The Grand Circuit, also known as the "Big Wheel", is a group of harness racing stakes races run at various race tracks around the United States. Run on one-mile tracks, it is "the oldest continuing horse-racing series in the United States."
The series was started in 1871 by Colonel Billy Edwards, of Cleveland, Ohio, L.J. Powers of Springfield, Massachusetts, E.A. Buck of Buffalo, New York, and later C.W. Hutchinson of Utica, New York. The first meeting of the Circuit was held in 1873 in Cleveland, followed by races in Springfield, Buffalo, and Utica. It was originally named "The Quadrilateral Trotting Combination," but was renamed when additional legs were added.
In 1914 the Grand Circuit consisted of six tracks: Cleveland, Ohio, Columbus, Ohio, Lexington, Kentucky, Detroit, Michigan, Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Kalamazoo, Michigan. Prior to this there were more, including Providence, Rhode Island, Readville (Boston), Massachusetts, Salem, New Hampshire, New York City, and Poughkeepsie, New York, but anti-gambling laws during the early part of the 20th century caused them to drop out.
As of 2004 it is run annually on a circuit of 20 tracks.
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