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NEW YORK, Aug. 12, 2017  -- How a race that went terribly wrong can ruin the future of Harness Racing, with rippling effects across Agriculture and the US Economy; according to the World Chariot Racing Federation. On August 5, the day of the 92nd Hambletonian, the penultimate competition of the Harness Racing world, a beautiful August day, the sun shining. Droves of racing enthusiasts of all ages from nations across the globe entered the New Jersey Meadowlands to see the best of the three-year old crop of Standardbred Trotters raced to become amongst the immortals of harness history, the Hambletonian Winner. Many thousands were in attendance, and millions around the world watched the crème de la crème race for the illustrious title. The race was action packed from the moment the starting gate opened. The excitement mounted leading past the half and around the final turn and like many great races before; the stretch drive would determine the victor through the striking synergy of both human and equine athletes. Cheers roared across the grandstand and across the world, the loudest from the owners, when half ways down the stretch, What the Hill taped into his class and blew past the leader, A Perfect Spirit, to easily win the mother of all harness races. That was not to be the fairytale ending for this horse or its connections. Only minutes later, due to a stretch drive inquiry, the judges disqualified What the Hill and named the second place horse, A Perfect Spirit the winner of the 2017 Hambletonian. A collective groan was heard throughout the stands, and with it, millions of fans, enthusiasts and could be fans from around the globe were given another reason to be disenchanted by the unbridled and unfair bureaucracy of the sport. Connections to appeal Hambletonian disqualification Stathis is certainly not alone with his viewpoints the owners and connections were quick to appeal to the judges. Ron Burke, The trainer of What the Hill was quoted as saying there was only "5 minutes between the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat." I know this feeling of "lightning striking" all too well, one memory takes me to my 2013 Hambletonian experience with Celebrity Maserati. Stathis was quoted, in his opinion; the disqualification of What the Hill was at the very least an egregious mistake. More so when considering the magnitude of this race and the resulting economic and social consequences that could take down the harness racing industry and devastate the local and national economies.  He further stated I would not be in favor of this but would be more sympathetic to a lesser evil, if all three horses were proportionately penalized, not one disqualified and the other two rewarded. In addition to the agony suffered by the owners and fans, we must raise awareness to the catastrophic and unintended consequences one race will have on agriculture and the entire US Economy. The Unintended Consequences (Brief Summation) "The purpose of this release is to raise awareness to the catastrophic and unintended consequences one race will have to all of us and our children if we don't act immediately and decisively," Mr. Stathis added.  Breakdown of the Video: Stathis took the time to break down his technical analysis on how the video evidence from the race clearly shows that #4 What The Hill and driver David Miller could not be held responsible (with all certainty, not solely liable) for the interference or the break of #9, Guardian Angel AS. A licensed Owner, Trainer and Driver, of harness horses, with patented technology for training and racing horses as well plus extensive expertise in evidence based research and having reviewed the tapes countless times, frame by frame. In this court of public opinion, your viewpoint matters. Please don't take my word for it, with a fresh open mind just look at the full, slow motion video that was shown at the live race. Besides the incident itself very troubling to me is what "clips were selected" to reveal to the fans when the disqualification was being announced. Even more disturbing is what video evidence was omitted at the critical moment of the disqualification announcement. Make close observation of the "Limited View" that was shown during the announcement of the disqualification, "The Limited View" starts after the # 3 horse makes a very significant move/ lane change. The #6 horse does a lesser obvious to the novice, "drift"  but very significant move in the opposite direction. As the saying goes, maybe you can fool the fans, but you can't fool the players. Harness racing is a game of skill not a game of chance, our fans include the best horseman from around the world,  many of which own a relative of the connections or the disqualified horse. Some were stakeholders simply from  a two dollar win ticket, and others that just liked that chose him because they like David Millers Colors. The Judges may have announced that they disqualified the #4, but that's kind of cold in-it-of-itself. They didn't disqualify just a horse, they disqualified thousand if not millions around the world. The  above-interested parties plus all the ones I missed down to the church or charities Hill's connection contribute to or the waitress that served Ron Burke breakfast the next morning, what kind of tip did she receive. When you watch the video, answer for me if in the future David Miller should be called the Buckeye (or) the Iceman. Except for a quick look over his right shoulder when he was "blind sided, from behind," you would think he was meditating for the entire race and up to just 1/8 a mile from winning his first ever Hambletonian. That's why he is a legend and major factor why the headlines and history should record: Ron Burke, David Miller and What the Hill Won the 2017 Hambletonian. Furthermore, Stathis added "I have no ownership in this horse, and I consider myself a friend to all those involved in this incident and their connections. That makes this especially hard for me, but someone has to lead the charge. I offer these statements as my personal opinion, subjecting myself to criticism. I do so because "I answer to a higher power," and know I am doing this purely for the greater good. Most of all I am not going to watch the sport that founded the Olympic games just fade away, nor allow our economy to collapse and our horses to be to slaughtered.  I have been blessed with all I need in my life and much more; a loving wife, children and family with dozens of great employees, despite being a "biblical sinner." I love all things exotic, I have owned many exotics cars, exotic chariots and exotic horses I have met and dined with many exotic people and have competed at all levels of harness and chariot racing competition few as exotic as the Hambletonian.  I have had another blessing the gift of loving horses and having received as much from them as I have given. It's hard to sum it up but in the words of Ronald Reagan; "There is nothing better for the inside of a man than the outside of a horse." About Sam Stathis: Sam Stathis, founder of the World Chariot Racing Federation, The New USTA and Celebrity Farms Racing Stables has been an avid horseman of over 20 years with multiple Hambletonian and Hambletonian Oaks contenders to his credit over the years. Some of his top jewels include; Muscle Hill, the sire of What the Hill, Celebrity Secret, Celebrity Maserati, Celebrity Sweedie, Celebrity Athena, Celebrity Juliet, Celebrity Tribute, Celebrity Deville and others. About World Chariot and the New USTA Dedicated to rebranding harness racing as the sport of the future, and to reintroducing exotic chariots to the Olympics. Showcasing the thrills and excitement of Formula One Racing, franchise ownership opportunities of the NFL and fractional horse ownership and benefits costing as little as five dollars. The World Chariot Racing Federation brings together exotic cars, exotic chariots, exotic horses and exotic people living exotic lifestyles. It also creates high‐end happenings bringing together the best athletes, celebrities, and connoisseurs from around the world. Made up of breeders, owners, trainers, drivers, tracks, fans, media groups and corporate sponsors, the Federation also seeks to lead the field in the green revolution. Stimulating economic growth, creating advanced technical education and certification programs, advancing workforce development by "driving"  the agricultural industries technological revolution.See the exciting video about Sam Stathis and WRCF. The court of public opinion: Keep a scout's eye out for upcoming articles on the ways in which we can all work to rebuild the glorious industry of Harness Racing, to stimulate growth of our economy not further divide us. Please Vote Here. SOURCE World Chariot Racing Federation Related Links http://www.worldchariot.org

MANALAPAN, NJ — August 10, 2017 — This year’s Hambletonian was full of surprises from the absence of trotting star Walner, to the disqualification of what appeared to be the harness racing winner.  With all of that one of the biggest surprises may have come off the track with the attendance of many political figures. Hambletonian Day was full of friendly faces with New Jersey Gubernatorial Candidate Kim Guadagno, State Senator Jennifer Beck, Assemblyman Ronald Dancer and Former NJ Governor Richard Codey, all present to show their support of the racing industry. Oaks Trophy Photo Former NJ Governor and current State Senator Richard Codey awarded the Hamiltonian Oaks trophy for Ariana G and her winning connections. Cane Pace Trophy Photo Senator Jennifer Beck and Assemblyman Ronald Dancer presented the Cane Pace trophy to the winning connections of Huntsville, along with Founding SBOANJ Director Taylor Palmer. Duenna Winner Circle Photo Ice Attraction took home the trophy for the Duenna which was presented by New Jersey Gubernatorial Candidate Kim Guadagno and Assemblyman Ronald Dancer. It was wonderful to see so many New Jersey politicians present on one of harness racing’s most important days.  We are all hopeful that this is a sign of what is to come with continued political support for our sport. Courtney Stafford

