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East Rutherford, NJ - James Sidor of Bloomfield, New Jersey, captured the March 7th World Harness Handicapping Championship Qualifier presented by DerbyWars.com at the Meadowlands Racetrack. Sidor started out strong cashing for $235 in the Meadowlands' first race with a $50 win wager on #3 Sports Vision. He solidified his lead with a $440 score in race 5 with $40 to win on #2 Vettel N. Sidor finished the contest with $674, $168 more than his closest competitor. With this win he is qualified for the 2020 WHHC Final at the Meadowlands on April 18th. Joe Barre of Waretown, NJ, also qualified for the April 18th Final with his second place finish in Saturday's contest with $506. His largest score was for $482 in race twelve with $10 to win on long-shot Barefoot Bluejeans. The $200 Qualifier required contestants to place a minimum of ten $10 win, wagers on Meadowlands races. The top ten finishers from this qualifier were: First Last Bankroll Prize $ James Sidor $674 $945 + WHHC Seat Joe Barre $506 $675 + WHHC Seat Ira Sobel $399 $540 Mike Petrucelli $252 $270 Justin Sobel $219 $135 Guy Gerber $176 $27 E. Howland $126 $27 Alan Hirschberg $118 $27 H. Frenkel $112 $27 Michael Kanter $79 $27 The World Harness Handicapping Championship presented by DerbyWars.com is a one-day tournament [April 18, 2020], with a welcome reception the evening prior. Players that did not earn a seat through a qualifying event can directly buy-in for $1,300. The $1,300 entry fee includes a $300 bankroll, with the remaining $1,000 going to the prize pool. The $150,000 prize pool is based on an estimated 150 entries. DerbyWars hosts online Qualifiers for the WHHC every Saturday night. Players can qualify for as little as $22. Complete DerbyWars Qualifier information can be found at DerbyWars.com. Buffalo Raceway's qualifier with one spot into the Final will be held on Saturday, March 21st. For more information on how to become a WHHC partner outlet or sponsor, contact Rachel Ryan, Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment (raryan@playmeadowlands.com) or 201-842-5015. For online qualifying on DerbyWars.com, players may contact support@derbywars.com. All WHHC details can be found at http://www.meadowlandsracetrack.com/contest_detail.aspx?id=8240 From The Meadowlands

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Covered Bridge has been so good early on in his 4-year-old harness racing campaign, he's even surprised his trainer, Ron Burke. "He has been even better than we had hoped," said Burke of the gelded son of American Ideal-Stonebridge Kisses, who was a dominant winner of the Saturday night feature at the Meadowlands, a $27,500 high-end conditioned pace. "We couldn't be happier with him," said winning driver Yannick Gingras. "He's getting stronger every week." A scary thought for all the other 4-year-olds who will take him on this season. Covered Bridge remained unbeaten in three starts this year - all at the Meadowlands - facing his toughest test of the season. He was in against Sintra, the "Terror from Toronto" who had won all four of his starts this season facing the best on the grounds at Woodbine Mohawk Park, and the super-formful Bell I No, who had finished second or better in seven straight Big M outings. Unlike a week ago, Gingras opted to put Covered Bridge on the engine, making a second move to the top after yielding briefly to Sintra just after the quarter. Given the caliber of the combatants, the half was reached in a lazy :56.1, and when one considers that Covered Bridge had won his first two outings of 2020 in 1:48.3 and 1:49.2, it was going to take a lot to catch him. As it turned out, it could not be done. After three-quarters was clocked in 1:24, Covered Bridge had a :26.3 kicker in his tank to easily beat Sintra, who is presumably on his way to Yonkers next week for the Borgata Series, by 1½ lengths in 1:50.3. Bell I No finished third.   "Mostly 4-year-old races," said Burke when asked what the plan is for Covered Bridge. "But we will be re-evaluate soon." Is he the type of horse you'd put into the Graduate, which gets underway May 2 at the Meadowlands? "I think for sure." Covered Bridge, who is owned by Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, J&T Silva-Purnel & Libby and Mortgage Boys Stable, returned $3.00 to his backers as the 1-2 favorite and has now won 10-of-36 lifetime starts, good for earnings of $273,837. BOMBS AWAY! Pat Berry, aka "The Blue Berry Bomber", put a big smile on his fans' faces when he guided 47-1 shot Barefoot Bluejeans to victory lane in the 12th race. The win price of $96.40 was the largest of 2020 at the Big M. Apparently unsatisfied with one huge longshot, Berry came right back in the 13th race and scored with 27-1 chance Jumping Jake, giving the 44-year-old pilot a sweep of the Late Double that paid $2,700.40. Berry scored earlier on the card with an 11-1 shot and his one Friday winner went off at 10-1. With Berry's bombs hitting their targets in the final two races, the Late Pick-4 returned $18,446.90 after driver Andy Miller and trainer Nick Surick teamed up to take legs one and two at odds of 5-1. A LITTLE MORE: Betting surpassed the $2.5-million plateau for the 12th time in the last 13 race cards, as a total of $2,845,232 was pushed through the windows on the 13 races. ... Berry, Gingras and Andy McCarthy had driving triples on the program. After scoring in both co-features Friday, McCarthy finished the weekend with five winner's circle trips. ... Racing resumes Friday at 6:55 p.m. By Dave Little, for the Meadowlands   

