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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Two names that have been near the top of the driver standings at the Meadowlands since the start of the current meeting in mid-October belong to a pair of harness racing drivers from "Down Under", New Zealand-native Dexter Dunn and Australian Andy McCarthy. Horsemen from that region of the globe have had an impact over the years at the Big M. Ross Croghan, Noel Daley, Mark Harder, Nifty Norman, Brett Pelling and Chris Ryder. Be they "Kiwis" or "Aussies", these trainers have done their share of winning at the mile oval. Ryder uses Dunn, 29, on many of his horses, and among them is the talented 3-year-old colt Bettor's Wish, who is currently seventh in the weekly "Road to the Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace" poll put out every week by the Big M's media relations department. "He's a family friend from New Zealand," said Ryder of Dunn. "But he's not driving just because I know the guy. He's driving because he's capable. I thought he might have trouble hooking on here when he arrived (about a year ago), but his talent and personality have overcome that." The stats back up what Ryder says, as Dunn has won 86 times from 587 starts at the Meadowlands since the meet began. And thus far in 2019, Dunn sits second in the Big M standings with 65 wins, a total surpassed only by Yannick Gingras' 96. As for McCarthy, he was the leading driver at the Meadowlands until he went on an extended vacation earlier this year to his homeland. For the meeting, he's won 50 races from 355 starts. "Is Andy my primary driver?" asked Brett Pelling. "I would say that. He's driving my best horse, Caviart Ally, and when you have a good horse, it puts you in the limelight." McCarthy guided Caviart Ally to a hard-fought victory in 1:50 over a star-laden Preferred for pacing fillies and mares field Saturday (May 11) night, an evening that saw the 33-year-old win the first three races on the card and four of the first five. He also drives Pelling's Reigning Deo, currently ninth in the RTTCFMP. "I want someone who is focused," said Pelling. "And Andy and Dexter know enough to be focused. Dexter is a great talent, and if Andy wasn't available, would I use Dexter? All day long." Pelling also spoke about the sense of community felt by those who hail from Australia or New Zealand: "We are here together. The Down Under people know Down Under people. And that means something." BROWER HITS BIG: Dave Brower of the Meadowlands' award-winning TV production had a night to remember Saturday (May 11), as he gave his followers a hit for the ages. After the nightly segment when Brower gave out his Pick-4 ticket for on-track and simulcast players, favorites won the first (Highalator) and final legs of Brower's $32 play, but what happened in between is what made the payoff special. Somebaddude paid $100.00 to win in the second leg while 10-1 chance On Duty scored in the third. After Albergo Hanover won the final leg (Race 11), Brower's followers collected $2,028.15, good for a profit of $1,996.15. The total Pick-4 pool was a typically strong $102,125 on Saturday and as always, free program pages for this week's 50-Cent Pick-4 - as well as the Can-Am Pick-4 (Friday only) - are available at www.playmeadowlands.com and www.ustrotting.com. SUPER HIGH-FIVE HIT: Despite the 6-5 favorite winning the race, one lucky player betting into the Oregon Express hub walked away with a huge score nonetheless Saturday (May 11) night. The 20-Cent Jackpot Super High-Five, with the two longest shots in the field finishing second and fifth, yielded only one ticket with the winning combination of 2-3-1-10-9, and was good for a return of $33,010.24. This Friday (May 17), the carryover for the Early 20-Cent Jackpot Super High-Five (Race 5) stands at $91,214. PREAKNESS UP NEXT: The 144th Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course is the featured simulcast event on Saturday (May 18) at the Meadowlands. Post time for the first of 14 races at Pimlico is 10:30 a.m. The Preakness, for 3-year-olds at a mile and three-sixteenths, is Race 13 on the card and has a post time of 6:48 p.m. BEERFEST ON TAP: On Saturday (May 18), the Meadowlands will host its fourth annual "Beerfest". The event, which is rain or shine, has three tiers of ticket pricing. For a $75 VIP ticket, you get admission, VIP lounge access, a special VIP food buffet, a tasting glass, exclusive VIP tastings and one additional hour of sampling. Only 200 VIP tickets will be sold. A $35 General Admission ticket ($45 if purchased day of) includes admission, a tasting glass and a four-hour sampling. Those with VIP tickets will be admitted at 4:30 p.m. while GA customers can go in at 5:30 p.m. The event ends at 9:30 p.m.   Dave Little

