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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - A big Hambletonian Day crowd of better than 18,000 was on hand Saturday (Aug. 4) at the Meadowlands and what they witnessed were several pieces of harness racing history to go along with plenty of upsets along the way. Team Zeron - trainer-dad Rick and driver-son Scott - combined to take the 93rd Hambo with superfilly Atlanta, who became the first female to take harness racing's most-storied event since Continentalvictory in 1996. On his final Hambletonian Day before retirement, trainer Jimmy Takter maintained his stranglehold on the Hambo's sister event, the Hambletonian Oaks for fillies. Manchego gave Takter and his go-to driver Yannick Gingras five straight Oaks victories as Takter extended his record for all-time Oaks wins to eight. Of the 16 races on Hambo Day, eight had odds-on favorites, with only one of those (Shartin N in the Lady Liberty) managing to hit the finish line first. Among the prohibitive choices to taste defeat were Kissin In The Sand (Shady Daisy), Hannelore Hanover (John Cashman Memorial), Ariana G (Dr. John R. Steele Memorial) and Meadowlands Pace winner Courtly Choice (Cane Pace). BETTING WITH BOTH HANDS: The upsets did not deter the betting public one bit. On-track wagering on the Hambo Day card was just shy of $1.1 million, with live, export and separate pool wagering totaling a little more than $7 million. The breakdown: a. Live: $1,084,762 b. Export: $4,582,957 c. Total: $5,667,720 (Commingled Pools) d. Separate Pool Wagering Totals: $1,366,727 e. Total live, export and separate pool: $7,034,447 In fact, during a meeting where the race office battled week in and week out to fill race cards, the Meadowlands - by far the harness racing industry's handle leader despite numbers that were down from last year - was the only North American track to surpass the $3 million (three times), $4 million (Meadowlands Pace) and $5 million (Hambletonian Day) single-card handle plateaus during 2018. The only other track to reach the $3 million mark was Woodbine Mohawk Park, where $3.9 million was wagered on North America Cup Night. "Despite many challenges, such as a seemingly endless cold winter and an entry box that many times lacked support, we had a decent meeting nonetheless," said Jason Settlemoir, the track's chief operating officer and general manager. "Our loyal fan base stayed with us throughout the meeting, and for that, all of us at the Meadowlands are very appreciative. The meeting not only saw great racing, but the opening of our Fanduel SportsBook @ Victory Sports Bar on Meadowlands Pace Night, and it has been a big hit with our fans. We are cautiously optimistic about the future here at the Meadowlands Racetrack." MAROHN, BURKE TOP DASH-WINNERS: Jim Marohn Jr. finished the 2017-18 Big M season as the top dash-winning driver with 94 trips to victory lane. Gingras, whose 76 wins were good for second-best, was the top money-earning driver with $2.9 million, almost double that of runner-up Scott Zeron ($1.5 million). Ron Burke led the way in training wins (69) and was second in money earned ($2.1 million) while Takter was second in wins (39) and tops in money ($2.8 million). NEXT UP, THE RUNNERS: Monmouth Park will conduct the end of its meeting at the Meadowlands when thoroughbred racing comes to the mile oval. The dates for the brief six-card meeting of racing over the Big M grass course are Sept. 14, 15, 21, 22, 28 and 29. Post time is 7 p.m. HARNESS RETURNS OCT. 12: The 2018-2019 Meadowlands harness meeting kicks off on Friday, Oct. 12. Racing will be conducted on a Friday-Saturday basis through the end of November. During December, there will be racing Thursday-Saturday, with one exception. There will be no racing on Saturday, Dec. 15. Post time will be the usual 7:15 p.m. by Dave Little, for the Meadowlands

Goshen, NY - The harness racing community once again showed robust support for two of the sport's most important charities - The Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame and the Standardbred Retirement Foundation (SRF) - at a casino-themed fundraiser held on Hambletonian eve at The Meadowlands in East Rutherford. .The August 3 event, with presenting sponsorship from the Svanstedt Stable, Lennart Agren's SRF Stable and Meadowlands Racetrack, featured nearly 200 people playing casino games and vying in a poker tournament to win prizes that included an all-expenses paid trip to Las Vegas sponsored by Roberts Communications, an evening in Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman's box at the stadium, harness racing art, high tech devices and baskets of wine and spirits. Approximately $80,000 was raised and will be shared equally by both groups. A buffet dinner and an open bar was provided throughout the evening to go along with blackjack, roulette, craps and a great night of racing. Arden Homestead Stable sponsored the open bar, Charlie Keller and Yankeeland Farms sponsored the raffle and Marvin Katz underwrote dessert. The important work of both programs, preserving and presenting the history of the sport and assisting equine athletes after their racing days, was also supported by Brittany Farms and the American Ideal Syndicate, sponsor of many of the casino prizes. Other sponsors included Tony Alagna, Bill Augustine, Arch Madness, Burke Stable, George Brennan, Bluegrass Staking, Brian Brown Stable, Cameo Hills Farm, Corey Callahan, John and Paula Campbell, Diamond Creek Farms, Daniel Dube, Jay Farrar, Ted Gewertz and Claire Chappell, Hambletonian Society, Brad and Bonnie Grant, Yannick Gingras, Real Desire Syndicate, David McDuffee, Freehold Raceway, Mark Ford Training Center, Marion Marauder Group, McWicked, Erv Miller Stable, Julie and Andy Miller, Preferred Equine, Seelster Farms, Thestable.ca, Sweet Lou, Tim Tetrick, Brian Sears, Nick Surick, Linda Toscano, Howard Taylor, Paula Wellwood and Hambletonian winning driver Scott Zeron. Their generosity helped ensure that proceeds from participants' casino fees went directly to support the work of the Museum and the SRF. The Museum is planning a major expansion project and the SRF is caring for nearly 400 horses. The money raised on August 3 will be an important first step in achieving goals for both groups. A charitable event has been part of the Hambletonian festivities since 1991 and has raised a total of $1.4 million.  

