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Hoosier Park, Meadowlands to host Grand Circuit races this weekend
Hoosier Park, Meadowlands to host Grand Circuit races this weekend

This Week: Nadia Lobell, Hoosier Park, Anderson, Ind.; Graduate Series finals, Meadowlands Pace eliminations, W. N. Reynolds Memorial, and Kindergarten Series, Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, N.J.

Schedule of events: This week’s Grand Circuit action opens on Friday (July 6) as Hoosier Park will host the $142,000 Nadia Lobell for 3-year-old pacing fillies.

Grand Circuit races will be contested this Friday (July 6) and Saturday (July 7) at the Meadowlands.

On Friday the Meadowlands will host two $10,000 divisions in the first leg of the Kindergarten Series for 2-year-old colt pacers and two $10,000 divisions in the first leg of the Kindergarten Series for 2-year-old filly pacers.

The stakes heavy Saturday card features the $250,000 Graduate Series finals for 4-year-old pacers and trotters; a pair of $50,000 Meadowlands Pace eliminations for 3-year-olds; and the $66,200 W.N. Reynolds Memorial for 3-year-old filly trotters.

Complete entries for the races are available at this link.

Last time: This past weekend’s Grand Circuit action was highlighted by the Sun Stakes Saturday (June 30) program at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono.

Crystal Fashion won Saturday’s $500,000 Earl Beal Jr. Memorial for 3-year-old trotters, following a battle between Manchego and leader Six Pack before getting room in the stretch to power to a half-length victory over Six Pack in 1:51.4. Lawmaker finished third.

Manchego, the lone filly in the race and 3-5 favorite, went off stride coming around the final turn and finished ninth. It was her first loss in 16 career starts.

Six Pack was three-wide around the first turn, a head back in third place, as the field reached the first quarter in :26.2. He grabbed the lead soon thereafter and hit the half in :55.4. Manchego, who was on the outside from the start, worked her way first-over to alongside the leader by three-quarters in 1:23.1, but was unable to get in front. Crystal Fashion was third coming around the final turn, but moved to the outside in the stretch after Manchego went off stride.

Crystal Fashion, a son of Cantab Hall out of Window Willow owned by Fashion Farms, has won three of six races this year and seven of 18 in his career. The gelding, who is eligible to August’s $1.2 million Hambletonian, has earned $471,537. Sent off at odds of 9-2, Crystal Fashion paid $11.40 to win.

Springsteen rocked to a 15-1 upset in Saturday’s $500,000 Max C. Hempt Memorial for 3-year-old male pacers, where favorite Lather Up went off stride and suffered his first loss in eight starts this year.

Springsteen and driver Simon Allard used a three-wide move at three-quarters and overcame Nutcracker Sweet by a head to win in 1:48.3. Hitman Hill finished third.

Stay Hungry led the field to the first quarter in :26 before giving the top spot to Dorsoduro Hanover by the half-mile point, which was reached in :53.1. Lather Up, the North America Cup champion, made a first-over move on the backstretch but was unable to get to the front, leaving Springsteen to make a three-wide move as the group hit three-quarters in 1:20.2.

In the stretch, Nutcracker Sweet moved to the inside and got the lead, but was unable to hold off Springsteen. Lather Up, who got roughly gaited going around the first turn, went off stride as he came off the final turn and was seventh-placed-eighth in the field of nine.

Springsteen is a son of Rock N Roll Heaven out of American Charm. He has won two of five races this year and five of 19 in his career, good for earnings of $479,423. The colt is owned by Allard Racing, Bruce Soulsby, Alan Weisenberg, and Kapildeo Singh. Springsteen paid $32.60 to win.

McWicked, perfectly-placed second-over, swung three-wide late on the far turn and had an overwhelming late kick to come up a 1:49.3 winner while taking the $500,000 Ben Franklin Pace final.

The Ron Burke-trained threesome of Filibuster Hanover, Rockin Ron, and All Bets Off got away 1-2-3 by the :26.2 first panel, with McWicked fourth early. As the outer tier formed early, it looked like McWicked and driver Brian Sears might have to come first-over, but past the three-eighths All Bets Off pulled from third, giving cover which helped McWicked’s chances.

The middle splits were pedestrian, :55 and 1:22.2, with All Bets Off continuing his grind against pacesetting Filibuster Hanover, and McWicked readying to mount a wide charge.

That charge commenced near the top of the stretch, and when McWicked started his kick, the only thing in doubt was the winning margin, which was 1-1/2 lengths over Rockin Ron, who parlayed prime pocket position for place; 99-1 Mac’s Jackpot also used an inside trip to get a high finish, coming home third, just nipped for second.

In a career of continuing stardom, McWicked, now seven, boosted his earnings to $2,646,362 in only 80 career starts. The Franklin champion is owned by the S S G Stables of North Boston, N.Y.

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

Grand Circuit Standings: In 2018, 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 2018 Grand Circuit awards.

Here are the leaders following the past weekend.

Drivers: 1. Tim Tetrick – 422; 2. Yannick Gingras – 301; 3. Jordan Stratton – 234; 4. Jason Bartlett – 164; 5. David Miller – 155.5.

Trainers: 1. Ron Burke – 367.5; 2. Jimmy Takter – 174; 3. Jim King Jr. – 151; 4. Peter Tritton – 122; 5. Rene Allard – 100.

Owners: 1. Vonknoblauch Stable - 107; 2t. Burke Racing Stable – 87.3; 2t. Weaver Bruscemi – 87.3; 4. Crawford Farms Racing – 66.7; 5. Richard Poillucci – 66.

Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next weekend at The Meadowlands and Yonkers Raceway. The July 13 Meadowlands program will feature the opening leg of the Kindergarten Series for freshman trotters, while the massive July 14 Meadowlands card will offer the Meadowlands Pace final, the William Haughton Memorial, the Hambletonian Maturity, the Stanley Dancer Trot, the Del Miller Memorial, the Mistletoe Shalee, the Golden Girls and a leg of the Miss Versatilty. Yonkers will host the Lawrence B. Sheppard for 2-year-old pacing colts, also on July 14.

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