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ (August 9, 2017) - All-sources handle on Hambletonian Day at the Meadowlands increased by 4.5 percent versus 2016 including a double-digit increase in separate-pool wagering from Europe and Australia. Total handle on the 16-race program was $7,287,712 up from the $6.9 million wagered in 2016 on a similar 16-race card. Field size was nearly identical to last year (9.7 versus 9.6) with the Hambletonian attracting 19 entries this year versus 18 entries last year. Foreign outlets, which wager into separate pools, showed especially strong growth. All international wagering including outlets throughout Europe and Australia topped $1.5 million, an increase of 14 percent from 2016. "Not only did we see a historic finish to the Hambletonian, we also saw a strong increase in wagering which reflects the continued strength and reach of the Hambletonian and Meadowlands brand amongst horseplayers domestically and internationally," said Jason M. Settlemoir, Meadowlands GM/COO. "We would like to thank the Hambletonian Society, all of the horsemen, fans, employees, and especially the horseplayers for their support of Hambletonian Day." Wagering on the Hambletonian Oaks was also up this year versus last year. Including the two elimination races held a week prior and the final, handle increased an impressive 17.1 percent including a nearly 8 percent increase in the final. Hambletonian Day is traditionally the highest-handling harness racing program in North America. For more information, visit www.playmeadowlands.com. Justin Horowitz

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - August 5, 2017 -- Perfect Spirit was the winner by disqualification in a chaotic Hambletonian Saturday afternoon at the Meadowlands Racetrack. It was a first time a horse first under the wire had his number taken down in the 92 editions of the $1 million trotting classic for harness racing 3-year-olds. What The Hill squeezed off the pylons in deep stretch and sprinted past the pacesetting Perfect Spirit as the crowd cheered what appeared to be the first Hambo winner for trainer Ron Burke and driver David Miller. But then the inquiry sign flashed on the tote board. The judges studied the replay and detected contact between What The Hill and Guardian Angel AS, who broke stride. After a lengthy review, the Hambletonian had it first DQ. "It was a tough break," Miller said. What The Hill was placed ninth and Perfect Spirit was stunningly on his way to the winner's circle. "Your horse raced great both heats," said Hall of Famer John Campbell, presiding for the first time as president of the Hambletonian Society as he handed the connections the cherished trophy. "It's unfortunate circumstances, but you can't take anything away from his performance today." Winning owner Lennart Agren, who races as the SRF Stable, chalked the victory up to the breaks of the game. "I know you have to be very lucky like we were today," he said. "It can end very quickly, so you have to live in the moment right now." The win gave international trotting master Ake Svanstedt, 58, his first Hambo win as both a trainer and driver in only his fourth year in the U.S. "It's very big," the Swedish horseman said. "I'm very happy." Perfect Spirit is by Andover Hall from a Kadabra mare. Perfect Spirit paid $17, $6.40 and $5.40 for his fifth win in nine starts this season. In the revised order of finish, Devious Man ($3 and $2.40) moved up to second and Enterprise ($4) was placed third. It was a tough race for the favorites. Devious Man, the 2-1 choice, had dead aim turning for home but could not sustain his bid. International Moni, the 5-2 second choice, broke stride in the first turn. By Mike Farrell

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Perfect weather and perfect conditions couldn’t prevent an imperfect result in harness racing’s most storied stakes event. Trainer-driver Ake Svanstedt and his horse, Perfect Spirit, were second across the wire, beaten a half-length, in Saturday’s 92nd edition of the $1,000,000 Hambletonian for 3-year-old trotters at the Meadowlands, but were placed first in the official order of finish, giving Svanstedt his first Hambo trophy. Thus, for the first time ever, a Hambletonian winner was declared as the result of a disqualification.  What The Hill, who was first across the wire in 1:52.3, bothered Guardian Angel AS (placed eighth) in deep stretch as he squeezed his way out of the pocket and sent that one off stride, causing the DQ. What The Hill was placed ninth by the judges. The official order of finish was Perfect Spirit first, 2-1 favorite Devious Man second and Enterprise third. Perfect Spirit paid $17.00 to win and now has seven wins in 16 lifetime starts and sports a bankroll of $646,419. ARIANA “GRANDE” IN OAKS: Ariana G brought her “A” game in the Hambletonian Oaks for 3-year-old trotting fillies, and as a result, the rest of the field had no chance. The daughter of Muscle Hill toyed with nine overmatched foes in the $500,000 sister event to the Hambletonian, putting on a dazzling display as she sped clear of the field through the stretch to win by 4¾ lengths over Magic Presto. Dream Together was third. As the heavy favorite, Ariana G returned $2.40 to win and upped her lifetime stats to 15 wins in 18 starts, good for earnings of just over $1.2 million. For the team of driver Yannick Gingras and trainer Jimmy Takter, it marked their fourth consecutive victory in the Oaks. HAMBO HOPEFUL: In what amounts to an early look at next year’s Hambletonian, You Know You Do made his way into contention after vacating the rail at the five-eighths and went first over from there, eventually wearing down leader Samo Different Day inside the eighth pole before going on to an easy 2¼-length victory in the Peter Haughton Memorial for 2-year-old colt and gelding trotters. Farsetti Hanover was third. You Know You Do, a son of Muscle Hill, stopped the clock in 1:54.2 and paid $5.00 to win as the public choice for the team of Gingras and Takter. A LITTLE MORE: Attendance for the Hambletonian Day card was 18,356. … All-source wagering totaled $5,788,870. … Takter trained five winners on the card while Gingras drove four. Svanstedt trained and drove three to victory lane. … Live harness racing returns to the Big M on September 8 for an abbreviated four-day September meeting. The other dates are Sept. 9, 15 and 16. Post time is 7:15 p.m. The results of the other major stakes events on the Hambletonian Day program, with winner (driver, trainer), time and win payoff (*-denotes betting favorite): Shady Daisy for 3-year-old pacing fillies: Blazin Britches (David Miller, Brian Brown), 1:48.4, *$2.60 Dr. John R. Steele Memorial for free for all trotting mares: Pasithea Face S (Tim Tetrick, Jimmy Takter), 1:51.2, $9.60 Jim Doherty Memorial for 2-year-old trotting fillies: Manchego (Yannick Gingras, Takter), 1:52.4, *$3.00 John Cashman Memorial for free for all trotters: Resolve (Ake Svanstedt, Ake Svanstedt), 2:04.2 for a mile and an eighth, $7.00 Cane Pace for 3-year-olds: Huntsville (Tetrick, Ray Schnittker), 2:03 for a mile and an eighth, *$3.40 Sam McKee Memorial for free for all pacers: Check Six (Gingras, Ron Burke), 2:02.1 for a mile and an eighth, $79.00 Lady Liberty for free for all pacing mares: Pure Country (Mark MacDonald, Takter), 1:50, $10.40 By Dave Little, for the Meadowlands  

In addition to the race on the track, Hambletonian Day is a chance to salute harness racing champions of days gone by. This year, the trotters will be led to the post by four-time Hambletonian winning driver Mike Lachance. Lachance, 66, is now retired, but he won the race four times, between 1994 and 2003. He's fourth on the all-time money winning list with $190 million and 10, 422 victories. Lachance will also present the trophy to the winning driver of the Hambletonian. Lachance will be driving the four-year-old trotter, Chukkar, owned by the Arden Homestead Stable and Janice Connor. Chukkar will be competing in the Hambletonian Amateur Drivers race on Friday at The Meadowlands with Peter Gerry driving. Chukkar will be pulling a high wheel sulky from the collection of the Harness Racing Museum in Goshen, N.Y. The Miller High Wheel Cart #1 was produced in about 1903. At the time of production, the manufacturer characterized it as, "in a class by itself." Jim Campbell, who trained 1995 Hambletonian winner Tagliabue, will present the trophy to the winning trainer of this year's Hambletonian champ. Sylvia Hovde, who cared for 2009 Hambletonian winner Muscle Hill, will present to the winning caretaker. Substituting for William Mulligan, breeder of the 2016 Hambletonian winner, Marion Marauder, will be the manager of Mulligan's Marion Farms, Lynda Barnhart. Barnhart will present the trophy to the person who bred this year's Hambletonian winner. From the Hambletonian Society      

Harness racing trainer Ron Burke and his fellow owners of male pacer R J P were pleased with the horse's first performance for the stable when he finished fourth in his Adios elimination July 22 and even happier when he was third in the final last weekend behind Fear The Dragon and Huntsville. They hope for another surge of good feelings Saturday when R J P races in the $334,325 Cane Pace for 3-year-olds at the Meadowlands. The race, which features a 12-horse field going the extended distance of 1-1/8 miles, is the first jewel in the Pacing Triple Crown. R J P is 5-1 on the morning line, behind favorite Huntsville at 9-5 and supplemental entry Downbytheseaside at 3-1. "With him racing for the third week in a row, we're just hoping he's getting tighter and keeps getting better," Burke said. "We bought him because he was eligible to the Adios, but he's a big, good-looking horse that hadn't been over-raced. Those kinds of horses don't become available very often. It was nice to pick up a horse like that." Burke shares ownership of R J P with the partnership of Mark Weaver and Mike Bruscemi, Jack Piatt II, and the partnership of Purnel Jones Jr. and Elizabeth Jones. The group purchased R J P, a son of Somebeachsomewhere out of Vysoke Tatry, from the stable of trainer Erv Miller on July 12. R J P has won three of 18 career races and earned $160,210. He won a division of the Bluegrass Stakes last year. In the Cane Pace, he will again see Huntsville, who has won six of nine races this year and was the 2016 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male pacer. Huntsville, the Ray Schnittker-trained Meadowlands Pace champion, is the No. 2-ranked horse in the Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll and his three losses were second-place finishes to No. 1 Fear The Dragon. Downbytheseaside, trained by Brian Brown, has won five of eight races this year. He finished second by a head to Huntsville in the Meadowlands Pace and was third behind Fear The Dragon and Huntsville in the North America Cup. His wins include the Art Rooney Pace. The remainder of the field is Chip Walther, Art Scene, Lawrencetown Beach, Photobombr Hanover, Uffizi, Mac's Jackpot, Filibuster Hanover and second-tier starters Ocean Colony and Santafe's Coach. Lawrencetown Beach and Filibuster Hanover also are from the Burke stable. "(R J P) is kind of a trip horse on the big track," Burke said, "so he's going to need a little bit of a battle to set up." Burke has 17 horses racing on Saturday's Hambletonian Day card, including three in the day's main event, the $1.2 million Hambletonian Stakes. Burke, who finished second with filly Mission Brief in the 2015 Hambletonian and second by a nose with Southwind Frank in last year's event, will send out What The Hill, Southwind Cobra, and Southwind Woody in the hopes of hoisting the trophy for the first time. "It's kind of different this year because I don't have the favorite, but mine also aren't coming in with problems," Burke said. "They seem like everything is good with them. I have a feeling they're going to be as good as they can be. The question is whether that's good enough." Following is a brief look at some of Saturday's remaining stakes action at the Meadowlands. Racing begins at noon and the Sam McKee Memorial, Hambletonian Oaks and Hambletonian air live from 4-5:30 p.m. on CBS Sports Network. $113,950 Shady Daisy (Race 2) Idyllic Beach, last year's Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old female pacer, is the 8-5 morning-line favorite in a group of six that includes supplemental entries Blazin Britches and Ella Christina. Jimmy Takter-trained Idyllic Beach heads to the race off a second-place finish in the Mistletoe Shalee at the Meadowlands. Blazin Britches, the 2-1 second choice from the Brian Brown stable, and Nick Surick's Ella Christina were Adioo Volo division winners on July 29 at The Meadows. The remainder of the field is Sister's Delight, Awash and Caviart Ally. $176,250 John R. Steele Memorial (Race 3) Hannelore Hanover, last year's Dan Patch Award winning trotting mare, is back to defend her crown in the Steele Memorial, formerly known as the Fresh Yankee. The Ron Burke trainee is the 7-5 morning-line favorite in a field of nine older female trotters. She won this season's Armbro Flight Stakes and enters off a second-place finish to JL Cruze in the Spirit of Massachusetts. Luc Blais-trained Emoticon Hanover is the 4-1 second choice followed by Takter's Swedish-bred Pasithea Face at 5-1. The rest of the field is Caprice Hill, Earn Your Wings, Jewels In Hock, Broadway Donna, Non Stick, and Barn Doll. $360,650 Peter Haughton Memorial (Race 4) Takter sends six horses to the Haughton, which is for 2-year-old male trotters, led by 2-1 morning-line choice You Know You Do. Julie Miller-trained Met's Hall is the 4-1 second pick followed at 5-1 by Takter's Samo Different Day, who won his Haughton elimination by a half-length over Met's Hall in 1:54.2. The remainder of the field is Farsetti Hanover, Hill Street, Fashion Forever, Captain Morgan, Storming Mist, Maxus, and Bautista. $330,800 Jim Doherty Memorial (Race 5) Takter has the 9-5 morning-line favorite in the Doherty, for 2-year-old female trotters, in undefeated Manchego. The filly is 4-for-4. Trond Smedshammer-trained Phaetosive, who is 2-for-2 and won her elimination by seven lengths in 1:53.1, is the 4-1 second choice and Mark Harder's Lily Stride is next at 5-1. The rest of the finalists are Vivacious Allie, Follow Streak, Top Expectations, Dab Hanover, Supergirl Riley, Front Circle, and Bella Glos. $303,050 John Cashman Memorial (Race 6) A field of 12, led by last year's Hambletonian and Trotting Triple Crown winner Marion Marauder, will go the extended distance of 1-1/8 miles. Marion Marauder, trained by Paula Wellwood, enters off wins in the Graduate Series championship and Hambletonian Maturity. He is the 5-2 morning-line favorite. Ake Svanstedt-trained Resolve is 4-1 and Burke's Crazy Wow is 5-1. The rest of the field is JL Cruze, Wings Of Royalty, Rubber Duck, Dayson, Flanagan Memory, Musical Rhythm, Lookslikeachpndale, and second-tier starters Rose Run Parker and Obrigado. Obrigado, last year's Dan Patch Award winning older male trotter, and Flanagan Memory, last year's Breeders Crown Open Trot champion, are previous winners of the Cashman. $224,400 Sam McKee Memorial (Race 11) Mel Mara aims for his first stakes win of the season and is the 3-1 morning-line favorite in a field of 11 older male pacers going 1-1/8 miles. Mel Mara, trained by Dylan Davis, was second in the Ben Franklin Pace and enters the race off a win in the preferred handicap at the Meadowlands. William Haughton Memorial winner Mach It So is the 7-2 second choice from the stable of Jeff Bamond Jr. and Steve Elliott's Boston Red Rocks, the runner-up in the Haughton and Graduate Series championship, is next at 9-2. The rest of the field is Rock N' Roll World, All Bets Off, Dude's The Man, Check Six, Lyons Snyder, Wakizashi Hanover, Rockeyed Optimist and second-tier starter Dealt A Winner. $200,400 Lady Liberty (Race 15) Golden Girls winner Nike Franco, from the stable of Jo Ann Looney-King, is the 6-5 morning-line favorite. The New Zealand-bred mare headlines a field of eight older female pacers that also includes Takter-trained Pure Country, the 4-1 second choice, and Patrick Lachance's Penpal, who is 5-1. The remainder of the field is Call Me Queen Be, Medusa, Frost Damage Blues, Blue Moon Stride, and Shesjustadelight. Ken Weingartner

