by Al Cimaglia
August 23, 2018
Grand Circuit racing begins this weekend on Friday night at Mohawk Park. The Casual Breeze Trot rolls in Race 7 with ten 3-year-old fillies battling for a share of a $136,000 purse. Hambletonian champ Atlanta, with Scott Zeron in the sulky has been installed as the 6/5 morning line favorite and will leave from post position three. The main foe for Atlanta is likely to be the Jimmy Takter trainee Manchego. Regular pilot Yannick Gingras will look to work a great trip from post eight for the 7/5 second favorite and Hambletonian Oaks champion Manchego.
The card on Saturday at Mohawk will feature eliminations and three divisions of the Nassagaweya. The elims for the Eternal Camnation will take place in Race 2, Race 4 and Race 8, when a total of 23 freshman pacing fillies will compete. Two-year-old pacing colts will battle in divisions of the Nassagaweya which are carded as Race 6, Race 10 and Race 11.
Last, but not least will be the eliminations for the Maple Leaf Trot, a signature event at Woodbine Mohawk Park which will take the main stage on September 1. There is a deep group competing for the right to race next weekend in the Trot Final headed by 2017 winner Hanneloire Hanover. Some others to reckon with in the eliminations include Ariana G, Warrawee Roo, Will Take Charge, Marion Marauder, Emoticon Hanover and Pinkman. The Eliminations for 3-year-olds and older are carded as Race 3 and Race 5 and will have a $40,000 purse.
On Saturday night at Yonkers Raceway, Stay Hungry will look to qualify to race next weekend in the $580,000 Messenger Pace Final. After winning the Cane Pace in a lifetime best 1:47.3 the son of Somebeachsomewhere hopes to keep rolling and capture the second leg of the Pacing Triple Crown, but first there is work to do.
Stay Hungry with Doug McNair between the pipes drew into the stronger elimination and will need to finish in the top four to be eligible for the Final. Springsteen will leave from the rail, Jimmy Freight, a $30,000 supplemental entry drew post position four and Stay Hungry will start from post five. Stay Hungry has had a fine 2018 with three wins in eight starts and has banked over $386,000. The Messenger eliminations are carded as the fifth and sixth races, each with a $40,000 purse.
Horses listed below for the Messenger Elims are in post position order with driver, trainer and morning line odds.
1. Babes Dig Me-Georger Brennan-Tony Alagna-3-1
2. Wild Bill-Ray Schnittker-Ray Schnittker-12-1
3. JK Wildfire-Jason Bartlett-Brett Pelling-7/2
4. Topville Olympian-Brian Sears-Chris Oakes-3-1
5-Nutcracker Sweet-Jordan Stratton-Jimmy Takter-3/2
1. Springsteen-Brian Sears-Rene Allard-5/2
2. Winston-Corey Callahan-John Butenschoen-8-1
3. Decoy-Mark MacDonald-Jimmy Takter-9-1
4. Jimmy Freight-Louis Roy-Andrew Harris-9/5
5. Stay Hungry-Doug McNair-Tony Alagna-2-1
6. Kwik Talkin-Jordan Stratton-Rob Harmon-20-1
This is shaping up to be another great weekend with competitive star-studded fields at Mohawk and Yonkers.
Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia.