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EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Harness racing driver Yannick Gingras came from "off the pace" to best Dexter Dunn in the hotly contested battle for top driver at the Meadowlands meeting that came down to Saturday's Hambletonian Day card. By winning three races Friday and four more Saturday, Gingras overcame Dunn's 82-79 lead in the standings entering the final weekend of racing. After Dunn won the final race of the meet - with 19-1 shot Starvin Marvin - he stood one behind Gingras, who won the title by a count of 86 to 85. Gingras and Dunn also finished 1-2 in money earnings. Ron Burke, the winner of 12 consecutive national trainer titles, topped the Big M trainer colony in wins with 50. Nancy Takter was the leading money-earning trainer. She had just over $1 million in earnings heading into Hambo Day. Leading owners at the meeting were Pollack Racing LLC and Jeffrey Cullipher. HANDLE HIGHLIGHTS: All-source North American wagering on the 16-race Hambo Day card totaled $5,730,615, by far the highest total in the industry in 2020. It marked the second time during the 41-program meeting where wagering topped the $5-million plateau. On 33 occasions, wagering went past the $2.5-million mark, while the $3-million barrier was busted 10 times. Wagering on the Hambletonian was red hot, as a total of $845,469 was pushed through the windows on the 11th race Saturday, an increase of $322,305 over last year (61 percent). Wagering totals from international outlets will not be known for several days. A LITTLE MORE: Andy McCarthy not only won his first Hambletonian, but was the top driver on Hambo Day, winning five times. ... Tony Alagna trained three to victory lane, all were driven by McCarthy. ... Live racing at The Meadowlands resumes on Saturday, Sept. 5 at 7:15 p.m., and with the exception of Christmas Day, will be conducted on the normal Friday-Saturday schedule through the end of the year. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations  

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Southwind Tyrion continued his impressive winning ways Friday night at The Meadowlands, upping his lifetime record to three wins in as many starts after taking the $60,000 Garden State - sponsored by the Standardbred Owners and Breeders of New Jersey - for 2-year-old colts and geldings on the trot in 1:54.3 over a track labeled 'good'. The popular 1-9 favorite swung wide off the far turn and sprinted past his foes through the stretch to record a safe 1-length win for trainer-driver Ake Svanstedt. Cricket Fashion was second with Red Redemption third. Two weeks ago, Southwind Tyrion took the New Jersey Sire Stakes Final in a lifetime-best 1:54. He now has earnings of $122,500 for owners S R F Stable, Ake Svanstedt, Knutsson Trotting and Brittany Farms.   In the first of two Garden State divisions for 2-year-old fillies on the trot, Lindys Dollywood, the 4-1 third choice in the wagering, came from off the pace to nail Beautiful Game at the wire. The George Ducharme-trained, Scott Zeron-driven daughter of Muscle Hill-Lindys Crazy won for the first time in three career starts after stopping the clock in 1:54. The Svanstedt-trained Presto made it two wins in three lifetime outings in the second division, hitting the wire in a lifetime-best 1:56.2. Yannick Gingras guided the product of Trixton-Susie's Magic to an easy score as the 1-5 favorite. Dune Hill ran her winning streak to four in the Continentalvictory for 3-year-old filly trotters, holding off Ms Savannah Belle by a nose in 1:53.4 in winning for the sixth time in 16 starts for trainer Ron Burke with Gingras in the bike. The daughter of Muscle Hill-Quite Possible paid $9.20 as the third choice in the betting. Hillexotic, a Muscle Hill-Exotic Destination colt trained and driven by Trond Smedshammer held off the late-charging 3-5 favorite Play Trix On Me in the Muscle Hill for 3-year-old colts and geldings on the trot. The winner, who was sent to the gate as the fourth choice in the betting at odds of 6-1, won for the first time in four career starts, hitting the wire in 1:53. A LITTLE MORE: Gingras recorded three wins on the program while Dexter Dunn had one. Heading into the last day of the meeting, Dunn leads Gingras 83-82 in the driver standings. ... All-source wagering totaled $2,377,908. ... Racing resumes Saturday, Hambletonian Day, at a special early post time of noon. ... There will be a 60-minute Hambletonian show telecast on tape delay on the CBS Sports Network at 6 p.m.   By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

Post Time with Mike and Mike is proud to announce the show's lineup for Thursday, August 6th, 2020, at 10:30 AM. Guests include Andy McCarthy, Mike Wilder, and Dave Little. McCarthy, the regular driver of Ramona Hill, will talk about the filly's chances in the upcoming Hambletonian at The Meadowlands on Saturday. She's coming off of an impressive come-from-behind win in her elimination. Wilder, the go-to pilot of Catch The Fire, won his first Adios at The Meadows this past Saturday in an emotional win over his home oval. Wilder will talk about what was going through his mind after he crossed the wire first. Little, part of the broadcast team at The Meadowlands, will preview the upcoming Hambletonian card from a handicapping point of view. You can listen live at 10:30 AM Eastern or on-demand at posttimewithmikeandmike.com. by Michael Bozich, for Post Time

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – It was a Meadowlands Pace harness racing rematch, where third-place finisher Allywag Hanover was looking for some revenge against Pace champion Tall Dark Stranger. But Captain Kirk did not get the memo that said one of the two favorites would emerge victorious. A son of Captaintreacherous-Aria Hanover, Captain Kirk went directly to the top from post 8 before going directly down the road in the $84,800 Tompkins Geers for 3-year-old colts and geldings on the pace at The Meadowlands Saturday night. Driver Joe Bongiorno was aggressive with the Tony Alagna trainee, and while he never had a moment’s peace, Captain Kirk recorded a determined three-quarter-length win nonetheless in a lifetime-best 1:48.3. Allywag Hanover (the 3-2 second choice) was second, Sandbetweenmytoes third and Tall Dark Stranger fourth. Sent off as the 16-1 third choice in the betting, Captain Kirk led at the quarter in :26.4 while taking bitter pressure from 131-1 chance Rogerthat Bluechip. The duo continued to trade blows to the half as Rogerthat Bluechip had a nose up in :54.2. Rogerthat Bluechip was done soon thereafter, and it was now Allywag Hanover’s turn to turn up the heat on the outside, but Captain Kirk kept on rolling, hitting three-quarters in 1:22.1, before extending his edge to two lengths for the sprint home. It was no problem from there. Captain Kirk ($35.60 to win), who finished seventh in The Pace, still had enough gas in the tank to pace his final quarter in :26.2 to get his second lifetime win in 13 starts. Tall Dark Stranger, the 3-5 favorite, had things go anything but smoothly from post 10, and did not fire after going a second-over trip. In the $53,100 Tompkins Geers split for 3-year-old fillies on the pace, Rocknificent sat in the pocket behind dueling leaders Peaky Sneaky and Alexis’s Beach before swinging three-wide on the far turn. The Scott Zeron-driven, Linda Toscano-trained daughter of Captaintreacherous-Rocklamation, who returned $4.80 as the 7-5 public choice, had to contend with a fast-closing Lady Lou along the rail, and just got up to record a head win in a lifetime-best 1:49.1. Peaky Sneaky was third. The fourth leg of the $40,000 Miss Versatility for open mare trotters went to 2-5 favorite Plunge Blue Chip (Muscle Mass-Dunk The Donato), who needed every inch of the stretch while racing extremely wide to record a nose win over Kenziesky Hanover in 1:52.2 for trainer-driver Ake Svanstedt. The 5-year-old lifted her lifetime earnings to $1.267 million. A LITTLE MORE: Three of the Big M’s most popular puzzles took big action, as the 20-cent Pick-5 ($106,654), 50-cent Early Pick-4 ($95,893) and 50-cent Late Pick-4 ($97,996) accounted for a total of $300,543 worth of wagers. … Betting blew past the $3-million mark for a second straight card and ninth time this year, as $3,242,000 was pushed through the windows. … Alagna finished the night with three winners, including American History, who took the Open for pacers in 1:47.1, just a fifth of a second off the national season’s record. … Racing resumes Friday at 7:15 p.m. … Saturday’s (August 8) huge Hambletonian Day card gets underway at noon.   By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - It was a night for the players who love The Meadowlands' multi-leg wagers Friday night, as a pair of big carryovers led to windfalls for shrewd bettors. Right off the bat, the first race saw the 20-cent Pick-5 attract $330,061 in "new money" on top of the $52,665 carryover. The pool total was $382,726, and those who had winning tickets where the winner's odds were 7-2, 3-2, 17-1, 12-1 and 2-1 cashed in for $3,974.94. Twenty-cent Pick-6 winners also cashed in for big green. After $61,325 was pumped into the pool on top of the $13,524 carryover, a total of $74,489 was in the hat. Winner's odds for that sequence were 12-1, 2-1, 7-1, 6-5, 5-1 and 7-2, and those who held live tickets walked away with $4,689.20. With the boost provided by the big Pick-5 betting, the total pool on the first race was $483,599, which set the tone for the rest of the evening, as total wagering exceeded the $3-million mark for the eighth time this year with $3,065,942 pushed through the windows on the 13-race card. That number represented a 34 percent increase over the corresponding program from a year ago. ON THE TRACK: Plumville Prince scooted up the rail after three horses vacated the pylons on the far turn, then split rivals in deep stretch to record a 1¾-length score in the lone Peter Haughton Memorial elimination for 2-year-old colts and geldings on the trot. Sent to the gate as the 5-1 third choice in the wagering, Plumville Prince stopped the clock in 1:54.2 in winning for the first time in three lifetime starts. Scott Zeron drove the product of Father Patrick-Lady Athens for his father, trainer Rick. Finishing second through seventh, respectively, were Moonstone S, Venerate, Media Mogul, Caruso, Zenith Stride and Incentive. They will join three horses who accepted byes - Locatelli, Type A and Spy Booth - in the $324,000 Final on August 8. Chalk players took it on the chin in both eliminations of the Jim Doherty Memorial for 2-year-old filly trotters. In the first elim, 2-5 choice Insta Glam broke on the far turn, setting up a win from well off the pace from 12-1 chance Darlene Hanover (Chapter Seven-Danielle Hanover), who scored in 1:54.4 in registering her first lifetime score for trainer Brett Bittle and driver Andy McCarthy. Material Girl, Hot As Hill, Ineffable and May Karp finished second through fifth, respectively, earning berths in the August 8 final, which will go for $310,000. Altar, also 2-5 in the betting, was sailing along on the lead in mid-stretch before going off stride in the second elim, allowing Mazzarati (Cantab Hall-Falls For You) a trip to the winner's circle. Driven by Tim Tetrick for Lucas Wallin, Mazzarati hit the wire in a lifetime-best 1:56. Avenir, Ixia Maculata S, Altar (finished 3rd, disqualified and placed fourth) and Sel's Choice were second through fifth in the official order of finish to advance to the final. In a pair of $40,000 divisions of the Home Grown, Caviart Audrey (Somebeachsomewhere-Darlin's Delight) used a wicked late kick (:25.4 final quarter) to catch 3-5 favorite Grace Hill in taking her lifetime debut in 1:51.4 at odds of 2-1 for Yannick Gingras and Nancy Takter in the split for 2-year-old pacing fillies. The division for 2-year-old colts and geldings on the pace saw Summa Cum Laude (the 6-5 slight second choice) blast directly down the road for Dexter Dunn and Ron Burke. The son of Somebeachsomewhere-Western Graduate hit the wire in 1:51.4, a lifetime best. Monterrey Jack, also 6-5, finished third. BEFORE THE BETTING CARD: Shake That House, a son of American Ideal-Shake That Junk, went wire to wire in 1:49.1, taking the New Jersey Breeders Maturity Final for pacing 4-year-old horses and geldings for trainer Tony Alagna and driver Joe Bongiorno. It was 1¼ lengths back to Hurrikane Emperor in second. A Beach Cowgirl (Somebeachsomewhere-Limestone Cowgirl) sat a perfect pocket trip and got up as they hit the wire to gun down JK American Beauty by a nose in a lifetime-best 1:49.4 for Annie Stoebe and Andy McCarthy in the New Jersey Breeders Maturity Final for 4-year-old mares on the pace. HAMBO PROPS: Fans who want to stop into the FanDuel Sportsbook at the Big M will have a chance to make some prop bets on Saturday night's Hambletonian eliminations. You can get +220 on Zeron to finish on the board in both elims, or maybe you have a strong opinion on who will finish in front of whom in the matchup pitting Ramona Hill (-125) and Beads (+110). There will be a handful of bets available, including the winning margins of both elims. A LITTLE MORE: Dunn, Zeron, Bongiorno and McCarthy all recorded driving doubles on the program. ... Betting in the Late 50-cent Pick-4 surpassed the $100,000 mark for a fourth straight time, as $106,675 was put in play. ... Racing resumes Saturday at 7:15 p.m., featuring two eliminations for the $1,000,000 Hambletonian. By Dave Little, for the Meadowlands   

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - With each having recorded a sharp score in their respective divisions of the Stanley Dancer Memorial, Back Of The Neck and Ready For Moni have been installed as the morning-line favorites in their respective Hambletonian eliminations, which take place Saturday (August 1) night at The Meadowlands. The Hambo Final is August 8. In the first of two $50,000 elims, Back Of The Neck is listed at 2-1 from post one for driver Scott Zeron and trainer Ake Svanstedt. After missing a nose in his seasonal debut on June 27 to Sorella - one of The Hambletonian Oaks favorites - the son of Ready Cash-Big Barb has reeled off two straight wins from off the pace in impressive fashion, scoring in the July 11 Reynolds in a lifetime-best 1:52 before his Dancer win on July 18, also in 1:52. "No, he is not one dimensional," said Zeron after being asked if his horses' best game is coming from behind. "His best effort was on the front end in his first start. To have come home in :26.1 and get picked off at the last second, that was a great effort. "I avoided the front end going forward because I wanted to teach him to do other things. [Having drawn post 1] Gives me options. I definitely don't have one trip in mind. I avoided the front in his last two on purpose, but we will play it by ear. I'm happy with the post position." Ready For Moni will start at 5-2 on the big board from post 8 in the second elim as Nancy Takter and Yannick Gingras look to become the first trainer-driver team to sweep The Meadowlands Pace and The Hambletonian in the same year. The son of Ready Cash-Nothing But Moni went a perfect cover trip in his only outing of 2020 when he won his Dancer split in a lifetime-best 1:51.4 after kicking home in :27.1. So, what about the outside post position? "I'm a little indifferent about it," said Takter. "On paper, it looks like we are in the easier of the two eliminations. I think we are in good shape. I think the eight is a good spot." Takter is not concerned about Ready For Moni having only had one outing this season. "It's just the way his schedule played out," said Takter. "I would have preferred one or two more starts but all of our horses have a good foundation. I think it's a myth that these horses need a lot of races. They go so fast. I think [having too few starts] is better than having too many." For the complete post-position draw of both Hambletonian eliminations, go to http://ustrottingnews.com/hambletonian-eliminations-set/ HAMBLETONIAN – 1st ELIMINATION (Purse $50,000): 1. Back Of The Neck (Scott Zeron, Ake Svanstedt), 2-1 2. Third Shift (Ake Svanstedt, Ake Svanstedt), 8-1 3. Amigo Volo (Dexter Dunn, Nifty Norman), 7-2 4. Big Oil (Andy Miller, Julie Miller), 10-1 5. Maesteraemon (Brian Sears, Marcus Melander), 12-1 6. Hollywood Story (Tim Tetrick, Marcus Melander), 10-1 7. Ramona Hill (Andy McCarthy, Tony Alagna), 5-1 8. Beads (Jimmy Takter, Per Engblom), 9-2 HAMBLETONIAN – 2nd ELIMINATION (Purse $50,000): 1. Capricornus (Tim Tetrick, Marcus Melander), 15-1 2. Sister Sledge (Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke), 3-1 3. Jula Trix Treasure (Ake Svanstedt, Ake Svanstedt), 6-1 4. Rome Pays Off (Mattias Melander, Marcus Melander), 9-2 5. Threefiftytwo (Scott Zeron, Luc Blais), 8-1 6. Chestnut Hill (David Miller, Nifty Norman), 6-1 7. Sky Castles (Corey Callahan, Andrew Harris), 20-1 8. Ready For Moni (Yannick Gingras, Nancy Takter), 5-2 9. Moon Bridge (Andy Miller, Ake Svanstedt), 20-1 FABULOUS FILLIES: Attempting to become the next filly to win the Hambletonian (Atlanta was the last in 2018) are Ramona Hill (5-1 in the first elim) and Sister Sledge (3-1 in elim two). OAKS A SINGULAR EVENT: The $600,000 Hambletonian Oaks saw 12 horses enter, meaning that event for 3-year-old fillies on the trot will not need eliminations and will be one dash for the cash on Saturday, August 8. To view the complete list of horses entered, go to http://ustrottingnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/ENTERED-2020-Hambo.pdf POST DRAWS LIVE: The post-position draws for both The Hambletonian and Hambletonian Oaks will take place during Saturday night's program at The Meadowlands and will be broadcast on the track's in-house simulcast feed live. by Dave Little, for the Meadowlands  

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Sister Sledge threw her hat into the ring as a big-time contender in the August 8 Hambletonian Oaks with a dominant harness racing performance in one of three Tompkins Geers divisions at The Meadowlands Saturday night. In the second of two splits for 3-year-old filly trotters, driver Yannick Gingras was patient early with Sister Sledge, vacating the three-hole after the quarter and clearing the top at the half in :55.4. The daughter of Father Patrick-Behindclosedoors sailed home as much the best from there, hitting the wire in 1:51.2, lowering her previous lifetime best by one-and-four-fifth seconds. It was 4¾ lengths back to Ms Savannah Belle. Dubai Princess was third. The Ron Burke trainee, who paid $2.80 to win as the 2-5 public choice, upped her lifetime stats to 11 wins in 16 starts, good for earnings of $622,058. Sister Sledge Caviart Eva pulled off a big upset at odds of 30-1 in the first filly division, gunning down 2-5 favorite Next Level Stuff by a nose in 1:52.1, a lifetime best for the Trixton-Caviart Elle product, who was driven by Andy McCarthy for trainer Nancy Takter. Caviart Eva In the lone dash for colts and geldings, 10-1 chance Rome Pays Off (Muscle Hill-Order By Wish), driven by Mattias Melander for his brother Marcus, scored in a lifetime-best 1:52.3, possibly punching his ticket to take a shot in The Hambletonian. Play Trix On Me, the 3-2 favorite, was 2¾ lengths behind at the wire to finish second. Rome Pays Off BIG CARRYOVERS FRIDAY No winning tickets were sold in two of the track's popular multi-leg wagers, setting up a pair of carryovers sure to titillate players when racing resumes Friday night. Despite 4-5 favorite Caviart Rockland winning the final leg, no one held a winning ticket on the 20-cent Pick-5, which led to a carryover of $52,665. Big M management announced that a guaranteed pool of $150,000 will be offered next week for the wager with the low 15 percent takeout. The odds of the winners for the first four legs were 8-1, 10-1, 5-1 and 30-1. The pool total was $82,618, and those who had four out of five cashed in for $103.72. The 30-1 shot - Caviart Eva in the fourth race - was the key to both carryovers, as she began a 20-cent Pick-6 sequence that saw the following five winners score at odds of 4-5, 2-5, 10-1, 12-1 and 4-5. The Pick-6 pool, which totaled $21,226, will have a carryover of $13,524, with much more expected to be pumped through the windows next week. Those who went five for six got back $126.10. A LITTLE MORE Gingras led the driver's colony with four winners on the night. He and Dexter Dunn finished the weekend with five victories apiece and are tied for the top spot in the driver standings with 77 winners each. ... For a third straight time, wagering in the Late 50-cent Pick-4 exceeded the $100,000 mark, as $103,746 was put in play. ... All-source wagering totaled $2,767,603. ... Check out The Meadowlands Facebook page on Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. as Jessica Otten will host the live post-position draw for the Hambletonian and Hambletonian Oaks eliminations, which take place Saturday night. ... Racing resumes Friday at 7:15 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations  

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - They might have taken different paths to get there, but Altar and Southwind Tyrion both found their way to the harness racing winner's circle in a pair of $160,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes finals at The Meadowlands Friday night. Altar, a daughter of Muscle Hill-Swan Hot Mama, led at every call in taking the 2-year-old filly trot for driver Dave Miller and trainer Per Engblom. After heading to the gate as the 4-5 public choice, Miller urged Altar to the top and never surrendered the lead in a thoroughly dominant performance, hitting the wire 2¾ lengths in front of Material Girl in a lifetime-best equaling 1:54.4. Presto finished third. "I actually wanted to get out of there and get on Yannick's [Gingras, driving Presto] back," said Miller. "I thought that would be better. She finished real strong." After hitting the half in a rated :58, Altar accelerated and opened up 2½ on the field at three-quarters and had no anxious moments from there. "Not particularly," said Miller when asked if he intentionally sped clear of the field. "She was so relaxed, I did chirp to her on the far turn, and she did everything on her own from there."   Altar returned $3.60 to her backers, and now has two wins in three lifetime starts, good for earnings of $92,500 for owners Diamond Creek Racing. In the 2-year-old colt and gelding trot, the Ake Svanstedt trained and driven Southwind Tyrion stayed perfect in two lifetime outings after scoring in a lifetime-best 1:54 coming from off the pace. The son of Muscle Hill-Taylor Jean was pushed wide into the first turn and took back to mid-pack before emerging from the five-hole approaching the half, flushing cover from Mon Amour, who was looking for a three-race Sire Stakes sweep. Miller and Heartbreak Hill were sailing along on the lead at three-quarters but brought little from there. After tipping off his cover, Southwind Tyrion exploded home in :27 to record a 3-length win over Locatelli, who did well from post 10 as the 2-1 favorite. Spy Booth grabbed the show dough. Southwind Tyrion, who returned $16.40 as the fifth choice in the wagering, now has earnings of $92,500 for owners S R F Stable and Ake Svanstedt Inc. STAYING PERFECT: A pair of $96,000 NJSS Finals for 2-year-old pacers were contested before the betting card, with both winners completing three-race sweeps after taking both of their respective preliminary legs. First up was Anna Jeans (Great Vintage-Early Go Hanover), who won the filly event in 2:05.2 for driver Jason Thompson and trainer John Urbanski. Fika Time (a Sunfire Blue Chip-Raiders Favorite gelding) stopped the clock in a lifetime-best 1:55.4 in the division for colts and geldings for Tim Tetrick and Chase Vandervort. There were also a pair of New Jersey Breeders Maturity events for 4-year-old pacers, the first of which - for horses and geldings - went to Hurrikane Emperor in 1:50. The son of Hurrikane Kingcole-Hurrikane Schmumma, the fastest horse in the sport this year by virtue of his 1:47 clocking in the Graduate on July 11, was piloted by Mark MacDonald for John McDermott. A Beach Cowgirl (Somebeachsomewhere-Limestone Cowgirl) established her lifetime best of 1:50 in holding off JK American Beauty by a half-length for Dexter Dunn and Annie Stoebe in the division for mares. A LITTLE MORE: 2016 Hambletonian champion Marion Marauder won the overnight feature - a high-end conditioned trot - in a lifetime-best 1:50.2. ... Miller led all drivers with four wins on the card. ... Betting surpassed the $2.5-million mark for the 29th time in 35 Big M programs this year, as a total of $2,759,620 was pushed through the windows, including $100,394 of action in the 50-cent Late Pick-4. ... Racing resumes Saturday at 7:15 p.m.   By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - The action was pulse-pounding - both on the track and at the windows - and Dave Briggs of harnessracingupdate.com summarized by writing "We needed this". Both are accurate takes on what transpired Saturday on Meadowlands Pace Night at The Meadowlands. Harness fans' thirst for a huge night of racing was quenched by the Big M's 13-race program, which included 10 stakes events, highlighted by the 44th edition of The Meadowlands Pace, where Tall Dark Stranger came back after being passed in the stretch by arch-rival Papi Rob Hanover to record his 11th career win in 12 tries for driver Yannick Gingras and trainer Nancy Takter in a Pace finish that will go down as one of the most thrilling in history. "Honestly, I thought he was beat," said Gingras. "This horse is just so gritty. He wants to fight them off. Papi was a half-length by me." "An incredible night for harness racing," said track Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Jason Settlemoir. "Congratulations to the entire Meadowlands team on a historic card, when Meadowlands Pace Night handle topped $5 million for the first time since 2008." Some handle highlights from the card: Total handle: $5,051,261 (an increase of $1,006,958 - 25 percent - over 2019) Average per race: $388,558 50-cent Pick-4 pool: $191,288 The 20-cent Super High-Five pool featured a mandatory payout. It started with a $65,089 carryover before $133,578 in "new money" was wagered for a total of $198,667 Meadowlands Pace (Race 9) pool: $645,423 (an increase of $145,498 over 2019) SMALL INVESTMENT, BIG GAIN: The Big M's popular multi-leg wagers offered generous payouts on the plays that have a base bet of 20 cents as the Late Pick-5 ($1,494), Pick-6 ($5,016), Super High-Five (Race 11, mandatory payout, $3,765) and Jackpot Super High-Five (Race 13, $4,990) all provided handsome returns. THE POWER OF THE PEN: As Briggs wrote in his Sunday HRU space: "But in this, of all years, we needed this: an epic battle of equine fortitude and speed and strength that reminded us what we love so much about horses. "We needed it played out on a delightful card on the biggest stage featuring more than $2.6 million in purses, betting that exceeded $5 million and a raft of equine superstars that had collective earnings north of $53 million heading into the night. "We needed it like a kid in Grade 7 needs to burst from school when the final bell rings on the last day before summer vacation. That's exactly how it felt watching the whole delicious card unfold. "Yes, the card, given the pandemic, was far from normal, but The Meadowlands stellar broadcasting crew, led by the two Daves - buoyant Brower and savvy Little - did their utmost to make it seem as if everything was right in the world. "Maybe Saturday was just a momentary distraction from the misery. Likely, the euphoria won't last long. But, dammit, we needed this." THE NEXT BIG ONE: Harness racing's trotting classic, The Hambletonian, takes place at The Meadowlands on Saturday, August 8. Post time will be noon. Two horses who figure to be on hand are Ready For Moni and Back Of The Neck, the winners of the two Stanley Dancer Memorial divisions Saturday who are currently 1-2 in Ken Warkentin's "Road to the Hambletonian" Top 10. To see the entire poll, go to http://ustrottingnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Road-to-the-Hambletonian072220.pdf. MARCH IN GABE'S ARMY: The Meadowlands' Dave Brower, Dave Little, Warkentin and Jessica Otten will be joined this weekend by Gabe Prewitt, harness racing's "Man of Many Hats" who calls the action at Pompano Park and Lexington's Red Mile and played a key role in Scioto Downs besting the $2-million handle mark for the first time in track history earlier this year. The social media wiz, who is the leader of his "#senditin army", will be on hand to bolster the Big M's TV presence by sitting beside Brower Friday night and serving as co-host of the live simulcast presentation, which begins at 6:45 p.m. Post time for the first race on Friday and Saturday is the usual 7:15 p.m. FREE STUFF: For free past performances, go to playmeadowlands.com, where race fans can access the Late 50-cent Pick-4 and Late 20-cent Jackpot Super High-Five (races 10-13) on both Friday and Saturday. In addition, on Friday, Race 6 will be offered (New Jersey Sire Stakes Final) and on Saturday, add Races 2, 4 and 6 (The Tompkins Geers). CHECK OUT THE PICKS: For those who need to get a leg up on the action, go to playmeadowlands.com to see track oddsmaker and analyst Brower's selections and commentary. Go to the "handicapping" drop down and then go to "race reviews". Additionally, track announcer Ken Warkentin's blog is available on the site and offers his picks and analysis. On race nights, access picks and plays from the Big M TV team at #playbigm or at @TheMeadowlands. TWEET THE TEAM: Stay in touch on Twitter with the Big M's Brower (@eedoogie), Little (@DaveLittleBigM), Warkentin (@kenvoiceover), Otten (@JessicaOtten1) and Prewitt (@gabe_prewitt). Check in everyday for Meadowlands news and updates at those handles, as well as @TheMeadowlands and #playbigm. by Dave Little, for the Meadowlands  

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - The wagering on harness racing Meadowlands Pace night Saturday at The Meadowlands got off to a fast start and just kept on rolling all night long. When all the money was counted, a total of $5,051,261 was wagered on the 13-race program, by far the most in the North America this year and most on a Pace Night card since 2008, when betting was $5,371,055. This year's total represented an increase of 25 percent over 2019 when total action was $4,044,303. The play on Saturday was hot and heavy from the start, as $419,581 was wagered in the first race, which included $130,539 in the 20-cent Pick-5 pool, a 2020 Big M best. The track offered a $100,000 guaranteed pool on the Early 50-cent Pick-4 in Race 6, and wagering blew past that number, as another seasonal best - $191,288 - was poured into the pot. The 11th race offered a mandatory payout on the 20-cent Jackpot Super High-Five, and $133,578 in "new money" was added to the carryover of $65,089 to create a total pool of $198,667. Those who held tickets bearing the winning combination of 4-2-11-3-1 cashed in for $3,765.32. Not surprisingly, the Meadowlands Pace took the most action of any single race on the card, with a total of $645,423 bet, the largest total since the 2013 Pace, when $662,159 was pushed through the windows. A LITTLE MORE: When it came to the driver's colony on Pace Night, all 13 races were won by some of the very best in the game. Dexter Dunn and Andy McCarthy won three races apiece, followed by Yannick Gingras and Brian Sears, who each scored twice. The remaining races were taken by Tim Tetrick, Scott Zeron and Dave Miller. ... Racing resumes Friday at 7:15 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations  

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - It was Hall of Famer Dave Miller's night at the Meadowlands Friday, as "The Buckeye" drove three harness racing winners on the program, including among them, Run Director in the featured Open for trotters. "I raced him at [Harrah's Philadelphia] in his last start and he had all kinds of road trouble but still trotted in [1:]51," said Miller. "I really like this horse." So did those who wagered on the 5-year-old son of Kadabra-Keep The Spirit, who was sent to the gate at 11-1 in a field remarkable in how competitive it looked on paper. While not showing gate speed in any of his recent efforts, Miller gunned his horse to the top around the first turn and hit the quarter in :27. With no one coming at him, Miller was able to rate the second fraction in :29, which left plenty of juice for the final half-mile. Nearing three-quarters, Betting Gangster S was racing first-over trying to challenge the leader while towing 2-1 favorite Lindy The Great into the race, but Betting Gangster S stalled on the far turn, which forced Lindy The Great three-wide, sealing the deal for the eventual winner. Lindy The Great kicked home in :26.1, but it was too little, too late, as Run Director completed his wire-to-wire win in 1:51.4.   "I did not expect to make the lead that easy," said Miller. "He was going along really easy and seemed very comfortable. I heard Andy [Miller, driving Lindy The Great] coming but we had enough left to get the job done." Run Director, who hit the finish three-quarters-of-a-length in front of LTG, paid $25.00 to win for his owners Thomas and Elizabeth Rankin. Swansea finished third. The Andrew Harris trainee now has 14 wins from 38 career starts and earnings of $470,087. NJSS WRAPUP: The second leg of the New Jersey Sire Stakes for 2-year-olds saw seven divisions on the Friday card. In the first of three colt and gelding trots, the Dave Miller-driven, Marcus Melander-trained Heartbreak Hill (Muscle Hill-Allmar Surprise) gunned down 3-5 favorite Spy Booth nearing the wire to pull off an upset at 31-1, winning for the first time in his career in 1:54.3; Locatelli (Muscle Hill-Girlie Tough) went wire-to-wire in division two for Yannick Gingras and Nancy Takter, taking his first-ever victory in 1:54.4 as the 3-1 third choice; Mon Amour (Muscle Hill-Mind Meld) was the only favorite among the male trotters to click, as the Per Engblom student scored in division three as the 3-5 choice in 1:56 with Dexter Dunn holding the lines. The first of two divisions for filly trotters went to Altar (Muscle Hill-Swan Hot Mama) for Dave Miller and Engblom. The 7-1 chance recorded her first lifetime win in 1:54.4 coming from off the pace. In the second division, Engblom completed a sweep of the filly trot divisions - and got his third NJSS win of the night - with Material Girl, a Muscle Hill-Lilu Hanover offspring who was driven by Dunn. The 4-1 shot, who visited the winner's circle for the first time in her career, stopped the clock in 1:55.3. Before the betting card, there were a pair of divisions on the pace. Recording a second victory in as many starts was the filly Anna Jeans (Great Vintage-Early Go Hanover), who scored in a lifetime-best 2:03.2 for trainer John Urbanski and driver Jason Thompson. Also staying perfect in two starts was Fika Time, a gelding from trainer Chase Vandervort who is a product of Sunfire Blue Chip-Raiders Favorite. Tim Tetrick guided the winner to a lifetime-best 1:56.3 mile. A LITTLE MORE: Wagering was solid all night as the 20-cent Pick-5 took in $81,252 in bets and the Late Pick-4 saw $88,209 of action. ... Total wagering was $2,883,778. ... Racing resumes Saturday night - Meadowlands Pace Night - at a special early post time of 6:30 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations  

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Gusting winds and drenching rains from Tropical Storm Fay could not extinguish the harness racing fire that is super mare Atlanta at The Meadowlands Friday night. Facing an easier task than in her first two starts of the season not having to face arch-rival Manchego, the Ron Burke-trained Atlanta had an easy time of it in the $40,000 second leg of the Miss Versatility for open mare trotters over a sloppy track. Driver Yannick Gingras kept Atlanta off the early action, sitting fifth past the quarter and half. He then got the 5-year-old daughter of Chapter Seven-Hemi Blue Chip in gear after leader Kenziesky Hanover. With Atlanta gaining quickly, Plunge Blue Chip swerved out of the three-hole, which provided a live tow for the eventual winner. Plunge Blue Chip was just off the leader's flank at three-quarters, and out of the turn, Gingras swung Atlanta three-wide for the drive and easily coasted by Plunge Blue Chip to record a 3¼-length score in 1:51.2. Plunge Blue Chip, the 5-1 second choice, completed the $5.20 exacta. Felicityshagwell S was third. "I wasn't concerned about the sloppy track because I knew Yannick would adjust to the conditions," said Burke. "The truth is, she prefers to get the kind of trip she got tonight. I wanted to follow Plunge Blue Chip, and as long as we could outkick her, we'd be alright. I am going to give Atlanta next week off. I don't want to over-race her. She's more thoroughbred than standardbred. She'll go next in two weeks in the Spirit of Massachusetts at Plainridge." Atlanta has now won 22 of 42 lifetime outings, good for earnings of $2,026,089 for owners Crawford Farms Racing, Brad Grant and Howard Taylor. NJSS ROUNDUP: The New Jersey Sire Stakes for 2-year-olds kicked off Friday with its opening leg, and in the filly pace, the John Urbanski-trained and driven Anna Jeans, a product of Great Vintage-Early Go Hanover, won in a "walkover" (a one-horse race) in 2:15.2 over the sloppy surface in a race conducted before the betting card. In another early non-bettor, Fika Time took the colt and gelding pace for driver Tim Tetrick and trainer Chase Vandervort. The gelded son of Sunfire Blue Chip-Raiders Favorite stopped the clock in 2:01.1. In the first of three colt and gelding trots on the betting card, Southwind Tyrion, a son of Muscle Hill-Taylor Jean, came from off the pace to score as the 4-5 favorite for trainer-driver Ake Svanstedt in 1:56.1. The Dexter Dunn-driven, Per Engblom-trained Mon Amour, a colt by Muscle Hill-Mind Meld, went wire-to-wire in 1:56.4 as the 3-1 second choice in division two before Beyond The Hill took advantage of a late break by leader Sonofamistery to score in the final division in 1:59.1. Driven by Dave Miller and trained by Jim Campbell, the son of Muscle Hill-Beyond Blue paid off at odds of 10-1. The filly trotters had two divisions, and taking the first was Hot As Hill, who won from off the pace for driver Joe Bongiorno and Burke. The daughter of Muscle Hill-Smarty Pants went off at odds of 17-1 and went the mile in 1:58.3. The second division gave Svanstedt a trainer-driver NJSS double as another longshot, 39-1 chance Presto, upset the apple cart in 1:57 from off the pace. The winner is a daughter of Trixton-Susie's Magic. A LITTLE MORE: Melissa Arbia, who guided Take It Back Terry to victory in the first race GSY Series pace for amateur drivers, combined with Bongiorno to complete a rare husband-wife driving double on the card. The last to do it were Ake and Sarah Svanstedt. ... Despite the bad weather and multiple 2-year-old races, wagering on the 13-race card totaled $2,373,660. ... Racing resumes Saturday at 7:15 p.m. The Meadowlands Pace Elimination and a pair of $250,000 Graduate Finals highlight the program.   By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

East Rutherford, NJ - The top three in Dave Little's Road to the Meadowlands Pace were unchanged from start to finish. Making the loudest statement during the five weeks was Allywag Hanover, who went from unknown at the start of the poll all the way to No. 4 in the final Top 10.   Rank Horse (Earnings - Mark) Driver, Trainer, Owner Dave Little’s Comments 1 Tall Dark Stranger ($726,889 – 1:47.4) Y. Gingras, N. Takter Crawford Farms Racing,  Marvin Katz, Caviart Farms,  Howard Taylor  Took last week off after his incredible 1:47.4 win at The Big M on June 27. Has been top-ranked in the Top 10 every week. Departs from post 3 Saturday night in the lone Meadowlands Pace Elimination. Takter: “He trained well Wednesday morning. He’s happy, fresh and ready to go.” Will those who raced last week have an edge on your horse? “Maybe for this week, but not the week after that.” Last Race: 6/27 – M1 – NW$22,500 – 1st (1:47.4) 2 Papi Rob Hanover ($758,274 – 1:50) D. Miller, B. Pelling David McDuffee    Went a big mile in his seasonal debut July 4, finishing a close second after a troubled-trip from post 10. His pill-drop luck remains lousy: He has drawn post 10 for the elim. Pelling: “He did everything he could. He paced home in :25.1 and i don’t think he got pacing until he was in the stretch. [Now that he’s had a race] I can tell he’s in racehorse mode.” Last Race: 7/4 – M1 – NW$14,000 – 2nd (1:49.3) 3 Capt Midnight ($306,038 – 1:49.3) A. McCarthy, T. Alagna Marvin Katz, Ken Jacobs, Brad Grant, Capt Midnight Racing  A sharp McCarthy steer led to an inside-route 1:49.3 winner’s circle visit holding off Papi Rob. Can a third-ranked horse fly under the radar? Given the press clippings of the top two, this one has. In the elim, he leaves from post 9. Alagna: “I was very happy with the way he raced. Saturday, he’s going to have to float out of there a little bit, and you hope he doesn’t have to overdo it. It’s a tough bunch of horses.” Last Race: 7/4 – M1 – NW$14,000 – 1st (1:49.3) 4 Allywag Hanover ($44,483 – 1:48)   T. Tetrick, B. Pelling Allywag Stable    If you did not see it, do yourself a favor and watch Allywag Hanover’s win last week, where he was shot out of a cannon in the stretch to win in 1:48. Trainer opted to take the bye and go straight to next week’s Pace final, but surprisingly, this horse is racing this week, in Pennsylvania Sire Stakes action at Philadelphia on Friday. Pelling: “He’s light on the ground and has high speed. And now, he’s manageable. I got him January 15 and he went from wearing the kitchen sink to being rigged up like a good horse.” Last Race: 7/4 – M1 – NW4 – 1st (1:48) 5 Captain Barbossa  ($133,313 – 1:51.2) B. Sears,, T. Alagna Robert Leblanc,  David Anderson, Alagnafrankinthegym Stable Missed a head to Allywag after McCarthy opted to go the short way (like he did with Capt Midnight) in a sharp mile, his second straight second-place finish of the season. Alagna: “Andy dropped down to the inside and did not have the momentum of the winner after having to check twice in the stretch. I think the two were comparable.” Has post 2 Saturday night. Last Race: 7/4 – M1 – NW4 – 2nd (1:48) 6 Catch The Fire ($260,047 – 1:49.4) M. Wilder, J. Ackley CT Stables First outing of the season was a constructive one, finishing third to Allywag Hanover. Meadows regular Mike Wilder will pilot the horse from post 8 in the elim. Ackley: “I was impressed with my horse, it being his first start. Once he saw horses in the stretch, he took off. It’s going to be tough, but i think he’ll be fine.” Last Race: 7/4 – M1 – NW4 – 3rd (1:48.1) 7 Major Betts ($153,390 – 1:49.1) D. Dunn, M. Harder Joseph Jannuzzelli,  Mark Harder, Deena Rachel Frost    D. Miller, B. Pelling Allywag Stable  Trainer opted to race instead of taking the bye as the high money-earner this year in the field. Has drawn post 1 for the elim. Harder: “Maybe he’s a bit ahead of where I thought he’d be. I probably should have entered [Thursday] at Vernon in the Sire Stakes [instead of racing in the Pace Elim] just to race in a little easier spot, but I’m OK with what happened. If we can’t finish in the top 8 [in the elim], we don’t deserve to be in the final.”   Last Race: 6/28 – TgDn – NYSS – 1st (1:49.4) 8 Chief Mate ($65,507 – 1:50)   G. Napolitano Jr., T. Alagna Brittany Farms LLC, Marvin Katz,  Brad Grant, Captain Kirk Racing    Makes his debut in the Top 10, but don’t look for him at the Big M Saturday. He and Allywag Hanover are the two horses who opted to take the bye and this one will also race in PaSS at Philadelphia Friday. Alagna: “It was easier to get him raced in Pennsylvania, that’s why he’s been there. I think he’ll be fine moving back to the big track for The Pace.”   Last Race: 7/4 – PcD – NW6 – 1st (1:50) 9 Manticore ($180,335 – 1:52.2) J. Stratton, B. Saunders M and L of Delaware, M & M Harness Racing    Three starts, three good efforts in 2020. Bona fide closer will prosper whenever there is action up front. From post 4 Saturday, he should be able to finish in the top 8 to get a spot in the Pace Final. Saunders: “There is going to be some action up front [in The Pace Final], being a horse who can come from off the pace can be advantageous. Hopefully, we will be there.” Last Race: 7/4 – M1 – NW4 – 5th (1:48.3) 10 Roll With Jr ($176,516 – 1:50.4) T. Tetrick, J.Cullipher Pollack Racing, Jeff Cullipher    Won a 3-year-old event at Cullipher’s home track, Hoosier Park, in speed fashion, in a very encouraging first betting start of the season before taking last week off. Cullipher: “He is at The Meadowlands, we made the payments and we entered him. Went a trip with him Wednesday and he went very well. We are pointed in the right direction.” Has post 6 Saturday. Last Race: 6/26 – HoP – The Star Destroyer – 1st (1:51.2)

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – In what is now unquestionably harness racing’s best rivalry, Atlanta bested Manchego in Saturday night’s $170,900 Arthur J. Cutler Memorial for free-for-allers at the Meadowlands in Round 2 of the rabid duel between the top two trotters in training. Two weeks ago, Manchego held off Atlanta by a nose in the Miss Versatility in the fastest trotting mile of the year of 1:50. Things panned out similarly this time around, except that Atlanta got the better of her foe this time around. Atlanta (post five) was the first away from the gate and led into the first turn. Driver Yannick Gingras was willing to yield to Manchego (post six) and Dexter Dunn, but not before extending that one ever so slightly into a sizzling opening quarter of :25.4. “Maybe not :25.4,” was Gingras’ response when asked about the fast opening fraction. “I didn’t think we’d be going that fast. I definitely wanted to stretch her out. I had drawn inside of her and wanted to take advantage of it.” That took just enough starch out of the even-money choice. While rating the middle half, Manchego took a stiff challenge from 17-1 longshot Chin Chin Hall, who was on even terms with the leader while parked at three-quarters in 1:23.1. Once straightened away in the stretch, Manchego and Atlanta – who opted to get behind Chin Chin Hall coming out of the far turn before swerving three-wide into the lane – would once again duke it out, just as they did on June 19. In deep stretch, it would be Atlanta, the 2018 Hambletonian winner, prevailing by a half-length in 1:50.1, just a fifth-of-a-second slower than Round 1. Lindy The Great rallied to get third. “There were some anxious moments around the last turn,” said Gingras. “We were going pretty slow, and there was strategy on both sides. He was trying to keep me locked in. Thankfully, I was able to squeeze out. I thought I had it won at the top of the stretch when I cleared.” Atlanta The Ron Burke-trained Atlanta, a 5-year-old daughter of Chapter Seven-Hemi Blue Chip, returned $5.40 as the 8-5 second choice in the wagering. She’s won 21 of 41 career starts for owners Crawford Farms Racing, Brad Grant and Howard Taylor, and became harness racing’s newest double millionaire, as her earnings swelled to $2,006,089. WHO WILL GRADUATE? Bettor’s Wish, harness racing’s top earner ($1.6 million) in 2019, won the third of three $50,000 divisions of the second and final leg of the Graduate Series for 4-year-old open pacers in 1:48.2. The Chris Ryder-trained, Dexter Dunn-driven son of Bettor’s Delight-Lifetime Star swung three-wide at three-quarters and stormed home in :25.3 to record a 2-length score over Workin Ona Mystery as the 1-5 favorite. Brassy Hanover came first over around the far turn to pull off an upset in the first division. Driven by Scott Zeron and trained by Jeff Cullipher, Brassy Hanover, sent to the gate at odds of 10-1, stopped the clock in a lifetime-best 1:48.1. Hurrikane Emperor was the 6-5 favorite and led at three-quarters before settling for the show dough. Division two was taken by 12-1 chance Bllack Hole. Tim Tetrick drove the winner for trainer Scott DiDomenico and paced the mile in a lifetime-best 1:48. Dancin Lou, the 3-5 favorite, yielded the front before three-quarters and finished third. The Graduate Finals for pacers and trotters will take place next Saturday (July 11). Each has a purse of $250,000. KEEPING PACE: Brett Pelling’s potent Meadowlands Pace pair did good things, as his Allywag Hanover was shot out of a cannon late to win in a lifetime-best 1:48, while Papi Rob Hanover, currently second-ranked in the track’s weekly Road to the Meadowlands Pace Top 10, went a tough 10-hole trip yet was still crisp late, finishing second to the sharp Tony Alagna-trained Capt Midnight, who won in a lifetime-best 1:49.3. The Meadowlands Pace Eliminations are next Saturday (July 11). A LITTLE MORE: Wagering surpassed the $3-million mark for the fifth time in 2020, as a total of $3,027,797 was pushed through the windows. …  The Late 50-cent Pick-4 took monster action, as $113,121 was put in play. The only Pick-4 to take more action during 2020 was on Feb. 1, when $117,502 in bets were taken. … Racing resumes Friday at 7:15 p.m. For the full results of tonight's program click here By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - The Meadowlands played host to four New Jersey Sire Stakes Finals for 3-year-olds Friday night, and driver Tim Tetrick was on his game, grabbing two victories and a second on a night that saw him win four of the 13 races on the harness racing card. Tetrick's twosome began with Odds On Sarasota, who won the $160,000 Filly Pace in a lifetime-best 1:52.2 for trainer Ross Croghan. She returned $3.80 to win in scoring for the fifth time in seven lifetime starts, good for earnings of $131,200. The daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven-Odds On Charmaine, who also won the first two NJSS legs to complete a three-race sweep, followed live cover to get to the top at the half in :56. When even-money second choice Kelly's Champ went on a wild break scattering the field at the five-eighths, it was a walk in the park for the 4-5 public choice. At the wire, it was 4¾ lengths back to Thundra. Wynona Strided finished third. "She's been steppy off and on at times," said Tetrick. "But tonight, she was really good and got the job done pretty impressively. [After making the lead] I was pretty sure they would be happy to follow me. I worked my way to the lead, and after that, she kind of coasted and drew away from them. Last week, she got a real easy trip [winning in 1:55] and I didn't have to use her. So I thought tonight she could wear them out." Odds On Sarasota The completion of Tetrick's NJSS double came in the $160,000 Filly Trot, as the 38-year-old pilot guided Ab'sattitudexpress to a 1¾-length score over 7-5 favorite Dubai Princess in a lifetime-best 1:52.2. Common Sense S was third. Tetrick, driving the Lucas Wallin trainee for the first time, had the 4-1 third choice in the wagering right where he wanted him: Tracking the public choice. "Last week, my horse looked really impressive [winning in 1:52.4]," said Tetrick. "But it was going to be tough beating Dubai Princess. We got a great trip and my horse trotted well to the finish line." Tetrick's formula for success was to sit a pocket trip and strike late. "Lucas said I could do whatever I wanted," said Tetrick. "That gave me a lot of options, so I got out of there and followed the favorite. That mare [Dubai Princess] came up a little off nearing the wire and run out a little bit, so I had to go up the inside. She shot right through there and we got our picture taken." Ab'sattitudexpress, a daughter of Trixton-Abbie'sgotattitude, paid $10.60 to win and now has four wins from six lifetime outings and earnings of $111,000. Ab'sattitudexpress Tetrick's bid for a Sire Stakes triple was foiled by Rockin The Aces, who gunned down Tetrick and even-money public choice Rock Me Hard by a half-length in a lifetime-best 1:49.4 in the $160,000 Colts and Geldings Pace. Rockin The Gates was third. Rockin The Aces, driven by Brian Sears and trained by Robert Cleary, went a perfect second-over trip around the far turn, getting a perfect tow from the first-over favorite, before ducking inside late to record the score. The gelded son of Rock N Roll Heaven-Mattaroni won for the fourth time in nine lifetime outings. His earnings stand at $176,278. Rockin The Aces Chalk players were no doubt nervous in the early going but Play Trix On Me lived up to his 1-9 post-time odds promise in taking the $128,000 Colts and Geldings Trot. "That's not what I expected," said winning trainer Toscano of her prized pupil's trip. "Last year, he was much the best in this division, so he was winning on the front end. It's important for him to go both ways. He is learning well." Play Trix On Me, who is now a two-time NJSS champion, was pushed extremely wide into the first turn and had to take back to fifth at the quarter before driver Scott Zeron moved the son of Trixton-Lima Playmate to the outside at the three-eighths to start his march toward the leaders. 