Day At The Track

Grand Circuit heads to Meadowlands Racetrack

11:08 AM 07 Jul 2016 NZST
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This Week: Graduate Series finals, Meadowlands Pace elimination, and W.N. Reynolds Memorial, Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, N.J.

Schedule of events: Grand Circuit races will be contested this Saturday (July 9) at the Meadowlands. The stakes heavy card features the $250,000 Graduate Series finals for 4-year-old pacers and trotters; two divisions in the $56,486 W.N. Reynolds Memorial for 3-year-old filly trotters; and a $50,000 Meadowlands Pace elimination for 3-year-olds.

Complete entries for the races are available at this link.

Last time: This past weekend's Grand Circuit action was highlighted by four lucrative events on the Sun Stakes Saturday (July 2) program at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono.

Trainer Jimmy Takter says Always B Miki is a horse that will be long remembered in the future. For now, Takter and the 5-year-old pacer's connections are more than enjoying the stallion's present.

Always B Miki won his highly anticipated showdown with Wiggle It Jiggleit and Freaky Feet Pete in Saturday's $500,000 Ben Franklin Pace at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Always B Miki defeated Freaky Feet Pete by three-quarters of a length in a stakes- and world-record-equaling 1:47, with Wiggle It Jiggleit finishing third.

The time equaled the fastest mile in history on a five-eighths-mile racetrack. Always B Miki, who also won in 1:47 last week at Pocono, shares the record with Sweet Lou.

Always B Miki has won five of seven races this year and nine of 11 since returning from injury last October. He is owned by Bluewood Stable, Roll The Dice Stable, and Christina Takter. For his career, Always B Miki has won 23 of 42 starts and earned $1.56 million.

Driver Yannick Gingras tucked his whip and breathed a sigh of relief at the wire as he and Southwind Frank won the $500,000 Earl Beal Jr. Memorial in 1:52.4.

Southwind Frank led the field through the half in :56.2 and three-quarters in 1:24.4 before coming home in :28 to win by 2-1/4 lengths. Trolley was second with Bar Hopping third. A son of Muscle Hill out of Flawless Lindy, Southwind Frank is trained by Ron Burke for Southwind Frank Partners.

As fireworks popped overhead, Racing Hill made some fireworks of his own in winning the $500,000 Max C. Hempt Memorial final in a rated 1:49.

Sent off as the 3-5 favorite off a 1:49.1 elimination win last week, Racing Hill took the lead from Boston Red Rocks shortly before the quarter in :25.4. Driver Brett Miller then took the son of Roll With Joe-Chasing Ideals through a second quarter in :29. No one was catching Racing Hill as he led the field to the three-quarters in 1:22 and sprinted home to win by 2-1/2 lengths. JK Will Power was second with Boston Red Rocks third.

Tony Alagna trains Racing Hill for owner-breeder Tom Hill. He now has two wins, three seconds and a third in six starts this year, good for $450,340 in seasonal earnings.

Pure Country and driver Brett Miller made their way to the front near the midway point and never relinquished the lead from there, winning Saturday's $300,000 James M. Lynch Memorial for 3-year-old female pacers by a half-length over Blue Moon Stride in a stakes-record-equaling 1:49.2.

I Said Diamonds led the field to the opening quarter-mile in :27, but soon gave up the top spot to Darlinonthebeach. Pure Country was on the move ahead of Blue Moon Stride in the outside flow and made her way to the lead as the group reached the half in :54.2. Darlinonthebeach slowed on the backstretch and did not finish.

Pure Country reached three-quarters in 1:22.1 and paced home from there to win for the fourth time in seven starts this season. Blue Moon Stride was followed by Lindwood Beachgirl in third and I Said Diamonds in fourth.

It was Pure Country's third major victory of the campaign, having captured the Miss Pennsylvania and Fan Hanover earlier this year. A daughter of Somebeachsomewhere out of the mare Western Montana, Pure Country has won 14 of 17 career races and earned $1.19 million. She is owned by Diamond Creek Racing.

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

Grand Circuit Standings: In 2016, 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 Farm is the sponsor for the 2016 Grand Circuit awards.

Here are the current leaders:

Drivers: 1. Jordan Stratton - 221.5; 2. Yannick Gingras - 202; 3. David Miller - 190; 4. Tim Tetrick - 176; 5. Matt Kakaley - 165.

Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 318; 2. Jimmy Takter - 188; 3. Jeff Bamond Jr. - 170; 4. Peter Tritton - 139.5; 5. Rene Allard - 125.

Owners: 1. Harry von Knoblauch - 139.5; 2. Bamond Racing - 112; 3. Burke Racing Stable - 80.9; 4. Weaver Bruscemi - 66.15; 5. Courant A B - 60.

Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next weekend at The Meadowlands and Yonkers Raceway. The massive Meadowlands card will feature the Meadowlands Pace final, the William Haughton Memorial, the Hambletonian Maturity, the Stanley Dancer Trot, the Del Miller Memorial, the Mistletoe Shalee, the Golden Girls and a leg of the Miss Versatilty. Yonkers will host the Lawrence B. Sheppard for 2-year-old pacing colts.

by Paul Ramlow for the Grand Circuit


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