CHESTER PA - This Sunday promises some spectacular racing at the two tracks served by the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association (PHHA), with the Great Northeast Open Series (GNOS) staging a trio of $30,000 events, for open pacers at Harrah's Philly in the afternoon and for mare open pacers and open trotters at Mohegan Sun Pocono at night. In the open hanress racing pacing event at Philly, Rodeo Rock has been installed as a tight 7-2 favorite in a well-matched field of nine which will be the fifth race. The Robert Cleary pupil, to be driven by Andrew McCarthy, is one of only four North American horses to have earned over $200,000 already this year, the bulk of his bankroll coming when finishing second in the $664,000 Levy Final at Yonkers. Starting just to his outside will be Donttellmeagain for trainer Jim King Jr. and driver Tim Tetrick. A state favorite since winning the PA Stallion Series Championship in 2017, Donttellmeagain holds the distinction of being the last horse to win against 2018 Horse of the Year McWicked, and he comes off a 1:49 victory at The Meadowlands. The two GNOS races at Pocono will come consecutively, in slots ten and eleven. The ladies will come first, with the 1-2 finishers from last week's first GNOS group for this group, Tequila Monday and Kissininthesand, ready to bump heads again and vie for favoritism. This will be the second start of the year for Kissininthesand (post one, trainer Nancy Johansson, driver Scott Zeron), last year's three-year-old champion, and she might be just that much better with a race under her girth. But knocking off Tequila Monday (post six, trainer Chris Oakes, driver Tyler Buter) has never been an easy task throughout that mare's career, and might be even more hard to bring off this year, as Tequila Monday has started the year with five consecutive victories, and she has shown she can win on, off, or near the pace. The World's Fastest Trotter, Homicide Hunter (1:48.4 at Lexington last year), is entered in the open trotting event, and he returns to the races both for a new stable, the Burke Brigade, and off two fine qualifying wins, the latter a photo victory over 2018 sophomore champion Six Pack. One big obstacle facing Homicide Hunter and driver Yannick Gingras will be the outside starting spot in the field of eighth, but he is still the early favorite. Guardian Angel AS (post five, trainer Anette Lorentzon, driver Tim Tetrick) won a Breeders Crown elimination at Pocono last year, and in his seasonal debut last week at The Meadowlands he came from ninth at the three-quarter call to miss less than two lengths. Pappy Go Go, who has two of the four fastest North American trotting miles of the year, a pair of 1:52 wins both here and at Philly, has the advantages of post one and Pocono's top driver George Napolitano Jr. Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association, in conjunction with The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono and Harrah's Philadelphia racetracks

CHESTER PA - Thisguyisonfire had the racing gods smiling on him today as he captured the $18,000 featured trot at Harrah's Philadelphia on "Trottin' Thursday", lowering his lifetime best by a fifth of a second to 1:54.2. First, a chief rival of Thisguyisonfire, Golden Son, was a scratch, making the possibility of a crowded front end a bit lower. Then Perseverance, who was outside battling railsitting leaver and favorite Scirocco Rob, broke stride at the 1/8, leaving Thisguyisonfire second at the :28.1 quarter, after which he was moved to the lead by driver Andrew McCarthy. Reaching the middle splits in :57.1 and 1:25.2, the victorious son of Yankee Glide was still in control, and when challenged by Rock Of Cashel in the stretch, Thisguyisonfire had enough to withstand the closer by a length. Chris Lakata trains the winner, now successful in three of his last four trips to the gate, for owner Richard Mishkin. Drivers in green and white accounted for the two $14,500 co-featured trots, with both of their charges taking lifetime records. In the faster, the Yankee Glide gelding Tight Lines, in only his second start in six months, brushed to the lead in front of the stands for trainer/driver Jeff Gregory and poured on the steam from there, drawing away from favored Filled Donut by 5¾ lengths in a 1:52.3 mile for Jeff Gregory Inc., Jesmeral Stable, and William Richardson. In the other subfeature contest, the Donato Hanover gelding Mosconi Hanover won his second consecutive outing, getting to sit just off a protracted duel between frontstepping Dream Massive and early challenger Sir John F and then catching the former by 1¾ lengths in 1:54.3 for driver Yannick Gingras, trainer Bob Baggitt Jr. and owner Christine Baggitt. Tomorrow the world's fastest two-year-old, the filly Warrawee Ubeaut (1:48.3), will start in one of two divisions of the first event of the 2019 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes season, for sophomore pacing fillies; there will also be five divisions of Stallion Series action. In addition, the Jackpot Hi-5 carryover will be just over $17,000, waiting to be taken down by clever bettors. On Saturday, the start of the Great Northeast Open Series headlines a special live Derby Day card at 12:40 p.m., with Crystal Fashion, winner of over a million dollars last year, topping the Open Trot in his first start of the year, and three-year-old divisional champion Kissin In The Sand also making her seasonal bow in the Mare Open Pace.   PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia Jerry Connors

