by Paul Ramlow, publicity director, the Grand Circuit
This Week: Yonkers International Trot, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y.; Courageous Lady, Northfield Park, Northfield, Ohio; John Simpson Stakes, Harrah’s Philadelphia, Chester, Pa.; and Kindergarten Series, The Meadowlands, East Rutherford, N.J.
Schedule of events: This week’s marquee event on the Grand Circuit is the $1 million Yonkers International Trot at Empire City Casino, which will be held on Saturday (Oct. 13) at Yonkers Raceway. A field of 10 top trotters will head to the gate in the Yonkers International.
Also on Saturday, Northfield Park will host the $125,000 Courageous Lady for 3-year-old filly pacers.
Grand Circuit action this week begins on Wednesday (Oct. 10) at Harrah’s Philadelphia with three divisions in the $100,002 John Simpson Stakes for 3-year-old filly trotters and three divisions in the $92,002 John Simpson Stakes for 3-year-old filly pacers.
On Friday (Oct. 12) The Meadowlands will host the fourth leg of The Kindergarten for 2-year-olds of both sexes and gaits. There will be three divisions for the freshman colt trotters, two divisions each for the filly trotters and filly pacers and a single division for the colt pacers.
Complete entries for the races are available at this link.
Last time: Setting the world record for 3-year-old trotting colts of 1:50 when winning at the Meadowlands earlier this year, Six Pack lowered his mark with a 1:49.1 performance and swept the 126th Kentucky Futurity, sponsored by Hunterton Farms, Stoner Manor Inc. and Menhammer Stuteri Ab, on Sunday (Oct. 7) at Red Mile.
Trainer-driver Ake Svanstedt got off the gate third behind Crystal Fashion leading the field and Met’s Hall occupying the pocket. Svanstedt tipped the Muscle Mass colt off the rail past a :27.1 opening quarter, cleared control, and kept the pace hot through a :54.4 half.
Six Pack’s margin grew moving around the final turn as he passed three-quarters in 1:21.2 ahead of Crystal Fashion and Met’s Hall chasing behind. Svanstedt urged his colt through the stretch and darted to the finish while Crystal Fashion narrowed on the leader a touch towards the outside in second. Met’s Hall settled for third ahead of You Know You Do fourth.
Winning his ninth race from 12 starts this season and his 13th from 20 overall, Six Pack exceeded $1 million in career earnings for owners Ake Svanstedt Inc., Little E LLC, Stall Kalmar FF and Lars Berg. He paid $4.80 to win.
Six Pack also won his Futurity elimination after plowing past Met’s Hall in the stretch and holding off a late charge from Fiftydallarbill to win in 1:50.2.
Unhurried off the gate, Tactical Landing cruised to the lead heading to the half and coasted to a 1:50.2 win in the other elimination for the Kentucky Futurity.
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. Yannick Gingras – 1,260; 2. Tim Tetrick – 1,165.5; 3. David Miller – 961.5; 4. Scott Zeron – 564; 5. Andrew McCarthy – 438.5.
Trainers: 1. Ron Burke – 972.5; 2. Jimmy Takter – 969; 3. Tony Alagna – 563.5; 4. Jim Campbell – 406; 5. Julie Miller – 355.
Owners: 1. Fashion Farms – 299; 2. Burke Racing Stable – 217.4; 3. Weaver Bruscemi – 200.9; 4. Marvin Katz – 196; 5. Robert Key – 182.
Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place next weekend at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono with 12 Breeders Crown eliminations (if necessary) set to take place on Friday (Oct. 19) and Saturday (Oct. 20). Hoosier Park will host The Pegasus for 3-year-olds of both sexes and gaits and The Meadowlands has the fifth leg of the Kindergarten for 2-year-olds of both sexes and gaits.
- Marion Marauder is favored in Yonkers International Trot (Tuesday, October 09, 2018)
Marion Marauder, who finished second in last year’s $1 million Yonkers International Trot, is the 3-1 morning-line favorite in Saturday’s (Oct. 13) 40th edition of the invitational, which will be raced at 1-1/4 miles at Empire City Casino’s Yonkers Raceway. The 5-year-old stallion, representing Canada, was made the top choice after getting post No. 1 on Tuesday at the event’s draw and press conference at Manhattan’s 21 Club.
- ‘This is what makes life’ (Wednesday, October 10, 2018)
It’s been six years since Wim Paal competed in the U.S. and his return will not go unnoticed. Paal, a 58-year-old native of Germany, is back to drive European standout Ringostarr Treb in Saturday’s $1 million Yonkers International Trot at Empire City Casino’s Yonkers Raceway.
- Takter seeks International Trot victory with Ariana G (Wednesday, October 10, 2018)
Jimmy Takter will start Ariana G in the $1 million Yonkers International Trot. The 4-year-old mare will represent the United States for owners Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld. One of the last of the 10 competitors to be announced, Takter accepted the invitation from Yonkers Raceway race secretary Steve Starr just after her win in the Dayton Trotting Derby Sept. 28.
- Drivers to study for International test (Thursday, October 11, 2018)
North American drivers participating in Saturday’s (Oct. 13) $1 million Yonkers International Trot face several challenges as they prepare for the event, most notably learning about their rivals — and in some cases their own horse — in addition to contemplating the best path to victory in a 10-horse field going 1-1/4 miles.
- Owners aim high with ‘underdog’ Slide So Easy (Friday, October 12, 2018)
No matter the outcome for Denmark’s Slide So Easy in Saturday’s (Oct. 13) $1 million Yonkers International Trot, owners Soren Christensen and Thomas Clemmensen are going to enjoy the experience of participating in the event. Christensen readily admits his 9-year-old gelding is the race’s underdog, but is hoping for a strong effort and a little luck.
- Grazing in the grass before $1 million International Trot (Friday, October 12, 2018)
Yonkers Raceway does not have a turf course — the last anyone checked — but that didn’t stop some of the participants for Saturday afternoon’s (Oct. 13) $1 million Yonkers International Trot at Empire City Casino.