Day At The Track

Hambletonian leads huge day in Grand Circuit

02:24 AM 02 Aug 2018 NZST
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This Week: Hambletonian, Hambletonian Oaks, John Cashman Memorial, Sam McKee Memorial, Lady Liberty, Dr. John Steele Memorial, Cane Pace, Shady Daisy, Peter Haughton Memorial, and Jim Doherty Memorial, Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, N.J.

Schedule of events: Grand Circuit action takes place this Saturday (Aug. 4) at Meadowlands Racetrack with one of the biggest Grand Circuit cards of the season. The afternoon program is led by the $1.2 million Hambletonian, the first leg of trotting's Triple Crown for 3-year-olds. Other major stakes races to be contested that day are the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks for 3-year-old filly trotters, the $286,650 John Cashman Memorial for older trotters, the $260,100 Sam McKee Memorial for older pacers, the $197,400 Lady Liberty for older pacing mares, the $154,800 Dr. John Steele Memorial for older trotting mares, the $281,000 Cane Pace, the first leg of Pacing's Triple Crown for 3-year-olds, the $96,600 Shady Daisy for 3-year-old pacing fillies, the $422,350 Peter Haughton Memorial for 2-year-old colt trotters, and the $357,450 Jim Doherty Memorial for 2-year-old filly trotters.

Complete entries for the races are available at this link.

Last time: Victimized by brutal trips in his last two starts, Dorsoduro Hanover finally got the journey he needed and pounced on the opportunity to win Saturday's (July 28) $400,000 final of the Delvin Miller Adios Pace for the Orchids in 1:50.1 at The Meadows. American History, who won an elimination of the 52nd edition of the Adios, raced well first over to finish second, 1-1/4 lengths back, while Hitman Hill, the other elimination winner, could not improve position in the Lightning Lane and settled for show.

Dorsoduro Hanover won Saturday's $400,000 final of the Delvin Miller Adios Pace for the Orchids in 1:50.1 at The Meadows.

Dorsoduro Hanover gave The Meadows-based trainer Ron Burke, perennially the sport's leading conditioner, his first blanket of Adios orchids as the head of his stable, although he was assistant for his father, Mickey, when their horse, May June Character, won the 2007 Adios.

A Somebeachsomewhere-Deer Valley Miss gelding who cost $100,000 as a yearling, Dorsoduro Hanover was roughed up from post 10 in the Meadowlands Pace final and again in his Adios elimination but still managed to finish second each time. It seemed likely that he was only a good trip away from a signature victory and Matt Kakaley provided it for him giving him a :28.3 second-panel refresher after a :26.3 opening-quarter burst to the lead. American History took up the chase before the half and pursued the winner gamely but was all out late to preserve his place finish.

Once Dorsoduro Hanover crossed the wire, a jubilant Burke and members of his staff sprinted from the paddock to the winner's circle, eschewing the golf cart that customarily provides transport. Burke, however, indicated the wins in 2007 and 2018 were equally important to him.

"We have a big crew, and to me, that's what it's about: doing it together," Burke said. "We probably spent about $10 million chasing this, and we finally got one. It's a great feeling to enjoy it with our staff and our core group."

In that core group are the owners of Dorsoduro Hanover, who now has earned $575,603 for them: Burke Racing Stable, Silva, Purnell & Libby, Weaver Bruscemi and Wingfield Five.

Complete recaps of all the weekend 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 - 569; 2. Yannick Gingras - 568.5; 3. David Miller - 272.5; 4. Jordan Stratton - 268; 5. Corey Callahan - 228.5.

Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 595.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 339; 3. Tony Alagna - 216; 4. John Butenschoen - 172; 5. Jim King Jr. - 171.

Owners: 1. Burke Racing Stable - 133.5; 2. Weaver Bruscemi - 128.5; 3. Vonknoblauch Stable - 117; 4. Fashion Farms - 102; 5. Crawford Farms Racing - 85.

Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next week at Northfield Park with the Carl Milstein Memorial for 3-year-old pacers; at Hoosier Park with the Dan Patch for free for all pacers; at the Indiana State Fair with the Fox Stakes highlighting 10 stakes; and at Tioga Downs with the Crawford Farm and Joie De Vie for older trotters and Tompkins-Geers races for 2-year-olds of both sexes and gaits.

by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit


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