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Harness Racing This Week: Charlie Hill Memorial, Eldorado Scioto Downs, Columbus, Ohio; W.N. Reynolds Memorial, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y.; and Miss Versatility Series leg, The Meadowlands, East Rutherford, N.J. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit makes its first of three stops this week on Thursday (May 6) at Eldorado Scioto Downs with the $135,000 Charlie Hill Memorial for older trotters. Yonkers Raceway returns to the Grand Circuit calendar on Friday (May 7) with two divisions in the $57,500 W.N. Reynolds Memorial for 3-year-old filly pacers and two divisions in the $47,000 W.N. Reynolds Memorial for 3-year-old colt pacers. Then on Saturday (May 8), The Meadowlands has a pair of $30,000 first leg divisions in the Miss Versatility Series for open trotting mares. Complete entries for the races can be found by clicking on this link. Last Time: Off an impressive win in the elimination, expectations were high for Incommunicado in Saturday's (May 1) $115,583 Dexter Cup final at Freehold Raceway. He lived up to all of them, cruising to an impressive 3-1/2 length win in 1:56.3. Incommunicado cruised to an impressive 3-1/2 length win in 1:56.3. Vicki Wright/World Wide Racing Studios. Just like he did in his elimination, Incommunicado drew post position seven in the field of eight. That did not deter the betting public, who made him the 3-5 favorite. At the start, Yannick Gingras immediately pushed the gas pedal, sending his drive up to the front. Without much trouble, Gingras got him to the lead and the inside at the opening quarter, trotting that split in :28.2. Incommunicado slowed things down in the second quarter, trotting the opening half-mile in :58.4, but soon encountered first-over pressure from Believer. Believer moved up to Incommunicado's throatlatch around the third turn, but Incommunicado held firm and would not let his rival by. Turning for home, he pulled clear and left his rivals in the dust in a final time of 1:56.3. Sunny Crockett, Fifty Ways, Ambassador Hanover, Believer, Chapolier, Credit Con, and Share The Wealth completed the order of finish. Incommunicado is owned by Knutsson Trotting Inc., Little E, Arthur Geiger, and David Stolz, and trained by Ake Svanstedt. He made waves last year by sweeping the Massachusetts Sire Stakes at Plainridge Park, winning the final by 17-1/4 lengths. Subsequently, he was second in the Matron at Dover Downs by a half-length. For his career, he's won six times from 12 starts, with earnings of $282,283. "I wanted to get him in the race and when (Credit Con) made a break in the first turn, it made things a little easier for me." said Gingras, who won his second straight edition of the Dexter Cup. "I knew (starting from post seven) wasn't ideal. I knew it was going to be harder than last week, there wasn't going to be a hole or something like that, but he still did it pretty easy. The horse raced good and did the job. He's a nice horse. He does everything you ask of him." Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2021, 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 2021 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders (through the races on 5-1-21): Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 90; 2. Andrew McCarthy - 79; 3. George Brennan - 69; 4. Austin Siegelman - 61; 5. Todd McCarthy - 60. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 144; 2. Todd Buter - 55; 3. Noel Daley - 47; 4. Ake Svanstedt - 45; 5t. Jeff Cullipher - 40; 5t. Sheena McElhiney - 40. Owners: 1. Renee Bercury - 50; 2t. Burke Racing Stable - 41.1; 2t. Weaver Bruscemi - 41.1; 4. Jesmeral Stable - 40; 5. Eric Prevost - 38. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place next week at The Meadowlands with the Arthur Cutler Memorial for older trotters and the second leg of the Graduate Series for 4-year-old pacers. by Paul Ramlow, for The Grand Circuit  

Harness Racing This Week: Dexter Cup final and Lady Suffolk, Freehold Raceway, Freehold, N.J. and Graduate Series first leg, The Meadowlands, East Rutherford, N.J. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit at Freehold on Saturday (May 1) features the $115,583 Dexter Cup final for 3-year-old open trotters and two $36,057 divisions in the Lady Suffolk for 3-year-old filly trotters. Also on Saturday, The Meadowlands has a pair of $50,000 first leg divisions in the Graduate Series for 4-year-old open pacers. Complete entries for the races can be found by clicking on this link. Last Time: Rather than accept a bye and guarantee himself two Dexter Cup final starters, trainer Ake Svanstedt decided to let Incommunicado compete in Saturday's (April 24) Dexter Cup elimination at Freehold Raceway. The gamble paid off, as Incommunicado cruised under the wire 2-3/4 lengths in front and established himself as one of the favorites for this week's Dexter Cup final. Incommunicado cruised under the wire 2-3/4 lengths in front. Vicki Wright photo. When the entry box closed, 10 horses were entered for the Dexter Cup. Svanstedt was offered two byes with his pair of Ambassador Hanover and Incommunicado, and while he accepted the bye with the former, he decided to race Incommunicado. The Massachusetts Sire Stakes champion was made the 8-5 second choice in the field of eight. The complexion of the race changed dramatically in the opening eighth, when favored Ethan T Hanover and Royson's Punch both went off stride. Ethan T Hanover was pulled up by Todd McCarthy, while Royson's Punch got back trotting. Incommunicado stayed trotting and was rated in fourth place in the early stages. Just before the half-mile, Yannick Gingras pulled Incommunicado off the pylons and moved him first over after early leader Share The Wealth. The leader put up a good fight, but Incommunicado took charge entering the stretch and drew off. He trotted the mile in 1:57, a sharp time for his first pari-mutuel race of the year. Incommunicado is owned by Knutsson Trotting, Little E, Arthur Geiger, and David Stolz. He's now won five times from 11 career starts, with earnings of $224,492. Along with his stablemate Ambassador Hanover, he gives Svanstedt a formidable pair for this week's final. Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2021, 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 2021 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders (through the races on 4-24-21): Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 70; 2. Andrew McCarthy - 69; 3. George Brennan - 64; 4. Austin Siegelman - 61; 5. Todd McCarthy - 60. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 144; 2. Todd Buter - 55; 3. Noel Daley - 47; 4t. Jeff Cullipher - 40; 4t. Sheena McElhiney - 40. Owners: 1. Renee Bercury - 50; 2t. Burke Racing Stable - 41.1; 2t. Weaver Bruscemi - 41.1; 4. Jesmeral Stable - 40; 5. Eric Prevost - 38. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place next week at Scioto Downs, Yonkers Raceway and The Meadowlands. Scioto will host the Charlie Hill Memorial for open trotters; Yonkers features the Reynolds Memorial for 3-year-old colt and filly pacers; and The Meadowlands will offer the first leg of the Miss Versatility Series for older trotting mares. by Paul Ramlow, for The Grand Circuit