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Just 48 hours after arch-rival - and 2019 Horse of the Year - Shartin N won in 1:50 at Dover Downs in her seasonal debut, Caviart Ally sizzled over a sloppy strip at the Meadowlands Friday night in her first start of 2020, taking the co-featured $30,000 Preferred for harness racing pacing fillies and mares in 1:49.4 in rainy and chilly conditions over a sloppy track with a -2 variant. "I'm very proud of her," said Caviart Ally's trainer Brett Pelling. "She is reasonably fit and race ready but there's nothing like a race to get her on her game." Let the rivalry resume. "Racing Shartin N always presents a dilemma since they both share the same racing style," said Pelling. "No matter what, posts at Yonkers will dictate [when the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series gets underway next week]." JK American Beauty, spectacular two weeks ago when she won her first start of the year in a lifetime-best 1:50.2, was on the go early and grabbed the top. After taking a brief tuck, Caviart Ally was up after the lead and cleared at the three-eighths before hitting the half in :55.1. 'Ally' was clear of JK American Beauty as Odds On St Lucie inched her way into the fray at three-quarters while first-over, but through the stretch, after some coaxing from driver Andy McCarthy, Caviart Ally hit the wire a safe neck in front of JK American Beauty. Odds On St Lucie was third.   "She was terrific," said McCarthy. "I was hoping to [come from off the pace] but I had to put her in the race. I wanted to give her a good tightener and we were in a bit of a soft bunch, so I figured we had to be close to the front anyway." Caviart Ally, a 6-year-old daughter of Bettor's Delight-Allamerican Cool who is owned by Caviart Farms, returned $3.40 to win as the 3-5 public choice. She's now won 26-of-73 lifetime starts and earned $1,839,516. ANDY MAC-NIFICENT: Winning one of the features on the card wasn't enough for McCarthy, who also scored in the $30,000 Preferred for trotters, with Joey Bats, in 1:53.1. Joey Bats went parked past the quarter but eventually got around a head-strong Muscle Diamond soon thereafter before reaching the half in :55.4. Pappy Go Go, who along with Joey Bats comprised a power-packed uncoupled 1-2 punch for trainer Andrew Harris, raced fifth to the half before uncorking a burst of speed to get into contention on the far turn, but faded soon thereafter. The pocket-sitting Muscle Diamond took his shot in deep stretch but would come up a neck short. Misslarose finished third but was disqualified and placed last in the field of six for interference. Pappy Go Go finished fourth, then placed third.   "He was good," said McCarthy of Joey Bats. "I think he needs to sit off a helmet, but if I didn't go to the lead tonight, I knew I would have to come first-over. I knew I had to win tonight. I know they staked him up pretty good, so I wanted to make sure he won." "Joey is just a phenomenal horse who is still developing," said Harris. "I think he has every bit of what it takes to become a stakes winner at some point. Andy Mac just knows how to manage him." Joey Bats, a 5-year-old gelded son of Holiday Road-JN Daytona who is owned by Scott Dillon, Michele Nelson and Marc Reynolds, returned $5.20 to win as the 8-5 favorite. He's now won 18-of-58 lifetime outings and earned $329,962. Pappy Go Go, who was in search of a fifth straight Meadowlands win, did not bring his best effort. "Pappy was a little disappointing," said Harris. "He's a very talented horse and when he didn't get better position off the gate, in short fields, everyone is protecting. I knew he was going to be stuck with a tough journey." A LITTLE MORE: Drew Monti, the 25-year-old driver regularly seen on the Buffalo-Batavia circuit, upped his win total at the meeting to 12 after winning three races on the card. ... All-source handle on the 13-race program totaled $2,503,586. Wagering has now gone past the $2.5 million mark in 11 of the last 12 Big M cards. ... Racing resumes Saturday at 6:55 p.m. By Dave Little, for the Meadowlands    

East Rutherford, NJ - The Meadowlands has processed the February nomination payments for the extensive Grand Circuit program of stakes and Early Closers. The lists of horses paid into those races is now posted on the track's website.   The number of horses nominated was down slightly, just 4% from the 2019 payments. Several older horse divisions saw a remarkable uptick with the Graduate Pace and Trot both at an all time high while the WR Haughton and Sam McKee Memorials rose to levels that haven't been seen for years.   Be reminded that the sustaining payments come due (postmarked by) March 16.   Also two brand new Early Closers have been added for Older Pacing Horses & Mares with a single payment of $1,000 due by March 16. They will serve as supporting stakes to the Cutler Memorial on the May 16 nationally televised broadcast for an estimated purse of $85,000.   Information on the stakes process is available on the web or by calling the Meadowlands Racing Office at (201) 842-5130.   From The Meadowlands

