Harness Racing This Week: Currier & Ives, The Meadows, Washington, Pa. and Miss Versatility Series leg, The Meadowlands, East Rutherford, N.J.
Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit heads to The Meadows on Saturday (June 12) for the $99,370 Currier & Ives for 3-year-old open trotters.
Also on Saturday, The Meadowlands has two $30,000 divisions in the third leg of the Miss Versatility Series for older trotting mares. Manchego, the top ranked horse in the Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll, will compete in the first division.
Complete entries for the races can be found by clicking on this link<racing.ustrotting.com/default.aspx>.
Last Time: This Is The Plan etched himself into the harness racing history books as the fastest horse to ever win on a half-mile track when he won the $200,000 Battle of Lake Erie in 1:47.3 Saturday (June 5) at MGM Northfield Park.
This Is The Plan etched himself into the harness racing history books as the fastest horse to ever win on a half-mile track when he won the $200,000 Battle of Lake Erie in 1:47.3. USTA/Mark Hall photo.
Yannick Gingras drove This Is The Plan for harness racing’s all-time leading trainer, Ron Burke, who conditions the pacer for co-owners Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, J&T Silva-Purnel & Libby, and Lawrence Karr.
This Is The Plan started from post three. He yielded early to Stars Align A (Joe Bongiorno) before making his move approaching the quarter, taking the lead in :26.2.
“I didn’t want to take any prisoners,” explained Gingras. “He (This Is The Plan) has been super sharp.”
This Is the Plan never experienced an anxious moment the rest of the mile, leading his competition through fractions of :53.3, 1:20.3 and 1:47.3, besting his closest rival by 5-1/4 lengths.
“The faster you go, he just doesn’t get tired,” said Gingras.
The 1:47.3 clocking represents the fastest race ever on a half-mile track, besting the 1:48.1 set by Pet Rock in 2013 at the Delaware County Fair, and lowered the Northfield Park track record by more than a full second.
This Is The Plan, a 6-year-old Somebeachsomewhere-That’s The Plan gelding, increased his career bankroll to $2,206,200 by taking home the lion’s share of the healthy $200,000 purse.
Completing the 2021 Battle field were Western Joe, Catch The Fire, Stars Align A, Hesa Kingslayer N, Little Rocket Man, Gold Digger King, Century Farroh and Southwind Amazon.
“Records are meant to be broken and we just broke one,” admitted Gingras. “I gave the people a little show tonight.”
Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website<www.ustrotting.com/grandcircuit/index.cfm>.
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 6-5-21):
Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras – 185; 2. Dexter Dunn – 131; 3. Tim Tetrick – 115; 4. Andrew McCarthy – 99; 5. Todd McCarthy – 95.
Trainers: 1. Ron Burke – 235; 2. Nancy Takter – 74; 3. Noel Daley – 62; 4. Todd Buter – 55; 5. Brett Pelling – 50.
Owners: 1. Brad Grant – 60; 2t. Burke Racing Stable – 54.4; 2t. Weaver Bruscemi – 54.4; 4. Renee Bercury – 50; 5t. Black Horse Racing – 40; 5t. Jesmeral Stable – 40.
Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place next week at The Meadowlands, with legs of the Graduate Series for 4-year-old pacers and trotters and the Tompkins-Geers for 2-year-olds of both sexes and gaits.
by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit