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The Meadowlands Pace provides a late supplemental yearling payment for foals of 2019 that were not nominated to the 2022 Pace by the regular May 15 payment.   This supplemental payment is due August 15 (postmarked by August 18 per USTA rules) and the cost is $125 payable to The Meadowlands.   The 2022 Meadowlands Pace conditions may be found here.   The form to be used complete with instructions and address may be found here.   The list of yearlings that were nominated by the May 15 payment may be found here.   Questions may be directed to Nick Salvi at (607) 972-5500.   From the Meadowlands      

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

Under most circumstances, trainer Nancy Takter would have watched the stretch drive of this past Saturday's Meadowlands Pace and been overcome with a sinking feeling. In those instances, though, she would not have been watching Tall Dark Stranger. Tall Dark Stranger and driver Yannick Gingras captured Saturday's $636,650 Meadowlands Pace in dramatic fashion, giving up the lead to rival Papi Rob Hanover in the stretch before fighting back to win by a neck in 1:47.2. Few people - including Gingras, co-owner Buck Chaffee, and Takter's father Jimmy - thought Tall Dark Stranger would be the winner as the horses began their battle on the final turn. Takter, however, was undaunted as the scene unfolded. "Usually when a horse kind of halfway clears, your heart sinks," Takter said. "I never got that feeling. I never had the feel that I was the loser. It was the weirdest thing ever. I watched the stretch and I had so much confidence in Tall Dark Stranger and knew he would come back. "What a champion he is. He just doesn't want to lose. He's just a great horse." Takter won her first Meadowlands Pace in her second try. In 2019, she finished fourth with favorite Captain Crunch. She also gave the Takter family its first Pace trophy; Jimmy sent out 10 horses in the event for 3-year-old pacers with a best finish of second with Vintage Master in 2009. As is a Takter tradition, the winner's blanket was placed on a bronze horse statue near the entrance of the family's central New Jersey farm. "There have been a lot of great blankets out there, so it was about time that one got on," the 39-year-old Takter said. "When I was growing up, a little kid, Meadowlands Pace night was always a big event. My dad didn't have a lot of pacers at that time, but I remember all these great horses and we would talk about them. I knew it was special to win the Meadowlands Pace." Tall Dark Stranger was the 2019 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male pacer. For his career, he has won 11 of 12 races and earned $1.05 million for owners Crawford Farms Racing, Marvin Katz, Caviart Farms, and Howard Taylor. The colt, a son of Bettor's Delight out of Precocious Beauty, is Gingras' second Meadowlands Pace winner. Gingras got his first Pace victory with A Rocknroll Dance in 2012. "I have a connection with Tall Dark Stranger that makes it a little different than with A Rocknroll Dance," said Gingras, who has driven Tall Dark Stranger in all his qualifiers and races as well as spent time with the horse at Takter's stable. "Then, you have the expectations. A Rocknroll Dance was 9-2 and things worked out on that day, but you don't have the pressure. "Tall Dark Stranger, he's the champ, he's the one that has to be dethroned. He was 1-2 (odds), it was a lot of pressure. And I know Papi Rob Hanover is a great horse. I knew he would show up. Everyone saw Allywag Hanover, he's super fast too. You put all that together, to be able to get the job done, in that fashion too, is a great, great feeling." Papi Rob Hanover and Allywag Hanover both looked poised to defeat Tall Dark Stranger after the latter went for the lead in a :25.4 opening quarter-mile, then reached the half in :53.2 and three-quarters in 1:20.4. Around the last turn, Papi Rob Hanover pulled even with Tall Dark Stranger, with Allywag Hanover following Papi Rob Hanover's cover. "When Papi Rob came, I really didn't feel like I was a winner there," Gingras said. "I thought I was beat. I knew (Allywag Hanover) was in a perfect spot; I thought I was in trouble with both of them. I thought I would be second or third at that point. I just kept trying to keep my horse alive and he just fought. "Halfway down the stretch, I thought I had a chance. Maybe like a hundred feet before the wire, I knew I had (Papi Rob Hanover) even though I wasn't back in front of him yet. I knew I was getting to him and I had time to get him too. It felt pretty good then. "Tall Dark Stranger is a winner and he knows what he has to do to get the job done. He has the desire to dig down deep and give you that little more that's needed." After winning eight of nine races last season, Tall Dark Stranger is 3-for-3 in 2020 and has two sub-1:48 miles already this year. His 1:47.2 clocking in the Meadowlands Pace ranks tied for eighth best by a 3-year-old pacer in history. Gingras believes the horse's strong start this year is in part due to the way he finished last season. Tall Dark Stranger's connections decided to quit with the colt following his win in the Breeders Crown rather than pursue nearly $600,000 in purses in the Matron Stakes and Governor's Cup. "They could have kept on going last year, but they quit with him after having a great year with him," Gingras said. "They decided they were going to focus on trying to put all the chances on our side for his 3-year-old season, and it paid off. They got rewarded for their patience. I think the credit goes to them and Nancy for doing a good job bringing him back." Tall Dark Stranger's next start is expected to be in the Tompkins-Geers Stakes on Aug. 1 at The Meadowlands. Then comes the Cane Pace the following Saturday at The Big M. In the meantime, Takter will savor the Pace triumph. "I was a little disappointed about last year, so it was nice to come back and get it done this year," she said. "It's a very special accomplishment." by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA  

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Neither first-over pressure from Papi Rob Hanover nor nearly a length deficit in upper stretch could deter a resurgent Tall Dark Stranger ($3.00), who gave his all to reclaim the lead in the final yards of the $636,650 Meadowlands Pace on Saturday night (July 18) at The Meadowlands.   The 3-year-old son of Bettor's Delight and Precocious Beauty advanced gradually off the first turn, cleared for the lead with five-eighths to go, and he controlled a :53.2 half while in line to Yannick Gingras. On the far turn, Tall Dark Stranger faced a stout challenge from the uncovered Papi Rob Hanover, and the pair threw down nearing three-quarters in 1:20.4.   Papi Rob Hanover wrested command away from Tall Dark Stranger off the home turn, and while Allywag Hanover loomed a major late threat off second-over cover, Tall Dark Stranger proved toughest of all and battled valiantly to prevail by a neck in 1:47.2. Papi Rob Hanover finished second, and Allywag Hanover stayed on for third.       Nancy Takter trains Tall Dark Stranger, an 11-time winner in 12 career starts, for Crawford Farms Racing, Marvin Katz, Caviart Farms and Howard Taylor. The Pace win pushed Tall Dark Stranger's earnings over the $1 million plateau.   by James Witherite, for The Meadowlands

