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Lexington KY - The Red Mile hosted the first leg of the Kentucky Sire Stakes for harness racing 2-year-old pacers with two divisions of both colts and fillies racing for a purse of $30,000 and Hall of Fame trainer Jimmy Takter came to play.   The first colt division was the evening's fourth race and Grand Teton lived up to his advance billing by steamrolling the field in the stretch for the Takter - Brett Miller combo to win going away in 1:52.4. Away mid-pack, Miller followed up third over with the 1-9 favorite as You Said It took the field into the final bend where Trajectory loomed up to challenge as they passed the three quarters in 1:25.4. When shown racetrack, Grand Teton found a faster gear and was by the field in a blink. Gone Again (Tyler Smith) rallied for second and Whos Better (Don Harmon) was a good third. The winner is a Diamond Creek homebred by first crop sire A Rocknroll Dance from their prolific producer Western Montana.   Fillies came up next in the fifth and Santa Rosa converted a ground saving trip by Brett Miller (his third consecutive win), closing up the inside for the win in 1:52.4. Post time favorite Let's Fall In Love set the fractions with token pressure from the parked out Angelou past a 56 half and 1:25.1 three panels before giving way to the closing wave. Fine Art (Tyler Smith) followed in second and Tipp City Hugh Beatty) rallied for third. Santa Rosa is a Brittany Farms homebred on both sides by Western Ideal from Art's Vintage and was winning for the first time in her fourth try. She is also a product of the Takter barn.   Brett Miller made it four and Takter three consecutive wins with heavy favorite Decoy lasting over the furious late rally of Key Advisor (Joe Bongiorno) in 1:52.4. Miller settled Decoy in fourth early as Key Advisor left to the top from post 7 then brushed the colt up to take over as they passed the half in 55.4. A 29.4 third quarter breather under token pressure was just what Decoy needed as he opened up three quick lengths off the turn and held safe to the wire. Tiffany Marie (Dan Shetler) was third. The winner is a son of top sire Somebeachsomewhere and was a $110,000 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale purchase by Brixton Medical, RAW Equine and Joe Sbrocco.   Band Stand was a 1:51.4 winner in the final of the evening's stakes for driver Joe Bongiorno who was making his first foray to the Bluegrass. Joe pulled the filly first over against Dance Blue who took over going to the half in an attempt to complete the KYSS sweep for the Takter/Miller duo and Band Stand gradually ground that rival into submission through a testing 1:23.2 three quarters. Moving to a clear lead in the stretch Band Stand held safe right to the wire for the speedy record. Shakewhatmamagaveu (Tharps) was second just holding off the close of Pure Paradise and Tyler Smith. The winner is trained by Tony Alagna for owner Brad Grant who gave $40,000 for the A Rocknroll Dance filly in Lexington last fall.   Band Stand     Live racing resumes at The Red Mile on Sunday at 7:00 p.m. with the Kentucky Sires Stakes for 3-year-olds.   Nick Salvi  

Nichols NY - Tioga Downs will be the focus of the harness racing universe on the afternoon of Sunday, August 20 featuring the $163,000 Roll With Joe FFA Grand Circuit stake and the $521,950 Empire Breeders Classic (EBC) pacing finals.   While the older pacing ranks aren't what they were a year ago when Always B Miki and Wiggle It Jiggleit threw down virtually every week all across North America, what we do have in the Roll With Joe (race nine) is a very competitive, even field of nine accomplished veterans.   Shamballa (Scott Zeron) held his own against the best last year including an upset of the aforementioned pair in a stirring 1:47.1 edition of last year's US Pacing Championship and his second place finish in the fastest mile ever last fall at The Red Mile. Shamballa has raced but a handful of times without success in 2017 and his last start was two months ago but he qualified back fast at Tioga last Friday. Rick Zeron trains and owns Shamballa with Cool Cat Racing, HA Taylor and Brad Grant.   The top money winner in the race, both career-wise and seasonally, is the iron tough All Bets Off. Over the $2.5 million mark lifetime, he has faced and beaten the best in major stakes from age two right through his present campaign now at six and never goes a bad one. By the way, guess who was third in that fastest mile ever mentioned above? That's right, All Bets Off was. Matt Kakaley has been aboard for virtually every one of those two and a half million dollars for trainer Ron Burke and partners Weaver Bruscemi, Frank Baldachino and Panhellnic Corp.   Last year's Roll With Joe winner Rockeyed Optomist (Jason Bartlett) returns to defend his title. He's seeking his first big one of the season for trainer Steve Elliott and owners Anthony Perretti, Ginny Berkner, A&B Stable and Joe Bataglia.   Nine of the Empire State's finest sophomore pacing colts will battle for $263,100 in a very contentious seventh race. The three elimination winners drew shoulder to shoulder from the rail out; In A Single Bound (Billy Dobson), Heaven's Gait (David Miller) and Art Scene (Scott Zeron).   While the first two didn't take much imagination to handicap as logical contenders in their respective eliminations Art Scene did as the lightly raced son of American Ideal was winning for only the second time at odds of more than 15-1. Art Scene had been chasing NYSS types around the smaller ovals before he tipped his hand a bit with a sneaky good effort in the Cane Pace on Hambletonian Day at The Meadowlands. In last week's win, he prevailed after a long uncovered move on division leader Funknwaffles to win by a neck.   Tony Alagna trains Art Scene for his own interests as Alagna Racing along with partners Brittany Farms, In The Gym Partners and American Art Stable.   EBC fillies go for $257,850 in the eighth where elimination winners Tequila Monday (Brian Sears) and Clear Idea (Mark MacDonald) drew post one and two.   While one would have to consider them as the best fillies in the program this season and while Tequila Monday went a second faster in her elimination split, Clear Idea has prevailed in both of their most recent meetings. Last week's win was the ninth of the year for Clear Idea and her seasonal earnings stand at $188,113 for trainer Blake MacIntosh who owns the American Ideal lass with Hutt Racing Stable.   A pair of $30,000 EBC consolation races for those who didn't quite make it to the final is also on the Sunday card.   The third of four preliminary legs of the Miss Versatility series (race five) for mature trotting gals rolls into Tioga and Swedish import Pasithea Face S is here to face five rivals following her impressive win in the Dr. John Steele Memorial at The Meadowlands. The Nichols faithful will get their chance to see this potential new star live and in person thanks to this series and owner Courant Inc and trainer Jimmy Takter bringing her in for the race. Tim Tetrick is the driver.   The Tompkins-Geers stakes for 2-year-olds were scheduled for August 20 but the only event that had enough entries to race on the card is the $53,700 filly trot. The others were canceled.   More information and the complete list of entries may be found at the Tioga website.   Post time on Sunday is 1:00 p.m.   Nick Salvi