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - As the saying goes: "In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes." But at the Meadowlands, there are exceptions to that rule. For Big M bettors, guarantees have been part of the landscape for some time now, and pending regulatory approval, one already in play is about to get sweeter, while another is brand new. Beginning Friday, March 6 (post time 6:55 p.m.), the Big M will offer three popular multi-leg wagers with guaranteed pools that total $130,000. They are: The 20-cent Pick-5 (race one), which will now have a $40,000 guaranteed pool, up 60% from the $25,000 promise it had previously The track's "signature" wager, the Early 50-cent Pick-4 (race six), whose $50,000 guarantee remains unchanged The new Late 50-cent Pick-4 (race 10), which is off to an incredible start in its first four weeks, will now go from no guarantee to a $40,000 assurance "This is an enormous step for not only the Meadowlands, but for the sport of harness racing," said Big M Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Jason Settlemoir. "Making the game better for horseplayers has to be a major part of the equation for this sport to flourish. Our fans around the world have responded positively to our new wagering menu, and we are responding to our horseplayers with $130,000 in nightly guarantees, big carryover pools and multi-leg wagers that offer a low takeout of 15 percent." It appears the call by Big M management to shakeup the wagering format four weeks ago was the right one, based on last weekend's returns. After Friday's (Feb. 28) handle reached $2,970,735 - third best of 2020 - the very next night that number was eclipsed when $2,973,673 was pushed through the windows. The weekend total of $5,944,408 and per race average (for the 26 races) of $228,631 both established seasonal bests. The guarantee of the Pick-5 pool appears to be one that will be surpassed rather easily, even with the increase. The wager has seen all eight of its pools exceed $55,000 since it was updated to use a base wager of 20 cents, with the last three reaching at least $72,000. Last weekend's payoffs were certain to put a smile on winner's faces, as they cashed in for $2,092 on Friday and $3,140 on Saturday. The consistent play in the Early Pick-4 has seen seven straight pools of $70,000 or more, while going past $80,000 on four occasions. One could argue the biggest surprise has been the popularity of the Late Pick-4, which has seen wagering of at least $70,000 in its last four tries, including a bet-best $86,834 last Saturday. This for a wager that did not exist until Feb. 7. The only one of the Big M's "Fab Four" wagers not to offer a guarantee is the 20-cent Pick-6, but when the bet doesn't get hit, the ensuing carryover always makes it special. After Friday's Pick-6 failed to produce any tickets with six winners, $11,270 carried over to Saturday's card, when $77,512 in new money was wagered to create a total pool of $88,782. The average Pick-6 payout is a handsome $4,145. FREE FRIDAY AND SATURDAY PPs: For free past performances of the entire Big M cards for Friday and Saturday, go to playmeadowlands.com. JSH5 ALERT: 20-cent Jackpot Super High-Five players are waiting for this weekend with great anticipation, as carryovers of $40,367 (race five) and $37,169 (race 13) will go to any player on Friday night who are holding the only ticket bearing the numbers of the first five in official order of finish. FEBRUARY STANDOUTS: Yannick Gingras recorded a driving double on both Friday and Saturday last week to finish atop the February driver standings with 23 wins. Dexter Dunn, who scored four times Saturday night, finished the month with 19 victories. Ron Burke sat atop the February trainer standings with 19 winner's circle trips. WHHC QUALIFIER: On Saturday (March 7), the Big M will host its March World Harness Handicapping Championship Qualifier, the final qualifier to be held at the Big M. The top two finishers Saturday will qualify for the April 18 WHHC Final. It's only $200 to play ($100 to enter; $100 bankroll). For complete information, go to http://playmeadowlands.com/contest_detail.aspx?id=1646. TIME FOR MAYHEM: The NCAA Basketball Tournament is almost here, and you can get a front row seat to the action - while getting your action - in the Big M's FanDuel Sportsbook. The selection show is at 6 p.m. on Sunday, March 15 when all conference tournament play is concluded. Then, the 68-team tournament - known for its upsets and Cinderella stories - gets underway on Tuesday, March 17. From The Meadowlands  

East Rutherford, NJ - This Saturday, March 7th the Meadowlands hosts its Last Chance WHHC Qualifier. Two spots are up for grabs in the $200 Qualifier ($100 entry plus a $100 real-money bankroll). The format requires players to make $10 Win bets on at least ten Meadowlands races of their choice. Players can wager more than $10 a race if they desire. Players can register on-site until 7 pm on Saturday. DerbyWars hosts online Qualifiers for the WHHC every Saturday night. Players can qualify for as little as $22. Complete DerbyWars Qualifier information can be found at DerbyWars.com. Buffalo Raceway's qualifier with one spot into the Final will be held on Saturday, March 21st. For more information on how to become a WHHC partner outlet or sponsor, contact Rachel Ryan, Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment (raryan@playmeadowlands.com) or 201-842-5015. For online qualifying on DerbyWars.com, players may contact support@derbywars.com. All WHHC details along with a list of qualified players can be found at http://www.meadowlandsracetrack.com/contest_detail.aspx?id=8240 From the Meadowlands