East Rutherford, NJ - With the spectacular Hambletonian Day program having concluded the 2018 Meadowlands Meet of Champions, the time is here to reflect and analyze our business for the live racing season. Each year it becomes more evident that while the big event days, both racing and non-racing related, are largely successful the overall attendance and handle are continuing their downward spiral. A 2018 vs 2017 comparison reveals a nine per-cent decline in on track handle for Meadowlands live races, a six per-cent decline in the exported signal of those races and a five per-cent drop in the handle on imported signals (wagering other tracks including thoroughbreds). This drop in revenue is significant and of course adversely affects the purse account. While Hambletonian Day produced the largest crown of the season and was a tremendous betting card, the live on-track handle was down by 3%. The on-track handle for the Meadowlands Pace, one of the marquee cards of the entire harness racing season, was off by a troubling 11% year over year. The declining numbers over the entire length of the season would be even worse were they not somewhat buoyed by the "Big Event" days. The KY Derby, Preakness, Belmont (in a Triple Crown year for 2018) bring people and the largest import handle days while non-racing draws such as Food Truck Mash Up, Camels & Ostrich racing and last but not least the inaugural edition of wiener dog races/fan appreciation night draw very large crowds of new customers, some of whom do show an interest in the racing. The eight programs mentioned above represent nearly 25% of the live in the building handle over the 59 total live cards raced in 2018. At the top of the list of things that adversely affect The Meadowlands business is the shortage of horses available to race here from mid-March through June. That lack of horses results in fewer races and many short field which has a tremendous negative effect on handle. With handle being the sole revenue stream feeding the purse pool, less handle results in less money for purses which makes racing at other tracks with higher purses more attractive than The Meadowlands and that cycle continues to feed off itself. "We are desperately trying to convince the state to restore the $30 million purses subsidy which was taken away by the previous administration", said Meadowlands CEO Jeff Gural. "Even though it is a fraction of the subsidy going to the tracks we are competing with we believe we can restore The Meadowlands to its former self as the premier standardbred track in the world. Without a subsidy, considering how the horse shortage decimates our field size and handle once the PA tracks open we will almost certainly have to reduce dates and eliminate some stakes. Obviously, that is a last resort but we have no assurance we will succeed in getting the subsidy restored. We hope to know by the start of the major sales." by Nick Salvi, for the Meadowlands

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - August 4, 2018 - Tactical Landing took the tactical route outside to avoid inside traffic and win the second $100,000 Hambletonian Elimination, the ninth race, on Saturday afternoon at the Meadowlands Racetrack. The Jimmy Takter driven and trained three-year-old son of Muscle Hill scored his third consecutive win, crossing the wire in 1:52.2. He returned $14.80, $7.80, $7.20. It was a quarter length back to Patent Leather ($50.20, $36.20) in second and Fashionwoodchopper ($21.40) in third by 1 ¾ lengths. Also advancing to the final were fourth place Alarm Detector and Classichap in fifth. The Tactical Landing Stable of Perrysburg, OH owns Tactical Landing, who was only making his sixth career start. "He's inexperienced, but he's a strong horse to go heats," said Takter. "We got pushed out on the back side. He was three wide for a while there. I mean, this is the Hambletonian, a lot of sh*t happens. It’s a crazy race, horses going in and out.  This horse has three lifetime starts never been in a stake race, and being that professional that he was today, I was so impressed with this horse. I’m proud of this guy." Six Pack, the 2-5 favorite, hooked wheels in the stretch, finished sixth and will miss the $1 million Hambletonian Final. From the Meadowlands Publicity Department  

EAST RUTERFORDS, NJ - August 4, 2018 - Atlanta blazed the fractions but it was Crystal Fashion who got up at the wire to win the eighth race, the first of two $100,000 Hambletonian Elimination heats on Saturday afternoon at the Meadowlands Racetrack. Crystal Fashion, driven by Tim Tetrick and trained by Jim Campbell, crossed the wire in 1:50 1/5, for a neck victory over the filly, Atlanta, with 5 ½ lengths back to Met's Hall in third. The time equaled the stakes and track record for a 3-year-old trotting gelding. Evaluate and Hat Trick Habit finished fourth and fifth, respectively, to advance to the $1 million Hambletonian Final. "I liked my chances to make the final," said Tetrick. "I tipped him to chase the mare down. My horse made up a lot of ground [from sixth] to catch that mare." Crystal Fashion paid $10.00, $4.20, $3.00. Atlanta, sent off at 8-5, returned $3.60, $3.00. Met's Hall, 40-1, paid $9.60 to show. The winner, a son of Cantab Hall, was bred by Hanover Shoe Farms and races in the name of Fashion Farms LLC of New Hope, PA. From the Meadowlands Publicity Department      

Crystal Fashion has played a big role in what has already been a memorable year for Jules Siegel and Jim Campbell. He could add to those memories in a big way Saturday. The stakes-winning colt is one of three horses for owner Siegel and trainer Campbell in Saturday's $1.2 million Hambletonian at The Meadowlands Racetrack. Siegel, the owner of Fashion Farms in New Hope, Pa., was inducted into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame on July 1. Less than 24 hours earlier, Crystal Fashion had won the Earl Beal Jr. Memorial and stamped himself a top Hambletonian contender. "It was a very exciting weekend," Campbell said. "We were all so happy for Jules to be in the Hall of Fame. He rightfully deserves to be in there, and to have that weekend the way it was with Crystal winning the Beal and Jules going into the Hall of Fame, it was just a great and exciting weekend." Siegel and Campbell teamed to win the 1995 Hambletonian, harness racing's premier race for 3-year-old trotters, with Tagliabue. Crystal Fashion and stablemates Fashionwoodchopper