Coming off a career year, harness racing trainer John Butenschoen might be on his way to a career day. Butenschoen's stable will start three horses in Saturday's $1.2 million Hambletonian Stakes at the Meadowlands Racetrack, plus one horse in the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks. Prior to this year, Butenschoen made one start in the Hambletonian, which came in 2013 with Punxsutawney, who failed to advance from his elimination to the final. This year, Butenschoen has contenders Bill's Man (5-1 on the morning line) and Giveitgasandgo (8-1) in the first of two $100,000 Hambletonian eliminations. Dover Dan (8-1) is his stable's hopeful in the second division. The top five finishers from each elimination advance to the $1 million final later in the day. Soon after the eliminations, which are races eight and nine on the card, Butenschoen will send Fine Tuned Lady into the Hambletonian Oaks. She is 10-1 on the morning line. The 54-year-old Butenschoen was born in Illinois and out of high school went to work for Delvin Miller, who won two Hambletonians as a trainer and one as a driver. He met his wife, Jackie Kiger Butenschoen, while working for Miller. Her father was also a trainer and for a time was the farrier at Miller's Meadow Lands Farm. The Butenschoens work together in their stable, where they are joined by son Tyler. Butenschoen enjoyed his first million-dollar season as a trainer in 2001, when the trotter Plesac (named in honor of then-major league pitcher Dan Plesac) was the star of his barn. Plesac raced from 1999 to 2003, earning $2.5 million in his career. Last year Butenschoen set career highs with 85 wins and $2.34 million in purses. Butenschoen's successes included Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championships with Fine Tuned Lady (2-year-old female trotter division) and Giveitgasandgo (2-year-old male trotter division). He also trained New York Sire Stakes champion pacer Funknwaffles. Fine Tuned Lady was fourth in her Hambletonian Oaks elimination after racing as the first horse in the outer flow while tracking leader Ice Attraction. Ariana G followed Fine Tuned Lady's cover to the top of the stretch and trotted home a winner from there in 1:51.3. Ariana G, last year's divisional Dan Patch Award winner, is the 6-5 favorite in the final. "We didn't really want to be first up," Butenschoen said. "She got a little lost up there and a couple fresher horses went by her, but then she dug right back in and she fought hard to the wire. Hopefully we can get a trip off someone else (in the final) instead of supplying someone else with the right trip. "But she shows up all the time. She's consistent. She's handy." Fine Tuned Lady, a daughter of Cantab Hall-Poster Princess driven by Corey Callahan, has won nine of 20 career races, finished worse than third only twice, and earned $518,029 for owners Bill Wiswell and M And L of Delaware. The same connections will send out Bill's Man in the Hambletonian eliminations. Bill's Man, a son of Credit Winner-Silver Springs, has won four of 21 lifetime starts and earned $186,427. He heads to his assignment off a third-place finish in the Reynolds last weekend at the Meadowlands. "We were a little disappointed he finished third, but he was parked the whole mile and seems to have come out of the race fine," Butenschoen said. "He's shown he's good enough to go with them. "He's had a good year. Maybe we've been a little too cautious with him. Last year he made some very untimely miscues and it didn't seem to matter if we had hobbles on him or not. The main thing was trying to teach him to race and have his confidence and have him trotting. He has the ability. I think if we can work out a trip we should be OK." Giveitgasandgo, a son of Yankee Glide-Mazda Hanover, competes in the same elimination and enters the race off a 1:52.1 win in a 3-year-old open at the Meadowlands last weekend. He raced with Lasix for the first time in that start, but Lasix is not permitted in the Hambletonian. "I thought he might have had a little more trot finishing Saturday, but it was his first start back in 20 days off of a scratch (because of sickness)," Butenschoen said. "We won't be able to use Lasix, but hopefully we've got everything in shape and under control." Giveitgasandgo has won 11 of 19 career races and earned $352,349 for owners Harmony Oaks Racing (which is Butenschoen and his wife), David J. Miller, Lawrence Means, and VIP Internet Stable. In the second elimination, Dover Dan is a son of Andover Hall out of the mare CR Kay Suzie. His dam was a three-time Dan Patch Award winner, including 1995 Horse of the Year. She took on the boys in the 1995 Hambletonian, but went off stride in her elimination and failed to advance to the final. Dover Dan has finished off the board four times this year, with three of those instances coming when starting from a post No. 9. He started from the nine post in the Reynolds in his most recent race and also had the outside in the final of the Beal Memorial and a division of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes. "I've been disappointed with the draws we've had," Butenschoen said. "He's just been a little bit of a victim of circumstances with post positions. "The other night (driver Brian Sears) said he had a ton of trot. Usually for a horse to trot as hard as he did to get back into the race they're kind of tired. He said he wasn't tired. He trotted his back half in :54.2 or :54.3 and came from way, way, way out of it. I've been pleased with him performance-wise. You can't do anything about the post positions." Dover Dan has won six of 19 lifetime races and earned $181,823 for owners Wiswell, Jean Goehlen and Gene Schick. Goehlen's father, George Alexander, bred 1992 Hambletonian winner Alf Palema. It was the last horse he ever bred. Alexander, whose Chestnut Farm raised and bred only trotters, was a director of the Hambletonian Society. He was elected as an Immortal to the Harness Racing Hall of Fame in 1990. CBS Sports Network will air live coverage of the Hambletonian from 4:00-5:30 p.m. (EDT) Saturday. The Sam McKee Memorial (formerly U.S. Pacing Championship) and Hambletonian Oaks also will be featured during the 90-minute broadcast. First race post time on Hambletonian Day is noon. The Hambletonian final is 5:11 p.m. Following are the Hambletonian elimination fields. Hambletonian Elimination (race eight) PP-Horse-Sire-Dam Sire-Driver-Trainer-Line 1 - Southwind Woody by Muscle Hill from a Pine Chip mare - Matt Kakaley - Ron Burke - 12/1 2 - Bill’s Man by Credit Winner from a Yankee Glide mare - Corey Callahan - John Butenschoen - 5/1 3 - Guardian Angel AS by Archangel from an Allstar Hall mare - Jason Bartlett - Anette Lorentzon - 10/1 4 - Giveitgasandgo by Yankee Glide from an Andover Hall mare - Corey Callahan - John Butenschoen - 8/1 5 - International Moni by Love You from a Speedy Crown mare - Scott Zeron - Frank Antonacci - 5/2 6 -Stealth Hanover by Andover Hall from a Credit Winner mare - Francisco Del Cid - Francisco Del Cid - 30/1 7 - Victor Gio It by Ready Cash from a Pine Chip mare - Yannick Gingras - Jimmy Takter - 6/1 8 - Long Tom by Muscle Hill from a Windsong’s Legacy mare - Tim Tetrick - Marcus Melander - 3/1 9 - Jake by Muscle Hill from an Andover Hall mare - Dan Dube - Luc Blais - 8/1   Hambletonian Elimination (race nine) PP-Horse-Sire-Dam Sire-Driver-Trainer-Line 1 - What The Hill by Muscle Hill from an Angus Hall mare - David Miller - Ron Burke - 3/1 2 - Seven And Seven by Chapter Seven from a Kadabra mare - David Miller - Tom Durand - 8/1 3 - Sortie by Explosive Matter from a Tagliabue mare - Andy McCarthy - Noel Daley - 10/1 4 -Shake it Off Lindy by Crazed from a Love You mare - Brett Miller - Frank Antonacci - 20/1 5 - Dover Dan by Andover Hall from a Royal Troubador mare - Brian Sears - John Butenschoen - 8/1 6 - Enterprise by Chapter Seven from a SJ’s Caviar mare - Tim Tetrick - Marcus Melander - 9/2 7 - Southwind Cobra by Muscle Hill from a Broadway Hall mare - Yannick Gingras - Ron Burke - 15/1 8 - Achille Duharas by Andover Hall from a Pine Chip mare - Yannick Gingras - Jimmy Takter - 20/1 9 - Devious Man by Credit Winner from a Garland Lobell mare - Andy Miller - Julie Miller-5/2 10 - Perfect Spirit by Andover Hall from a Kadabra mare - Ake Svanstedt - Ake Svanstedt - 12/1   $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks PP-Horse-Sire-Dam Sire-Driver-Trainer-Line 1 - Southwind Avanti by Muscle Hill from a Windsong's Legacy mare - Jason Bartlett - Anette Lorentzon - 10/1 2 - Dream Together by Muscle Hill from a Andover Hall mare - Daniel Dube - Luc Blais - 8/1 3 - Caviart Wonder by Muscle Massive from a Conway Hall mare - Andy McCarthy - Noel Daley - 20/1 4 - Ariana G by Muscle Hill from a Cantab Hall mare - Yannick Gingras - Jimmy Takter - 6/5 5 - Magic Presto by Kadabra from a Muscles Yankee mare - Brian Sears - R. Nifty Norman - 5/1 6 - Fine Tuned Lady by Cantab Hall from a Pine Chip mare - Corey Callahan - John Butenschoen - 10/1 7 - Feed Your Head by Muscle Hill from a Donerail mare - Tim Tetrick - Jimmy Takter - 6/1 8 - Sunshine Delight by Credit Winner from a Cantab Hall mare - Brett Miller - Staffan Lind - 20/1 9 - Overdraft Volo by Yankee Glide from a Tagliabue mare - Andy Miller - Julie Miller - 10/1 10 - Dream Baby Dream by Muscle Hill from a Andover Hall mare - Rod Allen - Rod Allen - 15/1 Ken Weingartner