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - The Preferred Pace at the Meadowlands Saturday night may have lacked quantity, but it did not lack for quality - or a thrilling finish - as None Bettor A recorded a narrow harness racing victory over Trump Nation in 1:50.4. After Endeavor scratched, the $30,000 event was down to a field of five, and in the early going 4-5 favorite Trump Nation, who was in search of a fifth straight Big M score, put even-money second choice None Bettor A in the pocket. There wasn't much action to the half, which was clocked in :56.1, but with three-eighths of a mile to go, Andy McCarthy edged None Bettor A to the outside as Yannick Gingras and Trump Nation braced for the challenge. Then, the action went from pedestrian to pulse-pounding. Trump Nation dug in through the length of the stretch as the Andrew Harris-trained None Bettor A relentlessly continued to inch closer, and at the wire, it took the photo-finish camera to determine that None Bettor A, making his seasonal debut, had nosed out Trump Nation. Both recorded final quarters of :26.1. Rodeo Rock was explosive late after racing last to the top of the stretch to finish third. Harambe Deo and Franco Totem N cashed the final two checks. "I've trained Trump Nation [in the past]," said Harris. "And I know how quick his turn of foot is. But I won't lie. When I saw those fractions, I was not sure what to think. But this being None Bettor's first start, and against top horses, I'm very pleased. He's tuned up and ready for stakes season. "He will skip next week most likely. Then on to the [March 14] Borgata Series [at Yonkers]. And he's staked up pretty good, so we will play it by ear as we go and he will tell us what he's ready for and when." None Bettor A returned $4.20 to win as the second choice in the wagering. The 7-year-old gelded son of Bettor's Delight-Limerick Star, who is owned by Joe P Racing and Oldford Racing, now has 29 wins in 77 lifetime starts and earnings of $459,445. POWERFUL PICK-6 POOL: The 20-cent Pick-6, which had a carryover of $11,270 from Friday, saw $77,512 in "new money" for a total pool of $88,782. A formful sequence saw four favorites, one even-money second choice and one 5-1 shot combine to create a payoff of $288.98. WILD WAGERING WEEKEND: For a second straight night, betting was less than $30,000 away from the magic $3-million mark, but was more than enough to complete the biggest weekend of betting at the Big M in 2020. After $2,973,673 was pushed through the windows Saturday, the third best single night of the year, the weekend total reached $5,944,408. A LITTLE MORE: When Jeff Dauplaise, 58, moved Soho Chelsea A along the inside to win the 11th race, it gave the veteran driver his first win at the Meadowlands since Dec. 5th of 2015. Lifetime, he's won 228 races. ... Dexter Dunn led the driver colony with four wins on the card. ... Gingras had a driving double, lifting his February win total to a track-best 23. ... Racing resumes Friday at 6:55 p.m.   By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

East Rutherford, NJ - The Meadowlands is excited to announce that three of the top Grand Circuit stakes cards of the 2020 Championship Meet will be televised live across North America on a National Sports network. Three live races will be broadcast on each program with the Cutler Memorial (Saturday, May 16), Meadowlands Pace elimination (Saturday, July 11) and Meadowlands Pace Final (Saturday, July 18) headlining the chosen nights. Each broadcast is tentatively set to run from 8:00 to 10:00 pm. While the Meadowlands Pace elimination and final cards are loaded with supporting stakes such as the Graduate finals and Hambletonian Maturity, the Cutler Memorial will be supplemented by two brand new, yet to be named Early Closers for the older pacing horses and mares.  A break in the schedule between the Blue Chip Matchmaker and Borgata (Levy) at Yonkers and the Betsy Ross and Commodore Barry at Harrah's Philly affords The Meadowlands a spot to add a new race for those divisions. The new Early Closers will use a top eleven money winners in 2019-2020 and have a estimated purse of $85,000. They will also be considered point bearing TVG legs, though horses need not be TVG eligible to be nominated to them. These races will require a nomination payment of $1,000 due by March 15 and a $1,000 entry fee. The added money will be $60,000. Further details and conditions are in development and will be released soon. "NYRA has been doing a lot of live TV since Saratoga last summer. We feel it's important to try broadcasting some of our big stakes live," said Meadowlands President Jeff Gural. "We have a good product and hope by exposing it to a national audience it will generate more interest in the sport. From the Meadowlands Media Department

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Machnhope pulled off an upset in the harness racing feature on an otherwise formful evening of racing, and betting came oh-so-close to the magic $3 million mark on an eventful Friday night at the Meadowlands. The Noel Daley-trained Machnhope, a 5-year-old daughter of Mach Three-Hope For Life, scored in the $25,000 fillies and mares high-end conditioned pace after racing along the rail in the three-hole before Pat Berry swerved her to the outside at the head of the stretch. The pair then exploded home in :27.2 to record a half-length win over Odds On St Lucie in a lifetime-best 1:51.3. The race set up for a closer after early leader Lily Hammer, in search of her fifth victory in six starts, was pressed by Odds On St Lucie, who was nothing short of gigantic going parked the mile, racing without cover from start to finish. 'Lucie' nudged past the leader with a sixteenth of a mile to go and was clear nearing the finish, only to get gunned down. Write Me A Song, the 6-5 favorite who was making her 2020 debut, went second over and finished third.   Machnhope returned $29.60 to win as the fifth choice in the eight-horse field for owner Gary J. Lance and now has 20 wins from 70 lifetime starts and earnings of $243,867. BETTING BIG: All-source handle reached $2,970,735, the third best night of business in 2020 at the Big M. The only two bigger totals occurred on Jan. 3 ($3,069,967) and Feb. 1 ($3,026,740). Betting has now exceeded $2.5 million nine of the last 10 race cards. PICK-6 CARRYOVER: With three of the winners going off at odds of 25-1, 17-1 and 13-1, there were no tickets with all six winners in the 20-cent Pick-Six, creating a carryover of $11,270 heading into Saturday's card. Those with five winners cashed in for $939.30. As part of the United States Trotting Association's Strategic Wagering initiative, there will be a $40,000 guarantee on Saturday's pool. There was a Pick-6 carryover of $14,376 heading into the card of Feb. 21, which led to $76,682 in "new money" being poured into the pot for a total of $91,058. Saturday's 20-cent Pick-6 begins with the fourth race in the program. A LITTLE MORE: Yannick Gingras kept his February roll moving, driving two winners on the card, giving him 21 victories for the month. ... Berry and Andy Miller also had two winners apiece. ... Chalk players ruled again, as for a second straight program, eight winning favorites hit victory lane. ... Racing resumes Saturday at 6:55 p.m. By Dave Little, for the Meadowlands  

