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

Nichols, NY - Tioga Downs will host one of the biggest cards of their 2018 season this Sunday, August 12 and those races were drawn today.   The headliner will be the $141,000 Joie de Vie mare trot (race 8) where the long anticipated match up between 2017 Horse of the Year Hannelore Hanover and 2017 sophomore filly title holder Ariana G will finally come to pass. Hannelore has drawn the rail while Ariana G will begin from post 4. Only one of them can be driven by Yannick Gingras who must make a difficult choice between the mares.   All of the top mares currently racing are in the field, including the winner of last Saturday's Steele Memorial at The Meadowlands, Dream Together along with Broadway Donna and Caprice Hill who followed her in.   The Crawford Farms Open trot (race 9) will be a full field of 10 racing for a purse of $186,000. Will Take Charge is the horse to beat here with Marion Marauder not among the entrants.   Also on Sunday are the elimination races for the $500,000 Empire Breeders Classic with those rich finals set for next Sunday. Both colts and fillies has 13 enter for the stake.   Courtly Choice and American History lead the colt brigade while Youaremycandygirl comes into the filly race hot off her dazzling 1:48.2 Meadowlands track record in the Shady Daisy.   You may see the entire fields on the web. Post time is 1:00 pm.   by Nick Salvi, for Tioga Downs  

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

East Rutherford, NJ - This Breakfast With The Babies (BWTB) sponsored by Fashion Farms, final edition, got off with a bang this morning with the Father Patrick filly Sister's Promise coming from mid-pack to win in 1:58.1 / 27.4 for Tim Tetrick. Biding their time as Amazato (Trond Smedshammer) led the field by the half in 1:00.2 and 1:30.2 three panels, when Tetrick fanned Sister's Promise wide in the stretch she sailed by under her own power to win by 3½ lengths over that rival, her last quarter timed in 27.2. Linda Toscano trains the winner for Brittany Farms who paid $120,000 for her at Harrisburg and Fred Hertrich, III is the breeder. Aldebaranwalkabout (Andy Miller) survived the furious close of White Tiger (Anthony McDonald) to win the third in 1:56.2. Left with a long lead after a few broke behind him, the winner passed the three quarters alone in 1:28 while White Tiger was maneuvered around traffic, trotting an individual 27.1 home to just miss. Aldebaran Park bred and owns the winning son of Muscle Hill. The enigmatic Greenshoe made another strong impression this morning with an absolutely effortless 1:55.1 jaunt for Brian Sears, trotting home alone in 27 flat with the driver motionless. With Peter Haughton Memorial eliminations unnecessary, this served as a prep for the $422,350 stake on Hambletonian Day. The Father Patrick colt, a $330,000 Lexington Select buy for Anders Strom as Courant, INC was bred by Al Libfeld and Marvin Katz. Donald DuPont won with Roy Dobbins homebred Muscle Hill filly Misscheckmatehill in 2:00. 3, holding Bride (DR Ackerman) at bay through the stretch. Another impressive homebred kicked off the pacing races as the 3 Brothers Stable's JK Mardi Says zipped around the oval all by herself in 1:55.2 for Scott Zeron. Left to a long lead throughout the 1:00.1 half and 1:28.1 three panels, the Somebeachsomewhere filly sprinted home in 27.1 on her own. Nancy Johansson trains her. In the season finale for BWTB the Sweet Lou half-brother to Vintage Master and Great Vintage Division Bell (Josert Fonseca) took a 1:53.4 record for owner/breeders Christina Takter and John Fielding. Jimmy Takter is, of course, the trainer. The day closed with Pure Country, the "Grande Dame" of Adam Bowden's Diamond Creek Farms zooming around the course in 1:51.3 / 26.1 for Brian Sears as she prepares for the Lady Liberty and the second half of the 2018 campaign. It was just a year ago that trainer Jimmy Takter qualified her in an amazing 1:48 flat which launched the now 5-year-old champion into another Dan Patch award winning season, making her the only female in Standardbred history to win that prestigious award at ages 2,3 and 4. It looks like she's raced herself back into contention for one more shot at the title. Live racing returns tonight when the Hambletonian Oaks eliminations highlight the 12 race card. It's also Seafood Fest with a variety of purveyors offering their culinary delights for you dining pleasure. Post time is 7:15 pm. by Nick Salvi, for the Meadowlands

