Week two of Grand Circuit opens Friday at YonkersMarch 23, 2023,
This Week: Blue Chip Matchmaker and MGM Borgata Pacing series second legs, MGM Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y. This is the opening event of the 2023 Grand Circuit season.
Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit at Yonkers features four $40,000 divisions on Friday (March 24) in the second round of the Blue Chip Matchmaker series for open pacing mares. The Monday (March 27) card at Yonkers will see four $50,000 divisions in the second round of the MGM Borgata Pacing series for open pacers.
Each series offers five preliminary rounds leading to the finales, both set for Monday (April 24).
Complete entries for the races can be found by clicking on this link.
Last Time: Lochinvar Art A, Hellabalou, Leonidas A, and Idealsomemagic A emerged victorious from the four $50,000 divisions of the opening round of the MGM Borgata Pacing Series for free-for-allers on Monday night (March 20) at MGM Yonkers Raceway.
Driver Lauren Tritton hustled Lochinvar Art A away quickly from post five in the opening clash and cleared Soaring Now (Andy McCarthy) well before the :28.3 opening quarter. From there, Lochinvar Art A didn’t face any outside pressure through a :57.2 half and a 1:25.1 three-quarters, and he sprinted home in :27.3 to win by three lengths in 1:52.4.
Rockin Withelvis A (David Miller), who was sent first-up from fourth before three-quarters, was able to get by the pocket-sitting Soaring Now late in the mile to finish second.
Trained by Shane Tritton for owner Team Tritton Inc., Lochinvar Art A, who has now been victorious in all four of his U.S. appearances, is an 8-year-old Modern Art stallion. This was his 32nd career win and he has now earned $1,091,318. He paid $2.30 to win as the 1-9 favorite.
The Blue Chip Matchmaker Series for open pacing mares picked up exactly where it left off in 2022, as defending champion Drama Act made a triumphant return, capturing the first of three $40,000 divisions in the first leg of the series on Friday night (March 17). George Brennan guided the Ron Burke trained mare, sent off at odds of 1-5, to an imposing 1:51.3 victory.
The action was hot and heavy at the outset as second choice Racine Bell and driver Jason Bartlett blitzed the gate from post seven to secure the front on the opening bend. Wahs Fire Bug N tucked in behind her while Brennan took his time with the favored Drama Act, assuming control before the opening panel, which was posted in :27.
From there the leaders went in single file through fractions of :56.1 and 1:24.1 before Brennan called on the Well Said-sired mare and she sprinted home in-hand. Racine Bell easily held the place spot while Wahs Fire Bug N finished third.
Owned by The OK Corral, Drama Act, who now has 33 career victories and earnings of $858,972, was a winner for the fourth time in five 2023 starts and returned $2.60 to win.
Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website. For a list of 2023 race winners on the Grand Circuit, click here.
Grand Circuit Standings: In 2023, 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 2023 Grand Circuit awards.
Here are the leaders (through the races on 3-20-23):
Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras – 20; 2. Jordan Stratton – 19; 3. Matt Kakaley – 17; 4t. David Miller – 10; 4t. Lauren Tritton – 10; 4t. George Brennan – 10; 4t. Austin Siegelman – 10.
Trainers: 1. Ron Burke – 20; 2. Cory Stratton – 15; 3t. Linda Toscano – 10; 3t. Matthew Medeiros – 10; 3t. Jared Bako – 10; 3t. Andrew Adamczyk – 10; 3t. Shane Tritton – 10.
Owners: 1t. Jesmeral Stable – 10; 1t. Team Tritton Inc. – 10; 1t. The OK Corral – 10; 4. Mark Ford – 6.
Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will continue with legs of the Blue Chip Matchmaker and MGM Borgata over the next three weeks. The finals for both events will be held on April 24.