Freehold, Meadowlands share Grand Circuit spotlight

This Week: Dexter Cup final and Lady Suffolk, Freehold Raceway, Freehold, N.J. and Graduate Series first leg, The Meadowlands, East Rutherford, N.J.

Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit at Freehold on Saturday (May 1) features the $115,583 Dexter Cup final for 3-year-old open trotters and two $36,057 divisions in the Lady Suffolk for 3-year-old filly trotters.

Also on Saturday, The Meadowlands has a pair of $50,000 first leg divisions in the Graduate Series for 4-year-old open pacers.

Complete entries for the races can be found by clicking on this link.

Last Time: Rather than accept a bye and guarantee himself two Dexter Cup final starters, trainer Ake Svanstedt decided to let Incommunicado compete in Saturday’s (April 24) Dexter Cup elimination at Freehold Raceway. The gamble paid off, as Incommunicado cruised under the wire 2-3/4 lengths in front and established himself as one of the favorites for this week’s Dexter Cup final.

Incommunicado cruised under the wire 2-3/4 lengths in front. Vicki Wright photo.

When the entry box closed, 10 horses were entered for the Dexter Cup. Svanstedt was offered two byes with his pair of Ambassador Hanover and Incommunicado, and while he accepted the bye with the former, he decided to race Incommunicado. The Massachusetts Sire Stakes champion was made the 8-5 second choice in the field of eight.

The complexion of the race changed dramatically in the opening eighth, when favored Ethan T Hanover and Royson’s Punch both went off stride. Ethan T Hanover was pulled up by Todd McCarthy, while Royson’s Punch got back trotting. Incommunicado stayed trotting and was rated in fourth place in the early stages.

Just before the half-mile, Yannick Gingras pulled Incommunicado off the pylons and moved him first over after early leader Share The Wealth. The leader put up a good fight, but Incommunicado took charge entering the stretch and drew off. He trotted the mile in 1:57, a sharp time for his first pari-mutuel race of the year.

Incommunicado is owned by Knutsson Trotting, Little E, Arthur Geiger, and David Stolz. He’s now won five times from 11 career starts, with earnings of $224,492. Along with his stablemate Ambassador Hanover, he gives Svanstedt a formidable pair for this week’s final.

Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website.

Grand Circuit Standings: In 2021, 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 2021 Grand Circuit awards.

Here are the leaders (through the races on 4-24-21):

Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras – 70; 2. Andrew McCarthy – 69; 3. George Brennan – 64; 4. Austin Siegelman – 61; 5. Todd McCarthy – 60.

Trainers: 1. Ron Burke – 144; 2. Todd Buter – 55; 3. Noel Daley – 47; 4t. Jeff Cullipher – 40; 4t. Sheena McElhiney – 40.

Owners: 1. Renee Bercury – 50; 2t. Burke Racing Stable – 41.1; 2t. Weaver Bruscemi – 41.1; 4. Jesmeral Stable – 40; 5. Eric Prevost – 38.

Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place next week at Scioto Downs, Yonkers Raceway and The Meadowlands. Scioto will host the Charlie Hill Memorial for open trotters; Yonkers features the Reynolds Memorial for 3-year-old colt and filly pacers; and The Meadowlands will offer the first leg of the Miss Versatility Series for older trotting mares.

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