East Rutherford, NJ - The Meadowlands hits its best stride in the final two weekends of live racing with many of the marquee Grand Circuit stakes desired by the connections of the top horses in harness racing taking place over the New Jersey mile oval.   The stakes begin on Friday with a pair of $20,000 elimination races for the Jim Doherty Memorial, a key race for the freshman trotting fillies and a tiara worn by many of the leading ladies of racing. Names like Winky's Gill, Peace Corps. CR Kay Suzie, Check Me Out, Mission Brief and Ariana G grace the list of those who have won previous editions of the stake.   This season, nineteen 2-year-old filly trotters were declared for the the Doherty and Beautiful Sin will attempt to add her name to the storied roster as she begins from post seven for driver Yannick Gingras in the second elimination, race six.   The Muscle Hill filly, first foal of her Cantab Hall dam Sina, captured the imagination of the Lexington Selected Sales crowd when she fetched $480,000, the highest price of any yearling sold at auction last year. Lennart Agren's SRF Stable was the final bidder and he placed his new treasure in the Jimmy Takter barn.   Beautiful Sin has been perfect by winning all five of her races thus far, three qualifying "Baby Races" and a pair of minor stakes. Friday brings the first major challenge of her fledgling career as she'll face the finest competition currently racing including Whispering Oaks (Takter/Scott Zeron) who took the $125,000 final of the New Jersey Sires Stakes two weeks ago.   Takter also sends out an imposing pair of fillies in the first elimination (race 4) including the home-bred Father Patrick fill Suzy, another potential star from the great broodmare Solveig who's daughter Shake It Cerry won the 2013 edition of the stake. Jimmy will drive Suzy for Christina Takter and Solveig's Racing Partners.   The Ice Dutchess cost the Coyote Wind Farm $320,000 at Harrisburg last fall and was also been enrolled in the Takter school of trotting. She has displayed remarkable talent in limited appearances thus far including a PA All Star stakes win in 1:57.1 for Gingras, who has the drive on Friday.   The top ten from the Doherty eliminations will race on Hambletonian Day, August 4 in the $357,450 final.   JAMES DOHERTY MEMORIAL - ELIMINATION 2 Year Old Fillies Live Purse:  $20000   Trot Distance: 1 Mile H PP Horse Driver Trainer Yrs. Best Last 3 Odds 1 1 Hanna Dreamgirl Ti Tetrick L Toscano 1:56.0 1-2-3 7-2 2 2 Bushy Tails Da Miller J Czernyson   4-3-3 15-1 3 3 Susy Ji Takter J Takter 1:55.1 1-2-2 4-1 4 4 The Ice Dutchess Ya Gingras J Takter 1:56.4 1-7-1 8-1 5 5 Hanovers Best Co Callahan R Burke 1:57.0 1-1-6 10-1 6 6 Speed Titan Br Sears M Melander 1:56.1 1-1-1 3-1 7 7 Special Honor An Miller J Miller 1:57.1 5-2-1 8-1 8 8 Jezzys Legacy Ra Schnittker R Schnittker 1:58.2 7-1-1 12-1 9 9 Mother Bonnie An McCarthy N Daley 1:55.0 10-1-3 5-1 JAMES DOHERTY MEMORIAL - ELIMINATION 2 Year Old Fillies Live Purse:  $20000 Available Wagering:  Trot Distance: 1 Mile H PP Horse Driver Trainer Yrs. Best Last 3 Odds 1 1 Fate Smiled An McCarthy R Burke 1:58.0 2-1-1 8-1 2 2 Devilish Delight Vi Kirby J Czernyson 1:58.0 8-4-3 15-1 3 3 Swizzle Sticks Ti Tetrick J Campbell   3-3-2 10-1 4 4 Whispering Oaks Sc Zeron J Takter 1:55.1 1-1-8 4-1 5 5 Starita Da Miller J Holloway 1:58.2 4-8-2 8-1 6 6 Miss You Kelly Br Miller B Lauer   2-3 15-1 7 7 Beautiful Sin Ya Gingras J Takter 1:55.1 1-1-1 2-1 8 8 French Cafe An Miller J Miller 1:58.1 2-1-2 5-1 9 9 Rush Lane Co Callahan R Gillock 1:56.2 1-2-2 10-1 10 10 Given Ji Takter J Takter   7-2-7 15-1   The Peter Haughton Memorial for 2-year-old colts drew 10 entries and will not require elimination races. Those ten colts (listed in alphabetical order) will also race on the Hambletonian card in the $422,350 final.   They are: DON'T LET'EM GERRY GREEN MANALISHI S GREENSHOE HUDSON RIVER KREDIT KARMA MARSEILLE MASS FORTUNE K TRIX AND STONES WHITE TIGER   Saturday brings with it the Hambletonian Oaks $50,000 eliminations where 17 of the fairer sex will quest for a spot in next Saturday's $500,000 final. It is a particularly talented group this year with last year's leading lady Manchego, Plunge Blue Chip, the filly who nosed Manchego out of a 1:49.4 world record in the Del Miller, Phaetosive who annexed the other Del Miller split and Harrah's track record holder Seviyorum crowding the entries for the classic.   HAMBLETONIAN OAKS NO. 93 - ELIMINATION 3 Year Old Fillies Live Purse:  $50000 Available Wagering:  Trot Distance: 1 Mile H PP Horse Driver Trainer Yrs. Best Last 3 Odds 1 1 What A Knockout Da Miller M Melander 1:52.4 7-12-1 15-1 2 2 Bill's Lady Co Callahan J Butenschoen 1:54.3 2-2-1 8-1 3 3 Lily Stride Ti Tetrick M Harder 1:55.3 5-2-7 10-1 4 4 Hey Blondie An McCarthy C Sylvester 1:53.2 1-3-6 4-1 5 5 Fly Fly Selena Br Miller R Jones 1:57.4 4-2-3 10-1 6 6 Courtney Hanover Sc Zeron R Zeron 1:54.2 1-3-2 8-1 7 7 Manchego Ya Gingras J Takter 1:52.4 2-9-1 9-5 8 8 Piranha Fury Br Sears R Norman 1:54.2 8-6-2 12-1 9 9 Seviyorum An Miller J Miller 1:53.1 5-1-2 5-1 HAMBLETONIAN OAKS NO. 93 - ELIMINATION 3 Year Old Fillies Live Purse:  $50000 Available Wagering:  Trot Distance: 1 Mile H PP Horse Driver Trainer Yrs. Best Last 3 Odds 1 1 Blonde Magic Th Durand T Durand 1:54.0 2-2-1 10-1 2 2 Lima Novelty Sc Zeron L Toscano 1:52.1 1-1-1 6-1 3 3 Winbak Noelle An McCarthy L Wallin 1:55.4 2-4-6 20-1 4 4 Perfect Summer K Lo Roy A Harris 1:58.4 2-6-3 10-1 5 5 Phaetosive Tr Smedshammer T Smedshammer 1:51.3 1-1-3 5-2 6 6 Live Laugh Love Da Miller R Norman 1:53.1 3-1-1 5-1 7 7 Nixie Volo Co Callahan J Butenschoen 1:54.3 2-1-3 8-1 8 8 Plunge Blue Chip Ak Svanstedt A Svanstedt 1:49.4 1-2-2 2-1 Two divisions of the $93,200 "Scott Frost" Reynolds Stakes for 3-year-old colt trotters is also on the Saturday card where 15 of the 18 entrants are making their closing argument for entry into the Hambletonian.   Saturday night is also the 5th Annual Seafood Truck Festival where culinary delights of the sea are offered for your consumption.   Post time both nights is 7:15pm.   by Nick Salvi, for the Meadowlands    

East Rutherford, NJ - The Meadowlands is drawing for several major stakes this morning to be raced the upcoming weekend of July 27 & 28.   The Hambletonian Oaks box held 17 fillies entered for the stake. Eliminations will be on Saturday, July 28 and the top 10 will move on to the $500,000 final on Hambletonian Day, August 4.   The Peter Haughton Memorial 2YO Colt Trot had 10 declarations and not require eliminations. The 10 horses will go to the $422,350 final on Hambletonian Day, August 4.   The Jim Doherty drew 19 fillies and will have a pair of eliminations on Friday, July 27. The finals is also on Hambo Day and the purse will be $357,450.   Horses are listed below in alphabetical order.   Hambletonian Oaks Field Bill's Lady Blonde Magic Courtney Hanover Fly Fly Selena Hey Blondie Lily Stride Lima Novelty Live Laugh Love Manchego Nixie Volo Perfect Summer K Phaetosive Piranha Fury Plunge Blue Chip Seviyorum What A Knockout Winbak Noelle   Peter Haughton Field DON'T LET'EM GERRY GREEN MANALISHI S GREENSHOE HUDSON RIVER KREDIT KARMA MARSEILLE MASS FORTUNE K TRIX AND STONES WHITE TIGER   Jim Doherty Field BEAUTIFUL SIN BUSHY TAILS DEVILISH DELIGHT FATE SMILED FRENCH CAFE GIVEN HANNA DREAMGIRL HANOVERS BEST JEZZYS LEGACY MISS YOU KELLY MOTHER BONNIE RUSH LANE SPECIAL HONOR SPEED TITAN STARITA SUSY SWIZZLE STICKS THE ICE DUTCHESS WHISPERING OAKS   by Nick Salvi, for the Meadowlands

