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East Rutherford, NJ - The first leg of the Graduate series for four-year-old trotters, a Grand Circuit stake, highlights an intriguing twelve race harness racing extravaganza on Saturday at The Meadowlands.   A full field of ten talented trotters are set to contest the $75,000 first of three preliminary legs. Leg two is scheduled for June 3 at Mohawk and leg three at Tioga Downs on June 11 leading to the $250,000e final on July 8, also at The Meadowlands.   Dayson has drawn the rail and the favorites role in Saturday's race, his third seasonal start following a pair of fourth place finishes in overnight preps. The winner of two thirds of his career starts and over $665,000 took his 1:51.2 career mark in the Townsend Ackerman stake over the Meadowlands mile last summer. He will race with Lasix for the first time on Saturday. Ron Burke trains Dayson for his own interest as Burke Racing along with partners Our Horse Cents, J&T Silva and Rossie Smith. Yannick Gingras will drive.   The competition is led by double Dan Patch award winner Broadway Donna (Dave Miller) representing the fairer sex, last year's PASS champ Cufflink Hanover (Andy Miller) and Yonkers invader Taco Tuesday (Jason Bartlett). It should be an interesting race.   The supporting card is strong with full and competitive fields the order of the day.   Saturday is Preakness Day so the action will be hot and heavy all day long with the gates opening at 9:30 a.m.   Nick Salvi  

Harness Racing This Week: Graduate Series Trot first leg, Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, N.J.; and Art Rooney and Lismore eliminations, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y. Schedule of events: Grand Circuit action takes place this Saturday (May 20) at Meadowlands Racetrack with a single $75,000 division in the first leg of the Graduate Series for 4-year-old open trotters. Also on Saturday, Yonkers Raceway will host a single $40,000 elimination in the Art Rooney for 3-year-old open pacers and two $20,000 eliminations in the Lismore for 3-year-old pacing fillies. Complete entries for the races are available at this link. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2017, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2017 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders through and including the races on May 8. Drivers: 1. Jason Bartlett - 148; 2. Yannick Gingras - 114; 3t. Jordan Stratton - 96; 3t. Matt Kakaley - 96; 5. Tim Tetrick - 63. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 96; 2. Peter Tritton - 92; 3. Richard Banca - 86; 4. Rene Allard - 79; 5. Scott DiDomenico - 39. Owners: 1. Harry von Knoblauch Stable - 73.5; 2. Fred Monteleone Stable - 32; 3. Carolyn Atherton - 30; 4t. Burke Racing Stable - 25.7; 4t. Weaver Bruscemi - 25.7. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place next week at Mohawk Racetrack (first leg of the Miss Versatility for trotting mares); The Meadows (Currier & Ives for 3-year-old filly trotters); The Raceway at Western Fair District (Molson Pace for open pacers); Yonkers Raceway (Art Rooney and Lismore finals for 3-year-old pacers); and Harrah's Philadelphia (Maxie Lee Memorial for open trotters, Ben Stafford Jr. for open pacers, and Betsy Ross for pacing mares). Paul Ramlow

The Red Mile is proud to announce Mark McKelvie as the new track announcer for the Grand Circuit harness racing meet. McKelvie will be taking over the position previously performed by our beloved friend and Hall of Famer Sam McKee. Though replacing Sam McKee is an impossible task, we are excited to add Mark McKelvie to the Red Mile team.  Mark McKelvie has grown up in the harness racing industry. His father, Scott, is the director of racing for Mohawk and Woodbine, and his mother, Lori, is a field representative for Standardbred Canada. McKelvie graduated from Humber College in Toronto with a degree in Journalism. With a desire to enter sports broadcasting, McKelvie took on the role of Communications Coordinator at Woodbine Entertainment Group, a position he still has today. He later began calling qualifiers as part of his position until he entered the regular rotation of announcers on the WEG circuit.  Over the past 15 years, McKelvie has only missed one Red Mile Grand Circuit meet. The fall days in Lexington garner special memories and feelings for the 24 year old from Milton, Ontario. “There is no better place to be than the Red Mile Grand Circuit on a sunny fall day in Lexington. I’ve always looked forward to coming to the Grand Circuit meet over the years. I know how much the sport looks forward to it, and now I’m honored to be a part of the magic,” said McKelvie.  A huge fan of Sam McKee, Mckelvie hopes to carry on the excellence that Sam brought to the position. “Obviously, I have huge shoes to fill. I’m not going to try to be Sam McKee because I don’t think anyone can be or match him. I’m hoping to incorporate the little things Sam always did to make his calls excellent. He made every name sound very important and knew how to make the most out of the big moments. I’m hoping to come in with enthusiasm and keep the legacy of the position going strong,” noted McKelvie.  “The Red Mile is ever cognizant of the future and believes the addition of Mark McKelvie is a great step in that direction. He will be working with Gabe Prewitt, who will continue to do color commentary and post race interviews. Mark and Gabe are an integral part of the Red Mile’s effort to look forward and offer opportunities to young people in this industry. We are always looking ahead and willing to give younger people an opportunity in this industry. While we will sorely miss the sound of Sam McKee calling the races, Mark is an excellent addition for our future,” said George Segal, speaking for the Red Mile ownership group.  Mark McKelvie’s first race call at the Red Mile will occur on September 28th at 7 PM, the opening night of what we look forward to be the greatest 8 days of racing in North America.     Jay Hochstetler The Red Mile

Harness Racing This Week: The Grand Circuit is dark this week. Action resumes on Saturday (May 20) at The Meadowlands with the first leg of the Graduate for 4-year-old open trotters and at Yonkers Raceway with eliminations in the Art Rooney for 3-year-old open pacers and the Lismore for 3-year-old filly pacers. Last time: Showing no rust after a six-month layoff, Hans Enggren's Resolve went parked for the final half-mile on the way to a determined win in the $200,000 Arthur J. Cutler Memorial for trotters at the Meadowlands Saturday night (May 6). "He raced well," understated trainer-driver Ake Svanstedt. "He was a little bit lazy but he was strong." Indeed. Resolve ($3.60 to win as the 4-5 favorite), who won four of 13 a year ago while earning $1.2 million, was unhurried in the early going and got underway at the five-eighths after sitting fifth. The 6-year-old son of Muscle Hill went on a steady grind and got up to leader Crazy Wow's wheel nearing the head of the stretch. From there, Svanstedt's star pupil continued to gain steadily, forging to the front inside the sixteenth pole before going on to a 1-1/4 length win in 2:06.3 for the mile and an eighth distance. Crazy Wow held second with J L Cruze third. In the winner's circle, Svanstedt accepted an invitation for Resolve to participate in the May 28 Elitlopp at Solvalla, Sweden, a race in which he finished second a year ago. Lord Cromwell and driver John Campbell moved to the lead on the backstretch and were never threatened from there, cruising to a 5-1/4 length win in Saturday's $143,737 Dexter Cup for 3-year-old male trotters in a stakes- and track-record 1:55 at Freehold Raceway. Gustavo Fring finished second and Southwind Cobra was third. Southwind Cobra, who started from post five, took the early lead from Sir John F and reached the opening quarter-mile in :28.1. Lord Cromwell, the 4-5 favorite, was on the move after Southwind Cobra hit the half in :57.3 and was in front by the time he reached three-quarters in 1:26.4. "I knew they were going to trot out of there and he's actually better from behind," Campbell said. "Once I spoke to him at the five-eighths, he was gone. He actually finished well within himself. I was very happy with the trip. He was very handy. I think he's got a pretty good future." Lord Cromwell, bred and owned by Carolyn Atherton, is not eligible to the Hambletonian. The horse was limited to four starts last year because of sickness and complications from being gelded. The previous stakes record of 1:55.3 was set by Anders Bluestone in the 2009 Dexter Cup. Anders Bluestone shared the track record for a 3-year-old male trotter with Keystone Activator. Lord Cromwell, by Chapter Seven out of the mare Oh Oh Its Magic, is 2-for-2 this year and won two of his four races last season. He has earned $97,588 in his career. Defending Dan Patch and O'Brien Award winning Older Mare Pacer Lady Shadow began her 2017 campaign in the same fashion that she ended her 2016 season. The 6-year-old daughter of Shadow Play scored a wire-to-wire victory in the $100,000 Sam 'Chip' Noble III Memorial at Miami Valley Raceway in 1:50.3, equaling the track record for older pacing mares on Monday afternoon (May 8). Leaving from post four as the 3-5 favorite, Lady Shadow and driver Yannick Gingras took the lead before the quarter in :27, while longshot Divas Image (36-1) settled in behind her in second. The field moved in straight alignment past the half-mile in :54.3. Sandbetweenurtoes launched a first-over challenge as they moved to the three-quarters in 1:22.1, with Blue Moon Stride advancing second-over and Divas Image continuing to track the leader from the pocket turning for home. As she did 12 times in 2016, Lady Shadow proved too much for her challengers, pacing home in :28.2 for the 1-1/4 length win in 1:50.3. Divas Image finished second from the pocket and Blue Moon Stride closed off cover to be third. Trained by Ron Adams for owners David Kryway, Carl Atley, Edwin Gold and BFJ Stable, Lady Shadow returned $3.40 to win and pushed her lifetime earnings to $1.6 million. Complete recaps of the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2017, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2017 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders through and including the races on May 6. Drivers: 1. Jason Bartlett - 148; 2t. Jordan Stratton - 96; 2t. Matt Kakaley - 96; 4. Yannick Gingras - 84; 5. Tim Tetrick - 63. Trainers: 1. Peter Tritton - 92; 2t. Richard Banca - 86; 2t. Ron Burke - 86; 4. Rene Allard - 59; 5. Scott DiDomenico - 39. Owners: 1. Harry von Knoblauch Stable - 73.5; 2. Fred Monteleone Stable - 32; 3. Carolyn Atherton - 30; 4t. Burke Racing Stable - 23.2; 4t. Weaver Bruscemi - 23.2. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action resumes on May 20 at The Meadowlands with the first leg of the Graduate for 4-year-old open trotters and at Yonkers Raceway with eliminations in the Art Rooney for 3-year-old open pacers and the Lismore for 3-year-old filly pacers. Paul Ramlow

East Rutherford, NJ - At long last, Grand Circuit harness racing returns to The Meadowlands on Saturday night. A dozen of the finest Free For All trotters on the continent are set to contest the $200,000 Arthur Cutler Memorial (TVG Series event) at a mile and one eighth.   Two $50,000 divisions of the Graduate Pace for four-year-olds play a supporting role.   The Cutler marks the first seasonal start for Resolve who took last year's edition on his way to a million dollar season for owner Hans Enggren and trainer driver Ake Svanstedt. Reslove also counted the $1 million International Trot and $480,000 Maple Leaf among his successes along with a second place finish in last year's Elitlopp.   It will be no easy task for Resolve to defend his title against the talented group who have cumulatively won over $9 million. World record holder JL Cruze (Corey Callahan) and the iron tough Crazy Wow (Yannick Gingras) stand chief among the competition in the bulky field.   The Cutler has been carded as race seven, the first leg of the $50,000 guaranteed pool Late Pick 4. You may download the past performance for that wager from The Meadowlands website.   A potential perk to the Cutler winner is an invitation to compete in the 2017 Elitlopp set for Sunday, May 29. The use of trotting hopples and Lasix is prohibited in that event.   Elitlopp officials have again arranged for a direct flight to Solvalla for those horses travelling across the Atlantic to compete in the that historic event. Horsemen are encouraged to contact The Meadowlands at (201) 842-5130 if they have interest in taking a horse to race in Sweden. There are a number of stakes offered on the Elitlopp undercard.   The $1 million Graduate Series opens with the first of three legs leading into the $250,000e final on July 8. Thirteen declarations were split into a pair of divisions which are scheduled as races four and six on Saturday.   The first division features Western Fame, Roll Away Joe and Sintra all of whom significant impact in various state-bred races last season.   Western Fame was second in the PASS final which parlayed into Grand Circuit success. He won his division of the first heat and was second in the Little Brown Jug final then copped a Bluegrass division in Lexington. Western Fame was a game winner over a pair of Graduate contenders in his first seasonal start last week here for driver Mark Mac Donald, trainer Jimmy Takter and owner Brittany Farms.   Roll Away Joe was the NYSS champ last season and won at The Meadowlands last week when paired with Yannick Gingras for the first time. Ron Burke trains for Howard Taylor, Steve Demeter and Tom Lazzaro.   Sintra spent most of last season chasing division leader Betting Line while banking over $200,000 for owners Brad Gray, Michale Guerriero and trainer Dave Menary as Menary Racing. He comes in off an impressive winning effort at Mohawk in his seasonal bow and gets Brett Miller to drive.   The second Graduate division may be a bit deeper in talent with all seven horses having earned six figures at three, led by million dollar winner Check Six (Gingras) who missed by just a nose to Western Fame in his seasonal debut last week for the Burke Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, Switala & Martin.   There are a few interesting angle to consider, not the least of which is driver Tim Tetrick's decision to get off Boston Red Rocks, a horse he's driven to a million dollars in earnings for Missile J who had remarkable success facing older in the Levy series at Yonkers earlier this season.   Also, Brett Miller picks up the drive on Lyons Snyder which seems a natural pairing as they both enjoy going fast.   Saturday is of Kentucky Derby day and The Meadowlands is as good a place as there is to watch and wager on the big race in the metropolitan area. We start early with gates opening at 9:30 a.m. and go all day into the night with the live card starting at 7:15 p.m. Nick Salvi

LEBANON, OH. - Miami Valley tops its Spring Festival of Racing with the inaugural Scarlet & Gray Champions Day on Monday (May 8), including Grand Circuit harness racing stakes action on May 7th and May 8th.   The first ever Scarlet & Gray Champions Day features a collection of four $50,000 invitational races showcasing the best of Ohio harness racing in each 3-year-old category: trotting colts, pacing colts, trotting fillies and pacing fillies.   Entrants are comprised of recent Ohio Sires Stakes and James K. Hackett Memorial winners and other top finishers. Automatic berths were offered to winners and place finishers in all fourteen first leg Ohio Sires Stakes races at Miami Valley earlier this week.   The Scarlet & Gray filly trot, scheduled as Monday's third race, includes Rose Run Sydney, Chim Swift and Gabbysloosechange, all winners in last week's Sires Stakes action. Other hopefuls are Sawmill Road, Amuse's, Ms Bank Robber, Let's Get Started, Away My Baby and Purple Sona. The field combined to win 31 races and earn $712,136 as two-year-olds.   Filly pacers go postward in the fifth race, headed by O.S.S. winners Bourbon And Barley, Rose Run Skylar, Official Kisser and Pistol Packin Mama. They will be joined by Hackett champion Rosemary Rose as well as Bye Bye Felicia, Berazzled, Woo's Prfincess and Cam's Little Bit.   The $50,000 division for trotting colts (eighth race) features first leg winners Lord Of The Reigns, Fraser Ridge and Full Surge. Also seeking Scarlet & Gray gold will be place and show finishers Goldfinger, Dekeyser, Jailhouse Sam, Winning Memories, Star Buster and Stormy Kromer.   Pacing colts will round out the Scarlet & Gray menu in the eleventh race, with O.S.S. winners Lightning Onmyfeet, Drunk On Your Love and Heracer all in the lineup. They'll be joined in the field by Sunny's Bro, White Jet, McThriller, McLucky, Gotta Go B B and Barley Up.   A collection of North America's best older mares will compete at Miami Valley in the $86,400 Miami Valley Distaff Trot on Sunday, May 7th and the $100,000 Sam 'Chip' Noble Memorial Pace on Monday, May 8th. A total of four veteran horses with over $1 million in earnings have entered in the two Grand Circuit races, including several who earned Dan Patch awards as the best horse in the country in their division during 2016.   Potential Horse of the Year candidate Hannelore Hanover, who won 17 of 20 races and earned $1,119,111 in 2016, has been installed the 6-5 favorite in the Miami Valley Distaff, carded as the ninth race on Sunday. The 2016 Breeders Crown champion is conditioned by America's leading trainer Ron Burke and will be driven by Yannick Gingras.   Others in the talented field include Miami Valley track record holder Kestrel (Josh Sutton, 5-2), Churita (Trace Tetrick, 7-2), Barn Girl (Aaron Merriman, 9-2), Charmed Life (Chris Page, 6-1), Flowers N Songs (Jim Pantaleano, 10-1) and South Side Hanover (TBA, 12-1).   As a group, these mares have visited 133 winner's circles throughout North America--including most of the biggest stakes events--and have banked a collective $4,539,504.   Lady Shadow, also a 2016 Breeders Crown winner, gets the slight morning line nod in the $100,000 Noble Memorial. The $1,587,542 earner will open at 5-2 on the tote board for trainer Ronald Adams and driver Yannick Gingras. Pure Country (Brett Miller, 3-1), another multiple winner of major stakes with $1,772,398 in career bankroll, is second choice due to an outside post position draw. Others seeking Grand Circuit glory will be Sandbetweenurtoes (Doug McNair, 7-2), Darlinonthebeach (David Miller, 9-2), Blue Moon Stride (Andrew McCarthy, 6-1), Medusa (Tony Hall, 8-1), Enhance Your Mind (Victor Kirby, 10-1), Divas Image (Joe Bongiorno, 12-1) and No Clouds Bluechip (Tim Tetrick, 15-1).   The field of the finest mares in North America has won a whopping 155 races and over $7 million in purses.   Watch, wager and win on the best in harness racing at Miami Valley Gaming and Racing.   Post times for the two-day Scarlet & Gray/Grand Circuit extravaganza are 2:05 p.m. on both Sunday, May 7th and Monday, May 8th.   Gregg Keidel        

Harness Racing This Week: Dexter Cup and Lady Suffolk, Freehold Raceway, Freehold, N.J.; Arthur Cutler Memorial and Graduate Pace first leg, Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, N.J.; and Miami Valley Distaff and Chip Noble Memorial, Miami Valley Raceway, Lebanon, Ohio. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit at Freehold this week features the $143,737 Dexter Cup for 3-year-old open trotters and two $36,850 divisions in the Lady Suffolk for 3-year-old filly trotters on Saturday (May 6). Meadowlands Racetrack offers the $200,000 Arthur Cutler Memorial for older trotters and two $50,000 divisions in the first leg of the Graduate for 4-year-old pacers, also on Saturday. Miami Valley Raceway will feature the $86,400 Miami Valley Distaff for older trotting mares on Sunday (May 7) and the $100,000 Chip Noble Memorial for older pacing mares on Monday (May 8). Complete entries for the races are available at this link. Last time: A pair of $24,000 Dexter Cup eliminations were contested on Saturday (April 29) afternoon at Freehold Raceway and two sons of Chapter Seven, Another Chapter and Lord Cromwell, served notice they are prepared for their sophomore seasons as each triumphed in his respective contest. Another Chapter, who is out of Southwind Catlin, making him a half-sibling to the $1.2 million man Spider Blue Chip, left from the rail in the first elimination with Scott Zeron at the controls. The colt was content to sit in the pocket spot, while Sir John F (Yannick Gingras) cut the mile. As the field of eight trotted into the stretch, Southwind Cruze (Andy Miller) briefly snatched the second spot, but Zeron and Another Chapter went past that rival to score in 1:57. Southwind Cruze was second while Sir John F held for third. Conditioned by Mark Silva, Another Chapter paid $15.00 for his maiden-breaking victory. Owned by Jeffrey Snyder and Four Friends Racing Stable, the colt now sports a lifetime resume of 11-1-1-5 with $59,975 in the bank. In the second elimination, John Campbell steered Lord Cromwell to the winner's circle for his third career win and first of the season for trainer Ed Hart and owner/breeder Carolyn Atherton. The son of the aforementioned stallion and Oh Oh Its Magic left from post position four and was never threatened as he trotted from gate-to-wire on the lead while stopping the clock in 1:56.2. Gustavo Fring (Eric Carlson) and Arch Credit (Trond Smedshammer) followed him home. Lord Cromwell's lifetime record now stands at 5-3-0-0 and he has earned $25,720. The gelding provided a $16.60 payout to his backers. Complete recaps of the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2017, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2017 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend: Drivers: 1. Jason Bartlett - 148; 2. Jordan Stratton - 96; 3. Matt Kakaley - 91; 4. Tim Tetrick - 61; 5. Daniel Dube - 59. Trainers: 1. Peter Tritton - 92; 2. Richard Banca - 86; 3. Rene Allard - 59; 4. Scott DiDomenico - 37; 5. Ron Burke - 36. Owners: 1. Harry von Knoblauch Stable - 73.5; 2. Fred Monteleone Stable - 32; 3. Bamond Racing - 22.5; 4t. Carmen Iannacone - 21.7; 4t. D'Elegance Stable IX - 21.7; 4t. T L P Stable - 21.7. Looking ahead: There will be no Grand Circuit racing next week. Action resumes on May 20 at The Meadowlands with the first leg of the Graduate for 4-year-old open trotters and at Yonkers Raceway with eliminations in the Art Rooney for 3-year-old open pacers and the Lismore for 3-year-old filly pacers. Paul Ramlow

