Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit heads to Dover Downs this Thursday (Nov. 8) for four Matron Stakes for 2-year-olds of both sexes and gaits. The 2-year-old colt pace carries a purse of $213,000, the 2-year-old colt trotters will race for $158,000, the purse for the 2-year-old filly pace is $179,100 and the 2-year-old filly trotters will race for $177,800.
Complete entries for the races are available at this link.
Last time: Some of the sport’s brightest stars descended upon Harrah’s Hoosier Park on Friday (Nov. 2) and as predicted, the stakes filled card delivered some outstanding harness racing battles.
After finishing second in the $500,000 Breeders Crown 3-year-old colt trot, Met’s Hall was out for redemption and delivered on his promise in the $256,000 Carl Erksine Trot for 3-year-old trotting colts and geldings.
Overcoming a poor position, Met’s Hall turned in a dominant performance to deliver as the even money favorite in 1:53.2 with Andy Miller in the bike. With the win, Met’s Hall sent his seasonal earnings over the $1 million mark.
Miller sent Met’s Hall away from the gate firing from post nine but he would have to work for position as Yannick Gingras also sent You Know You Do away from the gate aggressively. Met’s Hall grabbed command just before the quarter in :27.2 and looked relaxed on the front while clicking off fractions of :56.2 and 1:25.1. Maxus and Peter Wrenn were the first to apply pressure first-over but would have their work cut out for them as Met’s Hall looked strong on the front.
As the field turned for home, Miller asked his mount for more and Met’s Hall dug in gamely to hold off Helpisontheway and Tim Tetrick to get the win by nearly two lengths. Hockey Hanover and Matt Kakaley found late racing room to round out the trifecta. Met’s Hall returned $4.00 at the betting windows.
“He can leave the gate as quick as any,” Miller noted after the victory. “I wasn’t sure if we would get to the front but when he did, I figured he would be good. He’s just an amazing animal who loves his work; he works through his issues and shows up every week.”
Trained by Julie Miller, the 3-year-old son of Cantab Hall-Met’s Inn recorded his fifth win of the season from 14 starts. Owned by Stroy Inc. and the Andy Miller Stable, Met’s Hall has now won 10 of 24 starts while amassing $1,278,494 in lifetime purse earnings.
The stakes action kicked-off for the evening with the $137,000 Crossroads of America Stakes for 3-year-old trotting fillies and it was Custom Cantab and Peter Wrenn who went gate-to-wire to score in 1:54.1. Custom Cantab left alertly from post five and held strong to the wire to hold off a hard-charging Seviyorum and Andy Miller. Looking For Zelda and Matt Kakaley utilized a ground saving trip to get up for third place honors. As the heavy betting favorite, Custom Cantab returned $4.20 to her backers at the betting windows.
Indiana’s champion 3-year-old trotting filly recorded her 12th win and has finished no worse than third in 16 starts this season. Owned by trainer Christopher Beaver, Donald Robinson, and R B H Ventures, the daughter of Mr Cantab-Custom Model has now won 14 of 28 lifetime starts and sports a lifetime bankroll of $643,936.
Not to be outdone, Youaremycandygirl turned in an impressive performance of her own to dominate her rivals with a 9-3/4 length romp in the $113,000 USS Indianapolis Memorial for 3-year-old pacing fillies. With regular pilot Yannick Gingras in the bike, Youaremycandygirl seized the early lead and steadily drew away from the field to stop the timer in 1:50.1.
With the win, Youaremycandygirl recorded her eighth win from 16 seasonal outings. The millionaire daughter of American Ideal-Sweet Lady Jane pushed her lifetime bankroll to $1,365,973 for trainer Ron Burke and owner W.J. Donovan.
The stakes action concluded with the $190,000 Monument Circle Pace for 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings and after a disqualification of the first-place finisher Lather Up and Montrell Teague, it was Always A Prince and Trace Tetrick who came out victorious. The time of the mile was 1:49.1.
Indiana’s champion 3-year-old pacing colt recorded his seventh consecutive victory and 19th win from 22 lifetime starts. Owned by Carl and Melanie Atley and trained by Tyler George, Always A Prince was unraced as a 2-year-old but has amassed $492,875 in lifetime purse earnings.
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 – 1,452.5; 2. Yannick Gingras – 1,400; 3. David Miller – 1,167.5; 4. Scott Zeron – 704; 5. Andrew McCarthy – 648.5.
Trainers: 1. Ron Burke – 1,314.5; 2. Jimmy Takter – 1,128; 3. Tony Alagna – 721.5; 4. Julie Miller – 481; 5. Jim Campbell – 437.
Owners: 1. Fashion Farms – 325; 2. Burke Racing Stable – 278.5; 3. Diamond Creek Racing – 274.6; 4. Weaver Bruscemi – 262; 5. Crawford Farms Racing – 229.8.
Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place next week at Dover Downs and The Meadowlands. Dover will host the four Matron Stakes for 3-year-olds, while The Meadowlands will have eliminations for the Fall Four for 2-year-olds — the Governor’s Cup, Valley Victory, Three Diamonds and Goldsmith Maid.