East Rutherford, NJ - Trainer Jimmy Takter brought the down under sensation Lazarus out for gate schooling after today's qualifiers and the pair went a dazzling mile in 1:51 flat, the only company being two trotters that were unable to keep up and the only encouragement a few "C'mon boy" calls from the driver.   Fractions were 29.2, 57, 1:25.3, 1:51.   The six-year-old New Zealand bred son of Bettors Delight was imported by Taylor Made Stallions and is expected to contest the top older horse events for the balance of the season.   Breakfast WithThe Babies (BWTB), sponsored by Fashion Farms Meadowlands Pace Day edition, was conducted at 9:00 am under ideal conditions, no wind and temperatures of 70 degrees. Pacing colts opened the card today and Goldberg rode the Team Teague bus up from Harrington this morning then went a sensational mile in 1:51.3 for catch driver Dewayne Minor. He went right to the front, set fast fractions and closed it out in 27.3 in hand. Artie's Ideal (Marcus Miller) rallied between horses for second and Alittlewiggleroom, driven by George Teague, gained wide late for third. Goldberg is a Montrell Teague homebred by family sire Mr Wiggles and is trained by his aunt Brenda Teague. Captain McKee was a 1:53.4 winner for trainer Tony Alagna and driver Scott Zeron. Zeron afforded the Captaintreacherous colt a perfect trip behind eventual second place finisher Cub Fan (Andy Miller), tipping off that one in the stretch through the 27.2 final panel for the win. Brittany Farms, Marvin Katz, Brad Grant and Captain Trevor Racing gave $75,000 for the Hanover bred at Harrisburg last fall. Pacing filly Pace Baby Pace (Andy Miller) put one in the win column for her sire Sweet Lou with a 1:56.1 score for the Burke barn. She sat a pocket to Passion Struck (Andy McCarthy) through reasonable fractions then sailed by under minimal encouragement form the driver. JK Mardi Says (Zeron) rallied wide nicely for the place. The winner is a homebred for Burke Racing and Weaver Bruscemi, LLC. Trotting fillies came next and Sister's Promise can now be counted among the winners from Father Patrick's first crop after her effortless 2:00.4 score for Tim Tetrick. Celebrity Serena cut the mile through slow numbers and led until mid-stretch where the winner and Mother Teresa (Zeron) went by in the 28.4 final stanza. Linda Toscano trains Sister's Promise for Brittany Farms. She was a $120,000 Harrisburg yearling, bred by Fred Hertrich, III. Andy and Julie Miller won the next race with the Donato Hanover filly American Kronos in 1:58. Getting away in third, American Kronos accelerated when asked around the last bend and sailed by early leader Lindy Pearl (Zeron) through the 27.4 end to the mile. Marvin Katz, Al Libfeld and David Goodrow own the winner, bred in Italy by Allevamento Kronos. Full Right (Justin Morrison) won in 1:59.1, surging by a stubborn Celebrity Stalone (Minor) in the shadow of the wire. Jim Campbell trains the homebred son of RC Royalty for Runthetable Stable. Finally Dewayne Minor doubled up for the day by driving Fearless Dreamer, an Explosive Matter colt from Bold Dreamer to a front stepping 1:59.1 win over Practical Cat (Takter). The winner is owned by Rivers Stable who gave $35,000 from the Valley High consignment at the Lexington Yearling Sale. Also of note last season's Dan Patch award winning freshman trotter Fourth Dimension went a flat qualifier in 1:52.4 for Brian Sears as trainer Marcus Melander continues to seek answers to the colt's erratic performances thus far this year. Live racing tonight at 8:00 and it's Corntastic Night!   Lazarus “schools” in an approximate time of 1:51. Last qua in 25 and change. — Dave Brower (@eedoogie) July 21, 2018   by Nick Salvi, for the Meadowlands

East Rutherford, NJ - The Meadowlands is announcing the return of the Vincennes Invitational trot on Hambletonian Day, August 4 this year.   The Vincennes played an important role for many years as a compliment to harness racing's biggest day, providing a race for top older trotters that are not eligible to the marquee John Cashman Memorial. It also pays homage to our pari-mutuel partners the French PMU, a betting union controlled by France that takes wagers on the Hambo program.   Over the years a number of horses have used the Vincennes as a springboard to bigger and better things. Verlin Yoder's Natural Herbie came to the race in 2014 as a regional sensation from Indiana to gain national respect and win the International Preview later that season.   The purse for the 2018 Vincennes will be $30,000.   Interested parties should contact Meadowlands Director of Racing Peter J. Koch at (201) 842-5130.   by Nick Salvi, for the Meadowlands

East Rutherford, NJ - This week's (Saturday, July 21) Breakfast With The Babies, sponsored by Fashion Farms, and qualifying races at The Meadowlands will begin at 9:00 am. There are a total of ten races.   by Nick Salvi, for the Meadowlands