Harness Racing This Week: Dexter Cup eliminations, Freehold Raceway, Freehold, N.J. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit at Freehold this week features two $24,000 Dexter Cup eliminations for 3-year-old open trotters. Seventeen horses entered the race, with Southwind Cobra getting a bye into the final. The remaining 16 will compete in a pair of eight-horse eliminations on Saturday (April 29). Complete entries for the races can be found by clicking on this link. Last time: Keystone Velocity charged through the stretch to overtake pacesetting McWicked and then held off Somewhere In L A by a head to win Saturday's (April 22) $529,000 George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series championship for older male pacers in 1:51.2 over a track labeled "good" at Yonkers Raceway. Even-money favorite Missile J finished third and Bit Of A Legend N, the defending champion, was fourth. McWicked led the field around the first turn, but Keystone Velocity moved to the front prior to the opening quarter-mile, which was reached in :26.1. McWicked regained the top spot prior to the halfway point, in :54.4, and set the pace from there until the top of the stretch when Keystone Velocity moved to the passing lane and kicked home to victory. "We had to be up close," winning driver Daniel Dube said. "It worked out real good. He was really good today. I was hoping (McWicked) could bring me to the top of the stretch because on the last turn I had a lot of horse. He was real strong; he's a nice little horse." Dube drove Keystone Velocity for trainer Rene Allard, who owns the horse with Kapildeo Singh, Earl Hill Jr., and VIP Internet Stable. The 9-year-old stallion has won three of seven races this year and earned $323,000 in purses. For his career, Keystone Velocity has won 22 of 95 starts and banked $863,971. Sent off at odds of 11-1, he paid $24.80 to win. Earlier on the card, Mackenzie A won the $310,600 Blue Chip Matchmaker Series championship for pacing mares by 2-1/4 lengths over Medusa in 1:53.1. Divas Image was third and favorite Mach It A Par finished fourth. Jordan Stratton drove Mackenzie A for owners Harry von Knoblauch Stable and Ellen Kinser. The 5-year-old mare is a daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven-Kept For Pleasure. Mackenzie A has won two of eight races this year and earned $205,800. Going off at odds of 5-1, she paid $12.80 to win. "The trip just worked out perfect," Stratton said. "Mach It A Par got used hard. She's a tough mare, but she's usually a little better from behind. But she had to make the move and it worked out for us. It was the plan to race (Mackenzie A) from behind, but I didn't know it would work out like that. It worked out for the best I guess." Complete recaps of the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2017, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2017 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend at Yonkers: Drivers: 1. Jason Bartlett - 148; 2. Jordan Stratton - 96; 3. Matt Kakaley - 91; 4. Tim Tetrick - 61; 5. Daniel Dube - 59. Trainers: 1. Peter Tritton - 92; 2. Richard Banca - 86; 3. Rene Allard - 59; 4. Scott DiDomenico - 37; 5. Ron Burke - 36. Owners: 1. Harry von Knoblauch Stable - 73.5; 2. Fred Monteleone Stable - 32; 3. Bamond Racing - 22.5; 4t. Carmen Iannacone - 21.7; 4t. D'Elegance Stable IX - 21.7; 4t. T L P Stable - 21.7. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place next weekend at Freehold Raceway, Meadowlands Racetrack, and Miami Valley Raceway. Freehold has the Lady Suffolk for 3-year-old filly trotters and the Dexter Cup for 3-year-old open trotters on Saturday (May 6); Meadowlands Racetrack will host the Cutler Memorial for older trotters and the first leg of the Graduate for 4-year-old pacers on Saturday (May 6); and Miami Valley Raceway features the Miami Valley Distaff for older trotting mares on Sunday (May 7) and older pacing mares on Monday (May 8). Paul Ramlow Grand Circuit Publicity Director

Harness Racing This Week: Blue Chip Matchmaker and George Morton Levy series finals and consolations, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit at Yonkers this week features the $529,000 final and the $100,000 consolation of the George Morton Levy series for open pacers, as well as the $310,600 final and $75,000 consolation in the Blue Chip Matchmaker series for open pacing mares. All four races will take place on Saturday (April 22). Complete entries for the races can be found by clicking on this link. Last time: The time to impress the judges concluded Saturday night (April 15), with preliminary-round competition ending for Yonkers Raceway's George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series. Round Five saw three $50,000 divisions go at it. Favored Somewhere In L A (Jason Bartlett, $4.10) became the sport's newest millionaire, easily winning the third event in front-end fashion. From post position five, he never had any angst, especially after a cheap half with the splits of :28, :56.4, 1:24.3, and 1:51.3. The final margin was 1-3/4 lengths over a second-up Clear Vision (Brett Miller), with Guantanamo Bay (Scott Zeron) lasting for an uncovered third. All Bets Off (Matt Kakaley) and tiring-pocket Wakizashi Hanover (Tim Tetrick) settled for the remainder. For Somewhere In L A, a 6-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding trained by Richard Banca for co-owners D'Elegance Stable IX, Carmen Iannacone, T L P Stable and The Gandolfo Stables, it was his sixth win in 13 seasonal starts and he is two-for-five in this series. Defending series champ Bit Of A Legend N (Jordan Stratton, $4.40) threw down the gauntlet for the finale, going down the road from the pole with fractions of :27.1, :56.1, 1:25, and 1:51.3 as the people's choice in the night's second event. After stuffing Rockin Ron (Yannick Gingras) in behind, he whipped that rival by three-quarters of a length, note the :26.3 kicker in the final panel, while Blood Brother (Bartlett) was a first-up third. Great Vintage (Mark MacDonald) and Missile J (Tetrick) earned the minors. For Bit Of A Legend N, an 8-year-old Down Under son of Bettor's Delight owned by Harry von Knoblauch Stable and trained by Peter Tritton, it was his second win in seven seasonal starts and he is two-for-five in the series. Saturday night's first Levy grouping had a first-over favorite in McWicked (Kakaley, $4.30), from post position two, edge past pace-setting Caviart Luca (George Brennan) after that one's intervals of :27.2, :56.4 and 1:24.4. McWicked vacated the three-hole, engaged Caviart Luca in and out of the final turn and prevailed by three-quarters of a length in 1:51.4 and again, note the :26.3 last quarter. First leader Mach It So (Tetrick) held for third, with Santa Fe Beachboy (Barlett) and Provocativeprincen (Stratton) getting the smaller change. McWicked, a 6-year-old son of McArdle trained by Steve Elliott for owner S S G Stables, is now three-for-seven this season and is one-for-five in this series. Complete recaps of the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2017, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2017 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend at Yonkers: Drivers: 1. Jason Bartlett - 128; 2. Matt Kakaley - 81; 3. Jordan Stratton - 71; 4. Tim Tetrick - 49; 5. Daniel Dube - 39. Trainers: 1. Richard Banca - 76; 2. Peter Tritton - 67; 3. Rene Allard - 39; 4. Ron Burke - 34; 5. Scott DiDomenico - 32. Owners: 1. Harry von Knoblauch Stable - 58.5; 2. Fred Monteleone Stable - 32; 3. S S G Stables - 20; 4t. Carmen Iannacone - 19.2; 4t. D'Elegance Stable IX - 19.2; 4t. T L P Stable - 19.2. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place next weekend at Freehold Raceway, with $48,000 (est.) Dexter Cup eliminations (if necessary) for 3-year-old open trotters on Saturday (April 29). Paul Ramlow Grand Circuit Publicity Director

Harness Racing This Week: Blue Chip Matchmaker and George Morton Levy series fifth legs, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit at Yonkers this week features two $40,000 divisions on Friday (April 14) in the fifth and final round of the Blue Chip Matchmaker series for open pacing mares. The Saturday (April 15) card at Yonkers will see three $50,000 divisions in the fifth and final round of the George Morton Levy series for open pacers. Complete entries for the races can be found by clicking on this link. Last time: With points leader Missile J getting a week off, the Saturday (April 8) marquee was available for rental during round four of Yonkers Raceway's George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series. Three $50,000 divisions -- down from four the first three weeks -- went at it. Stablemates Blood Brother (Jason Bartlett, $6.10) and Somewhere In L A (Bartlett again, $7.80) won the second and third events in 1:52.1 and a season's-best 1:51.3, respectively. Blood Brother, from post position two after a pair of no-shot seven-holes the previous two tries, picked up pace-setting polester McArdle's Lightning (Matt Kakaley) after that one laid down the law with fractions of :27.4, :56.3, and 1:24.1. It was 8-5 favorite Keystone Velocity (Dan Dube) trying it first-up from fourth, pressing the leader to the lane. Blood Brother ducked inside and prevailed by a half-length over McArdle's Lightning, with Keystone Velocity hanging in for third. Te Kawau N (Tim Tetrick) and Provocativeprincen (Jordan Stratton) rounded out the payees. For second choice Blood Brother, a 5-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding trained by Richard Banca for co-owners D'Elegance Stable IX, Carmen Iannacone, T L P Stable and P T Stable, it was his second win in 11 seasonal starts and he is one-for-four in this series. Somewhere In L A, from post three, did it first-up. He engaged pole-siting Mach It So (Tetrick) as that one led through intervals of :27, 56.1, and 1:23.3. Somewhere In L A won the stretch battle, picking off Mach It So by a head. Great Vintage (Mark MacDonald) tracked the winner and wound up third, with Soto (Dube) -- a fourth pocket trip in as many series starts -- and 7-5 choice Bit Of A Legend N (Stratton) settling for the minors. For second choice Somewhere In L A, a 6-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding trained by Banca for co-owners D'Elegance Stable IX, Carmen Iannacone, T L P Stable and The Gandolfo Stables, it was his fifth win in a dozen seasonal starts and his first in the series. Saturday night's first Levy grouping had a first-over Clear Vision (Brett Miller, $8.90), from post two, gut out a nose win over McWicked (Kakaley). The latter rolled through subsections of :27.2, :56.3 and 1:24, leading every step but the last one. Third went to a pocketed Guantanamo Bay (Stratton), with slight 2-1 choice Wakizashi Hanover (Tetrick) and Caviart Luca (George Brennan) grabbing the smaller envelopes. For third choice Clear Vision, an 11-year-old Western Hanover gelding co-owned by Robert Santagata and Jennifer Lappe and trained by John Kokinos, it was his second win in nine 2017 starts and his first win from his second attempt in this series. Complete recaps of the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2017, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2017 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend at Yonkers: Drivers: 1. Jason Bartlett - 96; 2. Matt Kakaley - 71; 3. Jordan Stratton - 61; 4. Tim Tetrick - 42; 5. Daniel Dube - 39. Trainers: 1. Peter Tritton - 57; 2. Richard Banca - 54; 3. Rene Allard - 39; 4. Scott DiDomenico -32; 5. Tony Alagna - 27. Owners: 1. Harry von Knoblauch Stable - 48.5; 2. Fred Monteleone Stable - 22; 3. Rene Allard - 15.5; 4t. Brian Carsey - 15; 4t. Legacy Racing of DE - 15; 4t. John McGill - 15. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will continue with the finals and consolations of the Blue Chip Matchmaker and George Morton Levy on April 22. Paul Ramlow Grand Circuit Publicity Director

Harness Racing This Week: Blue Chip Matchmaker and George Morton Levy series third legs, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit at Yonkers this week features three $40,000 divisions on Friday (March 31) in the third round of the Blue Chip Matchmaker series for open pacing mares. The Saturday (April 1) card at Yonkers will see four $50,000 divisions in the third round of the George Morton Levy series for open pacers. Complete entries for the races can be found by clicking on this link. Last time: Yonkers Raceway's George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series for Free-For-Allers continued Saturday night (March 25), with another quartet of $50,000 divisions. Second choice Missile J (Tim Tetrick, $4.40) enjoyed his off-the-pace antics so much in Round One, he parlayed the performance this time around. From post position three in the third division, he was fourth as Somewhere In L A (Jason Bartlett) cleared his six inside rivals with the aplomb of a hurdler. After a :27.3 opening quarter-mile and moving toward a :56 intermission, even-money favorite Provocativeprincen (Jordan Stratton) moved from third. It appeared Bartlett was fighting with his charge to let Stratton and his ride go, but the latter duo could not seize the initiative. Somewhere In L A then threw in a :27.1 backside number (1:23.1) to dispose of Provocativeprincen, taking a 1-1/4 length lead into the lane. As this was transpiring, Missile J was closing ranks. He rallied from fourth in the lane, beating a solid Somewhere In L A by a length in 1:51.3. Third went to 51-1 P H Supercam (Brett Miller), with 98-1 Texas Terror N (Mark MacDonald) and Take It Back Terry (George Brennan) rounding out the payees. Provocativeprincen backpedaled to last, his first blemish after a four-for-four start to his U.S career. For Missile J, a 4-year-old American Ideal gelding trained by Scott DiDomenico for co-owners John McGill and Brian Carsey, it was his sixth win in seven seasonal starts. Saturday night's first Levy grouping was a private stretch battle between 3-2 choice Bettor's Edge (Miller) and an uncovered Keystone Velocity (Dan Dube). The latter whipped the pace-setting (:27.3, :56.2, 1:24) former by a half-length in 1:51.3. First leader Dr J Hanover (Scott Zeron) held third -- beaten 3-1/2 lengths -- with Santa Fe Beachboy (Stratton) and Burning N (Ron Cushing) settling for the remainder. For Keystone Velocity, a 9-year-old son of Western Hanover co-owned by trainer Rene Allard, Kapildeo Singh, Earl Hill Jr. and VIP Internet Stable, it was his first win in three seasonal starts. The evening's second series soiree had slight 7-5 choice Rockin Ron (Yannick Gingras, $4.90) take it the distance from the pole while matching (1:51.1) the fastest local mile of the season. Defending series champ Bit Of A Legend N (Stratton) actually poked about a neck in front entering the lane from first-up, but a resurgent Rockin Ron won by three-quarters of a length. Soto (Matt Kakaley) was a pocket third, with Mach It So (Tetrick) and Guantanamo Bay (Miller) settling for the minors. Rockin Ron, a 5-year-old Real Desire gelding co-owned (as Burke Racing) by trainer Ron Burke, Weaver Bruscemi and RTC Stables, is now three-for-five to begin the season. The second round's final foray offered a 12-1 upset as Melmerby Beach (Bartlett, $26.60) picked off both 3-10 shot All Bets Off (Kakaley) and second choice Wakizashi Hanover (Tetrick). The former set seemingly-sensible fractions (:28, 57, 1:24), but gave way readily in the lane. Melmerby Beach, apparently not bothered by a :27 third quarter, defeated Wakizashi Hanover by 1-1/4 lengths in 1:52, with All Bets Off beaten three lengths. Artistic Major (Zeron) and Great Vintage (MacDonald) wound up with the leftovers. For third choice Melmerby Beach, a 6-year-old son of Somebeachsomewhere owned and trained by Ettore Annunziata, it was his first win in three '17 starts. Complete recaps of the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2017, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2017 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend at Yonkers: Drivers: 1. Jason Bartlett - 44; 2. Matt Kakaley - 34; 3. Jordan Stratton - 30; 4. Tim Tetrick - 27; 5. Scott Zeron - 26. Trainers: 1. Peter Tritton - 30; 2. Rene Allard - 25; 3t. Richard Banca - 22; 3t. Ron Burke - 22; 3t. Scott DiDomenico - 22. Owners: 1. Harry von Knoblauch Stable - 25; 2.Legacy Racing of DE - 15; 3. Rene Allard - 12.5; 4. Fred Monteleone Stable - 12; 5t. Ettore Annunziata Rev Tr - 10; 5t. Brian Carsey - 10; 5t. John McGill - 10. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will continue with legs of the Blue Chip Matchmaker and George Morton Levy over the next two weekends. The finals and consolations for both events will be held on April 22. Paul Ramlow  

Harness Racing This Week: Blue Chip Matchmaker and George Morton Levy series second legs, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit at Yonkers this week features three $40,000 divisions on Friday (March 24) in the second round of the Blue Chip Matchmaker series for open pacing mares. The Saturday (March 25) card at Yonkers will see four $50,000 divisions in the second round of the George Morton Levy series for open pacers. Complete entries for the races can be found by clicking on this link. Last time: Yonkers Raceway's George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series for Free-For-Allers began Saturday night (March 18), with a quartet of $50,000 divisions over a 'sloppy' surface. The opening event saw 3-2 choice Missile J (Tim Tetrick) charge from sixth in the lane to win going away in 1:54.1. Unhurried from post position two, he rolled late, whipping a pocketed Blood Brother (Jason Bartlett) by 1-1/2 lengths. Third went to a rallying Guantanamo Bay (Scott Zeron), with Burning N (Ron Cushing) and a pace-setting Keystone Velocity (Dan Dube) settling for the remainder. For Missile J, a 4-year-old American Ideal gelding trained by Scott DiDomenico for co-owners John McGill and Brian Carsey, it was his fifth win in six seasonal starts. Saturday night's second Levy grouping saw Long Live Rock (Dube) author a decisive, first-over upset. Moving from fourth, from post two, he dismissed 1-2 favorite McWicked (Zeron), then drew off to win by three lengths in 1:54.1. Season-debuting All Bets Off (Matt Kakaley) couldn't match the winner's tow but finished second, with Mattamerican (Brett Miller) third. Santa Fe Beachboy (Jordan Stratton) and Melmerby Beach (Tetrick) grabbed the minors. McWicked, caught three-deep early, wound up a badly-beaten seventh. For Long Live Rock, an 8-year-old Rocknroll Hanover gelding owned and trained by Rene Allard, it was his first win in six seasonal starts. The evening's third series soiree had Provocativeprincen (Stratton) -- from post two -- prevail in a blanket finish. Away third, he engaged Bettor's Edge (Miller), then outgamed a pocketed Rockin Ron (Yannick Gingras) by a head in 1:54.2. Mach It So (Tetrick) in his first seasonal start, was third, beaten a neck, with Bettor's Edge and Texas Terror N (Mark MacDonald) earning the lesser loot. Provocativeprincen, a 7-year-old Down Under Grinfromeartoear gelding owned by Harry von Knoblauch Stable and trained by Peter Tritton, is now 4-for-4 to begin the season. The first round's final foray offered the fastest feet as Soto (Kakaley), pacing from the pocket, was able to get 'first run' against defending series champion Bit Of A Legend N (Stratton). The former, from post three, whipped the latter by a half-length in 1:53.3. Bit Of A Legend N, as the 2-5 choice, was second-up and may have waited a tad too long. Pace-setting Somewhere In L A (Bartlett), Wakizashi Hanover (Tetrick) and Always At My Place (Gingras) rounded out the payees. For Soto, a 5-year-old son of Rock N Roll Heaven trained by Eric Ell for co-owners Ken Wood, William Dittmar Jr. and Stephen Iaquinta, it was his fifth win in nine '17 starts. Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2017, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2017 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the opening weekend at Yonkers: Drivers: 1. Jason Bartlett - 27; 2. Matt Kakaley - 20; 3. Jordan Stratton - 15; 4. Scott Zeron - 14; 5. Tim Tetrick - 12. Trainers: 1. Richard Banca - 17; 2. Peter Tritton - 15; 3. Scott DiDomenico - 12; 4t. Rene Allard - 10; 4t. Keith Armer - 10; 4t. Eric Ell - 10; 4t. Heidi Gibbs - 10; 4t. Ron Burke - 10. Owners: 1. Harry von Knoblauch Stable - 15: 2t. Rene Allard - 10; 2t. Fred Monteleone Stable - 10; 4t. Brian Carsey - 5; 4t. Ron Cushing - 5; 4t. Jesmeral Stable - 5; 4t. Legacy Racing of DE - 5; 4t. John McGill - 5; 4t. Kevin Sywyk - 5. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will continue with legs of the Blue Chip Matchmaker and George Morton Levy over the next three weekends. The finals and consolations for both events will be held on April 22. by Paul Ramlow, publicity director, the Grand Circuit

This Week: Blue Chip Matchmaker and George Morton Levy series opening legs, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y. This is the opening event of the 2017 Grand Circuit season. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit at Yonkers features three $40,000 divisions on Friday (March 17) in the first round of the Blue Chip Matchmaker series for open pacing mares. The Saturday (March 18) card at Yonkers will see four $50,000 divisions in the opening round of the George Morton Levy series for open pacers. Friday night's three $40,000 Matchmaker melees (races four, five and six) are comprised of 24 of the best pacing mares in training. Saturday night offers four $50,000 Levy groupings (races five through eight), including Bit Of A Legend N. The defending series champ drew post position No. 2 in the final division, with Jordan Stratton driving for owner Harry von Knoblauch and trainer Peter Tritton. A total of 31 leading Free-For-Allers declared their intentions for the first series go-round. Both series include five preliminary rounds leading to their respective (Saturday, April 22) finals. Complete entries for the races can be found by clicking on this link. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2017, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2017 Grand Circuit awards. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will continue with legs of the Blue Chip Matchmaker and George Morton Levy over the next four weekends. The finals and consolations for both events will be held on April 22. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit

East Rutherford, NJ - The Meadowlands is pleased to announce an extensive 2017 stakes program with total purses in the neighborhood of $12 million. Grand Circuit stakes represent the vast majority of that amount featuring the $1.5 million Hambletonian and Oaks, $1.25 million Fall Final Four, $1.2 million TVG Championships, $1 million Graduate Series and $750,000 Meadowlands Pace along with nearly $1 million in New Jersey Sires Stakes purses.   "We are able to maintain the 2017 stakes program with the help of sponsors from within the business and we are grateful for their support. With the Breeders Crown at Hoosier this year we picked up the Fall Final Four to give those races a home and open the Fall Meet in November," said Meadowlands Chairman & CEO Jeff Gural.   The Saturday, August 5 Hambletonian Day program (noon post time) worth over $3.5 million in purses on harness racing's greatest day will include important stakes for every division. The $1 million Hambletonian and $300,000 Cane Pace provide fans the opportunity to see a leg of both the trotting and pacing triple crowns on the same card.   Leading up to the Hambletonian, the Tompkins-Geers stake for three-year-old trotting fillies and colts is coming to The Meadowlands on Saturday, July 22 to avail horsemen prepping for the Hambo and Oaks the option of one more start over the mile oval going into the big race.   Meadowlands Pace night is Saturday, July 15 this year and a full complement of important stakes on the undercard will support that $750,000 race for sophomore pacing colts. The $400,000 Hambletonian Maturity will serve as a co-feature. An early post time of 6:30 is scheduled for Pace night.   The $1.25 million Freshman Fall Final Four returns to the Garden State where they began 27 years ago. The Valley Victory and Goldsmith Maid for trotters and Governor's Cup and Three Diamonds for pacers will join the $1.2 TVG Free For All Championship Finals kicking off the 2017 Fall Meet with all finals scheduled for Saturday, November 25   The $200,000 Arthur Cutler Memorial Open Trot has been moved to Kentucky Derby Day, May 6. The Cutler winner will be awarded an invitation to compete in the 2017 Elitlopp which will be raced on Sunday, May 28, this year. Although the Cutler will have no restrictions regarding the use of trotting hopples and/or Lasix, the their use is prohibited in the Elitlopp and if their invitation to compete is accepted it must be done with that understanding. Swedish racing officials wish to make it known that there will be a direct flight to Solvalla for this year's race as was done in 2017.   The $1 million Graduate Series for 4 year olds also begins on May 6 at the Meadowlands, travels to Mohawk Racetrack for leg two on June 3, then on to Tioga Downs for the June 11 third leg. Each leg of the Graduate will have a purse of $75,000 or $50,000 if raced in divisions. The $250,000 finals will be raced at he Meadowlands on Pace elimination night, July 8.   The 2017 Kindergarten series starts in early July and will again include two legs during the Freshman Festival meet in September at The Meadowlands. The $150,000 finals are scheduled for November 3 and will be raced at Vernon Downs this year.   The Miss Versatility Series will have two legs at The Meadowlands to go along with Mohawk Racetrack and Tioga Downs. The $100,000 final will remain a part of the Little Brown Jug card at Delaware, Ohio.   All of the conditions for Meadowlands administered stakes/finals have been written to award one percent of the final purse to those horses that finish "out of the money".   The NJSS offers $100,000 guaranteed finals to the sophomores in May and freshmen in July with two $20,000 preliminary legs leading up to those events for each group.   The complete Meadowlands 2017 stakes schedule may be viewed here and the live racing/stakes calendar here. The website also provides a "Stakes Application" page where you may download all the information on the 2017 events including nomination forms and conditions for all Meadowlands administered stakes. All purses listed are estimates unless denoted as guaranteed (G).   The Hambletonian and a few other Grand Circuit stakes on the Meadowlands calendar are administered by and the property of the Hambletonian Society. All of the NJSS races are handled by the NJ Sires Stakes offices. Payments on those stakes should be directed to those offices.   Trainers must be approved for nomination to Meadowlands stakes to be accepted. It's suggested that trainers submit a racing application before the February 15 deadline if you are planning to race at The Meadowlands in stakes or overnights in 2017.   Call the Racing Office at (201) 842-5130 with questions.   From the Meadowlands Media Department  

