.6; 5. Bill Donovan - 241.2. Looking ahead: The 2018 Grand Circuit season comes to a close on Nov. 29. Dover Downs will host the final stake of the season in the $260,000 (est.) Hap Hansen Progress Pace for 3-year-old male pacers. by Paul Ramlow, for The Grand Circuit  

This Week: Matron Stakes, Dover Downs, Dover, DE. and Fall Four eliminations, Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, NJ. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit returns to Dover Downs this Thursday (Nov. 15) for four Matron Stakes for 3-year-olds of both sexes and gaits. The 3-year-old colt pace carries a purse of $193,750, the 3-year-old colt trotters will race for $210,150, the purse for the 3-year-old filly pace is $159,350 and the 3-year-old filly trotters will race for $183,900. On Saturday night (Nov. 17) Meadowlands Racetrack will host eliminations in each of the Fall Four events for freshman pacers and trotters. There will be two $20,000 eliminations in the Valley Victory for 2-year-old male trotters and a single $20,000 elimination in the Governor's Cup for 2-year-old male pacers. Eliminations were not required in the Goldsmith Maid for 2-year-old filly trotters and the Three Diamonds for 2-year-old filly pacers. Complete entries for the races are available at this link. Last time: Trainer Jimmy Takter and driver Yannick Gingras teamed up for a Grand Circuit double in Thursday evening's (Nov. 8) Matron Stakes for 2-year-olds at Dover Downs, combining with Super Schissel and Blood Money in their respective divisions. Super Schissel made his move from the pocket with five-sixteenths to go en route to an easy 1:56 win in the $158,000 Matron 2-year-old colt and gelding trot, contested as a non-wagering event before the main program. After yielding early control to Lindy's Crazy Hall (David Miller) on approach to the first turn, Yannick Gingras kept Super Schissel close from the pocket through early splits of :28.2 and :58.1. Midway up the backstretch, the son of Uncle Peter and Bavarde angled out and strode to the lead immediately, putting a quarter-length on Lindy's Crazy Hall by three-quarters in 1:27.2 before drawing off handily. Holiday Hangover (Tim Tetrick) rallied belatedly from last to take second, 3-1/2 lengths back, while Union Forces (Scott Zeron) took third over the fading Lindy's Crazy Hall. Super Schissel is trained by Jimmy Takter for owners Al Libfeld and Perry Soderberg. Blood Money ($8.00) sustained an uncovered bid out of midfield through the final half-mile of the $213,000 Matron 2-year-old colt and gelding pace and held off a late charge from Sugar Factory to narrowly prevail in 1:51.1. Gingras, wearing the colors of Diamond Creek Racing, floated Blood Money up the pegs to protect a close stalking spot behind dueling leaders Love Me Some Lou (Corey Callahan) and Mangogh (Brett Miller) through a sharp :26.3 quarter, but the pair were relegated to fourth when No Mas Amor (Tim Tetrick) pushed clear with nine-sixteenths to go after losing cover. At the :54.3 half-mile juncture, Gingras angled the Sweet Lou-Blood Diamond colt off the pegs, and he responded immediately to accelerate, press the pace, and take the lead under urging past three-quarters in 1:22.4. No Mas Amor gave way on the far turn, but Sugar Factory (David Miller) loomed off live cover to pose a late threat. Blood Money was driven out off the home turn and all the way to the winning post to keep the lunging Sugar Factory a head at bay. Reigning Deo rallied from last down the grandstand side to take third. Complete recaps of all the 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 - 1,462.5; 2. Yannick Gingras - 1,450; 3. David Miller - 1,182.5; 4. Scott Zeron - 709; 5. Andrew McCarthy - 653.5. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 1,344.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 1,168; 3. Tony Alagna - 721.5; 4. Julie Miller - 481; 5. Jim Campbell - 437. Owners: 1. Fashion Farms - 325; 2. Diamond Creek Racing - 294.6; 3. Burke Racing Stable - 283.5; 4. Weaver Bruscemi - 262; 5. Robert Key - 234. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place next week at The Meadowlands with the finals for the Fall Four for 2-year-olds -- the Governor's Cup, Valley Victory, Three Diamonds and Goldsmith Maid -- along with the TVG finals for older trotters and pacers of both sexes. In addition, Dover Downs will host eliminations for the Progress Pace for 3-year-old male pacers. by Paul Ramlow, for The Grand Circuit  

Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit heads to Dover Downs this Thursday (Nov. 8) for four Matron Stakes for 2-year-olds of both sexes and gaits. The 2-year-old colt pace carries a purse of $213,000, the 2-year-old colt trotters will race for $158,000, the purse for the 2-year-old filly pace is $179,100 and the 2-year-old filly trotters will race for $177,800. Complete entries for the races are available at this link. Last time: Some of the sport’s brightest stars descended upon Harrah’s Hoosier Park on Friday (Nov. 2) and as predicted, the stakes filled card delivered some outstanding harness racing battles. Met’s Hall captured the $256,000 Carl Erskine Trot and sent his seasonal earnings over the million dollar mark with the win. Dean Gillette photo. After finishing second in the $500,000 Breeders Crown 3-year-old colt trot, Met’s Hall was out for redemption and delivered on his promise in the $256,000 Carl Erksine Trot for 3-year-old trotting colts and geldings. Overcoming a poor position, Met’s Hall turned in a dominant performance to deliver as the even money favorite in 1:53.2 with Andy Miller in the bike. With the win, Met’s Hall sent his seasonal earnings over the $1 million mark. Miller sent Met’s Hall away from the gate firing from post nine but he would have to work for position as Yannick Gingras also sent You Know You Do away from the gate aggressively. Met’s Hall grabbed command just before the quarter in :27.2 and looked relaxed on the front while clicking off fractions of :56.2 and 1:25.1. Maxus and Peter Wrenn were the first to apply pressure first-over but would have their work cut out for them as Met’s Hall looked strong on the front. As the field turned for home, Miller asked his mount for more and Met’s Hall dug in gamely to hold off Helpisontheway and Tim Tetrick to get the win by nearly two lengths. Hockey Hanover and Matt Kakaley found late racing room to round out the trifecta. Met’s Hall returned $4.00 at the betting windows. “He can leave the gate as quick as any,” Miller noted after the victory. “I wasn’t sure if we would get to the front but when he did, I figured he would be good. He’s just an amazing animal who loves his work; he works through his issues and shows up every week.” Trained by Julie Miller, the 3-year-old son of Cantab Hall-Met’s Inn recorded his fifth win of the season from 14 starts. Owned by Stroy Inc. and the Andy Miller Stable, Met’s Hall has now won 10 of 24 starts while amassing $1,278,494 in lifetime purse earnings. The stakes action kicked-off for the evening with the $137,000 Crossroads of America Stakes for 3-year-old trotting fillies and it was Custom Cantab and Peter Wrenn who went gate-to-wire to score in 1:54.1. Custom Cantab left alertly from post five and held strong to the wire to hold off a hard-charging Seviyorum and Andy Miller. Looking For Zelda and Matt Kakaley utilized a ground saving trip to get up for third place honors. As the heavy betting favorite, Custom Cantab returned $4.20 to her backers at the betting windows. Indiana’s champion 3-year-old trotting filly recorded her 12th win and has finished no worse than third in 16 starts this season. Owned by trainer Christopher Beaver, Donald Robinson, and R B H Ventures, the daughter of Mr Cantab-Custom Model has now won 14 of 28 lifetime starts and sports a lifetime bankroll of $643,936. Not to be outdone, Youaremycandygirl turned in an impressive performance of her own to dominate her rivals with a 9-3/4 length romp in the $113,000 USS Indianapolis Memorial for 3-year-old pacing fillies. With regular pilot Yannick Gingras in the bike, Youaremycandygirl seized the early lead and steadily drew away from the field to stop the timer in 1:50.1. With the win, Youaremycandygirl recorded her eighth win from 16 seasonal outings. The millionaire daughter of American Ideal-Sweet Lady Jane pushed her lifetime bankroll to $1,365,973 for trainer Ron Burke and owner W.J. Donovan. The stakes action concluded with the $190,000 Monument Circle Pace for 