East Rutherford, NJ - Breakfast WithThe Babies, sponsored by Fashion Farms, Meadowlands Pace Day edition, was conducted at 11 am under perfect conditions with no wind and temperatures of 80 degrees. Pacers opened the card today and another precocious Captaintreacherous colt, this one the cleverly named Captain Crunch, was tremendous. In his second morning effort for Scott Zeron the pair converted a two-hole trip into a 1:52.3 win with the final quarter in 26.1. Rockin Jimmy Brown (Marcus Miller) set easy fractions going the half in 56.3, and led into the stretch but could not resist the close of Captain Crunch. Bred by Walnridge Farms and Sherri Meirs, the winner was and $85,000 Harrisburg purchase by 3 Brothers Stable, Christina Takter, Rojan Stables and Caviart Farms. Donna Victoria won her trotting filly test in 1:59.4 after a Trond Smedshammer pocket trip behind Unbelindyble (Domenico Cecere) took her into the stretch where she fanned off that rival's back and went by willingly. Unbelindyble held on for second and Brianna Blue Chip (Zeron) was gobbling up ground late for third. The winner is a Michael Andrew homebred by Donato Hanover. Jimmy Takter trains and drove Asiago to a 1:56.4 / 28.4 win from the pocket in race 3. The pair settled behind Miss You Kelly (Brett Miller) through a 59.1 half then wore that rival down through the stretch, drawing clear late on her own. Miss You Kelly stayed for second and Princee Deo (Andy McCarthy) flashed good late trot to be third. The winner is by Muscle Hill and was bred by James Wilhite, Jr who cashed her in at the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale for $200,000 with Katz, Goldband, Libfeld and Black Horse Racing signing the slip. Summit In Sight, a $300,000 Harrisburg purchase by Story Inc and driver Andy Miller, made a very good impression in her debut trotting home strong in 28.1 on the end of a 1:57 mile. Away second early, Summit In Sight inherited a lead when Hatikvah (Tim Tetrick) rolled off stride at the 59.3 half and went along easily winning as the driver pleased. Chiplosive (Smedshammer) was second. Willow Pond, LLC bred the winner who is from the world champion Bluff and is trained by Julie Miller. Union Forces (Zeron) won his third morning trial in as many tries, rallying from well back to collar Something Fine (A. Miller) in the stretch and went by under minimal urging in 1:59.1. Something Fine wound up on a long lead after a few broke behind him but could not resist the relentless close of the winner. Union Forces is trained by Domenico Cecere for Lindy Farms, Bob Rudolph, David Anderson and John Fielding who paid breeder Blue Chip Bloodstock $100,000 at the Lexington sale last fall. Ake Svanstedt had a winner in the sixth when he sailed by the early leaders through a fast final quarter to win in 1:57.1 with Lindy Express. Svanstedt was uncharacteristically patient early as Practical Cat (Takter) set a 59 half and 1:28.1 three panels before unleashing his colt's powerful burst in the stretch to get by that one. The winner is by Trixton, sold as a yearling in Lexington by KR Breeding, LLC to Malby Gard for $140,000. Pacing filly Odds On St Lucie (Zeron) won today in 1:54.4 / 27.1. She took over from Lovely Laura before the 59.2 half then sprinted home in 55.1 for the win. Demi Hill closed up some to be second for Brett Miller. The winner is a royally bred daughter of Sweet Lou from a sister to Captaintreacherous, sold in Lexington by White Birch Farm to Odds On Racing for $110,000. Tony Alagna trains both Odds On St Lucie and Demi Hill. Goose Bay Fiftytwo won the last of the baby races this morning for Erv (trainer) and Marcus (driver) Miller in 1:54.3 with a 27 flat final quarter. Marcus made a few moves with the Art Major colt, who had more to give each time he was asked. Onemilebrige was second. The winner was bred by Fred Hertrich and sold to Golmes, Anderson and Willinger for $43,000 at Harrisburg. The gritty veteran and Meadowlands all time trotting track record holder JL Cruze made his second qualifying appearance of the season and was again a winner, this time in 1:52.3 / 27.4 for Brett Miller. He's overcome a lot for trainer Eric Ell and looks as good as he has for a while in these morning efforts trying to find form enough to go in the August 4 Cashman Memorial. Tonight is the "Greatest Party in Harness Racing", the Meadowlands Pace complete with a BBQ contest and activities for the whole family. Live stream of tonight's full card is available free on The Meadowlands website. Post time is 6:35 pm.   by Nick Salvi, for the Meadowlands    