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

A little more than 50 years ago, Buck Owens cautioned country music listeners to beware a tall dark stranger. Decades later, the warning could apply to Saturday's Meadowlands Pace. Tall Dark Stranger, the 2019 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old harness racing colt pacer, is the 7-5 morning-line favorite in the $636,650 Meadowlands Pace for 3-year-olds at The Meadowlands Racetrack. The colt, who won last week's single elimination by a half-length over Captain Kirk in 1:48.1 over a "good" surface, starts from post five with Yannick Gingras driving for trainer Nancy Takter. Racing begins at 6:30 p.m. (EDT) Saturday. Post time for the Meadowlands Pace, which is race nine on the stakes-filled card, is 10:05 p.m. Tall Dark Stranger is undefeated in two races this season. He opened his campaign with a 1:47.4 win against older horses on June 27 at The Meadowlands. Over the previous five years, only seven 3-year-old pacers have won with faster miles. "He's a fast horse, but he's not just fast," Gingras said. "He's a great horse. He can do anything you want, race him any way you decide to race him. He's strong, he's got a great gait, he's got all the qualities. Those are the things that make the difference between a fast horse and a great horse." Tall Dark Stranger is a son of Bettor's Delight out of Precocious Beauty. He is owned by Crawford Farms Racing, Marvin Katz, Caviart Farms, and Howard Taylor. Last year, the colt won eight of nine races, finished second in his loss, and earned $717,514. He will try to join Huntsville (2017), He's Watching (2014) and Captaintreacherous (2013) as recent Dan Patch Award returnees to win the Pace. "He's come back great," Gingras said. "I couldn't be any happier, really. His first start he was vicious and the same thing again last week. I don't think he could be coming into the final in better shape. "Last year at times he could be a little bit grabby. He knew really early on what his job was to do, but sometimes he wanted to do a little bit too much. He's a little more manageable this year. If anything, he's a little bit lazy. Leaving the gate last week, in a good way, I had to ask him. He knows what he's out there to do and that it's my job to guide him and he's letting me do my job." Tall Dark Stranger was guaranteed a starting spot in posts one through six by virtue of his elimination win. "For me, I've always felt it's tremendously important to try to win the elimination," Gingras said. "Of course, you don't want to overuse your horse, but I have no problem racing my horse to take the outside posts out of the equation. I feel there is great value to it. These horses can go those miles. He left pretty good last week, but I got a decent middle half and then sprinted home. I don't think he will be worse for wear after that last start. "I like where I drew. You can see what happens. Of course, you've got to go forward. Everybody knows I'm not going to back out of the gate, you're not getting away seventh or eighth in this race, with Tall Dark Stranger that's not happening. You're going forward out of the gate, but you have options. You can see what the outside horses are doing, you can see what the inside horses are doing, and I can race any which way. Post five gives me all the options in the world." Gingras is looking for his second Meadowlands Pace victory. He won with A Rocknroll Dance in 2012. Takter is seeking her first Pace trophy. Last year's Matron Stakes and Governor's Cup winner Papi Rob Hanover, with David Miller driving for trainer Brett Pelling, is the 4-1 second choice on the Meadowlands Pace morning line. Papi Rob Hanover starts from post nine, which is his most favorable starting spot yet this season. He finished third from post 10 in the Pace elim and was second from post 10 in his seasonal debut. Allywag Hanover, also from the Pelling Stable, is the 9-2 third choice. Allywag Hanover advanced to the Pace final courtesy of a bye based on seasonal earnings. Allywag Hanover is 3-for-3 this year and won in 1:48 on July 4 at The Meadowlands. Pelling is the winningest trainer in Pace history, with four victories. Tim Tetrick will drive Allywag Hanover and is looking for his sixth Pace win. John Campbell holds the record with seven. Trainer Tony Alagna, who won the 2013 Meadowlands Pace with Captaintreacherous, has three horses in Saturday's final: Captain Barbossa (10-1), Capt Midnight (15-1), and Captain Kirk (15-1). Capt Midnight finished ninth in the elimination, from which the top eight horses advanced to the final, but drew into the race when Chief Mate was scratched on Tuesday. In addition to the Meadowlands Pace, Saturday's racing includes two $142,250 divisions of the Stanley Dancer Memorial for 3-year-old male trotters, the 11-horse $253,500 Del Miller Memorial for 3-year-old female trotters, the 13-horse $464,900 Hambletonian Maturity at 1-1/8 miles for 4-year-old trotters, the 11-horse $391,300 William R. Haughton Memorial for older male pacers (as well as a $123,100 consolation), $172,850 Dorothy Haughton Memorial for older female pacers, the 11-horse $194,400 Mistletoe Shalee for 3-year-old female pacers, and the third leg of the Miss Versatility Series for older female trotters. For complete entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA    

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - The "Biggest Night in Harness Racing" takes place Saturday (July 18) at the track known as the Big M. And for bettors, Meadowlands Pace Night 2020 is now even bigger. The action and stakes racing will be excessive Saturday at North America's top venue, with the marquee event - The Meadowlands Pace, a 3-year-old open for a purse of $636,650 - scheduled as Race 9, with a post time of 9:55 p.m. "Every year, Meadowlands Pace Night sports one of the truly special race cards of the year," said track Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Jason Settlemoir. "The 13-race program has many stakes events, and the wagering opportunities are numerous. On Saturday, we will be offering a mandatory payout on our 20-cent Jackpot Super High-Five, so the total pool should be huge." This Friday night's Early 20-cent Jackpot Super High-Five will not be offered so that Saturday's can start out with a carryover of $65,089 in the 11th race. "It is our hope that our players will go after the Saturday Super High-Five in a big way," said Settlemoir. "Hopefully, we can get $200,000 into that pool and get one - or several - players a nice score." Saturday's wagering menu will be expanded. Here is a look at what - and when - players will be playing the track's popular puzzles, all of which offer a low 15 percent takeout: 20-cent Pick-5 (Races 1-5, $50,000 guaranteed pool) 50-cent All Stakes Pick-4 (Races 6-9, $100,000 guarantee) 20-cent Pick-6 (Races 8-13) 20-cent Pick-5 (Races 9-13) 50-cent Pick-4 (Races 10-13) 20-cent Jackpot Super High-Five (Race 11, $65,089 carryover, mandatory payout, estimated pool $200,000) The Big M has good momentum heading into this weekend's racing, with $3,440,248 having been wagered last Saturday, the high at the mile oval this year for a 13-race card, on which the track set a per-race average best of $264,634. Despite the absence of the Early 20-cent Jackpot Super High-Five on Friday, fans of the wager will still have a big opportunity in the 13th race, as that JSH5 will start out with a carryover of $80,368. Friday's program begins at the usual 7:15 p.m. STAKES-STACKED CARD: Saturday's Meadowlands Pace Night program gets underway a little earlier than usual, with a first-race post time of 6:30 p.m. In addition to The Pace, the card also offers the $40,000 Miss Versatility (featuring Manchego), $253,500 Del Miller Memorial (Hypnotic AM), $284,500 Stanley Dancer Memorial-two divisions (Amigo Volo and Beads), $194,400 Mistletoe Shalee (JK First Lady), $391,300 William Haughton Memorial (Dancin Lou), $464,900 Hambletonian Maturity (Gimpanzee), $172,850 Dorothy Haughton (Shartin N) and $123,100 William Haughton Memorial Consolation (Sintra). OWNERS BACK IN THE WC: For the first time since before the coronavirus shutdown in early March, owners will be welcome back in the winner's circle on Saturday night, with masks and social distancing strictly enforced. PACE CARD LIVE ON FACEBOOK: The entire Meadowlands Pace card can be seen live on the Meadowlands' Facebook page. The races can also be seen on the Roberts Television Network (rtn.tv) or on the Television Games Network (TVG). To bet the races go to 4njbets.com, tvg.com or your favorite ADW (advance-deposit wagering) platform. "We are looking forward to an international viewing audience on TVG on Pace Night," said Settlemoir. "But we also look forward to seeing our fans at the track as well." For those who want to come out to the races, grandstand capacity is 25 percent with more patrons allowed outside on the apron. Theweatherchannel.com is forecasting fabulous conditions for Saturday night, with temperatures in the mid-70s, a few clouds and light winds. ASHLEY RETURNS: The Meadowlands' Dave Brower, Dave Little, Ken Warkentin and Jessica Otten will be joined for a second straight weekend by Ashley Mailloux, the paddock analyst and handicapper at Ft. Erie Racetrack, who will be on hand to bolster the Big M's TV presence. Mailloux also contributes - and freelances - for Post Time with Mike and Mike, America's Best Racing, the Maryland Jockey Club and the Horse Racing Radio Network (HRRN). Otten spent the early part of the week out at the farms of some of The Pace contenders, and her reports will be shown throughout the weekend. On Friday, Mailloux will sit beside Brower and serve as co-host of the live simulcast presentation at 6:45 p.m. Saturday's show will have Brower and Little on set, with an earlier-than-usual start time of 5:45 p.m. Otten and Mailloux will have features and interviews all weekend long, and, of course, Warkentin, the voice of The Big M, will call all 26 races. Due to the cancellation of racing at Del Mar, Meadowlands management is anticipating more coverage on TVG's live presentation of the races. Little will be on TVG duty Friday, and Mike Bozich, the track announcer at Harrah's Philadelphia, will take the microphone Saturday. FREE STUFF: For free past performances, go to playmeadowlands.com. Friday night, the Late 50-cent Pick-4 and Late 20-cent Jackpot Super High-Five (races 10-13) will be available. On Saturday, bettors can access the entire Meadowlands Pace Night card. CHECK OUT THE PICKS: For those who need to get a leg up on the action, go to playmeadowlands.com to see track oddsmaker and analyst Dave Brower's selections and commentary. Go to the "handicapping" drop down and then go to "race reviews". Additionally, track announcer Ken Warkentin's blog is available on the site and offers his picks and analysis. TWEET THE TEAM: Stay in touch on Twitter with the Big M's Brower (@eedoogie), Little (@DaveLittleBigM), Warkentin (@kenvoiceover), Otten (@JessicaOtten1) and Mailloux (@ashley_mailloux). Check in everyday for Meadowlands news and updates at those handles, as well as @TheMeadowlands, #playbigm and #paceyourself20. FOLLOW THE FAVORITES: Want to know what the trainer and driver of Meadowlands Pace 7-5 morning-line favorite Tall Dark Stranger are saying? Follow trainer Nancy Takter (@NancyTakter) and driver Yannick Gingras (@Gingras3) on Twitter. READ ALL ABOUT IT: Check the following harness racing outlets on the internet for everything Meadowlands Pace, before and after the race: playmeadowlands.com, ustrotting.com, drf.com/harness/, harnessracing.com, standardbredcanada.ca, harnessracingupdate.com and harnesslink.com. From the Meadowlands Media Department  

This Week: Meadowlands Pace, Hambletonian Maturity, W.R. Haughton Memorial, Mistletoe Shalee, Stanley Dancer Memorial, Delvin Miller Memorial, Dorothy Haughton Memorial, and Miss Versatility, Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, N.J. and Arden Downs, The Meadows, Washington, Pa. Schedule of events: The stakes heavy Saturday (July 18) Grand Circuit card at The Meadowlands features the $636,650 Meadowlands Pace for 3-year-olds, the $464,900 Hambletonian Maturity for 4-year-old trotters, the $391,300 W.R. Haughton Memorial (and $123,100 consolation) for free for all pacers, two divisions in the $284,500 Stanley Dancer Memorial for 3-year-old male trotters, the $253,500 Delvin Miller Memorial for 3-year-old filly trotters, the $194,400 Mistletoe Shalee for 3-year-old filly pacers, the $172,850 Dorothy Haughton Memorial for older pacing mares, and a $40,000 division of the Miss Versatility for older trotting mares. Saturday Grand Circuit action also includes the $42,610 Arden Downs for 3-year-old male trotters at The Meadows. Complete entries for the races are available at this link. Last time: Hurrikane Emperor provided an upset in the $250,000 Graduate Series final for 4-year-old pacers while 1-5 favorite Gimpanzee took care of business in the $250,000 Graduate Series final for 4-year-old trotters Saturday night (July 11) at The Meadowlands. Hurrikane Emperor provided an upset in the $250,000 Graduate Series final for 4-year-old pacers. Lisa photo. Hurrikane Emperor (Mark MacDonald), sent off as the fifth choice at odds of 7-1, was second over in fourth at three-quarters before coming three-wide off the last turn and storming through the stretch to reign by 1-1/2 lengths over Workin Ona Mystery (Tim Tetrick) in 1:47, the fastest mile of the season. Dancin Lou (Brian Sears) finished third. Favorite Bettor's Wish (Dexter Dunn) was eighth. MacDonald drove Hurrikane Emperor to victory for trainer John McDermott and owners Jonathan Klee Racing, Kuhen Racing, and William Garofalo. "I really thought he was going to be awesome tonight and Mark gave him the most beautiful drive in the world," McDermott said. "It worked out beautifully." Hurrikane Emperor, by Hurrikane Kingcole out of the mare Hurrikane Schmumma, has won 13 of 22 career races and $528,226. In the Graduate Series final for 4-year-old trotters, Gimpanzee (Sears) saw Reign Of Honor (David Miller) lead the field around the first turn but moved to the front at the quarter on his way to a 1:50.4 triumph for trainer Marcus Melander. Reign Of Honor, also trained by Melander, was second and Chin Chin Hall (Dunn) finished third. The winning margin was one length. Gimpanzee, a son of Chapter Seven out of Steamy Windows, is 3-for-3 this year and has won 20 of 26 career races. A Dan Patch Award winner at age 2, the stallion has banked $1.88 million for owners Courant Inc. and S R F Stable. "Reign Of Honor finishing second from a bad post (10) was a little bit shocking that he was so fast behind the gate," Melander said. "Gimpanzee was supposed to win, but finishing first and second, I'm very pleased. "(Gimpanzee) is doing what he's supposed to do. He's going to go back next week for the Hambletonian Maturity, so it was nice to get a nice race on the lead. I was very happy with what I saw. The horse is getting more in form. Even though he's been racing great, I can feel him getting sharper and sharper. It will be very exciting to continue racing with him." Complete recaps of the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2020, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2020 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following this past weekend: Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 155; 2. Brian Sears - 72; 3. Dexter Dunn - 67; 4. Tim Tetrick - 62; 5. Scott Zeron - 42. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 170; 2. Marcus Melander - 69; 3. Ake Svanstedt - 67; 4. Nancy Takter - 60; 5. John McDermott - 32. Owners: 1. Burke Racing Stable - 32.1; 2. Crawford Farms Racing - 28; 3. Weaver Bruscemi - 27.1; 4. S R F Stable - 25; 5. J&T Silva-Purnel & Libby - 23.8. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next weekend at Saratoga Casino Hotel, Harrah's Hoosier Park, The Meadows, The Meadowlands and Plainridge Racecourse. Saratoga will have the Joe Gerrity for older pacers; Hoosier will host the Nadia Lobell for 3-year-old filly pacers; The Meadows will have eliminations for the Adios for 3-year-old colt pacers; The Meadowlands will host the Tompkins-Geers for 3-year-old colt and filly trotters; and Plainridge will feature the Spirit of Massachusetts for open trotters and the Clara Barton for pacing mares. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit

Elkton, MD -- Post Time with Mike and Mike presented by the USTA, is excited to announce their line-up for Thursday (July 16) at 10:30 a.m. Guests include Nancy Takter, Pat Woods, Tim Tetrick, and David Miller. Woods joins the harness racing program from Winbak Farm to discuss their Ontario yearlings that will soon be available for purchase this yearling season. Takter, Tetrick, and Miller will discuss their upcoming chances in the 2020 Meadowlands Pace, and talk about some of the other horses participating on the stakes laden program. Post Time with Mike and Mike presented by USTA can be heard live every Thursday at 10:30 a.m. via their website www.posttimewithmikeandmike.com or on the archive at https://www.blogtalkradio.com/ptmikeandmike. by Michael Carter, for Post Time  

East Rutherford, NJ - Outdoor dining continues this weekend at the Meadowlands. Friday night has a 7:15pm post time while Saturday has a special post of 6:30pm to accommodate the stakes filled Meadowlands Pace card. The Clubhouse entrance will be open both nights for those dining on the West Deck or in the Backyard or betting in the FanDuel Sportsbook. Guests are encouraged to make dining reservations for guaranteed seating, especially for Saturday, July 18th - Meadowlands Pace night. All guests must wear a face covering both indoors and outside, have their temperature checked and complete a brief health questionnaire. No one with a temperature exceeding 100.4 will be allowed to enter. All are also encouraged to download and fill out the required the health questionnaire (available here) to speed up the check-in process. There is no valet parking available for live racing this weekend. The Backyard BBQ & Grill with waitress service is open for Pace weekend and features two specials. From 4-6pm guests can enjoy a pulled pork sandwich served with Cajun fries, coleslaw and pickle for $8. For $21.95 diners can enjoy a 6 oz lobster tail with Cajun fries, coleslaw and fresh watermelon. Grilled items including burgers, sausage and hot dogs will also be available along with brisket, ribs and mac & cheese. Reservations for Backyard dining can be made by emailing Jennifer Jordan at jjordan@arkrestuarants.com On Friday, the West Deck has a $29.95 pre fixe menu featuring a variety of cold salads, grilled flank steak and salmon, homemade manicotti and grilled to order chicken, burgers and hot dogs. A selection of pre-packaged desserts will also be available. The full menu can be viewed here. Reservations are required and dining must be prepaid. Reservations can be made by calling Marianne Rotella at 201-842-5059 or emailing mrotella@playmeadowlands.com. The West Deck is sold out for Saturday for general reservations. The grandstand is open for live racing and simulcasting. The Apron area is also open (at 500 social gathering limit) with teller machines available for wagering. Once capacity is reached guests will be asked to wait in their cars until space becomes available. To adhere to all COVID-19 protocols the Meadowlands has implemented the following measures: All guest seating has been 6 ft social distanced  Hand sanitizer has been placed throughout the grandstand All high touch surfaces will be frequently wiped down throughout the day including all self-service machines, door handles and counter-tops No food or beverage is permitted inside the grandstand. Guests are able to order from a waitress and eat and drink outside on the apron tables. Smoking is only permitted on the outdoor apron All racing and dining information can be found at PlayMeadowlands.com. From the Meadowlands Media Department

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - With Chief Mate an early scratch, there were some adjustments made to not only the entries, but also the morning-line odds for The Meadowlands Pace: The field for the $636,650 Meadowlands Pace for 3-year-old open pacers, which takes place at The Meadowlands on July 18 and has a post time of 10:05 p.m., with post position, horse (driver, trainer) and morning-line odds: 1. Roll With JR (Corey Callahan, Jeff Cullipher), 20-1 2. Catch The Fire (Mike Wilder, John Ackley), 12-1 3. Captain Barbossa (Brian Sears, Tony Alagna), 10-1 4. Allywag Hanover (Tim Tetrick, Brett Pelling), 9-2 5. Tall Dark Stranger (Yannick Gingras, Nancy Takter), 7-5 6. Manticore (Jordan Stratton, Bruce Saunders), 15-1 7. Capt Midnight (Andy McCarthy, Tony Alagna), 15-1 8. Major Betts (Dexter Dunn, Mark Harder), 12-1 9. Papi Rob Hanover (David Miller, Brett Pelling), 4-1 10. Captain Kirk (Joe Bongiorno, Tony Alagna), 15-1 NOTE: Chief Mate was an early scratch, also eligible Capt Midnight draws in. From the Meadowlands Media Department  

Mike Wilder has driven in more than 55,000 races in his 30-year harness racing career, but never in the final of a Meadowlands Pace. That, however, will change this weekend. Wilder makes his first trip to The Meadowlands Racetrack for its signature event Saturday, when he will sit behind Catch The Fire in the $631,650 race for 3-year-old male pacers. "It's nice to be a part of that," said Wilder, who has won 8,276 races while competing mostly in Ohio and Pennsylvania. "It's not like every year you know you're going to be in a certain race. Obviously, I've been driving 30 years and it's my first time, so it takes a good horse. It takes a good horse and being at the right place at the right time. "Catch The Fire has been a really good horse. He's pretty special." Of the Meadowlands Pace final's 10 drivers, Wilder is the only one making his first appearance. The last driver to win the Pace in his first try was Tim Tetrick with Southwind Lynx in 2007. Catch The Fire heads to the Meadowlands Pace final off a seventh-place finish in last week's single elimination. The colt started from post eight, was last in the 10-horse field at the half, and rallied with a :25.4 last quarter-mile to grab a spot in the final. He starts Saturday from post two and is 10-1 on the morning line. Elimination winner Tall Dark Stranger is the 7-5 favorite. "The (elimination) was kind of tough the way the race shook out," Wilder said. "That being said, he raced terrific. That horse, he just shows up. Even the other night, he was seventh, but he showed up. He had to pace :25.4 to get the job done and he did it. "I was very happy to see where he drew in the final, it gives him a chance to be part of the fight. Hopefully things shake out good and we get the right trip and get some money. It would be nice to win the race, everybody wants to win, but I don't think there is any question he could be able to grab some of the prize money." Catch The Fire was purchased for $15,000 at the 2018 Lexington Selected Sale. He is owned by Charles Taylor's CT Stables and trained by John Ackley. The horse's sire, Captaintreacherous, won the 2013 Meadowlands Pace. His dam, Dream Outloud, is a half-sister to Life'sliltreasure, who produced 2016 Meadowlands Pace winner Control The Moment. Wilder has driven Catch The Fire in all but one of the colt's 14 career starts. Last year, Catch The Fire won the Kentucky Sire Stakes championship and was third in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes final. He has won four of 14 races lifetime, hit the board a total of 10 times, and earned $260,047. "He was pretty special last year," Wilder said. "The first time I raced him, he's not a real big horse at all but John told me not to worry about the size of the horse, he's a very nice colt. That particular day, he was second in the (Pennsylvania) sire stakes at The Meadows. He paced home in :26.3 and you don't get many horses that can do that, especially a 2-year-old. I knew then that I had my hands on something pretty nice." Wilder is an Ohio native and won 13 driving titles at Lebanon and two at Scioto Downs before moving to The Meadows in western Pennsylvania in 2001. Over the past 10 years, he has annually ranked among the top-five drivers at The Meadows in wins and purses. Five times in the past six years he has finished second to perennial Meadows driving champ Dave Palone in wins. This season, Wilder leads drivers at The Meadows in purses with $1.1 million and is second to Palone in wins with 126. Overall, Wilder has won 142 races this year, ninth best in North America. Catch The Fire could keep Wilder on the road for a number of Grand Circuit races. The colt is staked to the North America Cup, Breeders Crown, Little Brown Jug, Cane Pace, Messenger Pace, Tattersalls Pace, and Matron Stakes, not to mention the Delvin Miller Adios at Wilder's home track. "You hope the horse stays healthy and sound and wherever they choose to race him I'm sure he is going to fight," Wilder said. "With the right trip, he's always going to kick home for you, he's always digging. That's how you get paid. This horse can get to the (first) quarter in :26 and then he comes home in :26. I think that's what it takes to be a horse at that level and I think he's proven himself to be that kind of horse. "I'm really looking forward to the season with him and I'm really looking forward to Saturday night being in the Meadowlands Pace." The Meadowlands Pace is part of a jam-packed stakes slate Saturday at the Big M. The card also includes the Hambletonian Maturity for 4-year-old trotters, William R. Haughton Memorial for older male pacers, Dorothy Haughton Memorial for older female pacers, Stanley Dancer Memorial for 3-year-old male trotters, Del Miller Memorial for 3-year-old female trotters, Mistletoe Shalee for 3-year-old female pacers, and the third leg of the Miss Versatility Series for older female trotters. Following is the field for the $631,650 Meadowlands Pace. PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Morning Line 1-Roll With JR-Corey Callahan-Jeff Cullipher-20/1 2-Catch The Fire-Mike Wilder-John Ackley-10/1 3-Captain Barbossa-Brian Sears-Tony Alagna-10/1 4-Allywag Hanover-Tim Tetrick-Brett Pelling-5/1 5-Tall Dark Stranger-Yannick Gingras-Nancy Takter-7/5 6-Manticore-Jordan Stratton-Bruce Saunders-15/1 7-Chief Mate-Andy McCarthy-Tony Alagna-20/1 8-Major Betts-Dexter Dunn-Mark Harder-10/1 9-Papi Rob Hanover-David Miller-Brett Pelling-4/1 10-Captain Kirk-Joe Bongiorno-Tony Alagna-15/1 by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA  

