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Grand Circuit Invades New Jersey

Published: May 20, 2016 9:08 am ET

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Saturday night’s race card at The Meadowlands has a lot to offer. The first leg of the Graduate Series brings Grand Circuit four-year-old trotters and pacers to town and the pacing side of the New Jersey Sires Stakes gets underway, featuring top freshman Boston Red Rocks in his seasonal debut.

The Graduate trotters were split into a pair of $50,000 divisions with Wings Of Royalty, fresh off his lifetime best 1:51.4 win here last week, listed as the morning line choice from the rail in race two. Trainer George Ducharme and owner Ray Campbell, Jr. will enlist Corey Callahan to drive their stable star for the first time on Saturday.

Pinkman (PP 3) makes his second seasonal start in division two (race six). Last year’s U.S. Trotter of the Year got nipped at the wire by Wings Of Royalty after doing the heavy lifting on the front end last Friday. He’s been pronounced fit and ready to go off that effort by Yannick Gingras, who drives the gelding regularly for trainer Jimmy Takter and owners Christina Takter, John & Jim Fielding, Joyce Mc Clelland and Herb Liverman.

The Graduate pacers, a talented and well-balanced field of nine, assemble for the $75,000 eighth race. Rockin Ron (PP 4) has been perfect since joining the Ron Burke stable late last year. The latest in the line of Indiana invaders to join pacing's upper echelon has strung together eleven straight wins and scored his first Grand Circuit victory in the Confederation Cup last Sunday. Rockin Ron was matched successfully with Gingras for the first time in that outing and the pair shall seek to extend the streak for the ownership group of Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi and RTC Stables.

The competition is led by the iron-tough In The Arsenal who will be leaving from the rail for Brett Miller after a useful closing effort in his first start against the best Open pacers last week.

Boston Red Rocks never missed the board in nine starts as a freshman and secured divisional honours stateside with his late season heroics, by winning both the Breeders Crown and Governor’s Cup finals. With a pair of impressive qualifiers under his belt, the imposing son of Rocknroll Hanover gets underway from post four in this $25,000 test for owners Peter Blood and Rick Berks. Steve Elliott and Tim Tetrick provide plenty of championship experience as his trainer and driver.

The competition is led by Ideal Rocky, who vanquished the top choice in the NJSS freshman final last year, and Katies Rocker, who quietly had a solid season at two and has made a good appearance in both of his morning trials.

The pacing fillies (race five) are led by Blue Moon Stride, who will attempt to defend her NJSS tiara having won last year’s final. She faced Grand Circuit types through the balance of her freshman season and has earned more money in her career than her eight opponents combined. Andrew McCarthy has the drive from post position six for trainer Mark Harder and owners Emilio and Maria Rosati of Australia.

Saturday is Preakness Day as well as the scene of the All About Beer Magazine’s World Beer Festival, so the place will be “hoppin”. First race post time for Meadowlands' Saturday card is 7:15 p.m.

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