Chester, PA — Coleen Dowdall's Cruise Patrol ($4.80) earned his third harness racing win in four starts at the current Harrah's Philadlphia meet, cascading down the center of the track to prevail in the last yards of a 1:51.2 mile in Sunday afternoon's (April 28) featured $18,000 top-level pace.   The 6-year-old Bettor's Delight entire gave way to standouts Blood Line (Andy McCarthy) and Mach It So (David Miller) on approach to the first turn and was content to draft behind early splits of :26.4 and :55.2, only to be locked in by the first-over Nuclear Dragon (Yannick Gingras) up the backstretch. Just after Blood Line reached three-quarters in 1:23.2, George Napolitano Jr. found room to angle Cruise Patrol off the pegs in front of a fading Nuclear Dragon — but behind the 15-1 Rollinlikethunder (Art Stafford Jr.), who circled three-wide to pass stalled cover and challenge Blood Line for the lead turning for home.   As Rollinlikethunder struck the front off the corner, Cruise Patrol took aim down the grandstand side. In the final yards, Cruise Patrol lifted to the lead, collaring Rollinlikethunder by a half length. Blood Line narrowly held third over Mach It So, who was just one-paced up the open stretch.   Mike Dowdall trains 17-time winner Cruise Patrol.   In the sub-featured $17,000 upper-winners pace, Closing Statement ($2.40) issued a powerful statement, jumping from second-level conditioned company and completing a first-over grind to defeat Romantic Interest by a length in 1:52.4. Dexter Dunn drove the 4-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding for trainer Mark Harder.   The fifth-race Jackpot Hi-5 was again hit by multiple players, resulting in a $13,944.84 carryover to Wednesday's (May 1) card. Post time is 12:25 p.m. Eastern.     by James Witherite Harrah's Philadelphia racing media

WILKES-BARRE PA - Spring In Paris, a sophomore daughter of Explosive Matter, went 3-for-3 in her Bobby Weiss Series preliminary action at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, taking one of Tuesday's $15,000 harness racing prelim divisions in a lifetime best in 1:55.3. And she's economical in her energy dispersal: her total winning margin in her three victories was eight feet, or one length. On Tuesday, Andrew McCarthy moved her uncovered on the second turn, then picked up the cover of pocketpulling Critical Hanover, who went to the lead near the ¾, leaving Spring In Paris uncovered. The gritty three-year-old just kept her mind to business and finally wore down her rival by half a length - the largest margin in her three Weiss victories. Steve LeBlanc conditions the consistent miss, now undefeated her four seasonal starts, for LeBlanc Racing Inc., Glenn Dyke, and Douglas Johnson. The only other horse in this division to notch two Weiss prelim wins was the Cantab Hall filly Fade Into You, who moved to the lead early and went on to a handy five-length triumph in a personal best of 1:56. Fade Into You has now sandwiched wins around a break in Weiss racing, and must be respected as a Weiss Final contender for trainer Ron Burke and the ownership of Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC, J&T Silva- Purnel & Libby, and Phil Collura. Town Hall Justice picked the occasion of her moving into the Rene Allard barn to break a 19-race losing streak and earn enough points to make the Weiss Final. Driver/brother Simon Allard made two moves with the Justice Hall mare and lowered her mark two seconds to 1:56.4 while defeating Cayenne Victory by two lengths. Rene Allard is also the owner of the victress. The Weiss Series $30,000 Championship for this division, in addition to a $15,000 consolation if it fills, will be conducted on Tuesday, April 23, and the unofficial top pointwinners in the prelims are: 1. Spring In Paris, 2. Fade Into You, 3. Lollipop Lindy, 4. Nicole Hanover, 5. Royal Esteem, 6. (tie) Moshannon Magic and Town Hall Justice, 8. Meadowbranch Vicki, 9. Run Lindy Run; Dawn Of Glory and Whip N Neigh Neigh are next in the points, in that order, and thus would be the AE1 and AE 2 "on the bubble" for the Championship, and likely among the top contenders in the consolation. Tequila Monday started her five-year-old campaign with over $740,000 in career earnings, and based on her three starts this year, all victories, she may be as good as she ever has been, which could be bad news for the best of the pacing mare set. The American Ideal quarter-moved going by a 27.1 opener in the $21,500 featured for fast-class distaffs, made the lead, then went on to fractions of 55.1 and 1:23.1, finally stopping the timer in 1:50.2, with a game Eclipse Me N following from the pocket to wind up only 1¼ lengths behind. Matt Kakaley got the sulky assignment from trainer Hunter Oakes for the Northfolk Racing Stable and Chuck Pompey.   PHHA / Pocono Jerry Connors

