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Spotlight On The Grand Circuit

Published: June 24, 2021 11:07 am ET

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The publicity department for the Grand Circuit has sent its weekly recap and preview of racing on the Grand Circuit.

This Week: MGM Grand Messenger Stakes, MGM Yonkers Trot, Park MGM Pace and New York New York Mile eliminations, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y. and Currier & Ives filly trot, The Meadows, Washington, Pa.

Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit heads to Yonkers Raceway on Friday night (June 25) with eliminations for the MGM Grand Messenger Stakes and the MGM Yonkers Trot, the first legs of the Pacing and Trotting Triple Crowns. Fifteen three-year-old pacing colts and geldings entered the MGM Grand Messenger, and 13 of their trotting counterparts dropped in the box for the MGM Yonkers Trot, meaning there will be a pair of $40,000 eliminations for each race. The top four from each contest will advance to next Friday (July 2) night’s finals.

Three-year-old fillies of both gaits will also be in action on Friday night at Yonkers as the Park MGM Pace for pacers has a couple of $25,000 eliminations, and the New York New York Mile for trotters has a single $25,000 elimination.

Also on Friday, The Meadows will host the $60,470 Currier & Ives for three-year-old filly trotters.

Last Time: Three divisions of the final leg of the Graduate Series for four-year-olds were contested this past Saturday at The Meadowlands and standing out as the most impressive performer was Ruthless Hanover (Andrew McCarthy), who made it three wins in four Graduate tries, scoring in a lifetime-best 1:47.2 in the lone leg four division for pacers.

In a bulky 12-horse field, McCarthy had Ruthless Hanover where he likes it, on the front end. The gelded son of Somebeachsomewhere and Rockaroundthetrack brushed to command before the half and tripped the beam at that station in :53.4. The Tom Cancelliere student then hit three-quarters in 1:20.4 as Allywag Hanover (Todd McCarthy), the only horse to defeat Ruthless Hanover this year (on June 5), came calling on the outside.

But Ruthless Hanover shrugged off that challenger and held on determinedly for a head win over a fast-closing, pocket-sitting Cattlewash. Favourite Captain Barbossa was right there at the wire to get third, with Allywag Hanover settling for fourth.

Ruthless Hanover returned $10.80 to win as the third choice in the wagering, and now has nine wins from just 16 career starts and a bank account of $166,875.

“I was just trying to figure out how to play it,” said McCarthy. “There wasn’t much speed, so I pushed off the gate. I think the horse might have been a touch sharper tonight (than in his win two back). I think I went too slow in his last race (in the Allywag Hanover defeat). I wanted to go a little bit bigger numbers tonight and play catch me if you can. The one good thing about this horse, he’s watching those horses on the outside and he does enough to make sure he stays in front. He knows what his job is.”

Taking the leg three Graduate splits for trotters were Its Academic, in 1:51.3 for trainer Ron Burke and driver Yannick Gingras, and the speedy Beads, who scored in 1:51 for Per Engblom and David Miller.

The Graduate Series finals, one on the pace and one on the trot, will each have $250,000 (est.) dashes on July 10, which is Meadowlands Pace eliminations night.

Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website.

Grand Circuit Standings: In 2021, 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 2021 Grand Circuit awards.

Here are the leaders (through the races on June 19):

Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras – 245; 2. Dexter Dunn – 148; 3. Tim Tetrick – 145; 4. Andrew McCarthy – 121; 5. Todd McCarthy – 115.

Trainers: 1. Ron Burke – 320; 2. Nancy Takter – 99; 3. Marcus Melander – 72; 4. Tony Alagna – 67; 5. Noel Daley – 62.

Owners: 1. Brad Grant – 71.3; 2 (tie). Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi – 69.4; 4. Black Horse Racing – 51.7; 5. Renee Bercury – 50.

Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place next week at Yonkers Raceway, Goshen Historic Track, The Meadowlands and Hoosier Park. Yonkers will feature the finals for the MGM Grand Messenger Stakes, MGM Yonkers Trot, Park MGM Pace and New York New York Mile; Historic Track will host eight Landmark Stakes events for two- and three-year-olds of both sexes and gaits; The Meadowlands has four stakes for older pacers and trotters in the Artiscape, Crawford Farms Trot, Joie De Vie and Roll With Joe; and Hoosier has the Nadia Lobell for three-year-old filly pacers.

(Grand Circuit)

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