Day At The Track

Busy weekend of Grand Circuit racing

03:14 AM 12 Jul 2018 NZST
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The Grand Circuit, Harness Racing
The Grand Circuit

Harness Racing This Week: Meadowlands Pace, Hambletonian Maturity, W.R. Haughton Memorial, Mistletoe Shalee, Stanley Dancer Memorial, Delvin Miller Memorial, Golden Girls, Miss Versatility and Kindergarten Series, Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, N.J.; and Lawrence B. Sheppard Memorial, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y.

Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit week begins on Friday (July 13) at Meadowlands Racetrack with two $10,000 divisions in the Kindergarten Series for 2-year-old colt trotters and a pair of $10,000 divisions in the Kindergarten Series for 2-year-old filly trotters.

The stakes heavy Saturday (July 14) Grand Circuit card at The Meadowlands features the $701,830 Meadowlands Pace for 3-year-olds, the $471,100 W.R. Haughton Memorial for free for all pacers, the $405,850 Hambletonian Maturity for 4-year-old trotters, two divisions in the $362,000 Stanley Dancer Memorial for 3-year-old male trotters, two divisions in the $257,000 Delvin Miller Memorial for 3-year-old filly trotters, the $191,800 Mistletoe Shalee for 3-year-old filly pacers, the $189,750 Golden Girls for older pacing mares, and a pair of $30,000 divisions of the Miss Versatility for older trotting mares.

Saturday Grand Circuit action also includes the $100,000 Lawrence B. Sheppard for 2-year-old colt pacers at Yonkers Raceway.

Complete entries for the races are available at this link.

Last time: Ariana G bested the boys with a world-record performance to win Saturday's (July 7) $250,000 Graduate Series championship for 4-year-old trotters at The Meadowlands, defeating Moonshiner Hanover by 3-3/4 lengths in 1:50.2. Sortie finished third.

The time was the fastest ever by a 4-year-old female trotter on a mile track.

Ariana G, a Dan Patch Award winner at ages 2 and 3, also surpassed $2 million in career purses with the triumph. Owned by breeders Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld, the mare has won 23 of 30 lifetime races and earned $2.01 million. It was her second victory in four starts this year and came in her second race since returning from illness in June.

"She was awesome tonight," winning trainer Jimmy Takter said. "I'm so glad she's where she belongs. She went up to Canada (in June) and her blood work was wrong and she scoped bad and I had to give her a little time to rebound from that. She had a good winter, so I knew she was in top-level form, it's just those things happen when they get sick."

Ariana G, a daughter of Muscle Hill out of Cantab It All, paid $5.00 to win.

Donttellmeagain is known as a little horse among his connections but he came up big to win Saturday's (July 7) $250,000 Graduate Series final for 4-year-old pacers by a neck over Miso Fast in a career-best 1:47.2 at the Meadowlands Racetrack. Western Joe finished third.

It was the 15th career victory in 26 races for Donttellmeagain, who has finished worse than third only twice.

Donttellmeagain won for the first time since capturing his seasonal debut in a preliminary round of the Graduate at 1-1/8 miles at the Meadowlands on May 5. He held his own, though, against older horses in the Ben Franklin Pace, finishing second in his elimination and fourth in the final.

Donttellmeagain, a gelded son of Dragon Again out of Donttellmewhattodo, is owned by Paton Racing Stables. He has won two of six starts this season and pushed his lifetime earnings to $426,460.

Complete recaps of the weekend 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 - 442; 2. Yannick Gingras - 340; 3. Jordan Stratton - 256; 4. David Miller - 177.5; 5. Jason Bartlett - 164.

Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 383.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 203; 3. Jim King Jr. - 171; 4. Tony Alagna - 132; 5. Peter Tritton - 122.

Owners: 1. Vonknoblauch Stable - 107; 2t. Burke Racing Stable - 91.4; 2t. Weaver Bruscemi - 91.4; 4. Crawford Farms Racing - 66.7; 5. Richard Poillucci - 66.

Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next weekend at Saratoga Casino Hotel, The Meadows and The Meadowlands. Saratoga will have the Joe Gerrity for older pacers; The Meadows will have eliminations for the Adios for 3-year-old colt pacers; and The Meadowlands will host the second leg of the Kindergarten Series for 2-year-old colt and filly pacers and trotters and Tompkins-Geers events for 3-year-old colt and filly trotters.

by Paul Ramlow, publicity director, the Grand Circuit

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