Harness Racing This Week: Dexter Cup elimination, Freehold Raceway, Freehold, N.J. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit at Freehold on Saturday (April 24) features a single $38,529 Dexter Cup elimination for 3-year-old open trotters. Ten horses entered the Dexter Cup on Wednesday. Two of them, Ambassador Hanover for trainer Ake Svanstedt, and Sunny Crockett, trained by Julie Miller, accepted a bye and will advance to next week's final. As a result, the top six finishers in the elimination will move on to the final. Complete entries for the Saturday Freehold races can be found by clicking here. Last Time: This Is The Plan was able to overcome starting from the outside post eight with a blitz off the gate and then never let anybody get close to him after that in winning Monday night's (April 19) $514,000 MGM Borgata Pacing Series final at Yonkers Raceway in 1:50.4. This Is The Plan, driven by Yannick Gingras and one of three in the final sent out by trainer Ron Burke, was dispatched at odds of 11-1. This Is The Plan won Monday night's (April 19) $514,000 MGM Borgata Pacing Series final. Chris Brokate photo. This Is The Plan was able to go from six-wide early on the bend to leading over stablemate Rockapelo by the time they entered the backstretch for the first time. Everybody else then got down to the cones except for Backstreet Shadow, who was left on the outside as the first quarter rang up in :26.4. On the second turn, 6-5 favorite Western Joe, who had landed in fourth, flushed Hesa Kingslayer N out of third, and they made some progress towards This Is The Plan at the :55.1 half, but then the pace dramatically quickened past that marker as Gingras stepped on the accelerator and This Is The Plan responded by opening up a gap on the rest of the field in a third quarter that went on the board in :27. After building up that advantage on his pursuers, This Is The Plan was not about to relinquish it, as he paced home in :28.3 to seal the deal by 1-1/2 lengths over Rockapelo, who went off at 13-1. Mach N Cheese saved ground on the inside and finished third at 32-1. A 6-year-old gelding by Somebeachsomewhere, This Is The Plan is owned by Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, J&T Silva- Purnel & Libby, and Larry Karr. This Is The Plan is now a 16-time winner in his career and the winner's share of the purse made him harness racing's newest double millionaire, as his lifetime earnings now stand at $2,073,700. The betting was focused on two mares in Monday's $232,800 Blue Chip Matchmaker Series final, but in the end it would be 6-1 shot Machnhope that would get the job done in game fashion, overtaking Blue Ivy near the wire to score in 1:52.2 for driver Andrew McCarthy. The action was hot and heavy at the outset as four horses left the gate, including favored Alexa Skye from post six, but the even-money choice would have to be content with a tuck in the four-hole as George Brennan, behind Snobbytown, circled Blue Ivy on the first turn and drove past Machnhope to take charge. Tyler Buter, driving 3-2 second choice Blue Ivy, may have been outsprinted early, but the two quickly seized control well before the :27.1 opening quarter. From there, Buter and Blue Ivy kept the pace somewhat lively, hitting the half in :55.3 before feeling any heat. Todd McCarthy and Alexa Skye got off the pylons at the half and quickly flushed Machnhope's cover. What looked like a perfect trip for the favorite at that juncture didn't turn out that way, though, as while Machnhope moved towards the pacesetter, Alexa Skye stalled and couldn't stay on her cover. With Blue Ivy still in control at three-quarters in 1:23.4, the second choice looked in position to win, but Machnhope, under steady urging by Andrew McCarthy, kept grinding her way towards the leader. The field got a bit crowded in deep stretch as Snobbytown searched for room but was unable to find any. Machnhope showed her tenacity near the wire, securing the victory for trainer Noel Daley, who shares ownership in the 6-year-old daughter of Mach Three with Deo Volente Farms, Tom Pontone, and L. A. Express Stable. Snobbytown settled for third behind Blue Ivy, with Alexa Skye holding fourth on the line. It was the fourth win in 11 tries this year for Machnhope and her 30th career victory. She also pushed her 2021 earnings to $184,115 and her lifetime bankroll to $521,394. Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2021, 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 2021 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders (through the races on 4-19-21): Drivers: 1. Andrew McCarthy - 69; 2. George Brennan - 64; 3t. Todd McCarthy - 60; 3t. Yannick Gingras - 60; 5. Austin Siegelman - 56. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 144; 2. Todd Buter - 50; 3. Noel Daley - 47; 4t. Jeff Cullipher - 40; 4t. Sheena McElhiney - 40. Owners: 1. Renee Bercury - 50; 2t. Burke Racing Stable - 41.1; 2t. Weaver Bruscemi - 41.1; 4. Jesmeral Stable - 40; 5. Eric Prevost - 38. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place next week at Freehold Raceway and The Meadowlands. Freehold will host the Dexter Cup final for 3-year-old open trotters and the Lady Suffolk for 3-year-old filly trotters. The Meadowlands will offer the first leg of the Graduate Series for 4-year-old open pacers. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand CIrcuit

Harness Racing This Week: Blue Chip Matchmaker and MGM Borgata Pacing series finals and consolations, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit at Yonkers on Monday (April 19) features the $514,000 final of the MGM Borgata Pacing series for open pacers and the $232,800 final of the Blue Chip Matchmaker series for open pacing mares. The card will also have the $100,000 MGM Borgata Pacing series consolation and the $60,000 Blue Chip Matchmaker consolation. Complete entries for the races can be found by clicking on this link. Last Time: Preliminary round action in the MGM Borgata Pacing Series concluded on Monday night (April 12) at Yonkers Raceway with a trio of $40,000 divisions that were won by Backstreet Shadow, Mach N Cheese, and Leonidas A. Backstreet Shadow was able to get to the wire a half-length to the good in a 1:52.1 mile. Chris Brokate photo. Backstreet Shadow (Yannick Gingras) took full advantage of the pole position in the first split, going to the lead and putting up fractions of :27.3, :56.1, and 1:24.1 over a surface that was rated "good" and a second off. Western Joe (Dexter Dunn) took up the chase by going first-over out of third in the backstretch, but he couldn't make any headway on the outside, allowing Backstreet Shadow to turn into the lane with a clear advantage. Once they hit the stretch, Western Joe suddenly hit top gear and began to gain on Backstreet Shadow, but Backstreet Shadow was able to get to the wire a half-length to the good in a 1:52.1 mile. Tyga Hanover (Jason Bartlett) came in third. A 6-year-old gelding by Shadow Play, Backstreet Shadow is trained by Ron Burke for owners Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, Larry Karr and J&T Silva- Purnel & Libby. Backstreet Shadow, who won twice in the MGM Borgata Pacing Series, now has a record of 26-12-6 from 64 starts and he has earned $910,162. The 3-5 favorite, Backstreet Shadow paid $3.40 to win. Alexa Skye and driver Todd McCarthy served notice in the fifth and final preliminary round of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series at Yonkers Raceway with an imposing 1:52.3 victory in their $35,000 division on Friday night (April 9). The fleet-footed 4-year-old by Somebeachsomewhere had to work just a bit to gain control at the quarter, but from that point, her four rivals chased her in vain. Alexa Skye left the gate along with Monica Gallagher (Jason Bartlett) from the inside, with Siesta Beach (Matt Kakaley) between those two into the opening bend. Siesta Beach settled along the pylons, but McCarthy pushed Alexa Skye to the top and cleared passing a :27.4 opening fraction. Alexa Skye maintained the lead after that, setting fractions of :56.3 and 1:24.4, with Siesta Beach moving to the outside into the final turn as Monica Gallagher lost contact with the pacesetter. McCarthy let his mare do the talking, and Alexa Skye spoke volumes, cruising home effortlessly with a :27.4 kicker to win by open lengths. Siesta Beach held down the place spot, with Soho Burning Love A (Austin Siegelman) showing decent late foot for third. Sent off as the 1-5 favorite in the field, Alexa Skye paid $2.40 to win. Alexa Skye won all four of the Blue Chip Matchmaker preliminary legs she participated in for Pollack Racing LLC and Jeff Cullipher. Now a winner in seven of nine starts on the season, Alexa Skye moves into the $232,800 final on April 19 as the clear horse to beat. Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2021, 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 2021 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders (through the races on 4-12-21): Drivers: 1. Todd McCarthy - 60; 2. Austin Siegelman - 56; 3t. Andrew McCarthy - 49; 3t. George Brennan - 49; 5. Tyler Buter - 44. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 109; 2t. Jeff Cullipher - 40; 2t. Todd Buter - 40; 2t. Sheena McElhiney - 40; 5. Nicholas DeVita - 38. Owners: 1t. Jesmeral Stable - 40; 1t. Renee Bercury - 40; 3. Eric Prevost - 38; 4t. Burke Racing Stable - 31.1; 4t. Weaver Bruscemi - 31.1. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place on April 24 at Freehold Raceway with the Dexter Cup eliminations for 3-year-old open trotters. by Paul Ramlow, for The Grand Circuit

Harness Racing This Week: Blue Chip Matchmaker and MGM Borgata Pacing series fifth legs, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit at Yonkers features two $35,000 divisions on Friday (April 9) in the fifth round of the Blue Chip Matchmaker series for open pacing mares. The Monday (April 12) card at Yonkers will see three $40,000 divisions in the fifth round of the MGM Borgata Pacing series for open pacers. Each series offers five preliminary rounds leading to the finales, both set for Monday (April 19). Complete entries for the races can be found by clicking on this link. Last Time: This Is The Plan, Western Joe, and Leonidas A scored victories in the trio of $40,000 divisions of the fourth leg of the MGM Borgata Pacing Series on Monday night (April 5) at Yonkers Raceway. This Is The Plan broke through for the first time in style, taking the opening split in 1:51.1. Chris Brokate photo. After finishing second in all three of his appearances in the series coming into this leg, This Is The Plan (Yannick Gingras) broke through for the first time in style, taking the opening split in 1:51.1. Gingras fired This Is The Plan to the top from post four and he would put up fractions of :27.2, :56.1, and 1:23.3 before he closed in :27.3 to win by three lengths over pocket-sitter Raukapuka Ruler N (Jordan Stratton). Mach N Cheese (Joe Bongiorno) held third over Let It Ride N (Dexter Dunn). Ron Burke trains This Is The Plan, a 6-year-old gelding by Somebeachsomewhere, for owners Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, J&T Silva- Purnel & Libby, and Larry Karr. This Is The Plan is now a 15-time winner in his career and he pushed his earnings to $1,806,700. Blue Ivy didn't get all of the respect on the toteboard, but the 5-year-old mare had her say in a powerhouse performance, capturing the first of two $35,000 Blue Chip Matchmaker divisions on Friday (April 2) at Yonkers Raceway. Sent off as the surprising 7-5 second choice, Tyler Buter put Blue Ivy into the three-hole entering the first turn as 3-5 favorite Keep Rockin A made the lead easily for Tim Tetrick and marched to the quarter in :27.4. With just five in the field, Tetrick was able to back down the pace with the Jim King Jr.-trained import. The slow half didn't shake Buter in the least as he waited until midway down the backstretch to energize Blue Ivy. It didn't take more than 50 yards for Blue Ivy to engulf and dispose of Keep Rockin A, as that mare slowed markedly into the final turn. After three-quarters in 1:25, Blue Ivy kicked home in :28 and scored by open lengths in a 1:53 mile. Monica Gallagher (Jason Bartlett) was able to come up the pylons late to secure the place spot, with Caviart Cherie (Matt Kakaley) third in the mile. It was Blue Ivy's second win in the series, to go along with two second-place finishes, for trainer Todd Buter. Owned by Renee Bercury, Blue Ivy, a daughter of Captaintreacherous, paid $4.80 for the victory. Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2021, 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 2021 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders (through the races on 4-5-21): Drivers: 1. Todd McCarthy - 50; 2t. Andrew McCarthy - 47; 2t. George Brennan - 47; 4. Austin Siegelman - 44; 5. Tyler Buter - 34. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 92; 2t. Jeff Cullipher - 30; 2t. Mike Deters - 30; 2t. Todd Buter - 30; 2t. Sheena McElhiney - 30. Owners: 1t. Jesmeral Stable - 30; 1t. Renee Bercury - 30; 3. Eric Prevost - 28; 4t. Burke Racing Stable - 26.8; 4t. Weaver Bruscemi - 26.8. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will continue at Yonkers with the finals of the Blue Chip Matchmaker and MGM Borgata on April 19. by Paul Ramlow, for The Grand Circuit  