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ (February 27, 2020) The Meadowlands Racetrack and Winners Off-Track Wagering in Bayonne will open at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, February 29th for the simulcast of the inaugural running of the Saudi Cup. The world's richest race features a purse of $20 million and is headlined by American star Maximum Security. The Meadowlands and Winners will take races five through eight from King Abdulaziz Racecourse. Race five, the $500,000 Jockey Club Cup, has a post time of 10:30 am post. Post time for the Saudi Cup is 12:40 pm. For the complete simulcast lineup visit PlayMeadowlands.com From the Meadowlands Media Department

None Bettor A and Rodeo Rock hope to make strong impressions on the Grand Circuit this year and the two older male pacers will begin their journey together by making their harness racing seasonal debuts in Saturday's (Feb. 29) preferred at The Meadowlands. None Bettor A captured last year's Battle of Lake Erie as part of a campaign that saw him win 12 of 18 races and $375,970. Rodeo Rock, who won eight of 21 starts and $349,650, was victorious in two preliminary rounds of the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series and finished second in the final. He also was second in the Commodore Barry Invitational. The two 7-year-old geldings are expected to head to the MGM Borgata Pacing Series (formerly Levy) at Yonkers Raceway when it begins March 14. The six-week series concludes April 18. None Bettor A won a qualifier in 1:51.2 on Feb. 22 at The Meadowlands. He finished second in a qualifier on Feb. 15. "He'll race this week and then get next week off before jumping into the (Borgata) series," trainer Andrew Harris said. "Hopefully he can earn himself a week off sometime in the series, but if not, this way he can go four or five races in a row if need be. It's tough. Things have to go right from the get-go. "He qualified great last week. It looks like they're ready to go (1):48 this week so I'm sure he'll get stretched out and whatever happens it will be good for moving him forward." Harris began training None Bettor A this past August. After joining his stable, the gelding won the Great Northeast Open Series final and finished second in the Bobby Quillen Memorial. The 2019 season was the Australian-bred horse's first year racing in North America. He is owned by Joe P Racing and Oldford Racing. "He's just one of the coolest horses I have in the barn," Harris said. "He doesn't do anything wrong. He was real anxious in his first qualifier but he'd been away (from the track) for a little while. Last week he was back to his normal self. "He's got good gate speed, but on a personal level, I just really like his demeanor in the barn and how he handles himself." None Bettor A, then in the stable of trainer Jennifer Bongiorno, won the Battle of Lake Erie at half-mile Northfield Park in a world-record equaling 1:49. "I think he's probably one of the better half-mile horses we'll see this year," Harris said. "But we've staked him to everything, so he's going to get his opportunities on the big track too." Rodeo Rock enters Saturday's preferred off a fourth-place finish in last week's qualifier won by None Bettor A. He was timed in 1:51.4. "He's been very good (coming back)," trainer Robert Cleary said. "We were very happy with the way he qualified last week. I thought it was pretty good, really." Rodeo Rock was sidelined because of health issues in midseason last year. He was away from the races for nearly two months but ended his campaign with four wins and two seconds in his last eight starts. "I was super happy with the way he raced in the Levy and the early stakes," said Cleary, who trains Rodeo Rock for owner Royal Wire Products Inc. "Then he ran into some health issues and we had to give him some time off, but he came back strong at the end of the year." Cleary plans to race Rodeo Rock on the Grand Circuit but will keep the horse close to his base in New Jersey rather than send him on extended trips. "He's a bad shipper, so I only staked him to the local tracks," Cleary said. "But he's as good on a small track as he is on a big track, you can race him anywhere and any way. He's going to have opportunities to make money. "He can carry his speed a long way, which is probably one of his biggest attributes. He's just a real good racehorse. He shows up every week." Racing begins at 6:55 p.m. (EST) Saturday at The Meadowlands. For complete entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA    