and Patent Leather will try to provide a second. Crystal Fashion is in the first of the event's two $100,000 eliminations, with 5-2 morning-line favorite Wolfgang and 3-1 second choice Atlanta, who is the lone filly in the Hambletonian. Crystal Fashion, a son of Cantab Hall out of Window Willow, has won five of eight races this year and is 7-2 with driver Tim Tetrick. Two of the colt's losses were by a nose. The top-five finishers from each elimination return later in the day for the $1 million final, which is set for a 5:14 p.m. post time and will air live on CBS Sports Network during a 4-5:30 p.m. broadcast. "He's been great," Campbell said. "He hasn't been any worse than second and has been a very dependable horse for us. He's a little bit bigger (than last year) and carries his speed a little further." Crystal Fashion brings a three-race win streak into his elimination. He was off for three weeks following the Beal before returning to win a Pennsylvania Sire Stakes division on July 20 and a Reynolds Memorial division on July 28. "That was by design," Campbell said. "I didn't want to have any more than two races before the Hambo after the Beal, so we raced him the one time at (Harrah's Philadelphia) and used (the Reynolds) as his final prep. "I was very happy with the way he raced in the Reynolds. He's a horse that doesn't get too excited about too much, but as soon as Timmy moved him over in the lane he just put his head down and kept on going. He's got a real nice way of going and I was very, very happy with him." Fashionwoodchopper and Patent Leather are in the second elimination, starting side-by-side in posts one and two. Six Pack is the 2-1 morning-line favorite, with Fashionwoodchopper at 10-1 and Patent Leather at 15-1. Crystal Fashion starts his elimination from post six. "We got a really good draw," Campbell said. "We got a good place to start. Hopefully the colts all bring their 'A' game. We're in it, we're excited, and we're ready to go." * * * * * * Marcus Melander also will send out multiple horses in the Hambletonian, with 2017 Dan Patch Award-winner Fourth Dimension at 10-1 in the second elimination and Evaluate at 15-1 in the first. Fourth Dimension, owned by Unibet-founder Anders Strom's Courant Inc., won eight of 11 races last year including the Valley Victory Stakes. This year, Fourth Dimension made his seasonal debut with a second-place finish in a division of the New York Sire Stakes at Tioga Downs, and then went off stride in his elimination for the Earl Beal Jr. Memorial at Pocono. He also went off stride in his division of the Stanley Dancer Memorial on July 14 at the Meadowlands. Fourth Dimension, a son of Chapter Seven out of Corazon Blue Chip, enters the Hambletonian off a 1:52.4 win in a qualifier on July 21 at the Meadowlands. "I was very happy with his qualifier here, he was very good," trainer Marcus Melander said. "He did (1):52.4 very easily. I think he's going to show a lot more in the Hambo. His season has been a little strange. First he was very good in his first start and then two breaks. It's been a little weird. "But he feels very good and I'm very happy how he feels. I think he's very sharp and in good form. A lot of these horses that are good now maybe weren't as good last year and they've caught up to him." Melander attributed Fourth Dimension's two breaks to equipment issues. "It's just been a little unlucky," Melander said. "I'm not worried about that." Evaluate is owned by Melander's uncle, Stefan Melander, who trained and drove 2001 Hambletonian winner Scarlet Knight. Evaluate, a son of Andover Hall out of Blathin, has won four of 11 career races and finished second four times. "Of course, he is not one of the favorites, but he's got some potential," Melander said. "With a good draw he'll be right there." Evaluate will be driven by Swedish Hall of Famer Örjan Kihlström, who already has two stakes wins at the Meadowlands in his career, capturing the 2014 Breeders Crown Open Trot with Commander Crowe and 2015 Fresh Yankee with D'One on Hambletonian Day. He drove Cruzado Dela Noche in his Hambletonian elimination in 2015, finishing ninth and failing to advance to the final. He is perhaps best known internationally for his wins with Nuncio, Magic Tonight, and From Above in the Elitlopp and his win with Maharajah in the Prix d'Amerique. He also has driven stars such as Giant Diablo and Propulsion. Kihlström's most recent drive in the U.S. came in 2016 when he finished fourth with On Track Piraten in the Yonkers International Trot. When he was elected to the Hall of Fame, Örjan Kihlström bio proclaimed: "Magic hands. Nerves of steel. Ice cold as few. He has the ability many want, but few possess." * * * * * * Lawmaker heads into Saturday's first Hambletonian elimination off a win at the Meadowlands in a conditioned race. The colt has won three of 14 lifetime races, but has gotten a paycheck in all his biggest races to date: third in the Beal and fifth in the Goodtimes this year, and fourth in the William Wellwood Memorial and second in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship last year. "He's doing really good," trainer Andrew Harris said. "He came out of his last race really good. I think he's come full circle. He had a bit of a rough year starting out, he had some issues that needed to be worked on, but he finally got over those and all signs are pointing upwards. He is getting better and better every start. He was really good in the Beal, I was very happy with him in the Beal final. "I think he's a really, really nice horse. Whether he's an Atlanta or a Wolfgang or any of those type horses, I don't know yet. He's proved he's worth giving a shot to." Lawmaker, who is 8-1 on the morning line, is by Muscle Massive out of Pretty Amigo. He is owned by the Anthony MacDonald-led fractional ownership group TheStable. MacDonald drove Lawmaker in his first 13 career races, winning two and hitting the board a total of 10 times, but weather-related travel issues forced him to miss the colt's final Hambletonian prep on July 27. David Miller got the drive and won in 1:53.3. MacDonald decided to keep Miller, a Hall of Famer who ranks No. 2 all time in purse money with $226 million, on board for the Hambletonian. "As you can imagine, this was a very difficult decision for me, growing up watching the Hambletonian and dreaming of the day I got my shot," MacDonald said. "As a driver, I want to be the one on the gate...but as the co-owner of thestable.ca I have a much bigger responsibility to a huge group of people." The $1 million Hambletonian and $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks will be shown live from 4-5:30 p.m. (EDT) on CBS Sports Network. The stakes-filled Hambletonian Day card begins at noon. Following are the fields for the Hambletonian eliminations. Hambletonian Elimination One PP-Driver -Trainer-Morning Line 1-Shoshie Deo-George Brennan-Dewayne Minor-10/1 2-Evaluate-Orjan Kihlstrom-Marcus Melander-15/1 3-Met's Hall-Andy Miller-Julie Miller-10/1 4-Lawmaker-David Miller-Andrew Harris-8/1 5-Wolfgang-Yannick Gingras-Jimmy Takter-5/2 6-Crystal Fashion-Tim Tetrick-Jim Campbell-7/2 7-Atlanta-Scott Zeron-Rick Zeron-3/1 8-Hat Trick Habit-Brian Sears-Scott DiDomenico-12/1 9-Zephyr Kronos-Jimmy Takter-Jimmy Takter-10/1 Hambletonian Elimination Two PP-Driver -Trainer-Morning Line 1-Fashionwoodchopper-David Miller-Jim Campbell-10/1 2-Patent Leather-Tim Tetrick-Jim Campbell-15/1 3-Classichap-Trond Smedshammer-Trond Smedshammer-6/1 4-Alarm Detector-Trevor Henry-Benoit Baillargeon-10/1 5-Fourth Dimension-Brian Sears-Marcus Melander-10/1 6-Southwind Chrome-Scott Zeron-Paula Wellwood-5/1 7-Tactical Landing-Jimmy Takter-Jimmy Takter-4/1 8-You Know You Do-Yannick Gingras-Jimmy Takter-8/1 9-Six Pack-Ake Svanstedt-Ake Svanstedt-2/1 by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. --- The harness racing tradition continues on Hambletonian Eve. For the fourth consecutive year, renowned equine artist Ann Lufkin has done a portrait of the past year's Hambletonian champion to present to the connections on the eve of the Meadowlands Racetrack CEO Jason Settlemoir and Hambletonian Society president John Campbell will present the portrait of Perfect Spirit to owner Lennart Agren of SRF Stable and driver-trainer Ake Svanstedt on Friday, Aug. 3 at The Meadowlands. In a memorable and chaotic finish, Perfect Spirit was the winner by disqualification, after What The Hill squeezed off the pylons in deep stretch to hit the finish line first. Judges declared there was contact between What The Hill and Guardian Angel AS, marking the first time in Hambletonian history that a horse had his number taken down in 92 editions of the $1 million trotting classic for 3-year-olds. Perfect Spirit was the winner of the 2017 Hambletonian. The portrait will be presented prior to the races on Friday, Aug., 3, in Trotters, during the owners and Hambletonian Society Directors cocktail party at 6:30 pm. For more on Lufkin's work, visit http://www.annlufkin.com/ The stakes-filled Hambletonian Day card begins at 12 noon. The Hambletonian and Hambletonian Oaks will be featured on a live 90-minute broadcast on CBS Sports Network from 4-5:30 p.m. (EDT). From the Meadowlands Media Department

East Rutherford, NJ - With sports wagering now well underway in the FanDuel Sports Book at The Meadowlands Racetrack, FanDuel is rolling out some interesting and entertaining Hambletonian-related prop bets for the Hambletonian card on Saturday, August 4.   One of the wagers will tie the horses in with a sporting event. It is a parlay requiring selection of the winners of the two Hambletonian elimination heats, the Hambletonian Oaks final, (Hambletonian companion race for trotting fillies) and the Yankees-Red Sox game.   While the odds on some of the props are still being formulated, here are some bets that may be available: the winning time of the Hambletonian the winner's margin of victory will the winning time will break the Hambletonian speed record will the winner will be one of the four entrants trained by Hall of Famer Jimmy Takter a head-to-head bet: favored colt Six Pack vs. the unbeaten filly Atlanta will the winner of either of the two elimination heats will also win the final an interesting longshot play asking if the race will be won via disqualification as happened in 2017 when What The Hill was DQ'ed and Perfect Spirit elevated from second to be the official winner While it's far too early to tell, there is hope that the introduction of new customers coming in to the building to bet on sports will find their way over to the racing side and make some horse wagers. Making the props available is one method of potentially attracting their interest.   Information of the FanDuel Sports Book and The Meadowlands Racetrack may be found from the links.   A free program for the Hambletonian Day 16 race card is available courtesy of Trackmaster and The Meadowlands. Saturday's races will also be live streamed at no cost thanks to the cooperation of Roberts Communication Network.   The doors open on Saturday at 10:00am and the horse races begin at noon.   by Nick Salvi, for the Meadowlands

Jimmy Takter has an idea of what to expect in Saturday's 93rd Hambletonian at The Meadowlands. The unexpected. Takter, who will send four horses into the sport's grand harness racing event for 3-year-old trotters as he tries for a record-tying fifth win, said the Hambletonian is a race that rarely follows conventional wisdom. Only five favorites have won the Hambletonian in the 21st century, and three came in the span of three years, 2007-2009, when future Hall of Famers Donato Hanover, Deweycheatumnhowe and Muscle Hill claimed the trophy. The other favorites to win were Royalty For Life in 2013 and Scarlet Knight in 2001. Ten winners during that span were at odds of more than 4-1. "I think it's going to be a (1):50 mile," Takter said about Saturday's race. "But the Hambletonian, somehow, is not known to be a record-breaking day. I don't know; maybe there is so much tension. That race never goes as you predict it will go. Always something happens in that race. "It's a lot of tension in that race. You can feel it. When you go out behind the gate, you see the drivers and they don't have the same coolness in their face. That includes myself. The horses don't know it, but the people do. People say to treat it just like another race, but it doesn't work like that. "But you've got to be cool and you've got to let the horse do the work." Takter has the 5-2 morning-line favorite, Wolfgang, in the first of Saturday's two $100,000 eliminations. The top-five finishers from each elimination return later in the day for the $1 million final. Wolfgang is 3-for-3 this year, with wins in the Goodtimes Stakes and a division of the Stanley Dancer Memorial, but faces a field that includes the race's lone filly, Atlanta, and Earl Beal Jr. Memorial winner Crystal Fashion. Atlanta is undefeated in five races this season and Crystal Fashion has been no worse than second in eight starts, with five victories. "He's very good," Takter said about Wolfgang. "I trained him a (1):56 mile here last Friday with a good last half and he felt awesome. You try to peak them as best you can. "He's been very good every start. He's so professional. He's most likely the most reliable horse I have in the Hambletonian this year." Takter also has Zephyr Kronos, at 10-1, in the first elimination. The horse has won four of nine races this year. All of his victories came in conditioned races, but he was third in the Dancer division won by Wolfgang on July 14 and second in the Tompkins-Geers on July 21. "He's been a project, but I like the program we've set for him," Takter said. "I did not leave the Meadowlands. I was going to sit there and milk him in the (conditioned) class. The horse is coming in as good as I can have him. He's a strong horse. He hasn't really been down to the speed that it's possible he'll have to go, but he's trotted a :54.2 last half so I know he has the speed. He's kind of an interesting horse." In the second elimination, where Six Pack is the 2-1 favorite, Taker sends out Tactical Landing (4-1) and You Know You Do (8-1). Tactical Landing was purchased for $800,000 at the 2016 Lexington Selected Sale, the second-highest yearling price in harness racing history. The colt is a full brother to Mission Brief, the two-time Dan Patch Award-winner and multiple world-record-holding filly who finished second to Pinkman in the 2015 Hambletonian. He joined Takter's stable in the spring after going off stride in his only two races at age 2. The colt has won two of three races this year, but has yet to face open stakes company in his career. "I don't think two heats will bother him," Takter said. "He's a low-pulsed horse; he recovers very well after races. His lack of experience might hurt him. "He's more a grinder type of horse. He doesn't care if he's outside. I like him. His last start, I felt comfortable with him. I felt I could trust him a little bit more. I think he has confidence. He's a smart colt. If he wins this race it will be a remarkable story. I don't think it's impossible." You Know You Do, last year's Peter Haughton Memorial winner, has won six of 16 career races and enters the Hambletonian off a second-place finish behind Six Pack in their Dancer division. "He's a little sleeper," Takter said. "He's also coming in I think in the right form. I feel optimistic about him. He's a very gifted horse. And he's got a good attitude, he's not selling himself short. He's a real fighter. He likes to be up in contention and if he gets a decent spot I wouldn't rule him out." Takter is tied with Chuck Sylvester for the second-most training wins in the Hambletonian. Billy Haughton, Stanley Dancer and Ben White share the record of five. Takter won the Hambletonian in 1997 with Malabar Man, 2010 with Muscle Massive, 2014 with Trixton, and 2015 with Pinkman. He drove Trixton to his victory. The $1 million Hambletonian and $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks will be shown live from 4-5:30 p.m. (EDT) on CBS Sports Network. The stakes-filled Hambletonian Day card begins at noon. Following are the fields for the Hambletonian eliminations. Hambletonian Elimination One PP-Driver -Trainer-Morning Line 1-Shoshie Deo-George Brennan-Dewayne Minor-10/1 2-Evaluate-Orjan Kihlstrom-Marcus Melander-15/1 3-Met's Hall-Andy Miller-Julie Miller-10/1 4-Lawmaker-David Miller-Andrew Harris-8/1 5-Wolfgang-Yannick Gingras-Jimmy Takter-5/2 6-Crystal Fashion-Tim Tetrick-Jim Campbell-7/2 7-Atlanta-Scott Zeron-Rick Zeron-3/1 8-Hat Trick Habit-Brian Sears-Scott DiDomenico-12/1 9-Zephyr Kronos-Jimmy Takter-Jimmy Takter-10/1 Hambletonian Elimination Two PP-Driver -Trainer-Morning Line 1-Fashionwoodchopper-David Miller-Jim Campbell-10/1 2-Patent Leather-Tim Tetrick-Jim Campbell-15/1 3-Classichap-Trond Smedshammer-Trond Smedshammer-6/1 4-Alarm Detector-Trevor Henry-Benoit Baillargeon-10/1 5-Fourth Dimension-Brian Sears-Marcus Melander-10/1 6-Southwind Chrome-Scott Zeron-Paula Wellwood-5/1 7-Tactical Landing-Jimmy Takter-Jimmy Takter-4/1 8-You Know You Do-Yannick Gingras-Jimmy Takter-8/1 9-Six Pack-Ake Svanstedt-Ake Svanstedt-2/1 by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

Elkton, MD --- Post Time with Mike and Mike presented by BetAmerica, continues their live remote season with coverage of the 2018 Hambletonian, live from Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment in New Jersey. Mike and Mike will have extensive coverage of The Hambletonian beginning at 3:00 PM via their website www.posttimewithmikeandmike.com that will run for three-hours. Jessica Otten will join the duo providing interviews from the winners' circle, pre and post-race reaction, and handicapping analysis of the stakes laden program at The Meadowlands. Also joining the duo will be Daily Racing Form handicapper Garnet Barnsdale. Barnsdale will join Carter and Bozich during the broadcast to analyze the program.   The Meadowlands has a sixteen race program with multiple stakes throughout the entire program. First post at The Meadowlands on Saturday night is 12:00 noon. Gamblers will have a plethora of guarantees to swing at on Saturday afternoon. The guaranteed wagers begin in race one where the 50-cent Pick 5 will carry a $50,000 guarantee, in race three the 50-cent Pick-4 will carry a mark of $50,000, andandthe final guaranteed wager will begin in race eight, featuring a Pick 4 guaranteed at $75,000.   The Meadowlands will also have a multitude of promotions going on throughout the day. A commemorative Hambletonian baseball cap will be given away to adults, while a Hambletonian horse key chain will be given to kids (with paid admission). A Hambletonian Hat contest which will feature $1,000 in cash prizes will be available for patrons on track. Sign up will take place at the track level promotions table and judging will begin after Race 4.   Backyard events will include a food truck festival, Backyard Fan Zone Tent which will feature a driver autograph session between 10 and 11:30, Live music by Tramps Like Us, carnival rides/games, Free pony ridges, and Free face painting.   Post Time with Mike and Mike's live show can be heard via their website, www.posttimewithmikeandmike.com and on the archive at www.betamerica.com/BARN.   From Post Time With Mike & Mike