Lexington, KY - The Kentucky Sire Stakes (KYSS) for the harness racing 2-year-old pacers will begin on Saturday with the first leg requiring two $30,000 divisions for both sexes.   The pacing colts are up first in the fourth race where Grand Teton looks to continue his perfect record. The Diamond Creek homebred half-brother to their great filly Pure Country by first crop sire A Rocknroll Dance has won three minor stakes in as many starts for trainer Jimmy Takter and driver Brett Miller, flashing high speed in each. Grand Teton gets underway from post three on Saturday.   Takter will send another top contender out in the second colt division (race six) in the brilliantly fast Somebeachsomewhere colt Decoy. Despite being winless in his two starts, Decoy has faced top company in both and sprinted home in a withering 25.1 his most recent start at The Meadowlands. Brett Miller drives this one too, from post six for owners Brixton Medical, RAW Equine and Joe Sbrocco.   With horses coming in from such a variety of state-bred programs it really makes for some very interesting match-ups. The first filly division (race five) includes representatives from no fewer than five regional programs.   Starting from the rail, Worldofrockzee has been the scourge of the KY Fair scene with four wins including the final for trainer Jack Gray. She's a homebred, raised and raced by Stanley Wildharber of Barlow, KY and top local pilot Randy Crisler drives.   To her far outside wait a fast pair of fillies, from the eight hole it's Lets Fall In Love a New York sired Rock N Roll Heaven plucked from the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale for $150,000 by William Donovan. Trained in the Ron Burke stable, she recently won a NYSS at Tioga Downs in 1:53.1 her last start and will have Dave Palone in her sulky on Saturday.   Beginning from the outermost post nine is the Lindy Farms homebred Belle, a daughter of Soembeachsomewhere making her pari-mutuel debut. Belle has been a winner in both of her schooling races, by the narrowest of margins in 1:57.3 at Vernon Downs followed by a devastating 28 length romp at The Red Mile a week ago. Domenico Cecere, assistant trainer to Frank Antonacci drove her in both qualifiers while another assistant, Patrizio Ancora will drive in this race.   The seventh race features the undisputed queen of the New Jersey Sires Stakes in Hurrikane Empress who swept both legs and the final of that program in July for trainer John McDermott. She's a homebred, racing for the interests of Jonathan Klee Racing, Kuhn Racing and Pegasis Investments. Brett Miller is named to drive from post seven.   The pacers will spend three preliminary legs vying for one of ten positions in the September 17 $250,000 finals for each division.   Saturday is also the night for the highly anticipated "Second Annual Wiener Dog Races" which has grown to five divisions and includes a "Running Of The Bull...dogs" heat this year.   Post time is 7:00 p.m.   Nick Salvi

Vernon , NY - Top filly trotter Ariana G has been entered to race against harness racing colts in the Open Main Event of the $320,000 Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial (race 10) on Friday night at Vernon Downs.   Ariana G was considered for the Open division of the Hambletonian but her connections chose instead to race her in an elimination and final format against fillies in the Hambletonian Oaks.   Her competition will indeed be stout in the Zweig Memorial. Among the chief contenders are Devious Man coming in off a valiant second place effort in the Hambletonian final, Bill's Man who wound up fourth in that race, Hambo first heat winner International Moni and Stanley Dancer Memorial (div) winner Long Tom.   Ariana G's win in the Oaks pushed her career earning past the $1 million mark for breeder/owners Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld. The Muscle Hill filly has won fifteen of eighteen career starts and six of seven this season, her only defeat coming in a third place finish against colts in June's Earl Beal Memorial at Pocono. Jimmy Takter trains and Yannick Gingras will drive from post position five.   Devious Man (PP #7) has been a model of consistency throughout his career for owners Stroy, Inc. and Andy Miller Stable. The best in New York last season, he has taken on both state-bred and Grand Circuit assignments with equal success with four wins and four seconds in as many starts this year. He also edged past $1 million in career earnings with his Hambo Day proceeds. Andy Miller will drive the Julie Miller trainee in the Zweig.   With Ariana G out of the mix, everybody in the $135,000 Zweig Filly trot (race 9) moves up one position.   Celebrity Ruth is the top money winner having collected more than $200,000 this season, largely in the NYSS program for owner White Birch Farm. Trond Smedshammer is the trainer and Jason Bartlett will drive starting from post position two.   Competition will come from a pair of Ake Svanstedt fillies who each won a division of the Duenna stake at The Meadowlands. Evelyn (PP #3) will get Andy Miller who drove her to the Duenna success back in the sulky for owners Ake Svanstedt Inc, Little E LLC, Borje Nasstrom and Silva Stable 45 while Ice Attraction leaves from post 7 for the trainer and his partners Doug Sipple Mal & Janet Borroughs and Little E.   There are also consolations for both the colt and filly Zweig and three divisions of New York Sires Stakes (NYSS) for freshman pacing colts along with the accompanying Excel A & B races on an all-stakes card.   The races begin at 6:45 p.m. More information is available at the Vernon Downs website.   Nick Salvi    

Lexington, KY - The 2017 edition of the Kentucky Sire Stakes (KYSS) begins on Thursday, August 17 with six divisions of harness racing freshmen trotters split evenly between fillies and colts, each for a purse of $30,000 at The Red Mile.   The big news for the KYSS program this year is that the 2015 foals (2-year-olds in 2017) will benefit from a mare residency policy for the first time. That policy contains language that states the resulting foals of all horses bred during the 2014 breeding season will be eligible for nomination to the KYSS if the horse is out of a mare, even if sired by an out-of-state stallion, that resided in Kentucky during the year of conception for 180 consecutive days and nominated to the fund or by a stallion that stood in Kentucky and nominated to the fund for that breeding season.   In addition to the change in eligibility, funding for the program has seen significant increases, largely due to the pari-mutuel tax on historical horse racing, which is now offered at The Red Mile.   As a result, 52 fashionably-bred freshmen, many from the finest Standardbred nurseries in the Bluegrass, along with many of the sport's top trainers and drivers will compete in the first of three legs leading up to the $250,000 Finals on Sunday, September 17.   The colts will cover the first three races and the new format certainly makes for an interesting mix. Horses have been shipped to The Red Mile from the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Mid-West and Ontario for these races.   Trainer Tony Alagna has brought a pair of colts in with Dawson Springs in what looks like a good spot in the opener and Godspell Hall in the second. Both are beautifully bred colts by sires that stand out of state but were raised on Lexington area ground and fetched hefty prices as yearlings for their breeders and consignors, buoyed in part by the dual eligibility.   Frank Antonacci has a strong presence in the colt divisions, sending out three very diverse contenders. They include Eurobound, a colt by French sire Love You, American Moni, the first and only Muscle Hill from the great Moni Maker and a half-brother to Hambletonian heat winner American Moni and the flashy Hat Trick Habit a Donato Hanover half to the million dollar winner Habitat.   Jimmy Takter has a pair of colts and three fillies to go, led by the Ohio-sired Wolfgang from the first crop of 2012 Kentucky Futurity winner My MVP. Wolfgang was gangbusters over the Meadowlands mile track and it's not a stretch to predict he may love the Lexington clay mile oval.   America's annual leading trainer Ron Burke is represented as well as Lexington native and top trot man Bob Stewart, Pennsylvania-based stalwarts John Butenschoen and Charlie Norris and even the latest sensation in fractional ownership, Anthony MacDonald's TheStable.CA is in the house.   Among the drivers competing at The Red Mile on Thursday are the winningest driver in the sport's history in Dave Palone who recently broke the 18,000 career win barrier, North America's leading dash winner in 2016 and thus far in 2017 Aaron Merriman, 2016 Hambletonian winner Scott Zeron, Ohio stars Ron Wrenn, Jr and Josh Sutton and Meadowlands leading driver Corey Callahan.   Local horsepersons like Jack Gray, Rodney Debeck, Tom T. Tetrick, Randy Jerrell and Anette Lorentzon who have been loyal through the thin and the very thin are here for what are becoming good times for Kentucky harness racing.   The Kentucky Sires Stakes is funded by the Kentucky Standardbred Development Fund (KSDF) and the Kentucky Standardbred Breeders' Incentive Fund (KSBIF).   "The support from the Standardbred community has been phenomenal, we had over 500 mares nominate the first year (2014), and here we are--3 splits in both divisions this Thursday--it's an exciting time for the industry, Kentucky & The Red Mile" said KHRC Executive Director Marc A. Guilfoil   Post time at The Red Mile on Thursday is 7:00 p.m. Greater detail on the races may be accessed on the web.   Nick Salvi For The Red Mile  

Nichols, NY - Five $12,500 elimination races for the Empire Breeders Classic (EBC) for 3-year-old pacers will be featured along with New York Sires Stakes (NYSS) for freshman filly trotters as part of an all-stakes 15 race harness racing card on Sunday, August 13 at Tioga Downs.   Three divisions of colt and gelding pacers were split into equal fields of seven will go as races 6, 7 & 8.   Miso Fast (Matt Kakaley) makes his initial seasonal foray into state-bred competition after facing the top Grand Circuit colts with moderate success thus far in 2017. The Roll With Joe colt picked up the bulk of his quarter million dollar freshman bankroll in the NYSS program including a second place finish in last year's final.   Miso Fast took a 1:49.2 mark in his Hempt Memorial elim and has fared better in the preliminaries than the big finals this season. He may find Sunday's field more to his liking for the Burke Stable who owns the colt in partnership with Our Horse Cents Stable, J&T Silva and Weaver Bruscemi.   Funknwaffles (Corey Callahan) was the NYSS freshman final winner in 2016 and hasn't missed a beat this season in both restricted and open competition. The American Ideal gelding has absolutely manhandled his New York competition to go along with a third in the Rooney and closing second in the Hempt final against Grand Circuit colts. He's a farthing away from a half million in lifetime earnings for owner Crawford Farms Racing and trainer John Butenschoen.   Chief among the colts in the third division is the talented Heaven's Gait (David Miller). Lightly raced at two, this son of Rock N Roll Heaven is a John Cummins homebred and has enjoyed success on both a state-bred and national level. He has marched through the NYSS legs unblemished and is the author of the fastest mile of the season in the program by virtue of his 1:49 win at Vernon Downs. Heaven's Gait also won the Hempt consolation after narrowly missing a final berth in that stake for trainer Nick DeVita.   The fairer sex entrants numbered eighteen, which split nicely into a pair of nines.   Race 10 features Clear Idea (Mark MacDonald) who's but a length away from NYSS leg perfection this season, having finished second in the opener. Since then she's had a very "Clear Idea" of how to get to the wire first for trainer Blake MacIntosh who owns the seasonal winner of over $180,000 in partnership with Hutt Racing Stable.   The eleventh race favorite is last year's NYSS final winner Tequila Monday (Brian Sears). She's back strong this year for Chris Oakes having annexed the Lismore at Yonkers and copping a third in the rich Fan Hanover final. She'll start from post two on Sunday, seeking to advance for owners North Fork Racing and Chuck Pompey.   Next week's EBC finals are for the biggest purses of the year for NY restricted stakes with the colt stake at $268,100 while the fillies race for $262,850.   No fewer than 85 NYSS filly trotters will compete at Tioga on Sunday with one early non-betting race and 10 divisions on the card.   The main event split into three nine filly fields, each for a purse of $37,966.   Post time on Sunday is 1:00 p.m. You can find the entries on the Tioga Downs website.   Nick Salvi

Lexington, KY - With the 2017 Meadowlands Championship Meet complete the harness racing Grand Circuit morphs into more of a traveling show, reminiscent of days gone by, with important races at may venues over the next few months.   One very important destination, The Red Mile, held qualifying races today on a perfect windless, muggy morning beginning at 11 a.m.   Interest is high for the Red Mile's pre-Grand Circuit meet this year with the Kentucky Sires Stakes (KYSS) including a mare residency clause to the conditions beginning with the foals of 2015, resulting in more focus on this season's two-year-old stakes. As a result several of the Grand Circuit stables are here earlier than usual giving their eligible colts and fillies a once over the track.   The first trotting qualifier was won by Ooh La La La, a four-year-old mare with a strong Indiana sophomore stakes resume in 1:56.2 for Trevor Smith over last year's KYSS 2YO colt trot final winner Starlight AS who is prepping for this year's sophomore division.   A couple of freshman pointing for next week's KYSS first leg went along well in this one with American Moni (Muscle Hill x Moni Maker) showing speed with a comfortable third place finish behind a pair of older rivals for Lindy Farms and Domenico Cecere. Godspell Hall also held his ground throughout, finishing fourth for Tony Alagna.   Lindy Farms sent out an imposing Somebeachsomewhere homebred pacing filly from Think Pink named Belle who absolutely drug her driver Domenico Cecere through a 1:56.2 mile with a restrained 28 flat final quarter. Day Dreamer was second for Alagna and partner Riverview Racing. Both are eligible to the KY program.   Hat Trick Habit (Donato Hanover x Habit's Best) looked sensational for Cecere, stalking a pretty accomplished older horse in Fusion Man then rolling right on by in a 27.2 end to the 1:58 mile. He certainly has the look of a contender for the KYSS trots for owner Fred Monteleone and trainer Frank Antonacci.   Race 4 was a field of older pacers won in 1:55 by Carnoustie (Darrell Moore) getting a little work in after a week off following five races in as many days at the Mississippi State Fair late last month. Legal Power was the lone freshman in this one and he went well for Alagna, passing several rival late to be fourth.   The fifth and final race of the day saw Dawson Springs getting up on the wire after racing uncovered the second half in 1:59.3 / 28.3 for Tony Alagna. He's a Brittany-bred Cantab Hall colt from Hot Springs owned by the trainer and the breeder along with Robert LeBlanc.   Lindy trotters were in close attendance with Eurobound second and Lovely Lindy third. Jack Gray's Yankee Glide colt Max is another KYSS eligible from this race.   The Sires Stakes kick off next Thursday, August 17 with the freshman trotters. More information and race dates for all KYSS events may be found on their website.   Nick Salvi

The Meadowlands - Saturday, August 5 is Hambletonian Day, the Greatest Day in Harness Racing with the marquee event featured on a stakes laden card with total purses in excess of $3.5 million on the day.   The 92nd Hambletonian, first leg of the Trotting Triple Crown, drew nineteen entrants, split into a pair of $100,000 first heats with the top five from each returning later that afternoon for a $1 million purse and the most important trophy in the sport.   What The Hill and Devious Man are the logical favorites in the first division of heat number one, both have impressive accomplishments at ages two and three.   Hambletonian Elimination PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Line 1-What The Hill-David Miller-Ron Burke-3/1 2-Seven And Seven-David Miller-Tom Durand-8/1 3-Sortie-Andy McCarthy-Noel Daley-10/1 4-Shake It Off Lindy-Brett Miller-Frank Antonacci-20/1 5-Dover Dan-Brian Sears-John Butenschoen-8/1 6-Enterprise-Tim Tetrick-Marcus Melander-9/2 7-Southwind Cobra-Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke-15/1 8-Achille Duharas-Yannick Gingras-Jimmy Takter-20/1 9-Devious Man-Andy Miller-Julie Miller-5/2 10-Perfect Spirit-Ake Svanstedt-Ake Svanstedt-12/1   Division two of the first heat will test International Moni to win Trotting's Greatest Race to honor his legendary dam Moni Maker. By the French sire Love You, International Moni is the most successful foal to date from the great mare and also carries the long Hambletonian legacy of the Antonacci family who bred and own the colt in partnership with David Reid as Moni Maker Stable. He'll start from post position five for driver Scott Zeron who looks to remain Hambo perfect in his young career.   Hambletonian Elimination PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Line 1-Southwind Woody-Matt Kakaley-Ron Burke-12/1 2-Bill's Man-Corey Callahan-John Butenschoen-5/1 3-Guardian Angel As-Jason Bartlett-Anette Lorentzon-10/1 4-Giveitgasandgo-Corey Callahan-John Butenschoen-8/1 5-International Moni-Scott Zeron-Frank Antonacci-5/2 6-Stealth Hanover-Francisco Del Cid-Francisco Del Cid-30/1 7-Victor Gio IT-Yannick Gingras-Jimmy Takter-6/1 8-Long Tom-Tim Tetrick-Marcus Melander-3/1 9-Jake-Dan Dube-Luc Blais-8/1   There was some consideration of top filly Ariana G being entered in the main event against colts but her connections chose to stay with the girls and she will be a prohibitive favorite in the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks. Her full sister All The Time won this race last year for the very same connections, owner/breeders Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld, trainer Jimmy Takter looking for four in a row and seven wins overall in the Oaks and driver Yannick Gingras.   $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Line 1-Southwind Avanti-Jason Bartlett-Anette Lorentzon-10/1 2-Dream Together-Daniel Dube-Luc Blais-8/1 3-Caviart Wonder-Andy McCarthy-Noel Daley-20/1 4-Ariana G-Yannick Gingras-Jimmy Takter-6/5 5-Magic Presto-Brian Sears-R. Nifty Norman-5/1 6-Fine Tuned Lady-Corey Callahan-John Butenschoen-10/1 7-Feed Your Head-Tim Tetrick-Jimmy Takter-6/1 8-Sunshine Delight-Brett Miller-Staffan Lind-20/1 9-Overdraft Volo-Andy Miller-Julie Miller-10/1 10-Dream Baby Dream-Rod Allen-Rod Allen-15/1   The rest of the day's stakes were being assembled as this is written. Entries will be posted on the web when available.   The $295,000e Cane Pace, first leg of Pacing's Triple Crown, is also raced on the Hambo Day card and drew a dozen entrants. The Cane pits Meadowlands Pace winner Huntsville against rival Downbytheseaside who was a supplemental entry into the race at a cost of $35,000. It's a war when these two throw down and they'll be going the route distance of a mile and an eighth on Saturday.   The $100,000e Shady Daisy drew just six sophomore pacing fillies with both winners of last week's Adioo Volo supplementing to this race. Blazin Britches was a short priced winner in an impressive 1:50.1 while Ella Christina won as a longshot in her first start for trainer Nick Surick.   The older pacers are represented in the $225,000e Sam McKee Memorial and $200,000e Lady Liberty.   The McKee has drawn the top older horses and geldings like WR Haughton winner Mach It So and speed merchant Mel Mara set to battle over a mile and an eighth while the red-hot Nike Franco N comes on the heels of a 1:48 follow up to her Golden Girls score last month.   Twelve trotters will square off in the $303,000 John Cashman Memorial, again at the extra distance due to the bulk of the field. They're all here, Flanagan Memory is set to defend his title, Marion Marauder takes on older foes for the first time, JL Cruze won the inaugural Spirit of Massachusetts last week, Obrigado and Resolve are always in the hunt and Crazy Wow is the best he's ever been.   The $200,000e Dr. John Steel Memorial features Hannelore Hanover who holds the title as the best mare in trotting until somebody take's it from her. Eight accomplished female opponents will endeavor to do just that.   Finally the freshman trotters will have their first major test of the season with ten colts going for $360,000 in the Peter Haughton Memorial and ten fillies to race for $330,800 in the Jim Doherty Memorial.   The day is filled with a hat giveaway, fun activities for the kids, live entertainment good food and good times.   Hambletonian Day is the culmination of The Meadowlands "Championship Meet" and the 16 race card starts at noon.   Admission is $5 and the gates open at 10 a.m.   The Meadowlands - The draw for the Lady Liberty stake at The Meadowlands has been postponed due to litigation brought by the connections of one of the nominees. It will be drawn and made public as soon as that matter is resolved.   Nick Salvi  

The Meadowlands - A pair of eliminations for the Hambletonian Oaks heads up a dynamite Saturday night harness racing card at The Meadowlands.   Two fields of nine 3-year-old trotting fillies, each for a purse of $40,438, will race to decide which ten will move on to next week's $500,000 Oaks final.   The path to the winner's circle in the first division (race six) goes through Ariana G. Last year's divisional champion is four of five thus far in her sophomore season, her only loss coming in the Beal Memorial final against colts. Ariana G (PP #4) has handled the girls with something left in each win but is facing a talented group on Saturday.   The mercurial Glitzy Gal leaves from the inside rail, lightly raced Canadian import Dream Together was ultra-impressive in the Del Miller and leaves from just inside the favorite while the unbeaten scourge of the Keystone state, Treviso will be firing from the outside.   Jimmy Takter trains the homebred Ariana G for Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld and Yannick Gingras is her pilot.   Division two (race seven) features the queen of the Ontario program, Magic Presto. She's another in a long line of really good to great Kadabra fillies (Bee A Magician anyone?) Nifty Norman has trained for Mel Hartman, Dave McDuffee and Herb Liverman with Jeff Gural along for the ride this time via his Little E LLC. Magic Presto returned stateside for the Del Miller where she finished second behind Ariana G but there is an element that question whether that result would have stood if driver Brian Sears could've found room a bit earlier in the stretch. Time will tell, as it always does.   The competition includes another Takter filly that has found her best form recently in Feed Your Head and Team Miller's hope Overdraft Volo.   Also on the card is the $49,580 Scott Frost eleven colt trot, a division of the WN Reynolds Memorial stakes in the ninth race. All ten that are Hambletonian eligible moved up one notch on the depth chart when the news broke on Thursday of Walner being unable to race next week. Odds-maker Dave Brower settled on Bill's Man as a slight choice over What The Hill.   There's also a 3-year-old Open trot (race two) with seven other legitimate Hambo hopefuls reaching for that golden ticket to the big dance on August 5 and a pretty salty $20,000 Preferred pace where six really fast horses sharpen up for next week's Sam McKee Memorial.   But wait, there's more.   It's Seafood Fest with a cornucopia of delights awaiting your palate both from the festival and a special menu in Pink.   Finally with the horseplayer in mind, the $68,933 Jackpot Super Hi 5 carry-over in the last race has been deemed a mandatory pay out. This creates a rare situation where with new money added to the existing jackpot, a negative take out is achieved up to a point.   Free partial Past Performances are available each night courtesy of The Meadowlands and Trackmaster.   It all starts at 7:15 p.m.   Meadowlands Racing Plan Next Weekend   The condition sheet is out for next week at The Meadowlands.   While it is Hambletonian weekend and there are a number of stakes, the hope is to have 12 races on Friday and 16 on Saturday so there will be plenty of opportunity to race overnight horses.   There are 2-Year-Old Non Winners of 2PM overnight races for all divisions to go on Friday and a $25,000 Open Trot & Pace written for Saturday. With the top older horses racing in the stakes, these races should provide a good spot for the Open types to show their stuff on the big day.   Hambletonian Day is a showcase for the sport on its greatest stage.   The races will be simulcast internationally as well as televised on CBS Sports network from 4:00 to 5:30.   We'd like it to be the best it can be.   Questions should be directed to the Racing Office at (201) 842-5130.   Nick Salvi

The Meadowlands - As the 2017 Championship Meet at The Meadowlands draws to it's August 5 conclusion, the harness racing stakes action increases to a fever pitch.   Friday night brings with it elimination races for the track's top freshman trotting races, the Peter Haughton and Jim Doherty Memorials.   The Peter Haughton drew fourteen declarations, necessitating a pair of seven colt elims, the first of which comes in race six while the Doherty fillies number 16 and race in the ninth and tenth.   Hall of Fame trainer Jimmy Takter has entered six of his freshmen trotters in the Haughton and sends out the top three morning line choices in the first division, led by the $350,000 Muscle Hill yearling purchase You Know You Do. The colt breezed through his Meadowlands morning trials and a PA All Stars division before tasting defeat in a PASS at Harrah's in his latest start.   You Know You Do races for the partnership of Howard Taylor, Order By Stable, Bud Hatfield, Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld and leaves form the rail for driver Yannick Gingras.   The second division (race eight) contains a really talented bunch of trotting colts that include NJSS champ You Need Stones from the Ronnie Burke barn and PASS winner Met's Hall, the slight ML choice for the Millers.   You Need Stones had his way with three other Jersey-breds throughout the sparsely attended sires stakes but he did that in very impressive fashion. He trotted to a fast 1:55.2 in each of his last two starts with 27 and change last quarters in both, compelling his connections to take a crack against open company. You Need Stones gets introduced to a new driver in Tim Tetrick on Friday and starts from post six for owner / breeders Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi and Larry Karr.   Met's Hall has also won all of his races, including two stakes in Pennsylvania the most recent in track record time of 1:55.1 at Harrahs. The sharp looking Cantab Hall colt is owned by Stroy Inc and the Andy Miller Stable, trained by Julie and driven by Andy Miller.   Trainer George Ducharme has enjoyed remarkable success with trotters including a Hambletonian win in 2013 with Royalty For Life. This year George brings his filly Hey Livvy to The Meadowlands as the favorite in the first Doherty division (race nine). She's a speedy Donato Hanover lass the Ducharme and long-time owner (and a partner on Royalty For Life) Paul Fontaine paid the bargain price of $35,000 for at the Lexington sales last fall. Brian Sears drives Hey Livvy from post six.   Takter and Gingras team up again in the second Doherty split with the unbeaten Muscle Hill filly Manchego (PP #2). In a field of fast, talented fillies Manchego is the fastest thus far with a 1:54.4 win a PA Sires action at Pocono. She's been perfect through all five of her public appearances for owners Black Horse Racing, John Fielding and Herb Liverman but faces her toughest test to date on Friday.   The top five official finishers from all eliminations will move on to next week's rich finals on Hambletonian Day.   The undercard has several interesting contests led by a powerful field of Open trotters in race two that includes the return of 2015 Hambletonian winner Pinkman, 2016 Breeders Crown champ Flanagan Memory and speedy import Tuonoblu Rex as they prepare for the upcoming Cashman Memorial.   Open pacing mares are also on the card in anticipation of the Lady Liberty stake. Golden Girls winner Nike Franco N leads seven others in the $20,000 seventh race.   Just when it seemed things just couldn't get any better they did with Friday's Christmas In July promotion where gift cards will be awarded to lucky sweepstakes winners.   For the horseplayer Friday is a "Must Pay" night on the fifth race Jackpot Super Hi 5 carryover of $35,864. For the uninitiated that translates to a $35,864 head-start in that pool which will grow quickly with new money.   Post time is 7:15 p.m.   Nick Salvi

Lexington, KY - Harness Racing returns to Lexington, Kentucky with the historic 143rd season at The Red Mile beginning on Thursday, July 27. More than $7.5 million in purses will be offered over 32 race dates concluding on Sunday, October 8.   Thursday's offering is a ten race overnight card with a $6,200 Preferred Handicap feature pitting eight solid pacing mares in the second race.   The pre-Grand Circuit meet will cover 24 programs, racing live Thursday, Saturday and Sunday through September 17 with a post time of 7:00 p.m. each night.   This early meet will feature the enriched $2 million Kentucky Sires Stakes starting on August 17 with the foals of 2015 now benefitting from a mare residency policy. All purses for the three preliminary legs for two-year-olds will be $30,000 with all finals set at $250,000.   That policy contains language that states the resulting foals of all horses bred during the 2014 breeding season will be eligible for nomination to the KYSS if the horse is out of a mare, even if sired by an out-of-state stallion, that resided in Kentucky during the year of conception for 180 consecutive days and nominated to the fund or by a stallion that stood in Kentucky and nominated to the fund for that breeding season.   In addition to the change in eligibility, funding for the program has seen significant increases largely due to the pari-mutuel tax on historical horse racing, which is now offered at The Red Mile.   The KYSS for three-year-olds will offer two legs for a purse of $15,000 ($10,000 divided) and $175,000 finals. All finals will be raced on Sunday, September 17.   The Kentucky Sire Stakes is funded by the Kentucky Standardbred Development Fund (KSDF) and the Kentucky Standardbred Breeders' Incentive Fund (KSBIF).   The $5 million Grand Circuit meet consist of eight cards and will follow a Thursday through Sunday schedule with post time at 7 p.m. on September 28, 29 & 30 then a matinee 1 p.m. post time on October 1, 5, 6. 7 & 8.   The time-honored Bluegrass Stakes for all divisions will highlight week one. The International Stallion Stakes will provide racing for the freshmen in week two while closing weekend brings with it the 125th Kentucky Futurity, Tattersalls Pace and Allerage Farms series for the FFA set.   Information on all racing is available by calling the Racing Office at (859) 258-7670.   The Lexington Selected Yearling Sale will featured the highly anticipated first crops of Captaintreacherous, Father Patrick, Sweet Lou and Trixton among others along with the top quality consignments that sell at the Fasig-Tipton Pavilion annually. The sale starts at 7:00 p.m. on the evening of Tuesday, October 3.   Information on the city of Lexington including accommodations, dining and entertainment options is available from VisitLex.com.   Nick Salvi    

Join Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment on Saturday July 29th for their fourth annual Seafood Fest beginning at 6pm. Pink, the tiered dining room with perfect views of the live racing action, will feature a special seafood $39.95 seafood buffet featuring pan-seared gulf shrimp, Maryland Blue Crab Pasta, Tuna Tartar and steamed Long Island clams and mussels. For an additional $10 seafood fans can order a 1 ¼ lb freshly steamed Maine lobster. Reservations are strongly recommended. To reserve a table call 201-THE-BIG-M (201-843-2446). Fans looking for more casual dining can enjoy fresh seafood in The Backyard. Seafood lovers can indulge in a raw bar complete with clams and oysters, as well as a variety of food trucks including Tachoholics, Off the Hook Food Truck, Empanada Guy, Carnival Concessions, Surf & Turf Truck, The Angry Crab, Hannah's Meatballs, Mobile Mardi Gras, Jersey Girl Smoothie & Star of the Seafood . Each truck will offer different seafood dishes with plenty of options to choose from. The fresh raw bar is also available on Victory Terrace, a rooftop terrace with lounge furniture, NYC skyline views and a cocktail bar. While indulging in great seafood guests can watch live harness racing starting at 7:15pm. Plus on the racetrack watch and wager on the eliminations for $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks. Interested food vendors can contact Dan Telle at DTelle@playmeadowlands.com or by calling 201-460-4050. Guests can enter the Shrimp Peel & Eat Competition to have the chance to win the $500 Grand Prize. Ten lucky contestants will have 2 minutes to peel and eat as many cooked shrimp as they can. The winner receives $500 with $250 for 2nd place and $100 for 3rd. For more information please visit PlayMeadowlands.com do not guarantee the integrity, security or proper receipt of this message. Likewise, New Meadowlands Racetrack and Winners OTW do not accept any liability whatsoever for any possible damages arising from, or in connection with, data interception, software viruses or manipulation by third parties. Nick Salvi

The Meadowlands - The trail to the August 5 Hambletonian continues on Saturday with the Arthur Tompkins Memorial Grand Circuit stakes for harness racing  sophomore square-gaiters at The Meadowlands.   Ladies first in race four where a field of seven shall go forth in quest of the big share of the $49,870 purse. Overdraft Volo (PP #7) is a logical choice and the 2-1 morning line favorite. The Yankee Glide filly has been a model of consistency for the husband and wife team of Julie (trainer) and Andy (driver) Miller with six wins among a dozen board placings over her fourteen start career.   This season Overdraft Volo is near the top of her class, having won three of four starts including her division of last week's Del Miller Memorial, an important Hambletonian Oaks prep. Owners Pinske Stable and Kentuckiana Farms would like to have a barn full just like her, a $50,000 yearling with career earnings of $268,737 and a bright future.   Ten colts will battle for $59,370 in the seventh race with an eye on the $1 million Hambletonian, now a mere fortnight hence. With the division leaders taking a week off, we are left with a really competitive group of horses who are on the bubble for the Hambo. Two talented sons of Andover Hall, Dover Dan and Perfect Spirit, are such colts.   Dover Dan is a star on the PA Sires Stakes circuit whose resume includes a Grand Circuit win last fall at The Red Mile and a few tries against the best this season with limited success. He'll have to turn it up a notch for trainer John Butenschoen to get to the promised land. Vic Kirby will drive Dover Dan (PP #4) for the first time on Saturday for owners Wiswall, Goehlen and Shick.   Perfect Spirit has matured into a nice horse for Ake Svanstedt with a surprise win in the Earl Beal Memorial eliminations and a solid fourth in the final against the top colts. He's had a few weeks freshening and has a good starting point, leaving from post three for Svanstedt in the Tompkins. Lennart Agren's SRF Stable owns Perfect Spirit.   Aside from the stakes there are Open races for both three-year-old colts and fillies on the card where connections are hoping to separate the prospects from the suspects.   Corntastic weekend continues while the Roosevelt Raceway Reunion brings back the stars of yesteryear to entertain fans who remember New York racing of a generation ago. The late Herve Filion will also be memorialized on Saturday.   Post time is 7:15 p.m.   Nick Salvi      

The Meadowlands - Friday's card at The Meadowlands is filled with future stars with five races dedicated to the popular Kindergarten series for harness racing  two-year-old pacers and trotters.   Trotting colts were most plentiful as nineteen entrants necessitated a pair of divisions, carded as races three and eight.   The third race showcases another impressive Chapter Seven colt from the connections of Hambo favorite Walner. Seven Iron (PP #8) has been improving with each start and went his best race in an overnight last week finishing a close second in 1:56.3. Linda Toscano trains the $100,000 Harrisburg buy for Kenny Jacobs and Tim Tetrick has the drive.   There are several really nice colts in the eighth race and odds maker Dave Brower has tabbed Hill Street (PP #6) as the 3-1 choice. Hill Street is a product of the Jimmy Takter school of trotting and took a 1:56.3 record for driver Yannick Gingras in a Kindergarten leg two weeks ago. The $180,000 Lexington prize purchase by Brixton Medical, John Fielding, Herb Liverman and Bud Hatfield looks to keep his record perfect on Friday.   The fairier sex of freshman trotters is represented in the fourth race where Takter holds a pat hand with favored Chanel Me starting from the rail with Gingras. The homebred Muscle Hill lass is the first foal of the accomplished stakes winning mare To Dream On, she makes her debut in the Kindergarten for Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld.   Pacers? We got 'em with ten colts set for the ninth where I'm A Big Deal will attempt to live up to his adorably pretentious moniker and $300,000 price tag. He's had a pair of impressive qualifiers, though he's yet to taste victory for trainer Chris Ryder who owns the colt in partnership with Craig Henderson and Bob Mondillo. He'll leave from mid-pack in post six for Dave Miller.   Pacing fillies wrap up the eleven race card where Kissin In The Sand looks to score her second Kindergarten win from post eight. She handled the opposition easily last week taking a sharp 1:53 mark, three lengths clear of the field. Nancy Johansson trains the $130,000 yearling lass for Marvin Katz and Bud Hatfield. Gingras has the drive.   It's Corntastic weekend and the buffet theme is Italian, so come early and enjoy the fun.   Post time is 7:15 p.m. Nick Salvi  

The Meadowlands - Harness racing Breakfast With The Babies, Pace Day edition, began at 9:30 a.m. on a windless, muggy morning with the temperature at 72 degrees.   Making his first public appearance a winning one this morning was Tactical Landing, the colt trotter who gained notice when it took a bid of $800,000 at the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale by his eponymous ownership group to buy him. Trainer Bobby Stewart has brought the physically imposing Muscle Hill brother to the great Mission Brief along purposefully with late season stakes the target and Hall of Famer Brian Sears handled him with care in his debut. The pair settled third early and sat in past the 1:32 three panels where Sears moved Tactical Landing to the outside, the colt responded by trotting strongly through the stretch in 28 seconds. Finishing second in a quality effort after setting all the fractions was Treasure Staff, who was catch driven by Jimmy Takter for trainer Ron Gurfein in an meld of Hall of Fame trotting minds. One can't help but wonder if Takter had any post-race advice for Gurf.   Trotting fillies kicked off the nine two-year-old races with Deschanel, a homebred Yankee Glide sister to D'Orsay and half-sister to International star Propulsion, winning in 1:58.2 for Dave Miller. Settled in third through the 1:29.3 three quarters, Deschanel rolled by Lindy On Tap (Domenico Cecere) when shown racetrack through the stretch. It made for a good day for her trainer Bobby Stewart who conditions the filly for Fredericka Caldwell and Bluestone Farms.   Aperfectruby won the second race in 1:58.3 converting a perfect trip from driver Scott Zeron for trainer Ron Burke. After a pair of unsuccessful tries at Harrah's the $65,000 Lexington Sale purchase by Burke, Melillo, Silva, Purnel, Libby, Weaver & Bruscemi looked safe today and edged by mile-cutter Glide Onin Sabrina (Jan Johnson) late.   Jimmy Marohn, Jr picked up the drive on Linda Toscano's Chapter Seven colt Helpisontheway and took advantage of the opportunity by mowing down the field from far back in a well-timed move. Southwind Camo (Scott Zeron) set the fractions as Maron sat patiently near the back waiting to launch Helpisontheway and when he did the colt responded beautifully through the 29.4 end to the 1:59.2 mile. Lindyinoverdrive also rallied well late for Domenico Cecere but couldn't stall the winner's bid. Toscano shares ownership of the colt as Camelot Farms with The Bay Stable.   Lindy's Big Bang (David Miller) and Make It a Double (Julie Miller) battled right to the wire in a 1:58.4 mile and could not be separated by the camera finishing in a dead heat for win. Both were in close attendance as Prince William (Zeron) cut the mile until head-stretch when Make It A Double went by from the pocket and Lindy's Big Bang closed up the inside for the tie. Lindy's Big Bang is trained by Nifty Norman for the partnership of Mel Hartman, Dave McDuffee and the driver who paid $70,000 for the Explosive Matter colt in Lexington last fall. Make It A Double ($80,000 LEX-SEL) is trained in the Julie Miller barn for Andy Miller Stable and Jason & Doug Allen.   Youaremycandygirl has the championship gene, being an American Ideal first foal of Sweet Lady Jane who is a Somebeachsomewhere sister to Sweet Lou and Bettor Sweet, enough that Bill Donovan ponied up a cool $150,000 for her at Harrisburg last fall. Bill placed her in the Burke barn and she's been flawless, save for an interference break in a NYSS at Vernon last week. In her first go over the Big M, Youaremycandygirl flaunted her speed with a 1:53.2 win pacing home in 27 flat for Joe Bongiorno. Band Stand (Sears) was in close attendance throughout and held well for second.   Takter drove the pacing filly Betterthanbrie to a 1:56 / 28 win, setting all the fractions then barely holding pocket sitter Odds On Stepahnie (Zeron) at bay. The winner is a homebred from the first crop of Betterthancheddar raised and raced by Christina Takter and John Fielding.   A pair of fast colts finished together in race eight where Bodega Bay finally made it through that pesky final turn pacing for Scott Zeron and finished his 1:54 mile with a 28.1 final quarter for the win. The winner is a Brittany Farms owned Vintage Master homebred from the fast Nikki Beach who has evidenced high speed in his previous starts, if trainer Tony Alagna has solved the puzzle he'll be heard from this summer. I'm A Big Deal (Sears) wove his way through traffic to be a closing second. That one was a high dollar buy for trainer Chris Ryder and shows great promise as well.   Takter closed out the baby races with a front running 1:55.4 win aboard Thinkbig Dreambig in that Bettors Delight colt's first start. He was driven out to hold off the close Pecorino (Sears) from the pocket in a 27.3 final quarter. Thinkbig Dreambig was a $180,000 Lexington but for Brixton Medical, Fielding, Anderberg and Falk.   QUALIFIERS   Princess Aurora (Takter) and International Money (Zeron) went to the wire in tandem with the Princess prevailing in 1:53.3, final quarter in 27.4 this morning. Connections for both have made Hambletonian Day on August 5 the target date for this pair.   Takter wrapped the day up by winning in 1:56 with his returning 2015 Hambletonian winner Pinkman. After a long layoff, Pinkman is in the midst a gradual return to top form.   Tonight is Meadowlands Pace night with the signature race of the "Championship Meet" and all that comes with it.   Post time is 6:30 p.m.   Nick Salvi

The Meadowlands - The Meadowlands presents "The Greatest Night in Harness Racing" this Saturday with the 41st edition of the track's signature race, the Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace for a purse of $738,550. There is an early 6:30 post time on Saturday.   Pace night is historically filled with Grand Circuit highlights and this year is no exception with over $2.5 million in purses offered over the thirteen race program.   Huntsville has been tabbed as the even money choice in the Meadowlands Pace after his convincing 1:48.4 win in last week's elimination. He'll leave from post four for driver Tim Tetrick, who has won four previous Pace finals. Trainer Ray Schnittker has done this before as well, sending out the 2010 winner One More Laugh with Tetrick driving. Ray owns Huntsville, a colt he bred with the late Charlie Iannazzo, in partnership with Ted Gewertz and Steve Arnold.   The All Star card starts fast, opening with a Daily Double that includes the finest female trotters in the land.   Sophomore sensation Ariana G leads a field of seven sophomore filly trotters with an eye on the Hambletonian Oaks in a division of the $250,500 Del Miller Memorial in the first. Glitzey Gal and That's All Moni head up division two of the Miller in the fourth race.   Hannelore Hanover seeks to continue her mastery of the mature matrons by taking on five rivals in a $30,000 split of the Miss Versatility in race two. The second Miss Versatility division (race six) marks the US debut of speedy Swedish import Pasithea Face S.   The road to the Hambletonian makes a key stop with two divisions of the $320,000 Stanley Dancer Memorial which will be the first stakes appearance of the three-year-old campaign for winter book Hambo favorite Walner. Devious Man has taken on the role as divisional leader in Walner's absence by winning the Empire Breeders Classic and the Beal Memorial, the highest purses offered for the class to this point in the season. They'll leave the gate in tandem from outside posts in the first Dancer division, race three.   New Jersey Sires stakes champs Long Tom and What The Hill are the headliners in the second Dancer split, race twelve.   Last year's Hambletonian and Trotting Triple Crown winner Marion Marauder is racing in the $458,750 Hambletonian Maturity (race eight) contested at a mile and one eighth. He endeavors to be the first to complete the Hambo - Hambo Maturity sweep in the fourth edition of the series. He won last week's Graduate final with ease against many of the same horses he'll face on Saturday.   The filly companion to the Meadowlands Pace is the $165,700 Mistletoe Shalee (race five) which is a short but select field of seven. Among them are last year's division leader Idyllic Beach and Breeders Crown winner Someomensomewhere, both of whom continue to seek a return to their freshman form for Hall of Fame trainer Jimmy Takter. Agent Q has been the best of the group thus far in 2017 and comes in off an impressive uncovered win in the Lynch two weeks ago.   The older pacing races both drew overflow fields which result in both the WR Haughton Memorial and the Golden Girls (race ten and eleven respectively) going the route distance of one and one eighth miles.   Pacing horses and geldings number a dozen in the $427,400 Haughton, clearly the most contentious race of the evening. With no dominant horse in the field, plenty of speed and two trailers a lot can happen and probably will. All Bets Off has been battling the best for five years and the career winner of nearly $2.5 million is as good as he's ever been, having won the Battle Of Lake Erie and held third after a long uncovered grind in the Ben Franklin. Mel Mara led virtually every step of the Franklin except the most important one, getting out tripped to lose a photo on the wire. "Captain" Corey Callahan's task navigating a course for Mel Mara became far more complicated when his front-loving mount drew post 12 in the back tier.   Lady Shadow has been dominant in the mare division for the past few seasons. She won last year's edition of the Golden Girls with a withering world record performance and is unbeaten thus far in 2017 but has drawn the far outside post ten for Saturday's race. Lying in wait from the rail is last year's top sophomore Pure Country who hasn't handled her graduation to the older class quite as well as expected but absolutely seared the Meadowlands mile in a 1:48 qualifier two weeks ago, signaling her readiness for the remainder of the stakes season. They'll vie with nine others for the biggest share of the $201,000 Golden Girls purse.   There's a lot going on at The Meadowlands on Pace night including live bands, a beach towel giveaway, charity auctions and plenty of food and drink options.   If you like harness racing you won't want to miss it. But...if you just can't make it, tune in to the SNY channel, available nationwide on DirecTV where the Pace and Hambletonian Maturity will be part of a live broadcast from 9:00 to 10:00 p.m.   A free program for the entire Meadowlands Pace card is available, courtesy of The Meadowlands and Trackmaster.   Nick Salvi      

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