Grand Circuit expanded to all open stakes
March 03, 2013
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At the USTA full board meeting at Harness Congress VI Sunday afternoon, Grand Circuit president John Campbell announced that all open stakes raced in North America not previously considered as Grand Circuit (GC) would now carry that designation beginning with the 2013 season.
Many of the most valuable and sought after stakes not previously on the Grand Circuit roster will now join the "Circuit” and be included in the brand. Several racetracks that had not previously been member tracks and a few that had lapsed have agreed to join and consider their non-state restricted stakes as GC races. Those tracks include Yonkers Raceway, Northfield Park, Saratoga Harness, Hazel Park and Red Shores Racetrack and Casino (home of the Gold Cup & Saucer). Dover Downs and Harrah's Philadelphia will return after a brief absence. All tracks that race open stakes now considered as Grand Circuit races either are currently or have agreed to be member tracks.
"Many of the sport's top races had not previously been considered as Grand Circuit events. Now, with that distinction we hope to help create better awareness of our top races and provide the tracks with a more promotable product,” Campbell stated.
"I recently read an account of Dan Patch's career and many of the stakes he won held the Grand Circuit designation at tracks now long gone. It added to the excitement of those races. We hope to help recreate the some of the enthusiasm of those times in our modern product.”
A brand new Grand Circuit logo has been created by Stolz-Mead Global services. This logo will be made available to all member tracks in the hope that it will be included in the program for GC events and on any trophy coolers presented to those stake winners.
A formula has been devised to track the success of all owners, trainers and drivers in GC races and will be kept toward year end awards. Having a running "score card” charting the performance of the top athletes in racing, both equine and human, should add a new layer of interest to the season's most cherished races.
The historic Delvin Miller Grand Circuit medallion will be presented to the winners, along with an prize of considerable value yet to be determined made possible by the generosity of award sponsor Hanover Shoe Farms.
More information will be made available as the details are finalized. (Grand Circuit)