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings and after a disqualification of the first-place finisher Lather Up and Montrell Teague, it was Always A Prince and Trace Tetrick who came out victorious. The time of the mile was 1:49.1. Indiana’s champion 3-year-old pacing colt recorded his seventh consecutive victory and 19th win from 22 lifetime starts. Owned by Carl and Melanie Atley and trained by Tyler George, Always A Prince was unraced as a 2-year-old but has amassed $492,875 in lifetime purse earnings. Complete recaps of all the 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 – 1,452.5; 2. Yannick Gingras – 1,400; 3. David Miller – 1,167.5; 4. Scott Zeron – 704; 5. Andrew McCarthy – 648.5. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke – 1,314.5; 2. Jimmy Takter – 1,128; 3. Tony Alagna – 721.5; 4. Julie Miller – 481; 5. Jim Campbell – 437. Owners: 1. Fashion Farms – 325; 2. Burke Racing Stable – 278.5; 3. Diamond Creek Racing – 274.6; 4. Weaver Bruscemi – 262; 5. Crawford Farms Racing – 229.8. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place next week at Dover Downs and The Meadowlands. Dover will host the four Matron Stakes for 3-year-olds, while The Meadowlands will have eliminations for the Fall Four for 2-year-olds — the Governor’s Cup, Valley Victory, Three Diamonds and Goldsmith Maid. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit

Erv Miller thinks Artie's Ideal has his best harness racing days ahead of him. Miller hopes that includes Thursday when the colt visits Dover Downs for the $213,000 Matron Stakes for 2-year-old male pacers. Artie's Ideal was a two-time winner on the New York Sire Stakes circuit and finished third in the series championship before trying the Grand Circuit for the first time at Lexington's Red Mile. The colt was second to Workin Ona Mystery in a division of the Bluegrass Stakes, pacing a :26.1 final quarter-mile, before a seventh-place finish in a division of the International Stallion Stakes. After a three-week respite, Artie's Ideal qualified in 1:54.2 at Harrah's Philadelphia on Oct. 30 to prep for the Matron. He won the qualifier by 10-1/2 lengths. "He was a real green colt getting started and he's just been getting better all the way through," said Miller, who trains Artie's Ideal for owner Bay Pond Racing Stable. "He had a little setback the second week at Lexington, his blood was a little messed up, but as far as getting more mature he's gotten better every time we went to the gate. "He qualified really well at (Philly) and I look for him to put in a good effort." Artie's Ideal and driver Marcus Miller, Erv's son, will start the Matron from post four. He is 10-1 on the morning line. Metro Pace runner-up Semi Tough, with Matt Kakaley driving for trainer Ron Burke, is the 5-2 favorite. "He got the four hole, that's a good spot, and if things work out for him he should be right there," Miller said. Dover Downs host the four Matrons for 2-year-old trotters and pacers Thursday. Racing begins at 4:15 p.m. (EST) with a non-betting race, the Matron for colt and gelding trotters, followed by the regular card at 4:30 p.m. Breeders Crown runner-up When Dovescry is the 5-2 morning-line favorite in the $177,800 filly trot and Breeders Crown finalist Queen Of The Pride is 5-2 in the $179,100 filly pace. Artie's Ideal is a son of American Ideal out of Midnight Art. The colt has earned $114,508 in nine starts and is Midnight Art's third six-figure-earner. The family also includes Grand Circuit winners Good News Lady and Ideal News. Miller said the colt was immature physically to begin the season, but has developed nicely. "I think he's going to be a nice colt," Miller said. "He's easy to drive, an easy trainer. He handles well. You can tell he's got a great attitude. He's so handy and he's a smart little horse. I really look forward to next year with him." Artie's Ideal is eligible to the Governor's Cup later this month at the Meadowlands, but the Matron could be his final start of the year. "We'll go off how he races," Miller said. For Thursday's complete pari-mutuel entries at Dover Downs, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA   

This Week: Carl Erskine Trot, Monument Circle, the USS Indianapolis and the Crossroads of America, Harrah's Hoosier Park, Anderson, Ind.; and Kindergarten finals, Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, N.J. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit remains at Hoosier Park this weekend as the track will have four stakes races on the Friday (Nov. 2) card. Leading the way is the $256,000 Carl Erskine Trot for 3-year-old male trotters. Also on tap will be the $190,000 Monument Circle for 3-year-old male pacers, the $137,000 Crossroads of America for 3-year-old filly trotters and the $113,000 USS Indianapolis for 3-year-old filly pacers. On Saturday (Nov. 3), Meadowlands Racetrack will card the four Kindergarten Series finals for 2-year-old pacers and trotters. The 2-year-old colt trot carries a purse of $221,540, the 2-year-old filly trotters will race for $236,060, the purse for the 2-year-old colt pace is $173,800 and the 2-year-old filly pacers will race for $148,700. Complete entries for the races are available at this link. Last time: The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono was in the Grand Circuit spotlight last weekend as the Pennsylvania oval hosted 12 Breeders Crown finals. McWicked was a 1:49.3 winner in the Breeders Crown Open Pace. Curtis Salonick photo. Favored McWicked ($3.80) moved to the lead at the five-eighths pole, easily putting away Lazarus N, and then opened up to win by 3-1/4 lengths in 1:49.3 in the $430,000 Breeders Crown Open Pace. Brian Sears drove McWicked for trainer Casie Coleman, as he won his third Breeders Crown trophy on the night. Early leader Filibuster Hanover rallied for second, while Donttellmeagain finished third. Mcwicked has now earned more than $3.7 million in his career after posting his 32nd lifetime win. "He's real easy to drive and he does everything you want. It's great to have the opportunity to drive such nice horses," said Sears. "I always think he's gonna be good," said trainer Casie Coleman, "but to think he is going to do what he did this year...I think he is better now than he was at three. He is a big team effort no doubt. I hope he is going to race next year, but that is not my call. It is up to Mr. James (owner Edward James of the S S G Stables.) I think he will be at stud, but I hope he will race, our team would really like that." Filibuster Hanover took the field to the quarter in :26.1, but Lazarus N was immediately out and winging, taking the field past the half in :55.2. McWicked pulled up the backside and easily disposed of his challenger, rolling past three-quarters in 1:22.2 before Sears took his foot off the gas in the stretch. McWicked is a 7-year-old bay horse by McArdle, out of the Western Ideal mare Western Sahara. He was bred by Andray Farm of Pennsylvania. Emoticon Hanover (Daniel Dube) won back-to-back Breeders Crown trophies after capturing the $250,000 Breeders Crown Mare Trot. Caprice Hill (Brian Sears) was on the lead at the first :27.1 quarter, before being quickly overtaken by Ariana G (Yannick Gingras) just past that marker. Ariana G held the lead to the :56.4 half, trailed by Emoticon Hanover and Broadway Donna. Broadway Donna was up to engage her on the outside just past the half, but Ariana G held that lead to the 1:25.2 three-quarters before Ice Attraction came up on the outside to make a try for the lead. While those two were looking for the finish line, Emoticon Hanover came charging on the outside to pass them both for the win in 1:54.1. The winner is trained by Luc Blais and owned by Determination. "She's nice right now, she's good," said winning driver Daniel Dube. "We went to the passing lane last week, we went to the outside today. She does everything right, she is more relaxed. She is a special mare. I've known Luc (Blais) a long time, but mostly to see him in the paddock. Now we have got to know each other, which is good." Ice Attraction (Ãke Svanstedt) was second after a sweeping last to first bid and Caprice Hill was third. Complete recaps of all the 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 - 1,432.5; 2. Yannick Gingras - 1,370; 3. David Miller - 1,132.5; 4. Scott Zeron - 704; 5. Andrew McCarthy - 618.5. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 1,274.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 1,128; 3. Tony Alagna - 671.5; 4. Julie Miller - 451; 5. Jim Campbell - 437. Owners: 1. Fashion Farms - 325; 2. Diamond Creek Racing - 274.6; 3. Burke Racing Stable - 273; 4. Weaver Bruscemi - 256.5; 5. Marvin Katz - 229.1. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place next week at Dover Downs as the Delaware track will host the Matron Stakes for 2-year-olds of both sexes and gaits on the Thursday (Nov. 8) program. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit

ANDERSON, Ind.--October 26, 2018-- Harrah's Hoosier Park played host to a stakes-filled card on Friday, October 26 as Grand Circuit racing action made a stop at the seven-eighths mile oval for the fifth time this season. The 14-race card was highlighted by nine divisions of The Circle City Stakes for three-year-old trotters and pacers and one division of the Madison County Stakes for two-year-old pacing colts and geldings. The three-year-old trotting fillies kicked off the evening's racing action and it was Pat Matters and driver Ricky Macomber Jr. who tracked down heavily favored Custom Cantab and Peter Wrenn in the final strides of the mile to score in 1:53.3 over a track rated good. Custom Cantab did all the work on the front end while Pat Matters waited patiently in the pocket for her turn to strike. As the field turned for home, Macomber Jr. gave his mount the green light and she utilized a :27.2 final quarter to get the win and establish a new lifetime best in the process. As the publics' second choice, Pat Matters returned $11.40 at the betting windows. Trained by Paul Kelley, the daughter of Explosive Matter-Dibrizzi recorded her fourth seasonal win from 15 lifetime outings and also a new lifetime mark. Pat Matters is owned by Patricia Stable. In the second division of the stakes action for three-year-old trotting fillies, it was the lone Indiana-sired filly in the field, Red Rose Swan, who went gate to wire to capture the $28,600 event in 1:55.4 for driver, trainer LeWayne Miller. Using a :28.4 closing kick, Red Rose Swan was able to hold off a late surge from the heavily favored Hey Blondie and Tim Tetrick to get the win by nearly three lengths. The daughter of Swan For All-Red Rose Kosmos recorded her fourth win of the season and second consecutive victory for owners Last Chance Racing, LeWayne Miller, and C11 Racing. Red Rose Swan returned $8.60 to her backers at the betting windows. In the final split for three-year-old trotting fillies, Live Laugh Love and driver Peter Wrenn worked out a second-over trip and coasted on to the wire five lengths in front of the field, stopping the timer in 1:54.4. Sent off as the publics' third choice, Live Laugh Love returned $10.20 for the victory. Trained by Nifty Norman, the sophomore filly notched her seventh win of the season from 16 outings. The daughter of Donato Hanover-Shes Gone Again is owned by Melvin Hartman, David McDuffee, and Diamond Creek Racing. The upset trend continued through two divisions of The Circle City Stakes for the three-year-old pacing fillies. Jewels Forreal and driver Chris Page prevailed in a tight photo over a very game Aldine Hanover and John DeLong to pull the 8-1 upset in 1:53. Aldine Hanover, who was sent off as the post time favorite, went uncontested on the front through the three-quarters before being joined on the outside by Jewels Forreal. Aldine Hanover dug in gamely but Jewels Forreal ultimately came out on top to record her third win of the season. Jewels Forreal returned $19.20 at the betting windows for the upset. Trained by Ron Burke, the daughter of So Surreal-Dandy's Jewel is owned in partnership by Burke Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi. Jewels Forreal has now won six of 27 lifetime starts. Voom Or Bang and John DeLong followed suit in the second division of the stakes action for three-year-old pacing fillies and staged a big rally late in the lane to pull the $14.80 upset. Voom Or Bang rallied well in the lane to surge past the heavily favored Wisdom Tree and Sam Widger and held off a late surge from Cult Icon and Ronnie Wrenn Jr. to score in 1:53.3. Trained by Roger Welch, the daughter of Always A Virgin-Vavoom Hanover recorded her sixth win of the season from 17 trips behind the starting gate. Owned by W. DeLong, W. DeLong, Sth Blt, J. DeLong, and J DeLong, Voom Or Bang has now won nine of 29 lifetime starts. Just when it seemed an upset trend was forming, the favorites came out on top in both divisions of the stakes action for the three-year-old trotting colts. After a costly break in stakes action last week, Scirocco Rob rebounded gamely to deliver as the post time favorite with Corey Callahan in the bike. Scirocco Rob made his game winning move down the backside and remained clear to the wire, scoring in 1:55.2 over Got The Groove and John DeLong. Trained by John Butenschoen, the son of Explosive Matter-Fun At Parties recorded his fourth win of the season from 20 outings. Scirocco Rob is owned by the partnership of Lewis Whitaker Jr. and Kathleen Whitaker. The recently crowned New York Sires Stakes Champion, Helpisontheway, continued his winning ways in the second division for three-year-old trotting colts, stopping the timer in 1:55.3. With Tim Tetrick in the bike, Helpisontheway went gate to wire and held off a hard-charging Voss Volo and Corey Callahan to get the win by a head. Trained by Linda Toscano, the son of Chapter Seven-Porque recorded his ninth win of the season from 15 starts and third consecutive victory. Helpisontheway is owned by Camelot Stable Inc., The Bay's Stable LLC, and Little E LLC. Wheels On Fire turned in his own dominant performance to continue his winning ways and deliver as the post-time favorite in the $42,650 Circle City Stakes for three-year-old pacing colts and geldings. Driven by Ronnie Wrenn Jr., Wheels On Fire went gate to wire en route to a three-length victory in 1:50.3 over GD Western Joe and Chris Page. With the win, Wheels On Fire recorded his sixth consecutive victory this season and second consecutive Hoosier Park score. Trained by Ron Burke, the son of Somebeachsomewhere-Ab Fab recorded his 11th seasonal win from 17 outings for owner W.J. Donovan. Rockinbeach, with Ricky Macomber Jr. in the bike, worked out a perfect, second-over trip to capture his split of the stakes action for three-year-old pacing colts in 1:52. Using a :26.4 final quarter, Rockin Beach surged past his rivals late in the lane and held off a fast-closing Shadow Cat and Corey Callahan to get the win by a neck. Trained by Jamie Macomber, Rockin Beach has now won six of 20 starts as a sophomore. The son of Rockin Image-Miss Sandy Beach is owned and was bred by Wilbur Eash. In the lone division of the Madison County Stakes on the program, Magic Joe Lindy and Trace Tetrick staged a big rally late in the lane to capture the $66,400 Madison County Stakes for two-year-old pacing colts in 1:53.3. Magic Joe Lindy sat mid-pack for much of the mile and when Tetrick gave him the green light, he found a :26.3 closing quarter to get the victory by nearly two lengths. The son of American Ideal-Lindy's Bandita recorded his third win of the season from eight starts. Trained by Domenico Cecere, Magic Joe Lindy is owned and was bred by Lindy Farms of Connecticut. Stakes action continues at Harrah's Hoosier Park on Saturday, October 27 with a 14-race card highlighted by four divisions of the Madison County Stakes for the two-year-old trotters and pacers. With a daily post time of 6:30 pm, live racing will follow a Tuesday through Saturday schedule and be conducted through November 10. For more information on the upcoming entertainment and live racing schedule, please visit www.hoosierpark.com. by Emily Gaskin, for Hoosier Park

This Week: Breeders Crown finals, The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, Wilkes-Barre, Pa.; Circle City and Madison County, Hoosier Park, Anderson, Ind.; and Kindergarten Series, The Meadowlands, East Rutherford, N.J. Schedule of events: The 12 Breeders Crown championship events at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono will be front and center in the Grand Circuit spotlight this week. The 12 Breeders Crown championship races will be contested on Saturday (Oct. 27). On Friday (Oct. 26) Hoosier Park will host the Circle City for 3-year-old pacers and trotters and the Madison County for 2-year-old male pacers. A total of 10 events will be raced on Friday. The Saturday Hoosier program will feature Madison County races for 2-year-old filly pacers, as well as contests for freshman trotters of both sexes. Also on Friday, The Meadowlands will offer the final preliminary leg of the Kindergarten Series for 2-year-old pacers and trotters. There will be a pair of $10,000 divisions for both colts and fillies on each gait. Complete entries for the races are available at this link. Last time: Breeders Crown eliminations were in the spotlight this past weekend at Pocono as a record 24 contests were raced at the Pennsylvania oval. Atlanta held off a late-closing Lily Stride to win in 1:53.1. From start to finish, Atlanta and driver Scott Zeron led the six-horse field and won the second $25,000 Breeders Crown elimination for 3-year-old trotting fillies on the "sloppy" track at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on Saturday (Oct. 20), skillfully holding off a late-closing Lily Stride to win in 1:53.1. The field lined up behind Atlanta, with Lily Stride next, followed by Manchego, then Ciao Dolce, Supergirl Riley and Phaetosive. Atlanta cut the fractions in :28.2, :57.4 and 1:26. At three-quarters the only movement behind Atlanta came from Phaetosive. She came to the outside after lagging behind the five others and picked off enough of them to finish fourth and make the final. Manchego rolled in the stretch to get third as Lily Stride was pushed futilely to try to catch Atlanta and finished second. Atlanta is by Chapter Seven out of Hemi Blue Chip. She was bred by Order By Stable. "I wanted to command the lead early," Scott Zeron said in the winner's circle, "And (Atlanta) stole the first fraction. It took her a bit to get back after the two heats in the Hambletonian and she was coming off two heats at the Red Mile, so tonight was good." Rick Zeron trains Atlanta, the 2018 Hambletonian winner, and he co-owns her with Crawford Farms, Howard Taylor, Brad Grant and Holland Racing Stable. She paid $4.20 to win. Plunge Blue Chip and driver/trainer/co-owner Ake Svanstedt once again dominated a field of 3-year-old trotting fillies, this time in the Breeders Crown's first $25,000 elimination for her division, winning easily in 1:53.3 on a track rated "sloppy." The daughter of Muscle Mass-Dunk The Donato sat fourth off the gate as Top Expectations grabbed the lead with Looking For Zelda in the catbird seat and Courtney Hanover behind her in single file. The first quarter was clocked in :27. Leading the field to a half in :56.2, Svanstedt pulled Plunge Blue Chip into the first-over position to challenge the leader. She tagged alongside of Top Expectations until the 1:25 three-quarters near the final turn when she eased to the front entering the stretch. Plunge Blue Chip drew away to win in 1:53.3 with a lot of trot left. Passing tired foes, Impinktoo slid into second, while Looking For Zelda locked into third and Courtney Hanover checked in fourth. Top Expectations was fifth. Ake Svanstedt owns Plunge Blue Chip along with Blue Chip Bloodstock, also the breeder, Tomas Andersson and Rick Zeron Stables. Plunge Blue Chip paid $3.20 to win. Complete recaps of all the 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. Yannick Gingras - 1,335; 2. Tim Tetrick - 1,332.5; 3. David Miller - 1,088.5; 4. Scott Zeron - 649; 5. Andrew McCarthy - 581.5. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 1,144.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 1,088; 3. Tony Alagna - 647.5; 4. Julie Miller - 429; 5. Jim Campbell - 427. Owners: 1. Fashion Farms - 315; 2. Diamond Creek Racing - 247.9; 3. Burke Racing Stable - 241.7; 4. Weaver Bruscemi - 225.2; 5. Marvin Katz - 219.2. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place next weekend at Hoosier Park and Meadowlands Racetrack. Hoosier has the Monument Circle, Carl Erskine, Crossroads of America and USS Indianapolis on Nov. 2; while the Meadowlands will race the four Kindergarten Series finals on Nov. 3. by Rich Fisher, for the Breeders Crown  

