Harness Racing This Week: Hambletonian, Hambletonian Oaks, John Cashman Memorial, Sam McKee Memorial, Lady Liberty, Dr. John Steele Memorial, Cane Pace, Shady Daisy, Peter Haughton Memorial, Jim Doherty Memorial, and Kindergarten Series, Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, N.J.
Schedule of occasions: Grand Circuit motion begins on Thursday (Aug. 4) at Meadowlands Racetrack with two $20,000 divisions of the Kindergarten Series for 2-year-old filly pacers and a single $20,000 division of the Kindergarten Series for 2-year-old colt pacers.
Kindergarten Series racing continues Friday (Aug. 5) at The Big M with three $20,000 divisions in the 2-year-old filly trot and a pair of $20,000 divisions within the 2-year-old colt trot.
Then on Saturday (Aug. 6) The Meadowlands host one of the greatest Grand Circuit cards of the season. The afternoon program is led by the $1 million Hambletonian, the second leg of trotting’s Triple Crown for 3-year-olds. Other main stakes races to be contested that day are the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks for 3-year-old filly trotters, the $279,000 John Cashman Memorial for older trotters, the $278,000 Sam McKee Memorial for older pacers, the $173,000 Lady Liberty for older pacing mares, the $145,000 Dr. John Steele Memorial for older trotting mares, the $258,300 Cane Pace, the second leg of Pacing’s Triple Crown for 3-year-olds, the $92,300 Shady Daisy for 3-year-old pacing fillies, the $337,000 Peter Haughton Memorial for 2-year-old colt trotters, and the $355,000 Jim Doherty Memorial for 2-year-old filly trotters.
Complete entries for the races may be discovered by clicking on this hyperlink.
Last Time: On paper, North America Cup winner Pebble Beach and Meadowlands Pace champion Beach Glass appeared many lengths higher than the remainder of the field in Saturday’s (July 30) $350,000 ultimate of the Delvin Miller Adios Pace for the Orchids at Hollywood Casino at The Meadows. But Bythemissal (Downbytheseaside) reminded us forcefully that an elite test for 3-year-old male pacers just isn’t contested on paper.
The gelding moved powerfully first-over to defeat Beach Glass by 1-1/4 lengths and spring the 8-1 upset for Chris Page, trainer Ron Burke and owners Burke Racing Stable, Eric Good, Rich Lombardo Racing and Weaver Bruscemi.
Bythemissal had misplaced only once in his six-race career, but it was that 5-3/4 size pasting by Pebble Beach within the Adios eliminations that despatched bettors wanting elsewhere. Page indicated that race served as a sort of an introduction to top-level competition for Bythemissal.
“Last week was the prep race,” stated Page, in solely his second Adios. “I was actually confident in how he got here out of the race and the way he completed. Ronnie mentioned he had a fantastic week this week, so I simply needed to make sure I kept him out of bother. I obtained him in play slightly bit, but away from the :53.4 half.”
River Ness, the winner’s stablemate, was decided to make for a demanding quarter but broke stride earlier than he may totally accomplish his objective. Nevertheless, Beach Glass was forced to a blistering :25.4 panel. Yet his half time of :53.4 was solely a tick faster than final week’s :54 in the slop, so it would be unfair to suggest that Bythemissal’s win was fractions aided. Rather, Burke mentioned he saw signs of the result in last week’s sturdy end.
“We needed to race him somewhat extra aggressively, however it didn’t work out,” Burke mentioned. “But you don’t make the move he made final week to complete second and never be good. You can’t be three-deep and make up ground towards real good horses. Chris had him double wrapped up on the wire. Chris is rarely assured, and he was supremely assured with this horse.
“At the half right now, I thought if Chris can get wheeled up by the three-quarters, it’ll be on. My horse has the will to win. You get him shut, he’s gonna get ya.”
Complete recaps of all the races can be found at the Grand Circuit website.
Grand Circuit Standings: In 2022, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, coach and owner) will once once more 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 2022 Grand Circuit awards.
Here are the leaders (through the races on 7-30-22):
Drivers: 1. Dexter Dunn – 561; 2. Tim Tetrick – 479; 3. Yannick Gingras – 365; 4. Todd McCarthy – 356; 5. David Miller – 308.
Trainers: 1. Ron Burke – 341; 2. Tony Alagna – 316; 3. Ake Svanstedt – 297; 4. Nifty Norman – 219; 5. Brett Pelling – 187.
Owners: 1. David McDuffee – 105.9; 2. Schooner II Stable – 80; 3. Brad Grant – 74.6; 4. Threelyonsracing – 72; 5. Jesmeral Stable – 67.
Looking forward: Grand Circuit action might be happening next week at Northfield Park with the Carl Milstein Memorial for 3-year-old pacers; at Hoosier Park with the Dan Patch free of charge for all pacers; at the Indiana State Fair with the Fox Stake highlighting 10 stakes; and at Charlottetown Driving Park with the Gold Cup and Saucer eliminations for older pacers.
by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit