This Week: MGM Yonkers Trot and MGM Grand Messenger eliminations, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y.; Graduate Series leg, The Meadowlands, East Rutherford, N.J.; and Currier & Ives 3-year-old filly trot, The Meadows, Washington, Pa.
Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit weekend kicks off on Friday (June 24) at Yonkers Raceway, with a pair of $40,000 eliminations in the MGM Yonkers Trot, the first leg of the Trotting Triple Crown for 3-year-olds, and a pair of $40,000 eliminations in the MGM Grand Messenger, the first leg of the Pacing Triple Crown for 3-year-olds.
Grand Circuit racing shifts to The Meadowlands on Saturday (June 25) for the third leg of the Graduate Series for 4-year-old pacers and trotters. There will be a pair of $50,000 divisions in both the Open Pace and Open Trot, and single $40,000 divisions in both the Mare Pace and Mare Trot.
Also on Saturday, The Meadows will host the $57,335 Currier & Ives for 3-year-old filly trotters.
Entries for the races can be found by clicking on this link.
Last Time: Pebble Beach might not have heard the roar of the crowd, but a primetime performance spoke volumes of his talent in a brilliant C$1 million Pepsi North America Cup showing, Saturday night (June 18) at Woodbine Mohawk Park.
The decision by driver Todd McCarthy not to pop the earplugs down the lane showed just how much confidence he had in his speedy bay colt.
It certainly wasn’t an ideal start for Pebble Beach, the 1-2 choice in the 39th edition of the Cup, as McCarthy found himself with an early choice to make as the field made its way into the first turn.
Frozen Hanover, a son of Somebeachsomewhere, crossed over from post nine to seize the lead, as Cup elim winner Beach Glass, also a son Somebeachsomehere, settled into second. Unable to find a spot along the rail, Pebble Beach continued to press on from the outside as the field reached the opening quarter in :27.3.
McCarthy and the Noel Daley trainee glided up beside the pacesetter, eventually seizing command just before a half in :55, a length in front of Beach Glass, with Frozen Hanover sitting third and I Did It Myway fourth.
Reaching three-quarters in 1:22.3, Pebble Beach came off the turn full of pace, a confident McCarthy sitting chilly on a cool southwestern Ontario Saturday evening, as the duo began to dash away with ease from their rivals.
Late in the stretch, it was simply a case of what the winning margin would be and who would round out the next spots on the toteboard.
Pebble Beach notched a 2-3/4 length win in 1:50, with Beach Glass securing second, Frozen Hanover taking third, and Ron rallying late for fourth.
”I would have liked the idea of being able to get in early and make the decision to move, but our hand got forced there and I had to keep pressing,” said McCarthy. A :55 (half)…I was pretty happy with that. I just had to look after him from there and I knew he would have a big last quarter for me. He was terrific.”
Daley had equally high praise for his speedster.
”It wasn’t where I thought we were going to be, but they were going easy fractions. I left it to Todd to make his decision there and he did the right thing. As you see, he still has his earplugs in, so he wasn’t too worried about it. He showed now he’s got a bit of versatility — he can do it in front or behind.”
For driver and trainer, their first Cup appearances proved to be the charm.
Now a 10-time winner, along with three seconds and two thirds from 15 starts, Pebble Beach paid $3.10 for the win. He is owned by Patricia Stable, Joe Sbrocco, Country Club Acres Inc., and Laexpressfoderadeovolente.
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 6-18-22):
Drivers: 1. Dexter Dunn – 197; 2. Jordan Stratton – 171; 3. Yannick Gingras – 162; 4. Tim Tetrick – 142; 5. Jason Bartlett – 126.
Trainers: 1. Ron Burke – 217; 2. Brett Pelling – 97; 3t. Ake Svanstedt – 77; 3t. Tony Alagna – 77; 5. Jen Bongiorno – 67.
Owners: 1. Jesmeral Stable – 62; 2. Mark Ford – 60; 3. The OK Corral – 57; 4. Hot Lead Farm – 45; 5. Team Tritton Inc. – 40.
Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place next week at Yonkers Raceway, The Meadowlands, Hoosier Park and Goshen Historic Track. Yonkers will have the finals for the MGM Yonkers Trot for 3-year-old open trotters and the MGM Grand Messenger for 3-year-old open pacers, as well as the Park MGM Pace and NY-NY Mile for sophomore fillies. The Meadowlands will feature four events for the older set, the Roll With Joe for open pacers, the Crawford Farms for open trotters, the Perfect Sting for pacing mares and the Six Pack for trotting mares, plus Reynolds Memorial races for 3-year-old colt and filly trotters. Hoosier will host the Nadia Lobell for 3-year-old filly pacers. Goshen Historic Track will card eight Landmark Stakes events for 2- and 3-year-olds of both sexes and gaits.