Elkhorn is one of the few harness racing hotbeds in Wisconsin. On Saturday, 71-year-old Bill Wiswell of Elkhorn will live a harness horse owner’s dream. Wiswell and his partners have two horses that have a good chance to race in Saturday afternoon’s $1 million Hambletonian final, the “Kentucky Derby” for 3-year-old trotters at The Meadowlands in New Jersey. Only 19 trotters will compete in the two $100,000 ($50,000 first-place prize money) elimination races early Saturday afternoon, with the top five finishers in each race going for the $500,000 first-place prize in the Hambletonian final at approximately 4:20 p.m. Wiswell’s ownership group has Dover Dan trotting in the first elimination and Bill’s Man in the second. Dover Dan is 8-1 in the morning betting line, and Bill’s Man is 5-1—which indicate both trotters have a shot. Bill’s Man, named after Wiswell, appears to be the group’s best hope. Bill’s Man has earned $186,427 in 21 career starts, including $115,986 in nine starts this year. “Bill’s Man was the second- or third-fastest (2-year-old trotter) last year,” Wiswell said. “He’s coming on strong.” In addition, Wiswell’s filly trotter, Fine Tuned Lady, will compete in the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks and is 10-1 in the morning line. Fine Tuned Lady earned Wiswell and his Delaware partners $438,349 last year in 12 starts and has $79,689 on her card in eight starts this year. The filly Ariana G, whose owners considered racing against the boys in the Hambletonian, is the huge favorite in the Oaks. Having three entrants (with $886,279 in combined career earnings) among the 29 going for the two biggest trotting races is noteworthy—especially for someone that grew up in Elkhorn. Wiswell has owned many high-priced horses in his long career in the sport. “Probably 35 years or something like that,” he said of his association just hours before he flew out to the East Coast on Thursday morning. And how many horses has he been part of in those 35 years? “Too many,” he said. Wiswell is a speculator of harness horses. He and several long-time partners from Illinois and Delaware deal with yearlings. He met his trainer, John Butenscheon, who was from Marengo, Illinois, when harness racing was in its prime in Chicago. Now, like many other things in Illinois due to its governing, the sport has withered into nothing. Butenschoen has moved his training base to Pennsylvania, where he is within a two-hour drive to casino-driven tracks in Pennsylvania and New York, along with the Meadowlands in New Jersey. Wiswell and his partners own 15 horses—all 3-years-old or younger. After their 3-year-old campaigns, Wiswell and his partners put the horses up for sale. Why deal with all the uncertainty, and in some cases, pay six figures for a yearling that might never get to the track? “That is where the money is, as far as I’m concerned,” he said. Dealing with yearlings is somewhat like buying penny stocks. Much of the sales are based on the colt’s or filly’s parents—the dam and sire. But just like humans, there are no guarantees. Unless your dad is LaVar Ball, of course. Walner was considered the Hambletonian favorite since his 2-year-old campaign. Then this week, he suffered an injury, forcing his connections to withdraw him from Saturday’s eliminations. Say goodbye to a likely $600,000 payday. “The name of the game in this business is luck,” Wiswell said. “You keep your fingers crossed.” But the bad luck suffered by Walner’s connections can only benefit Wiswell and his partners. The trip to the Meadowlands on the first Saturday of August for the Hambletonian is an annual date for Wiswell since the event was moved from DuQuion, Illinois, to the New Jersey track in 1981. This year, the trip is special. For the first time in all his years in the business, Wiswell will have an entrant—two, in fact. Plus Fine Tuned Lady in the Hambletonian Oaks. That’s not bad for someone who once got out of the harness business because of a lack of success. But because he loved the horses, he still went to the top yearling sale in Lexington, Kentucky, every year. At one sale, the itch proved to be too much. “I told my wife, ‘I want to get back in,” he said. “I want to go see John (Butenschoen) and see what’s going on.” Butenschoen had owners from Delaware, which combined with Wiswell’s Illinois partners, formed the present ownership group. And that group will have their day Saturday. So, what horse will he have his money on? “I don’t bet on my own horses,” he said. “The last time I bet on one my horses, he finished sixth for $200,000 (purse money). That was 35 years ago.” Only the top five finishers share in the purse money. When you are talking about the quality horses Wiswell’s group are involved in, the purse money is enough to keep their interest. And Saturday afternoon, Wiswell and his friends will have a lot on the line—the finish line. By Tom Miller Reprinted with permission of the GazettXtra

East Rutherford...CBS Sports Network will present a 90-minute telecast of the $1 million Hambletonian, live from The Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, NJ, on Sat., Aug. 5, from 4:00-5:30 p.m. (EDT). The Hambletonian is the first and most prestigious leg of harness racing's Trotting Triple Crown. CBS Sports Network, which has been the broadcast home of the Hambletonian since 2012, also will air the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks, and provide coverage of the $224,000 Sam McKee Memorial Pace. "Live television of the Hambletonian has always been a top priority of the Hambletonian Society," said Tom Charters, executive vice-president of the organization which owns and administers 131 of racing's most important events. "The Hambletonian has been televised for over 40 years, and we're proud to continue that tradition on CBS Sports Network, with the support of our host racetrack, The Meadowlands, and the U.S. Trotting Association." The on-air team for the Hambletonian is a stellar trio of award-winning harness racing veterans. Gary Seibel, a former host of racing coverage on ESPN, NBC, CBS and TVG, will anchor the coverage. A member of harness racing's Communicators Hall of Fame, Seibel will be appearing on his 25th straight Hambletonian broadcast. Dave Brower, one of harness racing's sharpest handicappers, will co-anchor. Brower, a staple of The Meadowlands airwaves, recently returned to "Racing from the Meadowlands" television program on SNY, and is an alumnus of Fox Sports New York, MSG Networks and TVG's "Drive Time". He is the author of the bestseller Harnessing Winners: The Complete Guide to Handicapping Harness Races. Justin Horowitz returns for his fourth year in his role of trackside reporter and winner circle host. Horowitz, a former sports video-journalist in Minnesota and New York, is now the racing and media manager for Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs in New York and director and often host of all broadcast coverage from Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment. Emmy Award winner Mike Trager and the Trager Group have been executive producers of the Hambletonian broadcasts for the past 25 years. The award winning team will be lead by producer Peter Lasser and director David Newman, both Hambletonian and harness racing broadcast veterans. Meadowlands announcer Ken Warkentin will provide his racing expertise and race call. The 92nd Hambletonian show will re-air Sunday, Aug. 6 at 10:30 a.m. (EDT) CBS Sports Network, the 24-hour home of CBS Sports, is available across the country in more than 99 million homes nationwide. CBS Sports Network televises nearly 600 live events and over 3,000 hours of live programming every year including live college football, college basketball, and more from the MW, AAC, Big East, C-USA, A-10, Army, Navy, and the Patriot League. CBSSN is also the home to Professional Bull Riding and Arena Football League. For more information, and to access the CBS Sports Network channel finder, go to www.cbssportsnetwork.com.  

