Off the wings of the richest meet in the history of Kentucky harness racing capped by the $3.2-million Kentucky Championship card, greater electricity will hover over Lexington as The Red Mile will soon welcome North America’s finest Standardbreds for its annual fortnight of Grand Circuit competition.
The Grand Circuit meet at The Red Mile will start on Thursday, Sept. 29 and run through Sunday, Oct. 9 – six race dates in total. Per usual, Bluegrass Stakes events for freshmen and sophomores will flourish the first week of racing. Then the two-year-olds – with the second race week beginning on Friday, Oct. 7 – will take center stage for the first two days of the second week in International Stallion Stakes action. Everything culminates to the closing-day card Oct. 9, which includes the Tattersalls Pace and one of America’s trotting classics: the Kentucky Futurity.
Condition sheets are now available for the first week of the Grand Circuit, but please note that the draw schedule has changed from previous years. The declaration deadline for each race day of the first week is as listed below:
- Thursday, Sept. 29 Card – Entry Box Closes Saturday, Sept. 24 at 9 a.m. (EDT)
- Friday, Sept. 30 Card – Entry Box Closes Sunday, Sept. 25 at 9 a.m. (EDT)
- Saturday, Oct. 1 Card – Entry Box Closes Monday, Sept. 26 at 9 a.m. (EDT)
And with the schedule for the second week shifting to Friday through Sunday, the declaration deadline will be as follows:
- Friday, Oct. 7 Card – Entry Box Closes Sunday, Oct. 2 at 9 a.m. (EDT)
- Saturday, Oct. 8 Card – Entry Box Closes Monday, Oct. 3 at 9 a.m. (EDT)
- Sunday, Oct. 9 Card – Entry Box Closes Tuesday, Oct. 4 at 9 a.m. (EDT)
Scratch times/program finalization for each race card are due the day after each card’s draw.
Trainer Tony Alagna and driver Yannick Gingras will attempt to stay hot off a successful Kentucky Championship season into the Grand Circuit meet. Alagna led all trainers in wins with 37 and over $2 million in purses, while Gingras topped all drivers with 37 wins at $1.2 million in purses (only Dexter Dunn earned more with $1.6 million). However, Gingras comes into the Grand Circuit meet also attempting to defend his driving title. Last year’s leading trainer through the fortnight, Ake Svanstedt, will look to reclaim his crown after beating Tony Alagna by just one win.
First-race post time for each race day at The Red Mile is 1 p.m. (EDT).
(The Red Mile)