East Rutherford, NJ --- Hurrikane Emperor provided an upset in the $250,000 Graduate Series final for 4-year-old pacers while 1-5 favorite Gimpanzee took care of business in the $250,000 Graduate Series final for 4-year-old trotters Saturday night at The Meadowlands. Hurrikane Emperor, sent off as the fifth choice at odds of 7-1, was second over in fourth at three-quarters before coming three wide off the last turn and storming through the stretch to reign by 1-1/2 lengths over Workin Ona Mystery in 1:47, the fastest mile of the season. Dancin Lou finished third. Favorite Bettor's Wish was eighth. Mark MacDonald drove Hurrikane Emperor to victory for trainer John McDermott and owners Jonathan Klee Racing, Kuhen Racing, and William Garofalo. "I really thought he was going to be awesome tonight and Mark gave him the most beautiful drive in the world," McDermott said. "It worked out beautifully." Hurrikane Emperor is a homebred son of former McDermott standout Hurrikane Kingcole, who died last October at the age of 10. Hurrikane Emperor won seven of nine races as a 2-year-old and opened his 3-year-old campaign with three consecutive wins, including the New Jersey Sire Stakes championship, before seeing his season derailed by sickness. "We don't know what it was, but everything just kept falling apart," McDermott said. "I shut him down. My boys were so great about it, they told me to give him all the time he needed. We did and it's paid off." Hurrikane Emperor won a conditioned race in March before the sport was shut down because of the COVID-19 pandemic. When racing resumed, he returned in the Graduate Series, where he won an opening-round division at Tioga Downs. He finished third in his second-round division last week at The Meadowlands. "This is beyond words," McDermott said. "Through this pandemic it's been such torture, all I did was go deeper in the hole. Thank God for my great partners that have supported me through it because it has not been easy. To come out here, I knew he was awesome this year. Last week we were all slightly disappointed, but the way he got sick last year, I'm trying to not overuse him. "This is just really a blessing. He is so special to us. Owning his daddy, losing his daddy last year, he's family. He's the greatest creature in the world to me. It's funny, as a 2- and 3-year-old he didn't remind me of his father because he was really nondescript and didn't have much of a personality. In the last year, he's grown into such a clown that he's so much like his dad off the track. On the track, he's nice and manageable."   Hurrikane Emperor, out of the mare Hurrikane Schmumma, has won 13 of 22 career races and $534,476. In the Graduate Series final for 4-year-old trotters, Gimpanzee saw Reign Of Honor lead the field around the first turn but moved to the front at the quarter on his way to a 1:50.4 triumph for driver Brian Sears and trainer Marcus Melander. Reign Of Honor, also trained by Melander, was second and Chin Chin Hall finished third. The winning margin was one length.   Gimpanzee, a son of Chapter Seven out of Steamy Windows, is 3-for-3 this year and has won 20 of 26 career races. A Dan Patch Award winner at age 2, the stallion has banked $1.89 million for owners Courant Inc. and S R F Stable. "Reign Of Honor finishing second from a bad post (10) was a little bit shocking that he was so fast behind the gate," Melander said. "Gimpanzee was supposed to win, but finishing first and second, I'm very pleased. "(Gimpanzee) is doing what he's supposed to do. He's going to go back next week for the Hambletonian Maturity, so it was nice to get a nice race on the lead. I was very happy with what I saw. The horse is getting more in form. Even though he's been racing great, I can feel him getting sharper and sharper. It will be very exciting to continue racing with him." The target for next week’s $631,650 Meadowlands Pace for 3-year-olds is clearly on Tall Dark Stranger’s back. And his trainer, Nancy Takter, seems to be just fine with that. Tall Dark Stranger took over the lead just after the quarter and rolled down the road from there in the lone Meadowlands Pace Elimination at The Meadowlands Saturday night, establishing himself as the clear-cut one-to-beat in the track’s signature event next week (July 18). “He’s a great colt,” said Takter. “He’s been great since Day One. He performs every time I put him out on the track.” Hard to dispute given his lifetime record of 10 wins from 11 starts. Major Betts left the gate quickly from post one, as did Tall Dark Stranger from the three. Major Betts went the quarter in :26.1 before TDS took over and hit the half in :54.4. Capt Midnight – who finished ninth and failed to qualify for the final – came calling first-over to apply token pressure at three-quarters in 1:22.1. Then Tall Dark Stranger got serious. Off the far turn, driver Yannick Gingras asked the son of Bettor’s Delight-Precocious Beauty for more speed, and he provided just that, extending his advantage to two lengths at the head of the lane. In deep stretch, 23-1 shot Captain Kirk was closing well after going an inside trip to get second while 4-1 second choice Papi Rob Hanover, who again had to come from well off the pace after drawing poorly (post 10), grabbed third. Tall Dark Stranger won it by a half-length after stopping the clock in 1:48.1. After earning half of the $50,000 purse, his lifetime bank account stood at $751,889 for owners Crawford Farms Racing, Marvin Katz, Caviart Farms and Howard Taylor. He returned $2.80 to his backers as the 2-5 favorite. By winning the elim, TDS earned the right to draw a post position from one through six. He got the five for the big-money final in the draw conducted shortly after the race. “Post five is a great place,” said Takter. “It gives Yannick a lot of options. That’s his job. I was super happy with my horse tonight.” The top eight in official order of finish made the final, with two horses – Allywag Hanover and Chief Mate – earning byes based on seasonal earnings. Mocha On The Rocks finished 10th and last in the elim. MEADOWLANDS PACE FIELD The field for the $631,650 Meadowlands Pace for 3-year-old open pacers, which takes place at The Meadowlands on July 18 and has a post time of 10:05 p.m., with post position, horse (driver, trainer) and morning-line odds: 1. Roll With JR (Corey Callahan, Jeff Cullipher), 20-1 2. Catch The Fire (Mike Wilder, John Ackley), 10-1 3. Captain Barbossa (Brian Sears, Tony Alagna), 10-1 4. Allywag Hanover (Tim Tetrick, Brett Pelling), 5-1 5. Tall Dark Stranger (Yannick Gingras, Nancy Takter), 7-5 6. Manticore (Jordan Stratton, Bruce Saunders), 15-1 7. Chief Mate (Andy McCarthy, Tony Alagna), 20-1 8. Major Betts (Dexter Dunn, Mark Harder), 10-1 9. Papi Rob Hanover (David Miller, Brett Pelling), 4-1 10. Captain Kirk (Joe Bongiorno, Tony Alagna), 15-1 HUGE HANDLE: With two of the races on the card serving as the catalyst with over $350,000 in action, total wagering was $3,440,248, a 2020 Meadowlands best for a 13-race program. When total handle reached $4,100,386 on June 20, the per race average for the 18-race program was $227,799. On Saturday, the average per race was a season-high $264,634. The night got off to a fast start, as $368,907 in bets were taken on the first race, $98,457 of which was bet in the 20-cent Pick-5 pool, another Big M best. A LITTLE MORE: Gingras led the driver’s colony with four winners on the card. … The 20-cent Jackpot Super High-Five carryovers continued to swell. This Friday, when racing resumes at 7:15 p.m., JSH5 players will shoot for big green, as the fifth race carryover stands at $65,089, and the 13th race will start out with $80,368 in the hat. … On Saturday, July 18, Meadowlands Pace Night, post time will be 6:30 p.m. The W.N. Reynolds Memorial divisions for 3-year-old male trotters were won by Jula Trix Treasure and Back Of The Neck, both from the stable of trainer Ake Svanstedt. Jula Trix Treasure, driven by Gingras, won in 1:51.2, with Beads second and EL Ideal third. Back Of The Neck, with Scott Zeron in the sulky, won in 1:52 with Play Trix On Me second and Maesteraemon third. The only Reynolds event for 3-year-old female trotters was won by Takter-trained and Gingras-driven Sorella in 1:50.2, the fastest mile of the season by a 3-year-old trotter. Panem was second followed by returning Dan Patch Award winner Ramona Hill in her 2020 debut. by Ken Weingartner and Dave Little  

