Hambletonian Day offers dozen Grand Circuit races

This Week: Hambletonian, Hambletonian Oaks, John Cashman Memorial, Sam McKee Memorial, Lady Liberty, Dr. John Steele Memorial, Cane Pace, Shady Daisy, Peter Haughton Memorial, and Jim Doherty Memorial, Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, N.J.

Schedule of events: Grand Circuit action takes place this Saturday (Aug. 3) at Meadowlands Racetrack with one of the biggest Grand Circuit cards of the season. The afternoon program is led by the $1.14 million Hambletonian, the first leg of trotting’s Triple Crown for 3-year-olds.

Other major stakes races to be contested that day are the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks for 3-year-old filly trotters, the $280,000 John Cashman Memorial for older trotters, the $230,200 Sam McKee Memorial for older pacers, the $183,500 Lady Liberty for older pacing mares, the $186,000 Dr. John Steele Memorial for older trotting mares, the $285,362 Cane Pace, the first leg of Pacing’s Triple Crown for 3-year-olds, the $100,362 Shady Daisy for 3-year-old pacing fillies, the $324,550 Peter Haughton Memorial for 2-year-old colt trotters, and the $310,700 Jim Doherty Memorial for 2-year-old filly trotters.

Complete entries for the races are available at this link.

Last time: Five weeks after undergoing emergency surgery for hernia repair, Southwind Ozzi blazed to victory for Brian Sears in 1:48 in Saturday’s (July 27) $400,000 final of the Delvin Miller Adios Pace for the Orchids at The Meadows. Bill MacKenzie, who trains the son of Somebeachsomewhere-Southwind Solara for Vincent Ali Jr. and Alma Iafelice, became an Adios victor in his first appearance in the stake.

Southwind Ozzi blazed to victory for Brian Sears in 1:48 in the $400,000 final of the Delvin Miller Adios Pace for the Orchids at The Meadows. Chris Gooden photo.

Southwind Ozzi came through his surgery well, though surgeons had to remove a testicle during the procedure. Thus, Southwind Ozzi goes into history as the first ridgling to win the Pace for the Orchids.

Southwind Ozzi and Sears got away fourth, watching as Prince Of Tides and Dave Palone threw down sizzling fractions of :25.3 and :53.3. When he saw that, Sears said he was comfortable sending his charge first over.

“I liked the way things were setting up,” he said. “They were going so fast that they couldn’t really shut it down that much. I had sent him first up before, and he didn’t seem to mind it. He’s a pleasure to drive. He makes my job easy.”

Southwind Ozzi overwhelmed Prince Of Tides and drew off to score by seven lengths while Prince Of Tides gamely held off Stag Party for place.

Complete recaps of all the weekend 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 – 606; 2. Yannick Gingras – 481; 3. David Miller – 314; 4. Dexter Dunn – 297; 5. Andrew McCarthy – 279.

Trainers: 1. Ron Burke – 583; 2. Tony Alagna – 262; 3. Jim King Jr. – 234; 4. Marcus Melander – 179; 5. Ake Svanstedt – 169.

Owners: 1. Fashion Farms – 132; 2. Burke Racing Stable – 107; 3. Weaver Bruscemi – 97; 4. Brad Grant – 95.7; 5. Jo Ann Looney-King – 87.8.

Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next week at Northfield Park with the Carl Milstein Memorial for 3-year-old pacers; at Hoosier Park with the Dan Patch for free for all pacers; at the Indiana State Fair with the Fox Stake highlighting 10 stakes; at Tioga Downs with the Crawford Farm and Joie De Vie for older trotters and Tompkins-Geers races for 2-year-olds of both sexes and gaits; and at Charlottetown Driving Park with the Gold Cup and Saucer eliminations for older pacers.

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