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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Wagering reached the magic $3-million mark for the first time at the meeting and the team of harness racing trainer Ron Burke and driver Yannick Gingras combined to win an incredible six races on Saturday night at the Meadowlands. Twice during the course of the 13-race program, which saw all-source play total $3,147,209, single-race total wagering was in excess of $300,000. The Big M's signature 50-Cent Pick-4 saw its biggest pool of the year as $110,700 was pushed through the windows for the wager which spans races eight through 11. The sequence saw Burke and Gingras win twice, but when the dust cleared, no winning favorites scored leading to a payoff of $1,083.80. It was almost inconceivable that Burke and Gingras would top their five-win Friday night, but they did just that, scoring a half-dozen times on the Saturday program, good for a total of 11 victories over the course of the 26-race, two-card race week. Gingras won twice without Burke on Friday to tally a total of 13 times over the two cards. Saturday's edition of "Yannick and Ronnie's Awesome Night at the Races" started with a sweep of the Early Daily Double, as Try Try Again - making his first start for the Burke Brigade - scored from post nine in 1:55.1 in a non-winners of $5,000 trot as the 2-5 favorite. Approximately 20 minutes later, K-Lees Shakenbake won a $15,000 up to $20,000 claiming handicap pace in 1:51.3 as the 4-5 public choice, capping the $6.20 DD. Race six saw the dynamic duo win for the third time on the card with even-money choice Windsong Jack in 1:51.2 in a non-winners of $8,500 pace before the potent pair thrilled their backers with a pair of prices. Fireball took the ninth race non-winners of $8,500 pace in 1:52.2 at odds of 9-2 before 3-1 chance Ginger Tree Marty won race 10, a non-winners of $5,000 pace, in 1:52 to complete a Daily Double that returned $72.40. Larry Karr completed the sextet in race 12 as the 2-5 choice in a non-winners of four pace. The 4-year-old gelding went a tough uncovered trip to win for the fourth time in five starts. A LITTLE MORE: One simulcast player wagering into the Twin Spires hub was the only bettor to last eight legs in the 20-Cent Survivor Pick-10 and cashed in for $11,542.44. ... Racing resumes Friday at 7:15 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

TRENTON, NJ — January 28, 2019 — The New Jersey state Assembly Appropriations Committee unanimously approved a bill that would provide  a five-year appropriation of $20 million a year to benefit the New Jersey breeding program and open spaces and the New Jersey Sire Stakes and the purses at the Meadowlands Racetrack, Monmouth Park and Freehold Raceway. The New Jersey Racing Commission would distribute the funds to the three racetracks and it would provide a much-needed boost to the standardbred and Thoroughbred industry in New Jersey. The complete state Assembly will vote on the bill on Thursday January 31, 2019.  Should the bill pass the Assembly, it would then go to Governor Phil Murphy for approval before it can become a law. Courtney Stafford

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Geez Joe got back into the win column after consecutive failures as the harness racing favorite, scoring by the smallest of margins over rival K Ryan Bluechip in the Saturday night feature at the Meadowlands, the $21,000 Preferred Handicap for pacers. The betting public made their opinion clear, as Geez Joe was sent to the gate as the 2-5 favorite, the fourth consecutive time the Erv Miller trainee was the public choice in the Big M's weekly marquee pacing event. Geez Joe and driver Marcus Miller left the gate alertly from post six in the six-horse field but had to settle for the four hole in the early going as 30-1 shot New Talent hit the quarter in :26.1. Geez Joe vacated his spot just before the half and started to cut into New Talent's lead while racing uncovered, and at the head of the stretch, the duo were on even terms. Geez Joe wore down the longshot mid-lane but bursting on the scene late was K Ryan Bluechip, the 4-1 second choice who was last in a third-over flow at three-quarters, flying on the far outside as Geez Joe was straining to hold on. The pair hit the wire together, and after the judges took several minutes to examine the photo, they put up Geez Joe's number. New Talent held on for third. The time for the mile was 1:50.2. The winner, a 5-year-old son of Roll With Joe-Beach Bretta, returned $2.80 to win for owner Bay Pond Racing Stable. Geez Joe has now won 17-of-55 lifetime starts and earned $228,978. It was a huge weekend for the father-son team of Erv and Marcus Miller. They combined to win both weekly features, scoring Friday with Trolley in the Preferred Handicap for trotters before Geez Joe's score Saturday. Over the course of the two-card race week, Marcus drove five winners while Erv trained three. A LITTLE MORE: Due to the inclement weather, the 14-race card saw a total of 21 scratches. Despite that, all-source wagering was still strong, at $2,309,847. ... Marcus Miller had a driving triple on the program, while Dexter Dunn, Pat Berry and Eric Carlson all had two apiece. Carlson swept the Late Daily Double. ... On the training side, Erv Miller, Mark Ford and Jeff Cullipher all had two winners each. ... A simulcast patron wagering into the Portland hub was the only player to go eight-for-10 in the 20-Cent Survivor Pick-10 wager and walked away with $8,018. ... Racing resumes Friday at 7:15 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations  

ASBURY PARK, NJ -- January 18, 2019 -- A testament to the harness racing and equine industry industry's viability is that horse racing has survived on its own without state support in New Jersey. Both Pennsylvania and New York supplement the expansion of gaming within their borders to promote their horse racing industry. This has resulted in a boom in both their racing and breeding programs. Due to New Jersey being in direct competition with these two bordering states, it has struggled to keep up the pace. Specifically, New Jersey has been unable to match the millions of dollars both Pennsylvania and New York are able to pump into purse accounts and enhancing breeding programs. A bill introduced in the New Jersey Legislature four months ago would provide a $20 million subsidy to the industry to make it more competitive. But it has been stalled, and if the legislation isn't approved soon, it could be too late. According to the United States Trotting Association, purse awards in New Jersey and surrounding states in 2007 were: New York $97,689,858; Pennsylvania $58,969,119; and New Jersey $68, 843,978. In comparison, by 2013, New Jersey's purse awards dropped by 54 percent while New York and Pennsylvania purse awards increased 23 percent and 83 percent respectively because they had the benefit of state support. As a 2014 Rutgers Equine Science Center report indicated, breeding also has been dramatically affected -- resulting in a decrease of jobs for New Jersey residents. For thoroughbreds the decrease for mares bred was 57 percent, stallions 43 percent and foals 44 percent. The decrease for the standardbred was far more drastic; mares bred down 77 percent, stallions down 64 percent, yearlings in the Sire Stakes program down 54 percent. The horse racing industry in New Jersey has an extensive and rich history. Two New Jersey racetracks that have roots in the mid-19th century are still in operation today. Freehold Raceway was established in 1853, The Monmouth Park racetrack has been a Shore tradition since 1870. Live harness racing began at the Meadowlands in 1976. In 2007, the New Jersey equine industry was valued at $4 billion and it produced an economic impact of $1.1 billion, comprised of the $278.2 million spent annually for racing-related operations, not including racetracks; $262.4 million spent annually by non-racing operations; $117.8 million spent annually by equine owners without operations; and $502 million spent annually by New Jersey racetracks. The industry employed approximately 13,000 persons and generated $160 million in tax revenue annually. In 2007, there were horses in 7,200 individual facilities on 176,000 acres statewide. In the last seven years, we have lost major standardbred farms. In 2013, Perretti Farms, once the 900-acre home of elite stallions and as many as 400 first-class broodmares, closed and was forced to sell all of their horses. Without the support of the state, the farm could not contend with surrounding states that enjoy state-supplemented purses. In 2015, the 150-plus acre Showplace Farms, a premier training center for more than 35 years and home to more than 400 standardbred racehorses, closed its doors citing "fewer horses racing and the current economic climate in New Jersey." The industry and horse farms not only aid and protect the preservation of open space in New Jersey, they support the entire agribusiness of hay producers, straw producers, grain producers, trainers, grooms, veterinarians, equine dentists and blacksmiths. If the horse racing industry fails, these support businesses stop production and contribution to the New Jersey economy as well. Even with all the decline within the industry in New Jersey, the Meadowlands Racetrack is still considered to be a foremost racetrack. The state stopped investing in horse racing, but the industry kept investing. Operators of the Meadowlands Racetrack opened off-track wagering (OTW) facilities in 2012 at a cost of $17 million and built a new grandstand at a cost of well over $100 million. Operators of Monmouth Park spent $7.5 million on improvements on equipment, operations and opening OTW locations. In 2014, Monmouth Park starting building a 7,500-seat concert hall and restaurant. If racing related-activities continue to leave New Jersey, the state stands to lose its premier agribusiness that generates $780 million in economic impact annually, including jobs, federal, state and local taxes and 57,000 acres of working agricultural landscape and open space. To view the full story. Mark Ford, president of the Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association of New Jersey.

Trolley is back on track. Harness racing trainer Erv Miller just hopes he can stay there. A 6-year-old male trotter, Trolley has won four of six races since returning from a 13-month absence because of a broken coffin bone. He won last week's Preferred Handicap at the Meadowlands by three-quarters of a length over Muscle Diamond and is the 5-2 second choice on the morning line in Friday's (Jan. 18) $21,000 Preferred Handicap at the Big M. Melady's Monet, who brings a three-race win streak to the event, is the 9-5 favorite. Friday's 14-race card begins at 7:15 p.m. (EST). "Trolley is on his way back, I hope," Miller said. "If he stays healthy, we'll see where he can go. I think we'll see a pretty good horse. He can really go. He's showed the talent off-and-on and we've just been waiting on him." For his career, Trolley has won 12 of 26 races and earned $302,959 for owners Michael Anderson, Leland Mathias, Greg Gillis, and Andy Willinger. He started a total of only seven times at ages 2 and 3, but was a two-time winner on the Pennsylvania-stakes circuit and runner-up to Southwind Frank in the 2016 Beal Memorial. As a 4-year-old, he won six of 13 races and established his career mark of 1:51.4 at the Meadowlands. "He was a real immature horse early," Miller said. "He was a big horse - big, strong horse - he just wasn't ready to go young. As he got older, he kept getting better and better. He showed some real talent so we kept hanging on with him. Hopefully he's going to pay us back for waiting on him. "We tried standing him (at stud) last year. But if he holds up for us, we'll be glad it didn't work out. He's sure coming back good so far." Trolley, driven regularly by Marcus Miller, is a son of Donato Hanover out of Lakeside Bride. He was purchased as a yearling for $30,000 at the 2014 Lexington Selected Sale. "He wasn't a real pricey horse because he was a little oversized for a young horse," Miller said. "He's made money along the way. It's not like he's not been paying his way. "He's a nice horse to be around. He gets around real good. He's versatile. He can race from the back or on the front, it doesn't matter which way you race him. He's a big, strong horse." Miller will be watching Trolley in the coming weeks to determine how to stake the horse when payments are due in February. "If he stays healthy until staking time until February, we'll be putting him in some stakes races," Miller said. "I think he's a top horse if we get enough races in him and he stays sound. Right now he seems as sound as he's ever been in his life. Hopefully that will keep going. Hopefully we're ready to rock along." For Friday's complete Meadowlands entries, click here. Ken Weingartner

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - The Meadowlands will honor the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a special harness racing event Friday (Jan. 18) night, when they host a race that will feature African-American drivers exclusively in the first of 14 races on the card. Post time is 7:15 p.m. Mike Cruse's name will be one of the more recognizable to Meadowlands' regulars. During his career, he's won 282 races, the most recent coming at the Big M in May of last year when he and Mr Heaven hit the wire six lengths to the good in 1:51. Yes, he is ready to compete, but also anxious to remind all fans why the event is taking place: To honor the birthday of the slain civil rights leader. "Dr. King was always adamant about a better quality of life for black Americans," said Cruse of Dr. King, who was born on Jan. 15, 1929, "and not only black Americans, but better quality of life for all Americans. He was a powerful guy. We have a lot of admiration for him." When the question of the lack of black participants in harness racing was raised, Cruse explained that they are there, just not in the high-visibility jobs. "I just think it's the way we position ourselves in the business," he said, "there are a lot of black farriers, grooms and caretakers." "We are all highly enthused about the race," said Cruse of himself and the nine drivers he'll do battle with, "a lot of the black drivers don't have the opportunity to drive in the limelight of the Meadowlands. Everyone wants to race at the mecca of the sport." Cruse is hopeful that the action will be fast and furious - at the windows. "I would like to see everyone come out and bet the race," he said, "we are a competitive field of drivers. You can't bet your Tetricks or your Callahans in here. It's a gambler's paradise. Anyone can win the race." Cruse will be the guest on "In the Sulky", which can be seen Friday night at 6:45 p.m. on the live simulcast presentation of "Racing from the Meadowlands." A LOT TO HANDLE: There have been four race cards at the Big M thus far in 2019, and on each program, wagering has reached $2.5 million, with an average per race - over the 54 races - of $201,786. ... On Saturday (Jan. 12), a 2019-best $109,617 was pushed through the windows on the 50-Cent Pick-4 wager. The average pool thus far this year is $100,722. ... The 50-Cent Pick-5 has done well since switching to the first race on the card, with an average pool of $58,917. ... Free program pages for the Pick-4 are available at www.ustrotting.com and www.playmeadowlands.com. ... Driver Dexter Dunn was red-hot last weekend (Jan. 11-12), winning seven times. CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP DAY AT FANDUEL: The action will be huge on Sunday (Jan. 20) at the Big M's FanDuel Sports Book when the Los Angeles Rams travel to New Orleans to take on the Saints in the NFC Championship Game at 3:05 p.m. At 6:40 p.m., the AFC title matchup pits the New England Patriots - who are playing in their eighth consecutive conference championship - going to Kansas City to take on the Chiefs. EAT AT PINK'S, WHERE IT'S OK TO WINE: A limited number of seats remain for this Friday's (Jan. 18) five-course Italian wine dinner in the Big M's Pink Restaurant's SkyBox Suites. The dinner is $70 per person. For reservations, call 201-460-4079. WHHC RESULTS: Stephanie Davis, James Michael, George Wagner and Tim Platt were the top four finishers, respectively, in last Saturday's (Jan. 12) World Harness Handicapping Championship Qualifier, presented by DerbyWars.com, at the Meadowlands. The foursome will now advance to the WHHC Final on April 13 at the Big M, which offers $150,000 in prize money (based on 150 entries). For a complete qualifier schedule, go to http://playmeadowlands.com/contest_detail.aspx?id=8240. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

Marcus Melander's name will be on the U.S. Harness Writers Association's 2018 Rising Star Award, but the 27-year-old trainer says the recognition extends beyond one person. "It's a great accomplishment, but it's not really just my award," Melander said. "It's my whole barn. If I didn't have all these people working with me, I wouldn't do any good. That's why we've been having success; it's a lot because of them. We have a good team. And then you need to have owners that support you. That's very important, too. I'm lucky to have owners that support me a hundred percent." Melander, who joined Nancy Johansson as the only trainers to receive the Rising Star Award in the past 20 years, saw his stable earn $2.86 million in purses last year, good enough to finish 15th among all trainers in North America despite having the fifth-fewest starts (219) among all trainers in the top 50. His top horse was undefeated male trotter Gimpanzee, who saw his 9-for-9 campaign at age 2 rewarded with the division's Dan Patch Award. Gimpanzee's victories for owners Anders Ström's Courant Inc. and Lennart Agren's S R F Stable included the Breeders Crown and New York Sire Stakes championship. Melander's stable also saw 2-year-old male trotter Green Manalishi S win the William Wellwood Memorial and finish second in both the Breeders Crown and Peter Haughton Memorial. Another male 2-year-old trotter, Greenshoe, won the New Jersey Sire Stakes title. "We had a really good year, especially with the 2-year-olds," Melander sad. "We didn't have that many 3-year-olds, but the 2-year-olds did great." In addition, older trotters Cruzado Dela Noche and Crazy Wow -- both July additions to Melander's stable -- posted top Grand Circuit triumphs, with Cruzado Dela Noche capturing the Yonkers International Trot and Crazy Wow the Maple Leaf Trot. Those wins came at odds of 30-1 and 31-1, respectively. "We had a little luck getting Crazy Wow and Cruzado Dela Noche in the middle of the summer," Melander said. "You've got to have a little luck in the races, but both those horses raced great on those particular days." Melander, who employs a staff of a dozen people, enters 2019 with 60 horses in training and is looking to build off last year's success. "(Gimpanzee and Green Manalishi S) are doing very good," Melander said. "I brought them back in early December so they've been training for over a month now. They filled out very nicely. They're probably going to grow a little bit more during the winter. I'm very happy with how they're feeling so far." Greenshoe, Gerry, and Demon Onthe Hill add depth to Melander's group of male 3-year-old trotters. Greenshoe was limited to four starts last year because of immaturity and sickness while Gerry and Demon Onthe Hill both were winners on the Pennsylvania-stakes circuit. "Hopefully (Greenshoe) will mature more during the winter and develop a little bit too," Melander said. "He's a very fast horse, probably the fastest of any of my horses out of the 3-year-olds, but he was a little too anxious last year. He's been very quiet here at home. He's doing good. I couldn't be any happier with him at this moment. We'll see in three months. "The 3-year-old colts look really good. Gerry was a really good horse last year and Demon Onthe Hill is a nice horse too. He might be a little bit under the best, best ones, but I think we have at least four of them that could be top Grand Circuit horses." Among Melander's 2-year-olds are two high-priced female trotters, Fifty Cent Piece (who sold for $500,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale) and Bellareina Dolce ($400,000 at the Lexington Selected Sale). Both are owned by Lennart Agren's S R F Stables. Melander, the nephew of trainer Stefan Melander, came to the U.S. from Sweden less than six years ago and worked for trainer Jimmy Takter before starting his own stable in late 2014. He is based in New Egypt, N.J., at a farm that was home previously to each the legendary Stanley Dancer and Continental Farms stables. He got his first Grand Circuit win in 2016 with trotter Long Tom, who was a 2-year-old at the time. The following year, Long Tom was joined by 3-year-old Enterprise and 2-year-old Fourth Dimension in adding to Melander's Grand Circuit resume. Fourth Dimension, who was injured last year and retired, ended 2017 as the Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male trotter. "We built (the stable) up, no rush really," Melander said. "The first year we had 10 horses, then 25, then 40 to 45 and now we have 60. And you get better horses. It really started that year we got Long Tom and Enterprise. They had success. And then we had Fourth Dimension. Those horses really put you on the map. "Everything has been developing great, really. I'm still developing too. I still have things to learn, it will come with age. Hopefully I've got many years left in this sport." Melander will be among the honorees at the U.S. Trotting Association's Dan Patch Awards banquet on Feb. 24 at Rosen Shingle Creek resort in Orlando, Fla., at which time Trotter, Pacer and Horse of the Year will be revealed. For more information about the resort and banquet visit the U.S. Trotting Association's website.   Ken Weingartner Media Relations Manager U.S. Trotting Association www.ustrotting.com @harnessracenews @HarnessKenW      

Stephanie Davis of Brooklyn, NY, captured the January 12th World Harness Handicapping Championship Qualifier presented by DerbyWars.com at the Meadowlands Racetrack. Davis cashed on three early show bets to keep her in the contest and used her remaining $94 on a win bet in Race 14 on Rather Swell. Her win bet paid off at $754.40 giving her the $900 grand prize and a $1,300 seat into the World Harness Handicapping Final. This is Stephanie's first time qualifying into the WHHC; she is a regular at the National Handicapping Championship, having qualified 12 times. James Michael of Cherry Hill, NJ, also qualified for the April 13th Final with his second place finish in Saturday's contest. Michael hit on four of his ten wagers. The largest being a $385 score in the sixth race at the Meadowlands with a $50 win bet on Redonkulous. George Wagner of Warrington, PA, and Tim Platt of Little Falls, NJ also qualified into the WHHC Final with their third and fourth place finishes. The $400 Qualifier required contestants to place at least ten $20 minimum win, place, and/or show wagers on Meadowlands races. The World Harness Handicapping Championship presented by DerbyWars.com is a one-day tournament [April 13, 2019], with a welcome reception the evening prior. Players that did not earn a seat through a qualifying event can directly buy-in for $1,300. The $1,300 entry fee includes a $300 bankroll, with the remaining $1,000 going to the prize pool. The $150,000 prize pool is based on an estimated 150 entries. The WHHC contest format requires players to bet 10 races: their choice of seven Meadowlands races, plus three designated mandatory races. Players keep all pari-mutuel winnings. Prize payouts are to the Top 10. Derby Wars is currently hosting regular online Qualifiers for the Final. Players can qualify for as little as $22. Complete DerbyWars Qualifier information can be found at DerbyWars.com. Club Hawthorne, Buffalo Raceway and TVG/4NJBets are also hosting WHHC Qualifiers. Visit http://playmeadowlands.com/contest_detail.aspx?id=8240 for a complete qualifier schedule.   by Rachel Ryan, for the Meadowlands

East Rutherford, NJ - The Meadowlands' 2019 Grand Circuit stakes schedule will offer more than $13 million in purses led by Harness Racing's most coveted prize, the 94th edition of the $1 million Hambletonian Stake. The Meadowlands will again be the stage for two of the sport's biggest events. The track's signature Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace ($700,000e) headlines a card worth an estimated $2.5 million on Saturday, July 13. "The Greatest Day In Harness Racing", the $3 million Hambletonian Day extravaganza featuring an entire day of major Grand Circuit stakes, ends the "Championship Meet" on Saturday, August 3. With the help of our generous sponsors, all of The Meadowlands marquee stakes, which include many of the most sought after trophies for each division of trotters and pacers, will return in 2019. Nominations for those stakes close on February 15, 2019. The proposed stakes schedule remains contingent upon the pending purse subsidy having been approved by the New Jersey Legislature prior to the February 15 payment deadline and is subject to revision. The Meadowlands remains committed to racing integrity, adding a clause to the conditions for all Meadowlands administered stakes under the "Rules" heading that states; "...any owner who participates in a Meadowlands Stake or Early Closing event (with added money greater than $25,000) with a trainer who has an outstanding Class 1, Class 2 or TC02 positive test having occurred on or after January 1, 2019 and under appeal in any jurisdiction will be declared ineligible to participate in any Meadowlands Stake or Early Closing event for 12 months following the conviction if such trainer is subsequently found guilty relating to the Class 1, Class 2 or TC02 positive test." It is important to understand the gravity of this clause. Simply stated if a trainer appeals the penalty for a listed offence and continues to race while on a stay; if that penalty is upheld those owners that raced horses in stakes with the trainer in question would be excluded from racing any of their horses in any of The Meadowlands' stakes for one year from the date of the decision on the appeal. "Clean racing has been and remains a top priority at The Meadowlands," said Meadowlands President Jeff Gural. "The Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) shares our passion and has included virtually the same language in their stakes." Complete information including schedules, conditions and nomination forms may be downloaded from The Meadowlands website. Questions should be directed to the Racing Office at (201) 842-5130.   Nick Salvi

A limited number of seats remain for Meadowlands Racetrack's 5-course Italian Wine Dinner this Saturday, January 19. Each course is paired with a wine that is crafted by smaller or lesser known Italian producers that use high quality, old world grape varietals. The dinner begins at 7:00 pm with live harness racing beginning at 7:15pm. The menu created by executive Chef Dennis Sammarone includes: 1st course: Assorted Italian Antipasti including eggplant, mozzarella, prosciutto, provolone & olives paired with Barbera D'Asti Superior 2nd course: Linguine Cozze E Vongole Scampi (pasta with mussels, shrimp, & clams in a white wine sauce) paired with Theresa Eccher Carricante-Catarratto 3rd course: Classic Caesar Salad paired with Mosparone "Brina" Piemonte Sauvignon 4th course: Grilled Strip Steak with Tuscan fries & creamed spinach paired with Agricola Bellaria Irpinia Campi Taurisini 5th course: Italian Ricotta Cheese Cake & Belgium Mousse Cake with Campania Passito Fiano di Agricola Bellaria The dinner is $70 per person (excluding tax & gratuity). For reservations call 201-460-4079. For the complete dinner menu click here. 

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - If you're going to rock the apple cart, then your name might as well fit the result. Saturday night harness racing at the Meadowlands, a win for K Ryan Bluechip or Geez Joe in the Preferred Handicap would have established the victor as the Big M's top pacer in training, but Constntlysidewys A threw a monkey wrench into the machine, going a big mile for owner-trainer Tahnee Camilleri, and scoring as the 9-2 fourth choice in the wagering in the $21,000 weekly feature. The race saw plenty of action as New Talent was the leader at the quarter before K Ryan Bluechip, the 5-2 second choice, came calling to poke a nose in front at the half before assuming the front end. Tuxedo Bay ripped out of three hole shortly thereafter to grab the lead at the three-quarters as Constntlysidewys A was advancing from first-over. At this point, 2-1 favorite Geez Joe was last in the field of seven in a third-over flow. Through the stretch, 15-1 Tuxedo Bay was stubbornly hanging in there as Constntlysidewys A continued to chip away at his advantage, and it wasn't until deep stretch that Constntlysidewys A would get past that foe, winning by a hard-fought head in 1:50.1 for driver Dexter Dunn. Geez Joe kicked home in :27 but finished an unthreatening third. Mindtrip was fourth. K Ryan Bluechip faded to fifth. Constntlysidewys A, an 8-year-old gelded son of Village Jasper-Miscilla, paid $11.60 to win. Lifetime, he has 26 wins from 102 starts and a bank account of $169,117. Dexter Dunn A LITTLE MORE: A meet-best $109,617 was poured into the 50-Cent Pick-4 pool, and despite favorites winning the last two legs of the bet, the return was a giant $11,646.50 after a 14-1 and an 80-1 hit the wire first in the initial two legs. ... Driver Dexter Dunn got a big leg up on possibly being named the Big M's "Driver of the Week". The New Zealand native, after winning three times on Friday, added four more scores on the Saturday card, finishing with seven victories over the course of the two-card race week. ... All-source handle on the 14 races totaled $2,704,027, meaning wagering has exceeded $2.5 million for five consecutive programs. ... The always entertaining Larry Lederman called the Saturday race card. ... Racing resumes Friday at 7:15 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations  

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Apparently, Trolley did not get the memo. You know the one. The one where Muscle Diamond goes off as the 1-5 harness racing favorite in Friday night's featured $21,000 Preferred Handicap for trotters at the Meadowlands and wins his sixth in a row for fun. No, Trolley was clearly not on board with that. In what is developing into a great rivalry, Trolley and driver Marcus Miller powered their way past Muscle Diamond in deep stretch to win for the fourth time in five starts, using a little racing luck along the way. For the first three-quarters, it was the longest shot on the board, 43-1 chance Two AM, cutting the fractions. Muscle Diamond vacated the four-hole at the half and gradually made up ground on the leader as Trolley sat inside, racing in the three-hole as the flow developed, putting himself in a tough spot with no place to race. But at the top of the stretch, Miller found his way off the rail as Muscle Diamond was starting to create separation between himself and the rest of the field. In deep stretch, the relentless Trolley found a seam between horses and charged at the leader, and with a late burst got past the odds-on choice by three-quarters-of-a-length in 1:54. Dover Downs invader Fraser Ridge rallied well for third. As the 5-1 second choice in the betting, Trolley returned $12.00 to his backers for trainer Erv Miller and owners Michael Anderson, Leland Mathias, Greg Gillis and Louis Willinger. Lifetime, the 6-year-old son of Donato Hanover-Lakeside Bride has won 12-of-26 starts and banked $302,959. A LITTLE MORE: Wagering on the 50-Cent Pick-4 exceeded the $90,000 plateau for a fifth straight program, as $93,295 was pushed through the windows. ... Driver Shane Taggart recorded his first career win at the Meadowlands, guiding Nows The Moment to a 1:54 score in the sixth race conditioned trot. ... Dexter Dunn drove three winners on the card while Corey Callahan, Andy Miller and Pat Berry all had two apiece. ... All-source wagering on the 14-race program was $2,504,720. ... Racing resumes Saturday at 7:15 p.m. Special guest announcer Larry Lederman will call the races. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