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

They might not be standard for a harness racing pacer, but Jeff Cullipher has a good idea what his 3-year-old Roll With JR will need to wear in Saturday's lone Meadowlands Pace elimination. "I hope he can put his big-boy pants on," Cullipher said with a laugh. Roll With JR was among a dozen 3-year-old male pacers entered in the Meadowlands Pace. Two horses, Allywag Hanover and Chief Mate, advanced to the final courtesy of byes based on seasonal earnings. The top-eight finishers in Saturday's $50,000 elimination at The Meadowlands Racetrack will join them in the $631,650 final July 18. The elimination field includes returning Dan Patch Award-winner Tall Dark Stranger, who in his only start this year defeated older horses in 1:47.4 at the Big M. The time is tied for the fastest mile of the season. Also in the field is last season's richest 2-year-old male pacer, Papi Rob Hanover, who finished second to multiple Grand Circuit winner Capt Midnight in their only start of 2020. Roll With JR, who finished second to Meadowlands Pace hopeful Catch The Fire in last year's Kentucky Sire Stakes championship, will be making his first trip to The Meadowlands since finishing third in a 2-year-old qualifying race there on June 22, 2019. He heads to the elimination off a 1:51.2 win in his seasonal debut at Harrah's Hoosier Park. For his career, the colt has won four of 12 races and $176,516. His wins last year included a division of the Bluegrass Stakes. "He was such a green horse (last year) I never felt like he reached his full potential," the Indiana-based Cullipher said. "But he went a couple decent miles and showed that he can. He kind of grew into himself over the winter; he's developed and is kind of a nice-sized colt. "He's still the kind of colt that's only going to do what he's made to do. I know I don't have a (1):48 mile in him yet, I don't even know if he could do it. I'd like to think he could step it up with the better horses." Cullipher owns Roll With JR, a son of Roll With Joe out of No One Is Alone, with Pollack Racing. Cullipher and Tom Pollack have been increasing their presence on the Grand Circuit in recent years. "It's exciting," Cullipher said. "Me and Tom are starting to step into these races a little bit. We're just having fun right now. "This might be a one-shot deal, I don't know, but so far I'm happy." Another horse making his first trip of the season to The Meadowlands for the elimination is Major Betts. The Mark Harder-trained colt prepped with qualifiers at Gaitway Farm and Harrah's Philadelphia before winning his only 2020 start in the New York Sire Stakes at Tioga Downs on June 28. Major Betts defeated favorite Splash Brother by three lengths in 1:49.4, the fastest mile of the young season by a 3-year-old on a five-eighths-mile track. "I trained him Tuesday morning and I thought he was super," Harder said. "I couldn't be happier with him." Harder had an opportunity to accept one of the two byes for the Meadowlands Pace but decided against it. "I couldn't be off three weeks going into the final, that would not make sense at all," Harder said. "He needs the work." Major Betts, a son of Art Major out of Southwind Johanne, has won five of 12 lifetime starts and $153,390 for owners Harder, Joseph Jannuzzelli, and Deena Rachel Frost. His wins last year included divisions of the International Stallion Stakes and Tompkins-Geers. "He was just always fast, he was just beautifully gaited," said Harder, who won the 2004 Meadowlands Pace with Holborn Hanover. "He was a colt that had one of those gaits that he just didn't work at it. He did everything pretty easy. "A couple of times last year he did some silly colt things. This year, he acts more professional. He drives like an old horse. It's probably a little bit of rigging, a little bit of growing up, a little bit of everything. Hopefully it's a bit of good management. It might just be good luck." Harder wouldn't turn down any good luck in the upcoming weeks. "A lot of (the 3-year-olds) are very impressive," Harder said. "Tall Dark Stranger and Papi Rob Hanover are very good, Allywag Hanover has been very impressive. They've been racing at The Meadowlands and times there have been crazy. "We beat a horse that looked pretty impressive, Splash Brother. It's a completely different class, but it shows we're there and we're competitive. Tall Dark Stranger and Papi Rob Hanover are the two standouts for sure, but there are a lot of really, really good horses. Nothing is easy." Racing begins at 7:15 p.m. (EDT) Saturday at The Meadowlands. The 13-race card also includes $250,000 Graduate Series finals for 4-year-old pacers and trotters and divisions of the Reynolds Memorial for 3-year-old trotters. For Saturday's complete Meadowlands entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA 