WILKES-BARRE PA - The Explosive Matter filly Spring In Paris emerged as the only female with a 2-for-2 record in the Bobby Weiss Series for trotting distaffs after three $15,000 second round preliminary harness racing divisions on Tuesday at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Driver Andrew McCarthy had Spring In Paris in second-over position when pacesetting Fade Into You made a break early in the backstretch, with the victorious filly briefly three-wide as her cover was fading and could not cross over, allowing then-pocketsitter Town Hall Justice to scoot through to the lead. But Spring In Paris downshifted when she regained two-wide status, went on to the lead then held off the late inside bid of Royal Esteem by a neck in 1:57.4. Steve LeBlanc conditions the winner, now undefeated in three 2019 starts, for Leblanc Racing Inc., Glenn Dyke, and Douglas Johnson. That victory completed a siring double for Explosive Matter, as his daughter Nicole Hanover won the first Weiss division by a nose in 1:58.4. The mare followed behind pacesetter Meadowbranch Vicki, then used the famed Pocono Pike to nip her foe late for driver Tyler Buter, trainer Bob Rougeaux III, and the Brocious Racing Stable Inc. Sire dominance in the third Weiss cut went to Cantab Hall, as his daughters finished 1-2-3-4, topped by Lollipop Lindy, a three-year-old who reduced her mark two seconds to 1:57. George Napolitano Jr. went the uncovered route with Lollipop Lindy in the last half, and the pair rallied by hard-used pacesetter Run Lindy Run by a half-length for trainer Gilbert Garcia-Herrera and her owner, Hall of Famer Chuck Sylvester. In the top mares overnight pace for $14,000, the Stonebridge Regal mare Bye Bye Michelle was used hard early and late, yet still was able to defeat Ella Christina by a neck in 1:52.4. Andy Miller secured a pocket trip past a 26.4 opener and sat in the two-hole by the 56 half. Ella Christina made a huge uncovered backstretch move to sweep to the lead before the 1:24 3/4s - but her cover did not keep up with her, allowing Miller to move out behind the sweeper, then take off after her in the stretch. Ella Christina held well, but Bye Bye Michelle (favored by only $50 in the win pool over Ella Christina) proved the best at crunch time as she raised her career earnings to $371,225 for trainer Mike Watson and owner Clifford Grundy.   PHHA / Pocono Jerry Connors

WILKES-BARRE PA - The male trotters got their first crack at Weiss Series harness racing action Sunday evening at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, with three $15,000 first round preliminaries seeing the fastest winner emerge as the Conway Hall gelding Hammer Creek, who nipped the heavy favorite Dover Dony in a personal best 1:55.1. Dover Dony had quarter-moved after a 27.2 opener and went on to post nice midsplits of 56.2 and 1:25.1. Pocono's "Trot Man," driver Mike Simons, bided his time with Hammer Creek, then moved out just before the ¾ and aimed right at the leader. Dover Dony had gamely and still was ahead in deep stretch, but his foe was relentless in pursuit and got the decision by the shortest possible margin. Kenneth Hess Jr. trains the winner, who dropped three seconds off his mark, for owner Richard Ciesielski. Although his time of 1:57 may not quite match up to 1:55.1, My Lindy Winner was also quite impressive in victory, remaining undefeated after four 2019 starts. Jim Morrill Jr., who teamed with trainer Rob Harmon for a pair of winners on the card, took his time with the son of Credit Winner in getting the lead, but once on top the issue seemed little in doubt, with My Lindy Winner six lengths clear after a 57.3 last half for the ownership of Vincent Laurenzo, Howard Taylor, and Thomas Lazzaro. The Explosive Matter gelding Higgs Boson doubled his lifetime win total when he won his Weiss division while taking a lifetime mark of 1:57.2. Driver Fern Paquet Jr. sent Higgs Boson on an uncovered mission nearing the 5/8, and the winner proved more than equal to the challenge for trainer Dave Wiest, co-owner with Paul Britcher Jr. Co-featured were a pair of $17,000 events for developing horses, many of whom should be a good bit higher on the class ladder in short order. First up were the pacers, and the winner was the Rock And Roll Heaven gelding Rebel Rouser, who had established a four-race win streak at Yonkers and The Meadowlands, then made it five in a row with a 1:51.3 victory. The lightly-raced but successful pacer (12 for 24 lifetime now at age five) was three-wide a good part of a 27.2 opener, made the lead just after that station , then yielded to a tough opponent in Shadow Cat, who took the field past the half in 55.4 and the 3/4s in 1:24. Driver Andrew McCarthy roused Rebel Rouser out of the two-hole past midturn, went up to the leader and then asserted himself with strong stretch steps, finishing under a hold while ¾ of a length to the good of Shadow Cat, who took second over inside-rallying Ideal Wheel. Robert Cleary is the conditioner of the promising pacer, who is owned by W. J. Donovan of New England and Florida and Donal Murphy of Baltimore - Baltimore, Ireland, that is. Andrew McCarthy also accounted for the trotting co-feature, taking advantage of a perfect pocket trip with the Kadabra gelding Mr Houdini and then holding off longshot closers by ¾ of a length while posting a clocking of 1:56.4. The combine of Ron Burke and Burke Racing Stable LLC / Weaver Bruscemi LLC added yet another victory to their unprecedented accumulation. PHHA / Pocono Jerry Connors

