Day At The Track

Trio of tracks to host Grand Circuit stakes

05:05 AM 05 Nov 2020 NZDT
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Harness racing this Week: Matron Stakes, Dover Downs, Dover, Del.; Carl Erskine, Monument Circle, Crossroads of America and USS Indianapolis, Hoosier Park, Anderson, Ind.; and Kindergarten Series finals, The Meadowlands, East Rutherford, N.J.

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 pace carries a purse of $193,000, the 2-year-old filly trotters will race for $189,800, the purse for the 2-year-old filly pace is $170,700 and the 2-year-old colt trotters will race for $167,200.

On Friday night (Nov. 6), Harrah's Hoosier Park will host the $140,000 Carl Erskine for 3-year-old colt trotters, the $160,000 Monument Circle for 3-year-old colt pacers, the $100,000 Crossroads of America for 3-year-old filly trotters and the $100,000 USS Indianapolis for 3-year-old filly pacers.

The Meadowlands on Saturday (Nov. 7) will offer four Kindergarten Series finals for 2-year-olds of both sexes and gaits. The 2-year-old filly trot carries a purse of $252,340, the 2-year-old colt trotters will race for $207,570, the purse for the 2-year-old colt pace is $204,050 and the 2-year-old filly pacers will race for $151,030.

Complete entries for the races are available at this link.

Last time: Gimpanzee made it three Breeders Crown titles in a row by winning Saturday's (Oct. 31) $500,000 Open Trot by a length over Crystal Fashion in 1:51.3 at Harrah's Hoosier Park. Atlanta finished third.

Gimpanzee captured the Breeders Crown Open Trot and became only the fifth trotter to win three Crowns. Dean Gillette Photography.

Gimpanzee, a 4-year-old stallion, became the fifth trotter in history to win at least three Breeders Crown trophies, joining Peace Corps, Grades Singing, Mack Lobell, and Manchego - who accomplished the feat earlier in the night. Peace Corps, who leads the group with a record four Crowns, and Mack Lobell are the only others to win titles at ages 2, 3, and 4.

In addition, Gimpanzee became the first trotter to win a Breeders Crown at age 3 and return to capture the Open Trot at 4 since his sire, Chapter Seven, did so in 2011 and 2012.

"He's just an amazing horse and means a lot to me," trainer Marcus Melander said. "He's been with us from the start since we bought him at the Harrisburg sale, and it's just amazing what a journey it's been for us.

"This is our third win together, and it's very tough to win these Breeders Crown races. I'm very happy. Doing it with this horse - taking his third straight Breeders Crown - just shows how good of a horse he is."

Gimpanzee, out of the mare Steamy Windows, has won eight of 11 races this season and 25 of 34 in his career, with earnings of $2.70 million. He is owned by Courant Inc. and S R F Stable. He was bred by Order By Stable. Sent off as the even money favorite, Gimpanzee and driver Brian Sears paid $4.00 to win.

Manchego sustained an uncovered attack and surged clear in mid-stretch to capture her third Breeders Crown title. 

Earlier in the evening, Manchego captured the $300,000 Mare Trot in 1:52. Dispatched as the 4-5 favorite, Manchego (Dexter Dunn) won by 3-1/4 lengths over Plunge Blue Chip (Ake Svanstedt). When Dovescry overcame a break at the start to rally for third.

"It actually worked out good because I got on (Ake's) helmet for a while; he sort of beat me into the stretch there," winning driver Dexter Dunn said. "Once I moved her off Ake's helmet, she really exploded.

"She's an amazing horse. She really did it easy. It was a good performance tonight. It's a pleasure to sit behind her."

Manchego's previous Breeders Crown triumphs came at age 2 at Hoosier Park in 2017 and at age 4 at Woodbine Mohawk Park last year.

"It sure never gets old," said owner Barry Guariglia of Black Horse Racing. "She's an awesome mare. It's been a great ride."

Manchego, a 5-year-old daughter of Muscle Hill out of Secret Magic, is trained by Nancy Takter. Manchego has won five of 12 races this year and 32 of 55 in her career, with earnings of $2.56 million. She was bred by Brittany Farms. Manchego paid $3.80 to win.

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

Grand Circuit Standings: In 2020, 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 2020 Grand Circuit awards.

Here are the leaders following this past weekend:

Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 1,131; 2. Dexter Dunn - 932; 3. Tim Tetrick - 705.5; 4. David Miller - 705; 5. Andrew McCarthy - 566.

Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 1,103; 2. Nancy Takter - 1,090.5; 3. Tony Alagna - 662; 4. Ake Svanstedt - 654; 5. Marcus Melander - 492.

Owners: 1. Burke Racing Stable - 242.5; 2. Determination - 220; 3. Caviart Farms - 217.2; 4. Brad Grant - 204; 5. S R F Stable - 202.3.

Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place next week at Dover Downs. The Delaware track will feature the Matron Stakes for 3-year-olds of both sexes and gaits.

by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit

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