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Zweig Memorial Set For Saturday

Published: August 25, 2021 9:50 am ET

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The Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial Trot, a Grand Circuit stakes that is "Open to the World," will be raced on Saturday, Aug. 28 at historic Vernon Downs.

The Open division will race for a purse of $325,000 as race nine on the card, just after the fillies vie for $140,000 in the eighth.

Steeped in history, the Zweig has long been an important stop on the Grand Circuit for sophomore trotters. Last year, Hambletonian winner Ramona Hill won the Zweig filly division while Hambo runner-up Ready For Moni won the open split.

This year's editions are among the most competitive in recent memory with nine talented square-gaiters taking their positions behind the mobile starting barrier in both races.

Spy Booth is an trotting anomaly, having the distinction of finishing second in the 2021 Hambletonian and amassing more than $270,000 in career earnings while never actually winning a race. The altered son of Muscle Hill would be the first to break maiden in the Zweig, but certainly must be considered.

Owners John Fielding, David Anderson, Robert LeBlanc and Marvin Katz ponied up $460,000 for Spy Booth as a yearling from breeder Order By Stable. Their fortunes rest in the formidable hands of 2020's top training and driving duo of Nancy Takter and Dexter Dunn.

Balenciaga (Scott Zeron) is new to the party but has been coming to hand quickly for trainer Paul Kelley and presents a real threat. He snapped the winning skein of current NYSS division leader Ahundreddollarbill right on the wire at Tioga just a week ago and did it the right way. SRF Stable and breeder Crawford Farms share ownership in this Chapter Seven gelding.

Ambassador Hanover will contend for Team Svanstedt from post three while Dancinginthedark M seeks to return to the form that had him at the top of "The Road to the Hambletonian" list for the Melander barn.

The filly race is at least as contentious as the colts with Darlene Hanover coming in as the "Hot Filly" for trainer Brett Bittle. The Chapter Seven lass has a win over the course when she took a division of the Empire Breeders Classic back in June and was a convincing winner of the Delmonica Hanover in her last. Yankeeland Partnership owns Darlene, who will eclipse a half-million in career earning with a good showing on Saturday. Todd McCarthy has the drive.

Iteration (Brian Sears) is the reigning queen of the NYSS program and has proven on more than one occasion to be of Grand Circuit caliber, including a hard fought second in the Hambletonian Oaks. Another Chapter Seven, Iteration cost owner Courant, INC. a cool quarter-million as a yearling put has already returned over $600,000 in dividends. Marcus Melander is the trainer.

Three divisions of the New York Sires Stakes for freshman filly trotters will support the features.

First post on Saturday at Vernon is 6:10 p.m.

(With files from Vernon Downs)

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