Saturday’s two Hambletonian elimination races include two horses with identical morning-line odds and a harness racing driver on each looking for their first Hambletonian Crown ever.  8-1 shot Seven and Seven, driven by Mark MacDonald and trained by Tom Durand, will leave from post 2 in a field of 10 in the Hambletonian’s second elimination heat (race 9). Seven And Seven has not raced since June 17, where he finished third in the $183,230 Goodtimes Final at Mohawk Racetrack to eventual winner and Hambletonian favorite International Moni. “He is a pretty resilient horse. He will go with them and right now he is training really good,” said Durand, who is participating in his third Hambletonian, having finished second in the 2011 final with Whiskey Tax and eighth in an elimination with Roughing It in 1990. “In the Goodtimes, he was spooked at the start of the race but driver David Miller said he was really impressed with how he responded and he had a ton of horse left. The qualifier last week at Mohawk was good, but it was a bit disappointing because, I wanted to test the horse out on the front end, and he didn’t want anything of it, so we won’t be sending him out to the lead on Saturday.” With Miller opting for What The Hill out of post 1 and Brian Sears driving Dover Dan from post 5, MacDonald will drive. MacDonald drove in his first Hambletonian heat last year and finished sixth with Reigning Moni, missing the final by one spot. “To make the final and possibly win it would be the culmination of something we have worked for for a very long time,” said Durand via phone call Wednesday. “He has been training like a monster, especially his last time out on Tuesday, he shifted gears like that and is right on the bit. He is going to give it his all I know that.” Another 8-1 shot, Jake, will leave from post nine in a field of nine in Saturday’s first Hambletonian heat (race 8). Trained by Luc Blais, Daniel Dube will drive. Blais, a native of Lochaber Ouest, Quebec and who is seeking his first Hambletonian champion, is coming off a solid year in which he ranked fifth in Canada’s trainer earnings with $1.78 million. The 55-year-old Blais had worked with a number of stakes winners at Yves Filion’s Bayama Farms in Quebec before starting his own stable. His best-known recent successes include two-time O’Brien Award-winning trotter Intimidate and Ontario Sire Stakes champion trotter Emoticon Hanover. Dube’s last drive in a Hambo heat was with Workout Wonder in 2015, finishing sixth. Dube did drive Make It Happen to a third-place Hambo final finish in 2008. “He raced good the last time out and I think he will be all right coming from the outside post,” Dube said via phone call Wednesday. “I can do whatever I want with him. In these eliminations, you need a little bit of racing luck to make the final. We just have to get there.” Dube finished second with Jake in a $15,000 race on July 29th. “This is the best race. I can’t explain it. For us to get to the final and have a chance to win, it would mean a lot to me and a dream come true,” Dube said. Following are the Hambletonian elimination fields. Hambletonian Elimination (race eight) PP-Horse-Sire-Dam Sire-Driver-Trainer-Line 1 - Southwind Woody by Muscle Hill from a Pine Chip mare - Matt Kakaley - Ron Burke - 12/1 2 - Bill’s Man by Credit Winner from a Yankee Glide mare - Corey Callahan - John Butenschoen - 5/1 3 - Guardian Angel AS by Archangel from an Allstar Hall mare - Jason Bartlett - Anette Lorentzon - 10/1 4 - Giveitgasandgo by Yankee Glide from an Andover Hall mare - Corey Callahan - John Butenschoen - 8/1 5 - International Moni by Love You from a Speedy Crown mare - Scott Zeron - Frank Antonacci - 5/2 6 -Stealth Hanover by Andover Hall from a Credit Winner mare - Francisco Del Cid - Francisco Del Cid - 30/1 7 - Victor Gio It by Ready Cash from a Pine Chip mare - Yannick Gingras - Jimmy Takter - 6/1 8 - Long Tom by Muscle Hill from a Windsong’s Legacy mare - Tim Tetrick - Marcus Melander - 3/1 9 - Jake by Muscle Hill from an Andover Hall mare - Dan Dube - Luc Blais - 8/1   Hambletonian Elimination (race nine) PP-Horse-Sire-Dam Sire-Driver-Trainer-Line 1 - What The Hill by Muscle Hill from an Angus Hall mare - David Miller - Ron Burke - 3/1 2 - Seven And Seven by Chapter Seven from a Kadabra mare - David Miller - Tom Durand - 8/1 3 - Sortie by Explosive Matter from a Tagliabue mare - Andy McCarthy - Noel Daley - 10/1 4 -Shake it Off Lindy by Crazed from a Love You mare - Brett Miller - Frank Antonacci - 20/1 5 - Dover Dan by Andover Hall from a Royal Troubador mare - Brian Sears - John Butenschoen - 8/1 6 - Enterprise by Chapter Seven from a SJ’s Caviar mare - Tim Tetrick - Marcus Melander - 9/2 7 - Southwind Cobra by Muscle Hill from a Broadway Hall mare - Yannick Gingras - Ron Burke - 15/1 8 - Achille Duharas by Andover Hall from a Pine Chip mare - Yannick Gingras - Jimmy Takter - 20/1 9 - Devious Man by Credit Winner from a Garland Lobell mare - Andy Miller - Julie Miller-5/2 10 - Perfect Spirit by Andover Hall from a Kadabra mare - Ake Svanstedt - Ake Svanstedt - 12/1 by LOU MONACO, for the Hambletonian Society  

The New Jersey Racing Commission has cleared the out-of-competition tests screened to date on the harness racing entrants in the $1.2 million Hambletonian, to be raced Saturday, Aug. 5 at The Meadowlands in East Rutherford, New Jersey. This procedure has been routine for nearly a decade in the Hambletonian Society sponsored and owned Hambletonian and Hambletonian Oaks races, as well as the $6 million Breeders Crown events. For the past three weeks samples were drawn from possible Hambletonian entrants stabled throughout New Jersey, as well as Ontario, Delaware, New York and Pennsylvania. All horses were tested with the cooperation of the participating horsemen and state and provincial racing commissions in those jurisdictions. "I would like to thank the New Jersey Racing Commission for their diligence in this area as well as the racing commissions in Pennsylvania, Ontario, New York and Delaware for their cooperative work with New Jersey," said John Campbell, president and CEO of the Hambletonian Society. "These state and provincial jurisdictions working together on all fronts is paramount to any success our sport will have moving forward, and the Society applauds this initiative. We would also like to thank the horsemen for their continued support and cooperation." All Hambletonian and Oaks horses will report in advance of race time to a secure stakes barn at The Meadowlands. Random out-of-competition testing has continued through Friday night. All contestants will be post-race tested according to standard NJ Racing Commission procedures and all winners on Saturday and randomly chosen horses from each field will be subject to the "Super Test" screening, which detects the broadest array of substances. The out-of-competition drug testing is used to detect evidence of blood doping, and is a condition of entry for the Breeders Crown, Hambletonian and the Hambletonian Oaks. This testing is in addition to earlier out-of-competition testing done privately by the Meadowlands Racetrack. The Hambletonian Society, the only standardbred racing organization to prohibit the use of raceday medication in its signature races, the Hambletonian, Hambletonian Oaks and Hambletonian Maturity, remains committed to the integrity of racing and the welfare of the Standardbred horse. These policies can only be implemented with the full cooperation of the New Jersey, Ontario, Delaware, New York and Pennsylvania Racing Commissions. The Society owns and administers 131 stake races, and over the last 25 years through the use of racing conditions has addressed embryo transfer, cloning, out-of-competition testing, and added language to address the emerging threats of exotic drugs and blood doping. The Society has forged strong bonds with its host tracks, host track commissions and provincial regulatory bodies and has shared in additional testing and retention costs. Post time Saturday is 12:00 noon for the closing day of the Meadowlands Championship meet, a stakes-laden internationally simulcast event.  