Harness Racing This Week: Blue Chip Matchmaker and MGM Borgata Pacing series fourth legs, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit at Yonkers features two $35,000 divisions on Friday (April 2) in the fourth round of the Blue Chip Matchmaker series for open pacing mares. The Monday (April 5) card at Yonkers will see three $40,000 divisions in the fourth round of the MGM Borgata Pacing series for open pacers. Each series offers five preliminary rounds leading to the finales, both set for Monday (April 19). Complete entries for the races can be found by clicking on this link. Last Time: Hesa Kingslayer N improved to three-for-three in Monday night's (March 29) third leg of the MGM Borgata Pacing Series for free-for-allers at Yonkers Raceway. Hesa Kingslayer N improved to three-for-three in the MGM Borgata Pacing Series. Chris Brokate photo. Driven by Jim Marohn Jr. in his $40,000 section, Hesa Kingslayer N was able to get into the pocket from post four and had a great view of a battle for the lead between Pat Stanley N (Jordan Stratton) and a parked-out None Bettor A (Todd McCarthy). Pat Stanley N gave None Bettor A the cold shoulder through fractions of :27, :56.4, and 1:25 and when None Bettor A began to back up on the final turn, that gave Marohn and Hesa Kingslayer N the escape route to the outside they needed. Once he had clear sailing, Hesa Kingslayer N pounced on Pat Stanley N, going by him in upper stretch on his way to a 2-1/4 length victory in 1:53. This Is The Plan (Yannick Gingras) was also on the outside throughout in the second-over position and checked in as the runner-up after going three-high on the final bend, and Pat Stanley N held third. Trainer Mike Deters also co-owns Hesa Kingslayer N, an 8-year-old gelding by Christian Cullen, with partner Joel Warner. Hesa Kingslayer N is now a 20-time winner in his career and he has earned $189,962. Alexa Skye was expected to face her toughest test of the year in the second of two $35,000 divisions of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series on Friday night (March 26) at Yonkers Raceway. However, when two mares were scratched prior to the race, reducing the field to just five, the task was made considerably easier for driver Todd McCarthy. Nevertheless, it took two early moves for the 4-year-old daughter of Somebeachsomewhere to secure the front, but the rest was once again quite easy as Alexa Skye made it three straight conquests in the series, scoring by a comfortable margin in 1:53.4. My Ruebe Star N (Jordan Stratton) left alertly, as did Blue Ivy (Tyler Buter). The pair were directly inside Alexa Skye, the race favorite, and McCarthy settled in third as My Ruebe Star N seated Blue Ivy and marched towards the opening quarter. Alexa Skye moved before the quarter had been passed, secured the lead after the :27.4 quarter, and from there was in control. After a :29.4 second quarter, McCarthy and Alexa Skye had all of the rest time they needed and quickly marched off with a :28 third quarter, gaining some separation from My Ruebe Star N as Buter and Blue Ivy moved to the outside to try to track down the leader. McCarthy felt the urgency of the threat that Blue Ivy, a first leg winner, posed and began to urge Alexa Skye on coming off the final turn. He kept active in the bike, and it certainly woke up the sharp mare as she sprinted off with a :28.1 kicker, keeping Blue Ivy at bay, with Siesta Beach (Matt Kakaley) closing strongly late for third. Trained and co-owned by Jeff Cullipher, along with Pollack Racing, Alexa Skye was a winner for the sixth time in 2021 and is just $250 shy of the $100,000 mark in seasonal earnings. This was her 15th victory overall and she now has banked $209,890 lifetime. Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2021, 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 2021 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders (through the races on 3-29-21): Drivers: 1. Todd McCarthy - 50; 2. Andrew McCarthy - 42; 3. George Brennan - 40; 4. Austin Siegelman - 34; 5. Tim Tetrick - 30. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 75; 2t. Jeff Cullipher - 30; 2t. Mike Deters - 30; 4t. Noel Daley - 20; 4t. Todd Buter - 20; 4t. Sheena McElhiney - 20. Owners: 1t. Burke Racing Stable - 21.9; 1t. Weaver Bruscemi - 21.9; 3t. Jesmeral Stable - 20; 3t. Renee Bercury - 20; 5. Brad Grant - 15. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will continue with the final leg of the Blue Chip Matchmaker and MGM Borgata next week. The finals for both events will be held on April 19. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit  

Harness Racing This Week: Blue Chip Matchmaker and MGM Borgata Pacing series third legs, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit at Yonkers features two $35,000 divisions on Friday (March 26) in the third round of the Blue Chip Matchmaker series for open pacing mares. The Monday (March 29) card at Yonkers will see three $40,000 divisions in the third round of the MGM Borgata Pacing series for open pacers. Each series offers five preliminary rounds leading to the finales, both set for Monday (April 19). Complete entries for the races can be found by clicking on this link. Last Time: Leonidas A and Hesa Kingslayer N repeated in Monday night's (March 22) $40,000 divisions of the second leg of the MGM Borgata Pacing Series at Yonkers Raceway. Leonidas A kicked into high gear, pacing a :55 back-half to win by 2-1/4 lengths in 1:52. Chris Brokate photo. Driven by Austin Siegelman, Leonidas A landed in the pocket from post one early in the third of four sections, then moved around fellow round one winner San Domino A (Todd McCarthy) for command passing the :28 opening quarter. After that, Leonidas A got away with a soft :57 half, and it was pretty much over once that happened as Leonidas A kicked into high gear, pacing a :55 back-half to win by 2-1/4 lengths in 1:52. San Domino A held second over Chief Mate (Scott Zeron), who put in a good try from first-over given the early tempo. Sheena McElhiney trains Leonidas A, a 6-year-old Mach Three gelding, for owner Jesmeral Stable. Leonidas A posted his 27th career win and he has earnings of $271,848. This Is The Plan (Yannick Gingras) rolled to the lead in the last split and he would lead through fractions of :27.3, :56.2, and 1:24, with Hesa Kingslayer N (Jim Marohn Jr.) going first-up from third prior to three-quarters. Hesa Kingslayer N advanced into second on the final turn, then sustained his bid through the stretch, wearing down This Is The Plan on his way to the victory by a half-length in 1:51.4. Stars Align A (Todd McCarthy) was the third-place finisher after a pocket trip. Let It Ride N (Dexter Dunn) saw his seven-race undefeated streak in the U.S. end in this race as he couldn't get involved from post eight and had to settle for a dead-heat for sixth. Trainer Michael Deters also co-owns Hesa Kingslayer N, an 8-year-old gelded son of Christian Cullen, with Joel Warner. Hesa Kingslayer N now has 19 career triumphs and he has put away $169,962. Having gained enormous respect from her blowout victory in the opening leg of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series, Alexa Skye had a much easier time putting away her rivals on Friday night (March 19), capturing the first of three $35,000 divisions at Yonkers Raceway in a 1:53.4 clocking. Sent off as the prohibitive 1-10 betting favorite, Todd McCarthy wasted little time seizing command on the opening bend from an accommodating My Ruebe Star N and driver Jordan Stratton. McCarthy kept an easy clip, going to the quarter in :28.4 and reaching the half unchallenged in :58.1. From there, the field of six stayed very much in line as Alexa Skye picked up the pace on the backstretch, hitting three-quarters in 1:26 on her own power. McCarthy hardly moved a muscle edging into the homestretch and the powerful 4-year-old daughter of Somebeachsomewhere finished out her mile with a :27.4 final quarter as the rest of the field battled hard for the place spot. My Ruebe Star N held her ground and won the competition for the second position, while Siesta Beach (Matt Kakaley) closed along the pylons and finished in a dead-heat with Keep Rockin A (Tim Tetrick) for show. Alexa Skye, who picked up her 14th victory overall and has now banked $192,390, is owned in partnership by Pollack Racing and trainer Jeff Cullipher. Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2021, 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 2021 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders (through the races on 3-22-21): Drivers: 1. Andrew McCarthy - 42; 2. Todd McCarthy - 38; 3. Austin Siegelman - 32; 4. Tim Tetrick - 23; 5. George Brennan - 20. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 45; 2t. Jeff Cullipher - 20; 2t. Noel Daley - 20; 2t. Mike Deters - 20; 2t. Sheena McElhiney - 20. Owners: 1. Jesmeral Stable - 20; 2t. Renee Bercury - 15; 2t. Brad Grant - 15; 4t. Burke Racing Stable - 12.7; 4t. Weaver Bruscemi - 12.7. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will continue with legs of the Blue Chip Matchmaker and MGM Borgata over the next two weeks. The finals for both events will be held on April 19. by Paul Ramlow, for The Grand Circuit  

Harness Racing This Week: Blue Chip Matchmaker and MGM Borgata Pacing series second leg, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit at Yonkers features three $35,000 divisions on Friday (March 19) in the second round of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series for open pacing mares. The Monday (March 22) card at Yonkers will see four $40,000 divisions in the second round of the MGM Borgata Pacing Series for open pacers. Each series offers five preliminary rounds leading to the finales, both set for Monday (April 19). Complete entries for the races can be found by clicking on this link. Last Time: Alexa Skye and driver Todd McCarthy served notice in the second of three $35,000 divisions of opening round action in the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series for pacing mares on Friday night (March 12) at Yonkers Raceway with a blistering 1:51.2 victory. McCarthy took the 4-5 public choice to the lead shortly after the start, putting second choice Seaswift Joy N, driven by his brother Andy, in the pocket. Alexa Skye dictated the pace, cutting the first two fractions in identical :28 quarters and keeping the abbreviated field of five at bay in the process. Alexa Skye picked up the pace noticeably past the half and smoked her third quarter in :27.2, gaining ample separation on the field before marching home impressively with a :28 final kicker. A 4-year-old daughter of Somebeachsomewhere, Alexa Skye won for the first time since being purchased by trainer Jeff Cullipher, along with Pollack Racing, in February. Alexa Skye picked up her 13th victory overall and has now earned $174,890. It was a chalky beginning to the 2021 MGM Borgata Series for free-for-all pacers on Monday night (March 15) at Yonkers Raceway as favorites delivered in four of the five $40,000 divisions. Let It Ride N (Dexter Dunn) began the proceedings, prevailing off a second-over trip at 1-5 to run his record in the United States to seven wins from seven starts. Dunn brought Let It Ride N to the outside from fourth after the :56.4 half, and then picked up cover when This Is The Plan (Yannick Gingras) tipped out of the pocket beyond the 1:24.1 three-quarters. Dunn sent Let It Ride N three-wide on the far turn, and he kicked home strongly to win by a half-length in 1:52.2. This Is The Plan was the runner-up, and Rodeo Rock (Tim Tetrick) closed from sixth to third in the last quarter. Richard "Nifty" Norman trains Let It Ride N, an 8-year-old gelding by Rock N Roll Heaven, for owners William Hartt and Enzed Racing Stable. Let It Ride N has won 25 times from 61 lifetime starts and he has now pocketed $395,958. Complete recaps of all the races are available on the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2021, 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 2021 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders (through the races on 3-15-21): Drivers: 1. Austin Siegelman - 22; 2t. Andrew McCarthy - 20; 2t. Todd McCarthy - 20; 4t. Dexter Dunn - 12; 4t. Tyler Buter -12. Trainers: 1. Nifty Norman - 17; 2. Ron Burke - 15; 3t. Todd Buter - 10; 3t. Jeff Cullipher - 10; 3t. Nancy Takter - 10. Owners: 1t. Bd Racing - 10; 1t. Renee Bercury - 10; 1t. Jesmeral Stable - 10; 4t. Enzed Racing Stable - 7; 4t. Eric Prevost - 7. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will continue with legs of the Blue Chip Matchmaker and MGM Borgata over the next three weeks. The finals for both events will be held on April 19. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit  

This Week: Blue Chip Matchmaker and MGM Borgata Pacing series opening legs, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y. This is the opening event of the 2021 Grand Circuit harness racing season. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit at Yonkers features three $35,000 divisions on Friday (March 12) in the first round of the Blue Chip Matchmaker series for open pacing mares. The Monday (March 15) card at Yonkers will see five $40,000 divisions in the opening round of the MGM Borgata Pacing series for open pacers. Each series offers five preliminary rounds leading to the finales, both set for Monday (April 19). Complete entries for the races can be found by clicking on this link. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2021, 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 2021 Grand Circuit awards. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will continue with legs of the Blue Chip Matchmaker and MGM Borgata over the next four weeks. The finals for both events will be held on April 19. For more information and the complete 2021 Grand Circuit schedule, click here. by Paul Ramlow. publicity director, the Grand Circuit

Columbus, OH - The 2020 annual meeting of the harness racing Grand Circuit officers and stewards took place via a video conference on Wednesday (Dec. 2). Most of the Grand Circuit tracks were represented at this video conference. John Campbell, president of the Grand Circuit, conducted the meeting and went through the events for the 2020 racing season, the financials and asking for approval of the finance report submitted by Paul Ramlow, the Grand Circuit's treasurer. Campbell asked for a discussion and a vote on his thoughts to have an Executive Committee formed, made up of the Grand Circuit officers and any other Grand Circuit steward that would want to be a part of this new committee. This committee would be able to make decisions regarding any situation that could come up for the Grand Circuit and would be able to be handled more efficiently. The Executive Committee idea was approved and the members of the new committee are as follows: John Campbell, Carol Cramer, Scott McKelvie, Paul Ramlow and Nick Salvi. Discussion ensued regarding the cancellation of the 2021 USHWA Dan Patch Awards Dinner and our Grand Circuit presentations of awards to the year-end champion driver, trainer and owner. Campbell suggested those awards could be presented to the 2020 winners during a Grand Circuit night at The Meadowlands next season. A motion was presented and passed. The 2020 Grand Circuit champions were Yannick Gingras (driver), Nancy Takter (trainer) and Burke Racing Stable (owner). The 2021 Grand Circuit schedule of racing dates will be released in January. Paul Ramlow

Harness Racing This Week: Progress Pace final, Dover Downs, Dover, Del. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit returns to Dover Downs this Wednesday (Nov. 25) for the $325,000 Progress Pace final for 3-year-old open pacers. This will be the final stake for the 2020 Grand Circuit season. Complete entries for the race are available at this link. Last time: Bettor's Wish closed out his racing career in style with a powerful performance in Saturday's (Nov. 21) $340,000 TVG Series Open Pace championship, defeating Backstreet Shadow by 2-3/4 lengths in 1:48.1 at The Meadowlands. This Is The Plan finished third. Bettor's Wish closed out his racing career in style with a powerful performance in Saturday's $340,000 TVG Series Open Pace championship. Lisa photo. Sent off as the 1-2 favorite, Bettor's Wish paid $3.00 to win. "I barely asked him tonight, to be honest," winning driver Dexter Dunn said. "It was all him. It's been him his whole career. He's a true racehorse. "It was a special feeling crossing the line with him tonight. He's been an amazing horse to me." Bettor's Wish, a 4-year-old stallion by Bettor's Delight out of Lifetime Star, won 24 of 44 career starts and $2.60 million. He failed to finish among the top three only three times in his career. He received the Dan Patch Award for best 3-year-old male pacer in 2019 and was second to Shartin N in voting for both Pacer of the Year and Horse of the Year. Other victories this year for Bettor's Wish included the Sam McKee Memorial, Dayton Pacing Derby, and Allerage Farms Open Pace. Bettor's Wish is owned by trainer Chris Ryder, Bella Racing, Fair Island Farm, and Bettors Wish Partners. He was bred by Brittany Farms. Manchego made her final career start a winning one, capturing Saturday's $320,000 TVG Open Trot championship by 1-1/4 lengths over Atlanta in 1:51.3 at The Meadowlands. Lindy The Great finished third. Manchego, a 5-year-old mare, was retired in a ceremony in the winner's circle following the race. She ended her career with 33 wins in 56 career starts and $2.72 million in purses. Her victories included the 2018 Hambletonian Oaks and Breeders Crown titles at ages 2, 4, and 5. She is the fastest female trotter ever thanks to her 1:49 victory in the 2019 Allerage Farms Mare Trot at Red Mile and also the fastest female trotter in history on a five-eighths-mile track, with a mark of 1:49.3 in this year's Spirit of Massachusetts at Plainridge Park. Manchego is the only female trotter to win with a sub-1:50 mile in multiple years. She has been the sport's fastest trotter in 2019 and 2020. In 2017, Manchego won all 12 of her starts and became the first undefeated 2-year-old filly trotter in Breeders Crown history as well as the first unbeaten 2-year-old filly trotter to win a Dan Patch Award. With her Breeders Crown triumph last month, she joined Peace Corps and Grades Singing as the only female trotters with at least three trophies. Manchego, by Muscle Hill out of Secret Magic, was trained by Jimmy Takter at ages 2 and 3, and Nancy Takter at 4 and 5. She is owned by Barry Guariglia's Black Horse Racing and was bred by Brittany Farms. "She's just a super mare," Nancy Takter said. "She's been great since the first moment that she ever set foot on the track. "When you get the call that you get to train a horse like Manchego, those calls probably aren't going to come very many times in my life, so I appreciate every moment that I had with her. She's just an unbelievable mare. She makes my job easy, she makes all of us look good around her, because she's just such a professional." Kissin In The Sand took the lead at the half, fended off a challenge from Shartin N on the final turn, and pulled away from the field in the stretch to win Saturday's $150,000 TVG Series Mare Pace championship in a stakes-record 1:48 at The Meadowlands. Three-year-old filly Peaky Sneaky was second and Shartin N was third. It was the final start of Kissin In The Sand's career. The 5-year-old mare finished the season with a seven-race win streak and pushed her lifetime victory total to 27 in 58 starts. She earned $1.74 million for owners Marvin Katz and Hatfield Stables and trainer Nancy Takter. "She was outstanding tonight," winning driver Dexter Dunn said. "She's had an amazing career, she's an amazing mare, and I was lucky enough to get on for the last four or five starts to enjoy the last run home." Sent off the 4-5 favorite, Kissin In The Sand paid $3.80 to win. Kissin In The Sand, by Somebeachsomewhere out of Kiss Me Kate, was bred by Christina Takter, John Fielding, R A W Equine Inc., and Concord Stud Farm. She was a Dan Patch Award winner at age 3. Among her wins to close out this season were her first Breeders Crown as well as the Dayton Distaff Derby, Milton Stakes, and Allerage Farms Mare Pace. 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 - 1,271; 2. Dexter Dunn - 1,162; 3. David Miller - 815; 4. Tim Tetrick - 745.5; 5. Andrew McCarthy - 606. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 1,303; 2. Nancy Takter - 1,295.5; 3. Ake Svanstedt - 734; 4. Tony Alagna - 682; 5. Marcus Melander - 492. Owners: 1. Burke Racing Stable - 273.9; 2. Caviart Farms - 240.5; 3. Determination - 230; 4. Brad Grant - 217.3; 5. Weaver Bruscemi - 209.8. Looking ahead: The 2020 Grand Circuit season will conclude after this week; the 2021 Grand Circuit schedule will be released early next year. by Paul Ramlow, for The Grand Circuit

Harness Racing This Week: Fall Four and TVG finals, Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, N.J. and Progress Pace elimination, Dover Downs, Dover, Del. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit returns to Dover Downs this Wednesday (Nov. 18) for a $35,000 elimination in the Progress Pace for 3-year-old open pacers. A field off 11 will compete for eight spots in the final slated for Nov. 25. On Saturday night (Nov. 21) Meadowlands Racetrack will host the Fall Four events for freshman pacers and trotters and the TVG series finals for open pacers and trotters. The Fall Four features the $398,650 Valley Victory for 2-year-old male trotters, the $451,800 Goldsmith Maid for 2-year-old filly trotters, the $371,900 Governor's Cup for 2-year-old male pacers and the $323,600 Three Diamonds for 2-year-old filly pacers. The TVG finals consist of the $340,000 Open Pace, the $320,000 Open Trot, $150,000 Mare Pace and the $140,000 Mare Trot. Complete entries for the races are available at this link. Last time: Dexter Dunn rewrote a sizeable chunk of the Dover Downs record book on Thursday night (Nov. 12), piloting both Amigo Volo ($3.20) and Party Girl Hill ($2.60) to track record performances in their respective Matron Stakes splits in the First State. Amigo Volo's 1:50.2 effort in the $162,350 Matron for 3-year-old trotting colts and geldings earned him a place in the track and world record books. Fotowon photo. Amigo Volo's 1:50.2 effort in the $162,350 Matron for 3-year-old trotting colts and geldings earned him a place in the track and world record books, knocking over a second off Pinkman's world record for sophomore trotting geldings taken in 2015 at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Richard "Nifty" Norman trains Amigo Volo, who now has earned just over $1.5 million lifetime, for Pinske Stables and David J. Miller. The two-time Breeders Crown winner completed a sweep of the Matron Stakes as well, having won as a 2-year-old in 2019 by the same 6-1/2-length margin. Party Girl Hill may have missed Kiss Me Onthebeach's divisional world record by two-fifths of a second, but her 1:49 performance in the $154,450 Matron for 3-year-old pacing fillies landed her in the Dover record books. Party Girl Hill, whose only defeat in 16 career starts to date came in the Breeders Crown, has amassed $880,345 in earnings - all this season. Chris Ryder trains the Tom Hill homebred. An early break by Hambletonian winner and even money favorite Ramona Hill prevented her from finding redemption in the $163,050 Matron for sophomore trotting fillies, and it also paved the way for Hambletonian Oaks winner Sorella ($5.40) to score the 10th victory of her career. Nancy Takter trains Sorella, who has now earned $848,362 in her career. Breeder Elmer Fannin shares ownership of the Muscle Hill filly with Crawford Farms Racing and Brent Fannin. The retirement of Tall Dark Stranger made the $179,600 Matron for sophomore male pacers far more wide open than most previous events within the division, and the late-blooming Cattlewash ($2.80) had to work for every penny of the winner's share of the purse. While Cattlewash shrugged off Captain Barbossa's challenge on the final turn, another pair of challengers were waiting in the wings to take their shots in the final furlong: Tattoo Artist launched for the open stretch, and No Lou Zing vaulted off cover. Cattlewash was driven out to narrowly prevail in 1:48.3. No Lou Zing lunged late for second over Tattoo Artist, who was fully extended to stay on. Ron Burke trains 10-time winner Cattlewash, who has now earned $799,777 for owner-breeder Bill Donovan. 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 - 1,251; 2. Dexter Dunn - 1,072; 3. David Miller - 785; 4. Tim Tetrick - 720.5; 5. Andrew McCarthy - 586. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 1,248; 2. Nancy Takter - 1,215.5; 3. Ake Svanstedt - 699; 4. Tony Alagna - 662; 5. Marcus Melander - 492. Owners: 1. Burke Racing Stable - 268.8; 2. Caviart Farms - 230.5; 3. Determination - 220; 4. Brad Grant - 214; 5. Weaver Bruscemi - 204.7. Looking ahead: The 2020 Grand Circuit season comes to a close on Nov. 25. Dover Downs will host the final stake of the season in the $325,000 Progress Pace for 3-year-old male pacers. by Paul Ramlow, for The Grand Circuit

Harness Racing This Week: Matron Stakes, Dover Downs, Dover, Del. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit returns to Dover Downs this Thursday (Nov. 12) for four Matron Stakes for 3-year-olds of both sexes and gaits. The 3-year-old colt pace carries a purse of $179,600, the 3-year-old filly trotters will race for $163,050, the purse for the 3-year-old colt trot is $162,350 and the 3-year-old filly pacers will race for $154,450. Complete entries for the races are available at this link. Last time: On Saturday (Nov. 7), a week after Summa Cum Laude and Perfect Sting recorded the first dead-heat Breeders Crown win, Yannick Gingras steered Sunma Cum Laude to a 1:50.2 win in the $204,050 Kindergarten Classic final for freshman pacing colts and geldings at The Meadowlands. Summa Cum Laude soared home with Yannick Gingras at the reins to win the pacing Kindergarten Classic for colts and geldings at The Meadowlands. Lisa photo. Soaring to first off the gate was Shakespeare, followed by Captain Sleaze, with the Ron Burke-trained Summa Cum Laude in fourth behind Ilderton AM after leaving from the 10 hole. Shakespeare cut the first quarter in :26.4. Summa Cum Laude took to the outside and smoothly passed Shakespeare. With the lead, he was entirely in charge pacing to a 1:23.3 three-quarters. Simon Says Hanover came first over to make his bid but Shakespeare was still strong and still after the leader, while Always B Sweet came into the stretch picture. Without urging, Gingras drove Summa Cum Laude across the wire to a lifetime-best-equaling score by 1-1/4 lengths. Shakespeare held on for second, Captain Sleaze got third and Always B Sweet closed late to get fourth. "I just tried to get him in play," Gingras said after the race. "I wasn't going to take back to last, so I was able to get away fourth and from there I saw what the pace was going to be, though it didn't matter, because he can race any which what way. I had a ton of pace still when finishing." Summa Cum Laude is by Somebeachsomewhere-Western Graduate. Burke Racing Stable, Phil Collura, J&T Silva-Purnel & Libby and Weaver Bruscemi own the colt who took his fifth win in 14 starts and has accrued $440,325 in earnings. As the favorite, Summa Cum Laude paid $4 to win. Fresh from her Breeders Crown victory at Harrah's Hoosier Park, Fire Start Hanover and driver Dexter Dunn swarmed over her competition to win the $151,030 Kindergarten Classic final for freshman pacing fillies. Fire Start Hanover, the 1-5 favorite, was in no rush leaving the gate, and settled into fourth as High Minded and Lindy At The Beach rushed from the outside and Three Way Split held onto her rail position. As the first quarter was clocked in :26.3, High Minded gave up the lead to Classicist, who could not keep the top before the :55.2 half when Dunn guided Fire Start Hanover to the outside. With Off The Record at her back, Fire Start Hanover became the leader and never looked back. The Nifty Norman-trained filly glided into the stretch in total command, with Off The Record in futile pursuit, crossing the wire 1-1/4 lengths in front in a 1:51.1 mile. Off The Record was second and Classicist shifted into third over High Minded. Dunn said, "She bounced back okay. It's only a week since she raced in the Breeders Crown and though that was a tough mile she did it pretty easily." In the Kindergarten, he said, "The way she was traveling to three-quarters I was not worried because she was full of pace. She finished the mile with the ear plugs still in. She's strong." Fire Start Hanover is a daughter of Somebeachsomewhere, out of Fit To Frame. Pinske Stables, David Hoese and Lawrence Means own the filly who collected her eighth win in a dozen starts and has earned $589,326. She paid $2.40 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 - 1,216; 2. Dexter Dunn - 1,012; 3. David Miller - 765; 4. Tim Tetrick - 715.5; 5. Andrew McCarthy - 581. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 1,228; 2. Nancy Takter - 1,175.5; 3. Ake Svanstedt - 684; 4. Tony Alagna - 662; 5. Marcus Melander - 492. Owners: 1. Burke Racing Stable - 268.8; 2. Caviart Farms - 227.2; 3. Determination - 220; 4. Brad Grant - 214; 5. Weaver Bruscemi - 204.7. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place next week at The Meadowlands and Dover Downs. The Meadowlands will feature the four TVG finals for older pacers and trotters and the Fall Four stakes for 2-year-old pacers and trotters. Dover will host the Progress Pace eliminations for 3-year-old open pacers. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit

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

Harness Racing This Week: Breeders Crown finals, Madison County and Pegasus, Harrah's Hoosier Park, Anderson, Ind.; John Simpson Stakes, Harrah's Philadelphia, Chester, Pa.; and Kindergarten Series fourth leg, The Meadowlands, East Rutherford, N.J. Schedule of events: Grand Circuit action this week commences on Wednesday afternoon (Oct. 28) at Harrah's Philadelphia with three divisions in the $99,201 John Simpson Stakes for 3-year-old colt pacers and three divisions in the $99,201 John Simpson Stakes for 3-year-old colt trotters. Hoosier Park on Thursday (Oct. 29) will host the $70,000 Madison County for 2-year-old filly trotters. Breeders Crown finals at Hoosier begin on Friday (Oct. 30) with $600,000 races for 2-year-olds of both sexes and gaits. Also on Friday, Hoosier will contest the $60,000 Pegasus for 3-year-old filly trotters and the $50,000 Pegasus for 3-year-old filly pacers. The Saturday (Oct. 31) card at Hoosier features four $500,000 Breeders Crown finals for 3-year-olds of both sexes and gaits; the $500,000 Breeders Crown Open Pace and Open Trot; and the $300,000 Breeders Crown Open Mare Pace and Open Mare Trot. In addition, Hoosier will offer the $60,000 Pegasus for 3-year-old colt pacers and the $55,000 Pegasus for 3-year-old colt trotters. The Meadowlands on Friday (Oct. 30) will host the fourth leg of the Kindergarten Series for 2-year-olds of both sexes and gaits. There will be a pair of $20,000 divisions for the colt and filly trotters and a single $20,000 division for the colt and filly pacers. Complete entries for the races are available at this link. Last time: Charging to his 11th win of the season, Tall Dark Stranger and regular driver Yannick Gingras fought off a late charge by Warrawee Vital to win the second Breeders Crown elimination for 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings in 1:48.4 on Saturday (Oct. 24) at Harrah's Hoosier Park. Tall Dark Stranger dug in late to repel a late challenge from Warrawee Vital in the second Breeders Crown elimination for 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings. Dean Gillette Photography. Warrawee Vital tried to get a hold of the pace right off of the gate, leaving quickly and taking the lead over Captain Barbossa, with Tall Dark Stranger dropping in third into a fiery :25.4 first panel. Gingras shifted to the overland route to take over the lead, guiding the other six colts to three-quarters in 1:23. From the back, Captain Kirk failed to sustain an outer-tier advance while Elver Hanover stayed in fourth. Meanwhile, the original trio in front wrestled for the finish line. Warrawee Vital came out gallantly down the center of the track for a charge at Tall Dark Stranger, making Gingras urge the leader to shake off the challenger - as he has done through the season when faced with a possible duel to the wire. Tall Dark Stranger responded again with a :25.4 closing quarter, winning by a neck in 1:48.4. Captain Barbossa held on for third, while Elver Hanover and Sandbetweenmytoes followed to make the final. "I just trust (Tall Dark Stranger) and let him fight off horses in the stretch," Gingras said. "Last week in Lexington, I knew he was in the best shape he's ever been." Nancy Takter trains the James Avritt-bred son of Bettor's Delight and Precocious Beauty. Crawford Farms Racing, Marvin Katz, Caviart Farms and Howard Taylor own Tall Dark Stranger. Cattlewash equaled the all-age track record for pacers at Harrah's Hoosier Park with a 1:47.2 victory in the first Breeders Crown elimination for sophomore pacing colts and geldings. Dean Gillette Photography. Leaving fast and finishing faster, Cattlewash won the first 3-year-old colt pacing Breeders Crown elimination. The mile, clocked in 1:47.2, equaled the all-age track record and set a sophomore colt pacing mark. Driver David Miller left alertly from the rail with Cattlewash and rebuffed an early outside challenge from No Lou Zing, who settled in second through a :26 first quarter. Longshot The Greek Freak followed in third and favorite Capt Midnight sat in fourth. Miller sat comfortably with Cattlewash as he cut a :54.1 half. Heading into three-quarters, Capt Midnight took to the outside and started a strenuous chase for the leader, but one that saw him fade as Cattlewash excelled to three-quarters in 1:20.3. Allywag Hanover took his shot off the sizzling third panel and swung wide into the stretch, but he could not rally off weakening cover. Meanwhile, Cattlewash remained strong to the line, holding off No Lou Zing by 1-1/2 lengths. The Greek Freak, who drafted behind the leading pair, finished third, followed by Save Me A Dance and Manticore. "He's real sharp right now," David Miller said, adding that he had no strategy when leaving from post one. "If a lot of horses left, I would've raced him differently, but no one did. It's an awfully long stretch, but he (was going easily)." Cattlewash, a son of Somebeachsomewhere out of Road Bet, is trained by Ron Burke for owner and breeder William Donovan. 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 - 1,026; 2. Dexter Dunn - 812; 3. Tim Tetrick - 620.5; 4. David Miller - 575; 5. Andrew McCarthy - 556. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 966; 2. Nancy Takter - 955.5; 3. Tony Alagna - 642; 4. Ake Svanstedt - 587; 5. Marcus Melander - 450. Owners: 1. Caviart Farms - 211.4; 2. Burke Racing Stable - 209.1; 3. Determination - 200; 4. Brad Grant - 196.5; 5. S R F Stable - 182.3. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place next week at Dover Downs, Harrah's Hoosier Park, and The Meadowlands. Dover Downs will feature the Matron Stakes for 2-year-olds of both sexes and gaits. Harrah's Hoosier Park will host the Carl Erskine, Monument Circle, Crossroads of America and USS Indianapolis for 3-year-olds. The Meadowlands will feature the finals of the Kindergarten Series for 2-year-olds of both sexes and gaits. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit

Harness Racing This Week: Breeders Crown eliminations and Circle City, Harrah's Hoosier Park, Anderson, Ind.; John Simpson Stakes, Harrah's Philadelphia, Chester, Pa.; and Kindergarten Series third leg, The Meadowlands, East Rutherford, N.J. Schedule of events: Grand Circuit action this week commences on Wednesday afternoon (Oct. 21) at Harrah's Philadelphia with three divisions in the $96,801 John Simpson Stakes for 3-year-old filly pacers and two divisions in the $86,600 John Simpson Stakes for 3-year-old filly trotters. The Friday (Oct. 23) card features two divisions in the $111,600 John Simpson Stakes for 2-year-old colt trotters and three divisions in the $110,000 John Simpson Stakes for 2-year-old colt pacers. Hoosier Park on Thursday (Oct. 22) will host the Circle City for 3-year-olds of both sexes and gaits. There will be two divisions in the $65,000 3-year-old colt pace; a single $52,000 division in the 3-year-old colt trot; two divisions in the $50,200 3-year-old filly trot; and two divisions in the $50,000 3-year-old filly pace. Breeders Crown eliminations at Hoosier will take place on Friday (Oct. 23) and Saturday (Oct. 24). Friday will feature six sets of eliminations with a pair of $25,000 races for 2-year-olds of both sexes and gaits and a pair of $25,000 races for 3-year-old filly pacers and trotters. Saturday features a single $25,000 elimination in the Mare Pace, plus two $25,000 eliminations in both the 3-year-old colt pace and 3-year-old colt trot. The Meadowlands on Friday (Oct. 23) will host the third leg of the Kindergarten Series for 2-year-olds of both sexes and gaits. There will be a pair of $20,000 divisions in each of the four classes. Complete entries for the races are available at this link. Last time: Drama Act overcame post eight to prevail against Grand Circuit stock in Saturday's (Oct. 17) $120,000 Courageous Lady at MGM Northfield Park. Drama Act and driver Matt Kakaley won the $120,000 Courageous Lady at Northfield Park. JJ Zamaiko photo. Driven by Matt Kakaley, Drama Act sat sixth through the :27.2 opening quarter. She found herself second-over through fractions of :55.4 and 1:23.3. Kakaley moved her three-wide in the final turn and she bested Perfect Storm (David Miller) by a head in 1:51.1. Pettycoat Business (Ronnie Wrenn Jr.) was third. "I moved her three-wide and she got the job done," said Kakaley. "She is a really nice filly." Harness racing's all-time leading trainer Ron Burke conditions Drama Act for owners The OK Corral. Drama Act (Well Said-Lounge Act) now has eight wins in 15 lifetime starts. Saturday's victory increased her career bankroll to $225,482. 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 - 920; 2. Dexter Dunn - 698; 3. Tim Tetrick - 536.5; 4. Andrew McCarthy - 494; 5. David Miller - 493. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 853; 2. Nancy Takter - 831.5; 3. Tony Alagna - 622; 4. Ake Svanstedt - 539; 5. Marcus Melander - 383. Owners: 1. Caviart Farms - 200.5; 2. Determination - 200; 3. Brad Grant - 192.3; 4. Burke Racing Stable - 178.7; 5. Courant Inc. - 154.5. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place next week at Harrah's Hoosier Park, Harrah's Philadelphia, and The Meadowlands. Harrah's Hoosier Park will feature 12 Breeders Crown finals, plus The Madison County for 2-year-olds of both sexes and gaits and The Pegasus for 3-year-olds of both sexes and gaits. Harrah's Philadelphia will host the John Simpson Stakes for 3-year-old colt pacers and trotters and The Meadowlands will feature the fourth leg of the Kindergarten Series for 2-year-olds of both sexes and gaits. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit

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