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EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - When a harness racing track hosts "event programs" with marquee races such as the Meadowlands Pace and Hambletonian, it's difficult to stack up a third card to match the other two in terms of excitement and impact. But on Saturday (Nov. 21) night, Fall Final Four/TVG Finals Night did well to live up to those programs with thrilling racing where divisional honors were won and lost, as well as featuring outstanding performances from some of the game's best horsemen and horsewomen at the showcase of the sport, The Meadowlands. The human stars of the night were Dexter Dunn and Nancy Takter. Dunn locked up the United States Harness Writers Association's Driver of the Year Award while Takter sewed up the Trainer of the Year trophy. Of the eight stakes races on the card, Dunn emerged victorious four times, guiding Manchego (TVG Open Trot), Kissin In The Sand (TVG Mares Pace), Always A Miki (Governor's Cup) and Bettor's Wish (TVG Open Pace) to victory lane. Takter scored three victories, as her trainees - Manchego, Kissin In The Sand and Always A Miki - were all handled by Dunn. In addition to that power-packed threesome, Takter also had likely Horse of the Year winner Tall Dark Stranger - the Meadowlands Pace and North America Cup champion - in her barn. Four horses made the final starts of their careers on Saturday, and, remarkably, all were seen in the winner's circle at their race's end. Manchego, a three-time Breeders Crown winner, gunned down arch-rival Atlanta for her 33rd win from 56 career starts while Plunge Blue Chip powered clear of her foes in TVG Mares Trot after a crafty second-quarter rating of :29.1 by trainer-driver Ake Svanstedt. Kissin In The Sand ended her time on the track with a seventh straight score, taking down defending Horse of the Year Shartin N in 1:48 while Bettor's Wish, so game in taking The Big M's Sam McKee Memorial in the summer, had another superb mile-oval performance in closing out his career with a 1:48.1 clocking in the TVG Open Pace. WILD WEEKEND WAGERING: For a second straight weekend, betting surpassed the $5-million plateau as a total of $5,079,059 was pushed through the windows after $2,334,662 was bet Friday (Nov. 20) and another $2,744,397 on Saturday (Nov. 21). Saturday saw steady play in the track's popular multi-leg wagers as $90,865 was poured into the Late 50-cent Pick-4 pool, $74,285 in the 20-cent Pick-5, $73,875 in the Early Pick-4, $42,871 in the 20-cent Pick-6, $23,341 in the 10-cent Pentafecta and $17,839 in the 20-cent Survivor Pick-7, which might have been the smallest of the featured pools, but yielded by far the biggest payout, as one sharp player wagering into the Nassau-Suffolk Off-Track Betting hub walked away with $15,163.06. THE SCHEDULE: Live racing will continue every Friday and Saturday night through the end of 2020. The one exception is Christmas Day. Post time every night is 7:15 p.m. BIG GUARANTEES: The Big M offers up $140,000 in guaranteed green every racing night with a $50,000 guaranteed pool on the first race 20-cent Pick-5, a $50,000 guarantee on the sixth race Early 50-cent Pick-4 and a $40,000 promise on the 10th race Late 50-cent Pick-4. All have a low takeout of 15 percent. FREE PPs: For free past performances of Meadowlands races, courtesy of the United States Trotting Association and TrackMaster, go to playmeadowlands.com. Races one through five - the entire 20-cent Pick-5 - will be available for both the Friday and Saturday cards this week. TWEET THE TEAM: Stay in touch on Twitter with the Big M's Dave Brower (@eedoogie), Dave Little (@DaveLittleBigM), Ken Warkentin (@kenvoiceover), Andrew Demsky (@shadesonracing) and Jessica Otten (@JessicaOtten1). Check in everyday for Meadowlands news and updates at those handles, as well as @TheMeadowlands and #playbigm. CHECK OUT THE PICKS: For those who need to get a leg up on the action, go to playmeadowlands.com to see track oddsmaker and analyst Brower's selections and commentary. Click on the "handicapping" tab and go to "race reviews". Additionally, track announcer Warkentin's blog is available on the site and offers his picks and analysis. On race nights, access picks and plays from the Big M TV team at #playbigm or at @TheMeadowlands. CHECK OUT THE SHOW: As always look for the "Racing from The Meadowlands" live in-house simulcast show every Friday and Saturday night. The pre-game show begins at 6:42 p.m. First race is at 7:15 p.m. This Friday, Demsky will join Brower on set Friday night while it'll be the "Dave & Dave" show on Saturday as Brower and Little will be the on-camera presence. If you can't make it out to the track, you can watch and wager on all the action at home. Go to rtn.tv or your favorite ADW platform to catch every race live. A HOLIDAY WISH: "2020 has been tough on everybody," said Big M Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Jason Settlemoir, "so all of us at The Meadowlands want to take this opportunity to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. We want everyone to stay as safe as possible while they celebrate and give thanks, so that we can get back to normal as soon as possible. We appreciate the efforts of our employees, horsemen and faithful fans for their continued support throughout the pandemic to make The Meadowlands experience the best in all of harness racing." GET YOUR FOOTBALL FIX: The National Football League season rolls on with games this Thursday, Sunday and Monday, and you can wager on all of the action in the Big M's FanDuel Sportsbook. Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 26) features three NFL games, as the Houston Texans (-3) travel to Detroit to take on the Lions at 12:30 p.m. before the Dallas Cowboys (-2½) play host to the Washington Football Team in a key NFC East matchup at 4:30 p.m. The day concludes with an 8:20 p.m. tilt between the visiting Baltimore Ravens and the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers (-4). One can wager on a full slate of college football games as well. There are also other sports available to bet on in the book from 10 a.m. - midnight Sunday through Friday and from 10 a.m. - 2 a.m. on Saturday. From the Meadowlands  

East Rutherford, NJ -- Bettor's Wish closed out his racing career in style with a powerful performance in Saturday's (Nov. 21) $340,000 TVG Series Open Pace championship, defeating Backstreet Shadow by 2-3/4 lengths in 1:48.1 at The Meadowlands. This Is The Plan finished third. Bettor's Wish led to the first turn before yielding to Southwind Ozzi in a :27.1 opening quarter. Southwind Ozzi's time on top was short-lived as driver Dexter Dunn directed Bettor's Wish back to the lead and took the field to the half in :54.2 and three-quarters in 1:22. He was never threatened in the stretch.   Sent off as the 1-2 favorite, Bettor's Wish paid $3.00 to win. "I barely asked him tonight, to be honest," Dunn said. "It was all him. It's been him his whole career. He's a true racehorse. "It was a special feeling crossing the line with him tonight. He's been an amazing horse to me." Bettor's Wish, a 4-year-old stallion by Bettor's Delight out of Lifetime Star, won 24 of 44 career starts and $2.60 million. He failed to finish among the top three only three times in his career. He received the Dan Patch Award for best 3-year-old male pacer in 2019 and was second to Shartin N in voting for both Pacer of the Year and Horse of the Year. Other victories this year for Bettor's Wish included the Sam McKee Memorial, Dayton Pacing Derby, and Allerage Farms Open Pace. Bettor's Wish is owned by trainer Chris Ryder, Bella Racing, Fair Island Farm, and Bettors Wish Partners. He was bred by Brittany Farms. "I'm very sad to retire the horse tonight, but it's the right time, it's the right thing to do for his stud career," Ryder said. "I'm really, really going to miss him. He's raced so good for us so many times, it's like I've got to pinch myself when I look back on those races. There are so many good memories. "I'd really like to thank my ownership group. They stood behind me 100 percent and let me race him wherever and whenever and that's made it a whole lot easier. The whole trip has just been very exciting and something I'll never forget." Bettor's Wish bred 58 mares in New Jersey this year before beginning his 4-year-old campaign. He will stand at Diamond Creek Farm of Pennsylvania in 2021. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA  

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Three months have passed since When Dovescry and Plunge Blue Chip clashed at The Meadowlands in a Steele Memorial thriller. Saturday night (Nov. 21), both million-dollar mares returned to settle the score in the $140,000 TVG Series Mares Trot. The 2019 Hambletonian Oaks winner When Dovescry, a 4-year-old mare by Muscle Hill-Cedar Dove, set a career best mark of 1:50.0 in the Steele this past August. The Brett Pelling trainee entered off a second-place finish in her local prep race last week. She left from the outside post (6) as the even-money favorite taking on five rivals, with her adversary, Plunge Blue Chip, drawing post position three. Plunge Blue Chip, the daughter of Muscle Mass-Dunk The Donato, finished second to When Dovescry when the two last met locally in the Steele. Ake Svanstedt, who trains, drives and owns the 5-year-old mare in partnership with Blue Chip Bloodstock, Inc., got away well at the sound of the bell, sending Plunge Blue Chip to the early lead. Around the first turn, she relinquished the top to long-shot, Felicityshagwell S, who made the opening quarter in :27.1. Sensing a slow pace, Svandstedt pulled the pocket and brushed to the point with Plunge Blue Chip as the field linked up with the backstretch. She progressed unhurried to the half-mile marker, catching a :29.1 breather, clipping the beam in :56.2. With plenty in reserve and no serious threats, Plunge Blue Chip showed the field her heels in the stretch, kicking clear to a 1½-length victory. Pat Matters advanced from last to finish second from When Dovescry who disappointed, settling for third.   Plunge Blue Chip stopped the clock in 1:51.4, matching a stakes record jointly held by Hannalore Hanover and Emoticon Hanover. She paid $5.80 to win as the 9-5 second choice. "The best position for her today was in the front, and she made it," Svanstedt said. "She came home fast and felt good." On a night that celebrated the retirements of Manchego, Bettor's Wish and Kissin In the Sand, Svanstedt revealed in a surprise post-race announcement, that Plunge Blue Chip has made her final trip around the Big M oval. According to Svanstedt, "[Plunge Blue Chip] sold as a broodmare and she is going to Anvil and Lace farm in Kentucky." With her win in the TVG Mares Trot, Plunge Blue Chip improved her record to 23 wins from 48 career starts. She retires with $1,576,251 in earnings. By Shades Demsky, for the Meadowlands

East Rutherford, NJ - Kissin In The Sand took the lead at the half, fended off a challenge from Shartin N on the final turn, and pulled away from the field in the stretch to win Saturday's $150,000 TVG Series Mare Pace championship in a stakes-record 1:48 at The Meadowlands. Three-year-old filly Peaky Sneaky was second and Shartin N was third. It was the final start of Kissin In The Sand's career. The 5-year-old mare finished the season with a seven-race win streak and pushed her lifetime victory total to 27 in 58 starts. She earned $1.74 million for owners Marvin Katz and Hatfield Stables and trainer Nancy Takter. "She was outstanding tonight," winning driver Dexter Dunn said. "She's had an amazing career, she's an amazing mare, and I was lucky enough to get on for the last four or five starts to enjoy the last run home." Kissin In The Sand left from post nine and settled into third as Peaky Sneaky and Shartin N exchanged the lead in an opening :26.3 quarter. Kissin In The Sand made her move on the backstretch and got to the front just as she hit the half in :53.4. She remained on top to three-quarters in 1:20.3 and came home in :27.2 to win by 2-1/2 lengths over stablemate Peaky Sneaky.   "She kicked in the straight really good," Dunn said. "She knows when it's go time. Once we got the plugs out, she went to another gear and finished off a very strong mile." Sent off the 4-5 favorite, Kissin In The Sand paid $3.80 to win. Kissin In The Sand, by Somebeachsomewhere out of Kiss Me Kate, was bred by Christina Takter, John Fielding, R A W Equine Inc., and Concord Stud Farm. She was a Dan Patch Award winner at age 3. Among her wins to close out this season were her first Breeders Crown as well as the Dayton Distaff Derby, Milton Stakes, and Allerage Farms Mare Pace. "When she was 3, I actually took care of her myself because I had a much smaller stable, so I had a very close relationship with her," trainer Nancy Takter said. "That's why she's so special (to me). "She's matured so much through the years. She was a pain in the butt to break. I remember four years ago when she came into my barn, I called Marvin Katz and said she's either going to be great, or she's going to be terrible. So I'm happy she decided to be great. She was just tough from day one and her performance tonight just shows how tough she really is." Kissin In The Sand will be bred to another of Takter's recently retired stars, Tall Dark Stranger. "Hopefully, they're a match made in heaven," Takter said, adding with a laugh, "I already told Marvin and Bud (Hatfield) that I get to train the first baby." by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA  

East Rutherford, NJ - Manchego made her final career start a winning one, capturing Saturday's (Nov. 21) $320,000 TVG Open Trot championship by 1-1/4 lengths over Atlanta in 1:51.3 at The Meadowlands. Lindy The Great finished third. Manchego, a 5-year-old mare, was retired in a ceremony in the winner's circle following the race. She ended her career with 33 wins in 56 career starts and $2.72 million in purses. Her victories included the 2018 Hambletonian Oaks and Breeders Crown titles at ages 2, 4, and 5. She is the fastest female trotter ever thanks to her 1:49 victory in the 2019 Allerage Farms Mare Trot at Red Mile and also the fastest female trotter in history on a five-eighths-mile track, with a mark of 1:49.3 in this year's Spirit of Massachusetts at Plainridge Park. Manchego is the only female trotter to win with a sub-1:50 mile in multiple years. She has been the sport's fastest trotter in 2019 and 2020. In 2017, Manchego won all 12 of her starts and became the first undefeated 2-year-old filly trotter in Breeders Crown history as well as the first unbeaten 2-year-old filly trotter to win a Dan Patch Award. With her Breeders Crown triumph last month, she joined Peace Corps and Grades Singing as the only female trotters with at least three trophies. Manchego, by Muscle Hill out of Secret Magic, was trained by Jimmy Takter at ages 2 and 3, and Nancy Takter at 4 and 5. She is owned by Barry Guariglia's Black Horse Racing and was bred by Brittany Farms. "She's just a super mare," Nancy Takter said. "She's been great since the first moment that she ever set foot on the track. "When you get the call that you get to train a horse like Manchego, those calls probably aren't going to come very many times in my life, so I appreciate every moment that I had with her. She's just an unbelievable mare. She makes my job easy, she makes all of us look good around her, because she's just such a professional." On Saturday, Manchego and driver Dexter Dunn watched from fourth as Crystal Fashion led to the quarter in :28 and half in :57. As the field neared the final turn, Dunn moved with Manchego and gained the cover of Atlanta, who had been racing in second. Crystal Fashion remained on top at three-quarters, reached in 1:24.1, but in the stretch it was all Manchego, who came home in :27 for the victory.   "It's fitting that the first time she ever went behind the gate was at The Meadowlands and she gets to finish her career here with a win," Takter said. "She started her career with a win at The Meadowlands and she's going to end it the same way." Said Guariglia, "It feels wonderful. She almost made that look too easy. She's super sharp right now. I was a little nervous when they got to the half in :57; she probably hasn't seen that since she trained back in March. Win or lose, I was ready for the emotions tonight. But, obviously, it's great to win." Manchego, the slight even-money favorite over Atlanta, paid $4.00 to win. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA    

Harness racing will say goodbye to three Dan Patch Award winners following Saturday's TVG Series championships at The Meadowlands. Bettor's Wish, Kissin In The Sand, and Manchego will be retired to breeding duties after their careers conclude this weekend and each will be honored in ceremonies following their respective races at The Big M. Bettor's Wish, a 4-year-old stallion, received the Dan Patch Award for best 3-year-old male pacer in 2019 and was second to mare Shartin N in voting for both Pacer of the Year and Horse of the Year. He led the sport with $1.64 million in purses last year and has earned $2.43 million lifetime. The son of Bettor's Delight-Lifetime Star heads to Saturday's $340,000 TVG Series Open Pace championship the winner of 23 of 43 lifetime starts. He has failed to finish among the top three only three times in his career. "I'm going to miss him," said trainer Chris Ryder, who owns Bettor's Wish with Bella Racing, Fair Island Farm, and Bettors Wish Partners. "He's going to be near impossible to replace. It's hard to find a horse that can do what he's done, and he just takes it all in stride. When you look back, it's been a terrific run. You really appreciate having a horse that can do all he did." Victories this year for Bettor's Wish include the Sam McKee Memorial, Dayton Pacing Derby, and Allerage Farms Open Pace. "Winning the McKee was very special to me," said Ryder, who noted at the time, "It's hard to describe. It's an honor to win it for Sam. I hope he's looking down on us today." Bettor's Wish bred 58 mares in New Jersey this year before beginning his 4-year-old campaign. He will stand at Diamond Creek Farm of Pennsylvania in 2021. Ryder gave credit to caretaker Alonso Martinez, second trainer Peter Trebotica, and his son Patrick Ryder, for playing key roles in the horse's success. He also thanked his ownership partners and regular driver Dexter Dunn as well as trainer Chantal Mitchell and driver Paul MacDonell, who campaigned the horse for him in Canada at 2. "Most of all, thank you Bettor's Wish," Ryder said. "He was such an exciting and tough racehorse for all of us to enjoy, consistently giving 100 percent on the track. We will all miss this amazing horse." Kissin In The Sand was a Dan Patch Award winner at age 3. The now 5-year-old mare enters Saturday's $150,000 TVG Series championship for female pacers with 26 career wins in 57 starts and $1.66 million in purses. A daughter of Somebeachsomewhere-Kiss Me Kate, she has been trained throughout her career by Nancy Takter and owned by Marvin Katz and Bud Hatfield. "It's been exciting," Hatfield said. "We all have had so much fun with this horse, it's unbelievable. But it's time to start another chapter in her life. It's time for the breeding shed, and I think she'll be a good mom." Kissin In The Sand brings a six-race win streak to her career finale. Among those victories was her first Breeders Crown as well as the Dayton Distaff Derby, Milton Stakes, and Allerage Farms Mare Pace. Hatfield said Kissin In The Sand's determination was what he most admired about the horse. That grit was perhaps most famously on display in the 2018 James M. Lynch Memorial at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, where she won by a neck over Youaremycandygirl after being parked out from post nine for most of the mile. "Even if she had a bad post, she would come out of there rolling, get parked, and keep digging in," Hatfield said. "She showed so much heart and grit. "Nancy has done a heck of a job with her. They have a special bond, they really do. She loves that horse. She's a special horse and I think she will be a special broodmare." Manchego, a 5-year-old female trotter, competes in Saturday's $320,000 TVG Series Open Trot, facing a field that includes fellow mare Atlanta as well as male rivals Crystal Fashion, Lindy The Great, and Mission Accepted. A daughter of Muscle Hill-Secret Magic, Manchego has won 32 of 55 lifetime races and earned $2.56 million. Her victories include the 2018 Hambletonian Oaks and Breeders Crown titles at ages 2, 4, and 5. She is the fastest female trotter ever thanks to her 1:49 victory in the 2019 Allerage Farms Mare Trot at Red Mile and also the fastest female trotter in history on a five-eighths-mile track, with a mark of 1:49.3 in this year's Spirit of Massachusetts at Plainridge Park. She is the only female trotter to win with a sub-1:50 mile in multiple years and has been the sport's fastest trotter in 2019 and 2020. Manchego went undefeated in 12 races at age 2 and received divisional Dan Patch honors. She was trained by Jimmy Takter at ages 2 and 3 and by Nancy Takter at 4 and 5. "For me, that (TVG) will be a rough one because it's been so wonderful, and I do like to race," owner Barry Guariglia of Black Horse Racing said. "It'll be a rough one, but the start of a new chapter for her. "She seems to be in good form, so hopefully we've got one more (win) in us." The Meadowlands hosts four TVG Series championships Saturday as well as the Fall Four for 2-year-olds. Four Breeders Crown winners will be in action in the Fall Four: Lady Chaos in the $451,800 Goldsmith Maid for 2-year-old filly trotters, On A Streak in the $398,650 Valley Victory for 2-year-old male trotters, Summa Cum Laude in the $371,900 Governor's Cup for 2-year-old male pacers, and Fire Start Hanover in the $323,600 Three Diamonds for 2-year-old filly pacers. For complete Saturday Big M entries, click here. Racing begins at 7:15 p.m. (EST). by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA    

