Grand Circuit to Western Fair, Mohawk

This Week: Camluck Classic and Forest City Pace, The Raceway at Western Fair District, London, Ontario and Somebeachsomewhere, Graduate Series and Miss Versatility, Woodbine Mohawk Park, Milton, Ontario.

Schedule of events: The Raceway at Western Fair District will host Grand Circuit action on Friday (May 31) with the C$150,000 Camluck Classic for older pacers and the C$50,000 Forest City Pace for older female pacers.

Grand Circuit action will take place on Saturday (June 1) at Woodbine Mohawk Park The big card of Grand Circuit racing will be led by two divisions in the C$167,000 Somebeachsomewhere for 3-year-old pacing colts. Also on tap will be two C$66,500 divisions in the Graduate Series for 4-year-old open pacers, a single $99,750 Graduate Series contest for 4-year-old open trotters and a C$53,200 Miss Versatility Series leg for open trotting mares.

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

Last Time: Scott Zeron kept Venerate reserved off a blistering pace, went wide in the lane and trotted the fastest mile in the history of Harrah’s Philadelphia, 1:50.1, in winning the $100,000 Maxie Lee Memorial Invitational Trot Sunday afternoon (May 26).

Venerate trotted the fastest mile in the history of Harrah’s Philadelphia, 1:50.1, in winning the $100,000 Maxie Lee Memorial Invitational Trot. Grace Zimmers photo.

The clocking knocked a fifth of a second off the former record of Market Share and Hillexotic, who recorded their record clockings in the 2014 and 2023 Lee, respectively.

Hillexotic and Take All Comers went out flying, with the latter making the top and then hanging out the upstart Benjamin Hanover past a :26.1 quarter. Benjamin Hanover continued on to the half in :54.1, but surrendered to Hillexotic when that one went to the lead by the 1:21.4 three-quarters.

Amigo Volo was on the back of Hillexotic, and on Amigo Volo’s back was Venerate, who went wide into the stretch, trotted up to take over, then held off the heavy favorite Dover In Motion, who also was out in the cover flow. Venerate, sent off at 13-1, was able to keep the chalk behind him by 1-1/2 lengths at the finish, with Amigo Volo and Hillexotic next in line at the wire.

Zeron praised Venerate’s trainer Marcus Melander after the race, saying, “You did a great job with him this past week,” referring to his fourth-place finish in his most recent start in the Cutler at The Meadowlands in relation to his track record mile.

“He raced super,” Melander said. “He got a good trip, and he looked good. He raced really good in the Cutler, too, he just got way back and they all sprinted home pretty fast. He’s coming along great. He needed a couple of starts and now it looks like he’s getting back in form here. I’m looking forward to the rest of the season with him.

“He probably will have the Crawford Farms (Open Trot) at the end of June next. He’s raced for three weeks in a row, so he deserves a little break.”

Venerate was the winner of the Mohawk Million at two, but the 6-year-old has been a bit in-and-out since his big year at two. The 1:50.1 equaled his fastest time, set in his only win last year at The Meadowlands.

Venerate is owned by Courant Inc., Holly Lane Stud East LTD, Kemppi Stables Oy Inc., and Venerate Partners.

Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website. For a list of 2024 race winners on the Grand Circuit, click here.

Grand Circuit Standings: In 2024, 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 2024 Grand Circuit awards.

Here are the leaders (through the races on 5-26-24):

Drivers: 1. Matt Kakaley – 137; 2. Yannick Gingras – 114.5; 3. Jason Bartlett – 101.5; 4. Dexter Dunn – 74; 5. Scott Zeron – 72.

Trainers: 1. Travis Alexander – 112; 2. Per Engblom – 60.5; 3. Ricky Bucci – 57; 4. Cory Stratton – 50; 5. Pat Lachance – 47.

Owners: 1. Guy Corbeil – 57; 2. Kathy Cecchin – 45; 3. Mark Ford – 42; 4. Flatland Racing – 35; 5. Symmetry Stables – 30.

Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place next week at The Meadows, MGM Northfield Park and Woodbine Mohawk Park. The Meadows will have the Currier & Ives for 3-year-old filly trotters. Northfield will host the Battle of Lake Erie for older open pacers and the MGM Buckeye Distaff for older pacing mares. Mohawk will have eliminations for the Pepsi North America Cup (3-year-old male pacers), Fan Hanover (3-year-old filly pacers), Goodtimes (3-year-old male trotters), Armbro Flight (older trotting mares) and Roses Are Red (older pacing mares).

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