East Rutherford, NJ - Meadowlands Pace night is billed as the "Greatest Party in Harness Racing" and the 2018 edition promises to live up to that tag line both on and off the track. Post time on Saturday is 6:35 pm.   Pace weekend begins with a busy Friday night card where the $350,000 New Jersey Sires Stakes (NJSS) freshman finals hold center stage supported by four Kindergarten legs, a Pick 5 Guaranteed pool of $100,000 buoyed by a $28,976 carry over and the mandatory payout of the last race Jackpot Super Hi-5 pool, currently at $276,939, that could well enter seven figure territory by post time.   The $75,000 NJSS pacing finals are led by Hurrikane Emperor who has dominated the pacing colts in each leg and meets the same three rivals on Friday (non-betting event at 6:15 pm) for trainers John McDermott, père et fils and owners Jonathan Klee Racing, Kuhen Racing, Pegasis Invst Group, and G. Vierno.   Molly Dooker is an even money morning line choice in the filly race for the Visionary Breeders of NJ, who turns out to be trainer Tony Alagna. She jogged in last week's leg, finishing a 1:54.1 mile with a 27.1 final quarter for driver Brett Miller to win by more than four.   The NJSS trotting finals are both full of exciting prospects, ten in each $125,000 race in fact.   The fillies come up in race 5 where sires Father Patrick and Trixton, who are represented by 19 of the 20 finalists, have the two logical favorites.   Whispering Oaks, by Father Patrick, was a leg #1 winner in 1:55.4 largely due to the talents of her driver Yannick Gingras as she raced greenly while Yannick kept her not only on stride but on course to get the win in the last step. Jimmy Takter trains Whispering Oaks for Brixton Medical, Herb Liverman and R A W Equine, Inc.   Mother Bonnie scored her win in leg two for Andy McCarthy trotting to a national season's best of 1:55. The Trixton lass is a Robert McNerney and Hauser Brothers Racing homebred from the Noel Daley stable.   The result of the colt final will largely depend on the state of mind that the enigmatic Greenshoe brings into the race. The son of Father Patrick has exhibited extreme talent, winning a baby race in 1:55 on June 2, but has also demonstrated a fractious side which led to going him off stride at the start in his leg one appearance, only to make a sensational recovery and win the race in 1:56.2 despite the ground given with the miscue. Brian Sears has the assignment to keep Greenshoe to task for trainer Marcus Melander and owner Courant, Inc.   On Saturday night the eight Grand Circuit stakes are led by the $701,800 Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace (race 8), clearly one of the most competitive in the 42 year history of the stake.   Last season's O'Brien freshman award winner Stay Hungry (Doug McNair), owned by Brad Grant and the late Irwin Samelman and Courtly Choice, racing for the interests of Hutt Racing, Mac & Heim Stable, Daniel Plouffe and Touch Stone Stable, supplemented to the race at a cost of more than $62,000, won last week's elimination races and have the favorite's target on their backs.   Trainer Tony Alagna sends out three for the final including the aforementioned Stay Hungry, the season's fastest sophomore in American History (Yannick Gingras drives for Brittany Farms, Marvin Katz and American History Racing) who was second in the Courtly Choice elim and Babe's Dig Me (Brett Miller for Grant, Joe Sbrocco, Robert LeBlanc and In The Gym).   Courtly Choice carries the hopes of trainer Blake Macintosh and partners who backed their talented colt with a large cheque to give him a shot at the title. He also offers Hall of Fame driver Dave Miller one of his best chances to win the Pace, something he has yet to do.   The supporting card is nothing short of amazing with the $405,000 Hambletonian Maturity for 4-year-olds bringing harness racing's newest diva Ariana G back to the track just one week removed from her brilliant world record 1:50.2 demolition of many of these same rivals in last Saturday's Graduate final. Gingras has the drive on her for Takter and owners Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld.   A dozen talented debutantes will contest the sophomore pacing filly Mistletoe Shalee stake (race 5) led by Kissin In The Sand (Scott Zeron), trained by Nancy Johansson for Marvin Katz and Bud Hatfield Stable, who turned heads with a gritty uncovered masterpiece in the Lynch Memorial final a fortnight past.   The WR Haughton Memorial (race 10) for older horses and Golden Girls (race 9) for their female counterparts also drew over flow fields of twelve with all of the stars of the division present.   Mcwicked (Brian Sears), as sharp as he's ever been at age 7 for Casie Coleman and owner SSG Stable, will be the choice in the Haughton off his bruising win in the Ben Franklin.   Shartin N (Tim Tetrick) has dominated the pacing mares in 2018, having won all of the major stakes thus far for owners Richard Poillucci and Jo Ann Looney King and she'll be the strong public choice in the Golden Girls. Jim King, Jr trains.   Note that all 12 horse fields will race at a distance of a mile and one eighth.   Also on the Pace card are the final preps for the upcoming Hambletonian and Hambletonian Oaks which are set to be raced on Saturday, August 4.   The top colts are all counted among the 16 entered for the $362,000 (divided) Stanley Dancer Memorial (races 4 & 6) with several among them rounding into Hambo form at the perfect time and others still looking for answers.   The $257,000 Del Miller Memorial split into a pair of sevens (race 3 & 11) with a few of those fillies holding hopes of the main event come Hambletonian Day, depending on their performance and that of the colts racing in the Dancer.   How might one begin a card such as this?   Well, here at The Meadowlands we'll kick the evening off with a pair of Miss Versatility divisions for the finest aged trotting mares around, among them 2018 Horse of the Year Hannelore Hanover (Gingras) who has been flawless thus far in the new season.   Off the track there's a ton going on with the always popular Pace T-shirt giveaway, the $500 win wager promotion and a BBQ contest along with various activities for the family.   For the horseplayer Pace night is one of the highlights each season with big pools and the horizontal guarantees have been increased accordingly. The Pick 5 is guaranteed at $40,000 and the Pick 4 hiked to $75,000 for the evening. Free program pages are available courtesy of Trackmaster.   Pace night is always a highlight of the racing season and this year the experience is one you'll want to be a part of.   Remember, post time is 6:35.   by Nick Salvi, for the Meadowlands        

East Rutherford, NJ - The $2.7 million Meadowlands Pace card leads a stakes-laden weekend of Grand Circuit racing at The Meadowlands with a special 6:35 pm on Saturday.   The $701,800 Pace has ten of the finest sophomore colts heading post-ward led by last week's elimination winners Courtly Choice and Stay Hungry.   The supporting stakes pretty much all filled up to the max with the WR Haughton Memorial, Golden Girls and Mistletoe Shalee all fielding a dozen horses at the route distance at a mile and one eighth. Virtually all of the division leaders are listed among the entrants.   The Hambletonian Maturity has drawn nine led by Ariana G in fresh of her amazing 1:50.2 World record romp in last week's Graduate final.   The leading preps for the upcoming August 4 Hambletonian and companion Oaks stakes filled with the logical contenders.   The Stanley Dancer Memorial for colts will split at 16 boasting both O'Brien award winner Alarm Detector and Dan Patch winner Fourth Dimension and Wolfgang fronting a half dozen from Jimmy Takter's loaded barn.   The Del Miller for fillies drew 14 featuring Manchego's return to racing against the girls. She'll face the potent duo of Phaetosive and Seviyorum coming off track record efforts at Harrahs. For the record, Atlanta was not eligible to the Miller.   Last but certainly not least comes the Miss Versatility composed of 13 (2 div) older trotting mares including the magnificent Hannelore Hanover compete for money and points toward the final on Jug Day in Delaware.   Friday's card features the New Jersey Sires Stakes finals with full fields of 10 in both trots and the first leg of the Kindergarten Series for trotters.   Complete information will be available later today on The Meadowlands website.   by Nick Salvi, for the Meadowlands        