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - On February 7, management at the Meadowlands gave their harness racing wagering menu a big shakeup, and while the early returns on the new 20-cent-base Pick-5 and additional 50-cent Pick-4 have been solid, the bet that's provided the biggest jolt of energy has been the 20-cent Pick-6, which looks fresh off a considerable layoff. "When you go back to the days when the Pick-6 was a staple at many tracks," said Big M Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Jason Settlemoir. "You have to remember that when the bet was flourishing, the multi-race options were the Daily Double and the Pick-3. What happened was, as those racetracks added Pick-4s and Pick-5s to their wagering menus, the Pick-6 got lost in the shuffle." The Pick-6 is now back and it's experiencing a renaissance at the Big M. When the Meadowlands last offered a Pick-6 in 2012, the Opening Night pool of $3,302 created a one-day carryover of $1,975. The next night saw a pool of $2,610 and a two-day carryover of $3,534. Remarkably, one week later, the four-day carryover had only reached $8,435. Three weeks ago, the first Pick-6 pool of this era was $17,985, or five times more than the initial 2012 pot. The next night, the pool expanded to $24,474 and one sharp player had the only winning ticket and walked away with $20,797. That's quite a before ($5,912) and after ($42,549) when comparing the first two pools during the different eras. On Saturday (Feb. 15), in only the fourth time the Pick-6 was offered, the bet failed to yield a ticket with all six winners, creating a carryover (the first in eight years) of $14,376 that served as the catalyst for a total pool of just over $91,000 after $76,682 in "new money" was wagered the following Friday. Since the carryover money is "rake free", bettors were actually wagering into a rare "player's advantage". Instead of a takeout, the bettor's edge was 3 percent. "When the Meadowlands decided to bring back the Pick-6, it had to be a better version that would allow people to participate without waiting weeks for the carryover to build up," said Settlemoir. "We wanted to go with the traditional no-jackpot format. The 2020 version would lower the minimum to 20 cents and lowered the takeout to 15 percent. It didn't take very long to realize that the new version of the Meadowlands' Pick-6 was a hit." The popularity of the Pick-6 is continuing to build momentum. The most recent pool was its biggest yet, as $29,150 was pushed through the windows on Feb. 22. "So far, the revamped version of the Pick-6 has exceeded all expectations," said Settlemoir. "And the new wagering menu has definitely brought new eyes to the Meadowlands product. The 20-cent Pick-5 ($75,544 on Feb. 22) and Late 50-cent Pick-4 ($75,592 on Feb. 21) also established season highs last weekend." Other wagering highlights from last weekend include: All-source total handles of $2.68 million on both Friday and Saturday Average handle per race for the 26-race weekend of $206,806 An Early Pick-4 pool of $89,159 on Saturday REMINDER: The Meadowlands races every Friday and Saturday with a first race post time of 6:55 p.m. The live "Racing from the Meadowlands" simulcast show gets underway at 6:22 p.m. Joining Dave Brower this weekend on set will be Tioga and Vernon Downs' TV personality Brett Risi. The wagering menu includes the 20-cent Pick-5 (race one), which has a guaranteed pool of $25,000; 20-cent Pick-6 (race four); 50-cent Early Pick-4 (race six), which has a $50,000 guarantee; and 50-cent Late Pick-4 (race 10). All four wagers offer a low 15 percent takeout. Free program pages for the Early Pick-4 and Late 20-cent Jackpot Super High-Five are available at ustrotting.com and playmeadowlands.com. PICK-6 CLARIFICATION: Payouts for the Pick-6 are done in this fashion: · When there are ticket(s) with six winners, all the money in the pool (minus the 15 percent takeout) is returned to those winners · When there are no tickets with six winners, 25 percent of the pool is paid out to those with five winners (a "consolation"). Then, 75 percent is carried over to the next time the wager is offered WISHES IT WAS ALWAYS FEBRUARY: Last year, Yannick Gingras crushed the Meadowlands like Godzilla during February, winning seven races on Feb. 1 followed by a six-bagger the next night. He finished the month with a ridiculous 33 wins. While he hasn't been quite as dominant during the second month of 2020, he has been dominant nonetheless. The 40-year-old pilot ripped it up last weekend, winning five races on both Friday and Saturday, to up his monthly total to 19 with two race cards remaining. Trainer Ron Burke also excelled last weekend, sending out seven winners, five of which were handled by his go-to driver Gingras. WHHC QUALIFIER: On Saturday (March 7), the Big M will host its March World Harness Handicapping Championship Qualifier. The top two finishers will qualify for the WHHC Final. It's only $200 to play ($100 to enter; $100 bankroll). For complete information, go to playmeadowlands.com. WHAT'S GOING ON.... On Feb. 28, card players who are 21 or older can play Texas Hold'em on "Free Poker Friday", hosted by World Free Poker. Every live racing night, place a win bet on the fourth race, and if you win, get the "winning experience" and have your picture taken in the winner's circle. Those who qualify should proceed to the winner's circle immediately after the race. From the Meadowlands Media Department    

East Rutherford, NJ - Anthony Altomonte of New Jersey, captured the February 22nd World Harness Handicapping Championship Qualifier presented by DerbyWars.com at the Meadowlands Racetrack. Altomonte cashed on eight of his ten wagers, allowing him to outdistance his closest competitor by $445. Altomonte is a contest veteran and has qualified for both the WHHC Finals and NHC finals via Meadowlands qualifiers. With this win he is qualified for the 2020 WHHC Final at the Meadowlands on April 18th. William Meisel of Staten Island, NY, also qualified for the April 18th Final with his second place finish in Saturday's contest with $413. His largest score was for $344 in race one with $80 to Place on Test Ride. The $200 Qualifier required contestants to place exactly ten $10 minimum win, place, and/or show wagers on Meadowlands races. The top ten finishers from this qualifier were: First Last Bankroll Prize $ Anthony Altomonte $858 $1,435 + WHHC Seat William Meisel $413 $1,025 + WHHC Seat Mark Kunen $360 $820 Rick Arbiter $298 $410 Patrick O'Malley $212 $205 Alison Shafer $176 $41 Chris Simonetti $121.60 $41 Brandon Spiegel $101 $41 John Steele $88 $41 John Murphy $80 $41 The World Harness Handicapping Championship presented by DerbyWars.com is a one-day tournament [April 18, 2020], with a welcome reception the evening prior. Players that did not earn a seat through a qualifying event can directly buy-in for $1,300. The $1,300 entry fee includes a $300 bankroll, with the remaining $1,000 going to the prize pool. The $150,000 prize pool is based on an estimated 150 entries. DerbyWars hosts online Qualifiers for the WHHC every Saturday night. Players can qualify for as little as $22. Complete DerbyWars Qualifier information can be found at DerbyWars.com. Hawthorne is hosting a WHHC Qualifier with two spots up for grabs on Saturday, February 29th and Buffalo Raceway's qualifier with one spot into the Final will be held on Saturday, March 21st. For more information on how to become a WHHC partner outlet or sponsor, contact Rachel Ryan, Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment (raryan@playmeadowlands.com) or 201-842-5015. For online qualifying on DerbyWars.com, players may contact support@derbywars.com. All WHHC details can be found at http://www.meadowlandsracetrack.com/contest_detail.aspx?id=8240 From the Meadowlands Media Department

