Grand Circuit to make four stops this weekend

This Week: Joe Gerrity Jr. Memorial, Saratoga Harness, Saratoga Springs, N.Y.; Spirit of Massachusetts and Clara Barton, Plainridge Park, Plainville, Mass.; Kindergarten Series and Tompkins-Geers, The Meadowlands, East Rutherford, N.J. and Delvin Miller Adios eliminations, The Meadows, Washington, Pa.

Schedule of events: Grand Circuit action begins on Friday (July 23) at The Meadowlands with the opening leg of the Kindergarten Series for 2-year-old pacers and trotters. There will be a total of 11 races contested, seven for trotters and four for pacers, each for a purse of $20,000.

Grand Circuit action continues Saturday (July 24) at The Meadowlands with a pair of $48,250 Tompkins-Geers races for 3-year-old male trotters and a pair of $46,450 Tompkins-Geers stakes for 3-year-old filly trotters.

Also on Saturday, Saratoga will host the $150,000 Joe Gerrity Jr. Memorial for older pacers and the Meadows has a trio of $25,000 eliminations for the Delvin Miller Adios for 3-year-old male pacers.

On Sunday (July 25), Plainridge has the $250,000 Spirit of Massachusetts for older trotters and the $100,000 Clara Barton for older pacing mares.

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

Last Time: Ian Moore’s first Meadowlands Pace win came in a way he never experienced victory before in a major stakes — by disqualification.

Lawless Shadow (#5), who rallied down the outside in deep stretch in the Meadowlands Pace, was elevated to victory after unofficial first-place finisher Charlie May (#9) was disqualified for earlier interference. Lisa photo.

Lawless Shadow was declared the winner of Saturday’s (July 17) $700,000 Meadowlands Pace for 3-year-old pacers after Charlie May was disqualified for causing interference coming out of the final turn at the Meadowlands Racetrack.

Charlie May was first across the finish line, a neck ahead of Lawless Shadow, over a “good” surface in 1:48.3 in the rain at the Big M. But Charlie May was placed ninth for interfering with Rockyroad Hanover and Abuckabett Hanover as he came three-wide and momentarily went off stride heading into the stretch.

Lawless Shadow was elevated to first, with favorite Perfect Sting second and Southwind Gendry third.

It was the first Meadowlands Pace win for Moore and driver Mark MacDonald.

“I never won a big race on a setback before, but I guess we’ll take it,” Moore said. “He’s a real nice colt. I prepped him for this all along. We were hoping to come here and I’m glad we did now, for sure, even in the pouring rain.”

Lawless Shadow led the field to the first quarter in :25.3 before Perfect Sting took command on his way to a :53.2 half. On the backstretch, One Eight Hundred, who was second at the quarter-mile point, went off stride because of broken equipment.

Charlie May followed the cover of first-over Southwind Gendry as the group raced to three-quarters in 1:21.3. Lawless Shadow was third in the stretch and battled with Charlie May and Perfect Sting to the wire.

“I kind of feel bad for (Charlie May’s driver, Brett Miller); he’s a good friend of mine,” MacDonald said. “It was just a bad situation there. But I think if my horse gets out a little sooner, I might have won anyway. It’s still a win, but you hate to kind of win like that.”

Sent off at 5-1, Lawless Shadow paid $12.40.

Lawless Shadow, who caused a delay to the start of the Pace when he returned to the paddock for a shoe repair, won for the fourth time in seven races this year and eighth time in 16 career starts. The colt has earned $621,104 for owners Moore, R G McGroup Ltd., Frank Cannon, and former Montréal Canadiens star Serge Savard. He was bred by Seelster Farms and was the 2020 O’Brien Award winner as Canada’s best 2-year-old male pacer.

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 7-17-21):

Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras – 375; 2. Andrew McCarthy – 275.5; 3. Tim Tetrick – 262; 4. David Miller – 244; 5. Dexter Dunn – 233.

Trainers: 1. Ron Burke – 495; 2. Marcus Melander – 199; 3. Tony Alagna – 194.5; 4. Nancy Takter – 179; 5. Ake Svanstedt – 129.

Owners: 1. Burke Racing Stable – 96.3; 2. Courant Inc. – 92; 3. Weaver Bruscemi – 89.9; 4. Brad Grant – 83; 5. Fiddler’s Creek Stables – 80.

Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place next week at The Meadows and The Meadowlands. The Meadows has the final for the Delvin Miller Adios for 3-year-old male pacers, along with the Adioo Volo for 3-year-old filly pacers and Arden Downs events for 2-year-old colt and filly pacers and trotters. The Meadowlands has eliminations for four trotting stakes, The Hambletonian and Hambletonian Oaks for sophomores and the Peter Haughton and Jim Doherty for freshmen. Also at The Big M will be Tompkins-Geers races for 3-year-old colt and filly pacers and a leg of the Miss Versatility for trotting mares.

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