As racing fans across the globe peruse the headlines of the 2018 Hambletonian, they are not likely to come across the name Met's Hall very often. That's quite all right with part owner and driver Andy Miller, who is more than comfortable with the underdog role.   The 3-year-old colt by Cantab Hall-Met's Inn made headlines at age two, but has since been lightly raced. "We brought him back slowly after his 2-year-old season," Miller said. "He still had issues with soundness so we kind of had to take our time with him." He is in the first of two Hambletonian eliminations at The Meadowlands on Saturday afternoon.   Bred by Winbak Farm, Met's Hall caught the eye of yearling manager Jim Ladwig early on. "I thought he was a nice colt with lots of potential," Ladwig said. He went on to the Harrisburg Sale, where he was purchased for $132,000 by Stroy Inc, along with Andy and Julie Miller.   Despite some soundness issues that have hampered the colt thus far in his racing career, Miller says Met's Hall has a real big gait and a whole lot of speed. That speed was on display in his second career start, as he set the track record for 2-year-old colt trotters (1:55.1) at Harrah's Philadelphia in a Pennsylvania Sire Stakes event. He suffered his first defeat in a Peter Haughton Memorial elimination race, and had to settle for fifth in the finals after a less than desirable trip. He was also battling respiratory problems, which sidelined him for close to a month after the race.   He bounced back well to wrap up his freshman campaign with wins in the PASS Consolation, Kindergarten Classic, and The International Stallion at The Red Mile before finishing second in The Breeders Crown at Hoosier Park. "He didn't really get around the track at Hoosier all that well," Andy Miller said. "He got an inside trip and shook loose late and was really charging at the wire. We were very happy with his performance."   As a 3-year old, the jury is still out. "He's got a lot bigger and stronger from his 2-year-old season, but we had to take our time with him because of the soundness issues," Miller said.   "We pointed him to the Hambo, so hopefully that pays off." After a trio of qualifiers at The Meadowlands, he has improved in each of his three pari-mutuel starts in his sophomore season, with the latest being a win in 1:53 in the Reynolds Memorial at The Big M. When asked what sealed the deal in terms of entering the Hambo, Miller said the victory in the Reynolds was the dealmaker. Met's Hall drew post 3 in his Hambo elimination, and is 10-1 in the morning line.   The Miller team have been close to the Hambo Trophy in recent years, with Devious Man in 2017 (3rd placed 2nd) and Sutton in 2016 (2nd), but have yet to win the elusive crown. When asked what it would mean to win The Hambletonian, Andy Miller admitted it's the race every horsemen strives for.   As for Winbak Farm, it would be their third Hambletonian trophy. They won it in 2005 with Vivid Photo, and 2009 with Muscle Hill.   by Mike Bozich, for Post Time with Mike & Mike

Southwind Chrome is still finding his way as a harness racing horse, but trainer Paula Wellwood likes the direction he is heading. Unraced at age 2 because of an injury, Wellwood has tried to expose the colt to a variety of racing styles in preparation for Saturday's appearance in the 93rd Hambletonian at The Meadowlands Racetrack. Southwind Chrome has won once in seven races and finished second on four occasions. One of his runner-up efforts came in the final of the Empire Breeders Classic, which was won by Six Pack by a half-length. Six Pack is the 2-1 morning-line favorite in the second of Saturday's two $100,000 Hambletonian eliminations. Southwind Chrome is in the same division and is 5-1. The top-five finishers from each elimination return later in the day for the $1 million final. Coverage of the Hambletonian and $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks for 3-year-old female trotters will air live from 4-5:30 p.m. (EDT) on CBS Sports Network. First-race post time for Saturday's stakes-filled card at the Meadowlands is noon. "We're maybe not as seasoned as the other horses," said Wellwood, who won the 2016 Hambletonian with Marion Marauder. "It's only his eighth lifetime start. But what he did in the Empire Breeders (final) in his third start was unbelievable. He's a pretty quick study, but he is still a little green and trying to figure out his style of racing. We've tried to expose him to all different styles, so we'll see how that goes. "That's up to the driver." That would be Scott Zeron, who will drive Southwind Chrome in his elimination. Zeron, who won for Wellwood with Marion Marauder on their way to the Trotting Triple Crown, may not be available for the final as he also will be driving filly Atlanta in the first elimination. Atlanta, the lone filly in the race and 3-1 second choice in her heat, is trained and co-owned by Zeron's dad Rick. "If we get lucky enough to make the final I know we'll be looking for a driver, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it," Wellwood said. "(Zeron) likes Chrome, too. He commented that he's got two nice horses. He's not underestimating him." Southwind Chrome is owned by Dreamville Stable, which is Wellwood, her husband Mike Keeling, son Devin Keeling, and mom Jean Wellwood. Devin and Jean are the owners of Marion Marauder. Southwind Chrome, a son of Chapter Seven out of Counter Pointe, was purchased for $60,000 at the 2016 Lexington Selected Sale. "We had some of the family and always liked the mare," Wellwood said. "We looked at (Southwind Chrome) and really liked him. He was our first Chapter Seven that we bought, and the fact he was a Chapter Seven was an added bonus." Southwind Chrome was lightly staked, but it was not because of a lack of talent. "We gave him a lot of time and brought him back and he struggled a little bit," Wellwood said. "That's why he's not heavily staked. He had a couple of struggles in the winter training down with his gait, but once he got to qualifying, he just changed. He started to excel. "We wanted to make sure the Hambletonian was on his card because he always showed a lot of ability. We started him out and he exceeded our expectations, he's never let us down." He also never gets down. "He's a very honest, happy horse," Wellwood said. "He's just a very pleasant horse. He's not a big horse but he's a very strong