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - For a second straight night, harness racing driver Yannick Gingras recorded five wins and won the feature at the Meadowlands, as he scored with Trump Nation in Saturday night's Preferred Handicap for pacers. Trump Nation, sent to the gate as the 4-5 public choice, blasted away from post seven in the field of eight along with Atta Boy Dan and Americanprimetime. Endeavor was in the early scrum but driver Corey Callahan decided to back off into the four-hole as Atta Boy Dan led at the quarter. Trump Nation continued on until surging to the top at the three-eighths. Endeavor, the 2-1 second choice, was on the move at the half racing on the rim and chipped away at the leader's edge, drawing to within a length at the head of the stretch. The rivals battled through the lane as Endeavor continued to inch closer, but at the wire, it was an ultra-determined Trump Nation out-gaming Endeavor by a neck in 1:49.4. Harambe Deo was third.   Gingras wasn't worried as his primary foe was closing in. "I was pretty confident I was going to be able to hold him off," said Gingras. "This horse was super again." Trump Nation, a 5-year-old gelded son of Betterthancheddar-Late Flyin N who is trained by Ron Burke, returned $3.80 to his backers. He's now won 15 of 40 lifetime starts and earned $432,446 for owners Burke Racing Stable, Evan Katz, Weaver Bruscemi and Purnel & Libby. THE NEED FOR SPEED: A fast track and comfortable-for-the-time-of-year temperatures in the 40s on a clear night led to some rock-the-clock times on the program. The red-hot Bell I No, who won a week ago in 1:49.1 despite cold conditions and a -1 track variant, recorded the second fastest mile in North America of 2020 when he ripped through fractions of :26.4, :54.1 and 1:22 before completing the mile in a lifetime-best 1:48.4 to record his third win in four starts in the sixth race high-end conditioned pace. Andy Miller drove the Andrew Harris trainee. Just two races later, the Ron-Burke trained Covered Bridge equaled Effronte A's national season's-best of 1:48.3 by coming from off the pace in taking another high-end conditioned pace. Driven by Gingras, Covered Bridge lowered his previous lifetime mark by two-and-one-fifth seconds while making his seasonal debut. A LITTLE MORE: Chalk players ruled the night, as eight winning favorites scored on the card. ... Wagering on the track's four popular multi-leg puzzles was vigorous as the 20-cent Pick-5 ($75,544), 20-cent Pick-6 ($29,150), 50-cent Early Pick-4 ($89,159) and 50-cent Late Pick-4 ($74,289) accounted for total bets of $268,142. ... Gingras, Dexter Dunn (three winners), Andy McCarthy (two) and Marcus Miller (two) combined to win 12 of the 13 races. ... Burke recorded three wins on the night. ... All-source handle on the card totaled $2,687,050, the eighth time in the last nine programs that wagering has exceeded $2.5 million. ... Racing resumes Friday at 6:55 p.m. by Dave Little, for the Meadowlands  

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Yannick Gingras was the star of the night at the Meadowlands Friday, guiding five winners on the harness racing card, including Dayson, who won the featured high-end conditioned trot in 1:52.3. The 7-year-old gelded son of Conway Hall-Nervey's Taurus emerged from a first-turn scrum in perfect position, racing in the pocket behind the speedy Nows The Moment, who was on the point to the head of the stretch despite being pressed around the far turn by Kenziesky Hanover. Through the lane, Nows The Moment weakened, and as he did he bore out, creating more than enough room for Dayson to cruise under the wire first racing along the inside. It was a half-length back to 8-5 favorite Eye Ofa Tiger As. Elysium Lindy, who won this race a week ago, was trip compromised when pushed wide around turn one and raced from the back of the field before charging home to get third. Nows The Moment was fourth. "He raced great," said Gingras of Dayson. "He's such a game horse and tries hard." Dayson, who returned $8.20 to his backers as the second choice in the wagering, races out of the Ron Burke barn and is owned by Burke Racing Stable & Weaver Bruscemi, J&T Silva-Purnel&Libby and L. Karr. He now has 38 victories from 89 lifetime outings, good for earnings of $1,181,127. Burke had a huge night, winning four races. He hooked up three times with his go-to pilot Gingras. PICK-6 REPORT: A total of $76,682 in "new money" was added to the carryover of $14,376 in the 20-cent Pick-6, meaning that players were betting into a rare "player's advantage" pool. A total of $79,555 was paid out, almost $3,000 more than was pushed through the windows. There were many winning tickets in the Pick-6, as the payoff of $238.98 was the result of a sequence that saw winner's odds of 7-2, 1-1, 5-2, 5-2, 6-5 and 6-5. The action was big in all four of the Big M's multi-leg wagers, as a total of $290,158 was wagered in the 20-cent Pick-5, 20-cent Pick-6 and two 50-cent Pick-4 pools. The Late Pick-4 took in $75,592, by far its best showing in five tries since debuting earlier this month. A LITTLE MORE: The Nancy Takter-trained JK American Beauty - who now has lifetime earnings of $422,790 - made her 4-year-old debut a winning one, taking the fifth race high-end conditioned pace for fillies and mares in a lifetime-best 1:50.2 with Gingras driving. ... All-source handle totaled $2,689,916 on the 13-race program, the best Friday night thus far in 2020 and third-best overall. ... Racing resumes Saturday at 6:55 p.m.   By Dave Little Meadowlands Media Relations

