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EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – Heading into Saturday night’s featured $28,000 Preferred for pacers at The Meadowlands, American History had won two in a row by a combined 10¼ lengths, and while the veteran harness racing earner of over $1.1 million might have been bumping up in class, the narrative remained the same. On a night where the feels-like temperature was 30 degrees with a stiff wind into the horses faces in the stretch, American History upped his win streak to three with a powerhouse 1:48.4 performance. “He had a terrible bunch of bad luck this summer,” said winning trainer Tony Alagna. “But we thought he was coming around in his last few starts. He’s been in spots where he can use his speed. We worked hard on that. He trained well off the pace as well, so he can do that, too.” All night long the track played to speed in a big way, so there was no need for the 2019 Breeders Crown champion to race from behind. This Is The Plan, with his impressive lifetime bankroll of $1.7 million, was sent to the gate as the 3-5 public choice. He showed high speed from the start, as did American History, Harambe Deo and Western Joe. Grabbing the top at the opening quarter while parked was This Is The Plan, but only led briefly, as American History wrestled the lead away from the chalk as he sprinted the second quarter in :26.4 to hit the half in :54.1. Around the far turn, driver Andy McCarthy asked American History for more, and he responded by opening a 1½-length edge on the pocket-sitter at three-quarters in 1:21. Through the stretch, American History would have to deal with This Is The Plan after that one popped the pocket inside the eighth pole. But as the pair neared the wire, American History had little trouble holding sway to score by a half-length. Western Joe was third. A 5-year-old son of American Ideal-Perfect Touch who is owned by Brad Grant, American History paid $7.20 as the second choice in the betting to up his lifetime stats to 21 wins from just 58 starts and earnings of $1,172,753. “We are going to pick and choose his starts in the weeks ahead,” said Alagna. “We are not opposed to racing him [during the winter] a little bit. He can go with the best horses when he’s on his game.” MEET-HIGH HANDLE: Wagering was vigorous from start to finish on the 13-race card, as a total of $2,894,040 was bet on the program, a Fall-Meet best. … 50-cent Pick-4 action was fast and furious as the two “signature” mile-oval wagers saw total action of $170,822. … A carryover of $6,205 fueled a total pool in the 20-cent Pick-6 of $51,741, the fourth consecutive Saturday that saw a P6 carryover. Those with six winners cashed in for $1,469.58. A LITTLE MORE: George Napolitano Jr. continued his winning ways at the meeting by scoring three times on the card. He made a big move to the lead at the half with Ruthless Hanover in the ninth race high-end conditioned pace on the way to a dominant 5¼-score in 1:48.4, pacing the night’s fastest mile until American History stopped the clock in the same time 23 minutes later. … McCarthy equaled Napolitano by visiting the winner’s circle three times. … Racing resumes Friday at 7:15 p.m.   By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - The last time Rich And Miserable won at The Meadowlands was almost a year ago on December 20 when he scored at the harness racing mile oval in 1:52.1. Until Friday night, that is. Hall of Fame driver David Miller guided Rich And Miserable to a perfect pocket trip on the way to scoring in The Big M's Friday night feature, a $21,000 high-end conditioned trot. The Todd Buter trainee shipped in from Yonkers, where he had finished seventh and sixth, respectively, in his last two starts. The change in scenery was just what the doctor ordered. Miller had the gas pedal down early from post position seven in the 10-horse field and settled into a pocket trip just behind 9-5 favorite JL Cruze after the quarter was timed in :27.1. Deltasun A, in search of a second straight score in the weekly feature, went parked down the backside while applying pressure to the pace-setting favorite as Miller and Rich And Miserable sat chilly in the pocket. On the far turn, Deltasun A had had enough, backing through the field as they neared three-quarters, which was timed in 1:24.2. In typical Miller fashion, he stayed patient and did not tip out of the two-hole until there was a little more than a sixteenth of a mile to go and easily went by JL Cruze to record a 2-length win in 1:52.3. Cue Hall kicked past JL Cruze late to get the place spot. Rich And Miserable "I was a little surprised at how well he raced," said Miller. "I didn't think his last few lines looked too good, but Todd [Buter] said the track over there was hurting him. Tonight, the trip worked out great. We came out of the hole and he was powerful." Rich And Miserable, a 5-year-old gelded son of Explosive Matter-Wishful Me who is owned by Buter Farm Inc., Lynette Buter, William Fuhs and Carol Fuhs, paid $10.20 to win as the second choice in the wagering in winning for the first time at The Big M