This Friday, January 11th fans can watch the world's greatest racing while dining on delicious Italian food in Pink at Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment. The Italian-themed buffet is $29.95 and features all the classic Italian dishes. Guests can start their night with Italian wedding soup, assorted antipasti, and classic Caesar salad. Buffet entrees include Chef Dennis Samarrone's famous chicken Cacciatore, pork chop Murphy with hot cherry peppers, homemade manicotti, chicken parmigiana and beef Maison. Assorted Italian desserts round out the tantalizing meal. Reservations can be made by calling 201-THE-BIGM. Live harness racing kicks off at 7:15 pm. As an added bonus, diners will now be able to "Eat & Earn" with the new dining VIP card. Guests that dine in Pink Friday nights five times will get 50% off their 6th buffet. Guests that have dined on 11 Friday buffets will get their 12th buffet for free. Diners will receive a rewards card on their first visit to a Friday night buffet. Visit PlayMeadowlands.com for the full Italian buffet menu and live racing schedule.

Theres bipartisan support in Trenton for a measure one critic decries as an insult to the taxpayers of New Jersey. New Jersey lawmakers are looking to revive taxpayer-funded subsidies for the horseracing industry with legislation that would provide a total of $100 million over the next five years. A bipartisan bill seeks to establish a $20 million annual subsidy to boost the purses that can be won at horse tracks operating in New Jersey; it has already been approved by the state Senate and is now awaiting adoption in the Assembly. Sponsors and other supporters of the legislation say it will provide a much-needed “shot of adrenaline” for an industry that was once a roughly $1 billion sector of the state economy and still helps to support thousands of jobs while also maintaining the viability of many farms in rural regions of New Jersey. But critics have labeled the proposed taxpayer-funded subsidy a “bailout” and are questioning how a state with perennial budget problems could afford to cover the annual payments that would be promised under the proposed legislation. Horseracing has long been a part of New Jersey’s sports landscape, with Freehold Raceway and Monmouth Park both tracing their roots to the 1800s. Both tracks are still operating today, and the state’s other remaining horse track is in the Meadowlands, where races started being held in the 1970s. Fewer people are going to the track The tracks used to draw huge crowds in their heyday and at one point also received subsidies from the Atlantic City casino industry to help boost purses that attracted the best horses in the country to compete. But the industry’s popularity has waned in recent years and former Gov. Chris Christie ended the subsidies as the Atlantic City casino industry faced its own economic troubles in the wake of the Great Recession. The racetracks got a boost last year when state lawmakers adopted sports-betting legislation in the wake of a major U.S. Supreme Court ruling that made licensed tracks and casinos the only places in New Jersey that are allowed to offer and profit from in-person sports betting. Initial returns suggest the sports-betting operations have been hugely successfully, with nearly $1 billion bet in the state since sports gambling was legalized last June. But lawmakers say they remain concerned about the health of the horseracing industry amid stiff competition from other states that already use tax dollars to subsidize purses. They have pitched the proposed taxpayer subsidies as a way to help sustain the estimated 13,000 jobs that are still connected to New Jersey’s horse industry. Bill sponsors also point to more than 175,000 acres of farmland that are sustained by the industry. Credit: Wikimedia Commons Sen. Vin Gopal (D-Monmouth) “This will be a huge help for the horseracing industry that is an important part of New Jersey’s heritage and culture and a key source of jobs and economic activity,” said Sen. Vin Gopal (D-Monmouth). The bill calls for the state to provide $20 million during each of the next five years to subsidize the purses at all three of the state’s privately-run racetracks. The money would come out of the state budget’s general fund starting with the current fiscal year if the bill is signed into law before June 30. Something for owners and trainers too The legislation calls for the money to be split between the purses awarded for thoroughbred racing at Monmouth Park and harness racing at the Meadowlands and Freehold. Some funding would also be set aside for “purse bonuses for New Jersey sired horses” as an additional boost for winning horses bred in New Jersey. The legislation requires the racetracks where sports betting operations have already been established to enter into formal profit-sharing agreements with the groups representing the state’s thoroughbred owners and trainers, and the state’s owners and trainers of standardbred horses, which are used for harness racing. A.J. Sabath, who represents the state’s standardbred breeders and owners, told lawmakers during a hearing last month that the horseracing industry has faced “a long road to recovery” in New Jersey. “We feel that this purse-supplement money as well as the ability to enter into agreements with sportsbook operators at the racetracks will provide a necessary shot of adrenaline into the horseracing industry,” Sabath said. The measure was approved unanimously by the full Senate in late December and is expected to come up in the Assembly as early as this month. ‘Corporate welfare’ Despite its bipartisan support among lawmakers not everyone is hoping the bill is ultimately signed into law. Critics note the state budget is already severely strained by one of the worst-funded public-employee pension systems in the country. It’s also not clear where the revenue for the $20 million annual subsidy would come from as the legislation doesn’t create a dedicated source of funding for it. Erica Jedynak, state director of Americans for Prosperity-NJ, a group that espouses free-market values, called the proposed subsidy “an insult to the taxpayers of New Jersey.” “Where’s the bailout for the average resident paying property taxes? If it was a successful industry, it would prosper without the dollars of hardworking New Jerseyans,” Jedynak said. She urged lawmakers to resist the temptation to keep pace with taxpayer-funded horseracing subsidies that are being offered to the horseracing industry by other nearby states. “Upping the ante for corporate welfare is a race to the bottom,” Jedynak said. By John Reitmeyer Reprinted with permission of The New Jersey Spotlight    