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - It's been a long time since Meadowlands' fans have been able to utter the following fabulous phrase: "Pick-6 carryover!" The carryover of $14,376 might not seem extremely impressive by itself, but what figures to transpire as a result will raise eyebrows from players, regardless of the girth of their bankrolls. First and foremost, the Big M, in partnership with the United States Trotting Association's Strategic Wagering initiative, has created an instant guaranteed pool of $40,000, which could look small by the time the fourth race on Friday heads to the gate, marking the start of the wager. The bet has a base of 20 cents, which allows players to "spread' their action further in pursuit of winners with double-digit odds. As always, the P6 has a low 15 percent takeout. What players may not realize is the value in a bet like this with a carryover. "After a long layoff, we are excited to see a Pick-6 carryover at the Meadowlands," said track Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Jason Settlemoir. "The 20-cent minimum has given life to the Pick-6. In 2012, when the Pick-6 had a higher minimum, our Opening Night carryover was $1,975, and it took us four nights to get that number past the $8,000 mark. "Without the help of a carryover, the 20-cent version has an average pool this year of over $20,000 a night with 20-cent payoffs that have been excellent. With plenty of time between cards for handicappers all over the world to get ready to put money into this big pool, we obviously are expecting an enormous response to the one-day carryover of $14,376 on Friday." The mathematics prove that wagers with low 15 percent takeouts that have carryovers provide huge value for the player. In fact, there will be more money paid out than the amount of "new money" wagered Friday. In the event Friday sees $80,000 in "new money", the breakdown would be as follows: 15 percent of the $80,000 is removed for the takeout, leaving $68,000. Add the carryover of $14,376 to the $68,000, and you get a total of $82,376 left for the players with live tickets to divvy up, with 75 percent going to those who go six-for-six and 25 percent to those who have five winners. With $2,376 more going out after $80,000 comes in, that creates a rare "player's advantage" of 2.97 percent. In the event no one picks all six winners, 75 percent - just over $60,000 - would carry over to Saturday's card. Free program pages for the 20-cent Pick-6 (which begins in the fourth race), as well as the 50-cent Pick-4 (race six) and Late 20-cent Jackpot Super High-Five (13th race) will be available at ustrotting.com and playmeadowlands.com. GUARANTEED GREEN: The Meadowlands will offer four big multi-race pools on the Friday card, with three offering sizable guaranteed pools. The aforementioned 20-cent Pick-6 sports a guaranteed pool of $40,000, the 20-cent Pick-5 (race one) promises $25,000 and the "signature" 50-cent Pick-4 (race six) offers $50,000. The second 50-cent Pick-4 (race 10) has no guarantee but has been doing quite well nonetheless, with a pool that's averaged just over $59,000. Racing will be conducted on Friday and Saturday, with a first race post time of 6:55 p.m. PICK-5 OFF TO STRONG START: Since dropping the minimum wager to 20 cents, the action has been solid in the Big M's revamped Pick-5. The average pool has been $63,382 with both Saturdays since the change registering pools in excess of $70,000. The average payout has been a healthy $1,123 for two thin dimes. Speaking of five, the green has been steadily piling up in the track's two 20-cent Jackpot Super High-Fives. The carryovers for Friday are $31,773 and $25,021 for races five and 13, respectively. SEE WILDER-FURY AT THE BIG M: A boxing match for the ages takes place Saturday night (Feb. 22), as a pair of unbeaten heavyweights will go at it in Las Vegas. Deontay Wilder, 42-0-1, and Tyson Fury, 29-0-1, will go toe-to-toe for the second time to unify the heavyweight division title. The first time the pair met, the result was a controversial draw in December of 2018. Can't get to Vegas? Then come on out to the Meadowlands, where you can watch and wager on the action in the track's FanDuel Sportsbook or Victory SportsBar. The fight is expected to begin sometime between 11 p.m. and midnight. WHHC QUALIFIER: On Saturday (Feb. 22), the Big M will host its February World Harness Handicapping Championship Qualifier. The top two finishers will qualify for the WHHC Final. It's only $200 to play ($100 to enter; $100 bankroll). For complete information, check out the brochure at http://playmeadowlands.com/uploadedFiles/2020%20February%20WHHC%20qualifier.pdf. WHAT'S UP.... On Feb. 21, card players who are 21 or older can play Texas Hold'em on "Free Poker Friday", hosted by World Free Poker. Every live racing night, place a win bet on the fourth race, and if you win, get the "winning experience" and have your picture taken in the winner's circle. Those who qualify should proceed to the winner's circle immediately after the race. From the Meadowlands Media Department  

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