This Week: Graduate Series finals, Meadowlands Pace elimination, W.N. Reynolds Memorial and Miss Versatility leg, The Meadowlands, East Rutherford, N.J. and MGM Springfield Stakes final, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y. Schedule of events: This week's Grand Circuit racing will open on Friday (July 10) at The Meadowlands with the $40,000 second leg of the Miss Versatility for open trotting mares. Cutler Memorial champion Atlanta leads a field of nine into this race. The Saturday (July 11) card at The Meadowlands features the $250,000 Graduate Series finals for 4-year-old open pacers and trotters; a single $50,000 Meadowlands Pace elimination for 3-year-old pacers; the $61,000 Reynolds Memorial for 3-year-old filly trotters; and two divisions in the $88,800 Reynolds Memorial for 3-year-old colt trotters. Yonkers Raceway will host the $104,250 MGM Springfield Stakes final for 2-year-old pacing colts next Monday (July 13). A pair of elimination races for the stake were held this past Monday. Complete entries for the races can be found by clicking on this link. Last time: In what is now unquestionably harness racing's best rivalry, Atlanta bested Manchego in Saturday night's (July 4) $170,900 Arthur J. Cutler Memorial for free-for-allers at The Meadowlands in round two of the rabid duel between the top two trotters in training. Atlanta bested Manchego in Saturday night's (July 4) $170,900 Arthur J. Cutler Memorial for free-for-allers at The Meadowlands. Lisa photo. Two weeks ago, Manchego held off Atlanta by a nose in the Miss Versatility in the fastest trotting mile of the year of 1:50. Things panned out similarly this time around, except that Atlanta got the better of her foe. Atlanta (post five) was the first away from the gate and led into the first turn. Driver Yannick Gingras was willing to yield to Manchego (post six) and Dexter Dunn, but not before extending that one ever so slightly into a sizzling opening quarter of :25.4. "Maybe not :25.4," was Gingras' response when asked about the fast opening fraction. "I didn't think we'd be going that fast. I definitely wanted to stretch her out. I had drawn inside of her and wanted to take advantage of it." That took just enough starch out of the even-money choice. While rating the middle half, Manchego took a stiff challenge from 17-1 longshot Chin Chin Hall, who was on even terms with the leader while parked at three-quarters in 1:23.1. Once straightened away in the stretch, Manchego and Atlanta - who opted to get behind Chin Chin Hall coming out of the far turn before swerving three-wide into the lane - would once again duke it out, just as they did on June 19. In deep stretch, it would be Atlanta, the 2018 Hambletonian winner, prevailing by a half-length in 1:50.1, just a fifth of a second slower than round one. Lindy The Great rallied to get third. "There were some anxious moments around the last turn," said Gingras. "We were going pretty slow, and there was strategy on both sides. He was trying to keep me locked in. Thankfully, I was able to squeeze out. I thought I had it won at the top of the stretch when I cleared." The Ron Burke-trained Atlanta, a 5-year-old daughter of Chapter Seven-Hemi Blue Chip, returned $5.40 as the 8-5 second choice in the wagering. She's won 21 of 41 career starts for owners Crawford Farms Racing, Brad Grant and Howard Taylor, and became harness racing's newest double millionaire, as her earnings swelled to $2,006,089. Complete recaps of the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2020, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2020 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following this past weekend: Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 95; 2. Tim Tetrick - 52; 3. Dexter Dunn - 47; 4. Brian Sears - 42; 5. Aaron Merriman - 30. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 160; 2. Marcus Melander - 34; 3t. Nifty Norman - 20; 3t. Norm Parker - 20; 3t. Nancy Takter - 20. Owners: 1. Burke Racing Stable - 32.1; 2. Weaver Bruscemi - 27.1; 3. J&T Silva-Purnel & Libby - 23.8; 4. Black Horse Racing - 20; 5. L & L Stables - 12. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will once again be taking place next weekend at The Meadowlands. The massive July 18 Meadowlands card will offer the Meadowlands Pace final, the William Haughton Memorial, the Hambletonian Maturity, the Stanley Dancer Trot, the Del Miller Memorial, the Mistletoe Shalee, the Dorothy Haughton Memorial and the third leg of the Miss Versatility. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit  

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