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Drawing the outside post position nine proved to provide no problem for the red-hot Oceania in the Friday night harness racing feature at the Meadowlands, a high-class conditioned pace for fillies and mares. The 5-year-old daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven-Western Cruise was in the early fray around the first turn and followed the cover of Dongal Rundlscrk N down the backside and never saw the rail until she made lead at the three-eighths. Driver Andy McCarthy had plenty of horse power under the hood, as after a half in :55.4, Oceania paced her third fraction in :27.4 before a final-quarter sprint of :27 saw her hit the wire 1¼ lengths in front of an overmatched Dongal Rundlscrk N. Believe In Me was third. "She was vicious tonight," said McCarthy. "(Trainer) Robert Cleary has done an excellent job in keeping her quiet and manageable. We are expecting this mare to mix things up in the open ranks." Oceania completed the mile in 1:50.3 and returned $3.00 as the odds-on public choice to stay perfect in three starts this year. Lifetime, she's won 16-of-57 outings and earned $181,031 for owners Royal Wire Products and United Process Control. CAP4 STRONG AGAIN: The second edition of the Can-Am Pick-4, a wager that requires a player to pick two winners at the Big M and two at Woodbine Mohawk Park, saw a total pool of $58,715, approximately $1,000 more than the debut of the bet one week ago. The payoff on the 20-Cent base wager was $780.98. The winner's odds were 7-5, 1-2, 22-1 and 5-1, so like a week ago, shrewd bettors who had the one big price cashed in big. TOP GUNS: Yannick Gingras led the driver's colony with four winners on the program, while Jimmy Whittemore, a name not-so-well-known at the Big M, scored twice with a pair of prices. Whittemore, who has been driving regularly of late at Saratoga, pulled off a shocker at 37-1 in the third race with Bold Fresh before completing his driving double in the seventh with 9-1 chance Only Passing Thru. Both of his winners were trained Marissa Chadbourne. It was the first Meadowlands appearance of the year for both driver and trainer. A LITTLE MORE: A pair of big carryovers await 20-Cent Jackpot Super High-Five players when racing resumes Saturday at 7:15 p.m. The fifth race will start out with $71,880 in the hat, while the 13th race will offer $38,433 to start. ... All-source wagering totaled $2,355,837.   Dave Little

WILKES-BARRE PA - The ten-year-old classmaster Melady's Monet raised his harness racing career bankroll to $1,419,728 when he proved most photogenic in a four-way picture to take the $21,500 handicap trot feature Sunday at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. The final time of 1:53 was only a tick off the fastest trotting mile of 2019 on a 5/8-mile track in North America, posted by Jack Vernon this past Tuesday at Dover. Assigned the outside in a field of six, the victorious Revenue S gelding spotted fourth for driver Andrew McCarthy as Chestnut Schofield left no doubt as to his intentions, opening a four length lead by a 26.3 quarter and keeping the margin at the 55.1 half. Melady's Monet started uncovered early in the backstretch and steadily gained, as did pocketsitter Two AM to the 1:23.2 ¾ pole, with Dog Gone Lucky joining the top trio and swinging wide in the stretch while Two AM went to the Pocono Pike. All four horses gave their all to the line, with Two AM getting a brief advantage in deep stretch, but Melady's Monet showed his fortitude by thrusting his nose ahead on the money over his innermost foe. Chestnut Scofield held extremely gamely after the wild pace and was only a head off the win at the wire, while Dog Gone Lucky's backers cashed no show tickets even though he was beaten only a neck. Melady's Monet won for the 55th time in his career in his journey to Pocono. Owned by Melady Enterprises LLC, the spry oldster is trained by a man who has had an association with horses who show grittiness and longevity - Herman Heitmann, the first trainer of Foiled Again. Pocono next goes to post on Tuesday at 4 p.m. The following week will mark the beginning of the regular four-card-a-week schedule at the mountain oval, with Saturday and Sunday racing starting at 7 p.m., while Monday and Tuesday action starts at 4 p.m. PHHA / Pocono Jerry Connors