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - One week after setting new Fall Meet handle marks for a single card and a weekend, The Meadowlands is in position to better both bests again as the upcoming pair of race cards (Nov. 20-21) feature plenty of competitive racing, with Saturday night's Fall Final Four/TVG Finals Night standing dead center in the spotlight. The stakes-race eight pack - the third biggest "event" program of the Big M calendar year after Hambletonian Day and Meadowlands Pace Night - has purses that total $2,495,950, and figures to create a big night at the windows. Last week (Nov. 13-14) saw Fall Meet highs of $5,299,941 bet over the course of the two race cards with a single-night best of $2,823,647 wagered on Saturday. In the end, the track had its first $5 million weekend since Sept. 18-19. The 20-cent Pick-6 continues to be a wager that creates big interest and big pools. A two-day carryover of just $28,142 led to a total pool of $104,695 on Saturday night, and those sharp enough to have all six winners walked away with $5,642. "All of us at The Meadowlands are pleased with the way things have gone with the Pick-6," said track Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Jason Settlemoir. "There is an awful lot of excitement when there are carryovers in the wager, and a lot of value for the player. For instance, last week, only the $76,553 in "new money" was subject to the low 15 percent takeout. All of the $28,142 carryover was subject to no takeout at all." Other eyebrow-raising Saturday night payoffs included the 20-cent Pick-5 ($1,599), 20-cent Survivor Pick-7 ($2,527 for six-of-seven) and the 10-cent Pentafecta ($1,166). Friday night was for 50-cent Pick-4 players as over $140,000 in action was taken on the wagers. The Early Pick returned $4,186 while the Late Pick paid $2,362. As for hot horsemen, Dexter Dunn (five winners) led the driver's colony while Kelvin Harrison (three) topped the trainer's list. FREE PPs: For free past performances of Meadowlands races, courtesy of the United States Trotting Association and TrackMaster, go to playmeadowlands.com. Races one through five will be available for Friday's program while Saturday's entire Fall Final Four/TVG Finals card will be offered. TWEET THE TEAM: Stay in touch on Twitter with the Big M's Dave Brower (@eedoogie), Dave Little (@DaveLittleBigM), Ken Warkentin (@kenvoiceover), Andrew Demsky (@shadesonracing) and Jessica Otten (@JessicaOtten1). Check in everyday for Meadowlands news and updates at those handles, as well as @TheMeadowlands and #playbigm. CHECK OUT THE PICKS: For those who need to get a leg up on the action, go to playmeadowlands.com to see track oddsmaker and analyst Brower's selections and commentary. Click on this link to check out Friday's card: http://playmeadowlands.com/RaceReviews.aspx?racedt=11/20/2020. Additionally, track announcer Warkentin's blog is available on the site and offers his picks and analysis. On race nights, access picks and plays from the Big M TV team at #playbigm or at @TheMeadowlands. CHECK OUT THE SHOW: As always look for the "Racing from The Meadowlands" live in-house simulcast show every Friday and Saturday night. The pre-game show begins at 6:42 p.m. First race is at 7:15 p.m. It'll be the "Dave & Dave" show on both Friday and Saturday as Brower and Little will be the on-camera presence all weekend long, with additional coverage in the form of winner's circle interviews and retirement ceremonies for some of the game's biggest equine stars on Saturday night. If you can't make it out to the track, you can watch and wager on all the action at home. Go to rtn.tv or your favorite ADW platform to catch every race live. GET YOUR FOOTBALL FIX: The National Football League season rolls on with games this Thursday, Sunday and Monday, and you can wager on all of the action in the Big M's FanDuel Sportsbook. Thursday's (Nov. 19) NFL matchup has the Kyler Murray-led Arizona Cardinals, fresh off a "Hail Mary" win over the Buffalo Bills, traveling to Seattle to take on Russell Wilson and the Seahawks. Seattle is a 3-point favorite (-114). For those who prefer money lines, the Seahawks are -164 to win the game, regardless of by how much. One can wager on a full slate of Saturday college football games as well. There are also other sports available to bet on in the book from 10 a.m. - midnight Sunday through Friday and from 10 a.m. - 2 a.m. on Saturday. From The Meadowlands

