Trio of tracks to host Grand Circuit racing this weekend

This Week: MGM Yonkers International Trot, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y.; Courageous Lady, MGM Northfield Park, Northfield, Ohio; and John Simpson Stakes, Harrah’s Philadelphia, Chester, Pa.

Schedule of events: Grand Circuit action kicks off on Saturday afternoon (Oct. 15) at Yonkers Raceway with the $1 million MGM Yonkers International Trot for older trotters at Yonkers Raceway. France’s Etonnant, who earlier this year won the Elitloppet, drew post seven and was made the 5-2 morning-line favorite in the invitational event that will bring together 10 horses from seven countries at Yonkers Raceway.

On Saturday night, MGM Northfield Park will host the $100,000 Courageous Lady for 3-year-old filly pacers. Captain Cowgirl will look to expand her three-race win streak in the by-invitation-only Grand Circuit event.

Harrah’s Philadelphia on Sunday afternoon (Oct. 16) will feature two $46,100 divisions in the John Simpson Stakes for 2-year-old colt and gelding pacers.

Complete entries for the races are available at this link.

Last time: He disappointed as the 3-5 choice in the Hambletonian two months ago, but Lucas Wallin trainee Rebuff landed retribution in the third jewel of trotting’s Triple Crown, the $430,000 130th Kentucky Futurity, on Sunday afternoon (Oct. 9) at the Red Mile.

Rebuff vaulted off cover to spring a 10-1 upset in the Kentucky Futurity. USTA/Mark Hall photo.

An overflow field of 12 made the move for the lead a scramble. By a :27.2 first quarter, Branded By Lindy cleared Temporal Hanover to take the top while Periculum pressed forward up the rim to then take over before a :54.3 half.

Through the shuffle, driver Tim Tetrick secured a second-over seat for Rebuff to the far turn as Slay ventured forward uncovered to apply his challenge for the lead nearing three-quarters, timed in 1:22.3. Periculum clung to a diminishing advantage with the field towering behind him for home, but held sway until about the eighth pole.

Tetrick kicked Rebuff off his cover, slung to the lead in the final stages, and posted a one-length victory while finally procuring an American trotting classic. Temporal Hanover burst through horses to take second while Cool Papa Bell stormed down the center from near last for third and Periculum settled for fourth.

“Today was first time no shoes, that helped. Hambo day was just a fiasco. He didn’t show up that day, it happens,” Tim Tetrick said after the race. “He redeemed himself today. He’s been a good horse (and) fun to drive for me. Perfect trip. I landed in a good spot — by the time I turned for home, I was second-over. When I flipped him, I knew he was good today and he got right by them.”

“We started out very good. After (the Hambo) things haven’t worked out as we wanted,” Lucas Wallin also said after the race. “A lot of people had doubts about him, but I’m pretty sure we have the best colt and today he showed it.”

Rebuff earned his ninth win from 20 career starts and added to his account now worth $962,490 for owners Kjell Magne Andersen, Lucas Wallin and Pieter Delis. The Muscle Hill colt paid $23.90 to win.

Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website. For a list of 2022 race winners on the Grand Circuit, click here.

Grand Circuit Standings: In 2022, 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 2022 Grand Circuit awards.

Here are the leaders (through the races on 10-9-22):

Drivers: 1. Dexter Dunn – 1,328; 2. Tim Tetrick – 893; 3. Yannick Gingras – 876; 4. Todd McCarthy – 694; 5. David Miller – 682.

Trainers: 1. Ron Burke – 757; 2. Tony Alagna – 652; 3. Ake Svanstedt – 594; 4. Brett Pelling – 439; 5. Marcus Melander – 406.

Owners: 1. David McDuffee – 180.9; 2. Caviart Farms – 166; 3. Brad Grant – 164; 4. Courant Inc. – 154; 5. Crawford Farms Racing – 141.6.

Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place next week at Woodbine Mohawk Park, Harrah’s Hoosier Park and Harrah’s Philadelphia. Mohawk will host Breeders Crown eliminations for 2-year-olds, 3-year-olds and older horses of both sexes and gaits. Hoosier Park will feature the Pegasus for 3-year-olds of both sexes and gaits; and Philadelphia has John Simpson Stakes for 2-year-old filly pacers, filly trotters and colt trotters.

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