This Week: Breeders Crown eliminations, The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, Wilkes-Barre, Pa; The Pegasus, Hoosier Park, Anderson, Ind.; and Kindergarten Series, The Meadowlands, East Rutherford, N.J. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit heads to The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono this Friday (Oct. 19) and Saturday (Oct. 20) for Breeders Crown eliminations in 11 divisions. Eliminations will not be required for the open pace. The Friday card features a trio of $25,000 eliminations in the 2-year-old colt pace and 2-year-old filly trot and two $25,000 eliminations in the 2-year-old filly pace and 2-year-old colt trot. The Saturday card has a total of 14 eliminations, with each carrying a purse of $25,000. The 3-year-old colt pace will split three ways, while the 3-year-old filly pace has a lone elimination. There will be two eliminations in the 3-year-old colt and filly trot, mare pace and trot, and open trot. On Friday night at Hoosier Park, there will be nine divisions of The Pegasus for 3-year-olds of both sexes and gaits. The $80,100 filly trot will be contested in three divisions, while the $85,500 colt trot, the $73,500 colt pace and the $68,100 filly pace will each have two divisions. The Meadowlands on Friday night will host another leg of The Kindergarten Series for 2-year-olds of both sexes and gaits. There will be two divisions each in the colt pace, colt trot, filly pace and filly trot. Each race has a purse of $10,000. Complete entries for the races are available at this link. Last time: Brian Sears and Sweden's 30-1 out-the-whole-way Cruzado Dela Noche stalked, then snapped, Norway's Lionel (Goran Antonsen) at the wire Saturday afternoon (Oct. 13), winning the $1 million Yonkers International Trot at Empire City Casino. Cruzado Dela Noche was a winner in the Yonkers International Trot. The 1-1/4 mile 40th International began with 10 world-class trotters representing seven countries. It ended in the first turn for 7-5 favorite Ringsostarr Treb (Wim Paal) of Italy and Sweden's Pastore Bob (John Untersteiner) after both made breaks trying to leave. After that merriment, Italy's Arazi Boko (Alessandro Gocciadoro) made the first lead, working around the lone American and lone lass Ariana G (Yannick Gingras) before a :28.2 opening quarter-mile. The U.S. miss then played leapfrog, retaking from Arazi Boko before Canada's Marion Marauder (Scott Zeron) -- out early from the cones -- made the lead. It was a :57.1 half with triple-millionaire Marion Marauder doing his thing and Lionel now first-up, having moved from fifth. He took it to Marion Marauder from the 1:27 three-quarters to the 1:55.3 mile. Meanwhile, Cruzado Dela Noche, who from post position No. 6 advanced to be second-over, went three-deep early. It was Lionel putting away Marion Marauder soon after the final turn, needing only to hold off the horse he towed. Despite racing his eyeballs out, Lionel could not stall Cruzado Dela Noche, who prevailed by a head in 2:24.3 at a $62.50 win mutuel. France's Up And Quick (Jason Bartlett) knifed through to grab third -- beaten 1-3/4 lengths -- with Ariana G and Marion Marauder rounding out the payees. For Cruzado Dela Noche, a 6-year-old son of Muscle Massive leased by Anders Strom's Courant Inc. and trained by Marcus Melander, it was his second win in seven seasonal starts. Cruzado Dela Noche, who spent his first two racing seasons in North America before being exported, is Sweden's sixth International Trot winner. Complete recaps of all the 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 - 1,299.5; 2. Yannick Gingras - 1,267; 3. David Miller - 1,056.5; 4. Scott Zeron - 629; 5. Andrew McCarthy - 550.5. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 1,047.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 1,023; 3. Tony Alagna - 603.5; 4. Jim Campbell - 420; 5. Julie Miller - 409. Owners: 1. Fashion Farms - 313; 2. Burke Racing Stable - 226.2; 3. Diamond Creek Racing - 211.2; 4. Weaver Bruscemi - 209.7; 5. Marvin Katz - 206. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will once again take place next week at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono with Breeders Crown finals in all 12 categories (2- and 3-year-old colt and filly pacers and trotters and older horse and mare pacers and trotters). Hoosier Park will host Circle City divisions for 3-year-olds and Madison County divisions for 2-year-olds. In addition, The Meadowlands will host another leg of the Kindergarten Series for 2-year-old pacers and trotters of both sexes. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit

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