Harness racing trainer Nancy Takter will watch trotting mare Manchego and pacing mare Kissin In The Sand compete for the final time Saturday at The Meadowlands, but also will get another look at two 3-year-olds that will attempt to follow in their award-winning stablemates' hoof prints next season. Hambletonian Oaks winner Sorella will face five older foes in the $140,000 TVG Series championship for female trotters while 3-year-old filly Breeders Crown winner Peaky Sneaky will meet eight older rivals in the $150,000 TVG Series championship for female pacers. "They're both coming back next year, and they're both really sharp at the moment," Takter said. "I think they both deserve a chance." It is the second time 3-year-old fillies will take on mares in the TVG Series championships, which debuted in 2013. Last year, Warrawee Ubeaut finished fourth in the Mare Pace final and Beautiful Sin was fourth in the Mare Trot. Sorella's foes in the Mare Trot include 5-year-old Plunge Blue Chip, a world-record-holder and multiple Grand Circuit winner, and 4-year-old When Dovescry, who captured the 2019 Hambletonian Oaks and Dan Patch Award for best 3-year-old filly trotter. She will not face Manchego or Atlanta, who will both race in Saturday's $320,000 TVG Open Trot final. Peaky Sneaky's rivals in the Mare Pace include 5-year-old Kissin In The Sand as well as 7-year-old Shartin N, who was the 2019 Horse of the Year; 6-year-old Caviart Ally, who is the event's defending champion, and 4-year-old Warrawee Ubeaut. The four TVG Series championships are among eight Grand Circuit stakes on Saturday's Big M card, along with the Fall Four for 2-year-old pacers and trotters. Racing begins at 7:15 p.m. (EST). Sorella heads to the TVG Mare Trot off a win in last week's Matron Stakes for 3-year-old filly trotters. She has won eight of 14 races this season, hit the board a total of 12 times, and earned $713,049. In addition to winning the Oaks, she won a division of the Casual Breeze Stakes at Woodbine Mohawk Park in a Canadian-record 1:51.3 and the Reynolds Memorial in 1:50.2, which is tied for the season's second-fastest mile by a 3-year-old trotter. "The only way I was putting Sorella in was if Manchego ended up in the (TVG) Open," Takter said. "I knew it was going to be a little bit of a short field, and I think she belongs in there. I don't think she gets enough credit for what she's done this year. She's raced from the first weekend of June all the way through November. She broke a Canadian record, she won the Oaks; she's had a tremendous year." Peaky Sneaky won the Breeders Crown last month at Harrah's Hoosier Park, where she handed Party Girl Hill her only loss of the season. For the year, Peaky Sneaky has won six of 15 races, hit the board 12 times, and earned $482,622. Her 1:48 win in a division of the Glen Garnsey makes her the third-fastest female pacer of the season, behind only Party Girl Hill and Kissin In The Sand. "She's tough and gritty," Takter said. "I don't think she knows any different if they're aged mares or 3-year-olds." Kissin In The Sand heads to the TVG final with a six-race win streak. Her victories include the Breeders Crown, Dayton Distaff Derby, Milton Stakes, and Allerage Farms Mare Pace. For her career, she has won 26 of 57 races and $1.66 million. She was a Dan Patch Award winner at 3. Manchego, coming off the third Breeders Crown title of her career, and 5-year-old mare Atlanta both take on the males in the TVG Open Trot. Manchego has won 32 of 55 lifetime races and $2.56 million. She was a Dan Patch Award winner at 2. In the TVG Open Pace championship, Bettor's Wish will make his final career start against a field that includes Breeders Crown winner Century Farroh. Four Breeders Crown winners also will be in action in the Fall Four: Lady Chaos in the $451,800 Goldsmith Maid for 2-year-old filly trotters, On A Streak in the $398,650 Valley Victory for 2-year-old male trotters, Summa Cum Laude in the $371,900 Governor's Cup for 2-year-old male pacers, and Fire Start Hanover in the $323,600 Three Diamonds for 2-year-old filly pacers. For complete Saturday Big M entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA   

East Rutherford, NJ - The Meadowlands is proud to announce its 2020 stakes schedule which will total approximately $14 million over the course of the 92 program meet.   The Meadowlands Standardbred meet will have a different look in 2020 due to Monmouth Park exercising their legislated right to race Thoroughbreds on the main track from October 2 through November 21, thus eliminating the possibility for the customary Fall harness meet.   Live Harness Racing will begin January 2 and race primarily on Fridays and Saturdays with an occasional Thursday thrown in through September 19; then pick back up on November 27 racing three days per week through year's end.   Hambletonian Day will once again headline the Championship Meet with more than $3 million in stakes purses offered on Saturday, August 8. The $1 million Hambletonian will return to the elimination format with the finest 3-year-old trotters competing for ten final berths on August 1 to return for Harness Racing's most sought after prize the next week.   The Hambletonian Oaks will follow the same course and lead the customary cast of supporting stakes that include the $300,000 Cashman FFA trot, $225,000 McKee FFA pace, $175,000 Steele FFA mare trot, $200,000 Lady Liberty FFA mare pace and the Haughton & Doherty Memorial stakes for freshman colt and filly trotters.   The $700,000e Meadowlands Pace will lead a parade of top stakes on Pace night Saturday, July 18 the includes the $400,000 Hambletonian Maturity, $400,000 WR Haughton FFA and $200,000 Golden Girls for pacing mares.   The TVG Championship Stakes and Fall Freshman Final Four are slated to open the winter meet on Saturday, November 28 headlining a $3 million card.   The longer than usual summer meet presents an opportunity to delay the start of the New Jersey Sires Stakes (NJSS) for 2-year-olds to mid-July with the finals on August 21. The later start to the NJSS races offer three more weeks to prepare for the enriched NJ program, a welcome benefit to both the horses and the horsemen that manage them. Those dates have recently been adjusted to race the finals two weeks earlier than originally planned in an effort to accommodate those horses that qualify to race in the Kentucky dual-eligibility program.   While on the topic of 2-year-olds, The Meadowlands schedule provides a racing opportunity for the freshman crop every week from July 3 through September 18. The Tompkins-Geers and Reynolds stakes, previously raced at Tioga Downs, have been brought to The Meadowlands with the 2-year-old divisions of those stakes blended in with the Kindergarten and NJSS to reach that goal.   The 3-year-old Tompkins-Geers trotting and pacing divisions and Reynolds trotting stakes are all at The Meadowlands and have been placed where they best provide preps for some of our major stakes.   The Graduate Series returns in the customary time frame to provide transitional races for 4-year-old pacers and trotters before they must face the top older stakes horses. The $250,000 finals will again be a part of the Meadowlands Pace elimination night card on July 11.   The Miss Versatility will offer five legs to trotting mares beginning on May 28 at Woodbine Mohawk Park then race at The Meadowlands four times before the $100,000 finals at The Little Brown Jug.   All stakes information will be available on The Meadowlands website in early January.   by Nick Salvi, for The Meadowlands        

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Last Saturday's (Nov. 23) TVG/Fall Final Four Night at the Meadowlands promised an evening of incredible racing featuring a galaxy of harness racing stars. And it delivered. The four TVG Finals for older horses yielded no winning favorites and left a somewhat blurry Horse of the Year picture even more out of focus. The biggest surprise of the night came early for the backers of 1-9 favorite Atlanta, who got gunned down by Emoticon Hanover after a thrilling stretch duel in 1:51.4, giving Emoticon a second straight TVG Mares Trot championship. In the TVG Open Pace, Always A Prince, being driven by Yannick Gingras for the first time, blasted down the road in a sizzling 1:48.2. Rallying for second was 2-1 public choice Bettor's Wish, whose record for 2019 now stands at 13 wins and six seconds from 19 starts. He is the leading money-earning horse in the sport this year with a bank account of $1.64 million and figures in the Horse of the Year conversation. Ake Svanstedt moved Six Pack at just the right moment and charged past 7-5 shot Manchego - who was seeking to beat the boys - in the TVG Open Trot in 1:50. It marked the final career start for Six Pack (the 3-2 second choice), who finished his career with 19 wins from 35 starts and earnings of $1.93 million. His 1:49.1 win in the 2018 Kentucky Futurity is the fastest mile ever by a 3-year-old on the trot. The last of the TVG Finals - the Mares Pace - brought high drama, as 1-2 favorite Shartin N was looking to hang on to the top spot in the Horse of the Year race facing her arch-rival - and 3-1 second choice - Caviart Ally. The stretch duel was as thrilling as they get, and at the wire, Caviart Ally had her third consecutive win over Shartin N in a race of great significance (the Breeders Crown and Allerage were the other two), this time by a nose in 1:48.3. The Fall Final Four for 2-year-olds featured some pulse-pounding performances as well. Papi Rob Hanover was much the best as the 1-9 public choice in the Governor's Cup for colts and geldings on the pace while 1-2 favorite - and Breeders Crown champion - Amigo Volo went off stride early, paving the way for EL Ideal (3-1 second choice) to go wire-to-wire in the Valley Victory for male trotters. Senorita Rita, the even-money choice, got up just in time to catch Sister Sledge after a stretch battle in the Goldsmith Maid for filly trotters while 3-1 second choice JK First Lady powered home after rallying three-wide at three-quarters to take the Three Diamonds for filly pacers. Lyons Sentinel, the 1-2 public choice, finished third. In addition to Six Pack retiring, others making their final starts Saturday included Hannelore Hanover, a lifetime earner of over $3 million who goes out as one of the top female trotters in the history of the game; 2018 Horse of the Year McWicked, who finished fifth behind Always A Prince and completes his career with a staggering bankroll of $4.93 million; and 2018 Meadowlands Pace winner Courtly Choice, whose lifetime best of 1:47.1 came in the Big M's signature pacing event. TOUGH NIGHT FOR TOP 10: None of the seven horses in the Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown Top 10 Poll who raced Saturday emerged victorious. In addition to No. 8 Atlanta, No. 2 Bettor's Wish, No. 10 McWicked, No. 5 Manchego and No. 1 Shartin N, No. 4 Warrawee Ubeaut - a 3-year-old who took on older - finished fourth in the TVG Mares Pace while No. 6 Gimpanzee - another sophomore that took on elders - finished fourth in the TVG Open Trot. LET THE DEBATE BEGIN: While Shartin N remains the favorite to take home the Horse of the Year trophy, there will no doubt be some voters who will cast their ballots elsewhere. In the Top 10 Poll that was released Tuesday, four horses received first-place votes: Shartin N (23), Bettor's Wish (8), Greenshoe (3) and Manchego (1). "The Meadowlands was proud to host an unforgettable night of racing," said Big M Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Jason Settlemoir. "The TVG races showcased the best of the best and featured several much-anticipated matchups of top 3-year-olds taking on some of the outstanding older horses in training. We watched the stars of the future in the Fall Final Four and we said goodbye to some of our greatest stars who were honored in retirement ceremonies. The TVG Finals, in unison with the Fall Final Four, certainly was the perfect way to close out a sensational Meadowlands 2019 stakes season." ON THE CALENDAR: Racing resumes this weekend on Friday and Saturday with a first-race post time of 7:15 p.m. This will be the last two-card race week of the year as during the month of December, racing will be conducted on a thrice weekly basis, Thursday through Saturday. ... On Nov. 29, card players who are 21 or older can play Texas Hold'em on "Free Poker Friday", hosted by World Free Poker. ... Bring your appetite on Saturday (Nov. 30), for the Big M's third annual Pork Roll Eating Contest. First prize is $500. TOYS FOR TOTS: Come on out to the track on Monday (Dec. 2) and bring an unwrapped toy for a child at Harlem Grown. Not only will you help a youngster have a happy holiday, but you will also get to greet New York Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa - the honorary Captain of the 2019 Toys for Tots Campaign - as the U.S. Marine Toys for Tots Annual Holiday Toy Drive Reception takes place at the Meadowlands. FOX5 sportscaster Tina Cervasio will host the event, where some of Enunwa's Jets teammates are expected to attend. For those who cannot make it but would like to help, they can bring a new, unwrapped toy to the track between now and the night of the event. FANDUEL HOLIDAY SCHEDULE: Here is the holiday operating schedule for the Big M's FanDuel Sportsbook: Thanksgiving Day: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Christmas Eve: 10 a.m. - 10 p.m. Christmas Day: Closed New Year's Eve: 10 a.m. - 10 p.m. New Year's Day: 10 a.m. - 1 a.m. For more information, go to playmeadowlands.com/fanduel. From the Meadowlands Media Department  

For the third time this season, Caviart Ally has nosed out world champion Shartin N, this time in the $175,000 final of the TVG Series for old harness racing pacing mares. It took the photo finish camera to declare the winner at the Meadowlands Saturday. Shartin N and driver Tim Tetrick took the lead after the opening quarter mile while Caviart Ally and driver Andy McCarthy were content to sit in second place until the stretch drive. Going head and head to the wire, Caviart Ally came on to win by a nose in a stakes record clocking of 1:48.3. KIssin In The Sand was third. Trained by Brett Pelling for Caviart Farms of Vienna, VA, it was the ninth win this year for the five-year-old mare by Bettor's Delight. She paid $8.80 to win. by Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink ;

Six Pack made the final harness racing start of his career a special one, setting a track record Saturday at the Meadowlands in capturing the $350,000 TVG Horse Trot Final with a track record 1:50 victory. Trained and driven to victory by Ake Svanstedt, Six Pack was able to gun down the filly, Manchego, at the wire. Guardian Angel AS was third. Six Pack paid 5.00 to win. Six Pack, a four-year-old stallion by Muscle Mass, is co-owned by Svanstedt, Little E Stable and Stall Kalmar & L. He will stand stud in 2020 in New Jersey at the Deo Volente Farm. by Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink 

Always A Prince and driver Yannick Gingras stole the show in the $350,000 TVG Open Pace Final Saturday at the Meadowlands. Starting from post eight, Yannick sent the four-year-old gelding by Always A Virgin right to the front and never looked back. The duo held the field at bay and then pulled away in the stretch for a 1:48.2 triumph. He is trained by Tyler George and is owned by Carl and Melanie Atley of Xenia, Ohio. He paid $12.00 to win. Bettor's Wish was second with American History third. "It was the first time I ever drove him was tonight," said Yannick Gingras. "He was really nice to drive." by Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink  

With a strong closing effort, Emoticon Hanover and driver Dan Dube upset the 1/9 favorite Atlanta in winning the $175,000 TVG Mares Trot Final at the Meadowlands Saturday. Hannelore Hanover was third. The time of the race was 1:51.4, which tied the harness racing stakes record now co-held by Emoticon Hanover with Hannelore Hanover. Emoticon Hanover went off at odds of 7-1 and paid $16.40 to win. She won by a long neck. by Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink

Prior to second-place finishes in October's Allerage and Breeders Crown events for harness racing mare pacers, Shartin N had never lost consecutive starts during her North American racing career, a span of 39 races. So, trainer Jim King Jr. breathed a little easier when Shartin N snapped that skid with a win in last week's invitational for fillies and mares at Dover Downs. The 6-year-old mare, who was slowed by sickness in September, won by 2-1/4 lengths over Kissin In The Sand in 1:49.4. "That's for sure," King said. "It was concerning, trying to figure out what I might have done wrong or what else I could have done to have her back in shape. She certainly appeared in her last start to get back to being Shartin again. Everything appears to be back in order. That's how it appears. She'll have to let us know come Saturday night." Shartin N races Saturday in the $175,000 TVG Mare Pace championship at The Meadowlands, where she is the 9-5 morning-line favorite in a field that includes Allerage and Breeders Crown winner Caviart Ally as well as 3-year-old standout Warrawee Ubeaut. It will be Shartin N's final race of the season. The mare has won 15 of 18 starts, earned $940,177, and been ranked No. 1 in the sport's Top 10 poll for each of its 26 weeks so far. A win in the TVG would push her over $1 million for the second consecutive year; she was the first pacing mare to ever break that barrier in 2018. Shartin N will start from post one with regular driver Tim Tetrick. Caviart Ally, who leaves from post seven in the nine-horse field, is 7-2 on the morning line and Warrawee Ubeaut, the first filly to enter the TVG Mare Pace, is 4-1 from post four. "Her biggest issue is she's just a filly," King said about Warrawee Ubeaut. "I know it's late in the year, so she's almost what you would consider an aged horse, but the fact is she's still a 3-year-old and I don't remember seeing 3-year-olds doing what aged horses do. But the second half of her year has been very good. I could see why they would want to (enter). "A lot of people wanted to see Shartin go with the boys, but I don't think that's the right way to go myself. But everybody does it their own way." Shartin N has won 41 of 55 career races and $2.06 million. Since arriving in North America, she has won 34 of 42 starts and $1.99 million. In 2018, she started at least once in every month January through November. This year, she started at least once in every month March through November. She will return to the races in 2020 for owners Richard Poillucci, Jo Ann Looney-King, and Tetrick. "We're very much looking forward to it," King said. "We've had two long seasons in a row here, but she's a pretty tough girl." The TVG Mare Pace is part of a stakes-filled Saturday card at The Meadowlands. Following is a brief look at the remainder of the stakes action. $175,000 TVG Mare Trot (Race 2): Atlanta is the 6-5 morning-line favorite in a five-horse field that includes retiring 2017 Horse of the Year Hannelore Hanover, O'Brien Award winner Emoticon Hanover, and 3-year-old filly Beautiful Sin. $401,850 Governor's Cup (Race 4): Papi Rob Hanover, fresh off his Matron Stakes win, is the 3-5 favorite in the race for 2-year-old male pacers. Cattlewash, the Matron runner-up, is 4-1 second choice. $505,050 Valley Victory (Race 5): Breeders Crown champion Amigo Volo is the 8-5 favorite in the race for 2-year-old male trotters. Kindergarten Classic Series winner EL Ideal is 3-1 second pick. $475,100 Goldsmith Maid (Race 6): Kindergarten champ Senorita Rita is the 2-1 favorite, with Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champ and Breeders Crown runner-up Sister Sledge at 5-2 in the field of eight 2-year-old filly trotters. $350,000 TVG Open Pace (Race 8): Bettor's Wish, a 3-year-old colt facing older male foes, is the 3-1 favorite. He leads the sport with $1.56 million in purses this year and has finished no worse than second in 18 starts, with 13 wins. Retiring 2018 Horse of the Year McWicked is 7-2 and Breeders Crown champion American History is 9-2. $411,000 Three Diamonds (Race 9): Matron Stakes winner Lyons Sentinel received a bye to the final and is the 2-1 favorite in the field of 2-year-old filly pacers. Elimination winner JK First Lady is 7-2 and Kindergarten champ Marloe Hanover is 9-2. $350,000 TVG Open Trot (Race 10): Machego, the fastest female trotter in history and winner of six consecutive starts, is the 2-1 favorite. Three-year-old Gimpanzee, a Breeders Crown and Matron winner, is 5-2 followed by retiring Dan Patch Award winner Six Pack at 3-1 and Maple Leaf Trot champ Guardian Angel AS at 4-1. Racing begins at 7 p.m. (EST) Saturday at The Meadowlands. For complete entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA    

Warrawee Ubeaut and Beautiful Sin will make harness racing history Saturday when they become the first 3-year-old fillies to compete against mares in the TVG championships at The Meadowlands. Their connections hope they can add to their stories with victories in their respective races. Neither horse faces an easy assignment. Warrawee Ubeaut meets a field in the $175,000 Mare Pace that includes the sport's No. 1-ranked horse, Shartin N, and Breeders Crown winner Caviart Ally. Beautiful Sin takes on a group in the $175,000 Mare Trot that includes No. 8-ranked Atlanta, 2018 O'Brien Award winner Emoticon Hanover, and 2017 Horse of the Year Hannelore Hanover. Warrawee Ubeaut, who saw an eight-race win streak snapped Nov. 14 in the Matron Stakes, and driver Yannick Gingras will start the Mare Pace from post four and are 4-1 on the morning line. Shartin N is the 9-5 favorite and Caviart Ally is 7-2. For the year, Warrawee Ubeaut has won 12 of 18 races, earned $937,170, and is ranked No. 4 in harness racing's Top 10 poll. Her victories include the Breeders Crown and Jugette. The Ron Burke trainee shares the world record for a 3-year-old filly pacer on a half-mile track (1:50.1) and last season became the fastest 2-year-old pacer in history (1:48.3). She is a daughter of Sweet Lou out of Great Memories and owned by Burke Racing, Phil Collura, J&T Silva-Purnel & Libby, and Weaver Bruscemi. "She's as fast as any horse I've trained," Burke said. "It's not a question of whether they're going to out-pace her, she can pace with anybody. It's going to be a question of getting the right trip to beat them because they are very good horses. There are a lot of horses that like to be on the front or near the front in that race. Something is going to have to give. "I don't think it's going to be like in the past where they lined up and sprinted home. I think you're going to see a race where there is constant movement. It depends where she ends up. There is going to be at least one person that is going to rightly say that they got a terrible trip because we're not all going to get a good trip. I'm anxious to see how that works out." Burke also trains Mare Pace entrants Youaremycandygirl and Reclamation. Beautiful Sin starts the Mare Trot from post three in a field of five and is 5-1 on the morning line. Trainer Ake Svanstedt will handle the driving. A daughter of Muscle Hill out of Sina, she is owned by S R F Stable. She has won two of 11 races this season, including the Kentucky Filly Futurity, which made her eligible to enter the TVG. "It's a tough race for her," Svanstedt said. "It's her first time against older mares but she is good and now she can race without shoes and I think she is much better without shoes. It's always tough for a 3-year-old to go against the mares but she's fast and she's a good horse. We'll see what she can do." Svanstedt also sends Darling Mearas S into the Mare Trot. Dexter Dunn will drive the 6-year-old mare from post five. She is 7-2 on the morning line. Atlanta, trained by Burke, is the 6-5 favorite in the Mare Trot. She won the preferred last week at The Meadowlands, her eighth win in 14 starts this year. "I was thrilled with her," Burke said. "She was as good as she's been all year, maybe even better. I look for her to come back and be very good this week." Hannelore Hanover, who has won 46 of 86 lifetime starts and $3.04 million, will retire following the TVG Mare Trot. Also retiring following their TVG starts will be trotter Six Pack and pacers McWicked, who was the 2018 Horse of the Year, and Courtly Choice. Burke, who recently topped $20 million in purses for the seventh consecutive year, has at least one starter in each TVG final and Fall Final Four, a total of 12 horses in all. Dorsoduro Hanover, a Dan Patch Award winner last season at 3, is 8-1 in the $350,000 TVG Open Pace. He finished fourth in the Potomac Pace in his most recent start but was beaten by only a length. "He's really been good the last few," Burke said. "Even in the Potomac, he had pace, he just couldn't get to the outside. I like his spot (post six); he's in a spot where he can be aggressive. I think we have a shot there." Burke's Sister Sledge is the 5-2 second choice behind Senorita Rita (2-1) in the $475,100 Goldsmith Maid for 2-year-old filly trotters and his Cattlewash is the 4-1 second choice in the $401,850 Governor's Cup for 2-year-old male pacers, where Papi Rob Hanover is the 3-5 favorite. "If Papi Rob wasn't in there I'd love my chances," Burke said. "But I think Papi Rob is significantly better than the rest of us, all of us. "Sister Sledge I think has got a great shot. She's been great all year." Racing begins at 7 p.m. (EST) Saturday at The Meadowlands. For complete entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA  

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