in his last six tries. Lifetime, he has 23 victories from 65 starts and earnings of $473,486. A LITTLE MORE: David Miller had a good night, and so did Marcus Miller. Marcus' fans cashed in for some serious Christmas green after the 31-year-old pilot scored with 34-1 shot Life Well Lived in the fourth race and 39-1 bomb Mr Disomma in the 12th. ... Marcus' score in the 12th led to a 20-cent Pick-6 carryover of $6,205. As a result, Big M management has put a $15,000 guarantee on Saturday's P6 pool. Last week, a carryover-fueled Pick-6 ended up paying over $14,000. Free past performances for the P6 are available at playmeadowlands.com. ... Dexter Dunn and Yannick Gingras both recorded driving triples on the card. ... All-source handle totaled $2,489,847. ... Racing resumes Saturday at 7:15 p.m. SATURDAY PICK-6 HAS $15,000 GUARANTEE AT BIG M For a fourth consecutive Friday night, the 20-cent Pick-6 at The Meadowlands failed to produce a winning ticket, which will make Saturday players very happy. Despite three winning favorites and a pair of 4-1 shots, the wager with the low 15 percent takeout will once again have a carryover ($6,205). Friday’s 12th race – the fifth leg of the bet – was taken by 39-1 chance Mr Disomma and driver Marcus Miller, leading to a $24.80 payout for those with five out of six. Once again, the Big M will guarantee the Saturday P6 pot at $15,000. Last week, two winners walked away with a payoff of $14,143 after a carryover-bloated pool totaled $32,358. Free past performances for the Pick-6, as well as the Pick-5, will be available for free courtesy of the United States Trotting Association and TrackMaster at playmeadowlands.com. The Pick-5 begins in race one and the Pick-6 in race eight. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

East Rutherford, NJ - Meadowlands Harness Racing & Entertainment is holding its Annual Toys for Tots Collection Drive through Monday, December 14th. All are welcome to bring in new, unwrapped toys to help boost the spirits of a child in need this holiday season. The NYC division of the United States Marine Corps Toys for Tots will personally deliver the collected toys to children at Harlem Grown -- a charitable organization in Harlem whose mission is to inspire youth to lead healthy and ambitious lives through mentorship and hands-on education in urban farming, sustainability, and nutrition. For additional information, please visitwww.HarlemGrown.org. "This has been a tumultuous year for all of us but especially for children," said Jason M. Settlemoir, GM/COO of Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment. "We want to be able to make a child's Christmas and year just a little bit brighter. Donating toys can help make a child's day a little bit brighter." For more information on the Toys for Tots collection drive and live racing visit PlayMeadowlands.com The Meadowlands

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Longshot players had their way over the course of the 26-race harness racing weekend that took place at The Meadowlands Nov. 27-28. Big payoffs came one after the other, beginning Friday night, when the biggest scores came in the track's two 50-cent Pick-4 bets. The wager that spans races six through nine came back $5,960 after $83,617 was poured into the pool. The Late Pick-4 - races 10 through 13 - saw $64,548 in wagers taken and a payoff of $5,486. Driver Scott Zeron played a big part in the bloated payouts, scoring with 82-1 shot Stellenbosch - who topped a $14,340 Trifecta - in the eighth race and 12-1 shot Enduring Hope in the 11th. Saturday's card started with big expectations - and ended with a handful of bettors hitting big. A 20-cent Pick-6 carryover led to a total pool of over $32,000. Favorites did score in the final two legs of the wager, but it mattered little, as only two players cashed in large, walking away with $14,143. The 20-cent Survivor Pick-7 was the first of two wagers that saw only one winner walk with plenty of Christmas green. It only took five correct selections out of seven for one sharpie to hit for $7,930, while the 20-cent Pick-5 was the biggest gift of all, as one player hit for $55,157. Quagmire Bluechip, 75-1, was the key to the Pick-7 and Pick-5 by scoring in the fourth race. The weekend saw only six winning favorites - a meager 23 percent - but that did not stop the mile-oval faithful from betting a total of $5,155,861. "The Meadowlands gave the horseplayers an exciting weekend of competitive racing and the biggest pools in the sport," said track Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Jason Settlemoir. "This resulted in the kind of payoffs you can only see at The Meadowlands when we have big fields, which has been a regular occurrence thanks to Gov. Murphy and the members of the N.J. legislature going to bat for the racing industry time and again. "The average $2 win price for the weekend was $20.71, which allowed the players to shoot for the moon with their wagering. The overwhelmingly positive response from horseplayers around the world to our races and wagering menu not only shines a positive spotlight on The Meadowlands, but the great state of New Jersey as well." EITHER WAY, BIG PLAY: The Big M is known for its big payouts, but the weekend before (Nov. 20-21), 13 favorites clicked (50 percent) and betting was robust nonetheless, with a total of $5,079,059 in action. Wagering has now exceeded the $5-million plateau for three straight weekends. THREE OF A KIND: Andy Miller, Dave Miller and Dexter Dunn did the most damage among the drivers last weekend, with each winning four times. Andrew Harris led the trainers with three winner's circle visits. 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. 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. In addition, for everything Meadowlands online, go to playmeadowlands.com. 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, Otten will join Brower on set before the usual "Dave & Dave" show takes place on Saturday as Brower and Little will be the on-camera presences. 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. The Television Games Network (tvg.com) shows all Meadowlands action live and offers opportunities for those who want to bet on Big M races. GET YOUR FOOTBALL FIX: The National Football League season rolls on with games this Sunday and Monday, and you can wager on all the action in the Big M's FanDuel Sportsbook. Sunday (Dec. 6) afternoon at 1 p.m., the New York Jets - still searching for their first win of the season - will host the Last Vegas Raiders (-8) at MetLife Stadium. In the 4 p.m. window, the first-place New York Giants travel to Seattle to take on Russell Wilson and the Seahawks (-10). 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. Meadowlands Media Relations  

The Breeders Crown, harness racing’s annual $6 million year-end series of 12 championship events, returns to longtime partner track The Meadowlands, in East Rutherford, New Jersey, for 2021. Bringing the championship series back to New Jersey was made possible through the efforts of the Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association of New Jersey and New Meadowlands managing owner and CEO Jeff Gural, partners in what has long been considered the premiere harness racing product in North America.    “The Meadowlands is synonymous with championship racing,” said Gural. “Getting back in the Breeders Crown rotation makes sense for all involved and is good for the business. I’m happy we could make this happen.”   The Meadowlands is the leading host racetrack of Breeders Crown events, staging 91 events since the first Crown held there in 1987 and most recently holding all 12 Crown events in 2014 and 2016.  “All of us at the Meadowlands Racetrack are excited to host the Breeders Crown again in 2021,” said Jason Settlemoir, chief operating officer and general manager of the famed mile oval. “The Meadowlands has a long and rich tradition of hosting many of our sports top races so it’s fitting for the Crowns to come back to the Garden State. I would like to thank Mr. Gural, the Hambletonian Society and the SBOA of NJ for entrusting the team at the Meadowlands to showcase our sport’s best.”  The Breeders Crown will feature the four freshman events on Friday, Oct. 29.  The eight 3-year-old and open races will be held on Saturday, Oct. 30. Eliminations for all events, if needed, would be held the prior week, Oct. 22 and 23. “Securing the return of the Breeders Crown to The Meadowlands was a goal we worked with Jeff Gural to make happen,” said Mark Ford, president of the SBOA of NJ. “We are excited to accomplish that, and look forward to an incredible fall championship calendar.”  Since 2016, the Breeders Crown series enjoyed record-breaking runs at Harrah’s Hoosier Park (2017 & 2020), The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono (2018) and Woodbine Mohawk Park (2019.) “The Hambletonian Society has partnered with The Meadowlands to present many extraordinary races over the last 40 years,” said John Campbell, president and CEO of the Hambletonian Society, which owns and administers the Breeders Crown. “The SBOA of New Jersey along with Jeff Gural and his management team have really pulled together over the last three years to strengthen and promote all factions of the harness racing industry in NJ, and bringing back the Breeders Crown continues that legacy.” Breeders Crown 2-year-old races are the richest stakes offered in the division, with $600,000 finals in each gait and gender. Payments for the 2021 Breeders Crown program commence February 15, and all information can be found at https://www.hambletonian.com/formsinfo The Breeders Crown Series was created in 1984 by the Hambletonian Society, one of the most influential sponsors of Standardbred racing. The 37-year-old series has typically crowned champions in every division for trotters and pacers and has been the deciding factor in Horse of the Year honors since its inception. More than $209 million in purse money has been disbursed over 430 events. Originally conceived and executed as a traveling series, the Crown has been hosted by racetracks across North America and been raced as single night or multiple events. For more information visit playmeadowlands.com or hambletonian.com.