East Rutherford, NJ - Breakfast With The Babies (BWTB), sponsored by Fashion Farms, went to post on a perfect, windless Saturday morning under clear skies with temperatures in the 80's. Brothers Tom and John Cancelliere had a big day with a couple of sharp looking sons from Sweet Lou's first crop winning impressively this morning. The pacing colt portion of the program got started in a big way in race 7 when Admiral Ballsy (Dave Miller) left hard from his outside post and set fast fractions of 28.1, 56.3 and 1:24.4 before giving way late to the pocket sitting Sugar Factory (Corey Callahan) who swept past and paced through the wire handily in 1:52.3. Captain Cash (McCarthy) held nicely to be second and Captain Crunch (Scott Zeron) closed well to be third in the fast mile. Tom Cancelliere trains the winner for his brother John, who gave $65,000 for the Sweet Lou colt from Cam Swifty at Harrisburg. Birnam Wood Farms and Meirs are the breeders. The Cancelliere brothers and Callahan came right back to win with another Sweet Lou, this one named Love Me Some Lou, in 1:55.4. Callahan sent him out from post 8 right into a two hole, sat chilly behind Waterway's (B. Miller) pace then zipped by that rival in the 27 last quarter for the win. Captain Trevor (D. Miller) rallied wide to be second. Love Me Some Lou was a $95,000 Lexington yearling, bred by Spring Haven Farm. The cleverly named Taylor Swiftly opened the day a 1:56.3 winner for trainer / driver Domenico Cecere. She cut the mile, a half in 59, three panels in 1:28.1 then sprinted home in 28.2 untouched to win by four lengths over Susy (Jimmy Takter). The Trixton filly from True Diva is a Lindy Farms homebred. American Kronos won the second, converting a pocket trip for driver Andy Miller to a 1:59.4 / 29 record in her very first start. Girl With A Past (Andy McCarthy) closed strongly to get up for second. The winner is a Donato Hanover owned by Marvin Katz, Al Libfeld and David Goodrow and was bred in Italy by Allevamento Kronos. The third race was a throwback special as Chris Ryder set slow fractions with his The Light In Me, arriving at the three quarters station in a leisurely 1:33.4. The result was a 29.2 sprint home where Montevideo (Oskar Florhed) swept by the leader and held safe over Quiksilvr Blue Chip (Lucas Wallin) in 2:03.1. The winner is a Brittany Farms bred EL Titan colt bought at the Harrisburg sale for $70,000 by Howard Taylor and Order By Stable and trained by Ake Svanstedt. Brady Bunch was a 1:58.1 / 28.2 winner for Marcus Miller in race 4. It was a gate to wire effort for the Muscle Mass colt, not being asked until mid-stretch when he responded by widening to win as he pleased under his own power. Practical Cat (Takter) held second. Brady Bunch, bred by Patty Hogan, was an $82,000 Harrisburg buy for Mike Anderson, Joe Faraldo and Kentuckian Racing Stable. Erv Miler is the trainer. Pacing fillies came around next and Patty Hogan bred another winner in Entwined (Brett Miller). After stealing slow fractions Entwined spun off a 57.3 final half to get the win over a closing American Love (A. McCarthy). Both are American Ideal fillies trained by Tony Alagna. The winner is owned by the trainer and the breeder who got her for the bargain price of $9,000 at Harrisburg last fall. Tony sent out the next winner as well in Passion Struck (McCarthy) who took over on the backstretch and coasted home in hand for the 1:56.4 record over Funny Said (Marcus Miller). She is a Western Ideal bred by Steve Stewart and the Shetlers who brought a winning bid of $52,000 from Brad Grant at the Lexington sale. Major Deception (B. Miller) put on a speed show as the Captaintreacherous colt from Loving Caroline set all the numbers finishing a mile in 1:53.1 mile with a 27 final quarter while holding Rockin Jimmy Brown (M. Miller) at bay. In The Gym, Martha Frank, Robert LeBlanc, Steve Head and Joe Sbrocco gave $130,000 for the Diamond Creek bred Major Deception last fall in Lexington. Wolfgang, perched at the top of Ken Warkentin's Road to the Hambletonian, went a conditioning qualifier in 1:53, closing into a 28.2 last quarter to get up under his own power with trainer Jimmy Takter driving. He's expected to race next in the Stanley Dancer Memorial, which is shaping up to be quite an event on Meadowlands Pace night, July 14. Baby race charts may be accessed here. Next week's BWTB will start at 11:00 am. Live racing tonight at 6:35 with The Meadowlands Pace eliminations,$250,000 Graduate Series finals, Fan Appreciation night and the first annual Wienertonian dog racing spectacular. Don't miss it.   by Nick Salvi, for the Meadowlands  