CHESTER PA - Thisguyisonfire again lived up to his name on Thursday afternoon at Harrah's Philadelphia, taking his fourth decision in his last five trips to the harness racing gate with a 1:55.1 victory in the $18,000 headlining trot. Andrew McCarthy got the son of Yankee Glide away third behind pacesetting Majestic Presence and favored Fashion Creditor as fractions of 28.3 and 57.4 were put up. Thisguyisonfire decided to put some heat on the leader late on the backstretch, and by the 1:26.3 ¾ pole he was ready to sweep past the pacesetter. Fashion Creditor got out behind the winner midturn as the rest of the field was left behind and gave a good accounting of himself in the stretch, but Thisguyisonfire prevailed by a length. Trainer Chris Lakata and owner Richard Mishkin now have two wins and a second to the good Trolley since acquiring this horse in mid-November, with $23,000 in earnings a good rate of return for less than a month of investment. In the $17,000 co-featured trot, the Kadabra gelding Mr Houdini used two speed moves before the 3/8 to control the pace, then went on to post a new lifetime best of 1:55.3. Clive Bigsby, the favorite, had bad racing luck and was shuffled, then finished with a rush but came up 2¼ lengths behind the winenr, who was driven by Yannick Gingras for trainer Ron Burke and the ownership of Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. Driver Marcus Miller got behind a pair of horses who were a combined 0-for-56 in 2018 and generated mutuel gold with a pair of longshot victories. The first win came behind the pocket rocket Myell's Rockstar ($67.80) in the second race; then in race twelve, taking advantage of a 1-2 shot and an 8-5 shot both offstride before the first turn, Miller went wire-to-wire with Aldebaran Eureka, lighting up the toteboard at $63.00. Marcus Miller is only the second driver to have two $50+ horses on one card at Harrah's in 2018 - Eric Carlson turned the trick, in consecutive races, on September 5. PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Harness racing driver Andy McCarthy is currently leading the driver colony at the Meadowlands with 30 wins and admits it "would be nice to be the leading driver at the Meadowlands without a doubt", but a final opportunity - for a while anyway - to visit his homeland will find McCarthy's name missing from the Big M program for two or three months after this week's race cards have concluded. "I'll be back in February or March," said McCarthy. "But my oldest son (4-year-old) Finn starts school next year, so I've got to make the most of it." McCarthy, wife Katrina, Finn and youngest son, 2-year-old Olly, will be making a trip home to Australia to visit McCarthy's mom, dad and siblings, who live near Sydney. "I'm not much of a cold-weather person," said McCarthy, 32, of the current chilly conditions in New Jersey. "It's summertime down there. We hang out at the beaches quite a bit. Looking forward to enjoying life a little bit." McCarthy will get an opportunity to pad his lead in the standings before he goes, as he's listed to drive seven horses on Thursday and 10 more on Friday. SETTLEMOIR TO CALL: Big M Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Jason Settlemoir, who called his first race at the age of 12 in his native Ohio, is the next man up on the second of four "Borrow Ken's Binoculars" Thursdays at the Meadowlands, as guest announcers fill in for the voice of the Big M, Ken Warkentin, on Thursday nights during December. NO RACING ON SATURDAY: During December, racing will be conducted on a Thursday through Saturday basis at the Big M with the usual 7:15 p.m. post time. But there is one exception: This Saturday, Dec. 15, with the New York Jets hosting the Houston Texans at MetLife Stadium, there will be no live racing at the Meadowlands. Kickoff is 4:30 p.m. CAN YOU PICK WINNERS? On Saturday, Dec. 22, the Big M is hosting a handicapping tournament, and patrons are sure to love the entry fee: Nothing! The rules: Each participant makes mythical $2 across-the-board wagers (win, place and show) on selections for races 2 through 10 at the Meadowlands. Contestants must make their mythical selections prior to the second race on the official contest entry form and turn them into a contest official. If a horse is scratched, the participant receives the post-time favorite, and if the Meadowlands cancels due to inclement weather, the contest is cancelled. The winner will be determined by the highest total mythical bankroll at the conclusion of the 10th race and will receive a $1,300 spot in the World Harness Handicapping Championship Final on April 6, 2019. Meadowlands Media Relations

CHESTER, PA - With the "Trottin' Thursday" program usually featured weekly at Harrah's Philadelphia knocked out by the dark racing day on Thanksgiving Thursday, Wednesday became the day that featured several fields of quality trotters at the riverside oval. And the guy who was on fire in the featured trots was driver Andrew McCarthy, who took both top-end purses and guided a freshman in an impressive debut. The driver who was on fire teamed with a son of Yankee Glide named Thisguyisonfire to record his third straight victory while taking the $18,000 top trot in 1:55.1. McCarthy had the winner well-positioned in the two-wide tier behind the game veteran Crosbys Clam Bake, who moved to the lead in the lane, only to be caught in the latter stages by a half-length after a good stretch battle. Chris Lakata conditioned the streaking winner for Fashion Farms LLC. The co-featured $17,000 trot was taken in strong fashion by the Kadabra mare Tymal Reign, who was reined by McCarthy to victory in 1:55.2, just a tick off her lifetime best. The favorite was sent right to the top, coming home in 57.2 to easily withstand pocketsitting Exarch by 1¾ lengths for trainer Noel Daley and Harbor Racing Stable LLC. A pair of Muscle Hill freshman colts costing $530,000 at the Harrisburg sale made their debuts and finished 1-2. The $320,000 purchase Sheer Muscle was limbed out four-wide to the 3/16, but driver McCarthy knew what he had under the hood, and the colt went on to the top and won in 1:58. Sheer Glide, his dam, is a full sister to $950G+ winner Flex The Muscle (and Duchess Faye is back in the pedigree a couple of generations), and trainer Lucas Wallin and owner Mario Mazza have a colt to keep an eye on. Finishing second was the $210,000 purchase Hillofamistery, a son of the $480G+-winning mare Mistery Woman, and he raced steadily in his bow, and should benefit from the start for Team Takter. From the PHHA/Harrah's Philadelphia  