Trenton, NJ --- Marcus Melander has never won a Hambletonian but the 25-year-old harness racing trainer has the essence of Hambo greatness surrounding his entire being. And while the Swede does not have a favorite in Saturday’s $1.2 million Hambletonian Stakes for 3-year-olds at the Meadowlands, he does have a Tim Tetrick-driven horse in each elimination getting pretty good odds. In the 10-horse division (race nine), Enterprise is 9/2, with only Devious Man (5/2) and What The Hill (3/1) being given better chances. Enterprise, who outgrew an immature streak after racing only once as a 2-year-old, won his first five career starts. A son of Chapter Seven out of the mare Shes Gone Again, Enterprise is a half-brother to New Jersey Sire Stakes champion Guess Whos Back and his family includes Dan Patch and O’Brien Award winner Poof She’s Gone. Enterprise was purchased for $100,000 at the 2015 Lexington Selected Sale. “Enterprise raced last week and was a little short,” said Melander, who began training the horse late last summer. “He got beat by a good horse, though (fellow Hambletonian starter International Moni). I was happy with him, but he needed that race for sure. I think that race will put him forward for the Hambletonian. He was a little sick up there in Canada (when he finished fourth in the Goodtimes final on June 17) so maybe he missed a little too much, had a race less (than hoped). But I still think he will be a hundred percent.” In the nine-horse division (race eight), Long Tom is at 3/1 odds, second best on the board behind favored International Moni (5/2). The colt, who came to Melander from Europe in April 2016, was this year’s New Jersey Sire Stakes champion at the Meadowlands. “Long Tom hasn’t raced since the Stanley Dancer (July 15), but he came out of that race very good,” Melander said. “I’m very happy with him. He’s been training great. There’s nothing to complain about there.” The trainer’s optimism should be taken seriously if exposure to Hambo success stories have any bearing on the matter. Marcus’ uncle, Stefan Melander, won the 2001 Hambletonian as trainer and driver with Scarlet Knight. Marcus worked with Stefan in Sweden and after moving to the U.S. from Stockholm with his family in 2014, Marcus began working for trainer Jimmy Takter, a four-time Hambletonian winner. His family purchased the farm in New Egypt that was previously owned by the late, legendary Stanley Dancer, who shares the record for Hambletonian training victories with five. And finally, the guy in the sulky is no Hambo Day slouch. The 35-year-old Tetrick won the 2012 Hambletonian with Market Share and drove to second-place finishes with Crazed in 2008 and Smilin Eli in 2013. In 2007 he won a single-season record 1,189 races, is a four-time U.S. Harness Writers Association Driver of the Year (most recently in 2013) and stands fifth all-time in earnings with $182 million. Melander knew of them all while growing up in Sweden, as he stayed up throughout the night to follow the results of United States harness racing while making a name for himself as a driver in Europe. At age 19, Marcus won Sweden’s equivalent to the USHWA’s Rising Star Award and had just over 100 wins before moving to America. Now, he is precariously close to realizing every Standardbred trainer’s dream in what he feels is anyone’s race. “The best horse (Walner) is not in, so it’s like a wide-open race now,” Melander said. “It’s 10 horses that can win it. It was Walner before, who was No. 1, and then numbers two to 10. All of them were as good as each other. It will be the horse with the best trip. You need to be lucky when they draw and everything like that. It’s wide open, really.” Melander feels the set-up, which requires the eliminations and the final to be contested the same day, could favor his horses. The top five finishers in each elimination reach the final. “I think that would be good for both of them because they’re both strong horses,” he said. “I think they are both a hundred percent. I’m very happy with both of them.” Following are the Hambletonian elimination fields. Hambletonian Elimination (race eight) PP-Horse-Sire-Dam Sire-Driver-Trainer-Line 1 - Southwind Woody by Muscle Hill from a Pine Chip mare - Matt Kakaley - Ron Burke - 12/1 2 - Bill’s Man by Credit Winner from a Yankee Glide mare - Corey Callahan - John Butenschoen - 5/1 3 - Guardian Angel AS by Archangel from an Allstar Hall mare - Jason Bartlett - Anette Lorentzon - 10/1 4 - Giveitgasandgo by Yankee Glide from an Andover Hall mare - Corey Callahan - John Butenschoen - 8/1 5 - International Moni by Love You from a Speedy Crown mare - Scott Zeron - Frank Antonacci - 5/2 6 -Stealth Hanover by Andover Hall from a Credit Winner mare - Francisco Del Cid - Francisco Del Cid - 30/1 7 - Victor Gio It by Ready Cash from a Pine Chip mare - Yannick Gingras - Jimmy Takter - 6/1 8 - Long Tom by Muscle Hill from a Windsong’s Legacy mare - Tim Tetrick - Marcus Melander - 3/1 9 - Jake by Muscle Hill from an Andover Hall mare - Dan Dube - Luc Blais - 8/1   Hambletonian Elimination (race nine) PP-Horse-Sire-Dam Sire-Driver-Trainer-Line 1 - What The Hill by Muscle Hill from an Angus Hall mare - David Miller - Ron Burke - 3/1 2 - Seven And Seven by Chapter Seven from a Kadabra mare - David Miller - Tom Durand - 8/1 3 - Sortie by Explosive Matter from a Tagliabue mare - Andy McCarthy - Noel Daley - 10/1 4 -Shake it Off Lindy by Crazed from a Love You mare - Brett Miller - Frank Antonacci - 20/1 5 - Dover Dan by Andover Hall from a Royal Troubador mare - Brian Sears - John Butenschoen - 8/1 6 - Enterprise by Chapter Seven from a SJ’s Caviar mare - Tim Tetrick - Marcus Melander - 9/2 7 - Southwind Cobra by Muscle Hill from a Broadway Hall mare - Yannick Gingras - Ron Burke - 15/1 8 - Achille Duharas by Andover Hall from a Pine Chip mare - Yannick Gingras - Jimmy Takter - 20/1 9 - Devious Man by Credit Winner from a Garland Lobell mare - Andy Miller - Julie Miller-5/2 10 - Perfect Spirit by Andover Hall from a Kadabra mare - Ake Svanstedt - Ake Svanstedt - 12/1   by Rich Fisher, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent 

