Day At The Track

Matron and American-National head Grand Circuit week

03:22 AM 05 Nov 2015 NZDT
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Freaky Feet Pete, harness racing
Freaky Feet Pete was a 1:49.3 winner in the Monument Circle
Linscott Photo

This Week: Matron Stakes, Dover Downs, Dover, Del. and American-National Stakes, Balmoral Park, Crete, Ill.

Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit heads to Dover Downs this Thursday (Nov. 5) for four Matron Stakes for 2-year-olds of both sexes and gaits. The 2-year-old colt trot carries a purse of $216,300, the 2-year-old colt pacers will race for $201,400, the purse for the 2-year-old filly trot is $185,400 and the 2-year-old filly pacers will race for $183,400.

Balmoral Park will host eight American-National Grand Circuit stakes on Saturday (Nov. 7). The card will feature the $204,000 3-year-old colt trot, the $150,000 3-year-old colt pace, the $136,500 open pace, the $125,000 3-year-old filly trot, the $120,000 3-year-old filly pace, the $101,350 open trot, the $78,450 2-year-old filly pace and the $74,000 2-year-old colt pace.

Complete entries for the races are available at this link.

Last time: Hoosier Park and Vernon Downs shared the Grand Circuit spotlight last weekend as each had several stakes on their respective cards.

Freaky Feet Pete returned to his home state of Indiana and turned in another dominating performance to score his fifth consecutive victory, this time thrilling his hometown crowd in 1:49.3 in the $285,500 Monument Circle Pace at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Friday (Oct. 30). Driven by regular pilot Trace Tetrick, Freaky Feet Pete used a pocket trip to his advantage to best harness racing's top-rated horse, Wiggle It Jiggleit, late in the lane to win by 1-1/4 lengths.

With the win, Freaky Feet Pete became the sport's newest millionaire and notched his 23rd lifetime victory from 26 starts. The son of Rockin Image and Skyway Lori is trained by Larry Rheinheimer and owned by Mary Jo and Marty Rheinheimer.

The match-up between Wiggle It Jiggleit and Freaky Feet Pete was the pinnacle of a stakes-filled 14-race card at Hoosier Park with purses distributed throughout the evening over the $1 million mark. Just one race earlier, harness racing's richest Standardbred ever, Foiled Again, turned in a gritty performance to take the $165,000 Hoosier Park Pacing Derby. With regular pilot Yannick Gingras at the controls, Foiled Again dictated fractions of :27.3, :56.1 and 1:24 before he began to feel pressure from the rest of the field. Using a :26.3 final panel he fought off JK Endofanera and Brett Miller along with stablemate All Bets Off and Matt Kakaley to find the wire first.

Trained by Ron Burke, Foiled Again notched his third victory from 20 seasonal outings and 86th lifetime win from 244 starts. Owned by Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, and the JJK Stables, the 11-year-old gelding has now earned $379,132 for the season and more than $7.2 million lifetime.

Crazy Wow and Tim Tetrick pulled the slight 6-1 upset in the $270,000 Carl Erskine Trot for 3-year-old colt and gelding trotters, scoring in 1:54. The 2015 Hambletonian winning Pinkman was heavily favored at the betting windows and dictated early fractions of :27.2, :57, and 1:25.3 before succumbing to the long Hoosier Park stretch. Tetrick had Crazy Wow well placed turning for home and the 3-year-old colt did the rest. Homicide Hunter finished second and Pinkman wound up third.

It was the eighth win of the season for the son of Crazed-No Pan No Gain who is trained by Ron Burke. Owned by Our Horse Cents Stables, JT45, J&T Silva Stables and Deo Volente Farms, Crazy Wow has now earned $905,837 this season.

Vernon Downs hosted the finals of the Kindergarten Classic series -- worth a combined $366,000 -- on Saturday (Oct. 31) evening.

The $191,500 Kindergarten final for 2-year-old colts and geldings saw eventual winner Dog Gone Lucky vault clear from his post nine dispatch, controlling a :57.2 half-mile before yielding briefly to a rapidly-advancing Celebrity Express (John Campbell) before exiting the back straight.

As Celebrity Express started to struggle upon exiting the far turn, Corey Callahan edged off the pegs with Dog Gone Lucky, pressing to the lead just past reaching the three-quarter mark in 1:25.3.

Dog Gone Lucky, narrowly in front on his own accord, inherited two lengths clearance over the others when Celebrity Express broke stride off the far turn. The son of Lucky Chucky and Ebbtide Hall would hold that lead intact over a late-rallying Waitlifter K (David Miller) and Mavens Way (Ã…ke Svanstedt), prevailing in 1:54.2. Chuck Sylvester trains Dog Gone Lucky for owners Amy Stoltzfus and Charles Stansley.

In the $174,500 Kindergarten final for 2-year-old fillies, the complexion of the race changed when both halves of the Jimmy Takter-trained 1-10 entry -- Haughty and Hollywood Hill -- broke stride on approach to the far turn. An extended duel between Sweet Ashley T (Homer Hochstetler) and Radiant Beam (David Miller), joined at the quarter pole by Lookin Sharp (Callahan), ultimately dissolved as 91-1 outsider Wildflower split foes in the final sixteenth to just prevail in 1:55.4.

Trainer-driver Ãke Svanstedt shares ownership of the daughter of Muscle Hill and Lightning Flower with Douglas Sipple along with Mal and Janet Burroughs.

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

Grand Circuit Standings: In 2015, 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 2015 Grand Circuit awards.

Here are the leaders following the past week's action:

Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 1,382; 2. David Miller - 1,080.5; 3. Tim Tetrick - 961; 4. Brett Miller - 636; 5. Scott Zeron - 559.5.

Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 1,702; 2. Jimmy Takter - 1,432; 3. Tony Alagna - 572.5; 4. Ake Svanstedt - 346; 5. Jeff Bamond Jr. - 340.

Owners: 1. Burke Racing - 388.25; 2. Weaver Bruscemi - 333.8; 3. Bamond Racing - 275; 4. Christina Takter - 220.7; 5. George Teague Jr. Inc. - 200.

Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place next week at Dover Downs with Matron Stakes for 3-year-olds of both sexes and gaits. The Meadowlands will reopen with legs of the TVG Series for older trotters and pacers, to go along with elimiations for four 2-year-olds races -- the Governor's Cup, Valley Victory, Three Diamonds and Goldsmith Maid.

by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit


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