Wine & Dine at the Italian Wine Dinner at Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment Take a tour of Italy at Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment's 5-course Italian Wine Dinner on Saturday, January 19 in Pink Skybox Suites. Each course is carefully paired with a fantastic Italian wine by executive Chef Dennis Sammarone. The dinner begins at 7:00 pm with live racing beginning at 7:15pm. The menu with wine pairings includes: 1st course: Assorted Italian Antipasti including eggplant, mozzarella, prosciutto, provolone & olives paired Barbera D'Asti Superior 2nd course: Linguine Cozze E Vongole Scampi (pasta with mussels, shrimp, & clams in a white wine sauce) paired with Theresa Eccher Carricante-Catarratto 3rd course: Classic Caesar Salad paired with Mosparone "Brina" Piemonte Sauvignon 4th course: Grilled Strip Steak with Tuscan fries & creamed spinach paired with Agricola Bellaria Irpinia Campi Taurisini 5th course: Italian Ricotta Cheese Cake & Belgium Mousse Cake with Campania Passito Fiano di Agricola Bellaria The dinner is $70 per person (excluding tax & gratuity). For reservations call 201-460-4079. For the complete dinner menu visit http://playmeadowlands.com/event_detail.aspx?id=15082   Rachel Ryan

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Andy Miller might be known as "The Orange Crush" but on Saturday night at the Meadowlands, anyone who referred to the harness racing driver as "Red Hot" would have been 100 percent accurate. Miller won six times on the 13-race program, and for good measure, included among his victories was the $21,000 featured Preferred Handicap for pacers. The 50-year-old's half-dozen got started with Surfing Tide, who scored in the second race non-winners of three pari-mutuel races pace in 1:52.1 as the even-money favorite before he scored with Joe's Bid in the next race in 1:51.4 in a non-winners of $3,500 in their last five starts pace as the 3-2 public choice. The sixth race NW$11,500L5 pace saw another favorite as Miller got 9-5 Winning Linc up on the wire in 1:51.4, but the man clad in orange, white and black colors was only halfway done. Win No. 4 was the big one, as in race eight, Miller put K Ryan Bluechip into a live third-over flow and stormed home to take the feature in 1:50.4 as the 5-1 third choice in the wagering. Andy's fans got their biggest price of the night in the ninth, as Miller coaxed just enough speed out of Awesomeness to get his fifth win - at odds of 8-1 - in 1:51.2 in a NW$8,600L5 pace before completing his six-bagger in the 12th with Odds On Lauderdale, the 6-5 public choice, in 1:51.4 in a NW4PM pace. A LITTLE MORE: Wagering on the 50-Cent Pick-5 was vigorous, with $58,083 in action taken. After favorites won four of the sequence's races, the return was $244.40. ... The 50-Cent Pick-4 topped $90,000 for a fourth straight card, taking in $92,513. After a sequence that saw winner's odds of 5-1, 8-1, 6-5 and 27-1, the payout was a healthy $4,393.05. ... All-source wagering topped $2.8 million for a third straight program, as $2,856,661 was pushed through the windows. ... Racing resumes Friday at 7:15 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

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