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - All it took for Franco Totem N to get back to the winner's circle was a little class relief, and on Saturday night at The Meadowlands, he showed his class in taking the $21,000 featured pace for harness racing non-winners of $14,000 in their last five starts. The gelded son of Changeover-Treaty Franco last won when in at this level on Oct. 24. Three solid outings (two fourths and a second) would follow at the non-winners of $20,000 level, which prepped him perfectly for Saturday night. In the early going, the Nifty Norman trainee sat third before vacating the rail and going after leader B Stoney. Franco Totem N led at the half in :55 while parked before settling on the point. De Los Cielos Deo, the 8-5 favorite who was seeking his fourth win in five tries, came calling first-over approaching and around the far turn, but never got close enough to make Franco Totem N sweat, as the Dexter Dunn-driven 7-year-old hit the wire 1½ lengths to the good in 1:49.3 after coming home in :26.4. De Los Cielos Deo held second with Mindtrip rallying for third. Owned by Enzed Racing Stable and Jerry Kovach, Franco Totem N returned $7.60 as the second choice in the wagering. He now has 26 wins from 88 career starts and earnings of $226,130. Franco Totem N PROLIFIC PAYOFFS: One shrewd player betting into the Elite Turf Club hub had him or herself quite a night, calling out the only winning ticket in the track's 20-cent Pick-5, and walked away with a giant payout of $55,157.16. The key to victory was 75-1 shot Quagmire Bluechip, who scored in the fourth race. The winner's odds for the sequence were 9-2, 5-2, 4-1, 75-1 and 7-2, as none were sent to the gate as the betting favorite. The 20-cent Pick-6, which had a carryover of $5,214, ended up with a total pool of $32,358. Despite a sequence that saw favorites win legs five (4-5) and six (6-5), only two sharp handicappers hit the wager for $14,143.12. The first four legs saw winner's odds of 9-2, 7-1, 5-2 and 6-1. Another multi-leg wager that yielded only one winner was the 20-cent Survivor Pick-7. Betting into the Oregon hub, he or she held the only ticket with the first five winners of the sequence and cashed in for $7,930.54. Once again, Quagmire Bluechip provided the boost to the payoff. A LITTLE MORE: Dexter Dunn led the driver's colony with three winners. ... Dave Miller had a second consecutive driving double. ... All-source wagering totaled $2,667,691, the fourth straight Saturday where wagering exceeded the $2.5-million mark. ... Racing resumes Friday at 7:15 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Heading into the Friday night harness racing featured $25,000 high-end conditioned trot at The Meadowlands, Deltasun A had won two of his last four starts, and while he was facing better foes than he had in recent outings, he was dismissed at odds of 16-1, and that created a big payday for his fans. Driven by George Napolitano Jr. and trained by Andrew Harris, Deltasun A was racing in sixth as the field of eight straightened away down the backstretch. Napolitano moved the 7-year-old gelded son of Tenotrump-Deltasu to the outside and made his way toward leader Warrior One, who had cut out front-end fractions of :27.2 and :55.3, and continued to race on the point past three-quarters in 1:24.4. Just before the three-quarter mark, 8-5 favorite JL Cruze popped out of the pocket to take his shot at the leader, which provided a live tow for Deltasun A around the far turn. Deltasun A tipped off his cover at the eighth pole, and with some energetic handling from Napolitano, gunned down JL Cruze at the wire by a neck in 1:53.1, just a fifth of a second slower than his lifetime best. Warrior One held third. Owned by Douglas Overhiser, A Harris Racing and Michael Goldberg Racing, Deltasun A returned $34.60 to his appreciative backers. He now has 22 victories from just 58 lifetime starts and earnings of $209,134. Deltasun A A LITTLE MORE: Three drivers stood above the rest on the Friday night card. Andy Miller guided three to the winner's circle while Dave Miller had a driving double. Also registering a double was Scott Zeron, whose winners were sent to the gate at odds of 80-1 and 12-1. Both of Zeron's victories played a major role in giant 50-cent Pick-4 payoffs. The wager that ended in race nine returned $5,960.65, and in the 13th, the payoff was $5,486.55. ... The 20-cent Pick-6 went unhit as both of Zeron's bombs scored during the sequence, setting up a guaranteed pool of $15,000 for Saturday night. Free past performances for the Pick-6, as well as the 20-cent Pick-5, are available at playmeadowlands.com. ... All-source wagering totaled $2,488,170. ... Racing resumes Saturday at 7:15 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations  

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  

By Dave Di Somma, Harness News Desk     As if Dexter Dunn’s year couldn’t get much better – it has. At Meadowlands in New Jersey over the weekend the 10-time champion Kiwi driver won four of the eight stakes races, providing the dream finish for superstars Manchego, Kissin In The Sand and Bettors Wish in their last career starts. Always A Miki was the night’s other winner in the Governor’s Cup as champion trainer Nancy Takter provided three of Dunn’s winners, with expat Kiwi trainer Chris Ryder (Bettor’s Wish) the other. Manchego beat Atlanta by 1 ¼ lengths in 1:51.3. The five-year-old mare, the sport’s fastest trotter in 2019 and 2020, finishes her racing days with a record of 33 wins from 56 starts, and $US2.72 in stakes. Kissin In The Sand’s final start was her seventh straight win and her 27th in 58 starts, with reigning horse of the year Shartin N fading late to finish third, with Sneaky Peaky grabbing second. Kissin In The Sand will now be bred to the season’s highest stakes earner Tall Dark Stranger. Bettor’s Wish is heading to the stallion paddock after winning his final race by nearly three lengths for Dunn and Ryder. It was win number 24. It will be his second stint at stud having served 58 mares before starting his four-year-old campaign. Dunn’s continued success all but ensures he will be named US Harness Writers’ Association Driver of the Year for the second year running. The 30 year old is the only driver in the US to have topped $US10m in stakes earnings for the year. In a year that seen him drive 354 wins so far, his tally currently stands at $US10.655m, well ahead of nearest rivals Tim Tetrick and Yannick Gingras.

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Fall Final Four/TVG Finals Night saw a handful of horses lock up harness racing divisional honors Saturday night at The Meadowlands. It also saw the two most-coveted human awards more than likely cinched by a pair of the game's biggest stars. First up was Dexter Dunn, the 30-year-old native of New Zealand, who in his second year driving full time in America, left not much doubt whom the United States Harness Writers Association's Driver of the Year will be. 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. Add in the fact that Dunn won four Breeders Crown races and was the only driver in the sport with $10 million in earnings this year coming into the night, he better make room for a second DOTY trophy. Takter scored three times on the card, as her trainees - Manchego, Kissin In The Sand and Always A Miki - were all handled by Dunn. She entered Saturday with earnings of $7.3 million from just 397 starts. During 2020, in addition to the aforementioned 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. It's clear that Takter will more than likely raise the USHWA Trainer of the Year hardware again. A LITTLE MORE: Trainer Ron Burke and driver Dave Miller both reached an incredible milestone, as each pushed past the $250-million mark in lifetime earnings. Burke reached that lofty number when his Baklouva finished second in the Governor's Cup Consolation while Miller became a quarter-billionaire after scoring with Blue Diamond Eyes in the Three Diamonds. Burke is harness racing's leading all-time trainer in terms of earnings while Miller is second to John Campbell, who finished his career with $299 million in his bank account. ... All-source handle on the 13-race card was $2,744,397. ... Racing resumes Friday at 7:15 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations  

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 - Supporters of the harness racing betting favorites found themselves empty handed following the Fall Final Four pacing events on Saturday (Nov. 21) at the Meadowlands. Breeders Crown champ Summa Cum Laude grew leg weary off quick fractions while pocket-sitter Always A Miki vaulted with fresh legs to a 1:50.2 victory in the $371,900 Governor's Cup--sponsored by Walnridge Farm & Heritage Hill Farm. Captain Sleaze, at odds of 90-1, kicked to the front and held a brief lead by a :26.3 opening quarter as Always A Miki pulled wide from the pocket with Summa Cum Laude on his back. Always A Miki cleared command to the backstretch before yielding to Summa Cum Laude. Then Abuckabett Hanover tipped first over from fourth tracked by his stablemate, Metro Pace winner Exploit, approaching a :54.3 half. Abuckabett Hanover ranged toward the pacesetter nearing three-quarters in 1:21.4, but his advance stalled nearing the straightaway and forced Exploit to launch three wide. Summa Cum Laude clung to the lead into the stretch as a lane opened for Always A Miki to vacate pocket, and the Always B Miki-Beach Gal colt lunged to a late lead over an extended Exploit and held firm to a half-length victory. Summa Cum Laude held third with Captain Fancy closing for fourth.   "He's a very small horse, there's not much too him--but he's shown all year [that] he's a true competitor," driver Dexter Dunn said after the race. "We re-moved there at the quarter, then Yannick [Gingras and Summa Cum Laude] came and it worked out perfect. The three-quarters was pretty fast, and he was tagged on Yannick's helmet the whole trip. I knew he had something left if I could get him clear." Owned by Christina Takter, Goran Anderberg, Herb Liverman and Rojan Stables, Always A Miki collected his fifth victory from 13 starts, earning $342,418. Nancy Takter trains the $16.00 winner. Blue Diamond Eyes culled the flames of red-hot Breeders Crown champ Fire Start Hanover and emerged victorious in the $323,600 Three Diamonds Final--sponsored by Daniel Baer & South Mountain Stables. Driver David Miller had Blue Diamond Eyes revved early, powering for the front past a :27.3 first quarter to pocket Notorious Pink into the backstretch. Fire Start Hanover raced fourth into the backstretch and gradually edged off the pylons until committing first over by a :56 half. Once taken outside, Fire Start Hanover rolled towards Blue Diamond Eyes to battle the leader by three-quarters in 1:23.3. However, the far-turn blitz paid a toll on Fire Start Hanover as she retreated through the field with shortening strides. Blue Diamond Eyes meanwhile blazed to the finish while prompted by pocket-popping Notorious Pink, who settled for second by one-and-a-half lengths in the 1:51.1 mile. Thebeachiscalling wove through traffic for third with Lindy At The Beach taking fourth.   "Really where she turned her whole year around was in the Kentucky Sires Stakes," trainer Ron Burke said after the race. "She went down, re-found herself, then she came back and won the final. Then even in the Breeders Crown, we couldn't get her in the right spots. Last week [David Miller] said she's ready for a big effort and he said we'll give it to her this week. Like, we're just going to put her on the front and make them come beat her. He was very right--I knew when they came into the last turn [that] they'd have to pace hard to get around her, because she'll fight when she gets the lead." Winning her fifth race from 13 starts, Blue Diamond Eyes has banked $554,617 for owners Thomas & Scott Dillon. The filly by Captaintreacherous-Aria Hanover returned $11.40 to win. An $81,000 consolation was contested earlier on the card for the Governor's Cup. Chris Ryder trainee Beachhead bolted down the center of the track off swift fractions of :26.2, :54.3 and 1:22.4 to win by three-quarter lengths in 1:51.2 over Baklouva, who rallied from last for second. David Miller drove the $13.40 winner for owners Steve Heimbecker and Mac Nichol. By Ray Cotolo, for the Meadowlands Racetrack

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 – On Nov. 21, a filly defended her crown while a gelding of regal blood scored himself high honors in Fall Final Four harness rcing action at the Meadowlands. Anoka Hanover won the $451,800 Goldsmith Maid for freshman trotting fillies—sponsored by Hunterton Farms. Todd McCarthy drove the Noel Daley-trained filly to victory in 1:53.2. The Kindergarten Classic champion scored her seventh-straight win of the season and her 10th win in 14 starts. Beautiful Game was rushed to the front entering the first turn but settled for the pocket to a :28.1 opening quarter as Insta Glam cruised to the lead. Race-favorite Anoka Hanover, from the pylon post, protected position to race third, and stayed put at the pegs while Insta Glam sped to a :55.4 half. But, to the far turn and with the Breeders Crown champ Lady Chaos ranging uncovered, McCarthy moved his charge for the leader. Insta Glam began to feel the pressure of Anoka Hanover’s strong strides past three-quarters in 1:23.3 while Lady Chaos spun her wheels and gapped cover. Into the stretch, Anoka Hanover drew away from the field to score easily by two-and-a-quarter lengths. Soaring up the inside came Flawless Country, who finished second, passing Beautiful Game, third, and Wet My Whistle, fourth.    Noel Daley co-owns the daughter of Donato Hanover—Aunt Mel along with LA Express Stable LLC and Caviart Farms.  “She’s been phenomenal,” Todd McCarthy said after the race. “Noel’s done an unbelievable job managing her. The success we’ve had with her has been a dream come true for me. She’s been getting better and better all the time. I love her attitude; she wants to do the job every time.” Buck Chaffee of Caviart Farms said none of the connections thought Anoka Hanover was as classy as she raced this season. “She didn’t look great as a baby. We didn’t know she was good until she started racing,” he said. “As owners we’re happy. This is one of those pleasant surprises.” As the public’s choice, Anoka Hanover paid $2.80 to win. She increased her earnings to $599,053. Bee Forever, with Victor Kirby at the reins, pulled off an upset in the $398,650 Valley Victory for freshman trotting colts and geldings—sponsored by Kentuckiana Farms—closing with confidence down the stretch to win in 1:54.  Bee Forever was in no rush to leave, settling in ninth as Dees Red Delicous, race-favorite On A Streak, and Incommunicado stepped quickly off the gate. Incommunicado grabbed the top spot, but gave way past a :27.4 first quarter as Dees Red Delicous strode to the front. On A Streak, positioned fourth, then made his move for the lead, cruising by Dees Red Delicous through a :55.4 half before bearing a first-over charge from Zenith Stride to the far turn. Zenith Stride kept the pressure on the leader to three-quarters in 1:25.1, but grew leg weary off the turn. Storming three-wide from near last, Bee Forever found a clear path to aim at the finish line, and full of trot, Kirby did not have to urge the son of Muscle Hill—Bee A Magician to glide safely to victory by a neck. On A Streak held for second and Delayed Hanover followed to get third.   Richard “Nifty” Norman trains Bee Forever, who won his second race in nine starts.  “The first time I drove Bee Forever, Nifty told me the colt can trot really fast but he’s green and needs to be taught. Every week he got better.” Kirby said in Bee Forever’s Kindergarten Final performance two weeks ago, “if I shake free, he wins, so I knew if he gets open space it would work out.” Bee Forever has now earned $240,986 at two and Kirby feels there’s a lot more to come at three. “You’re going to hear from him next year,” he said. Bee Forever paid $30.60 to win. By Frank Cotolo, for The Meadowlands   

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    

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