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Muscle Diamond and Pure Country lived up to their billing as post-time favorites in taking the co-features at the Meadowlands Friday night. Driver Andy McCarthy, whose three winners on the night upped his meet-leading total to 17, guided Muscle Diamond to victory in the $20,000 Preferred Handicap for trotters. The trip wasn't an easy one, but the Brett Bittle trainee was up for the challenge. Racing sixth past the quarter, McCarthy tipped the 6-year-old son of Muscle Hill-Windylane Hanover to the outside as they began their march toward the leader, who was 2015 Hambletonian champion (and 5-2 second choice) Pinkman. Muscle Diamond chipped away at the leader's edge around the far turn and was on even terms with that foe with an eighth of a mile to go before drawing clear to a three-quarter length win in 1:52.4. Will Take Charge rallied to gun down Pinkman for the place spot. As the 3-5 public choice, Muscle Diamond returned $3.20 to his backers in winning his fourth straight. Pure Country, the winner of the 2017 TVG Mare Pace, gave notice that a repeat might be coming next week as she won the co-featured $20,000 Preferred Handicap for pacing fillies and mares in 1:51. Monica Gallagher was second with her entry mate, Windsun Glory, third. The Jimmy Takter-trained Pure Country was put in the four hole early by driver Yannick Gingras and opted to stay there until swinging to the outside at the five-eighths. Shortly thereafter, Monica Gallagher popped out of the two hole, providing live - albeit short-lived - cover for the eventual winner. Through the stretch, Monica Gallagher was determined, but so was the even-money public choice Pure Country, who gunned down that foe nearing the wire, notching a pulse-pounding head score. Pure Country, a 5-year-old daughter of Somebeachsomewhere-Western Montana, returned $4.20 to win. She has now won 27 of 62 lifetime starts and earned $2,418,249. A LITTLE MORE: One lucky simulcast player wagering into the Oregon hub was the only bettor to last six races - and was the lone winner - in the 20-Cent Survivor Pick-10 and walked away with $12,326. ... The 50-Cent Pick-5 came back $1,174, a healthy payout when you consider the odds of the winning horses in the sequence were 2-1, 5-2, 3-1, 3-5 and 18-1. The 18-1 shot was listed at 4-1 on the morning line. ... All-source handle on the 11-race card was $1,966,181. ... Racing resumes Saturday night at 7:15 p.m. Horse of the Year favorite McWicked will prep for next week's TVG Open Pace by racing in the $20,000 Preferred Handicap. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

CHESTER, PA - Mr Houdini needed little magic to win the $16,000 trot at Harrah's Philadelphia on Friday afternoon - he just needed his native ability, which enabled him to come home in 57 over a "sloppy +2" surface to take a new mark of 1:56. Andrew McCarthy quickly had the altered son of Kadabra on the lead, and the winner of three straight rattled off splits of 29.1, 59.1, and 1:27.3 on the engine. Girl Talk had stayed close to the winner throughout and tried to rally from the pocket late, but Mr Houdini saw that one's late bid off by 3/4 for trainer Ron Burke and the ownership of Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. The top pacing event of the day was an event for distaffs worth $14,500, and heading to the wire three of the four involved in the drive were New Zealanders, with the import Nike Franco N (handled by Flora IL's Tim Tetrick, the lone non-Kiwi) withstood a big late charge from Delightfulmemphisn and the "Down Under Wonder," driver Dexter Dunn, to prevail in 1:52.4 in the off going. Tetrick had moved the victorious daughter of McArdle past early leader Oceania past the 27.1 quarter, put up middle fractions of 56.3 and 1:24.2, and looked free and clear at headstretch. But Delightfulmemphisn angled four-wide and cut into the lead with every stride in the lane, only to come up a half-length short on the money. The winner, trainer by Scott Di Domenico, recorded her second straight win, and now has lifetime earnings of $822,029 while raising her career win ratio to 43% (32 for 75). She is owned by William Hartt, Foulk Stables Inc., JFE Enterprise LLC, and Triple D Stables Inc. From the PHHA/Harrah's Chester