Vernon, NY - Vernon Downs will implement an innovative new concept of classifying the overnight harness racing horses beginning with next week's draw.   David Siegel, President of Trackmaster known for their horse racing past performance products and handicapping aids, has developed a process where all horses racing on the continent are assigned a figure akin to the speed figures used by horseplayers to handicap races.   The assigned figure is based on a number of factors compiled by software that is dedicated to the process. The races are then comprised of those horses with comparable figures, theoretically creating races based on each horse's ability rather than the amount of money made in the last few starts.   Hoosier Park's Scott Peine has been using the assigned ratings for nearly two months and Ocean Downs implemented the ratings to classify their races when their meet began in early June. Both report positive results with even fields and odds boards for the races.   Hambletonian President John Campbell presented the idea at last December's Racing Secretary meetings and had this to say regarding the possibilities of the initiative;   "I believe the Trackmaster rating system of classifying horses has the potential to be far superior in matching fields of horses together and will offer our horse players more value across the tote board. The initial results at Hoosier Park and Ocean Downs from a wagering standpoint have been very positive."   Vernon Racing Secretary Scott Warren has spent the past few weeks observing and comparing the conventional money classification system with the assigned figure formula to get an idea if it worked for his horse population. He was impressed enough to put it to use.   "One of the more positive results from this manner of classifying will allow for horses to return to a class where they can be competitive more quickly after moving up to a level beyond their ability after a win while the money conditions could keep them over classified for a month or more. As a result the races should be more even and horses should be overmatched and at long odds far less often," was Warren's observation.   Classes will be listed on the condition sheet as AA, A, B, C & D. The ratings figure for horses that have been racing at Vernon will be available in the race office and on the Vernon Downs website.   Trackmaster automatically produces a figure for every horse racing in North America. This change will begin with the weekend of July 13 & 14. Please call the Racing Office at (315) 829-6825 with questions.   by Nick Salvi, for Vernon Downs

East Rutherford, NJ - The Meadowlands Grand Circuit Meet of Champions hits full stride this weekend with no fewer than 15 stakes among 27 races over Friday and Saturday.   Be advised that the Saturday post time is at 6:35 pm.   Friday's races are filled with freshmen as both the second leg New Jersey Sires Stakes (NJSS) and the first leg of the 2018 Kindergarten Classic series comprise 10 of the 15 races (14 on the pari-mutuel card and the NJSS 2YO colt pace an early non-bettor at 6:15).   The NJSS trots again hold promise of what the future may bring to those who invested in first crop sires Father Patrick and Trixton. Both are well represented in the NJSS and Father Patrick drew first blood by sweeping all four of last week's leg #1 divisions.   In the Kindergarten pacing races Captaintreacherous' first crop is well represented with 12 of the 28 entered being by that young sire.   Friday's races may be viewed here.   Saturday's card is the power packed Meadowlands Pace elimination program with the 15 horses split into a pair of $50,000 elims with the top ten from the official order moving on to next week's $700,000 final.   Supporting the Pace races are the $250,000 Graduate Series finals on the trot and pace, both filled to the brim with 10 competitive entrants battling for the top prize and the $66,000 Mary Reynolds stake where a dozed sophomore filly trotters vie for the title.   As if that were not enough, Saturday is both Fan Appreciation Day with discounted concessions, fireworks after the races and the 1st annual Wiener Dog races where those rascally lil pups will sprint (kinda) a "short leg" dash for fun and prizes.   Saturday's complete card is available here.   Also on tap are all of the guaranteed wagering opportunities and the Super Hi-5 Jackpot carryover is now at $272,052.   by Nick Salvi, for the Meadowlands      

East Rutherford, NJ - The 2018 edition of the Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace has drawn 15 declarations including a pair of supplements in Courtly Choice and Jimmy Freight when the box closed this morning.   The cost for each of the two horses suppliments is $61,690.   As a result there will be two $50,000 elimination races on Saturday, July 7 with the top five from the official order of finish moving on to the $700,000e final on July 14.   Trainer Tony Alagna has entered five horses led by his O'Brien award winning freshman Stay Hungry and American History who tuned up with a vicious 1:47 win last Saturday.   Supporting the Pace elims are the $250,000 Graduate Series finals with full fields of the top 4-year-old trotters and pacers currently racing.   Saturday's card is one of the highlights of the Meadowlands Championship Meet and it is important to note that the races will start at an earlier than usual post time of 6:35.   The 15 horses entered are:   AMERICAN HISTORY  BABES DIG ME  CAPTAIN DEO  COURTLY CHOICE  DORSODURO HANOVER  FASHIONONTHEBEACH  GRAND TETON  HAYDEN HANOVER  IDEAL FEELING  JIMMY FREIGHT  NUTCRACKER SWEET  ODDS ON LAUDERDALE  STAY HUNGRY  THINKBIG DREAMBIG  THIS IS THE PLAN   by Nick Salvi, for the Meadowlands

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