horse. He doesn't seem to get tired. That's one of his keys. He's just done everything right, so we thought we would take a chance. He's raced very well. We felt he deserved a shot." And hope he finds his winning style. * * * * * * Another horse that is still learning is Classichap, from the stable of 2004 Hambletonian winner Trond Smedshammer. Classichap, a half-brother to 2012 Hambletonian champ and two-time Dan Patch Award honoree Market Share, was winless in four races in 2017, but finished second to Fourth Dimension in a division of the New York Sire Stakes at Saratoga. Three of Classichap's starts were on the New York circuit. "I knew he had a lot of talent," said trainer Smedshammer, who also drives Classichap for owner Wanda Polisseni's Purple Haze Stables. "He wasn't staked too much; I wasn't planning on racing him on the Grand Circuit. I raced him a few times in New York and he showed me enough to back off and give him some time to mature." Classichap is 6-1 in the second Hambletonian elimination. His most recent three races were at the Meadowlands in preparation for the event. He was third-placed-second in a conditioned race and then posted his first win with a gate-to-wire 1:51.1 triumph by a head over Tactical Landing in a conditioned race on July 6. His final start prior to the Hambletonian was a second-place finish to Wolfgang in a division of the Stanley Dancer Memorial on July 14. "He was good the start before the Dancer and he was pretty good in the Dancer," Smedshammer said. "I didn't think he was as good in that race, but he's getting some experience. I think the big track suits him better, the Meadowlands-style racing, than up in New York in his previous starts earlier in the year. "He's still green and learning, but he's got a big engine. If he gets the right trip and things work out, he's shown he can cut a mile in (1):51 on his own. Not every horse can do that. We'll see where he fits in with those top horses." In addition to Classichap, Smedshammer trains Hambletonian Oaks contender Phaetosive. The filly won her Oaks elimination and is the 3-1 second choice on the morning line behind Manchego. Smedshammer trained 2008 Hambletonian Oaks winner Creamy Mimi. * * * * * * Hat Trick Habit has raced four times for new connections, with mixed results. But trainer Scott DiDomenico is hoping the trotter has got it figured out after a second-place finish behind Crystal Fashion in his final Hambletonian prep, the Reynolds Memorial. The horse went off stride in his two prior races. "We're going to give it a shot," DiDomenico said. "I think he is on the way up again. We've been having trouble with his feet, they've been aggravating him some, and I think that's been part of the reason he's been jumping. That's been one of my biggest concerns and I think we've sort of got it under control. I hope it works out OK." Hat Trick Habit debuted for new owners John McGill and Brian Carsey with a career-best 1:52.3 win at the Meadowlands on July 7. He was acquired by McGill and Carsey at the end of June. The horse was owned previously by Fred Monteleone, who passed away in October. For his career, Hat Trick Habit has won six of 17 races and earned $205,054. The colt is 12-1 in the first Hambletonian elimination, starting from post eight with three-time Hambletonian-winning driver Brian Sears. "All things considered, it's probably a little bit of a shot, but how many times are you going to have a shot to race a horse of this caliber in this kind of race," DiDomenico said about racing in the Hambletonian. "We're excited about it and getting the shot to make some money in there. That's a pretty neat feeling. It's cool. I've never been there before, never had a horse that I even considered putting in that race. Now that I do, it's special." * * * * * * Met's Hall, who is 10-1 in the first Hambletonian elimination, was slow to return to the races for his 3-year-old season, not making his debut until July 14. He qualified three times prior to that race, twice in June and once in July. "It's been challenging," trainer Julie Miller said. "He had a lot of health issues starting out the year that made my job difficult. But hopefully it's coming together at the right time. I'm very fortunate that (owner) Natalia Stroy has been patient with me and the horse. "We'll just point him toward next week and hope all our efforts pay off. We're going to need a lot of luck, too. Met's Hall was a stakes-winner in 2017, with his victories including a division of the International Stallion Stakes at Red Mile, where he trotted a career-best 1:52.4. He followed that win with a second-place finish behind Fourth Dimension in a track-record 1:54 mile in their Breeders Crown elimination at Hoosier Park and a week later was second to Fiftydallarbill in the $600,000 final. He made his 2018 debut in a division of the Stanley Dancer Memorial at the Meadowlands, where he finished fourth with regular driver Andy Miller, Julie's husband. His next start resulted in a third-place finish in the Tompkins-Geers at the Big M before notching his first win of the year in a division of last weekend's Reynolds Memorial. He won in 1:53 with a :26.4 final quarter and :55.2 back half after a :57.3 first half. "Off that slow half, I thought it was a good back half," Miller said. "When Andy had to kind of check him in the lane he was real handy there. "Every time Andy gets off the bike, after each qualifier, after each race, he says I'm getting there. Now if I can just shed three seconds in the next week," she added with a laugh. Met's Hall has won six of 14 career races and $311,908. The Millers have had consecutive top-three finishes in the Hambletonian, with Devious Man third-placed-second in 2017 and Sutton third, beaten only a neck, in 2016. by Rich Fisher, for the USTA Following are the fields for the Hambletonian eliminations. Hambletonian Elimination One PP-Driver -Trainer-Morning Line 1-Shoshie Deo-George Brennan-Dewayne Minor-10/1 2-Evaluate-Orjan Kihlstrom-Marcus Melander-15/1 3-Met's Hall-Andy Miller-Julie Miller-10/1 4-Lawmaker-David Miller-Andrew Harris-8/1 5-Wolfgang-Yannick Gingras-Jimmy Takter-5/2 6-Crystal Fashion-Tim Tetrick-Jim Campbell-7/2 7-Atlanta-Scott Zeron-Rick Zeron-3/1 8-Hat Trick Habit-Brian Sears-Scott DiDomenico-12/1 9-Zephyr Kronos-Jimmy Takter-Jimmy Takter-10/1 Hambletonian Elimination Two PP-Driver -Trainer-Morning Line 1-Fashionwoodchopper-David Miller-Jim Campbell-10/1 2-Patent Leather-Tim Tetrick-Jim Campbell-15/1 3-Classichap-Trond Smedshammer-Trond Smedshammer-6/1 4-Alarm Detector-Trevor Henry-Benoit Baillargeon-10/1 5-Fourth Dimension-Brian Sears-Marcus Melander-10/1 6-Southwind Chrome-Scott Zeron-Paula Wellwood-5/1 7-Tactical Landing-Jimmy Takter-Jimmy Takter-4/1 8-You Know You Do-Yannick Gingras-Jimmy Takter-8/1 9-Six Pack-Ake Svanstedt-Ake Svanstedt-2/1  

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - In celebration of the 93rd edition of America's greatest harness race, the Hambletonian Society, Meadowlands Racetrack and Tomasello Winery have teamed up to provide fans and guests with three special limited edition wine selections. The $1 million Hambletonian is raced Saturday afternoon, Aug. 4 as the finale to the championship meet at The Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, NJ. Post time is 12 noon. Entitled "The Hambletonian at the Meadowlands", the Hammonton-based winery (the second-oldest active in the Garden State) will produce a Pinot Grigio, a Pinot Noir and a Chardonnay exclusively for Saturday's edition that will be available for purchase Friday, Aug 3 and Saturday. Aug. 4 at the Meadowlands Racetrack. "We are honored to have produced three custom wines for the Hambletonian Society, please enjoy in the company of family and close friends," said Tomasello Winery vice president Jack Tomasello. The Hambletonian Stakes race, the most prestigious harness race for trotters in North America, is named in honor of Hambletonian 10. The label was created by Meadowlands Racetrack's graphic designer Kathleen Estes, based on a famous image of Hambletonian, the foundation sire of the Standardbred horse breed. Hambletonian 10, or Rysdyk's Hambletonian, (May 5, 1849 - 1876) was an American trotter born in Sugar Loaf, New York in 1849. In 24 seasons at stud, between 1851 and 1875, Hambletonian produced about 1,335 foals. Through four of Hambletonian's sons (George Wilkes, Dictator, Happy Medium, and Electioneer), the lineage of virtually all North American Standardbred horses can be traced to him. At age 27 on March 27, 1876, Hambletonian died. Both he and his owner, who had died in 1870, were buried in Chester, N.Y. Tomasello Winery is a fourth generation family-owned winery producing award winning wines since 1933. Tomasello is one of the largest winegrowers in New Jersey, having 70 acres of grapes under cultivation, and producing 75,000 cases of wine per year, distributing in over half of the United States and also exporting to the Pacific Rim. In addition to wines, Tomasello produces sparkling wines, hard ciders, fruit wines and ports. Tomasello Winery has 10 retail outlets thought out the Garden State and their wines are distributed by Fedway and available in over 800 retail wine stores in the state. by Rachel Ryan, for the Meadowlands

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Meadowlands Pace Night produced the biggest single-card handle in all of harness racing in 2018. On Saturday afternoon, that number - $4,083,390 - figures to be eclipsed on a star-studded 16-race program on Hambletonian Day at the Big M. The marathon day at the races kicks off with a special noon post time for the first race and bettors can get right to it trying to make a score when a guaranteed $50,000 will be up for grabs in the 50-Cent Pick-5, which has a low take out of 15 percent. The action continues fast and furious as another $50,000 guarantee will be offered on the 50-Cent Pick-4 that kicks off with race three. After that, a 20-Cent Survivor Pick-8 (instead of the usual Pick-10) begins in race five before a $75,000 guaranteed 50-Cent Pick-4 that commences in race eight. The final four races on the card (races 13 through 16) will comprise the final 50-Cent Pick-4 of the 2017-18 Big M meeting. The 13th race is the $1 million Hambletonian Final. Hambletonian Day post times: Race 1: noon (Vincennes) Race 2: 12:20 p.m. (Shady Daisy) Race 3: 12:42 p.m. (Zanzuccki) Race 4: 1:02 p.m. (Peter Haughton Memorial) Race 5: 1:32 p.m. (Jim Doherty Memorial) Race 6: 2:02 p.m. (John Cashman Memorial) Race 7: 2:25 p.m. (Cane Pace) Race 8: 2:52 p.m. (Hambletonian Elimination 1) Race 9: 3:23 p.m. (Hambletonian Elimination 2) Race 10: 3:55 p.m. (Drazin) Race 11: 4:10 p.m. (Sam McKee Memorial) Race 12: 4:35 p.m. (Hambletonian Oaks Final) Race 13: 5:06 p.m. (Hambletonian Final) Race 14: 5:46 p.m. (Steele Memorial) Race 15: 6:08 p.m. (Lady Liberty) Race 16: 6:31 p.m. (Abercrombie) HAMBO ON CBSSN: The 93rd edition of the Hambletonian will be seen live by a national television audience as the CBS Sports Network (CBSSN) will present 90 minutes of Hambo Day coverage beginning at 4 p.m. Hall of Famer Gary Seibel will serve as host with Meadowlands TV's Dave Brower providing color commentary. Greg Blanchard will handle the interviews. From the Meadowlands Media Department

Elkton, MD - Post Time with Mike and Mike presented by BetAmerica, is excited to announce their line-up for Thursday morning (July 12) at 10:30 a.m. They will be joined by Gary Seibel and Dave Brower, CBS Sports Network co-hosts; Jim Brown, from Midwest Auctioneers; and Darin Gagne, from Running Aces. Mike Bozich will be at the controls with Gary Seibel and Dave Brower who join the program filling in for Michael Carter who is on assignment this week. Seibel and Brower who work with CBS Sports Network during the Hambletonian, will also discuss the entrants and how they feel the race will play out. The pair will talk about some of their past experiences on the broadcast and what they are looking forward to this year. Jim Brown, from Midwest Auctioneers, joins to discuss the upcoming sale of contents at Pompano Park. The group plans to auction off the contents of the grandstand and clubhouse on August 5 and 6. The weekly Running Aces segment continues this week as track announcer, Darin Gagne will join the program to discuss the happenings at the Minnesota facility. Post Time with Mike and Mike presented by BetAmerica will be live from the 2018 Hambletonian on Saturday beginning at 3:00 PM. Details are forth-coming and will be available tomorrow (Thursday) morning.   Post Time with Mike and Mike presented by BetAmerica can be heard live every Thursday at 10:30 a.m. via their website www.posttimewithmikeandmike.com or on the archive atwww.betamerica.com/BARN.   by Michael Carter, for Post Time with Mike and Mike

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