East Rutherford, NJ --- After four decades in the harness racing business, Doug Paul and his family will see a dream come true Saturday when Bill’s Man races in the $1.2 million Hambletonian Stakes at the Meadowlands Racetrack. Bill’s Man will be the Pauls’ first starter in the sport’s premier race for 3-year-old trotters, the Hambletonian. If that were not enough, the Pauls also will make their first appearance in the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks, for 3-year-old female trotters, with Fine Tuned Lady. “We’re excited,” said Paul, whose family operates a real estate management company in Wilmington, Del. “We’re all looking forward to it. It’s everybody’s dream (to be in the Hambletonian). It’s on everyone’s wish list that ever gets into the business.” Paul’s father, Ralph, got the family started in racing and Paul continues the tradition with his mother, Rosalind. Bill’s Man is owned by the Pauls’ M And L of Delaware and Wisconsin’s Bill Wiswell. The Pauls and Wiswell have been partners on horses for several years. Wiswell is the “Bill” in Bill’s Man. The colt’s original name was Credit Volo. He was one of only two horses they bought with trainer John Butenschoen in 2015. The other was Fine Tuned Lady. “For a small stable, that’s not too bad,” Paul said. “Bill normally picks out the colts and we normally pick out the fillies. We got a Hambo contender and one in the Hambo Oaks. I told him we ought to quit after that. We’ll never do that again.” Bill’s Man (Credit Winner-Silver Springs) is 5-1 on the morning line in the first of two $100,000 Hambletonian eliminations Saturday. International Moni is the 5-2 favorite in the first elimination and Devious Man is the 5-2 choice in the second. The top five finishers from each elimination advance to the $1 million final later in the day. “I think with the right type of trip, right type of day, he’s as good as anyone in there,” Paul said about Bill’s Man, who has won two of nine races this year and earned $115,986. “I don’t think going two heats will bother him. He’s a big, strong good looking horse.” Fine Tuned Lady (Cantab Hall-Poster Princess) is 10-1 on the morning line in the Hambletonian Oaks. The filly has won three of eight races this year and earned $79,689. Ariana G is the 6-5 favorite. “Ariana G looks like she’s much the best, but other than that I think we’re competitive with the field,” Paul said. In addition, Dude’s The Man will race for the Pauls in the $224,400 Sam McKee Memorial for older male pacers. The Hambletonian final, Hambletonian Oaks and McKee Memorial will air live on CBS Sports Network during a 90-minute broadcast beginning at 4 p.m. Corey Callahan, who has won eight consecutive driving titles at Dover Downs, will drive Bill’s Man and Fine Tuned Lady. “We’ll be up there on Saturday, cheering them on,” Paul said. “We’ll be nervous, but a good nervous. That’s what you get into the game for, to be able to compete in these types of races.” By Tia Lanette, a senior at Rutgers University, is writing as part of the Clyde Hirt Workshop.   Following are the Hambletonian elimination fields. Hambletonian Elimination (race eight) PP-Horse-Sire-Dam Sire-Driver-Trainer-Line 1 - Southwind Woody by Muscle Hill from a Pine Chip mare - Matt Kakaley - Ron Burke - 12/1 2 - Bill’s Man by Credit Winner from a Yankee Glide mare - Corey Callahan - John Butenschoen - 5/1 3 - Guardian Angel AS by Archangel from an Allstar Hall mare - Jason Bartlett - Anette Lorentzon - 10/1 4 - Giveitgasandgo by Yankee Glide from an Andover Hall mare - Corey Callahan - John Butenschoen - 8/1 5 - International Moni by Love You from a Speedy Crown mare - Scott Zeron - Frank Antonacci - 5/2 6 -Stealth Hanover by Andover Hall from a Credit Winner mare - Francisco Del Cid - Francisco Del Cid - 30/1 7 - Victor Gio It by Ready Cash from a Pine Chip mare - Yannick Gingras - Jimmy Takter - 6/1 8 - Long Tom by Muscle Hill from a Windsong’s Legacy mare - Tim Tetrick - Marcus Melander - 3/1 9 - Jake by Muscle Hill from an Andover Hall mare - Dan Dube - Luc Blais - 8/1   Hambletonian Elimination (race nine) PP-Horse-Sire-Dam Sire-Driver-Trainer-Line 1 - What The Hill by Muscle Hill from an Angus Hall mare - David Miller - Ron Burke - 3/1 2 - Seven And Seven by Chapter Seven from a Kadabra mare - David Miller - Tom Durand - 8/1 3 - Sortie by Explosive Matter from a Tagliabue mare - Andy McCarthy - Noel Daley - 10/1 4 -Shake it Off Lindy by Crazed from a Love You mare - Brett Miller - Frank Antonacci - 20/1 5 - Dover Dan by Andover Hall from a Royal Troubador mare - Brian Sears - John Butenschoen - 8/1 6 - Enterprise by Chapter Seven from a SJ’s Caviar mare - Tim Tetrick - Marcus Melander - 9/2 7 - Southwind Cobra by Muscle Hill from a Broadway Hall mare - Yannick Gingras - Ron Burke - 15/1 8 - Achille Duharas by Andover Hall from a Pine Chip mare - Yannick Gingras - Jimmy Takter - 20/1 9 - Devious Man by Credit Winner from a Garland Lobell mare - Andy Miller - Julie Miller-5/2 10 - Perfect Spirit by Andover Hall from a Kadabra mare - Ake Svanstedt - Ake Svanstedt - 12/1   $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks PP-Horse-Sire-Dam Sire-Driver-Trainer-Line 1 - Southwind Avanti by Muscle Hill from a Windsong's Legacy mare - Jason Bartlett - Anette Lorentzon - 10/1 2 - Dream Together by Muscle Hill from a Andover Hall mare - Daniel Dube - Luc Blais - 8/1 3 - Caviart Wonder by Muscle Massive from a Conway Hall mare - Andy McCarthy - Noel Daley - 20/1 4 - Ariana G by Muscle Hill from a Cantab Hall mare - Yannick Gingras - Jimmy Takter - 6/5 5 - Magic Presto by Kadabra from a Muscles Yankee mare - Brian Sears - R. Nifty Norman - 5/1 6 - Fine Tuned Lady by Cantab Hall from a Pine Chip mare - Corey Callahan - John Butenschoen - 10/1 7 - Feed Your Head by Muscle Hill from a Donerail mare - Tim Tetrick - Jimmy Takter - 6/1 8 - Sunshine Delight by Credit Winner from a Cantab Hall mare - Brett Miller - Staffan Lind - 20/1 9 - Overdraft Volo by Yankee Glide from a Tagliabue mare - Andy Miller - Julie Miller - 10/1 10 - Dream Baby Dream by Muscle Hill from a Andover Hall mare - Rod Allen - Rod Allen - 15/1

The Meadowlands - The final weekend of live harness racing for the 2017 Championship Meet including Saturday's giant Hambletonian Day extravaganza kicks off on Friday night with a dozen races beginning at 7:15 p.m.   Friday's featured races are divisions of the Duenna and Townsend Ackerman, which are unofficial consolation races for the Hambletonian and Oaks.   The Hambletonian festivities get underway on Friday evening with the Hambletonian Charity Casino Night and Poker Tournament. The proceeds will benefit the Hall of Fame Museum and Standardbred Retirement Foundation. Reservations are available and recommended.   Saturday is, of course, the "Greatest Day in Harness Racing" featuring the Hambletonian on a card with $3.5 million in purses and activities galore. Post time on Saturday is noon and the gates will open at 10 a.m.   With the weather expected to cooperate, the crowd will be a large one with a Hambletonian hat giveaway and plenty of family outdoor activities in the Backyard. Outdoor seating may be reserved and reservations for indoor dining are very limited so call 201-460-4079 right away to inquire.   Of interest to the horseplayer, horizontal wager guarantees are increased on Saturday and a free program for the entire card (courtesy of The Meadowlands and Trackmaster) is available for download.   For those unable to attend, the Hambletonian and Oaks along with the Sam McKee Memorial FFA pace will be broadcast on the CBS Sports Network from 4:00 to 5:30 p.m. Hosts Justin Horowitz, Dave Brower and Gary Seibel will describe the action.   All pertinent information may be found on The Meadowlands or Hambletonian Society websites.    HAMBLETONIAN DAY WAGERING FORMAT AT THE MEADOWLANDS The 16-race Hambletonian Day card at the Meadowlands is not only billed as “the greatest day in harness racing,” but is also the greatest wagering day in the sport. The card will feature three separate Pick Four wagers, covering Races 3 – 6, Races 8 – 11, and Races 13 – 16. The first will have a $50,000 guaranteed pool, the second will have a $75,000 guaranteed pool and there will be no guarantee attached to the final sequence, which begins with the $1,000,000 Hambletonian Final. As usual, the Pick Four wagers will carry a 50¢ minimum wager with 15 percent takeout rate. A Pick Five carrying a $50,000 guaranteed pool will begin the program covering Races 1 – 5. It will also offer a 50¢ minimum wager with 15 percent takeout rate. There will also be a special Oaks-Hambletonian daily double on Races 12 and 13. 10-cent superfectas will be offered on every race with the regular win, place, show, exacta and trifecta also available every race. A total of 14 stakes races will be contested on the card with 10 of them featuring field sizes of 10 or more horses. Post time is 12:00 p.m. TVG will provide full-card coverage and offer horseplayers its popular “Money Back Special” on all 16 races. Live network coverage will air on CBS Sports Network from 4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Free past performances for the entire card are available for free download courtesy of Trackmaster on the Meadowlands website. For more information, visit www.playmeadowlands.com.    

Goshen, NY - The Hambletonian Party and Poker & Casino Night Charity Event will be held Friday, August 4, at Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, NJ. Proceeds will benefit the Standardbred Retirement Foundation and the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame. If you are at the Meadowlands for the races on Friday, August 4 or in town for the Hambletonian on Saturday, August 5, join us for some fun and camaraderie and raise some funds for two charities that are important to the sport of harness racing. Tickets are $50 per person and include open bar, appetizers, dessert and $25 in casino chips. As always, there will be many fantastic raffle prizes available including autographed NY Yankees baseballs (Aaron Judge, Brett Gardner, Masahiro Tanaka), Metakoo drone, equestrian overnight bag, Mets/Phillies and Mets/Dodgers tickets, harness racing memorabilia, liquor baskets and wine baskets. Additional casino chips may be purchased through the night. Open bar and table games begin at 6:00 p.m. in Victory Sports Bar & Club. There are three silent auction items featuring: Private tour of NBC 4 studio at 30 Rockefeller Center led by Sports Anchor Bruce Beck Six (6) tickets to the general manager's suite for a 2017 NY Yankees game Wooden carved horse head bench Poker tournament is $125 per person with limited seats available. The chip leader will receive a three-night, four-day trip for two to Las Vegas, including round-trip airfare, first-class hotel accommodations, food/beverage allowance and show tickets. Second place is $250, third $125. The poker tournament begins at 7:15 p.m. in Victory. Tickets are available online (https://www.harnessmuseum.com/news/hambletonian-party), and will be available at the door. Contact Janet Terhune or John Mayo at the Museum at 845-294-6330 or Tammy Cailliau at Standardbred Retirement Foundation at 732-446-4422 for further information. Janet Terhune

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