Champion horseman Mark Purdon knows no boundaries. The New Zealand based harness racing legend won the biggest event in his homeland last month when his rising star Lazarus thrashed his rivals when obliterating the national record in the New Zealand Cup at Addington last month. Now he’s won the biggest event held on Australian soil. Aging warrior Smolda outstayed race favourite Hectorjayjay in a thrilling home straight battle to claim the Gr.1 $1.1 million TABTOUCH Inter Dominion Grand Final at Gloucester Park in Perth tonight. And just like Lazarus, Smolda also smashed the track record. Over the marathon distance of 2936m on a warm summer’s night, Smolda rated 1:55.8 which easily eclipsed the mark previously held by My Hard Copy at 1:57.4. The last horse to win the New Zealand Cup/Inter Dominion in the same season was another New Zealand pacer in Yulestar during the 2000/2001 season. With the series full of drama, the anticipation for the final gained significant interest following the barrier draw which left Hectorjayjay who was unbeaten during the three heats starting from the outside post, gate 9. Rivals had a glimmer of hope. Young driver Josh Aiken elected to ease at the start which was a major talking point all week long while Bling It On, Run Oneover and Bettors Fire all charging the gate. Run Oneover took the lead from Bling It On left in the trail while Bettors Fire was left parked without cover. The lead time was covered in 1:35.4. The first move came via Beaudiene Boaz and Gary Hall Jnr who dashed around the outside to race outside his stablemate before John Of Arc made his move. Run Oneover became fired up and started to over race. The first half of the final mile was covered in 29.8 and 29.3 seconds. As the field worked passed the winning post, Run Oneover dropped off sharply which left John Of Arc as the leader while Smolda kept pushing forward after starting a three wide move at the 1000m point while Hectorjayjay tracked him every step of the way. Down the back straight, Smolda raced to a narrow lead while Hectorjayjay made his move. The third quarter was covered in 28.4 seconds. At the top of the straight, Smolda and Hectorjayjay staged an epic battle while Beaudiene Boaz and Bling It On started to emerge from the pack. In a thrilling battle, Smolda rallied and fought off the determined challenge from Hectorjayjay by a half neck while Beaudiene Boaz filled third placing some 7m away. The last quarter was covered in 28.2. “This is just unbelievable, I can’t believe we just won the Inter Dominion. We’re just living the dream and we’re so thrilled to be here and part of this carnival following on from the New Zealand Cup.” Co-owner Phil Kennard said. Smolda, an 8-year-old Courage Under Fire gelding was purchased through the Australian Pacing Gold Yearling Sales is races by Phil & Glenys Kennard, Neil Pilcher and Marcus Kirkwood. The next leg of the 2016/17 Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit heads to Alexandra Park, Auckland on New Years Eve. by Chris Barsby

Harness Racing This Week: The 2016 Grand Circuit season has come to a close. The 2017 schedule will be released in January. Last time: Easy Lover Hanover completed a modern day harness racing Cinderella story by winning the $314,600 Hap Hansen Progress Pace in 1:49 at Dover Downs on Monday (Nov. 28). Purchased nearly a year ago after a monumental fire wiped-out owner Brad Grant and trainer Ben Wallace's stable in Ontario, Easy Lover Hanover was purchased at the Meadowlands Winter Mixed Sale earlier this year for $70,000 and he turned into a 15-race winner of more than $300,000, with a personal record 1:49 performance in the final major stake of 2016. Youthful driver Doug McNair made good use of starting from post one by trailing race-favorite Check Six (Yannick Gingras) through fast early fractions before finding room along the passing lane to finally pass the leader late in the stretch for the victory. Check Six finished second in a photo ahead of Boston Red Rocks. Owner Brad Grant and trainer Ben Wallace were elated in the winner's circle. "He was a great horse to buy," said Wallace. "He won the first five races we had. While giving the horse some time off, we gelded him, which we had planned when we got him. After wins at Mohawk and Woodbine, we decided to put up $25,000 to supplement him to this race. "Doug McNair has driven him all season for us and he did another good job tonight." Easy Lover Hanover, a son of Somebeachsomewhere-Easy Go Go, completed his sophomore season with 15 wins, four seconds and two thirds. He nearly equaled his seasonal earnings with the Hap Hansen Progress Pace purse lifting his 2016 total to $314,124. The festive and well-attended Saturday evening (Nov. 26) was made even better for Thomas Dillon, when his horse, Rock Me Baby, won the $120,000 Courageous Lady at Northfield Park. The Courageous Lady was a series of firsts for Rock Me Baby. It was the first time she had raced for Dillon. He purchased her just two weeks ago for $82,000 at the Standardbred Mixed Sale at Harrisburg. It was also Rock Me Baby's first start for trainer Heidi Rohr and the first time that Tim Tetrick has driven the filly. Rock Me Baby left off the gate. She initially sat in third, but was sent to the outside approaching the quarter-mile marker. Once she made the lead at about that pole, Rock Me Baby never experienced an anxious moment the remainder of the mile. She posted fractions of :26.4, :54.4, 1:23 and 1:52. "We had to go a pretty big first half," explained Tetrick. "But I was able to give her a breather around the turn and she was really strong to the finish." The clocking was a stakes record for the Courageous Lady, equaled Northfield Park's track record for sophomore filly pacers and was a new lifetime mark for Rock Me Baby. "I was happy to get to drive her," said Tetrick. "When they called me to ask if I would come here (Northfield), I was like absolutely. I love traveling around to these big races offered at places like Northfield and being able to compete with nice horses. I'm just glad to be a part of all this." Completing the field were Mother Of Art, L A Delight, Yankee Moonshine, Dime A Dance, Bellatricks, Free Show and Time On My Hands. Rock Me Baby (Rock N Roll Heaven-Lover Of Art) now has four wins in 21 lifetime starts. Saturday's victory increased her career bankroll to $164,228. Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2016, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) were once again tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farm is the sponsor for the 2016 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the final standings for the 2016 season: Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 1,705.5; 2. David Miller - 1,372; 3. Tim Tetrick - 1,268.5; 4. Scott Zeron - 651.5; 5. Brett Miller - 609.5. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 1,636.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 1,520.5; 3. Tony Alagna - 608; 4. Ake Svanstedt - 491; 5. Erv Miller - 477. Owners: 1. Burke Racing Stable - 372.42; 2. Weaver Bruscemi - 306.67; 3. Marvin Katz - 288.3; 4. Tom Hill - 249; 5. Al Libfeld - 231.8. Looking ahead: The 2017 Grand Circuit schedule will be released in January. Paul Ramlow Grand Circuit Publicity Director

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