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - The early returns are in, and so far - as the Meadowlands harness racing driver colony is concerned - it's been all Andrew McCarthy, all the time. The 32-year-old native of Australia has 14 wins in just 50 starts through the first five weeks of the 2018-2019 Big M meeting. A pair of not-so-familiar-names - Dexter Dunn and Michael Merton - sit tied in the second spot with nine victories apiece. "The trainers that I drive for," said McCarthy as to why he's done so well to this point. "I've had some nice horses to drive. They make it a heck of a lot easier when you've got the best horse in the race." McCarthy has driven some of the stronger stock at the meeting thus far. He guided Muscle Diamond in the $20,000 Preferred Handicap for trotters to a 1:52.2 score on Nov. 2, Escapetothebeach to victory in the $173,800 Kindergarten Classic for 2-year-old pacing colts and geldings on Nov. 3 in 1:51.3 and Caviart Ally to the winner's circle on Nov. 9 in the $20,000 Preferred Handicap for pacing fillies and mares in 1:50.2. "Caviart Ally is really good right now," said McCarthy. "She's at the top of her game heading into the (Nov. 24) TVG final." McCarthy is listed to drive more talented stock during the upcoming race week at the Big M. He will team up once again with Muscle Diamond in Friday night's Preferred Handicap for trotters and will guide New York Sire Stakes champion Reigning Deo in an elimination for the Governor's Cup for 2-year-old colt pacers Saturday. As usual, racing will be conducted on Friday and Saturday with a first race post time of 7:15 p.m. JUMP IN THE POOL: The track's signature wager, the 50-Cent Pick-4, took plenty of green into its pools last weekend (Nov. 9-10). On Friday night, $67,610 was poured into the pot, while Saturday saw $76,382 in action. One Big M wager that continues to pay off well week in and week out is the 20-Cent Survivor Pick-10, which returned $4,810 (8 of 10) on Friday and $4,451 (6 of 10) Saturday. Both bets feature low 15 percent take outs. Free track program pages are available at both www.playmeadowlands.com and www.ustrotting.com. FOILED AGAIN COMING TO BIG M: On Saturday, Nov. 24, Foiled Again, the richest Standardbred of all time, will be at the Meadowlands, but instead of racing, he'll be visiting with all of his fans. The veteran superstar will be posing for selfies in the Backyard during the live card. In addition, there will also be a special commemorative Foiled Again poster giveaway to all guests, which is available at the Players Club Desk beginning at 6 p.m. Foiled Again's visit comes on a huge night of racing, as the Big M will host both the Fall Final Four and TVG finals that evening. TWO PAIR A STRONG HAND: Last Saturday, driver Yannick Gingras and trainer Ron Burke teamed up to win four times on the program while McCarthy made four winner's circle visits over the course of the weekend. From the Meadowlands Media Department

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - The heavy rain and sloppy conditions didn't figure to deter Caviart Ally in the Friday night feature at the Meadowlands, the $20,000 Preferred Handicap for pacing fillies and mares, as the 4-year-old daughter of Bettor's Delight-Allamerican Cool stomped on an abbreviated field, besting four foes in 1:50.2. The Noel Daley trainee was sent to the gate as the 1-9 choice and deservedly so. Two starts back, she was sent off as the even-money choice and finished third to Shartin N in the Breeders Crown Mare Pace elimination. One week later, in the BC final, she finished second to Shartin N - who is in the Horse of the Year hunt - despite drawing post nine. In both Breeders Crown events - as well as Friday at the Big M - the weather was lousy with a track labeled 'sloppy'. Friday at the Meadowlands, driver Andy McCarthy put Caviart Ally on the front, and given the defections of two top-flight mares - Pure Country, who was an early judges scratch, and Darlinonthebeach, who took the night off due to sickness - it did not figure to be much of a race, and it turned out to be just that. Caviart Ally sprinted to the top, with 5-1 second choice Monica Gallagher and 28-1 longshot I'm Trigger Happy sitting second and third at the rail. Except for a non-threatening challenge from 8-1 third choice Penpal down the backside, positions were unchanged from start to finish, with Caviart Ally powering clear late to a 4¾-length romp in the slop, with Monica Gallagher finishing second and I'm Trigger Happy third. While upping her lifetime record to 16 wins in 52 starts, Caviart Ally returned $2.20 to her backers and topped a $4.60 exacta for her owners Buck and Judy Chaffee's Caviart Farms. Her lifetime bankroll stands at $1,138,721. A LITTLE MORE: McCarthy scored three times on the program. The leading driver at the Big M now has 13 winners for the meet. ... The Steve Smith-driven, Jackie Greene-trained Mayfair Johnny B stayed red hot, winning for a third straight start. The 4-year-old gelding continues to climb the class ladder, having beaten non-winners of $3,500, non-winners of $5,000 and non-winners of $8,500 in succession. ... Trainer Eric Abbatiello won twice on the card, as did drivers Smith and Dexter Dunn. ... All-source wagering on the program totaled $1,641,661. ... Racing resumes Saturday at 7:15 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

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