by Paul Ramlow, publicity director, the Grand Circuit
This Week: Breeders Crown eliminations, The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, Wilkes-Barre, Pa; The Pegasus, Hoosier Park, Anderson, Ind.; and Kindergarten Series, The Meadowlands, East Rutherford, N.J.
Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit heads to The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono this Friday (Oct. 19) and Saturday (Oct. 20) for Breeders Crown eliminations in 11 divisions. Eliminations will not be required for the open pace.
The Friday card features a trio of $25,000 eliminations in the 2-year-old colt pace and 2-year-old filly trot and two $25,000 eliminations in the 2-year-old filly pace and 2-year-old colt trot.
The Saturday card has a total of 14 eliminations, with each carrying a purse of $25,000. The 3-year-old colt pace will split three ways, while the 3-year-old filly pace has a lone elimination. There will be two eliminations in the 3-year-old colt and filly trot, mare pace and trot, and open trot.
On Friday night at Hoosier Park, there will be nine divisions of The Pegasus for 3-year-olds of both sexes and gaits. The $80,100 filly trot will be contested in three divisions, while the $85,500 colt trot, the $73,500 colt pace and the $68,100 filly pace will each have two divisions.
The Meadowlands on Friday night will host another leg of The Kindergarten Series for 2-year-olds of both sexes and gaits. There will be two divisions each in the colt pace, colt trot, filly pace and filly trot. Each race has a purse of $10,000.
Complete entries for the races are available at this link.
Last time: Brian Sears and Sweden’s 30-1 out-the-whole-way Cruzado Dela Noche stalked, then snapped, Norway’s Lionel (Goran Antonsen) at the wire Saturday afternoon (Oct. 13), winning the $1 million Yonkers International Trot at Empire City Casino.
The 1-1/4 mile 40th International began with 10 world-class trotters representing seven countries. It ended in the first turn for 7-5 favorite Ringsostarr Treb (Wim Paal) of Italy and Sweden’s Pastore Bob (John Untersteiner) after both made breaks trying to leave.
After that merriment, Italy’s Arazi Boko (Alessandro Gocciadoro) made the first lead, working around the lone American and lone lass Ariana G (Yannick Gingras) before a :28.2 opening quarter-mile. The U.S. miss then played leapfrog, retaking from Arazi Boko before Canada’s Marion Marauder (Scott Zeron) — out early from the cones — made the lead.
It was a :57.1 half with triple-millionaire Marion Marauder doing his thing and Lionel now first-up, having moved from fifth. He took it to Marion Marauder from the 1:27 three-quarters to the 1:55.3 mile.
Meanwhile, Cruzado Dela Noche, who from post position No. 6 advanced to be second-over, went three-deep early. It was Lionel putting away Marion Marauder soon after the final turn, needing only to hold off the horse he towed.
Despite racing his eyeballs out, Lionel could not stall Cruzado Dela Noche, who prevailed by a head in 2:24.3 at a $62.50 win mutuel. France’s Up And Quick (Jason Bartlett) knifed through to grab third — beaten 1-3/4 lengths — with Ariana G and Marion Marauder rounding out the payees.
For Cruzado Dela Noche, a 6-year-old son of Muscle Massive leased by Anders Strom’s Courant Inc. and trained by Marcus Melander, it was his second win in seven seasonal starts.
Cruzado Dela Noche, who spent his first two racing seasons in North America before being exported, is Sweden’s sixth International Trot winner.
Complete recaps of all the 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 – 1,299.5; 2. Yannick Gingras – 1,267; 3. David Miller – 1,056.5; 4. Scott Zeron – 629; 5. Andrew McCarthy – 550.5.
Trainers: 1. Ron Burke – 1,047.5; 2. Jimmy Takter – 1,023; 3. Tony Alagna – 603.5; 4. Jim Campbell – 420; 5. Julie Miller – 409.
Owners: 1. Fashion Farms – 313; 2. Burke Racing Stable – 226.2; 3. Diamond Creek Racing – 211.2; 4. Weaver Bruscemi – 209.7; 5. Marvin Katz – 206.
Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will once again take place next week at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono with Breeders Crown finals in all 12 categories (2- and 3-year-old colt and filly pacers and trotters and older horse and mare pacers and trotters). Hoosier Park will host Circle City divisions for 3-year-olds and Madison County divisions for 2-year-olds. In addition, The Meadowlands will host another leg of the Kindergarten Series for 2-year-old pacers and trotters of both sexes.
- Breeders Crown 2-year-old eliminations drawn (Monday, October 15, 2018)
Warrawee Ubeaut, a filly who earlier this month became the fastest 2-year-old pacer in harness racing history, and divisional money-leaders Stag Party, The Ice Dutchess, Green Manalishi S, and Tall Drink Hanover were among the 71 freshmen entered Monday for the Breeders Crown at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono.
- Eleven former Breeders Crown champions in Saturday eliminations (Tuesday, October 16, 2018)
Been there, done that. It could be the slogan for Saturday’s (Oct. 20) Breeders Crown eliminations for 3-year-olds and older horses at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Eleven former Breeders Crown champions will be in action Saturday, led by two-time winners Hannelore Hanover, Ariana G, and Pure Country.
- Deters’ first Crown trip is ‘Ideal’ (Wednesday, October 17, 2018)
As trainer Mike Deters prepares for his first start in the Breeders Crown, he’s got a good feeling about Ideal Feeling. Deters sends out Ideal Feeling in Saturday’s first of three $25,000 eliminations for 3-year-old male pacers at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. The colt is out of the family of Hall of Famer Rainbow Blue and a three-quarter brother to stakes-winner Zero Tolerance, who races Friday in an elimination of the Breeders Crown 2-year-old filly pace.
- Yoder makes Crown debut with speedy ‘Charm’ (Wednesday, October 17, 2018)
Verlin Yoder has sat behind his share of good trotters, such as millionaire Natural Herbie and a number of Indiana state-bred champions, but none impressed him as quickly as undefeated world-record-setting filly Woodside Charm. On Friday, Woodside Charm will go to the Breeders Crown eliminations for 2-year-old filly trotters at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. She is the 5-2 morning-line favorite in the second of three eliminations.
- Saunders returns to Breeders Crown at Pocono with Mangogh (Thursday, October 18, 2018)
When trainer Bruce Saunders last sent a horse postward in the Breeders Crown, he took home a crystal trophy with 3-year-old pacing colt Rock N Roll Heaven. That was back in 2010 when the Crown races were first held at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. This year he returns to Pocono and the Breeders Crown with 2-year-old pacing colt Mangogh, a $63,000 yearling purchase (under the name Critical Artist) for M And L of Delaware and New York City-based M & M Harness Racing.
- Trainers hope for Crown success for owner Key (Thursday, October 18, 2018)
Not surprisingly, Bob Key is once again a presence at this year’s Breeders Crown, and his trainers want to win for the 85-year-old owner/breeder as much as they would like to win for themselves. Norm Parker conditions Renaissance Lady K (above), a 2-year-old filly pacer who enters her Breeders Crown elimination Friday with three wins and two seconds in eight races to earn $53,929. Charlie Norris trains Mass Fortune K, a 2-year-old male trotter who has earned $108,001 as he enters his Crown elim, also Friday.
- Miss You Kelly is ‘just a real sweet horse’ (Thursday, October 18, 2018)
Michael Barnard liked Sapphire Deo from the time he saw her as a yearling at Deo Volente Farms. After purchasing the filly trotter for $62,000 at the 2017 Lexington Selected Sale and changing her name to Miss You Kelly, he discovered even more reasons to like her. Miss You Kelly races Friday in the second of three Breeders Crown eliminations for 2-year-old trotting fillies at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Miss You Kelly has won two of six races this year. She is trained by Bruce Lauer.
- Macomber hopes Carol’s Z Tam makes big show (Friday, October 19, 2018)
If Carol’s Z Tam’s performance at Dayton three weeks ago was something of an audition, her appearance in Saturday’s (Oct. 20) Breeders Crown eliminations for older female pacers at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono could be considered her callback. Now she will look to land a spot in the big show. Carol’s Z Tam, trained by Jamie Macomber for owner Bill Matz’s Z Tam Stables, competes in the first of two $25,000 Breeders Crown eliminations for the pacing mares at Pocono.