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, which will be held on Saturday (Oct. 12) 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 $120,500 Courageous Lady for 3-year-old filly pacers.
Grand Circuit action this week begins on Wednesday (Oct. 9) at Harrah’s Philadelphia with two divisions in the $114,800 John Simpson Stakes for 2-year-old filly pacers and two divisions in the $102,200 John Simpson Stakes for 2-year-old filly trotters.
On Friday (Oct. 11) The Meadowlands will host the fourth leg of The Kindergarten for 2-year-olds of both sexes and gaits. There will be two divisions each for the colt pacers, filly trotters and filly pacers and a single division for the colt trotters.
Complete entries for the races are available at this link.
Last time: Division leader Greenshoe kept his crown intact as he patiently pushed for the front and faced little challenge when cruising to a 1:51.1 mile in the 127th Kentucky Futurity — going as a $450,000 single heat sponsored by Hunterton Farms, Stoner Manor Inc. and Menhammer Stuteri Ab — over a “good” track at The Red Mile on Sunday (Oct. 6).
Stablemate Green Manalishi S swept to the top from post eight while Gimpanzee raced first over to a :27.3 first quarter and supplied cover to fellow Marcus Melander trainee Greenshoe. Gimpanzee slid to the lead up the backstretch while Greenshoe, the 1-9 favorite, crept closer to the top through a :55.1 half with Pilot Discretion on cover second over.
Greenshoe hit his best strides heading to the final turn, rushing past Gimpanzee to lead the field past three-quarters in 1:24. Through the stretch the millionaire son of Father Patrick-Designed To Be veered wide but kept to task while pursued down the center of the course by Don’t Let’em, who took second. Gimpanzee held third from Soul Strong closing from the back of the pack for fourth.
“I was really happy with the way things were working out; I wasn’t getting any road trouble,” said winning driver Brian Sears. “I was able to be patient with him and ease him up to the front. Then when I thought it was time to use him up a little bit he was there for me and was pretty much in hand. I was really happy with the way he scored down so I was getting a good feeling going behind the gate. He’s got speed that really no other horse I can think of can go with.”
Earning $1,241,273 lifetime for owners Courant Inc., Hans Backe, Lars Granqvist and Morten Langli, Greenshoe — bred by Al Libfeld and Marvin Katz — won his 12th race from 16 starts.
“I was here for the first time in 2007,” said owner Anders Strom, who co-owns Greenshoe through Courant Inc. “I started my business as a horse owner for real in 2005 and set myself a target to have the world’s best horse in 15 years and we are up by a photo finish now. Not to say the least to do it with this team of trainer, groom, driver, my co-owners which also will include Hanover Shoe Farms where he will find his new home next season.”
Greenshoe paid $2.20 to win.
Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website.
Grand Circuit Standings: In 2019, 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 2019 Grand Circuit awards.
Here are the leaders following this past weekend:
Drivers: 1. Tim Tetrick – 1,170.5; 2. Yannick Gingras – 1,028; 3. David Miller – 792; 4. Dexter Dunn – 751; 5. Andrew McCarthy – 624.
Trainers: 1. Ron Burke – 1,063; 2. Tony Alagna – 673; 3 Ake Svanstedt – 527; 4. Marcus Melander – 474; 5. Nancy Johansson – 421.
Owners: 1. Brad Grant – 225.1; 2. Fashion Farms – 214.5; 3. Burke Racing Stable – 210; 4. Courant Inc. – 202.5; 5. Weaver Bruscemi – 186.2.
Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place next weekend at Woodbine Mohawk Park with 12 Breeders Crown eliminations (if necessary) set to take place on Friday (Oct. 18) and Saturday (Oct. 19). 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.