'Trix' was still 2½ lengths behind leader Toccoa Falls at three-quarters, but once straightened away in the stretch, it was no match, as Play Trix On Me stormed home to record a three-quarter-length win in 1:53.3. Jula Trix Treasure rallied for second with AP Hall Of Trix grabbing the show dough. Play Trix On Me paid $2.20 to win while winning for the seventh time in nine lifetime starts. His bankroll now stands at $204,850. Play Trix On Me A LITTLE MORE: The Meadowlands welcomed back fans into the track for the first time since the coronavirus shutdown, with the grandstand available to 25 percent capacity. Many others watched and wagered on the races outdoors. ... Volatile weather, which saw lightning strikes close by, caused a lengthy delay before the third race, which made it necessary to move quickly from post parade to race for the rest of the night, causing handle numbers to suffer. The total wager of $2,451,141 ended the Big M's streak of 15 straight racing programs with at least $2.5 million in action. ... The night got off to a big start as a season's-best $98,037 was poured into the 20-cent Pick-5 pool. ... Racing resumes Saturday at 7:15 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations  

East Rutherford, NJ - With just one week until the eliminations, there are two new names on Dave Little's Road to the Meadowlands Pace. While the top six are unchanged from a week ago, Allywag Hanover and Captain Kirk make their debuts in the poll at Nos. 7 and 10, respectively. Second-ranked Papi Rob Hanover makes his seasonal debut Saturday. Rank Horse (Earnings - Mark) Driver, Trainer, Owner Dave Little’s Comments 1 Tall Dark Stranger ($726,889 – 1:47.4) Y. Gingras, N. Takter Crawford Farms Racing,  Marvin Katz, Caviart Farms,  Howard Taylor  Any doubts about how ready he is were squashed after his 1:47.4 dismantling of older foes Saturday night. The time equaled the fastest of the year in the sport. Takter: “I knew he had that in him. He did it very easily without much effort. The fact that he did it in his first start, that surprised me.” Next stop: The Pace Elims on July 11. Last Race: 6/27 – M1 – NW$22,500 – 1st (1:47.4) 2 Papi Rob Hanover ($754,774 – 1:50) D. Miller, B. Pelling David McDuffee    Will make his 2020 debut Saturday night in a tough spot in the Big M’s 11th race. Has drawn post 10 against a good field of upper mid-range conditioned – and with one exception, older – foes. Pelling: “I’m looking for a nice clean race Saturday. There has never been a glitch [in his season]. The only glitch has been the schedule. My horse will thrive [racing for several weeks in a row]. I don’t have to protect him. He’s going to recover well naturally. Racing will turn him on.” Last Race: 6/27 – M1 – Qualifier – 1st (1:50.3) 3 Capt Midnight ($299,038 – 1:49.4) A. McCarthy, T. Alagna Marvin Katz, Ken Jacobs, Brad Grant, Capt Midnight Racing  The only other 3-year-old in the 11th race Saturday did better at the post draw than Papi did, getting the 4. Alagna: “It’s always tough for 3-year-olds to face older. But he’s had a good week and we are looking forward to getting that first start in.” Last Race: 6/22 – Gaitway – Qualifier – 1st (1:51) 4 Catch The Fire ($258,547 – 1:49.4) M. Wilder, J. Ackley CT Stables    Four of the Top 10 are in the 5th race Saturday at the Meadowlands. Catch The Fire drew best of the lot, leaving from the 6 hole. Ackley: “He’s aggressive and loves what he’s doing. He loves to compete and he’ll probably go more than we hope for him. The plan is to race him some but we just want to get a real good tightener in him.” Last Race: 6/18 – Mea – Qualifier – 1st (1:52.1) 5 Captain Barbossa  ($130,188 – 1:51.2) A. McCarthy, T. Alagna Robert Leblanc,  David Anderson, Alagnafrankinthegym Stable Will depart from post 10 in Race 5 Saturday. Alagna: “We took last week off by design. We need to get another nice start in him. He had a good week but the 10 hole is a pain.” Barbossa was a good second in his last race on June 20 after being pushed three-wide off the turn. Last Race: 6/20 – M1 – NW4 – 2nd (1:50.4) 6 Major Betts ($153,390 – 1:49.1) D. Dunn, M. Harder Joseph Jannuzzelli,  Mark Harder, Deena Rachel Frost    Sped past Schnittker standout – and 2-5 favorite – Splash Brother at Tioga to win in 1:49.4 by 3 lengths on Sunday. Very impressive! Harder: “The colt raced right up to expectations. It looks like we are right on track. I think he’s pretty much spot on.”   Last Race: 6/28 – TgDn – NYSS – 1st (1:49.4) 7 Allywag Hanover ($38,233 – 1:48.2) D. Miller, B. Pelling Allywag Stable  Burst onto the Meadowlands Pace scene with an eye-popping 1:48.2 score at the Big M last Saturday after flying home in :26.2. He’ll be the favorite from post 8 in Saturday’s 5th race. Pelling: “[I was not] at all surprised by his mile last week. He was sensational in his qualifier the week before. He’s got sheer speed. He’s the real deal. If he’s not one the best five [horses] in the Pace, I’ll give the game away.” Last Race: 6/27 – M1 – NW4 – 1st (1:48.2) 8 Manticore ($179,710 – 1:52.2) D. Miller, B. Saunders M and L of Delaware, M & M Harness Racing  Distinguished himself for a second straight start, this time sprinting home in :26.2 to grab second to Allywag Hanover Saturday night. Leaves from post 7 in Saturday’s Race 5. This horse is a bon fide closer. Saunders: “I expect him to race well this week. Next week [in the elims], I hope he’s in a spot from where he can qualify for the [Meadowlands Pace] final. There are four or five horses that have a much better resume than him, but if he gets the right trip, anything can happen.” Last Race: 6/27 – M1 – NW4 – 2nd (1:48.3) 9 Roll With Jr ($176,516 – 1:50.4) T. Tetrick, J.Cullipher Pollack Racing, Jeff Cullipher  Won a 3-year-old event at Cullipher’s home track, Hoosier Park, in speed fashion, in a very encouraging first betting start of the season. Cullipher: “I know my horse won’t be favored facing some of the better horses, but after the win back home last week, he’s earned the chance to race in The Pace. I was very pleased with his performance. We’ll train him up good Saturday and ship to the Meadowlands Sunday.” Last Race: 6/26 – HoP – The Star Destroyer – 1st (1:51.2) 10 Captain Kirk ($60,228 – 1:51) D. Dunn, T. Alagna Brittany Farms, Marvin Katz,Brad Grant, Captain Kirk Racing  Rounds out Alagna’s threesome in the Top 10. Lone pari-mutuel start this year resulted in a second-place finish – featuring a :25.2 kicker – at the hands of Splash Brother, who was winning in 1:48.2. Alagna: “I think [Captain] Kirk has talent like [Capt] Midnight. We quit with him early last year, after the Metro. So far, he’s paid us back for that extra time off.” Scheduled to qualify Friday morning. Will Alagna have 4 in the Pace? More? “You never know,” he said. Last Race: 6/20 – M1 – NW2 – 2nd (1:48.3) From the Meadowlands Media Department  

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